Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Lace on Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:17 pm

I have to admit as a nonbinary person one of the huge draws for me was how little gendering there was. I mean yes, they have a 'boy' body and a 'girl' body but they're so similar to one another and, frankly, kind of felt a bit more like simply different body types rather than sexual dimorphism. The fact that clothes were interchangeable too was a big draw, yes the 'girl' clothes were a little tighter on the 'boy' bodies but it wasn't a case of their body types being so dramatically different (to emphasise how different boys and girls are!!) that it wasn't doable at all which is the case with most doll lines.

With these new IM bodies and their move to the states I wonder how long it'll be before Makies waist line starts getting smaller and smaller..  to save on the amount of plastic required and thus the cost to the customer of course Rolling Eyes

But yeah the combination of little variation between bodies and the customisation the 3DP bodies allowed was pretty exciting to me and I can't pretend it doesn't hurt a little to see that getting snatched away. Plus IM bodies probably mean less diversity in body types in the future where as the 3D technology had meant they were a real possibility down the line.
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by sigsi on Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:36 pm

@Lace, I'm nonbinary as well Smile I always kind of hoped they would release one neutral body and neutral head, and then let us drag the dimensions where would like them (if you ever played/saw the Sims 4 maker, that is what I envisioned...only starting out as a neutral blob instead of divided by their sex). Neutral One can hope, but I really doubt it at this point.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:56 pm

It's interesting to me how many non binary and non hetronormative people Makies HAVE as fans. I think that's gotta be more than coincidence right?

I always liked that the lab never batted an eyelid when I asked "can I have this boy in a dress?" or "pink wig for boy doll please." or whatever. They were just like "sure, cool"
Many many of my boys arrived in "girl" clothes purely because I didn't want the same 3 outfits over and over heh. Always kinda bugged me though that the girl shirts weren't just a fraction longer so they'd look less crop toppish on the boy body. They're just that teeeeeny bit too short to my eye to really work and interchangeability would be nice, for waht, the cost of a teeny cm of fabric?

I always felt it was a shame they didn't have more fun with the customisation options. I mean, yes cost involved is an issue. The 3dp bodies as they were cost about £30 to print and that's a lot. Adding any more "weight" to them, though it would be SUPER cool to be able to alter the hips and such to be a little chunkier, shorter, taller, whatever would change the cost of the print and I doubt that's hugely viable.
That said, I never understood why they wouldn't put a girl head on a boy body and vice versa considering the heads are totally interchangeable. There was literally no physical reason they couldn't, they just didn't want to. Maybe it was too complicated to print a different body to head based on how the process worked? I dunno. I always honestly assumed they batch printed the bodies and then just stuck heads on when they arrived but apparently not, the heads and body were printed together. Maybe not in the same moment but the bodies were printed on demand just like the heads were. if you ordered "boy" they'd send an order to print a body AND the head rather than have a back stock. I suppose it meant it was less wastage, no spare bodies laying about waiting for a head but always surprised me.

I know a few people would have liked a more neutral body though, and technically that wouldn't be hard to make. Use the girl body and just give it a flat chest right? She has next to no hips anyway. But I suspect they felt that was too niche, as their target market are mostly young kids to whom gender is still a very binary system. (or their parents, we all know how bad some parents can be about gender stuff right? )

I always wished for different hand and feet parts. You know like bjd companies do "animal parts" and "fantasy parts" like dragon or hoof feet, paws, cat ears and so on? I always really wished Makies would do that. Print on demand clawed hands or dragony feet that just popped on like the regular feet. Little animal paw feet for kitty/dog/bunny people, little hooves and so on. Maybe give us 3dp tails and wings that could slot into a special back plate (given the back plate is removable, I always imagined one that had like slots or something which you could plug a tail or something into. )
I'd have LOVED fantasy and animal options and with 3dp there really is no reason aside from price. If you're printing on demand though...

http://www.dollartbyjulie.com/my-bjd-creature-creator/ this for instance, I think is genius. It fully embraces how much more freedom you can have with 3dp on demand systems. No expensive moulds to make means you can create things on a more speculative basis, and offer some much odder stuff. All you lose is the time spent modelling it, rather than the $$$ getting moulds made and producing a speculative amount up front. It means 3dp dolls can be much weirder, much more custom ooak, have many many more options because they're not being churned out, each one is being made bespoke.

