Mandarake and AmiAmi

Yeah, normally today would be a “Silent Sunday” post but…I actually have a lot of things I want to post about between now and April 1, so I didn’t want to waste a day on that.  (Given all the days of utter silence since I last posted anything, I realize that sounds a bit insane.  But that’s just how things have been going over here lately.)

Anyway, I know at some point I mentioned another Mandarake order, but I don’t think I even got around to mentioning the AmiAmi order.  I’ll get to that later, though.  First, I want to show you what came from Mandarake.  Minus two items because one is being saved for April A-to-Z and the other might go into April A-to-Z as well as a sort of a side item and if it doesn’t, I’ll stick it in another post later.

Um.

Right, so let’s start with the Nendoroids.

Big Shipment 13

I already have a fair number of these Nendoroid Petit Vocaloids — Miku, KAITO, Rin and Len, Luka, Kimono Luka, Crystal Miku (the latter two being from a different collection) — but since Mandarake was selling a few of them opened and identified, and they weren’t very expensive, I figured “why not?”

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Yowane Haku

Poor Haku doesn’t look very happy!  She should be happy, though:  despite being a mere fanloid, she was an extra character in Project Diva f and Project Diva f 2nd!

Sakine Meiko
Sakine Meiko

Sakine Meiko is also a fanloid/pitchloid, but an unusual one:  she’s a variant on an official Vocaloid (MEIKO) who also is that Vocaloid.  She is, technically, supposed to be a younger version of MEIKO.  Which means a slightly cuter outfit and a slightly higher voice, and not much else, really.  (Well, maybe her breasts are supposed to be slightly smaller, too, but since this is a Nendoroid, that’s not really an issue.)

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She’s perched on one of Rena’s chairs because she has a problem that plagues most of the Nendoroid Petits in my collection:  the stand’s prongy-thing will not go into the little hole in the back of her head.  😦  Haku is about the only one I’ve got where it went in easily.  (Of course, she then countered that by giving me a lot of trouble when I tried to get her ponytail to attach!)

And, because I ended up with an all-Vocaloid Nendo order…

Gakupo!
Gakupo!

I love Gakupo.  They need to add him to the next Project Diva game.  He’s got a fantastic voice, and he’s super-cute.  (Though he’ll never be as attractive as his voice provider.  Gackt is totally hot.)

However, because things have been so crazy around here — and because opening a Nendoroid involves a lot of time spent on “ooh, which part do I like best?” — I haven’t actually opened him yet.  *deep shame*

Changing gears a bit…

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This is from a line called “Blythe Belle”…which seems to just be cute little plastic figurines of Blythe in various attires and so on.  They were inexpensive and adorable, so I got this mermaid one, and…

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…of course I had to get the Alice-themed one! 😀  Whenever I get around to opening these, I’ll take a picture of this one with my Alice Blythe to show you the scale differential.  But these are tiny.  Actually not that different in size from the Nendoroid Petits, really.

Now, for a serious divergence…

Big Shipment 1

I love the Dragon Quest series.  (I was crushed that they went with the title Dragon Quest Heroes instead of Dragon Quest Warriors, though.  What with the first few Dragon Quest games to come over here having been called Dragon Warrior instead.  Also I’m a bit crushed that it’s next-gen only, as I won’t be getting a PS4 anytime soon…)  And these golems have had a special place in my heart for a long time, ever since the time when I was falling asleep and suddenly had my head filled with half-remembered, half-forgotten game images, of one of these (and I think it was, in fact, golden) hiding in a ruin, so that you could only see it if you rotated the camera.  Took me forever to remember what game it was from, and by the time I did, every bit of it was seared permanently onto my brain.  (It was, of course, from Dragon Quest VIII.)

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I was actually pretty surprised:  he’s not metallic-colored plastic, or plastic covered with a thin layer of metal.  He is, in fact, solid metal.  That’s pretty cool. 🙂

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The last sight of many an unwary adventurer…

 

Okay, so let’s move on to the one big ticket item in the order!

