Friday, June 4, 2010

U-noa, I'm in Love with You

There's no denying it.  It was love at first sight.  From the moment I saw my first U-noa Quluts girls in the pages of a magazine, I knew I had to have one.  Or two.  Or more.  Araki Gentaro's delightful dolls exemplify my aesthetic of the ideal doll body and doll face.  Their proportions are perfection.  The fact that they are hard to get only adds to their allure.

For anyone who is not familiar with these dolls, their creator does not care to deal directly with the international market, nor does he sell through doll shops abroad.  If you do not live in Japan, or know someone in Japan who can buy a doll for you, your only recourse is a buying agent in Japan or else the secondary market (e.g., ebay).  Complicating matters is the fact that the dolls are offered during a narrow window of time a few times a year, and sometimes only by lottery.  At times, sales are limited to customers who have purchased the dolls before.  So how do you get a foot in the door?

If you think you want to buy a U-noa, register with an agent as soon as you can.  I registered with Crescent Shop in Japan during an open buying period.  They are wonderful people to deal with -- polite and informative.  Items are carefully packaged.  I highly recommend them. 

I have also purchased U-noas on ebay.  Prices there can be high, considering that you are buying either a previously loved (i.e., used) doll or an unassembled kit.  I would not recommend a U-noa kit to anyone who has not already had some experience of BJDs.  Not only is it daunting to assemble a doll for the very first time, but the instructions are in Japanese.  They are well-illustrated, so it is possible to put the doll together just by following the pictures.  Still, you wonder what you are missing in the fine print!  The doll kits are also unpainted.  Some doll owners paint and body-blush their own dolls; others send them out to doll artists for face-up and blushing, which adds to the overall cost of the doll.

There are two models of U-noa Quluts girls:  Lusis, distinguished by an open mouth with a removable piece for teeth (see the two girls in the photo above), and Sist, who has a closed mouth (see photo below).  Both models are 42 cm. tall (16.53 inches) and wear a size 6/7 wig.

All three of these girls came to Resin Corner by way of ebay.  The two Lusis girls came with artist face-ups:  Stacey Carpenter did the one on the left; I don't know the name of the artist who did the other.  The Sist model had a face-up I didn't like, so I sent the faceplate to Kat of Melancholy Kitties and got back the sweet freckle-faced girl you see above.  U-noas have eyebrows sculpted right into their faceplates.  In order to get a different look than the one in the sculpt, it is necessary to sand down the brows, which Kat did to perfection on Sist.

An interesting feature of U-noas is the different parts that are available.  There is a large-bust torso and a small-bust torso.  There are faceplates with a variety of expressions.  There are elf ears, horns, and extra hands, not to mention a curious eye mechanism that allows the eyes to look right, center, or left by adjusting an exterior lever (normally hidden by the doll's wig).  So far I haven't been able to put the mechanism together without the eyes falling out.  The eye mechanism only works with round acrylic eyes that have a stem at the back.  Fortunately I happen to like silicone eyes better.  The silicone eyes (by Eyeco) are held in place by silicone putty.

Earlier this year I purchased a Lusis sleep face and clasped hands, as well as a Chibi Lilin osumashi face and fist hands for my smallest U-noa.  You'll meet my Chibi Lilin in another post, as well as my U-noa boys.  As for the faces, I intend to paint these myself and will take photos so I can talk about the process in another post.  I have already painted Lilin's and the boys' faces with results that I am not completely ashamed of, although I won't mention how many times I wiped off each face and started over!

For now, I will close with two more photos of Lusis and Sist, along with a few words about wigs and outfits.  In the top photo, wigs by Monique Gold (J-Rock in soft red; Hope in light ash brown), dress patterns by Adams-Harris (Romantic on left for Soul Kid Linn and New Romantic on right for Ellowyne Wilde).  In the second photo, powder pink wig by LeekeWorld, body suit from Unitard and Stockings for Ellowyne by MHD Designs.  Third photo: wigs by Monique Gold (JoJo in golden auburn-golden strawberry; Pretty Girl in light peach-bleach blonde), outfit on left is Fashion Forward for Ellowyne from Designs by Jude; outfit on right is EGL dress from #14 Mini Wardrobe for 43 cm Narae by Gracefaerie Designs paired with #21 Corset for MSD also by Gracefaerie Designs.  Last photo:  wig by Luts, dress pattern is #30 Play Day by Gracefaerie Designs, orange shoes from Cherish Doll.

Next time:  More U-noas!

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