Another Barbie-headed Cool Girl, this time I used a 'Chinese' Triad Alpha body (Caucasian, small bust).
The head is from a 2016 Barbie Princess Pink play-line doll.
The 2016 Princess doll itself comes with a rigid body with rigid arms and legs and with the top half of her dress molded and printed on the body so turning this cute head into one of my B-Girls was a no-brainer.
The Princess doll heads have the advantage of having a full head of hair (no bald spots under ponytails) but do come with a tiara that is fixed to the head with two nylon 'tacks' that are punched straight through the top of the head.
Apart from the slightly oversized eyes, this Millie face sculpt has a realistic shape and beautiful features.
Like most recent Barbie heads, this one also is slightly larger, mostly wider actually.
This Barbie head is almost devoid of make-up, which makes the exact location where the eyes are printed even more important for the expression on the face.
When viewed in bright light the head looks a bit bland but moving the main light source higher up brings out the lovely features of the face.
The Caucasian skin tone of the Triad Alpha body matches the tan Barbie skin tone nicely and the petite looking small-bust body goes well with the girlish looks of this Barbie head. Mind you, despite looking petite the Alpha body is just as tall as a CG v2 body.
Alpha bodies have a rather large neck so it took a bit of work to get the neck to fit the head. Then I verified the movement of all joints, cleaned up all seams and fitted an adapter for the head.
Many recent Barbie clothes will fit a small bust Alpha body as only its waist, thighs and calves are wider than a typical recent Barbie body.
For now I dressed Daisy in a DIY made pair of black shiny leggings and a blue Barbie top (cat.nr. CMV52).
After test-fitting the head on the body I took some pictures. Then I removed the head from the body, carefully removed the tacks that held the tiara in place and put the head back on the body.
To fit her with ZC sneakers I made her a pair of custom ankle posts and custom black leggings with a small strip of Velcro sewn to the insides of the cuffs.
I gave the cream colored sneakers a subtle metallic shine by painting over the cream parts with a mixture of Vallejo Metallic Medium (70.521) and Satin Varnish (70.522), mixed in a ratio of 1 to 8.
|More pictures (click for larger version)|
The Alpha body has a rather large oblong-shaped neck (outside 15mm wide, 16mm deep; inside 9mm wide, 12mm deep), way too large to fit a Barbie head straight-away. Since the inside depth (i.e. front to back distance) is larger than the size of a Barbie neck recess, just sanding the edges down won't work. The depth of the neck needs to be reduced first.
I decided to cut a wedge out of the front of the neck and sand the cutting edge of the wedge down.
I tilted the neck post as far back as possible and using a razor saw I started a cut at 8mm from the rear edge of the neck, at an angle of about 70 degrees (i.e. parallel to the neck post) and sanded the cutting edge on the neck smooth.
Sanding the wedge down also reduces its width so I sanded it down until it overlapped the cut in the neck by just 0.5mm on each side, the result was that the depth of the top of the neck was reduced to 14mm (10.5mm at the upper edge).
Then I lined up the details and glued the wedge back to the neck, using Plastruct Plastic Weld glue.
After the glue had cured I sanded the neck smooth and restored the details of the neck with a small round file, then cut 1.5mm off the edge of the neck to get rid of most of the front and rear cut-outs and sanded the outside edge of the neck to a curved taper.
I made a template for checking if the neck was both perfectly circlular and smaller than 12.0mm (12.0mm being the diameter of the lower edge of a Barbie heads neck recess). The template also helps for determining the shape of the curved taper of the edge by making sure the shape of the neck fits the template when it is placed at an angle.
After sanding I carefully buffed the sanded plastic using a felt buffing wheel on my motortool. I opted for buffing instead of applying a coat of liquid glue because the ABS plastic of the Alpha body is particularly tough, which makes it easier to buff to a satin sheen similar to the rest of the body. Applying glue would have resulted in a very glossy sheen.
On the inside of the neck I restored the circular shape, so the neck post is free to move in any direction.
One drawback to cutting and gluing ABS plastic is that whitish marks may emerge along the glued seams, this indeed happened with this neck but the marks are faint enough for me to ignore.
These marks can only be removed by heating or by painting. Heating ABS should be avoided as melting ABS plastic will emit toxic fumes. I did not feel like painting the entire neck and only touching up the marks is likely to leave visible marks of a different color...
