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"Hand-made" doll flaws

Jun 15, 2007

    1. What is to be expected as a "hand made doll"-flaw, and which flaws should the companies be responsible for? Are unsanded seams considered a flaw that companies should take care of? What about other flaws like resin bubbles?
    2. Bubbles really should be expected to some degree. They're in there somewhere, maybe not on the surface. I think there's ways to reduce the amount of bubbles during the casting process though. Some bubbles should be expected, but an excessive amount of bubbles and pitting are definite signs of a flawed product.

      Sanded seams should not be considered a flaw. Unsanded seams should not be considered a flaw either. Some dolls come without sanded seams, but I don't think the company should always be responsible for removing them. It takes time, so charging for such a service or including it in the cost is the right idea.

      Now flaws such as breaks or cracks at the seams should be taken care of by the company. That also includes breaks at joints and seams, especially if the problem is known. Dolls should always be handled with some amount of care, but if the resin breaks and cracks easily, that is something the company should be responsible for as well. Whether that means a partial replacement or fully replace the doll...
    3. I don't think unsanded seams are a flaw. These dolls have a do-it-yourself aspect, and having to sand the seams yourself falls into that. All dolls start out with seams as part of the molding process, so it's not like seams are something that shouldn't be there.

      I would consider very noticable air bubbles flaws, but if they're minor I would overlook it. One of my Kawainino heads has a few air bubbles, but if the seller hadn't pointed them out, I doubt I would have noticed. However, if a doll has lots of very noticible bubbles that detract from it's appearance, then the company needs to do something.
    4. I've never cast anything in resin, but I have heard, just from lurking about the artist's doll forum, that bubbles are inevitable, even if they're only under the surface. As long as they aren't huge and in a prominent place (EG, a pit on my doll's cheek vs. one on the inside of the headcap), I don't think it's such a big deal. Seams I don't mind, either. My Shushu has pretty prominent seams on some places, IMHO, but I don't mind. Not to mention the fact that some dolls (the colored and tanned ones, especially) generally *can't* be sanded. I know that Volks has a special spray to even out the color on their Sunlight dolls, but even that isn't 100% effective IIRC. Besides, getting "striped" dolls isn't much better than getting dolls with seams...heck, I'd take seams over a zebra! ;)

      Cracks, breaks, chips, those are flaws. A doll that comes with any sort of "injury" like those directly from the company should have any flawed parts replaced.

    5. This is an interesting question. Years before I got into bjds, I was a fan of resin model "garage kits". As with bjds, they were fairly pricey items considering that they had to be sanded, assembled, and painted. The difference with those was that generally the entire surface of the resin would be covered with paint once the kit was complete, so bubbles, flaws, etc, weren't such a big deal. Even so, less expensive kits or those from small companies often needed more filling and sanding.
      In my opinion, part of the reason we pay what we pay for these dolls is because of the care it takes to produce them. Resin is not a "precious" or rare material. The cost comes because to produce a single doll with few flaws often takes multiple pulls from the molds, as well as a certain amount of know-how and care. In keeping with this, if I pay a high price for a bjd, I expect a surface free of obvious pits and bubbles. A lower cost doll may not be quite so perfect, but there should still be standards.

      As for sanding, I don't think visible seam lines are a flaw at all. They're a necessary aspect of how the doll is made. Again, that view may be because I came into this hobby from a garage kit background, but they are easy enough to remove if you care to do so.
    6. I think it depends on personal expectation, which is largely influenced by who you are buying from. People don't give much leeway to larger makers such as CP , CH, Volks etc, because they have the wherewithal to be able to produce a high quality product, and you're paying for that. Smaller, personal makers like say Ninodoll, the Minimee project etc, at least for me, don't have the same expectations imbued into them. I wouldn't be as upset about finding minor flaws like uneven resin, some little bubbles or defects in these smaller companies as I would with the bigger ones. With experience and size, you expect a higher level of quality, and therefore less flaws.

