Toy Design & Sculpture: Joint Overview – FREE CHAPTER


SANDY COLLORA: This is also commonly referred
to as a swivel joint, and it’s usually used in the head of an action
figure. This is an action figure I did way back in the day for a company called Mezco. This is the Captain Nemo Wave Rider action
figure. And as you can see, his head has a disc joint in it, which allows for movement right and left. And that is held together by the surface of the neck hitting the surface of the inside of the upper
torso on a pin that just turns right and left and gives you a basic head movement. So, the head of our figure is going to have a disc in it because what we’re going to do is, you want the head to be able to turn right and left. So, the head is going to be a disc joint. Okay? Again, there’s several ways to accomplish
this. You can either use two pre-fabricated, you can either use Delrin, any kind of plastic disc and insert it into your sculpture with a metal
pin. Or you can simply just sculpt the neck part
flat on both sides and use the part of your armature that comes
out, to go into the small hole and it basically achieves the same effect. So that’s joint number one, is a disc joint and we’re actually going to be using that on our action figure today that we’re going to be roughing out. So, we’ll have a disc joint in the head for movement there. Okay? We’re also going to be using disc joints in
the legs. Okay? This is going to allow movement of the legs forward and back. Okay? Again, exactly the same as we have on this Captain Nemo figure here, by Mezco. This is, this is actually what we call a test
shot. This is typically what you’re going to get
back from the factory before they actually produce your painted
action figure. What they’ll do is they’ll send your client, it’s usually one color, basically of the action figure that you’ve sculpted and produced. So you basically okay this and say “Okay the joints are fine, it looks fine, the way that everything was put together. Go ahead and now produce the final action
figure that is now going to ship.” So, again you can see, he’s got a disc joint in his leg, which is gonna allow for movement forward and back. Okay? Now, a much more complicated action figure would have a different kind of joint in there, which would allow lateral movement of the
legs and all different kinds of stuff which is not going to be covered here. Because what I want to do is, I want to show you the basics. Once you have the basic building blocks of how the basic joints work, it’s really easy to figure out how the rest
of them work. So, the second joint that we’re gonna talk about today, is what we call a ball and socket joint. It works very similar to the way your arms go into your shoulders or your legs go into your hips. It’s basically a round ball on the end of some sort of appendage, whether this be an arm or some appendage that sticks off the creature, if it’s a creature-based figure. And what’s gonna happen, is this ball, that you’re gonna use acrylic balls to make, okay, is going to slide into a socket that you create on the action figure, which allows movement not only backwards and forwards, but lateral as well. So, most arm joints on most action figures are these ball and socket joints as you can see. We can move up and down and it can also move around. Okay? This joint is the most popular joint on any action figure because what it does, is it provides the greatest range of motion. So, there are action figures that do utilize
these now in the heads and the legs and the waist and
the torso, because it does allow for the most vast and
—– range of motion. So we’re going to be incorporating that in
this figure as well. So, his arms which on this particular creature we have four of them, these are all going to be ball joints. Ball and socket joints, we’re gonna have four of them. Okay? So that basically means on the ends of each of the last appendage
of these arms – the last section of these arms, we’re gonna have a little acrylic ball – just like this – that we’re going to attach to the end of the sculpture, that’s going to fit into a hole that we carve into the body of the sculpture that will allow for the range of motion. Okay, so we’re gonna have four of those. One, two, three, four. So these will all be your ball and socket
joints. Okay, so that’s number two. The last joint that I’m going to tell you
about is a, just for your own basic knowledge, in this course we’re gonna be, only be covering
one and two, in this figure, it’s only going to utilize joints number one and two. We’re going to be using disc joints and ball
and socket. But I wanted to tell you about the hinge joint, which is a little bit more complex, a little bit harder to learn and a little bit harder to incorporate into
the figure because what it is, is it basically combines your ball and socket joint with the disc joint. It’s a ball and socket that works basically
like your elbow or your knee would to extend outwards, backwards and forwards, or just like your arm would. So, you’ve got this ball and socket joint, say on the lower leg of an action figure. But what they do is they route out a section for a disc that goes in there on the upper portion of it that a pin goes through and holds it together. That results in what we call a hinge joint, which is commonly used in the legs and elbows of most action figures to provide this kind
of back and forth, up and down movement. So, there ya have it. Those are your three basic kinds of joints that you’ll see on any action figure. When you’re speaking to your client about what kind of figure you’re going to
be making – whether they’re providing the designs to
you or not – the point of articulation will always come
up, it’s a very important part of making an action figure. And it’s what separates an action figure from a collectible statue or figurine, or even doing a maquette.

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