Honestly I think it's sad Makies never explored this sort of thing, because it would be freaking cool.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:44 pm

@Lace and sigsi, same here. Smile

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by sigsi on Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:34 pm

Purple_Monkfish wrote:I know a few people would have liked a more neutral body though, and technically that wouldn't be hard to make........................(we all know how bad some parents can be about gender stuff right? )
This right here was my one reasonable hope for the future of the Makies. I could understand the whole lets not throw the doll off balance with different dimensions and such, but this (in theory) shouldn't have been too complicated.
Maybe they could have listed a neutral body as a "child body", but made clear that the heights for all dolls were all the same (to stop the parents freaking out perspective). I mean if a female child is going to have a mini-version of themselves, I think something might be a little different up top than their own child-body. Rolling Eyes

Purple_Monkfish wrote:Maybe give us 3dp tails and wings that could slot into a special back plate (given the back plate is removable, I always imagined one that had like slots or something which you could plug a tail or something into. )
This reminds me of that picture of an original makie doll with a lego slotted backplate. I can't find it for the life of me right now, but it was able to click legos into it's backplate. It might have even been a customized doll...can't quite remember.

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And to the number of non-binary and non-hetronormative Makies fans their are, I actually didn't realize it was that many until today. It's awesome. Smile
I also always liked the lab's open-mindedness about ordering the Makies in whichever outfits/wigs. I wish they would have found some way to make all the outfits available in the maker though.
(...the magical curious part of my brain really wants to make a poll to find out the number of non-hertronormative Makies fans some day...)

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:16 pm

Yes, I've been asking for an androgynous or gender neutral Makie body as an option since day one.

Not just for personal preference, but also as an option for parents/children.

As a child, one of the problems I had relating to Barbie was her extreme female-ness. I much preferred Midge, as she never had that extreme über female quality to me.

I don't know if she actually had a less female shaped body, as in a smaller bust, etc., but as a child I saw it as such.

Midge also had a much more natural and gender neutral face to me, unlike Barbie. Lol, I've always thought Midge could easily pass as a boy, or an androgyne, and probably would have preferred being one as well. Wink

It would have been nice as a child, to have had an articulated doll like a Makie to relate to, that was capable of being as non-gendered, and/or genderfluid as I was, and still am.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:24 pm

Sigsi, I think a poll like you mentioned, "(...the magical curious part of my brain really wants to make a poll to find out the number of non-heteronormative Makies fans some day...)" would be fascinating. You should make one! Smile

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Almostreal on Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:26 pm

If I were the UK staff right now I'd seriously be thinking about banding together and starting a new business aimed at adult collectors. The know how is there, the market is obviously there ( presuming the funds for a SLS printer could be obtained.)
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:21 pm

Also non-binary, and had also been hoping for more inclusive body options. Two of my three makies are not cisgender, and both have needed to be modded to even partially be as they should be. A neutral body was something I really really wanted, but I think we perhaps lost that possibility once they went into IM? As well as the possibility of thicker and thinner body types.

Sad Bringing the customisation that went into the face into the body too was the direction I was hoping for, but it seems unlikely now.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by DocC on Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:24 pm

Wow! That video is awesome. So many possibilities! I'm new to 3dp so everything wows me. It seems like someone in the future will have to go in the directions you dreamed of, Purple _Monkfish. 

As a speech therapist, I found out about Makies from my professional magazine so I was expecting way more for my kids I work with. I'm waiting to see if Makies will expand this line. Doesn't seem very Disney-esque.....
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:55 pm

@ Nattherat, that is one potential plus with the IM body, they are better suited for subtractive mods.

I started removing Firlee's bust, and I've pretty much got it down to where I'm happy with it and....No holes!

Also, the color stays true as it is integrated into the IM plastic rather than just surface dyed.

Now, I just need to figure out where I've put my finer sanding and finishing pads, so I can smooth his chest out, and give him a light buffing all over to matte the shine.

I was so pleased with Firlee, that I was really looking forward to the shop opening back up, hopefully with my virtual Makies back so that I could order IM versions of some of my "boys" and mod them!

Even if my virtual Makies were still missing, I was planning to create some new Makies and order them to mod into cute young boys.

I really wanted one to turn into a proper Kitsune, or maybe a little wolf boy. That indentation where the screw is looks perfect for gluing one of those tiny super strong magnets in so that a tail can be attached.

Darn it! This "temporary" closure and move is so frustrating!

Does MakieLabs even realize all the sales they are potentially losing by doing this now and without any advanced warning!?

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:22 pm

Ah, but the IM bodies pose another issue! I don't like the difference in colour or texture between the head and the body.