      As others have said here, I don't think seams are flaws. They're an unavoidable part of casting, and the nature and origins of BJD were kits, to be worked on and perfected by the owner. And while I know it's grown beyond that purpose, and many people do not wish to have to work on their dolls at all, I think the seems are not something companies should be held responsible for. It takes time and money to get rid of them, and it has to be done by hand, so yeah. I mean, as long as there aren't huge bits of resin jutting out of the doll or sharp edges or whatever, I don't think it's a problem. Most seams are not so unsightly that you HAVE to sand them down. I've never sanded down the seems on my dolls, and am happy to leave them like they are.
    7. With regards to seams, while I've never considered them flaws, personally I have always felt that unless it's a kit-doll, it should have sanded seams.

      Of course, it doesn't seem to happen at all in the BJD world, so I've just come to accept it and put in the extra work myself. It's not a big deal, I suppose.

      As for resin bubbles, I don't mind as long as they're not too obvious (like smack on the top of a nose, or a hole in a finger). In my experience so far, most companies have a decent amount of quality control. Bambicrony is the one that seemed to have the most problems with QC, but only in their most recent batches.
    8. For the amount of money they are, I expect them to be perfect and without problems. My feeling is that the maker should have worked out the flaws and imperfections before offering them to the public for sale. I think seams should be sanded, eyes cut evenly, mobility joints should be tested to be sure they work properly, and the doll shipped securely to prevent breakage. If a major problem involving a design flaw or production error develops after the sale, I expect the company to offer a refund or correct the problem at their expense. "Hand-made" to me should not mean shoddy workmanship, but rather, it should mean that the doll is much nicer than machine made dolls because of the individual effort it took to produce it.
    9. I feel the same way. I understand that most companies don't sand seams to shorten the turnover time, so people can get their dolls faster, but I would rather wait just a bit longer and pay a little extra to have my doll arrive in pristine condition. I'm glad to see that many companies are starting to offer this and I wish that more companies would.

      I have to add though, that while I will wait a bit extra to have sanded seams, if it is going make more than a few weeks difference, then I would just as soon do it myself. I know it has to be done by hand, and when you have several dolls to do, that can add up time-wise, but honestly it should not take more than a month to get around to sanding the seams off a doll.

      As for bubbles, if they aren't visible on the outside of the doll, then I don't care. If I can see them on the outside of the doll, but they are small and somewhere inconspicuous, then they are a flaw, but only a small one, and I probably would not complain. It would not thrill me though. Anything beyond that is a flaw and should be corrected by the company.
    10. I think I would accept more flaws from a someone who casts and sells as a paying hobby/ mini business,like some people on the artisans forum, than I would a big company. I think if one person has gone to a lot of trouble to create, perfect and cast it is harder work that a copany who employ people to get the job perfect.

      I don't know, I know the size of companies differ. So long as flaws are pointed out, you know what you are getting. I hope to make a doll one day, I have bought a book, so we'll see, I think I would be so thrilled to actually cast in resin, I personally wouldn't care about some flaws! but then again it is different if you do it yourself!

      I think seam lines should be minimal if it is not a kit doll, and I would like to see all companies offer a sanding service so we had the choice :)
    11. These dolls are hand made, they're bound to be flawed. The extent of the flaws should be as minimal as possible though for the price people are paying.

      Seams are not a flaw in my opinion. The original purpose of these dolls is customization by the owners. It's nice that some companies are offering seam sanding as a service now, but unless it's something like a Luts art doll, I think it's unreasonable to just expect the dolls be sanded.

      None of Luts dolls could be considered a kit, since they come assembled. I think it would be ridiculous of anyone to expect Luts to sand all their dolls before sending them out.

      Uneven facial features are also bound to happen. People aren't symetrical, why should our dolls be? However, the there is only a certain extent to which, like bubbles, I can handle unevenness. When I purchased my SchA one eye had much more of a 'twitch' to it than the other. A little sanding and it was fixed. I had no problem with that. However, when I painted a Volks Megu as a commission I found the head to be ridiculously uneven. Tilted mouth and nose, uneven eyes and ears. Everything was pretty out of sorts. >.O I've heard the same of some Dollzone molds as well, and that some of those are even worse. I don't except ears and eyes to always be exactly the same shape and size. It's impossible, however I do think some companies should be a little more careful with the molds they release. It's a bit insane to release a doll where every single one of its features are noticably tilted/uneven.
    12. Airbubbles can be an issue if they're in easily visible places... but otherwise I don't really mind them if they're not large. My tolerance of them varies, though... I expect there to be very few airbubbles in commercially produced dolls because while the equipment is expensive, getting bubble-free casts only takes a few additional steps (such as using a pressure pot or a vacuum pump).

