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Let me talk to you about female action figure torsos...


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Obviously, quite a bit of joking can be made at my expense for the topic of my post. However, I probably have your attention now.


I have posted these thoughts in the D.C. Comic Toys section because I lean mostly toward D.C. I also like Marvel, but I spend most of my comic-related forum time here. Therefore, here I am.


Try to put the laughing aside for a second and consider this -




When it comes to action figures, my opinions are derived from the sculpt of the figure. Many people want articulation in an action figure. I like seeing articulation, however I never ever want extra articulation at the sacrifice of a good sculpt.


Action figures based on characters we know and love from the D.C. comics universe should obviously include females. Unlike many action figure lines, comic-based figures have a good sampling of females as well as males.


I want you to consider Marvel Legends for a second. Now I am not looking for your thoughts on Marvel Legends, but they do prove the point I am about to make. Marvel Legends has had quite a few figures released over recent years. D.C. doesn't really have that sort of variety of figures in that scale at this time, and I know we wish that they did.


But look at the females from that line - the super articulation of the figures from that toy line actually takes away from ....well...the fact that they are female. Forgive me if I assume too much here, but doesn't the physical appearance of some of these females - regardless of how strong the writing of their characters are be it in comics, TV, or movies - serve as part of the appeal to a male audience?


Hey look - I'm a guy. I'm just being honest. If I buy a female action figure, I want her to look like a female. This basically means that she not have a torso that is shaped like a BOX just to accommodate some extra joints of articulation.


Does this sort of thing bother any of the rest of you?


Take a look at Batgirl from the D.C. Superheroes line (photo from mwctoys):




Now I'm a Batgirl fan. I certainly could have chosen another figure out there - be it a female from Marvel Legends, or a different pose of the same figure which exaggerates my point a little bit more.


Maybe this pose doesn't bother you at all. Maybe you would simply pose her in a different position that looks a bit more feminine. But to me, she looks a bit awkward even if both legs are together and she is standing up straight.


If you are an artist that understands a few fundamental differences between rendering a female pose to that of rendering a male pose, this photo may bother you as it does me. It doesn't really look natural.


Articulation usually appears at the sacrifice of sculpt. It's just a fact. If you have to add a ball joint or a bolt somewhere, the streamline effect of the character's body is going to be affected. The female form is fairly graceful and smooth while the male form is a bit more rugged and angular. The male form is therefore usually a bit more forgiving when articulation is added. The female form, in my mind, is immediately affected in a negative way with the addition of (typical) articulation. This is especially true around the torso, hips, and upper legs.


So as fans of characters from the D.C. universe, I ask you this:


1: How much does articulation matter in your female action figures?

2: Do you care more about sculpt or articulation if you had to choose only one of the two?

3: Does the current trend of articulation in the female figures (i.e. Marvel Legends, DCSH) "work," or would you prefer it be modified?

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I'm sorry, but Batgirl is a lot more feminine then alot of the marvel legends figures. I mean, look at Black widow, Elektra, the gift set Invisible Girl, and Pheonix. They all Have no hips. they look like they are guys with breasts.


I would rather take batgirl who does have hips and a feminine neck, then elektra, who looks like a guy in both areas.

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Well the point is moot with DCD because they would never attempt to muck up a female sculpt with aticulation like that.


Marvel Legends guys look ugly and awkward with all of the added articulation so your right in saying the females are worse. They;re downright horrible. Rogue and Storm are the only ones passable as decent figures.


The best female is the FF classics series 2 invisable Woman because it barely has any articulation.


How much articulation should a femaled have? No more than DCD gives them.

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When it comes to female figures I have to agree. All of the Marvel Legends females look really awkward. Storm is okay, and Xtreme Rogue is actually how I feel a female figure should be done IF you're going to do Marvel Legends style articulation. Otherwise DCDirect's take is fine.

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I like this topic because I happen to be in the minority here and prefer female characters over most of the male ones.


As far as articulation is concerned, I feel that basic articulation is necessary, but not everything has to have a ball joint. But if you hav to have a ball joint, then do in a way that does not take away from the sculpt of the figure.


I love the DC Direct neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. That is usually never a problem. I also prefer females to have articulation and the knee and ankles, especially for a flying character like Wonder Woman, Phoenix, or Storm for example.


