Here are the ball and socket armatures for our two characters. We ordered the parts from John Wright Modelmaking, and soldered them together our self with silver solder.
Then we carved out pelvis and shoulder pieces in balsawood to get solid parts. This will minimize "boiling" in the clothes during animation and give us a solid area to manipulate the puppets. After this we cut out soft foam to further flesh out the puppets.
A little snapshot from our puppet lab!