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The scorpion hybrid girl is also pretty awesome! I think the result is already very good and it is not whether it can stand on itself that defines it as a good model or not.
My barbarous solution to the weakness of the joint is to apply a drop of instant glue to the bowl of the ball joint then immediately plug in the ball and move the parts in max speed and range. Then a thin layer of glue will dry evenly in the bowl and the joint will be a little tighter, not a lot but a little better. The strength of joints is always a problem in articulated models and compromises had been make sometimes by simply putting a stand at the bottom.
About the reference picture, try google 自在置物 (don't know the official English name LOL), it is the name of a traditional Japanese crafting skill and art, which was originated from armor making then developed into articulated animal( from fantasies and from reality) models. KAIYODO, a Japanese toy brand had put some 自在置物 toys to the market, including orient dragon, Kirin, horse and other things. There are a lot of pictures of those products from different angles and also reviews on Youtube. I personally consider their orient dragon and Kirin are pretty close to what I saw in traditional Chinese and Japanese paintings. Can be very nice reference ( I think).