The first Modern Ball Jointed dolls, called Super Dollfies (SD), were sculpted in Asia in 1999 by the Volks Company in Japan. These dolls were made of polyurethane resin with ball and socket joints. The dolls were originally marketed to the female adult collector and highly influenced by Japanese anime aesthetic, Lolita fashions, Gothic and hyperrealism. One of the greatest appeals of these resin BJDs has always been the highly customizable nature of these dolls. Many started out as “garage kits”, full blank dolls that collectors and artists would use to make their own unique personality from the same face mold. While Volks pioneered this resin BJD, many Asian companies soon followed, especially in Korea, a country which is a powerhouse with many BJD producers.
Volks opened their first American BJD store in 2006, and in 2007 Paulette Goodreau created the first American BJD. Since Goodreau, many more BJD artists have come from America and all over the world.
American tastes seem to lean more towards child dolls and Asia tends to lean more towards adult or teen-age sculpts…this is the main difference our research has discovered.
The main sizes of the modern Ball-jointed dolls are as follows:
· SD or 1/3 (Super Dollfies) Mostly between 57-60cm (22-26 inches). These are traditionally known as the standard Dollfie size. They are for the most part the Anime aesthetic, adult or young adult, mid-teen range, androgynous males and females.
· MSD or ¼ (Mini Super Dollfie) Generally 43cm or 16-18 inches (think Ellowyne size). Traditionally more prepubescent or child-like and cutie faces, thicker limbs than the 1/3 scale.
· 1/6 scale (Obitsu..think Barbie size) 28-30cm or 11-12 inches.
· YOSD about 26 cm or 10 inches
· Tinies (8 inches and under).
· There is a recent trend in the Asian BJDs of going bigger, 70 cm and larger (2 ½ to 3 feet tall) and hyper realistic, especially in male dolls.
As technology has advanced, resins have improved as well as the jointing for the bodies…they may not be strictly ball-jointed but the customizing principals are still the same. BJDs are dolls that you can change the eyes, wigs, and face-up (face –painting) and more American artists have created fashion resin dolls with this in mind. Robert Tonner/Wilde Imagination created a Resin Ellowyne Wilde that falls into this category of a fashion resin doll with changeable eyes, wig and face-up. The Sybarites and Jamie Show are also in this category. Brand New artists are emerging every day like Joshua McKenney of Pidgin Doll; his Resin fashion girl is truly ball-jointed, in several sizes with changeable eyes, wigs and face-up and new technologies like 3-D resin printing.