Basically the makie I'd really wanted to get is a physically disabled child. I've been waiting for the wheelchair, but not only has that not appeared yet, but the mismatch between cocoa 3DP and IM is far too high for me. Not to mention that IM plastic responds to sealant and art materials differently, and therefore body blushing will not match the head.
I mod pretty extensively, so maybe at one point I would have been happy enough to get a female body and mod it. After all, one of my makies has been sanded down in that regard. It's the fact that there are SO MANY issues in the way of just making the makie I want that I'd rather pursue different dolls instead. Perhaps even shell the same character into a doll from another company instead.

Plus, I'd like to point out that the consumers of these dolls shouldn't actually HAVE to mod their dolls just to get some basic inclusive things. Even fashion play doll lines have more body types than Makies.

But Toy Like Me didn't seem to go anywhere beyond the initial couple of accessories.

I'm still interested in makies as a whole, but until they can actually reflect a few more people than "average girl" I'm no longer interested in buying. I already have my average girl makie, I don't need another! People aren't duplicates of each other after all (apart from twins, sure, but I'm not making twins haha).

Really, makies seem to have removed almost every feature that drew me to the product in the first place.

I think I'm very quickly being converted over to resin dolls to be honest haha. If I have to do THAT much modding to make it how I need it, I may as well buy into dolls which already have a large variety of bodies and hands/feet available, as well as many many other good points like no material mismatch, and more delicate/easier-to-mod sculpting.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:28 pm

Sadly, that's all true. I know a lot of people were really looking forward to where they would go with the "Toys Like Me" campaign.

Yes, BJDs really do offer more possibilities, I love my BJDs. I wish I had more time, and the space to try BJD modding.

Lol, I currently have two large 1/3 size Soom BJDs that need their seams removed, face-ups done, and the fur and scales painted on their nonhuman parts. One is a wolf demon or werewolf, and the other is a Asian Dragon lord.

When you sanded your Makie down, were you able to sand it down enough without ending up with a hole? Your Makies are all 3DP aren't they? Also, how did you deal with the color loss and the shininess?

I was told this would be the problem I would have if I tried sanding my Ryuu's chest down....that I'd end up with two holes in his chest, and that sanding would also take away the color and make the 3DP plastic smooth and shiny.

I did start working on Ryuu, but it was hard going with just sanding, the 3DP plastic seems much harder than the IM plastic, plus his bust went from Cool Caramel matte to white and shiny rather quickly.

I did buy some stuff that was made mainly for repairing and modding Breyer Horses, which I planned on using as a filler on the inside in the indentations from his bust. It is supposed to bond with plastic, is sculpt-able, carve-able, and can be tinted or painted.

So before I can go any farther with Ryuu, I need to set up a place where I can mix this material up, tint it, and get those indentations filled in and the stuff cured. Again, it all comes down to just finding the time and the space. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:26 pm

@JRyu - I think if you're okay with the IM plastic and/or it'd be a good colour match for the doll you want to use it for, it might be worth buying a duplicate makie just to make the mod!

The problems you've heard about with changing a 3DP torso are entirely true. You can read the thread where I modded Elisabeth's chest here. There's not any way to do it and have it be invisible like resin or perhaps IM. There will be holes that you have to fill in, and the dye and finish on the nylon will definitely be damaged/removed in the process.

For me, I didn't mind, because with that particular makie it was more upsetting to have the breasts there than it was to have her chest become a bit blotchy. I was able to colour match close enough with a combination of paint and pastel that she can wear her v-neck waistcoat without it being obvious that half her chest is epoxy.

However, this does bring me back to why I'm frustrated that makies haven't made another body type. This makie no longer has breasts, but there is nothing I can do about the fact that female makies have their rib cage thrust forward, and their pectorals shaped to accommodate breasts. Without pretty much sculpting an ACTUAL new body for her, modding is just a compromise. I've been strongly considering hybriding my makies, just to get the body customisation I've wanted. I was hoping to pick up a duplicate makie to use as a test subject for that reason.

Anyway, if you're planning a chest mod and you aren't as opposed to the IM plastic as I am/don't want to have to do as much sculpting/painting, then definitely use an IM body for your mod. If you're okay with the extra work, then you can do it with the 3DP body.
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:28 pm

