Good morning, friends!
I am starting a new doll – “Humanly Posable” Doll Monsieur Poirot. He will have a “stop-motion animation style” posable armature, made of steel.
“Humanly Posable” Dolls
If this is a success, Monsieur Poirot will become the first of Morezmore “Humanly Posable” Dolls. I have been mulling over this cross-industry project for about a year, looking for miniature steel parts all over the internet, figuring out shapes and sizes from photos, converting metrics millimeters to US inches and back, talking to vendors, buying the parts, waiting for international delivery, trying to fit them together. This the reason it took so long. Finally, I have something worth assembling and turning into a doll. Wish me and Monsieur Poirot luck.
Why not just use wire?
As dollmakers and animators know, all and any wire, regardless of its quality, thickness or type of metal, takes only a limited number of bends. The metal will get “tired” and will fail from repeated bending. That means the wire will break off and the limb will just hang.
My objective is to make a posable and re-posable doll, which will assume and hold unlimited number of poses, without the risk of wire failure from repeated use. And the parts have to be small enough to fit into a 1:6 scale doll. To get this done, I am learning from the expertise of stop-motion animation artists.
Hercule Poirot will be 1:6 scale. His height (actually David Suchet’s height) is 170.2 cm.
The doll will be 28.4 cm tall.
Andrew Loomis’ proportions chart (I will be using first choice – normal proportions)
Image cropped, resized and printed (it took 2 sheets of regular paper).
Regular meaning US Letter Size Paper 8.5 by 11.0 inches (215.9 by 279.4 mm).
“Laminated” it home-style with clear packing tape, so that I can put clay on it, without the chart getting oily and dirty and without the risk of printer ink transferring to the clay. Also, laminating makes the paper sturdy, it will last for a few dolls.
The proportions chart can be also set upright with a board and binder clips.
Sometimes it is very useful.
Tool and Materials on the photos
– Humanly Posable Doll supplies – will be listed after this experimental doll is completed: —3-hole compression plates
— M2 threaded 6mm steel balls
— 12mm-long M2 bolts and hex nuts
— mini screwdriver
— metal file
— threadlock gel
– wire cutters
– long nose pliers
Off we go:
1. Double joint – for the body parts that rotate in different planes (such as shoulders, hips, head-neck connection, etc)
The gel is Permatex® High Strength Threadlocker RED
Manufacturer info: “High strength threadlocker for heavy-duty applications. Especially well-suited for permanently locking studs and press fits. Adds 3,000 PSI holding power on slip and press fit assemblies. Replaces set screws and snap rings. Locks against vibration loosening. May require heat or special tools for removal.”
Well, I agree, using High Strength might be an overkill. But from my experimenting, this “vibration loosening” is real. My trial armatures would become loose after a few poses. Threadlock finally put a stop to that.
My first Humanly Posable armature is complete! Well, it is a “B-“. He stands and sits, barely, but manages to hold upright. Not bad for the first one, but definitely more thinking and working is required. While I am still waiting for parts, I am going to put some magic sculpt epoxy putty “bones” on him – to fixate connections that are not supposed to be moving and also limit the joint movement range. That should help.
By the way, the jewelry findings that I use here as compression plates while I am waiting for my custom plates getting manufactured, are a joke. Under pressure, they bend and they warp, and when they cannot bend or warp, they break.
The steel balls perform magnificently.
The M2 screws and hex nuts are doing well. I am waiting for the same screws, but longer and in steel instead of nickel. Then I can get rid of the tubes.
This shoulder and hip structures will be done differently, when I get the central hub connector part – it is also being manufactured.
But meanwhile, I am learning a lot.
Humanly Posable Armature #2.
Better – grade “B”.
Simpler, more stable design. The compression plates are still jewelry findings, just different kind. They perform a little better, still not what I need. These are too long. The further away the holes, the weaker the joint.
The head. I have not made Poirot’s head yet, but I have a 1:6 scale Putin’s head, so I put it on to get the idea what armature with the head will look like.
My custom-made stainless steel compression plates will come after January 5. By the way, here is my sketch for the manufacturers. They said they understood what I need.
The hands are made of finger wire on steel balls.
The wrists have round magnets with a hole inside. This makes the wrists rotate 360 degrees which will be useful for gestures.
The feet have a toe joint – again, it will be a nice feature for posing, for example like here where Mr. Putin is trying a fandango move on tiptoes.
Continues on Part 2.