Saturday, 28 June 2014

Tangkou Of The Living Dead Ooak Custom - "Creeping Stink Flesh"... [¬º-°]¬ "Grr Argh"

28th May 2014

I Just had to share my almost finished "Night of the Living Dead Tangkou Ooak Custom" - I've been working on her for the last four days...

My inspiration came from images of "Bicycle Girl" from The Walking Dead , Scott H. Reiniger as Roger and David Emge as Stephen in George A Romero's 1979 Dawn of The Dead, with a bit of  Sherman Howard as Bub the Zombie from George A Romero's 1985 Day of The Dead thrown in!

I have always (well ever since I first watched Dawn of the Dead when I was six years old), wanted a Zombie doll, but alas in the 1980's Zombie dolls just weren't available to buy for the little girl in your life, or to save up your pocket money for..

Further inspiration came when I discovered a Flickr friend of mine ( blythephotos ) had turned one of her Blythes into a Zombie, so I knew it was possible if you have enough time / vision and skill to make it work,  I carried the thought with me for a few years until I found a suitable candidate for "Zombiedom".

I actually forgot about it until I got into "The Walking Dead" series, and my desire began to resurface, strangely though it took me several more months to realise which doll I could use for the experiment...

The base doll is the France Tangkou I bought for custom work see review post here: french-girl-arrived, I chose to use my France Tangkou as a guinea pig after trying several times to customise her and disliking the outcome every time, I'd pretty much got to the stage where I didn't like her anymore and regretted wasting my money on her, so I thought, why not?  If it works I'll fall in love and if it doesn't she'll go back in my "Box of Victims" that she's been sitting in for months an I'll recycle her parts for someone else later on, so it wouldn't really be a big loss.

Here's a recap (before) photo of her before she "turned" ...

                                                              ** Update - 6th June 2014**
                                                                 Finished Girl - Woot!

I replaced her original body with a type 2 Pullip one which I received with a partially customised Little Big Eyes doll which I bought for a separate custom; as the doll's body was very stained due to the dye in her stock outfit seeping into her "skin".

The Flickr friend I purchased her from included the Pullip body she'd been given to replace the original when she bought it for custom.

I'd tried this body on several of my dolls as I didn't like it with the Little Big Eyes head, and her body stains were easy enough for me to fix, so it stayed surplus to requirements, waiting for a head to need it for a number of years.

Anyhoo, the body had been in storage for several years now and was not in very good shape anymore due to it's yellowing with age, and is quite wobbly too, but this of course makes it ideal as a zombie body!

I removed and replaced her original eye chips and eye lashes.  The "dead" skin etc, was produced by adding layers and carving / reshaping the areas I wanted, then painting and sealing, I've added glaze in some areas to make it look as though she's recently eaten too...

After I finished her face/head plates I started the same process on her head cap - with the addition of a cracked skull complete with rotting brain!  *Grin*

                                            ** Updated Update - 25th June 2014**

We went to Bishop’s Wood  Nature Reserve, Caswell Bay, Swansea as part of my Birthday "Day Out" around Swansea's Coastline;which turned out to be the perfect place to take photo's of my Zombie Girl, who oddly found her new name during our photo' session/ dog walk in the woods and will henceforth be known by the moniker "Creeping Stink Flesh"!

Btw, is it just me or does Bishop’s Wood sound like a place name from Midsomer Murders?
Anyhoo, the place is Zombie infested as these photo's will prove, so be careful if you decide to take a stroll down that way...

I managed to snap these two photo's before my Son stole not only my camera but "Stink Flesh" too and wandered off into the woods to take the following photographs - that's my boy!

Disclaimer:  I have been told to make it clear that my Son is not into dolls or playing with them!
I'm also not allowed to mention his own doll collection and as I have definitely not done so I can now get on with posting his pictures... Enjoy!!

For a doll that happened as an experiment, I'm very pleased with her. I will probably be changing her body at some point as the Pullip one she has is a bit of a nuisance in terms of pose and hold, aesthetically I think it's perfect - which is why I haven't yet decided whether she's keeping it or not, in terms of a replacement, I have no idea what I could use instead, so right now it stays!

I has such a lot of fun making her, and once finished, playing with her, so I'm definitely going to be making more Zombies in future - I'll probably end up with an army of them!