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Yup, I now have a Momoko doll! 😀  And a slightly Alice-themed one, to boot! 😉

I get the feeling she’s a fairly old one, but I don’t know for sure, since there’s no date on her box, and I don’t want to spend the time on Google looking for a release list or something.  (At some point, I’ll do that, but right now I have other things I wanna do with my time.)

Big Shipment 34

To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in Momoko.  Sure, she’s pretty.  But her limbs are hollow plastic.  And I mean you can feel that they’re hollow.  It’s not as bad as the super-cheap dolls you find in the $1 bin at K-Mart or something, but…it’s annoying that a doll this expensive has a body that was made on the cheap.  She doesn’t even have as many articulation points as Pullip.

But, like I said above, I’m pretty sure she’s an older model.  So I’m hoping the newer models have better bodies.  (Okay…that sounded like I was talking about something else altogether…)

Anyway, I didn’t spend much time messing around with her, between time constraints and the disappointingly constructed body.

So let’s move on to the AmiAmi order.  A while back, I checked and saw that they had gotten in more Pure Neemo XS bodies, and naturally I added one to my cart so I could finally make Tomoyo-chan.  And while I was at it…

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I’ve wanted to get a Picco Neemo for quite a while now.  And since it seemed like they were a popular choice to rebody Little Pullip+ dolls, I didn’t bothering looking around to see what kind of head would work.

But let’s make it clear just how small Picco Neemo really is!

Big Shipment 30Here’s a comparison with the body I ordered for Tomoyo-chan…

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And here’s both bodies with Pyrrha and her Azone-like body.  (Not sure which Pure Neemo size her body is like.  M, maybe?)

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My first thought was just to do a side-by-side size comparison, so I took this shot of Rovam with the Picco Neemo body, but then I realized something:

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I only had one Little Pullip+ that seemed like a really good candidate for re-bodying, and that was Miss Green here.  (Most of my Little+ dolls are actually Dal, and Little Dal+ looks a lot better as-is than Little Pullip+.  To my eyes, anyway.)

And that would have been the end of the post.  (It was originally going to be the end.)

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But then I de-boxed Miss Green while I was on the phone, and I was certainly glad I hadn’t intended to keep her stock, given that the faux leather on her belt stuck to the packaging and half of it stayed with the packaging!

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While I was at it, I also opened the Picco Neemo dress, just to see how it fit her stock body.  It turned a short dress into a long one, but otherwise it fit pretty nicely, if a bit loose in places.

Then, as my dinner was cooking, I started messing around and trying to get her wig off so I could see how (in)compatible the Little Pullip+ neckplug and the Picco Neemo one was.

Well, it turned out that they were both very incompatible, and supremely compatible, all at the same time.  The Picco Neemo plug had no hope of fitting without my doing massive work…but it could be pulled out, and the end of the neck fit beautifully into the neckhole at the base of the head…

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The result’s not perfect, of course.  She’s got almost no neck now, and can only turn her head side to side, unlike the range of motion the plug might have given.  (On the other hand, she could only turn her head side to side on her original body.)  And that little blue dress is so short that if she sits down it’s indecent.  (Actually, once I order her a dress from Etsy, I’m probably just going to give that blue dress to some other Little+ doll.)  Also now her wig slips around a lot, but some double-stick tape (or something) should fix that. 😛

When her new clothes get here, I’ll do some shots of her with other dolls, to give more perspective on her size.  (Of course, I haven’t even ordered the new clothes yet, so who knows when that’ll be.  But I did favorite some shops that sold Picco Neemo clothes at the same time that I ordered this body, so at least finding her something to wear shouldn’t take too long.)

All right, so that’s all I wanted to share right now about these two orders.  The gallery is here.