Not to mention wouldn't it be nice just to be able to have variety for the sake of variety. I mean, i'm short and kinda broad in body shape, my husband is tall and willowy. Several of my characters fall to similar extremes. A couple of the boys are supposed to be like really lanky while others are bulkier but that's just not possible within a doll line in most cases. I mean even stuff like monster high that has like 5 different body types falls into that problem that for male characters there's no real variety and for the girls they're still all rake thin, just taller or shorter.
It's something, better than nothing, but it would be nice to be able to have just minor little tweaks like a slightly wider and a slighter slimmer body, slightly longer and slightly shorter limbs and a mix/match ability. like, if you did three different torsos, one long, one regular, one short and then three different limbs in the same configuration you end up with a range of options to have people with long body short limbs, vice versa and so on. Bratzillaz weirdly enough did this with their Switch a Witch bodies. There's at least two different torsos and two different leg lengths. So you can either have one really tall lanky doll and one short doll or you can mix em up.
I thought that was a really cool idea. Sadly they never went much further with it or made human skin toned ones, they were all strangely mismatchy and patterned. But it was a level of customisation that theoretically would be more possible with 3dp due to the print on demand business model.

It's a shame Makies never looked into that, I guess most young kids don't mind so much... but then, do most young kids care if a doll's face doesn't look exactly like theirs so long as hair and eye colour is close enough? I dunno. I kinda feel like, if you're gonna have customisation, go all out.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Lace on Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:20 pm

I guess maybe it'd have been nice if Makies could have gone in two directions, one with the IM bodies intended to be more affordable for kids, and another, like kind of deluxe Makies, for adult collectors with 3DP bodies and options to customise the body type as well as the head which would have been more expensive for the customer but it's a market that's not being catered to by anyone else and holds lots of creative possibilities that I think people would pay for.

(Also ridiculously excited there are so many nonbinary people here, I've never knowingly come across any other nonbinary folks in the doll community before so it's kind of lovely to know you're here..  silly as that probably sounds)
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by sigsi on Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:35 pm

Lace wrote:I guess maybe it'd have been nice if Makies could have gone in two directions, one with the IM bodies intended to be more affordable for kids, and another, like kind of deluxe Makies, for adult collectors with 3DP bodies and options to customise the body type as well as the head which would have been more expensive for the customer but it's a market that's not being catered to by anyone else and holds lots of creative possibilities that I think people would pay for.

(Also ridiculously excited there are so many nonbinary people here, I've never knowingly come across any other nonbinary folks in the doll community before so it's kind of lovely to know you're here..  silly as that probably sounds)
I agree completely, I would pay extra for the possibility of 3d bodies again. I'm horrible when it comes to modding but really wanted to try dying a 3dp doll someday (preferably one that I do not already own, as their characters are supposed to be the tones they are).

And it doesn't sound silly at all! I feel the same way. Besides one friend from forever ago, I didn't know or talk to any other non-binary people before. It's just nice to know others are out there and share the same interest. Smile

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:35 pm

Yeah, you can't really get a perfect mod, even with the IM bodies, but it is preferable to the alternative of having breasts on a character that shouldn't be there.

The IM bodies don't bother me as much as I thought they would, and the Lab seemed to have gotten the color match to where it was nearly perfect.

Then Sioux confirmed my speculation about using ultra fine sanding and buffing pads to dull the shine down.

Mind you, I'm not exactly thrilled with how easily the feet pop off, and how some of the joints are loose enough to interfere with their ability to hold a pose.  

Mostly, because I see that as an issue that is going to get worse the more you manipulate the limbs and play with them, which is after all what they were created for....play.

I suspect that a form of glue sueding, similar to what people do to their BJDs, may help with that issue.

However, we shouldn't have to be constantly fiddling and tweaking our Makies to work right.  

Certainly few parents are going to take the time to periodically take the doll apart, coat all the ball joints with glue, and then reassemble it again after the glue dries.

Their solution will be to "chuck it" as a big waste of money, and just go out and buy a cheaper doll.  Maybe they'll even use it as an excuse to wean the kid off dolls and toys entirely, and buy them a cheap cell phone or new video game instead.

You shouldn't HAVE to customize a doll after the fact either, especially one that's selling point is that you are able to customize it BEFORE it's made.  

Not unless you are all about customizing just for the challenge and the joy of it anyway.

I think that's what really has so many of us upset and frustrated with MakieLabs lately....it's because so many of us could see so much great potential for this toy......for both kids and adults alike.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by JRyu on Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:51 pm

I too am absolutely delighted to encounter other non-binary people in the doll community, or anywhere else for that matter. Smile

Lol, maybe that's why there seem to be so few of us on the transgendered forums, it's because we're all busy playing with our dolls and chatting on the doll forums. Wink

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by sigsi on Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:26 pm

JRyu wrote:Mind you, I'm not exactly thrilled with how easily the feet pop off, and how some of the joints are loose enough to interfere with their ability to hold a pose.  

Mostly, because I see that as an issue that is going to get worse the more you manipulate the limbs and play with them, which is after all what they were created for....play.