      Seams are a part of the casting process... and are not in any way a flaw. That said, HUGE seams due to mold pieces not lining up correctly during casting is just not good craftsmanship.

      Resin is important to me, though. I really dislike cheap or brittle resin... and there are many grades out there, so it's not like there aren't a lot of quality resins to use. I am frustrated sometimes when companies use cheap resin, but charge as much for their dolls as other companies who use better materials. Resin match within a doll is important - I don't want a doll with mismatched pieces... but I also think that companies should strive to be consistent in their own colors. CP is especially known for this, and for their "beauty green" resin.... which I've never thought acceptable.

      In general, as long as companies/individual artists are up-front about possible flaws, I'm more willing to let them go.

      I agree with sleep_pattern, though, about symmetry and function being important. The Kiss body is the worst body I've ever owned in terms of poseability (beautiful resin, though)... and I think that they should have worked to improve the poseability before releasing it for sale. They're reworked it and released a second version, but unfortunately it doesn't help those of us who took the chance on the company when they were new.
    13. Seeing as how expensive they are, I'd expect companies to take care of breaks and such.
      Seams aren't a big deal siing as they come from the molding process. I know some companies that sand the doll and some that don't.
      My Shiwoo still has his seams and they don't bother me at all.
      But for actual flaws, such as breaks and cracks, companies should replace your doll free of charge if it's a really big flaw. If not, they should at least send a replacement piece.
    14. If the seams are a little rough thats one thing, but if they are not evenly lined up or there is gaps in the seams going into the resin, I would consider it a flaw. With as much as the dolls cost, good quality control should be important to the companies.

      Excess airbubbles can be bad, esthetically on the face, or other more visible areas, but it can be bad structurally if there are big ones in thinner areas of the resin where its made it weak, its a flaw.

      one of my dolls has a gap on the ankle ball probably where a bubble was that broke through, I consider it a flaw. (but I'm lucky its not a spot that takes pressure)
    15. I think this is really more dictated by industry standards. Being the first, Volks started the precedent of unsanded seams (unless an extra fee is charged), and no visible air bubbles on the doll's surface. The other early companies followed suit. Now, there is a certain standard that is expected for the comparable cost -- and cost does factor in. I think flaws are more tolerated on a doll that costs $100 than on a doll the same size that costs $500.

      That said, I think that flaws that affect the doll's appearance or function under normal use and are not considered "industry norm" are the responsibility of the company, just as they are in any industry. For example, internal air bubbles that don't weakened the resign are not a problem. Even a small air bubble on the face, that head should be scrapped. On the chest, that's more difficult to call and depends to me on the price point, but at the industry norm price, should be probably be scrapped if it's visible. Unsanded seams affect the doll's appearance, but are considered industry norm, so they're fine. Any crack anywhere affects the doll's function, and that's a scrapper.
    16. I definitely think, that for what we spend on these dolls, the seams should at least be sanded. Minimal bubbles and flaws can be expected, as with any product, no matter how expensive. But sanding seams is NOT hard, and companies would not be out any money by doing so. I don't think seams are a flaw, really, because it's almost unavoidable during casting. But it is something that could be avoided.
    17. I think air bubbles would bother me if they were on the face or arms, but anywhere else wouldn't bother me much, my BJD likes her clothes, so she'd be covered anyway. I would have a fit if there was a huge air bubble on her cheek X_x but wouldn't anyone?
      As for seams...I actually like them. I'm not out to make my doll look like a real person, the seams remind me of a stitched up plush doll. ^^ so I think I'd be sad if my doll had to be sanded as part of the package.