Here's a "Before and After" just because...

I plan to try other types of dolls though that said I really love the "Big Eyed" look on my girl and the fact that she has the ability to change eye colour from one "dead / unseeing" colour to another, so I guess I'll be using some cheap colour change eye (clone) dolls and definitely at least one Barbie and some minis too ... see what I mean about the Army?!

25th June 2014 - Birthday with The Hujoos, Makie & Tangkou Custom - Bliss!

                             Makie & Hujoo photoshoot - Langland Bay, Swansea.

                                                 Pendle and Akimoto relaxing in the sun.

                              Asami, Kasa & maitake soaking up some rays.

  Asami, Kasa & Maitake make a new friend while sunbathing on the beach!

I took this photo' to stealthily include the group of girls who had obviously never seen a Doll Collector at play before, I gave them a little show with my Zombie girl before arranging my Makie & Hujoos for their photo shoots... They must have enjoyed it as they seemed fascinated by what I was doing & appeared to be texting or uploading photographs of the "strange middle-aged woman playing with dolls in Langland Bay"!

So if you see any memes or instagram pic's ... "That's me that is"!

Sadly we didn't get much time to play, so not many beach shots happened that day before we had to pack up and head off to Caswell Bay, which provided us with another opportunity to take some photo's - this time it was my Tangkou Custom's turn to get in on the action...

       Zombie Girl's Photoshoot - Bishop's Wood Nature Reserve, Caswell Bay, Swansea.

During our photo' session/ dog walk in the woods found her new name and will now be known by the moniker "Creeping Stink Flesh" - I think it suits her very well!

 I managed to snap these two photo's before my Son stole not only my camera but "Stink Flesh" too and wandered off into the woods to take the following photographs - that's my boy...

For some reason this photo puts me in mind of Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters.

Disclaimer:  I have been told to make it clear that my Son is not into dolls or playing with them... I'm also not allowed to mention his own doll collection and as I have definitely not done so there's no chance of him telling me of when he reads this!


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

ಠ_ಠ Vintage Scottish National Costume doll - Meets Mattel's 1979 Mork From Ork! ಠ_ಠ

Well she was a Vintage Scottish National Costume doll but, hahaha not anymore, now she's a Vintage Scottish Punk doll, who lives quite a transient lifestyle going where she pleases and enjoying giving some attitude to my other unsuspecting dolls, like Mork for example... Poor sweet innocent Mork!

I removed her little outfit, gave her some makeup and nail polish, an earring and made her a kilt to wear with her new t-shirt; this was made quite quickly; once I made the t-shirt I just attached a small piece of Union Jack ribbon to it.  

After that I made her some tiny fishnet stockings from a small piece of net fabric and found her a cute little pair of "Bovver Boots" to wear.

For her hair - I removed her original brown hair, which had seen better days and replaced it by giving her a mohawk reroot, once that was complete I gave her a black "buzz cut" - using the technique "Bouffant Headbut" taught me, once it was dry, she was ready to play!

                                   "Na-Noo Na-Noo ... Mindy??"
           "Mindy?? .... who the F**K are you calling Mindy?? You freak!!"

I have the talking backpack which came with my mork, it still has it's original sticker unlike the one in the Ebay listing (shown below), which I discovered on 5th November 2012 and even better than having it's original sticker it also works perfectly.

Mork came to me in excellent "Pre Loved" condition, in his original outfit and he even had his original boots too, I paid  99p for him without  postage, which was only £1.50 so all in all he was an absolute bargain.

I decided not to use his talkie box for this photo as it is a little bulky and I wanted to be able to have him stand for the snaps, without having to worry about the weight of it making him topple over...

In case you are unsure how it works: you strap it onto his back and pull the string and it recites various catchphrases we all loved from the TV series - better than that it even sounds like Robin Williams too!!

I have no idea how I managed to win him so cheaply, I tried so many times prior to get my mitts on one and been outbid every when  I spotted the auction for this one - with four days to go - I decided to just put in my maximum bid and tried not to think about it, as it seemed more than likely I would again be outbid, then one morning, I awake to discover I had won him and for the start price too, so  I guess the time was right for me to own him finally!!

The great thing about getting this little man was I got Aaron to sit still long enough to experience some of Mork & Mindy on youtube when he goes to see that idiot The Fonz and asks for help on human dating classic stuff !

