Author Topic: Proxie Frame Cyborg/Android Ball Jointed Doll (BJD)  (Read 97 times)

September 08, 2020, 08:23:28 AM
Read 97 times

FichtenFoo

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I started this Proxie Frame BJD project back in mid-July 2020 so it'll take me a few posts to get up to date with progress. I'll start at the beginning and post more as I can.

What is a BJD?
I couple years ago I had no idea what a BJD was and had to ask someone what they meant by that acronym. BJD means "Ball Jointed Doll" and are also referred to as tension dolls, tension figures, etc... A lot of my toys growing up had tension components such as 1980s GI Joe figures. Essentially you're using elastic tension to hold the parts together with enough force and added friction if needed via "sueding" to make the figure poseable and able to hold said pose. It's a ridiculously simple concept that I wish I'd known about 15 years ago because IMO it's not just for dolls! This type of joint can be used with a lot of the scratch-built mecha we create and doesn't even have to be a ball. Slotted discs will work as well for example as well as twisting surfaces. Ideally you use as few elastic loops as possible to hold it all together. Some makers use only one that connects the WHOLE DOLL. I tend to use at least 1 per limb so that I can adjust the tension if needed. If you Google or Pinterest search for BJDs you'll see a LOT of weird shit, but a lot of awesome stuff as well! The techniques is mostly used on dolls and small animals, but I think we can expand on that a LOT.  :evil:

Proxie Frame Sculpting:
Having been an anime/manga fan since the late 70s (although not realizing that's what I was loving until the late 80s) I have an affinity for cyborgs. Masamune Shirow's Black Magic and Appleseed was one of the first manga I collected and I saw the OAV for Battle Angel Alita in July 1994, the day I graduated from art school. A friend of mine earlier in school introduced me to Gundam and Guyver, but I only had interest in one of those obviously. So I've always wanted to make a cool figure like those M-66, Appleseed, and Gunnm/Gally cyborgs. It took a while and a bit of genre hopping to learn the skills, but I'm finally at a point where I can feel confident in my ability to make whatever I want... so why not go big?

Many BJD dolls are 1/3 or 1/4 scale. I had a large 20" tall Obitsu doll figure here so used it to gauge how large I was going to make my figure. I've gotten rather good at sculpting with polymer clay so decided to make as much of her from that as I could. The nice thing about polymer clay is that unlike Aves or Magic Sculp, you can let it sit around, work leisurely, and bake/add/bake it in stages, sanding inbetween as needed.

The Proxie started out with an aluminum wire armature attached to a 123 block. I covered the wire with a densely packed core of aluminum foil so that I could later slide it off the wire and pull the foil out to have a hollow body. Plus if you try to do Sculpey that thick it's going to crack. I like to use Super Sculpey Medium Blend. (SSMB) You can get a 3-brick pack of it for under $40 USD so it's not too pricey. Plus it's grey which is great to work with visually. I covered the aluminum with a very thin layer of SSMB and baked it. This gave me a solid core to work on.

Bonding raw SSMB to baked SSMB can be tricky unless you have some of the Sculpey thinner/softener liquid. I brush just a little onto the baked SSMB and it helps the raw stuff adhere. So I brushed on the softener and started off by sculpting an undetailed female body. I did this to get the proportions and shape perfectly. Jumping immediately into cyborg mode would had probably stalled my project. Once I had the form down, I started carving into it and detailing it to take on a more robotic appearance. I also decided where I was going to make the cuts to have individually segmented parts for articulating the torso.

Before baking, I used a thin blade and cut as deep to the foil core as I could. This helped me "snap" and twist the four torso parts apart after that first bake.

Once that was baked, I added/subtracted more SSMB as needed to make the rounded cups/ball joints so that the torso parts could move and retain friction. I used a piece of tulle mesh to press in the artificial muscle details. Those are best done after baking the surrounding clay s that you don't texture the smooth parts as well.

When making any of the parts, it's necessary to consider what will connect to them. I had to leave/make indents using metal ball-styluses and more so that I could have the cup portions of the ball joints for the arms and legs as well as the rounded "ball" at the top of the neck for the head. These can be sanded and refined further after the initial baking(s). I did a LOT of Dremmeling and sanding with her, but SSMB wet-sands pretty nicely.

Next Post: The head...

September 10, 2020, 11:21:02 AM
Reply #1

Marc

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I'll be honest, I'm a bit creeped out by dolls or doll-like model, but the sculpting here is just top notch. I totally get the Shirow/Gunnm vibe, which I love.

September 10, 2020, 03:37:37 PM
Reply #2

FichtenFoo

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I'll be honest, I'm a bit creeped out by dolls or doll-like model, but the sculpting here is just top notch. I totally get the Shirow/Gunnm vibe, which I love.
Thanks! Yeah... it has an "uncanny valley" sort of bridge to cross, but I've learned a LOT from the BJD community and by making this and my insect fairy that I can utilize in other more robotic builds. It's a really neat way of making joints. They're simple enough in theory, yet still has enough of a learning curve and challenge to make it frustrating. haha! I just restrung the first of my finished dolls because I totally messed up the sueding portion where you add "suede" or the like to increase friction in the joints so they don't slip. I'm probably going to make a shin armor that adds more friction to the ankle joint for example as that particular joint doesn't have enough surface area because I decided to stylize it with that cut-out. Live and learn!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 03:45:58 PM by FichtenFoo »

September 10, 2020, 11:38:17 PM
Reply #3

Beork

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That's a lovely doll and very nice design.
I have not heard of these BJD's before, but will check into it as I'd like to add something of articulation to some models and I dislike polycaps and such.