Category Archives: Dolls

Tree Diorama for 1/6 scale

The 1/6 scale is my favorite to build in. I love the 1/12 scale figures, like Marvel Legends and Star Wars The Black Series, but there is something about working in this larger scale that allows for some finer details, and the ability to play really big.

One of the biggest problems with this scale is of course the size of whatever it is you are building. In this case I had it in my mind to build a chair swing. And the only way I wanted to see that swing was hanging from a tree. Now that posed a few problems since trees are big. That is of course the first problem revisited. Second is that a tree has to be rather robust to hold a swing with someone swinging in it.

The answer came to me as an old piece of PVC sewer pipe I have had laying around for the last 12 years, after I finished remodeling my house and ended up with a bit of extra pipe.

So, now I had the width of the tree. To remedy the height, I figured I would have it broken like it had been struck by lightning. Then I have a display that has an interesting story, it is not too gigantic, and it will still be big enough for the larger 1/6 scale figures.

The material I used is Rigid Wrap. I ordered a 5 pound roll from Amazon made by Activia. The directions were printed on the box. Cut, wet, and stick. That was about it. From there I began to experiment and see what I could do for things like texture, roots and old branches that have been broken off.

I did have one setback when I was building the long branch. I had originally cut a hole in the trunk and stuck the smaller piece of PVC in the hole. I glued it with hot glue. It held well until I started to add the Rigid Wrap. The Rigid Wrap added a lot of extra weight, and started to pull the branch down. I added wire that went around the bottom of the branch and then attached back into the truck. I also added a wood brace under the branch. This was all covered with many layers of Rigid Wrap that covered up the stuff that didn’t belong as well as created a strong cast.

For the broken top, I cut the PVC with a cutting wheel. The triangular pieces that were cut off were added to the top and glued into place to add different heights to the top and gave it a more natural look.

For the leaves, I knew it was going to be tricky to find something that was going to be in scale. It turned out to be really easy. I was in Michael’s and they have a plastic plant display area in the store. A giant bunch of branches with the proper size leaves were $14.99. I happened in at the 50% off sale, so the price was much more reasonable at half. I was not sure I was going to need the whole bunch, but I ended up using it all. The smaller twigs came off with a pull, and I attached them to the tree with bamboo skewers I held in place with more Rigid Wrap cut much smaller. The twigs with leaves were glued in place with hot glue.

Once I got all of that done, it was on to the painting. I started dark and worked my way lighter, creating layers, more in some areas and less in others. I painted from the trunk out, making sure to cover all of the twigs most of the way out to the leaves.

This was a great project for me to tackle. It was something new. I had never worked with Rigid Wrap before, and I love it. I have a few more ideas in mind for other scenery pieces I want to make for some other scales. If I remove the swing, it can be a larger tree for smaller scale figures as well.

Up next, I am working on a car. Barbie’s cars are mostly bright pink, and not anything like what most people would chose to buy. I am working on a much darker but still quite flashy color that should make any of the drivers happy to take the little sports car for a spin.


Poison Ivy and Supergirl – DC Super Hero Girls

I know, I know, it should be Ivy and Harley, but I really felt these two would work better together.  I really liked the first two DC Super Hero Girls I reviewed, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman.  These two are not my favorite.  Of course when you show up to the party with 6 new girls, all of them are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  Now that is not to say I don’t like them.  They are both very nice figures, and overall they do a good job representing the character.  Who knows?  If I had opened these girls first, I may have liked them a lot more, but they were up against some tough competition.

Poison Ivy:

I love Poison Ivy’s hair. It is a beautiful blend of reds and oranges. Mattel went to a lot of trouble to get a really nice blend of colors.

I get a strong Barbie vibe from her that I didn’t get from either Batgirl or Wonder Woman. I think it may be a bit of the painted on face, and a lot to do with the outfit. I think it is less glamorous than her outfit in the show. This outfit is very similar, but there is a lack of flow and dress quality that she has in the show. The shoes had a lot of potential, but other than the vines that wrap around her legs, the shoes are really boring. I would really liked to have seen some amount of detail in the shoes, but they are lacking any, and one of mine was even miscast, and it had a bubble in it, which now left a hole. Ugh!

Once again the articulation works really well. Lots of good movement all over, including great articulation in the rib cage area that really helps to make the figures more dynamic.

Supergirl:

It is kind of expected that Supergirl would definitely end up with a Barbie vibe. A painted face with blond hair.

What she does have going for her is the great athletic build that all of the DC Super Hero Girls have. She is the first in the line with a skirt on, and she looks great wearing it. She also wears a pair of hightop sneakers with socks, and they are really cute with her overall outfit.

The only real letdown with the outfit is the cape. It attaches to two pegs in the back of her necklace. I can’t imagine why they would make a rubber/plastic cape when the rest of her outfit is such great fabric material. It would have been so easy to make a fabric cape. Instead she is back-heavy with the plastic cape.  The rest of the outfit, top/skirt combo look great, and have a real nice textural difference to make the outfit really stand out.

I had some trouble with her hair. Unlike the rest, Supergirl’s hair feels like a different material. It is very silky, and though it feels nice, it is a bit unruly, and hard to control. I may have to end up washing it to get it to lay right.