Aaron was laughing his head off at Mork's craziness which I just knew he would as he loves Robin Williams who is apparently another of Aaron's Gods!


♥♥♥ Monster Elves - "Wydowna Spider" - "Weberella" - Chinese Monster High Clone Doll ♥♥♥

Ever since I first saw the prototype photo' for Mattel's Wydowna Weberella doll, I couldn't wait to get my hands on her as she is a combination two of my favourite things - Arachnids, spiders in particular and dolls!

Prototype (left) & Finished Article (on right)
Unknown source.

Sadly when they did make her available for purchase it was as a San Diego Comic-Con International exclusive, and she made her debut there in 2013 and of course only available in limited numbers, for a limited time. Which of course means she's not easy to find for sale, and when you do she has a huge price tag whacked on her.

According to ( San Diego Comic Con Unifical Blog) post dated  June 17, 2013, she was available [Available: Pre-Sale / SDCC Booth] and set to cost $25, which is pretty crazy as, if you do a quick search on Ebay, you won't find her for less than $140.00! 

If the doll herself wasn't impressive enough, her packaging is equally consummate as it consists of not only a very attractive outer box depicting the doll's character all over it in red on black bearing the name "Weberella", but also another impressive inner box containing the doll and accessories and decorated with comic book style designs all over it.

Collage made from images taken from Ebay Listings

The doll's theme is a continuation of Mattel's Monster High "Power Ghouls" range which were sold exclusively in Target stores, prior to the release of Wydowna as Weberella, the Power Ghouls numbered four:  Toralei Stripe as Cat Tastrophe, Frankie Stein as Voltageous, Clawdeen Wolf as Wonder Wolf  and Spectra Vondergeist as Polterghoul; each of these dolls came with a mini comic detailing the adventures of the corresponding Power Ghoul. It is for this reason that the latest addition to the Power Ghouls dolls is known as both "Wydowna Spider"; her Monster High enrollment name and her "Power Ghoul" name "Weberella".

Ebay Listing Photo

As previously stated the Monster High Weberella comes with a mini comic and also her diary, which is standard with most Monster High dolls, she also has a pet called "Shoo Fly" and two outfits. 

"Shoo Fly"
The one she is already wearing is her "Power Ghoul" costume complete with "Wonder Woman esque" rope and her alternative outfit which is a very retro inspired dress and leggings outfit which is decorated with comic style imagery

 Her diary  comic book are  inside the outer box, so you don't have to open her actual packaging to remove them - which is great if you plan to keep this collectors item in sealed condition. 

For some reason the above picture shows the doll with red earrings, however she in fact comes with a pair of silver spiderweb ones, I guess the doll must have still been in prototype stages when they released that picture, although why it was never updated, I have no idea.

As much as I love this doll, I can't help being surprised at her popularity and appeal, especially where small girls are concerned, as spiders are sadly much maligned creatures and the majority of people have a strong dislike and in many cases a phobia of them, I however am in the minority as I not only love them, but I also had more than 20 tarantulas which along with my scorpion were my much loved pets for well over a decade.  have her priced at $215.43 + $8.00 shipping. Their description reads: "Wydowna SpiderTM, the silky smooth Daughter of Arachne, dressed in her costume as the Power GhoulTM WebarellaTM!"

Wow that's a lot of giant TMs!  

Anyhoo, now I've waxed lyrical about this gorgeous official doll, it's time to tell you about the Chinese Clone version, but first I guess I should explain my reasons for opting for the clone instead of the original, well it's simply this: at the lowest price range she is likely to cost $140.00 - which is a lot of money for a doll which I would only be purchasing to display, this is due to the packaging - both lots - being far too much of a work of art to not want to show off, whereas two empty boxes and the doll posed outside of it just wouldn't have the same effect in my mind.

Another reason is the doll and her boxes have been designed to be a Collector's Item, and rightly so as Mattel have done it so well - far too well in fact, for me to open the packaging or remove the doll would therefore lower the value of the item and when you have to pay such a high price to own it, the idea of devaluing it in this way also seems to me to be unthinkable.

