Companion piece to this video.
If you're curious about how these pieces fit together and what mods needed to happen, check out this post.
The final stats;
Citrus – Iplehouse head, Dollmore chest, B&G stomach, Dollleaves legs, B&G arms, Dollmore hands and feet. Final height (including head): 56cm
Muno – Zaoll head, Dollleaves arms, chest, and stomach, Dollmore Legs, Dollleaves feet, B&G hands. Final height (including head): 59 cm
Casper – Dollmore head, April Story Body, Dollmore arms and hands. Final height (including head): 60 cm
Herbert – Little Rebel head, B&G chest, Dollmore stomach, April Story arms and hands, B&G legs and feet. Final height (including head): 58 cm
So how did this all come about? After the Dollzone body didn’t work I felt pretty sure if the Dollfamily body wouldn’t either. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the size of the DF box.
Let me interject for a moment here. As a collector of SD sized dolls I’ve really only seen a handful of MSDs in my time. I found both DZ and DF bodies to be proportioned with the thin limbs I’d expect from an MSD, which is so unlike similar sizes of the past! I even thought that the Zaoll body was more substantial – of course, I haven’t seen that body in person for about ten years.
Anyway, I had already removed Citrus from the Guu Doll body and given it to Mene. He looked much taller even though the body is technically a bit shorter than the B&G bod. The tricky thing about that is that the final measurement of the doll comes from having the head on top of the neck – meaning that some dolls earn their status with super long limbs or necks or very large heads. So even if a company doesn’t have a body height sans head, you can sort of guess how much the head adds to the height by looking at clues like eye size and wig size.
Point is; I had Mene’s old B&G body sitting around and Citrus’ head. It seemed like a good idea to combine the two, but there was plenty that I didn’t like about the B&G body for my little cit-baby. I really wanted him to feel rounder, more androgynous, and shorter. The B&G body didn’t offer me that…yet. I took to modding (because the body was super yellow anyway so a good sanding was necessary to bring back some of that brighter white). I removed the pointless loaf of genitalia and sanded for HOURS with a fine grit sandpaper to whittle down the exaggerated abs (this body was made at a time when a heavily stylized look was favored). The joint system was made to stand like a rock and that’s about it – so I also removed some of the unnecessary bulk from his torso to add a little more detail. It was better, brighter, but not what I wanted either.
After all that work amounting to squat I tried so hard to make that DF body work. I loved the idea of those limbs for Citrus but they were just too small and thin. His big ole head looked like it would fall down guillotine style and snap that little body in half. It simply wasn’t meant to be. I was defeated.
But I couldn’t let the body go without trying it on Herbert first. Citrus and Herbert have long since been my shortest characters. I’m not actually sure who is smaller – but Herbert the doll has smaller facial proportions than Citrus the doll. I thought it would look better. I removed his head and thought ‘nice try, kid’ to myself because obviously, no, it did not work. Then I got hit in the face by that stupid jerk inspiration and grabbed Casper and Muno too.
See, none of them were quite right. I had been buying bodies for several years trying to get something to work. Herbert’s body had once been Muno’s and before that he had one that was Citrus’. Casper also had that old Citrus body at one point until he got his own and Citrus got it back, after which Citrus got a new body that was supposed to be for Muno but didn’t fit. Muno’s body ended up with Herbert and after that Muno got put on an April Story body which made him taller than Casper, which also bothered me. And all of that was extra weird because when everyone was standing Casper was super tall and when everyone was sitting Herbert and Muno were almost shoulder-to-shoulder. WHAT THE HECK.
After stripping everyone (lol) I realized what now seems incredible in its clarity. Of course they don’t match up exactly as the numbers say they should! Depending on the length of the legs, torso, and head, one doll at 65 cm can actually appear shorter than a doll at 63 cm when they are sitting side by side. I immediately unstrung all the bodies except the DZ female one – her frame would have been too petite to mix and match with anyone else’s. I found that the Dollmore Adam body had by far the slightest torso. It relies on long legs for height and the shoulders are actually the shoulder joint (attached to the arms rather than to the collarbone), making the chest narrow without them. The B&G body functioned in a similar way but with more of a rigid structure that was common at the time. The Dollleaves body I had never taken apart before – there are so many interlocking parts that I knew it would be hard to break up that body. The joints on the DL torso are also really large, possibly to house all those clickity clack pieces. Muno’s April Story body had human-like proportions and it was also the tallest. It also doesn’t have a jointed torso, so whomever ended up on that body would have to be someone with excellent posture. That description fit none of these characters, which was disheartening.
The rest of this story isn’t too interesting (if indeed it had been interesting up to this point). I organized the limbs from longest to shortest – different arms and legs lock together differently so there was no splitting them up - then I did the same with the stomachs and chests and threw all the feet and hands elsewhere because they are pretty interchangeable as is.
After a little trial and error I finally got four bodies out of the exercise (five if you count Mene – though I never did take the Guu Doll body apart). There was some gapping and a huge subtractive edit to the back of Herbert’s tum but beyond that not much needed to be done. I dressed them to see how I felt about the color mismatch. I wouldn’t sell a doll like this, but I thought it worked well for me. I’m trying to think of my dolls less as collector’s items and more as collaborative art pieces. It’s simply a more engaging way for me to enjoy this hobby. With clothing on I don’t even notice the discoloration, and coming from a serial hybridizer, I doubt it would have bothered me even without conservative get-ups.
I don’t know if or for how long I’ll leave them like this. Right now, I’m feeling proud and accomplished not only for all that restringing (my little hands - omg), but for solving my height problem as well – at least temporarily. I do love the idea of being able to mix and match body parts as well as head, hands, and feet. I often find myself scouring the internet for the exact right body for my characters only to pay 200-500 hundred bucks for something that doesn’t work.
I am going to keep searching for bodies that are made to be together, though. It is nice to have a smooth look for characters that do sometimes walk around shirtless (e.g. Casper). I think I’ll also continue to make these body mashups. Body types aren’t limited to short-tall and thin-thick. I love that Herbert has proportionately wide shoulders to his small, skinny frame. He looks like he’d have a super hero body if he bothered to eat or gain weight. It also gives him more of an adult male vibe instead of a childish one. I love that Muno has shorter arms compared to a longer torso. It just makes them feel more alive and unique. It makes sense; I got into this hobby to explore the world of character building. This is the kind of thing that really helps. So Muno’s got short arms now. What does that mean for him? Does he have trouble reaching high cabinets even though he’s of average height? Would he have to do a full year of yoga before being able to touch his toes? Does that mean he always has to bend over or sit to tie his shoes, even as a child, giving him a lifelong preference for slip-ons?
People are just so multifaceted. I’m really indulging in that area of the BJD hobby right now. I’m looking at each character, one thing at a time, and wondering how it would have affected their life; Muno’s shorter arms, Herbert’s broad shoulders, Casper’s long legs. After all, people aren’t just a certain way. Unthinkably large amounts of circumstance, predisposition, action and environment create a person just as much as they create themselves. I guess I’m saying that if all my doll bodies are of the exact same beautifully designed proportions I feel like I’m doing a disservice to my characters. I could just be one of a handful of folks who feel this way, though. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of collectors would prefer the full set to poorly matching bits and baubles at the end of the day.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this and don’t hesitate to reach out with comments or questions. Jẹ ayọ!