Author Topic: Defining points of articulation  (Read 1786 times)

Offline JohnH

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Defining points of articulation
« on: October 17, 2009, 12:35 AM »
OK, here's a question I've been wanting to ask for a while but never got around to.  And this post could probably go in a number of forums, but I figure here's as good as anything.  :)  I'm wondering how others define points of articulation when it comes to dual-movement joints.  As an example, I'm looking at an Iron Man figure from the MU line.  Here's how I figure it:

Head - ball joint, so one point.
Shoulders - swivel + hinge, so two points each.
Elbow - swivel + hinge, so two points each.
Wrists/gauntlets - swivel, one point each.
Torso - ball joint, one point
Hips - ball joint, one point each
Knees - swivel + joint, two points each
Ankles - swivel + joint, two points each

So if I'm figuring right, I'd say the MU Iron Man figures (Stealth, Silver, etc) have 22 points of articulation.  I guess my primary question is, if it's a swivel-hinge do you consider it one point or two points?


Offline efranks

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Re: Defining points of articulation
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2009, 03:27 AM »
Personally I count each of those joints as 1.  It's a point of articulation whether it only moves in one direction or multiple.

I will admit that the double-hinged joints, like the new knees on the GI Joe 25th/ROC figures, have always made me want to re-think that stance though.  Even though it's one knee, and it doesn't rotate, it still begs to be 2 points.  I've refrained from making that call when adding them up though.

By my count, most SA figures today have about 14 to 16 points of articluation.  For example, a ROC GI Joe figure (I have Agent Helix in front of me) would have:

Head: 1
Shoulders: 2
Elbows: 2
Wrists: 2
Chest: 1
Hips: 2
Knees: 2
Ankles: 2
= 14

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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Defining points of articulation
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2009, 04:10 AM »
Looking at this from a Star Wars figure point of view...  GENERALLY toy designers consider the ball-hinge (ball/socket) style joint of the average SW figure to be ONE joint.  IE:

VOTC Stormtrooper (just as an example):

-1 ball/socket neck
-1 ball/socket torso
-2 ball/socket elbow
-2 ball/socket shoulder
-2 cut wrist
-2 cut hips
-2 ball/socket knees
-2 ball/socket ankles

Total:  14

That's just what I've heard from toy designers...  One ball/socket (ball-hinge) joint = One point of articulation that pivots multiple directions.

I call the knee-joints of GI Joes "double-hinged" knees.  It's one point of articulation to me, as it is just a more complex style of articulation.  A regular hinged knee joint like original ARAH Joes have is still just one joint, the double-hinged knee just adds to the range the knee can bend...  It's really only one joint though, to me.

There's no standard in the toy industry, but there are sort of "norms".  I think some like to "spice up" the articulation totals, but I think when you talk to designers they don't generally consider the double-hinged knee of a modern GI Joe to be 2 points...  Just as the ball/socket joints of the modern SW figure are one joint according to Hasbro.

That's me...  I see some toys beef that up though.  Hot Toys did with their Snap Kit figures despite them really being no more articulated than the average "Super Articulated" Star Wars figure.  

This is also, then, how I applied articulation count into my reviews when I was doing them...  Articulation count means a TON to me.  I'm a person who feels these are toys, and that toys are advanced to where articulation is a major factor to the action figure's quality.  That's not really new thinking, as it was a driving force behind the original 1964 (I think that's right) G.I. Joe's design...  Taking the Ken Doll to a new extreme that BOYS would fall in love with.  And it worked.

I feel some companies like to boast a higher count and say a ball/socket shoulder rotates and pivots, so it's two joints...  I, as a toy consumer, disagree and feel it's one joint...  I don't really know many toy designers who agree with that either, and I think it's just more a marketing push to say you've got better toy.

There have been some fuzzy areas...  VOTC Chewbacca for instance.  He's got two waist joints I believe, but I think that could be argued as just one more complext joint, too.  And how do you count "wire skeleton" type systems like the tail on Oppo Rancisis, or the fingers of the Rancor (are they wired inside?  Mine are difficult to move).
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 04:15 AM by Jesse James »
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Offline JohnH

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Re: Defining points of articulation
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2009, 11:07 PM »
Good insight guys, thanks.  I've always been of an opposite mindset, but it's good to hear where others opinions land.   I guess my initial opinion came from the Toy Biz Marvel Legends. You look at the likes of Warbird and see "40 points of articulation", and it's clear that, to them, a double jointed elbow was two points, a swivel-hinge shoulder was two, etc, etc.  I've adopted that mindset as well but certainly see the other side of it.