      I think flaws I'd complain about are any form of crack, no matter how minor...because it could get worse from me playing with my doll. Also visible air bubbles on the face, sharp parts, defect in the sculp design such as deformed lips or something...yeah. I'm pretty easy going, clothes cover all. ^-^;
      When I received my doll she had these weird black smudges on her wrists and ankles, they were really noticable but I never complained to the seller about it, I just thought she was worth it to keep anyway. Luckily the smudges came off though with rough scrubbing^^; but flaws aren't that big of a deal for me, despite the price of these beauties.
    18. I expect seams and dont' consider them flaws, but there have been cases where the dolls have cracks along the seams due to them being pulled out of the moulds before being fully set. This is a way of extending the life of the mould to the detriment of the doll. When these cracks occur, I would expect them to be replaced or discarded as, really, people don't expect poor quality for handmade items. I've bought a Happy Doll Dorothy and been really disappointed, not only with her seams, but that her face was bumpy under the make-up. It could be air bubbles or simply a poor finish on the sculpt. Either way, Happy Doll don't charge less because of poor finish. They also sent her out with her headcap magnet on incorrectly, something that should have been fixed before sending. It was very obvious. I also don't like her sculpt, her hands look like claws. Had I realised she was like this, I would never have bought her. It probably wouldn't have annoyed me as much if I had paid less for her as then I would have been expecting a lesser quality doll.

      I had 3 DIM dolls and didn't like them either. Something about the resin didn't appeal. My first DIM Asiam was incredibly poorly finished, but that was a problem with the first company. I sanded him all over and he improved greatly. I quite liked Rain but by that stage, I'd gotten Belita and her body was identical to the boys but with female gender, the hands and feet were very masculine. I loved her face but didn't like her body. I've since ordered a Soom Sabik and I really like their dolls and sculpting. I have a dollmore Kyle on the way and after that an Elf Chiwoo. I think you have to shop around to find the places that make the dolls that you want to buy. Unless of course, you have friends/doll shops that can show you the dolls in person.
    19. I think seams shouldn't be seen as flaws... unless they're sticking out as far as the nose of the doll, in which case, yeah. We have a problem.

      Some people don't want the seams sanded as it can speed up yellowing. And some people like the "doll" Aesthetic. Others don't. I personally don't, but I don't mind if the seams are not that noticable.

      As for bubbles, if they're like gaping scars then yah. I expect there to be bubbles, maybe on the inside of the doll. But most definitely not on the outside appearance.

      It'd be nice to see more of the "raw" unfaced-up dolls with less resin dust. It usually is cleaned when you get the face-up, but it'd be nice if they were tidy even on a blank doll. This is only a problem with certain companies though.
    20. Nothing is perfect in this world, especially humans. Humans tend to do mistakes, some are noticeable some are not.

      As for bjds, we all know that they are man made. Cases like un-sanded seam line would not be considered a flaw in my opinion. This is because, based on the amount of people placing an order for a doll in a month is really hard for companies like Luts, Angel Region, as well as others to sand the seem lines. They maybe, one, they lack the man power to do so as they already require a number of people to produce the doll, two, string them together, three, doing face ups and so on.

      On the other hand cases where there are cracks on the doll, broken parts or air bubble maybe consider a huge flaw. Since it is almost noticeable, I believe a bjd company should replace the parts as we pay a huge amount of money for the bjds. Air bubbles are noticeable and yet unnoticeable. A human eye is not too perfect so sometimes these air bubbles are hard to be detected, especially in some hidden areas. So when we receive our doll and discovered one it is best that the part is replaced.

      I also feel that a face up in certain cases may not be a flaw when it didn't turn out as how you expected it to be. Sometimes it is really hard to know how the actual face up looks like if you are not there in person. As I recalled a few months back there was this case where someones CP lishe's make up didn't turn out how the owner expected it to be. Apparently the blush was too much and was said it didn't look like the default make up as displayed in Luts's website. Since I think Luts has professional photographers and good lighting to snap a picture I am sure it is only 80% of the original colour and yes editing can do wonders too.