DC Super Hero Girls – First Look

DC Seems to have really gotten it’s act together here at the start of 2016. They looked at their properties and figured out something fantastic. Sell items in the mass market, make good money, and influence a generation of girls.

I think they also know they cannot compete with Marvel on the movie front, so they are going to what they are REALLY good at…animation. And what better way to pull a new generation in than with some younger content? This is going to hit big!

The New DC Super Hero Girls come in two sizes, the 6 inch action figure, and the taller 12 inch doll. There is also an influx of clothing and even wearable action accessories.

Today we are looking a one of each of the toys. I was really interested in getting my hands on Wonder Woman for both figures, to be somewhat consistent, but Wonder Woman is a favorite, and with a movie coming out in the very near future that she plays a major roll in, it is no wonder that she is harder to find.

I ended up with my second choice of Batgirl, but once i got her out of the box, I think she may be my #1 pick. It will be hard to beat her overall look and accesories.

Taking in her full body look, I am digging the design features. She is wearing a hoodie that has ears on top. Of course she is wearing her black mask as well. To go with the black mask, she also has a black winged backpack. She has on gauntlets of yellow and finishing off her arms are really well detailed black-gloved hands. She has one open hand and one grasping hand.

She is wearing black pants that are on the snug side, but not skin tight. She finishes off her look with a pair of yellow combat boots.

She has such a beautiful face.  It is a bit smoother than the beauty look of Monster High or Barbie Dolls.  Her eyes and eyebrows are painted on with a line of perfection.  She does not have any extra makeup over a bit of pink lip gloss.

Her backpack is a solid piece that has great detailings all it’s own.  She has the requisite bat wings along with details of zippers and a pocket.

Her gauntlets are removable.  As you would expect from the makers of Monster High, Mattel did really good with the body parts, allowing for the hands to be pulled off to remove the gauntlets.  The only thing I don’t like about the gauntlets is that they cover some really good forearm detail.  This girl has some muscle, and the forearms are great.

Take a peek under that sleeve, and you can see Batgirl has a pair of concealed weapons.  She has good muscle tone going on all over the place.

In the store, and in the box, it is a bit hard to tell, but side by side, there is a fairly large discrepancy between DC Super Hero Girls and Monster High.  It is clear that Mattel went with whole new bodies for this line.  It is a bummer for the people out there with a large number of MH dolls.  Sorry, your DC Girls will not be borrowing anything from your MH girls.

There is definitely a difference between the two lines, but not as big as you might think.

Tailored to girls, they can choose which size they like better. They may not want to deal with the hair and the clothes all of the time. Maybe they want the Girls to play with some friends from the Marvel Universe. By going with two sizes, it allows the kids to vary what they play with.

It is also nice for parents who may be on a budget. The price difference is about double. $9.99 for the 6 inch figures, and $19.99 for the 12 inch figures.

For the level of detail, and accessories, I think they are right on the price point they should be. $10 for an action figure is a steal these days, with Marvel Legends going for $19.99 to $21.99 depending on the store.

This little Wonder has great articulation.  I guess that is what you get when you hand over the design to Mattel.  We have seen such a flux of articulation in the past with DC, from barely 5 points to a whole mess of points at the cost of the overall look.  As far as I can count, Wonder Woman has 17 points.  That will allow the player to pretty much do whatever she wants.  Wonder Woman has a young look.  She has a very round face with big eyes.  The box shows her with black hair, but this figure definitely has purple hair.  Overall a great look.

Her outfit reminds me a lot of Wonder Girl’s outfit. We generally see her running around in jeans. Wonder Woman also looks to be wearing jeans. They added the stars to the side. Nice touch.

Her top is red, of course, with a gold ‘w’ across the chest and shoulders. She has sleeves of white. I think they should have carried the red from the shirt into the sleeves.

She also has red boots with silver wings.

Compared to a standard Wonder Woman, DC Super Hero Girls holds up.  She is a bit shorter and has a look of a younger girl.


Monster High DIY classroom and desk

About four months ago, my sister had a metal break.  It was sad, but my wife and I brought her across the country to get some help in a hospital.  She was in out patient care, and she would spend the nights and weekends at home with us.   In an effort to get her to be more creative, we went shopping.   I found she had a lot of toys she liked, but not many interested me.    She was looking at the Monster High dolls, and they looked pretty fun.  I knew I would be able to join in on the fun of these dolls.  I am not really proficient with sewing, so I went the other way.  It only seemed natural to me that Monster High dolls would need an actual desk.

The “metal” pats of the desk and chair are made from Evergreen plastic. I have tons of it around from my days of building car models. The metal color is Tamiya aluminum.  The wood top and seat are made from pieces of particle board. I cut and sanded them, and then coated them with a layer of Mod Podge to give them a gloss coat.

I started the building process by measuring and cutting pieces of cardstock. With the long legs of the MH dolls, the chair and table legs are extremely long. A bit out of proportion for a normal classroom desk, but it fit the girls just right.

This was a fun project to get my feet wet.   I really enjoy this scale of figure to work with.  The parts aren’t too small.  Up next, I am going to focus my attention on Robecca Steam and the world of Steampunk.


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