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Let's Think Deep: Articulating Articulation
It’s been a few weeks since I Thunk Deep, so it seems about right to try my hand and brain at something a bit new and completely different than the last Let’s Think Deep article. As you may recall, last time was an elementary foray into quantum physics.
This time I’ve been thinking more about action figures and exactly what about them makes them so wonderful. Generally you’ll hear the phrase “points of articulation” thrown around like it has some sort of inherent meaning. But hey, does it? How many points of articulation does an action figure need? Can you have too many? Let’s Think Deep, shall we?
A Trip Down Memory Lane
When I was a kid (it really wasn’t all too long ago, assuming I ever stopped being one), I wasn’t all too concerned about how pose-able my figures were. I had my Ninja Turtles , some G.I. Joes, and a random assortment of toys from everywhere. For the longest time things were good. I didn’t have any sort of rules for playing in terms of what could and could not happen. If I wanted something to fly, then sure, it could fly. I was under the concept that any of my figures could gain flight whenever they put their arms up, though that was only during specific plotlines or if they had trained to do it and such. Anyway, I’m on a random tangent there. Let’s get back to thinking deep.
The point I was going toward is that posing my toys was never very important. Heck, even having them stand up wasn’t required most of the time, as usually they’d just be lying down when they weren’t in my hands. Besides, it’s pretty difficult to make an action figure stand up on pillows or a mattress. It was very rare when I’d throw a fit about one of my figures failing to stand up when I wanted it do, and even less when they couldn’t bend to my needs. I controlled them well enough, so what more could I ask for?
Bust A Move
Well, after a while I demanded a bit more move-ability from my “actors” so that they could pull off more complicated actions and illicit slightly more emotion in dramatic scenes (“But Goku, Shredder just killed Spiderman! We can’t let him get away with this!”). I found myself wanting a few basic points of articulation (oh, and so there’s no confusion here, “articulation” relates to any place on the action figure that can bend and move). Here’s what I needed to be happy: The arms needed to move up and down and bend at the elbow, the hand needed to be capable of gripping a weapon or item, the head needed to be capable of turning left and right, and the legs needed to move at both the knees and the hip. That was the standard, though I later started to refine my needs further.
Suddenly just up and down wasn’t enough for my arms and legs. I wanted them to be on a ball-joint so that there was full range of mobility when arms and legs met with the torso piece. Also, I wanted a swivel at the waist so the legs could turn in a separate direction from the arms for more dramatic poses. As of now I like to h...
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