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Claire is another one of my Barbie-headed Cool Girls, this time I used an old Armoury body from my spares box, making her also one of my Spares-box Sweethearts.
The head is a Barbie 'Millie' head that I got as a loose head off eBay.
The body had been in my spares box ever since I used its arms for Claudia. At first I fitted Claudia with the entire left arm and the lower right arm, later I fitted Claudia with a new left arm and put the old one back in the box with the spare Armoury body.
Armoury bodies usually have tight joints that hold poses well, but these bodies just don't look as good as a CG body: body parts do not align properly across joint lines, some shapes (hips a.o.) are asymmetric left to right and the edges of the waist and chest joints are thick and square.
On top of that the breasts look like a cheap boob-job gone wrong and the 'skin' texture is a high-gloss.
So back when I was repairing Claudia I preferred to repair a CG body by taking parts off this Armoury body over saving the Armoury body and trying to improve its looks.
Recently I decided to try and improve the looks of the spare Armoury body after all.
I started by sanding down any square-ish and misaligned edges around joints and correcting the asymmetrical shapes as best as possible, then I reshaped the contours of the hips and the breasts.
During sanding I tried to avoid creating any thin weak spots, so I frequently checked the thickness of the remaining plastic by shining light of a bright desk lamp through the body.
The center section of the body is shaped like a kiwi-fruit, so by scraping with a curved #10 knife blade I flattened a strip on the back along the spine, which improves both its looks and the way it fits into the pelvic section.
I again modified the left shoulder joint, which I had modified before to fit a CG body. The right lower arm and elbow joint were still missing, I did have a spare elbow joint but did not have a suitable lower right arm.
I wanted her to look cute so I did not want to fit just a section of straight tubing for an arm. In the end I decided to turn some leftover body bits into a little arm stump. I put a pair of small magnets inside the tip of the arm stump, just in case I want to fit an artificial arm later.
I wanted to fit a Barbie head, but the neck of the Armoury body is too wide and the plastic is just too thin to sand down or to reduce its diameter by cutting a wedge out, so I decided to bend the edge of the neck inwards using a heated up blade of an old screwdriver (I did so in a well ventilated area as heated ABS plastic may emit toxic fumes). Once the neck had roughly the correct diameter I let it cool down and sanded the edge smooth.
After reshaping the body I was happy with its improved looks, so I dulled down the high gloss of the body to a slight sheen using a grade 1800 sanding sponge.
Sanding makes the skin tone appear lighter, so much so that the Barbie head that did match the shiny skin tone no longer matched, so I gently polished the neck and chest area with a paper napkin to darken the skin tone a bit.
I picked another cute Barbie 'Millie' head, Mattel does a wide variety of versions of this head so it is easy to avoid creating 'twins'.
Another nice thing with Millie heads is that these also look well on a more curvy body such as this Armoury body.
For now I gave Claire a pink top and pink skirt to wear.
One thing I noticed after she was dressed is that there is no room under the armpits for clothes, so she can't put her arms straight down when dressed.
I tried to fix that by sanding down the insides of the upper arms and by sanding down the sides of the chest but this resulted in just 1mm of clearance between the arms and the chest. Clothes with sleeves are usually thicker than that but at least she can now lower her arms a bit further.
To be fair this problem is not unique to these Armoury bodies: several other bodies (Soldier Story's LM v2 among others) also have this issue.
I haven't yet decided if I will make her an artificial arm or not, she looks fine without so I guess it depends on whether I can come up with something really cool...
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