Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Play Arts Kai Serah Farron Part 3

Just when you think they are going to be the same

Back to Play Arts Kai Serah Farron to have a look at her articulation design after the previous posting on her sister. ^^

Standard range of vertical tilt for the head.
Unlike her sister, the lack of any appendage below her chin saves Serah the issue of limited forward head tilt.

Horizontal bend is not a problem at all for the head.

The ball-type neck joint can be utilized to give the head a series of free-range movements. ^^

An additional articulation point for Serah's head as compared to her sister's: the pigtail can swivel around on the left side of her head. XD

The hair is made of soft plastic.

Identical to the design on Lightning, Serah's body has two joints: one each for the abdomen and waist, and both are of ball-type design. Unfortunately, as her abdominal piece is linked to the skirt, it's extremely difficult to move the waist. ^^;

Forward-backward bend is of course possible for the waist.

The ball-type joint inside the figure's chest can be adjusted to give the upper body a series of free-range movements. ^^

As mentioned in Part 2, the pouch is connected to the belt, which is made of soft plastic.
Although the belt itself can be bent easily, it's fixed to the right hip and cannot be repositioned. ^^;

Unlike Lightning, Serah's shoulder blocks are not connected to the body via hinge joints, but ball-type ones instead. They still allow the arms to be flipped to the front, albeit more limited in range.
The design purpose is to give the shoulders a more natural look I suppose, even though it's not exactly working. ^^;

The difference in look between forward and backward bends for the shoulders (demonstrated by Serah's left and right shoulders respectively in the image above) is hard to spot. ^^;

Pretty standard swivel and hinge combo for the shoulder joint.

With the upper arm swivelled around so that the protruding base faces downward, the arm can be bent upward for an even wider range. ^^

Standard 90-degree bends for the elbow and wrist.
The band on the glove reduces the wrist's range of hinge movement.

The forearm can swivel around the elbow joint.

The front skirt is separated from Serah's dress and can be lifted to give more clearance for the legs' posability.

Thanks to the skirt's ability to be separated from the dress, the legs can be lifted forward for a pretty impressive range. ^^

However, the legs' backward bend is limited by the skirt.

Unlike the piece in front, the skirt is fixed on the back. The soft plastic material won't stop the leg's movement right away when the two components collide, but the range of movement for the latter is not as flexible as its forward lift. ^^;

Average sideways expansion range for the hips comes at the cost of a "torn" skirt for Serah. XD

The knee can bend for 180 degrees.
The really rigid look of the joint reminds me of the same joint on Bayonetta and Jeanne. ^^

Forward/backward bend is very easy with the ankle joint, which uses the swivel and hinge combo type joint.

Side-to-side bend is possible as well, and it can be adjusted much easier than the same action on Lightning. ^^

Despite coming from the same sub-series in the Play Arts Kai line - "Final Fantasy XIII-2", and the two characters' close connection, there are design differences between Serah and Lightning for the same joints. The shoulder blocks' design is the most notable difference between the two, as shown earlier on, while the lack of a split on the upper arm of Serah to give her forearm an additional swivel joint available on Lightning is another. Then again, it's not hard understanding that preserving the most natural look possible for the figure is the purpose behind the design decrepancy. I mentioned that when the shoulder blocks were shown earlier on, but the same idea is true for the upper arm split as well. The cross section between the upper arm and Lightning's glove can help to hide the look of that particular swivel joint, so it's included; the same "hide" gimmick is not possible for Serah given her armband doesn't fully wrap around the left upper arm. Its look would be very obvious if a swivel joint is implemented there no doubt. In essence, the objective behind the inclusion/omission of a swivel joint for the upper arm is no different than having different colors for the various joints in order to match the figures' costumes in my opinion - to help conceal the joints' look to give the figures better appearances, and that's always a good thing. ^^

On a more practical side, despite having similar joints for most other components, the articulation range varies between Serah and Lightning, which is again due to their character designs. Lightning's collar armor reduces the range of forward tilt for her head, a weakness that isn't suffered by Serah who doesn't have that appendage on her costume. Without the restriction to the waist and hips as seen on Serah due to her waist piece and dress, the hip articulation of Lightning is more flexible. ^^

As a conclusion, I think it's fair to say that the costume design of a character can provides opportunities to potential fun and creative articulation features, as well as threat to the figure's articulation range at the same time, if there's no way to get around certain design points. From the discussion on some of Lightning's and Serah's articulation points, that's certainly the case. ^^

Some action poses of Play Arts Kai Serah after the introduction on her articulation design:

With support using Soul Stage Act 5 Action Support Type for Mechanics Clear Ver.

More action poses from Lightning coming up in the next posting. ^^

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