Tomorrow or the next day, I want to post about my surprising haul on Friday, which was totally unintentional, and became quite expensive…though actually I probably won’t be posting about the stuff from GameStop, at least not right now anyway.  (I only went in to pick up my pre-order for Hyrule Warriors Legends, but there was other stuff, and a used game, and…yeah, it goes that way sometimes.)  But the other two shops are more in sync with this blog, so…yep, I wanna share.  And, of course, I have a doll review still waiting to be written.  *sigh*

Also, by tomorrow, I should know if something very, very exciting is happening this weekend.  Or rather, I know something very exciting is happening this weekend, I just don’t know if I’m going to get to take part in it.  It’ll depend on what happens at my doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  (Hopefully, it’ll go the way I want, and I’ll get to take part.  If not, I just know I’m going to buy something sinful to get over the hurt.  Despite that I just spent all this money.  *sigh*  My dolly urge apparently does not have the much needed “off” switch.)

Happy Leap Day!

Leap Year Day?  Well, Happy 29th of February, whatever you wanna call that! :p

"Happy Birthday, onii-chan!"
“Happy Birthday, onii-chan!”

Yep, the 29th of February is the birthday of one Toya Kinomoto.  Sadly, I have no toys of Toya, so all I can do is show Sakura-chan wishing her big brother a happy birthday.  (With Kero-chan hiding behind her, because he wasn’t about to miss any opportunities to sneak some cake.)

So, if Toya only has his birthday once every four years, doesn’t that make him younger than Sakura?  When the manga starts, he’s sixteen and she’s twelve…but he’s only had four birthdays in all that time, right?

(Unfortunately, due to poor lighting and not having time to clear away much space, this sad image is the best photo I can provide.  The shadow on the backdrop is particularly lamentable…unless Sakura’s just used the “Giant” card, or whatever it was called… (considering her fantasy in the very first chapter of the manga, that would actually be rather appropriate…))

Technically, the uniform is supposed to be Tomoyo-chan’s, but I still haven’t gotten a body (or wig) for her yet, so there was no harm in Sakura “borrowing” it. 😛

New Wigs

I finally got those photos taken! 😀  So before I get to the two new wigs, it occurs to me that I haven’t shown you Mei-lin’s new wig, which arrived at the same time as Sakura’s.  I still haven’t figured out how to style it, though. 😦

Mei-lin's ready to fight!
Mei-lin’s ready to fight!

It occurs to me that I forgot to credit the Etsy shop where I got Sakura’s wig, so let me fix that error now:  Sakura’s and Mei-lin’s wigs came from fatiao, and they’re very nice wigs.  A tiny bit large for these heads, but the ones from the Junky Spot were a tiny bit small, so…these heads are apparently exceptionally hard to wig correctly.  (Truthfully, the ideal solution would be to root them.  But that would require skill and patience, two things I have none of.  Well, no, I have some patience.  I just don’t have the time.)

Moving on, meet my Parabox/Azone hybrid Li Syaoran:

new wigs 1

Since Syaoran isn’t really a big smile kind of guy, I was going more for a shouting mouth than a smiling one.  (Not sure if that worked out too well or not…)  He’s got big, chunky eyebrows, ’cause Syaoran has big, chunky eyebrows in the manga/anime.  The wig is by evali905, and it looked a bit more Syaoran-like on the seller’s model doll…in part because it actually fit that doll. 😛  It’s slightly larger than the wigs on Sakura and Mei-lin, so it rolls around a bit on his head.  (Yeah, I’m going to do something to make it move around less.  I just haven’t decided what yet.  Velcro, maybe.)

If I’m not careful in dealing with his hat (which is now waaaaaay too small), his hair does this:

new wigs 2

Suddenly he’s gone from being Syaoran to being Ascot!  (Although, actually, I seem to recall my first reaction to Syaoran was to go “look out, it’s Ascot!”)  Anyway, I think the way to fix the hat issue is to cut it open at the back and widen it.  Though that’ll probably look pretty bad, too.  Technically, I think I need to have a new one made, but…no idea where, when or by whom, y’know?

Anyway, there was one more wig that winged its way here from the other side of the world:

new wigs 3

The wig is by FlowerZero, and it’s a nice wig (though a tiny bit thin in the bangs), but I misread the size:  I thought this was going to be big enough for Juliet to wear.  Instead it’s so small that just getting it on Hayley was a struggle.

