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This page describes assembling a female action body out of loose parts from my spares box.
The resulting body was used for Dahlia.
As the upper body partly envelops the top of the lower body, the lower body should be assembled first.
The lower body holds the legs. It is easier to work on the legs before these are fitted to the body so I preferred to complete the legs before assembling the lower body.
The page is divided into sections:
Tools and materials used:
My sparesbox contains a lot of parts I acquired from fellow action figure enthousiasts. Among these parts was an interesting set of body parts from a disassembled Get Set Club figure.
No arms, no legs, no neck joint and no waist joint, but with a bit of searching and matching I found a pair of tan CGv1 arms and a pair of legs of unknown origin with suitable size and shape and a slightly lighter skin tone. The legs came without ankles or feet.
I figured I could adapt the legs to fit some ankles and feet from my sparesbox.
The remaining parts (a spring loaded swivel joint for the waist and a neck joint) I planned to make myself.
The arms and legs did fit the mounting points in the body but the fit was rather loose.
To improve fit and firm up the joints I inserted a strip of paperboard behind the anchor for each arm and a strip of paperboard lined with thin PPE foam between the hip joints.
|There is a wide hole in the top of the lower body and a small hole in the bottom of the chest, indicating that all of the swiveling action is performed by the lower body.
This implies that there needs to be a semi-sphere shaped part inside the lower body to guide the swiveling motion.|
Joints like this are usually spring loaded to hold the parts of the body together even in twisted poses.
|I tested the range and action of the waist joint by putting a piece of rod in the hole in the bottom of the chest, holding the chest against the lower body and swiveling the chest over the lower body.|
I noticed that the range of the joint was rather limited: side to side movement was limited by the sides of the chest touching the hips, but back to front movement could be increased by enlarging the hole in the lower body.
When swiveling the body parts over each other the movement was not smooth. A closer look at the parts revealed that the ends (see arrow) of the strips in the chest halves were snagging the edge of the hole in the lower halves.
|Rounding off the ends of the strips cured the snagging.|
|To create a connector for the waist joint I found some solid acrylic beads with a 20mm diameter which fitted perfectly inside the top of the lower body.|
|Using a razor saw I cut one bead into two halves.|
To complete the connector I gathered a suitable M3-sized bolt of 30mm length, an M3-sized nut, a coil spring out of a soft soap dispenser and some washers.
|I enlarged the hole in the bead to 2.5mm then cut an M3-sized threaded hole to allow the bolt to be securely screwed into the bead and added a locking nut behind the bead for good measure.|
A sleeve out of some shrinkable tubing was slid over the exposed part of the bolt to keep the sliding washers from snagging the thread.
The body parts will be positioned between the large washer and the bead.
After verifying the fit and functionality of the joint, the bead and the lock nut were fixed to the bolt using a drop of CA glue.
First I used an old X-Acto #10 blade to shave the seams of the legs smooth and removed any sharp edges.
|The ankles that matched the diameter of the legs best turned out to be Triad Alpha ankles, I happened to have a spare set of Triad ankles with a skin tone that is reasonably close to the skin tone of the legs.|
Triad ankles have an egg-shaped cross section, whereas the legs have a circular cross section, so the width of the lower legs need to be reduced by 1.6mm.
|Sanding 0.8mm off of each of the outsides of the legs might leave the remaining plastic walls too thin, so I decided to split open the lower legs and trim a wedge out of the insides.|
I did not want to split open the entire lower legs as that might damage the knee joints, so using a JLC razor saw I made a narrow cut across the inside of the legs just below the calves.
|This picture shows the areas to be trimmed|
|After trimming the edges I cut a square hole (actually 4.0mm wide and 4.2mm deep) in the end of the leg to accept the ankle post (the parts were joined loosely for the picture, fit is better than it appears).|
|This is what the trimmed leg looks like viewed from the front with the ankle fitted, note there is no 'break' in the contour caused by trimming down the width (again parts were joined loosely for the picture).|
|To mount the ankles in a stable way, two 10mm lengths of square 6mm tubing were cut and using a square rats tail file the insides were enlarged to 4.0mm by 4.2mm.|
Initially these were just meant as sleeves to keep the ankles from wobbling but I managed to achieve such a tight fit that I skipped adding some locking mechanism.
|The remains of an alignment pin inside the leg were trimmed to fit snugly against the sleeve. Then some 2-component epoxy glue was used to attach the sleeves to the insides of the legs.|
|Somehow the lefthand sleeve got twisted slightly, so the shape of the hole in the end of the leg was adjusted accordingly and the lowest part of the leg was trimmed slightly to match the contours of the ankle.|
After verifying that the sleeves were firmly attached to the legs, the removed parts of the legs were fitted and glued using some acetone.