I suspect that a form of glue sueding, similar to what people do to their BJDs, may help with that issue.
I have noticed even with my first 3dp doll that her poses are harder to hold after being played with by my kid brother (and posed around the house by me) for a few months. I will have to look into the glue thing you mentioned if it gets worse. Thanks for the idea.

JRyu wrote:I too am absolutely delighted to encounter other non-binary people in the doll community, or anywhere else for that matter. Smile

Lol, maybe that's why there seem to be so few of us on the transgendered forums, it's because we're all busy playing with our dolls and chatting on the doll forums. Wink
Ha yes! In the transgendered forums (or any other identity forums for that matter), I tend to feel the only reason anyone is there is to talk about that topic. The doll forums for that matter, are more fun. Wink

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:59 am

I super hope that they reopen soon, and that whether they decide to keep going with what they're doing or to change tactic immediately that there's still a period of time within which to order makies as we've known them before the break.

Though I don't feel inclined to support much after all this drama, I'm getting angsty wanting to buy spares of my makies in case the day comes soon that I wouldn't be able to replace them at all. Sad

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:10 am

I'm the same Natt, I feel this huge NEED to massively order all the ones I can't "live without" so to speak and then just sit back and be done with it all. But given most of the ones I omg neeeed are boys...

*sigh*

Meanwhile still no mention on social media from them. People are asking but they haven't put anything up and seem to have no clue when they'll reopen. Why the HELL would you uproot the company without having the supply chain and office in the US set up and ready to go? What moron thought that was a good idea? the longer they stay closed the less likely they are to have anyone shop there, because people will just walk away and go spend their money elsewhere. Non collector customers will just look elsewhere and forget about Makies, assuming "oh they shut down."

It's absolutely ridiculous. I mean honestly, where's the business sense? Did they all take blows to the head or something? ffs.

They NEED to make an annoucement on their facebook page to alert people that their message about  being open on the 4th was wrong, they haven't shut down for good and they WILL be back but they aren't doing it. I wonder if it's more dire than just "moving", because it just seems crazy to not have anything arranged before shifting. Wouldn't.. wouldn't you make sure you could get a hold of a printer and secure that, secure the plastics and have that set up ready to go, make sure you had the staff and then have a handover? I.. I don't get it.
I mean, surely it would have made more sense and lost them less money to have had a transition period where they were running an office in the uk and one in the us and after a couple of weeks running down the uk one and getting the US one taking over most things do a full transfer so it was only a day or two if that down. Heck, if done right the transition SHOULD have been seamless.
Their decision here baffles me and seems so astoundingly stupid.

Eugh. I find it so frustrating when companies who are supposed to know better make such huge and obvious mistakes and the past 3 months or so it's been a series of mistake after mistake.

What kind of clown is running this right now? I want to grab them and shake them.

*sigh*

I already can't replace several of my Makies anyway. What with them being classic faces... or male... or white.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by nattherat on Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:28 pm

Honestly I am a bit shocked that they haven't properly said anything on their facebook, instagram or twitter. It's their call, I know, but all that happens is that you get confused/disappointed people, and turn away business as people look elsewhere instead.

If you hadn't posted the news here, I would have had no idea since I don't have a facebook.

I wonder if they're going to end up absorbed by Disney and become a child company. I don't mean that in a fearmongering sense, but in the sense that I don't think a small business could afford this many mistakes and be in with much of a chance of recovery. Surely they can only manage this through Disney having their backs? The whole thing being caught up in a mess where nobody seems to know anything sounds like it lines up quite well with rights changing hands and new owners.

At any rate, I seriously hope I can get at least just duplicates of my two 'girl' makies before any more discontinuations. I think I'll turn to resin/ABS for the remaining crew/future dolls I want to make if purely because at this point they better satisfy what I was looking for in a doll even if I have less control over the face sculpt. Unless makies resurface with astounding improvements, at which point I'd very happily eat all my words, but that doesn't really seem likely.

Mostly... I just wish they'd say something either way!

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by DocC on Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:36 pm

It is the worst transition I've seen. Other than a buy out at a job I had with lots of promises, then we were all fired. The customer base scattered just like this. But there was no such thing as social media in those days to make it all so obvious....
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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

Post by Purple_Monkfish on Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:07 pm

I'm with you Natt, in the exact same place. happy to eat my words, fearing the worst.

And dreading the inevitable hike in prices of Makies on the second hand market *gulp* I suppose it makes mine an er.. sound investment lol.

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Re: Makie Labs is moving... to the USA!

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