Back view
Back view

Since this wig was too small for Juliet, I had to order her another wig. 😦  This time I hedged my bets and ordered two.  And they’re specifically Pullip-sized, so they will fit.  They just might not look good, because Pullip bangs might be too long for her.  We’ll just have to see what happens when they get here.

Tomorrow will be a Silent Sunday post (not sure what, yet, but I’ve got a few random photos stockpiled for such occasions) so Monday I’ll post about the stuff I found at Target the other day.

Sakura-chan, more or less completed

So I finally got the face finished up on my Azone/Parabox hybrid doll of Sakura Kinomoto.  I decided to start her off in the iconic pink dress, the one I bought the Japanese bendy doll to get my hands on.  Which meant opening the doll’s package, of course.  And it was so much easier to open than the American version!  (Yeah, I did open the boxed Syaoran to get his clean clothes and sword.  Though the sword’s actually too heavy for the Azone’s loose limbs to hold up, unfortunately.  I can’t show pictures yet, though, ’cause his wig hasn’t gotten here.  I’ll show him as soon as he has hair.  Right now he looks more like Aang cosplaying as Syaoran…)

Sakura-chan 1

So, here’s the bendy-doll version, with her staff and Kero-chan sitting at her feet.  (Her stand is surprisingly effective.  I may end up using it for all sorts of dolls in the future…)  I was surprised when I opened her package, because there was a card behind her in the package:

Sakura-chan 3

And on the back of the card…

Sakura-chan 4
Mini Clow Card!

So I wonder if the later costumes that come with Sakura’s Star Wand have cards with Sakura Card backs instead of Clow Card backs?  (If I ever see one available on Mandarake, I will so be getting it…)

Now, moving on, here’s my hybrid Sakura doll, wearing the outfit, gloves and all:

Sakura-chan 5

So long as she’s not wearing(?) her splay-fingered hands, she can wear her mittens gloves, but — somewhat annoyingly — her holding hands can’t hold her staff through the gloves.  I had to take her gloves back off to have her hold anything.

Sakura-chan 7

The staff was actually a little thick for her holding hands, and getting the cards to balance there was really difficult.  I think I need to trim off the holding loop on the staff.

Sakura-chan 8

Now, finally, here’s a side-by-side of the two dolls’ faces:

Sakura-chan 2 Sakura-chan 6

And once again I failed to get the faces the same size in the pictures. 😦  Also, I still did a terrible job with the eyes.  (The eyebrows are even worse, lemme tell ya.  Fortunately, her bangs mostly hide them.)  At some point, if I ever have a lot of money to spare, I think I need to pay someone to paint proper faces on these dolls.  Because my faces really suck.  The mouths aren’t too bad (though I think Mei-lin’s may have turned out better than Sakura’s, sadly), but the trimmed-down eye decals really look awful. 😦  On the plus side, this wig is really nice. 😀  It’s just the right color, and although it’s a bit simpler than Sakura’s real hair, it’s close enough that it doesn’t feel wrong.  I’m still trying to figure out how to style Mei-lin’s hair, though….

Body Swapping

Fixing Pyrrha’s eye mechanism is still on hold until I can go look for plastic-sticked cotton swabs, but I finally got around to some re-bodying.

So I’ve been wanting to give my Dal Len a male Obitsu body pretty much since the day he arrived here, right?  I’d seen this lovely tutorial on re-bodying Pullips with Obitsu bodies, so I thought I knew just what I’d have to do in order to make the swap from Dal body to 23 cm male Obitsu body.  Then I got a look at the 23 cm body’s neck:

Obitsu 23 cm boy body

And, as a reminder, this is the neck on the Dal body:

body swaps 1

In the conventional Pullip swap, you just need to get the two plugs compatible, right?  But this one has an added challenge above and beyond reducing the size of the plug:

Screwed!
Screwed!

