Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"But Papa, I just want to dance!"

Have any of you ever taken a dance class? I took one back in second grade, it was terrible. I was the only boy in the company and the teacher was serious a witch, and I'm being kind. I learned then that dance wasn't my calling. Not that I ever fooled myself into thinking that it was, but at least then I knew that I wasn't going to be a tap dancer. (Crossed it right off the list.) But really, not what this post is about.
Back on track; you all remember my G.I. Joe right (Joe to his friends)? If need be you can hop back a few months to his introductory post, it's good to know who I'm talking about. I'll wait for you to get caught up. You back? Great! Now that we're on the same page I'll continue. Let me start off, I love Joe, he's the oldest toy from my childhood, second in my heart only to Charlotte, but... lately not everything's been perfect over here at Aubrey's Mind, in fact it's been somewhat hostile, and actually it is Charlotte's fault.
Gasp you shall, how could Charlotte be causing trouble? My lovable little moppet. It's shocking I know, but let me explain, it's a sordid tale. My trouble's began shortly after the Fashionista body came out. Which I love, seriously that body was just a breath of fresh air into the collection (Love, love, love it!). I honestly cannot think how I lived without it. Naturally, Charlotte was the first one to get one (thankfully she was a matching skin tone). After she switched I had a ball playing around with all the poses she could now do. And part of that playing involved including Joe, her Husband (I rarely do doll families, but sometimes it happens). When doing this that's when I noticed how stiff Joe was in comparison. Charlotte was able to do all these cool expressive poses with him, and all he could do was stand there. Sure he could limited movements, but it was... very limited. While he had a greater range of motion compared to Ken he was still lacking compared to Barbie's new found joints. And that's when my journey for getting Joe a new body began. Heads up this is a long post, and it's still the abbreviated version.
It's been a long journey, with lots of hair ripping and tears. It's shocking how hard it is to research G.I. Joe replacement bodies online. Especially when you had some specifications in mind. What I wanted was a muscular body with jointed arms, that was taller than Barbie and used a neck knob. Sometimes it felt like I was asking for the moon with the rarity of information that I was able to find, but there were options.
I started off with using what I had at home. My brother has a collection of G.I. Joes, most of them are his, but there's a few that are mine (there's also some that nobody really claims ownership on, they are just "there") In there were some spare G.I. Joe that were much more jointed than Joe, so one of them became a donar body, but when I put Joe's head on them he just looked terrible. The new Joes are much shorter than Barbie, in fact much shorter than his old body. He looked like a hobbit. The main issue with the new body compared to the older one was the midsection, in the newer body it was almost missing, making the body shorter. I just couldn't deal with that, Joe was returned to his original body, and my search continued. But I did take a break since I was so burned out with that failure.
The next attempt came from seeing the new Fashionista Kens online. They had jointed wrists and elbows, and they would obviously be taller than barbie, also he would be able to fit Ken's clothes, something that Joe with his huge hands couldn't currently do. This was not a perfect body unfortunately, there would be some pitfalls. One of them would be the fact that Ken was much slimmer than Joe. I was willing to lose some muscle mass for the swap, and sometimes Ken looks downright wimpy. I didn't know if I'd be able to adjust to such a change in a body. Also, the neck system wouldn't work for Joe, right out of the box. These new kens use a swivel joint similar to modern Barbie, while Joe uses a neck knob like vintage body. I would have to modify one of the joints in order to make them compatible. I was not willing to do anything permanent to Joe's head so I was going to have to tweak the body in order to make them fit. This would make me lose the ability to swivel the head, but that was a small loss compared to what Joe was getting. I have done this kind of modification before when I changed a modern body to fit my Stacey doll, but I had not done it for a Ken doll before, so I decided to practice. Also I couldn't find a Fashionista Ken in store. Besides. I'd rather ruin a doll in the donate pile than one that I'd have to buy. And that's what I did. I had my father help me cut off the old neck joint. With that done I started to work on making the neck knob for Joe... but there was an issue. I didn't really like how Joe's head looked on the practice doll's body. It was just too slim. I was used to Joe being very muscular and this new body was not as big. He just looked silly. So, frustrated I stopped and returned Joe back to his original body. At least I was grateful that I hadn't wasted a 10 dollar doll.
At this point I was so frustrated I gave up on Joe. This was right around the time I was going to go up to Connecticut for "Christmas". Originally Joe was on the list to accompany Charlotte, but after his latest struggle I was so frustrated with him, he stayed home. Instead I brought Akikio and Vanessa, and Charlotte (naturally). And of course I needed Joe, because among my things I found a body that I wanted to try with him. I had gotten it from a lot of things that I had purchased a long time ago. I didn't want it, but since I don't throw things out it stayed. Unfortunatly both of it's feet were broken off and it was missing one of it's hands. But it passed a lot of the tests. It was muscular, it had bendable elbows, and it used a neck post. Still I didn't know if Joe would fit, or if it was taller than Barbie since it was missing the feet. And so I waited until I got home to finally try it out. My second day home was spent boiling heads and doing body swaps. And we had a winner! Or at least closer to one that we have gotten yet. Since this body worked out it was time to find out who made it and see if I could order replacement hands and feet. But there were no maker marks on the body... none what so ever. How is that possible? So I was sent off to the internet doing random searches trying to find a way to identify it. Luckily thanks to E-bay I found it. Turns out I could buy hands for 7 bucks plus shipping, or for 8 something I could buy an entire body with free shipping. It was an easy choice, so I had to wait for the body to come from Hong Kong. While I waited I "borrowed" someone's arm and feet for Joe. It was so much fun playing with him on his new body. Eventually his new body arrived. This was my first time seeing the feet for this body. They're pretty funny looking. I call them Pinocchio feet since they look like they're puppet feet. On a down side, they're also pretty big, so he can't fit many Ken shoes, but that's a trade off I'm willing to make.
But I have many good things to say about this body. There's so many good things that I'm willing to overlook the bad. This new body has opened a whole world of clothing for Joe now that his hands aren't too big to fit over things. These new hands pop out so you can put on shirts. Although I will say this, pants have been an issue. With this new body... um... the crotch is awfully low. He's also got chicken legs, so we shan't be wearing shorts ever. It also means a lot of the pants I have are more miss than hit with him. That's not a big deal since I can make them, it's just I can't make them as nicely as some of the ones I have. I guess in practice I'll learn, right? But seriously, I love Joe's new body, it's opened a whole new world of posing. He's had a greater range of motions including with Charlotte. I'm glad my search is finally over, and that Joe's much more flexible than he's ever been. He's going to get a lot more play like this than he's ever had before!


  1. His new body looks amazing! It looks almost like the slim male Obitsu in some ways. I would have taken the trade-off too of having a better body with bigger feet. I'm sure you can find shoes to fit him somewhere. Yay for Joe having a better body now! :-)

  2. I know, I've been giddy all week over it. Yeah it does look similar to the Obitsu body, I looked at those too. He does have some shoes that do fit, he just has a limited selection. Eventually down the line I'll break down and buy him some other shoes to wear, but that day is going to be a while away.