Experiments in Balance – Getting a Feel for Action Figure Posing

Recently I ran across a topic posted to the One Sixth Figures forum by member lawlaw91 featuring his "ex-periments in the wacky world of poses." In the topic. a male action figure on a jointed boy was put through a variety of extreme poses. In each of the poses, the figure balances completely on its own, unaided by wires, strings, prop sticks, tape, or any external support.

My Wild Jojoniser Jojoniser Vibe Poses

After initially being amused by the anime-style poses, I became intrigued.

Finally, I found myself inspired to attempt to emulate some of lawlaw's impressive action figure posing.

My efforts do not (yet) approach the stylish precision lawlaw91 has achieved, but after a couple of hours of playing around with a basic jointed figure and a TBLeague seamless figure, I learned a lot about how much these figures are capable of and how to get them to do what I want them to do... more or less.

For my first attempt, I started with an old DiD military figure body that I picked  up via eBay a few months ago. Nothing fancy, just a cheap twenty-year-old jointed body.

The first challenge I set for myself was simple: get the figure to stand on its own in a position other than rigidly straight, and without external support.

[Image: jojo1.jpg]
Quasimodo Muchly?

'Kay, that's not exactly "Jojo Stylin'," but at least it's... something. I dunno what, but something!

Once I got the fig to stand by itself, I began to scroll through lawlaw91's photos, looking for a relatively simple pose to emulate. I chose Post No. 3, the "cool hair" pose:

[Image: jojo2.jpg]
Cool Hair, Don't Care!

It's a mostly standing straight pose, with some bent knee and pointy toe action happening. It might not look like much -- because it's not -- but compared to what I've done with my figures up to this point, this simple "vogue - strike a pose" felt like a significant first step toward upping my game!

Next "step," then, is the Cool Dude Walk, as illustrated in Post No 14:

[Image: jojo3.jpg]

It's a little stiff, but it's a start. Loosen up, man, loosen up!

[Image: jojo4.jpg]
Que Pasa!

[Image: jojo5.jpg]
'Z'uuuup? Gimme Five, Clive!

[Image: jojo6.jpg]

Well... that was bound to happen! Turns out the old DiD body chillaxed a bit too much. The ankle joints, in particular, started to loosen up after just a little bit of play time. I'll maybe try to tighten them up with some teflon tape later.

That was a key discovery, however: "posing" requires a figure that will actually hold a pose! The joints have to be tight, because the slightest slip and down he, or she, or it goes!

By this point I was starting to "get a feel" for the fig, and some things I learned way back when I was nine or ten years old while building model rockets began to come back to me regarding center of balance.

The diagram in the first post of lawlaw91's Phicen/TBLeague Posing Compilation topic...


... proved helpful in this regard, re-activating some long-dormant memories about center of gravity and balance points. While the topic is mostly about realistic posing, the points illustrated pertain to balance as well. People (and animals, and things) stand and sit and move and pose the way they do because those are the positions that allow them to maintain balance and not fall down. It makes sense, then, that a "realistic" pose should, in theory, be a "stable" pose. Post No. 6 in that topic offers three excellent examples of "dynamic standing" poses -- the figure is just standing, but there's a sense of dynamic comic book style energy to the stances that not only serve to make the figure look cool, but to help it stand unaided.

Okay, so... looking cool. Now that we've got a few falls bruising our backside, it's time to take things up a notch, and go for the Cool Guy Leaning Backwards in Style move, as seen in Post No. 17:

[Image: jojo7.jpg]
Hey, Pretty Mama!

[Image: jojo8.jpg]
I call this one 'Cool Hand Juke!'

[Image: jojo9.jpg]
Cool Hair, Don't Care 2 - Leaning in to It

'Kay den... optimistically, but unrealistically, thinking we're ready for the Big Leagues, it's time to try... Post No. 22: Look, Ma, One Foot!

[Image: jojo10.jpg]
Hang on... I Got This! I... Think!

[Image: jojo11.jpg]
Oh Yeah!

Now that we're getting a feel for the basics using a jointed figure, let's bring in somebody from Team TBLeague!

[Image: jojo12.jpg]
Say Hey, Old Man! Way to Bust the Moves!

After beginning my experiments in EXTREME POSING with a jointed figure, since that is what lawlaw91 uses for his male figure posing pictures, and learning quite a bit about balance, center of gravity, and the importance of having stiff joints that will hold a position...