The main problem always lies in the torso and hip region. In this area, I believe that articulation should be established where the costume permits. For instance. the classic V crotch would be ideal for Wonder Woman's costume because that's where her costume ends and her skin begins. I could care less if the V crotch limits her posability because if you put a ball joint on her, she will look ridiculous. There are still a few poses that can be established to make her look attractive standing up, or in flight. The old Toybiz Mutant X Goblin Queen is the perfect example of limited articulation, but still allowing the figure to look feminine. Another good example is the toybiz 5" AOA Jean Grey. Sure she has limited articulation, but at least she looks feminine. The new articulation where DC Direct cuts at the hip for the new WW and Wonder Girl Figures is hideous and not feminine. The V crotch is ideal for characters like WW, First Appearance Storm, Ms. Marvel, Starfire, Psylocke, or any other female with a swimsuit like outfit.



For characters that wear more of a body suit costume like Phoenix, Batgirl, SpiderWoman, And Catwoman, the ball joint only looks ok if it is really tucked inside the Hip. The original Masters of the Universe Teela had a tucked in ball joint that still allowed the figure to look feminine. character like Emma Frost that show the midrift area should never have stomach articulation that most of the female ML's have.



Marvel Legends has struggled to come up with decent hip articulation. Most people say Storm has the best sculpt, but truthfully she is Very skinny and her head is too small. The hip design is nice, but the proportion of her crotch area looks like a diaper. The ball joint on the Phoenix figure sticks out too much, and the waist area is too square, making Jean's body look too masculine. The only other hip joint that comes close to looking feminine is the one for the Black Widow figure. I think the Black Window hip joint would only look good on heronies with bodysuit costumes or pants. I hope if Hasbro makes Female Marvel Legend Icons, they go the Black widow or Storm route on the hips.


In addition, I think over articulation is a BIG NO NO. Articulation should only be made when neceassry. For example, TB ruinned Jean Grey's Phoenix costume by painting her thigh High boots without sculpting them on The legs and arms had way too much articualtion, making Jean look mechanical. They also gave her those god aweful duck feet instead of giving her heels like Storm. I use this as an example because Jean is my favorite character.


Finally, I think a great example of both articulation and femininity is the DCSH Supergirl. The articulation is hidden and overall I feel she is a great compromise for those that want a feminine looking character with articulation.

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I'm sorry, but Batgirl is a lot more feminine then alot of the marvel legends figures.


That is actually a point that I made myself in the original post - I stated that I could have easily picked a different figure than Batgirl that better illustrates my point, and I also mentioned Marvel Legends figures & how they are among some of the worst.


Come on, man! I know my post is long, but you gotta read the whole thing. Haha.


Bigsexy944 - Are you sure the point is moot? I am not a fan of the articulation in that Batgirl figure at all, and I don't want to see DCD going the direction of Marvel Legends for their female sculpts. Is it up to Mattel to call the shots on the figure itself after DCD provides the costume/style or is DCD involved in a greater capacity?


BigBot84 - I am a casual fan of Storm. I am not on as much of an X-Men kick now as I was around 1992, but I thought it would be neat to pick up a figure of her when she was released in the ML line. I think that was the first time I actually gave that figure line some notice. When I saw how skeletal she looked, I started down this path of concern.


MarvelBoy1974 - Thanks for the feedback and your examples. It helps illustrate things a lot better when you have things you can compare.

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Well, articulation in action figures, especially at 1/12th scale is a compromise. Adding articulation defeats the human form in favour of the mechanics of function.


Because of plastic tolerances and material strengths, they need to design the figures form to accomodate the articulation first and then adjust for the anatomy.

Because the articulation ( re: the function) is MORE of a selling point than the sculpt, the articulation compromise wins out.

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Well it is a good topic, but what i was reffering to when I said the point was moot was that for DCD figures, they havn't adjusted the format of their female figures yet, and thats the way it probably will and should stay.


As far as mattel goes, i think adding articulation to the females is pointless. Theres no doubt the batgirl still looks better than the female marvel legends, but as you pointed out, she looks so silly in any other pose, so really, she only looks better than the female marvel legends, standing straight. without her hips all out of joint. They might as well have just given her regular hips.


Females and articulation are always tricky IMO. For example, despite my disdain for overly articulated figures I actually LOVE the SOTA Street Fighter line because they did everything Toy biz didn't but should have. Each body was sculpted with the ball joints in proportion, and the figures anatomy and build was faithfull to the video game. That is except when it came to the females, where Cammy and Chun li were ugly, mechanical looking and SKINNY! Chun Li's thighs are supposed to be like tree trunks!


So in short i belive that, even in a high articulation line, there should be less articulation in the female figures.

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