Apparently, the larger body sizes (or maybe it’s the female bodies?) have the screw below the plug.  But here it’s at the top.  And this is the plug that goes on top, viewed from the underside:

body swaps 5

See the lip at the far end?  That would be the first thing to go if I was to simply sand the plug down, but that’s also the part that holds it in place on the stick below.  So sanding really wasn’t an option here, and I had to find another solution.

My solution, in the rough.
My solution, in the rough.

I made a mold of the plug on the Dal body neck, and cast a rough plug in opaque resin.  (Which I haven’t worked with since learning I couldn’t add paint to color it, and I had the unpleasant surprise discovery that a bit of partially catalyzed resin had gotten on the interior of the lid of one of the bottles, so I had to cut a hole in the side and transfer the rest into an empty water bottle.  Fortunately, it was the yellow stuff, so I won’t mistake it for water later on. 😛  )

Of course, then I had to cut off the excess, sand it down to a more-or-less flat surface and drill a hole through it, then sand down the stick it connects to, and use the drill to extend the screw hole further than it originally went.  But eventually, I got it to this point:

body swaps 7

Honestly, I should have kept going; there’s a lot more gap there than there is on the Dal body, but I was afraid to sand any further down.  I think what I need to do is to widen the hole on the resin so that it’ll pass down around the stick a bit.  But I’ll have to take poor Len apart again to do that, because he’s now re-assembled on his new, male body:

Tada!
Tada!

His head is way wobbly, and his clothes fit awkwardly, but at least he no longer has breasts.  (His head should get less wobbly after I adjust the resin plug a bit more.  But I’ll want to figure out where the heck my set of jeweler’s files disappeared to yesterday before I can do that…)

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He can now look like he’s really playing his…um…keytar?  (What the heck is that thing called?)  I do love the changeable hands, but I wish he came with a V-for-Victory set of hands.  That would have made that earlier picture perfect. 😛

body swaps 14

I sorta want to get Rin an Obitsu body now, too.  After I figure out how to fix the problems with Len’s wobbly head, anyway. 😛  (I also really need to figure out a good way to re-style his hair, ’cause that is so not what it’s supposed to look like.)

Anyway, not being the type who likes to have dolly parts lying around unused, I had to find a new head for the old Dal body, and that was easily accomplished:

Yay!
Yay!

Technically, the Licca clothes are a bit baggy on the Dal body — and the shoes are laughably large for tiny Dal feet — but they don’t look too bad…except for one tiny problem:

"Hee hee...don't tell!"
“Hee hee…don’t tell!”

Miku now has the wrong number on her arm. 😛  (Maybe she’s getting ready to perform “Rin-chan Now!“?)  Anyway, my Licca Miku is now just as poseable as my Pullip Luka:

body swaps 10

(Yeah, it’s been a while since I posted anything that crazy/creepy, right?)

Anyway, the Licca body has moved over to another Miku:

body swaps 11

The reason I wanted to give Yuki Miku the Licca body was because of those black tights.  They didn’t fit the Azone body properly.  And so instead of giving the Dal body to Yuki Miku here and leaving regular Miku as she was, I thought I’d do this swap, so that the tights would actually fit.  The Azone body now belongs to Sakura…not that I’ve actually started applying her face or anything yet.  (Syaoran’s face is almost done, though!  And both of their wigs are on the way.)

Speaking of black tights, though, I need to get some in Pure Neemo XS size.  ‘Cause I ordered one of the bendy Sakura dolls’ outfits off of Etsy, but it didn’t have its black tights or its kitty-ear headband.  I can make the headband (eventually), but the tights…I’ll need to buy those.  I didn’t find any Pure Neemo XS sized clothes on Etsy, though.  Not any black tights, at least.  I should probably check AmiAmi before I order black tights in another doll size, huh?  (Only just thought of that…)

The headbands are going to be another question entirely, of course.  I tested the one headband I already had on Mei-lin’s head, and it didn’t fit her.  So I’ll need to make a mold of a headband blank, I suppose, and then make resin copies of the wings off the headband I have, and add those on to one blank headband, and add kitty ears on to another blank headband.  I just have to figure out the size of headband to use for the mold first.  (Monster High will be a bit big, but I think Barbie will be a bit small…and I’m not sure I can find a blank Barbie headband anyway.)