... as an aside, I find it a bit ironic that for action figures, stiffness in the joints offers a significant advantage when it comes to extreme poses; but for myself, that is not the case...

... I elected to carry out further experiments using a TBLeague (Phicen) seamless figure. The TBLeague figures are based on a steel internal jointed frame, or armature, and most TBLeague figures are able to hold poses well.

The first thing I noticed was...

[Image: jojo13.jpg]
Easy Peasy! I Can Do This Blindfolded!

... posing and balancing a seamless figure is WAY TONS EASIER!

The seamless figures feel SOLID, Daddy-O, compared to the light and flimsy jointed bodies. They have enough mass to them to pretty much plop down and stay put. And the joints do not shift once they're positioned. Plus, the TBL figs have a lot of joints. I've seen diagrams and photos of dissected specimens, but the diagrams and pics don't convey the difference in how they move nearly as well as just holding one in your hand and sensing the way it poses and flexes.

[Image: jojo14.jpg]
The Difference Is Mind-Blowing!

The center of mass -- that is, the heaviest part of the figure -- in a seamless figure tends to be similar to a real human; that is, the weight is in the body core. With jointed figures, the central body core tends to be hollow plastic and of relatively light weight. The arms and legs and head are relatively heavier, which affects weight distribution while posing and balancing. The seamless figures are naturally center weighted, so outstretched arms and legs have less of an effect on the balance. In theory, this should mean more extreme or outlandish balanced poses are possible with a TBLeague figure. My posing experience is not yet to that point, but I can state with confidence, based on my recent experiments, that TBLeague figures are noticeably easier to balance than are plastic jointed figures.

[Image: jojo15.jpg]
Yeah... But Can You Do This?

[Image: jojo16.jpg]
Uh huh, sure!

[Image: jojo17.jpg]
Or How 'Bout Some Jazzin' 'n' Spazzin'?

[Image: jojo18.jpg]
Naaah... My Neck Doesn't Have That Many Points of Articulation!
Plus... Doesn't That Hurt?

How about that Leaning Backwards thang?

[Image: jojo19.jpg]
Can Do, Magoo!

[Image: jojo20.jpg]
Not Bad, Not Bad! Golf Clap!

Okaaayyyy... so how about...

[Image: jojo21.jpg]
I know, I know! The fanboys wanna see the Silicone Slut Strut: Impossibly Arched Back and Protruding Bewbs
with Elbows In The Air and a Sideways Head Twist that's Impossible Even For An Owl!

What about the two pics in lawlaw91's Post No. 40:

[Image: jojo22.jpg]
That one has me stumped! I think I need high-heels to get that Head-Behind-The-Feet geometry to work out. Or maybe that gal has a fat butt. With a lead bottom, an air head, and balloon boobs, that pose would work! Maybe she has Helium Assist! But really, counter-intuitive as it might seem, the stiletto heels would help with the weight distribution curve necessary to achieve balance in that pose!

[Image: jojo23.jpg]
But I can do One Foot! Wanna See? Tuh Duuuhhhhh!!!!

[Image: jojo24.jpg]
And Tuh Duuuhhhhh... Again!!!!

[Image: jojo25.jpg]
Okay, now you're just showing off!
Yeah... pretty much! I'm almost done, just a couple more!

[Image: jojo26.jpg]
Here's that 'Bond Girl' one, from, like, Post No. 41

[Image: jojo27.jpg]
I bet they'll get a kick out of this: Hey! Hey!

[Image: jojo28.jpg]
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!

[Image: jojo29.jpg]
Take that, Miss Spetznaz!

And that wraps up my first foray in to the Wild, Wacky World of EXTREME ACTION FIGURE POSING!

THANKS to lawlaw91 for the inspiration and for providing some helpful hints and tricks!

I hope to follow up with some male TBLeague figures. Their even heavier weight will make them interesting to work with. Perhaps, too, I'll try something with Jaiou bodies, which are quite heavy for their size, but which have slightly different armatures.

And I still need to figure out that C-curve from Post No. 40

Until then...

[Image: jojo30.jpg]
Keep On Truckin'!

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[Image: jojo31.jpg]
Don't worry! Nobody's gonna see this one!
They darned well better not!
They're not dolls, they're action figures!

Messages In This Thread
Experiments in Balance – Getting a Feel for Action Figure Posing - by davidd - 02-06-2023, 08:29 AM

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