By Emory Sung
Hujoo Doll’s Action Doll Cora was created after a year and a half of extensive research on the joint system. Cora features an innovative gear system within her core and triple joints, allowing for near endless possibilities in her movement. The gears and stringing in the body together maximize mobility and helps Cora to hold these poses. In order to maintain a nice, feminine shape for Cora while utilizing this gear system, Hujoo had to engineer a whole new molding technology. The result is a new type of doll that straddles the line between the ball jointed dolls of today, and the possibilities of new non-ball jointed resin dolls of the near future. Action Doll Cora is limited to only 32 pieces.
Action Doll Cora arrives in one of Hujoo’s presentation doll cases. This doll case features a clear acrylic window which makes up the entire front of the case, as well as a carry handle for easy transporting. There are three sets of Velcro straps to secure your doll, and the interior sides are lined with three net pouches on either side, which will hold objects that are business card sized. The entire interior is lined with a type of felt-like material. The exterior of this case features two latches to hold down the front, a carry handle on top, and four plastic stand-off feet to protect the bottom of the case from being scratched. This case is also sold separately for $26.00 before shipping. It is quite a nice presentation case, and while it is constructed primarily of plastic with some metal components, it has the fit and finish of an aluminum case. When purchasing Cora, you will receive her in a red or black case (random color).
Cora arrives as a foam wrapped mummy. Foam is actually much better material to use compared to bubblewrap as bubblewrap can often lose the air contained within each bubble, leading to flat circles that offer very little protection. The foam sheets Hujoo uses protects the doll quite well, cushioning each piece from rubbing against an adjacent piece. Cora also ships with a face protector already on to protect her gorgeous faceup.
Cora, Unwrapped & Revealed
Cora comes with a nice, delicate faceup with eyelashes installed. Fine lower lashes have been painted on, and her eyebrows and lips are minutely detailed. Cora comes with special 16mm acrylic eyes. These eyes feature a lavender iris with no pupils, and also have a white splash near the bottom of iris, reminiscent of clouds or a mountaintop. These beautiful eyes have a good amount of depth to them and give Cora an ethereal look.
One thing of note is that the head cap features a new Hujoo logo. This new logo consists of the Hujoo name, and a set of two meshing gears below it, referring to Cora’s gear-based system. The logo is gold on purple, with a gold rim, and the entire piece is a separate button piece which appears to have been sunk and glued into the head cap.
Removing the head cap does reveal one disappointment: instead of magnets, the head cap features a molded resin loop for the neck s-hook to attach to. However a look at the wall construction of the head shows that there is no room for a magnet of decent size. In fact, the walls inside of the head appear to be chamfered or beveled about three quarters from the top for a nice flush fit with the head cap.
The body proportions feature a small to medium sized bust and generous hips. The torso is a two part style, allowing bending and rotating along Cora’s diaphragm. Cora’s arms are made up of an upper arm, elbow joint, lower arm, wrist joint, and hands, like a traditional ball jointed doll. Her legs feature a separate hip/upper-thigh area, an upper leg piece, knee joint, lower leg piece, ankle piece, and foot. There are some other manufacturers that also offer this separate hip/upper-thigh piece. The hands and feet are elegantly sculpted, with distinct fingernails and toenails, with each digit sculpted individually. The body does have seam lines, as dolls from most Korean companies do. I tend not to allow seam lines to detract from my feelings about a doll, however they are noticeable enough to merit mention from those that dislike them.
From the backside, the most noticeable difference between Cora and regular ball jointed dolls is clearly evident; she has a series of slots in her buttocks, which is a functional showcase of her unique jointing system. While some may not like the look of the joints in this area, I personally feel that it visually reinforces the intrinsic differences between Cora and other dolls.
The elbow and knee joints also stand out compared to other joints. Instead of smooth ball joints or oval double-joints, Cora features joints that are almost organic in style, with many curves, plains at different angles, and channels. This system allows for the joints to be gently keyed against their counterparts, so that Cora can hold a pose, yet also be pushed beyond those keyed points to do more extreme posing. This doll is really a contortionist at heart and can bend her leg all the way to touch the back of her head, or the middle of her back.
Deconstruction & Clockwork
When you pose Cora for the first time, you may be startled. Instead of the mild sound of a smooth ball joint rubbing against its socket, you hear the clackety-clack of gears rubbing against each other! I have come to enjoy this sound, yet another intrinsic difference of this little gear-based angel.
Stretching the limbs out, you will notice the difference immediately. Where you are used to seeing a single ball joint or a oval double joint, there is instead a triple joint system in the elbows and knees. This system consists of two side pipe pieces that end in a circular gear, and a middle piece which captures the gears and holds it in place. Each limb pivots along its own gear piece, and the middle piece also pivots.
The hands and ankles are traditional fare, being half-round standard ball joints. However the shoulder and hip joints also feature a gear system, which is a little different than the triple-jointed engineering of the elbows and knees. The shoulders feature a two part gear system, which is similar to the elbows and joints in that there is a pipe piece that turns into a gear, and this gear simply slides into the channel of the shoulder. The roundness of the shoulder allows for it to turn about as if it were on a regular ball joint. The hip joints function the same way. It consists of much larger gears however, and instead of the separate pipe-into-gear piece, it has a notched-plate-into-gear piece. These gears can rotate with the hips on a 180 degree angle, yet by having the separate pipe-or-plate-into-gear piece, you can hyper-extend the legs and shoulder out past the 180 degrees, and that piece will move outside of the socket to allow for this motion. The doll will not hold the hyper-extended pose however, unless you put some type of weight or manipulate the position of the doll to hold the pose. Theoretically, I believe the doll may have been designed with the hyper-extension to allow for much easier fit into clothing.
Overall impressions, critique & Conclusion
Action Doll Cora from Hujoo is a wonderfully unique addition to their resin lineup, and a stand-out model among the current ball jointed dolls currently in production. The feel of the resin is solid, and I personally adore her facial sculpt. I do feel that Cora arrives a bit loose however, and it is due not to lax stringing, but rather due to the thinner elastic cording that Hujoo uses to string her. I believe that restringing her with thicker elastic or stronger elastic would very well tighten her up quite a bit. I also much rather prefer a magnet based head cap system rather than the loop-and-s-hook system. Other than these minor points, Cora makes her entry into our ball jointed doll world with a very innovative and unique system.
Why bother engineering a new system of jointing when the traditional ball joint system works fine? The answer to this lies within Hujoo’s philosophy and openness to the creative spirit: innovation for the sake of innovation.
Action Doll Cora is not a doll for everyone, and some ball jointed doll purists will proclaim that this is not a true ball jointed doll. And Cora is not. She is the embodiment of open thinking, the spirit of adventure, and a testament to progressive design that refuses to stay stagnant for no reason.
Action doll Cora Limited Edition 32 dolls
Wig Size: 7.4in
To read Part 1: Hujoo Doll go HERE.