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The Action Man Syndrome

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Dani A., Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Dani A. New Member


    I'm working in a new conversion, which I will soon unveil - working in this particular projects, I found a fairly common anatomical anomaly: the incorrect relationship betwen a raised arm and its shoulder. We call this "The Action Man Syndrome" in our modelling association. I believe this matter merits being treated separately, hence this posting.

    A human arm is NOT connected to the rib cage by means of a ball and socket joint, like that of an articulated doll (as those used in Arts, or an Action Man). Without going into too much detail, an arm is attached to the scapula, which is linked to the clavicle. When you raise an arm these bones are raised too, as is all the muscular mass around them, and the more you raise the arm, the more the shoulder rises too.

    You can see this graphically here:


    In fact, a lot of modellers, when converting a pose or scratchbuilding, and even not a few commercial sculptors, do not pay attention to this feature, and the result is a odd-loking (and anatomically impossible) appearance:


    In some cases, surely, this may be attributed to the use of dolls as models, or academic figures as a basis on which to model an original figure - these have the movement limitations I have mentioned.


    These drawings come from an old Military Modelling by C. Buchanan.

    (next part, in the next posting)
  2. Dani A. New Member

    Now, a practical example. It is a Verlinden's Napoleonic figure, and it is afflicted by this malady. You can see that the arm insertion is erroneous, it is too low, because it is forced to this position responding to the lack of volume in the upper part of the shoulder. The result is unrealistic, besides being anatomically incorrect.


    To correct this fault, the arm needs to be relocated in a higher position, and the missing volume in the shoulder upper area has to be added. Even considering that this figure's arm is not too extreme in its elevation, it is a little over the ground's horizontal level, there is a considerable difference:



    (Note I remodelled the arm almost completely because I changed its pose, too, for my particular purposes).

    It is important to take into account that when you deal with the "Action Man Syndrome", you will have to tackle with the influence the relocation and the new volume exert on the surrounding area: some remodelling is usually needed, clothing folds may have to be redefined, as may be some equipment. In the example shown, I had to remodel lapel, crossbelt and épaulette, which are now in a more raised ubication, corresponding to the shoulder and arm alterations.

    I hope you have found some interest on this subject. And, you will see the complete conversion work soon... ;)

  3. Patrick Kirk New Member

    Wanna fix mine, too :lol:
    Glad that you took the time to explain this...Now that you have mentioned it, I'll have to see how I will go about making the adjustments to mine...How right you are; thanks!

    Hope all is well
  4. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Dani, thanks for that very important piece of information. there are so many things that can be overlooked when converting/sculpting a figure. I guess attention to detail is the key. It's always best to show your work to others when it's in progress, they may just notice something you do not.~Gary
  5. Mitchell Ward New Member


    Good point and not only does the shoulder raise but the shirt/coat collar will push up in turn. If the shirt is tucked into a belt, the belt may be pulled up a little as will. It’s these subtle nuances that make the difference between a good figure and a great figure.

  6. gordy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the great info Dani ! I've been using it here :D

    If I may also add, that the 'ball' of the shoulder has forward to backward motion (lesser degree) in addition to up and down motion.
  7. y_wong New Member

    DEar Daniel,

    Thanks for sharing that piece of info with us. It sure helps in my future projects

    regards :lol:
  8. yeo_64 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the post,Dani (y) (y) ! For budding sculptors like myself,that is an important point to take note of.Cheers !
    Kenneth :lol:
  9. Roc Active Member

    Dani, very interesting posting, I enjoyed reading it very much, thanks for posting it.

    Roc. :)

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