Dal Ciel, Robin version

Before the main attraction of this post, I have some other stuff to say and show.

Firstly, you may have noticed that there was no “Wordless Wednesday” post yesterday (nor, in fact, any post at all).  The thing is, there’s a couple of spambots addicted to the “Wordless Wednesday” tag, and I was getting really tired of having their garbled comments arriving in my spam queue four or five times a week.  So I deleted the tag, and will not be doing “Wordless Wednesday” posts anymore.  There’s a similar thing called “Silent Sundays,” so I’ll try doing that, and hope that there aren’t any spambots targeting that tag.  And I didn’t post this yesterday to say so because I was just having a really lousy afternoon, and didn’t trust myself to communicate with other human beings, lest I say something horrible.

So that was the say, now here’s the show.  The Junky Spot order came in at the same time as Ciel (quite literally, as Ciel had been sent UPS rather than USPS) so I’ve been able to start on Pyrrha’s face-up now that I have MSC (no previews, though), and I got the two wigs I’d ordered, so I can show you the dolls now.

I’ll start with Mei-lin, but her hair isn’t properly styled.

Mei-lin, the Azone/Parabox hybrid version
Li Mei-lin, the Azone/Parabox hybrid version

I like how her mouth turned out, but I had horrible trouble getting the picture taken, because for some reason both of these boy bodies have the most unbelievably loose joints.  Seriously, they’re on Pyrrha’s level of floppy here, which is so odd, because the female body that currently has the Licca-chan Yuki Miku head has very tight joints.  (Fortunately, I got these two boy bodies direct from Japan, so put together they cost about the same as the female one, so at least I didn’t pay as much for them.)

Now, as to why her hair isn’t styled yet:  the wig is the wrong size.  The Junky Spot said that this size was the right one for all the Parabox heads up to those intended for a 27 cm doll, and this head was intended for a 21-23 cm doll, so I figured it was the right size.  But it’s actually a bit too small; if I try to style it, it just pops right off.  Very frustrating.  I ordered another, slightly larger wig off of Etsy, but until it gets here, Mei-lin’s hair is just gonna have to be loose like this.

Ciel 2

Sadly, Mei-lin’s a bit been my “do-over” doll in this Cardcaptor Sakura line.  Her eyebrows — which you can’t see right now, due to her bangs — don’t quite match, and around her mouth you can see faint traces of an earlier, larger mouth that I drew with colored pencil on the untreated head, and then could not entirely erase, and even sanding failed to remove it completely.  (Apparently watercolor pencil directly on a Parabox head is a recipe for disaster.  I won’t make the mistake again, but…)  Then there’s her eye decals.  To give the dolls big eyes like the original characters, I used the largest eyes on the decal sheet, but they were too wide.  Since there’s actually very little whites in the eyes of the original characters, I just trimmed off most of the whites.  (And that’s what it looks like was done on the dolls from the late ’90s, I might add.)  I’m not sure I trimmed them quite right, but it’s passable.  However, you see the slight triangle of lightish color to the right of her right pupil?  That’s an air bubble under the decal.  That was not there when I sealed the decals in place.  The thing is that these Parabox heads are not fully compatible with the Azone bodies.  Specifically, the holes on these particular heads are so small that you have to do a lot of squishing of the head to get it on the neck plug.  Thus was this air bubble introduced underneath the eye decal.  Again, I’ll know better next time.  (Or rather, I’ve already put Syaoran’s head on his body, and have been working on the head while it’s on the body, instead of on the loose head.)

Anyway, comparison of the old one versus mine:

Black Friday 10 Ciel 2

So, bottom line, the mouth is an improvement, the eyes not so much.  Oh, also the body is a huge improvement.  Like, off the charts.  Loose yet properly articulated beats the smeg out of a bendy doll in my book, any day.

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