My third reason, is because while I love the look of this doll, I really don't like the fact that she only has one pair out of her three sets of eyes that are made to look like eyes, knowing spider anatomy like I do, this really grates on me and I would have a very hard time resisting the temptation to open the box and "fix" her eyes for her, so it's kind of dangerous for me to own her as a SDCC Exclusive as I may not be able to stop myself!

The fourth reason is I'm saving my pennies to buy myself a fairyland realpuki soso soom bjd for my Birthday, which I will be taking out and about and playing with very often, I'm also planning my own little Fairyland  for him/her to live in when we're not out playing in the countryside!

 My final reason is ... I really want this doll, but I want to be able to fix her eyes and play with and display her, so for this reason a clone would suit me much better - providing I find a suitable clone that is!

... And I have and here she is!

                                                       "Monster Elves Spider Doll"

Thankfully she doesn't come with a built in glove, like the official doll does.

 Well kind of ... This is her listing photograph, she took a little over a week to arrive direct from China.

The box was pretty smashed up when it arrived (not enough packaging for transit) but it doesn't matter as the doll was never going to be displayed in it anyway.

As for artwork used well that's pretty naughty; they use the Monster High Official Logo with only a subtle difference - so I guess that could be argued as not quite trademark /copyright theft, and the "Scaris City of Frights" brand as well as images from that doll line - the picture used for the back of the box is very pixilated as though the original image has been enlarged to such an extent that it breaks up.

There is an "Scaris" inner sleeve, which would serve as a good photographic background if not for all the holes cut out of it.

Nevermind, on to the doll herself...

Close up of Weberella Clone
There's something about the type of vinyl used to make these clone dolls as when you take a photograph of one close up, it seems to look as though the doll is made of a much inferior quality/ cheaply dyed plastic than it actually is, it also looks as though it has a light powdery coating, but as you'll see in later pictures none of this actually does permeate into the doll's plastic and since customisation, is not at all visible on the doll - weird huh?!

One thing I have discovered about Mattel's Wydowna / Weberella doll is she has a pointed peak (horn?) on top of her head - this is beneficial in terms of helping the doll to hold it's "bouffant" hair style but exactly why Mattel would choose to opt for this "feature" is something I find most curious and also rather annoying, to me it is another point which spoils what would otherwise be a very beautiful doll and one that I hope helps to give children something along the lines of respect, if they cannot manage fascination for Arachnids and in particular spiders instead of just seeing them as horrible little beasties that you must be afraid of.

My reason for having a problem with this doll's horn is due to the Entomologist inside of me and my knowledge of spider anatomy just not being able to condone this anomaly.

After all, Wydowna Spider is supposed to be based on a Black Widow Spider, hence the black skin and red hair, which are to be expected in an anthropomorphic version.

Australian Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

However, the several species of the Theridiidae Family to which the Subgenus Latrodectus belongs; Latrodectus being the subdivision to which most commonly called "Widow Spiders" - Black, Brown, Grey, Red & False Widows belong and in particular, Black Widow Spiders ( Latrodectus Hesperus,  Latrodectus variolus,  Latrodectus mactans and Latrodectus hasselti ) do not have a horn on their heads, in fact neither the male or female have a horn like appendage anywhere on their bodies, as you can clearly see in the following photographs of  a female Black Widow Spiders and also in the above photograph of an Australian Black Widow Spider; also known as a Redback..

Northern Black Widow- Latrodectus Variolus
She's called "lefty" - photograph by Spiderman937,
Found on website.
As I've already mentioned another issue I have with both the Clone an the Official doll's is their eyes, I don't understand why Mattel chose to give Wydowna more than one pair of eyes, which of course is in keeping with Arachnid Anatomy, but instead of adding these eyes and depicting them as "seeing" eyes, like her lower set, they chose to give the doll several extra "blind" eyes... Why mattel...Why?

Southern black widow Latrodectus mactans
My other problem with these eyes, is that there just isn't enough of them - A Black Widow Spider, like many other species of spiders tend to have eight eyes.

The Black Widow in particular, by that I'm referring to  the LatrodectuFamily members I've already mentioned, have two horizontal rows of four eyes which go across the front of the Cephalothorax, sadly Wydowna does not - her eyes go in two vertical rows of  three which ends on her forehead, and sadly doesn't allow enough spare space to correct this anomaly.

