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Topic: Soft figures with a headstick
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Oct 22, 2011 07:56AM)
About a month ago, Rev. Bill started a thread, "Need new Vent figure head", about needing to replace the head of a Wubble figure he has - (for those who missed it, the Wubbles were latex figures with a headstick that operated the mouth) - and the latex had deteriorated. Unfortunately, the maker of the Wubbles is no longer in the puppet-making business, and no one else is doing anything like that, so there is little help to offer.

Steve from the Dummy Shoppe mentioned in the thread that Jet was working on something similar, and appears they have come up with something.
They have a soft figure that has a headstick to operate the mouth and moving eyes, and Steve told me Jet is working on one now that also has blinkers and eyebrows.
They are calling them "Figmys" and you can read more about it here;

So this might be an option for Rev Bill, or anyone else in his position who might have had a Wubble, to get another soft figure with a headstick.
My personal thoughts for what little their worth;
First, I'd love to see one of these "in person", but since I don't live close enough to their shop to stop by, I guess I'll just have to hope I can make a convention and see one there.
Generally speaking, I don't know if there will be many soft figure fans that will be converting to these. As I recall, the Wubbles weren't overwhelming popular. There wasn't enough there to convert those who liked hard figures with headsticks, and those who prefer soft puppets, one of the main reasons they like like them is because they can get their hands right their in the puppets face and get all kinds of looks and animations you can't get with any hard figure no matter how many animations you have in the figure.
But I do see those with hard figures being more interested in these than they were in the Wubbles now that there's more available than just a moving mouth.
They would undoubtedly pack smaller and definitely lighter than any hard figure, lighter to hold, so it does make it a viable option for those who are used to using a figure with a headstick.
I had only planned to buy one more new figure some day, I'd like to get a carved version of my main figure with a couple more animations he doesn't currently have, but I could also see myself having a soft version of him made with this new headstick version and animations (of course for what it would cost to have those two figures made, I'd have to win a lotto, so don't expect to see me posting in the foreseeable future about getting either of them).
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 22, 2011 10:09AM)
I have seen the soft puppet with headstick... it looks very nice. Groundbreaking!

But if you plan to have a soft version of a hard figure, the maker might just have a big challenge unless of course it's latex as in Axtell type latex.

If I only have enough money and choose between a carved version and a soft version, I may be biased but I'll choose the carved wooden figure. It will last longer and it will look closer to the original. But if I have enough money, I'll get both. :)

I actually asked Ax how much it will cost to make a Nicolo in latex... a bit expensive but it might be worth it.:)
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Oct 22, 2011 10:52AM)
A soft version would of course, not look quite the same, but then neither would it look the same in latex, it would only be a general resemblance in either case. And if I were going to choose between latex and cloth, I'll take the cloth. Latex breaks down and goes bad no matter what you do, whether you use it or not, cloth - that's not the case.
But I agree, if it came to a choice of only getting the carved version or the soft version of my main figure, carved will definitely win because I have always preferred hard figures and I love wood, but with that said, if I could get both, I too would do that too.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 22, 2011 12:01PM)
Between latex and cloth...depending of course on the maker, I think latex has a better chance in making a hard figure clone. :)

Now as for the soft puppet with a headstick... I think its cool! :)
Message: Posted by: Dickens & Dave (Oct 22, 2011 06:38PM)
If you're looking to get it to look exactly like the original hard figure as much as possible, you are probably correct about the latex if you gave them the hard head to mold (which I would never do). Like I said though, I wouldn't expect either to be an exact clone, there's no way a lot isn't going to be lost in the translation from one medium to another.
And even if latex could produce a closer version, I don't buy latex figures at all any more. I don't like spending that much money for something I know is going to rot away on me. I can't even counter that by buying two so there's one for backup because by the time I need it, the backup could be rotting too.
If I'm going to buy a soft figure, definitely cloth.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Oct 22, 2011 07:01PM)
True ;)

But personally and maybe its just me, if I need a hard figure cloned into a soft version, I'd go with latex.

I had my puppet makers make a Nicolo in cloth and I confess it did not look anything like the kid. Im just guessing, latex will look much closer to the actual figure.

I wanted a soft version of Nicolo and my boxer puppet so I can bring them to out of town gigs. Something I can easily bring and wont have problems in the airport. I think a soft puppet is more convenient for travels.

If a performer is used to headstick manipulation, a clone of your hard figure in soft puppet with a headstick would be very nice.
Message: Posted by: axtell (Oct 22, 2011 07:54PM)
I love the concept of soft puppets with headsticks and they look well made. Some of our puppets have head sticks (Fred the Fried Chicken, Weasel, Meerkat, Lemur).. so did Lovik's Wubbles years ago. Terry Fator's Fleece covered Beetle has a headstick with eye and mouth controls. It's a great way to add more animation from one hand control in the puppet. Nice work. Ax