Monday, August 17, 2015

BJDs & You

I recently (over a couple months or so) got "into" the world of Ball Joint Dolls (otherwise known as BJDs). I was brand new to the culture of any dolls, let alone such an intricate crafting/collecting community. I never liked dolls growing up - I was so against them as a child I even went so far as to say I hated them (I dislike using the word "hate" as you may know by now if you've been reading my blog). But BJDs intrigued me. They're Asian, for one, and I like Asian stuff. They're highly customizable, and I like that, too. I'm blogging now in case anyone is like I was - thinking they want to get into the dolls but unsure. Remember, this is from an artist's point of view, but also - one that never played with dolls before, ever.

I absolutely love my first adult-owned dollhouse. I got into it on a whim, and since filling it with furniture and creating a beach side yard I started thinking about who was going to live in there. It was clear I'd created my "private heaven", filled with what I loved and how I wished I could live in reality... so why not place a doll in it that was my idealized version of me (along with a few hot guys)? This is a 1:12 dollhouse, which means it's scaled 1 foot = 1 inch. There aren't too many dolls that fit this type of housing, so I started off with the Nendoroid brand figures. The heads and bodies snap and switch, so I could make a "me" after purchasing way too many dolls. I also could get many anime guys I wanted to go with me, which was cool. But I'm not a huge fan of "chibi" (large heads, small bodies, like American caricatures), and the figures were hard to pose because of their proportions. This got me into the first BJD I ever purchased.

Picco Neemo

*good quality/price
*Figma heads fit
*Kelly/Tommy clothing mostly fits (no one-pieces)

*heads are separate purchase
*no magnet feet
*only female bodies available 
*hand poses are extra
*clothing/shoes/heads are expensive

*NOTE/WARNING: (edit 12/10/15) - I had my "Sanji" picco neemo body for less than half a year and didn't "use" it too much - the hand joint snapped off inside the wrist! There's no way of getting it out - too small -- so I just waxed the "grabby" style hand in there to think about it for awhile. Why have extra hands if they're gonna do that? Oh, yeah... so we pay all that extra money. *sigh*

Picco Neemo is a ball joint doll made for the 1:12 dollhouse setting. The body has a marvelous feel to it and is pretty flexible. They come with only one set of hands in one position only female bodies such as now, and no head. It took me awhile to figure out that I wanted a hard plastic head with plastic hair (no doll-hair, as I dislike that frizzy stuff). The answer took some time, but it turns out Figma heads (a Japanese figure company that also does Nendoroids) fit the bodies perfectly)! They also come with swappable hair and facial features.

Here's a photo of "me", the first picco neemo doll I purchased, with a Figma head.

The dolls aren't too expensive, but the problem is once you have one, you'll need a head, extra hands, clothing, etc etc.. and it adds up quick. The dolls are also hard to pose, since they have tiny feet and no magnetic stands (see Obitsu 12 cm, below). The bodies only come in female form (I sanded down two bodies to make Zoro and Sanji from the anime One Piece, they're not too busty and they're not hollow so it's possible).

Obitsu (11 cm = 4 in)

*great pose-ability
*magnetic feet
*extra hands come with doll (!)
* bodies are childlike, so they work for male/female

*Nendoroid heads DO NOT FIT
*hard to find good heads if you don't like rooted-hair or wig dolls (I haven't found one yet)
*bodies are childlike (this may be a negative for those that want female with busts, etc)

Obitsu was my hope to have bodies for my Nendoroids. I wanted to just buy a few bodies and pop the heads on - they look great when you see someone that's done it on the web!


It is not. I have a lifetime customizing shit and being crafty and a professional artist. I could not do it well enough for me to like my finished product. The heads are simply too big and the bodies will not support them, magnet stands or not. However, the magnetic feet were good for one thing - I took the stands and swapped the Picco Neemo feet for the Obitsu. Now my Picco Neemo dolls can stand and pose well!

Obitsu (27 cm = 10 in)

*great pose-ability
*magnetic feet
*extra hands come with male dolls
* female bust size can be customized ("regular" to "ridiculous")
* bodies fit Barbie/Ken/Monster High dolls (and other 12" dolls usually)
*Barbie/Ken/Jenny clothing usually fits
*Monster High clothing/shoes often fits (see below)

*extra hands do not come with female dolls
*the all-plastic body isn't as flexible ...
*... but the "soft" body (female soft bust) is too wobbly sometimes

*WARNING!!! These damned things are FLIMSY AS SHIT. I'm always super careful with my "toys", and I broke them several times while gently positioning them. There are fixes, and I've managed, but I learned the hard way about neck joints and arms/hands.

So then I got a bigger dollhouse.

Ha! This one is Barbie-sized. I customized one of those KidKraft houses so it wasn't 100% pink and then went to work figuring out what dolls were going to go in there... hey, Monster High heads fit Obitsu bodies! (Also, in case you were wondering, Monster High shirts all fit the slim bodies and female ones, but the pants do not. Also, Monster High boy shoes all fit the big Obitsu male feet! And sometimes female shoes fit the female as well.)

I got to work and figured out what dolls had what skin tone... Duece's head fits nicely on the "natural" skin tone body, while Jackson's head would fit a "whitey" body. I went with Deuce because I'm going to eventually customize him and make his "cousin".

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More to come later, but I really wanted to get this down. I'd been thinking about typing it up for awhile now and never got to it. My biggest note to people that want to get into BJDs is this: even if the doll body (or even head) is inexpensive, IT WILL GET COSTLY down the road. Even if you manage to make clothing or find cheap clothing etc, it will still get super expensive. Watch out!