After letting the glued joins cure for a day the seams were sanded smooth and buffed to a satin sheen.
To go with the Triad ankles I decided to use a pair of steeply arched Triad Alpha feet and trim those down to fit a pair of high heel pumps I bought before.
|Part of the toes and the forward lower part of the feet were cut off using a razor saw, then an old X-Acto #10 blade was used to shave down the plastic of the feet.|
|The Triad feet needed to be trimmed quite a lot to fit the pumps.|
To help with getting the shape of the feet right, wax casts of parts of the inside of the pumps were made by pouring some molten candle wax into the pump, letting the wax solidify, then putting the pump in the fridge (not in the freezer !) for about 10 minutes.
After cooling down the wax popped right out.
Comparing the foot with the wax cast on the picture shows that there still was some more trimming left to do.
|Final fit. The heel of the foot should sink a bit deeper into the pump once the weight of the figure is applied to the ankle.|
The recess for the waist connector inside the lower body was made smooth and the hole for the joint was made slightly larger using a motor tool fitted with sphere-shaped grinder head.
To tighten the hip joints a piece of paperboard was cut (26mm by 19mm) to fit in the recess between the pivots for the legs. The paperboard was sandwiched between a layer of thin PPE foam and inserted between the discs of the pivots.
After fitting the legs, the paperboard and the waist connector, some Plastic Weld glue was applied to the mounting posts inside the body halves, then the halves were clamped together and glued together by running a brush loaded with acetone along the seams.
Before removing the clamp I dissolved some plastic crumbs in acetone, applied the resulting paste to the gaps in the seams and let it cure.
After letting the joins cure for a day the seams were sanded smooth and buffed.
The neck has an outside diameter similar to that of a Barbie neck and has a joint cavity inside of 8.0mm diameter. The cavity shows the remains of a 'trach pin' so the original neck joint was probably similar to that of a Barbie as well: a post on a ring.
With the pin gone I decided to fit a ball joint.|
I could not find a ball or a bead with a diameter close to 8mm, so I picked a 7mm ankle joint ball from a broken ankle post.
By fitting a piece of tubing as an adapter for the head, the distance between the neck and the lower edge of the adapter can be adjusted after the body is assembled.
I used strong polycarbonate rod for the neck post, this was cut from a frame of Yellow Submarine joints, I chose a section of 1.5mm diameter.
For the head of the post I picked a left-over piece of Plastruct ST-6 square rod.
To make the 7mm ball fit the larger cavity I cut a ring out of some tubing, rounded the top inside edge and the lower outside edge and fitted the ring in the cavity below the ball.|
A 1.5mm hole was drilled into the ball, the remains of the ankle post were cut off and the rod was glued into the ball using a drop of CA glue.|
Then the top of the head of the neck post was cut to an arrow point and the head was fixed to the rod, again using a drop of CA glue.
After assembling the neck post I drilled a 0.7mm hole for inserting a cloth pin that will secure the tubing to the post.
|The CG v1 arms were like new so all I did was scrape the seams level, seal the seams with some acetone and finally lightly sand then buff the surface to reduce the glossy finish and make the skin tone appear a bit lighter.|
|The chest side of the armpits restricted the range of the arms, so the arms could not hang straight down.|
| Fortunately there was plenty of solid plastic there to trim back.|
I started by trimming the sides of the front part of the chest, then trimmed the sides of the rear part to match.
After trimming I sanded the trimmed areas smooth.
I waited with polishing and buffing the trimmed areas until after the chest halves were glued together.
I cut two new pieces of paperboard (12 by 14mm) and inserted one in each of the slots for the arm anchors, replacing the ones I had fitted for testing.
I inserted the base plate of both chest halves between the lower body and the large washer of the waist connector, then while holding the lower part of the chest halves together I opened the upper part just enough to be able to insert the anchor discs of the arms and to insert the ball of the neck post into the neck cavity.
Finally I clamped the halves together, using a cloth peg as an extra clamp for the neck, and glued the join lines using acetone with some dissolved plastic for filling any gaps.
After letting the join lines cure for a day the lines were sanded smooth and buffed.
Then I fitted the clear tubing over the neck post. For a Barbie neck the lower edge of the tubing should be 1.5mm above the edge of the neck, after verifying the position of the tubing I pushed a shortened cloth pin through the tubing and through the hole in the head of the neck post.
Finally I inserted the Triad ankles into the ends of the legs, fitted the feet to the ankles and fitted the pumps to the feet.