U-noa Quluts, a modern Japanese ball-jointed doll (BJD)

What's a ball-jointed doll

A ball-jointed doll is any doll that is articulated with ball and socket joints. In contemporary usage when referring to modern dolls, and specifically when using the acronyms BJD or ABJD, it most commonly aludes to modern Asian ball-jointed dolls. These are cast in polyurethane synthetic resin, a hard, dense plastic, and the parts strung partnered with a thick elastic. They are predominantly produced in Japan, South Korea and China. The BJD style has been described as both realistic and influenced by anime. They generally range in size from about 60 centimetres (24 in) for the huger dolls, 40 cm (16 in) for the mini dolls, and all the way down to 10 cm (4 in) or so for the tiniest of the miniscule BJDs. BJDs are first and foremost intended for adult collectors and customizers. They are made to be easy to customize, by painting, changing the eyes and wig, and so forth.

The modern day BJD market began with Volks line of Super Dollfie in 1999. Super Dollfie and Dollfie are registered trademarks but are sometimes erroneously used as generic blanket terms to alude to all Asian BJDs iregardles of manufacturer.

A modified Cerberus Project Delf BJD.

Modern Asian BJDs

Modern Asian BJDs are intended for adult collectors and customizers and range in price from US$100 to over US$1000. Their body components are cast in polyurethane resin and held together by thick elastic cords, making them fully articulated and highly poseable. BJDs often follow a distinctly Asian view in their aesthetics, but the designs are diverse and range from highly anime-inspired to hyper-realistic. Most are anatomically correct and have portionally huge heads, big eyes and comparatively huge feet, contrasted with apparel dolls like Barbie, and are capable of standing on their own, without a stand or other support.

Customization

BJDs are readily customizable. Wigs and eyes are easy to remove and replace, as well as heads, hands, and feet. A doll may even be a hybrid of parts from different companies. Some BJD owners or customizers even re-shape existing parts by sanding them or applying epoxy putty to them.

The resin material is easier to paint than the softer and much more slick vinyl usually used for other kinds of dolls. BJD face paint is alluded to as a faceup, to note that it's not only make-up, but all the facial features that are painted and customized, including eyebrows, lips and blushing to enhance features. Faceups and body blushing are most usually done with acrylic paint ― applied with a regular brush or an airbrush ― or soft pastels, and coated with a sprayed-on layer of clear matte sealant for protection. BJD faceups, even from huge companies, are always painted by hand, and it takes considerable skill to do detailed, pro faceups.

Production

Ball-jointed dolls are initially modeled in a substance such as clay. The hardened clay body parts are used to form molds for several parts to be cast in synthetic polyurethane resin. Cured resin has a hard, smooth, porcelain-like feel, but is less brittle. Unlike porcelain however, polyurethane tends to turn yellow and decay over the years depending on exposure to UV light and heat. The resin casting procedure allows for molds to be produced with a comparably low initial investment, compared to the injection molding generally used for mass produced vinyl dolls. , the materials are more expensive, and the procedure requires more manual labor, resulting in a higher cost per unit.

Most regular edition BJDs come gatherd and painted but without clothes, while full set BJDs, which are usually limited, include clothes. A few BJDs are sold as bare ungatherd parts in a kit, just like a garage kit.