While adapting the neck for Becky I tried coating the glued seam with Cyanoacrylate Glue before I started sanding, this indeed prevented any white marks from occurring.
Later I found that running a small brush with some acetone along the white marks will reduce the whiteness, this may cause some small pits to form in the ABS surface though.
To fit a Barbie head I used a piece of clear vinyl tubing slid over the neck post and held in place by a cloth pin. To make a Barbie head fit properly, the lower edge of the tubing should be 5.0mm above the point where the neck reaches a diameter of 12.0mm, for this body the edge of the tubing ended up 3.0mm above the edge of the neck.
ZC sneakers are beautiful Converse-lookalikes, unfortunately these sneakers are made out of stiff plastic and there is not much room inside for flexing the ankles of CG, ZC or Alpha legs.
So I decided to make some slim custom ankle posts padded with foam to allow the ankles to flex and be put in poses other than straight down.
Alpha ankles have the same attachment posts as CG v1.5 ankles have, so these ankle posts could also be fitted to CG v1.5 bodies and most CG v2 clones.
The sneakers have a cup for a Hot Toys sized ball inside.
Tools and materials needed:
The posts are made from a piece of ABS rod (diameter 5.0mm, length 28.0mm), a Hot Toys ankle ball, a length of threaded steel wire (DIN M2) and a stopper ring out of Evergreen tubing.
|I started with a set of Hot Toys ankle balls which I bought as loose items off eBay, this particular set was from a parted out Bruce Lee figure, but any short set will do. Both balls have the same diameter and since I only need one ball for each leg I used a razor saw to cut one pair in halves.|
|The ball will be attached to the post by a length of thin threaded steel wire, this steel core also keeps the post from warping. The wire needs to be screwed into the ball and into the post, so I drilled a hole into the center of the ball and through the center of the post.
The plastic of the ball is particularly tough so I started by using a 1.0mm drill bit and drilled 5.0mm deep into the ball. Then I widened the hole with a 1.6mm drill bit again drilling 5.0mm deep and finally I widened the start of the hole with a 1.8mm drill bit drilling 1.0mm deep. The ABS rod already had a 1.0mm hole running through its center so I widened this hole using a 1.6mm drill bit drilling 15mm deep and widened the start of the hole with a 1.8mm drill bit drilling 1.0mm deep.
|Cut a length of about 20mm of threaded wire and run some nuts along its length to restore the thread at the cuts. As the plastic of the ball is much tougher than the ABS plastic of the rod, screw the threaded wire into the ball first.
Mark the wire at 5mm from one end and fit a stack of four nuts tightly screwed together to the other end. The stack of nuts serves as a grip: grabbing the rearmost nut with pliers allows the wire to be screwed into the ball.
After the 5mm mark has disappeared into the ball, remove the nuts, tightly grip the ball and screw the wire into the ABS rod.
|To fit the post into the leg of a CG v1.5 or Alpha body the outer 12mm of the rod needs to be sanded down into a 4.0mm by 4.0mm square cross section. Mark 12.0mm and wrap some masking tape around the rod along the mark for protection.
Once the cross section is 4x4mm square, a 2.0mm wide locking groove needs to be cut at 4.0mm off the tip. Once the locking groove is cut, test fit the post to a leg, the post should lock into position.
|Cut two rings of about 1.0mm wide each from a length of polystyrene tubing of 6.3mm outside diameter, 4.9mm inside diameter. If the rings do not fit over the posts, either slightly increase the rings inside diameter with a file or a rolled up piece of fine sandpaper or make a cut in one side.
These rings will act as stoppers to prevent the posts from being inserted too far into the legs.
Slide a ring on a post and insert the post into a leg until it locks. Slide the ring right up to the leg, gently pull the post out of the leg and apply some thin polystyrene cement to the join line of the ring and the post.
Note that the upper post in the picture is slightly longer (0.5mm) than the one below it, I did this on purpose because the hole in the left sneaker is slightly deeper than the hole in the right one, the longer post compensates for that.
|Finally the top 6-8mm of the round part of the posts need some soft foam rubber padding and a strip of Velcro below it to attach the cuffs of the leggings to.|