Western Black Widow Latrodectus Hesperus

The other issue which makes it harder to correct the eye amount and layout, is the fact that both Mattel and the Chinese Clone maker have provided raised areas which are covered in paint to form the eyes... Removal of the paint does not allow free range to paint wherever I'll need to due to the raised areas, so unless I get another black skinned Monster High doll Head from possibly  a Catty Noir and strip and repaint that I just have to live with the "six eye problem".

 Of course I'm aware there are many other species of spiders which have two, four or six eyes... And even no eyes -  like The Eyeless Huntsman Spider (Sinopoda scurion ) recently discovered in caves in Laos, Southeast Asia, who just have a big baldy spot where you expect their eyes to be!
Yeah I know  Sinopoda scurion has nothing to do with it, but I just had to include a photograph because they are just so damn cute!


Getting back to my "horn problem" -  I can't let it go without stating, that while I have a problem with Wydowna having a horn, this is only due to her supposively being related to a Black Widow, as I know from personal experience that there is in fact at least one species of Spiders which does in fact have a horn...
During my years as a Tarantula Owner  I had two African Horned Baboon Spiders (Ceratogyrus Marshalli)

These are very beautiful, but also very large and aggressive spiders and as the name suggests they have a horn which protrudes from the centre of their Carapace, as you can see is the photographs, above and below.
So it seems that Mattel may have decided to combine qualities from both Horned Baboon and Black Widow Spiders when they designed their Weberella doll or perhaps not, I guess it doesn't really matter, the anomalies either, as I do still love both the Mattel and Clone versions, even though I am not likely to be able to own a real Wydowna until Mattel decide to release her in one of their new waves of dolls - which I have heard is very likely to be taking place sometime this year - due I'm sure to the high demand of these dolls at and after the San Diego Comic-Con.

Here's how my girl looked after I'd taken my paint brushes to her; I just had to add definition to her eyes, after I painted her original (large) pair in red so it would match my handiwork and also to cover up the dusty pinkish colour of the original factory paint and I neatened up her fangs and lipstick a little too.

I still need to neaten it up a little here and there but all in all, I'm very pleased with how she looks now.
As for her skin I didn't really do anything to it, only varnish it, which I was amazed to discover not only brought her up to similar shine as she has on her body, but also made the colour of her "skin" look far more uniform and darker in colour and much closer to the skin tone of the Official Wydowna doll.

Chinese Clone.                                        Customised Chinese Clone.                       Real Weberella.

To get a better idea of how different she looks now, I decided to collage the before clone, after clone and the real Weberella dolls side by side. Looking at them side by side like this, I have to say I think I prefer my customised clone to the the Mattel official version and she definitely is a marked improvement on the clone doll she was when she arrived from China.

I also painted her shoes silver to match the official doll's ones, in terms of looks they were pretty much identical - They also have the tiny spider motif in the centre of the ankle, apart from the colour there isn't much difference between the official shoes and the clone's shoes - I painted the heels red and just to be different, I also painted the soles red as well - this seemed to me to make more sense than them just having a red heel.

It's a shame John Agar and Mara Corday looked so freaked out by her as she's really quite a sweetheart!

In terms of poseability, the clone is of much better quality than I expected, her limbs were actually a little stiff which I like in my dolls as it means they will hold poses much better than looser ones.

There is a few obvious differences between her and my Monster High dolls but these are generally down to the type of vinyl used to make her, Monster High dolls tend to have harder plastic limbs, whereas the clone has limbs which feel almost like hard rubber, but as I've already mentioned this does not affect her poseability in any way so it's really not an issue.

Oops looks like I spoke to soon about how sweet she is, I guess she must be hungry and seeing my custom DragonFly Monster High Doll is too much for her empty belly to handle!

She came with several silver and also gold bracelets on her wrists, but I thought they looked tacky so I removed them.

As she came with pierced ears, but no earrings, I gave her a pair of silver tone Skull and Crossbones as I thought they summed her up quite nicely, I'll probably make her a new outfit soon, when I have a few spare minutes to do so, as I'm a little weird about the one she came in, by that I mean I like it but at the same time I don't although I can't give any reason as to why I would have either opinion on it!

All in all I think she was worth the money - which I have to say was more than I would normally pay for a clone doll, but not really by that much and as the postage cost was included in the £8.00 - I really don't think I can fault it at all.