Sunday, November 16, 2014

Doll Stands: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last week JSarie asked what kind of stands I use for the larger dolls.  Good question, but not one I could answer quickly at the end of a blog post.  It's a question that deserves to be answered in full and with accompanying photos.  Seeing as other doll collectors may be asking themselves the same question, I thought it deserved a blog post all its own.

Obviously, the larger BJDs pose a problem when it comes to finding a good stand.  You want a stand that is sturdy enough to support the doll's weight while accommodating itself to the doll's size and shape.  Some stands are strong enough, but don't extend to the needed height, or they assume that a doll is tall but has no figure.  BJDs come with hips and buttocks and thighs.  A stand that is straight up-and-down with a tiny waist grip just won't cut it.  I know because I have several of them.  They were expensive and totally useless.
An array of stands
Above are two of my large dolls: an IpleHouse SID (62cm in flat feet but closer to 64cm in heels) and a FairyLand Feeple60 Moe-line (54cm in flat feet but closer to 56cm in heels), surrounded by a few doll stands.
Standard metal stand
The FM60 can be accommodated quite easily by the standard metal doll stand.  It can clasp her securely either under the bust or around the waist.  Above are two identical stands, one clasped under the doll's bust and one by itself to show its construction. 

I use the same stand with my SIDs, even though it does not extend enough to clasp them around the waist.  I let the stand grip the doll's upper thigh instead.  It doesn't hold as securely this way, but it does hold, although I might think twice about doing this if I lived in earthquake country.
Standard metal stand placed around thigh
I have a few larger metal stands that I use with taller dolls.  They are similarly constructed except that the white section wraps completely around the front concealing the wires all the way down.  They also have a wider base.  Both features combine to make a stronger stand, although ideally the white section would lean forward.  This would accommodate a doll with a more ample figure, such as a FeePle65.  Mine ends up with the clasp just under her buttocks.  It holds her, but I'd be happier if it held her around the waist.  The photo below shows an SID using the same style stand.  The clasp isn't as wide on this one, so I have it clamped around her thigh.  What's nice is that the waist wire is coated, so there is less danger of bare wire scratching resin.
Another thigh-gripping stand
The cream colored stand at the front of the top photo isn't much to look at.  Not only does it look too flimsy to hold a large doll, but the wire piece barely fits into the bottom piece.  Nevertheless, this ugly duckling actually can hold an SID with a minimum of intrusion.  My only worry is that the open wire ends in front may damage the doll's clothing.
Awkward looking wire stand from the rear
Front of the ugly duckling stand
I like saddle stands for some of my large dolls.  Although the stands I have are tall enough for SIDs, they are not wide enough at the base.  When an SID straddles the saddle, I can't get her legs any closer together than you see in the photo below.  One foot rests on the base, but the other one doesn't quite make it.  I don't have this problem with the nYIDs; despite having the same size feet, their smaller torso and legs make for a better fit.  These stands don't work with the male dolls; their anatomy gets in the way.
Saddle stand
I have one strange stand that looks like a mistake was made in its assembly.  (See top photo, extreme right.)  The post goes through the base dead center, as you find in a saddle stand, yet the clasp is the waist variety.  Waist stands always have the post at the back of the stand.  This allows the doll to stand in front of it with her feet on the base.  With the post in the middle, the doll cannot stand in front of it because there won't be enough room for her feet.  I would have sent it back except it came from Korea and I wasn't about to pay for shipping.
Insecure waist grip
All of the tall stands with wooden bases in the top photo, except for the saddle stand, are pretty much useless for the larger BJDs.  While their waist grips look strong, they are flexible.  You can open the clasp wider to place the doll in it and close it tighter around her.  Unfortunately, you may think you have a doll secured, only to have her pitch forward when the clasp inexplicably loosens.  I've had that happen.  Luckily I was standing there and caught the doll.  I haven't used one of those stands since.

You may be wondering what sort of stand I use for my larger male BJDs.  With the exception of my Soom Super Gem, who uses one of the large metal stands mentioned above, my guys generally stand upon their own big feet and lean against a handy wall behind them.  When they get too loose to stand, I give them a chair or something else to sit on.

Where do I buy my stands?  I find the smaller ones at craft stores like Michael's and A.C. Moore's.  I have ordered some from Dollspart.com.  They have a saddle stand identified as a BJD dollstand.  It's good for the smaller of the large dolls, as they give the size range as 15 to 23 inches.  (23 inches equals 58.5 cm, which means this stand will accommodate the FeePle60 Moe but not the SID.)  In the past I have seen doll stands sold by some of the Korean doll companies, but I don't see them there now.  Luts has only one stand for the larger dolls, a saddle stand good for up to 60 cm.  I've seen some stands on ebay but haven't bought any there.  If any of my readers have found reliable, strong stands for their large BJDs, please let me know where.  The search for a really good stand continues. 


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