2018 Curvy Made to Move Barbie

New Made to Move Barbies have hit the local stores! And, it so happens, I was lucky to get my hands on one of them – my favourite of the series – the curvy one with strawberry blonde hair.

I don’t know if the new dolls have been nicknamed by the collectors yet – like the ‘pink top’ and ‘purple top’ etc. in the past. For now, I will call her Peach – she looks like a ‘Peach’ to me 🙂

Peach was packaged in the same type of blister box as the previous series. What immediately strikes me as different is their updated outfits. They are the same cut as before – tops and leggings – but now there is a knot on the top, and the leggings have a floral pattern.

This doll wears a grey top with a light blue hem and a peachy/orange stripe. The flowers on her black leggings are blue with reddish leaves. Unlike older Made to Move outfits of this style, the top fastens with a velcro. It used to be that they had to be pulled over their head or up through their legs.

Her hair goes to her waist. It is a strawberry blonde colour with soft curls. I think it looks lovely 🙂 It is feels pleasant to touch, too. The rooting is relatively sparse, but everything looks good “on the surface” 🙂

The hair is composed of two blended colours. It is a frequent feature nowadays, but I’m still pleasantly surprised every time at how nice and natural it looks.

Peach is also wearing a headband. It is in fact a simple black rubber band, making it perhaps not the most practical or durable, but it does look cute. Paired with her hair colour, she reminds of Disney’s Aurora.

Seeing Curvy Barbies on YouTube, I was always under the impression that they are barely curvier than the original body type. I was wrong! You can definitely see the difference in person, it is somehow more obvious when you hold the doll in your hands.

Purple top Made to Move body with Ariel’s head vs. 2018 Curvy Made to Move

The most different aspect about it is her thighs. They are definitely wider. She is broader in her hips too, but it’s not as striking. Even though the other differences are subtle, they did not straight up give her the ‘original’ Barbie limbs. Her arms, hands and feet are also of a different shape.

In this photo, the Curvy is on the right

Skin tone wise, this Curvy is considered equivalent to the Purple Top/Lea, however, she seems even lighter, if  only slightly. It might be an unintentional factory difference.

Her face is so sweet. She has pink lips and brownish-greenish-greyish eyes – an earthy, natural hue 🙂 She has fairly prominent eyebrows, but they are in balance with her other features. The lips are a very sweet pink, and the only part of her face which looks like like it has make-up on it.

On the negative side, there are some quality issues. First of all, the overwhelming majority of the dolls of this model that I saw while shopping had wonky eyes – this one is the only item that was spot on. Two more could have been considered passable. The rest, four or five of the ones that I saw, had eyes that were very obviously askew. Given this experience, I would not be willing to buy this doll online, except only as a ‘body donor’.

Secondly, the trade off for the perfect eyes on this token was slightly odd lips – even though it’s hard to tell without comparison. They are slightly tilted and there doesn’t seem to be enough of the white for the teeth. Luckily, lips should be relatively easy to repaint.

Also, the quality of the print isn’t great. The pixels are quite obvious when you look at them, but thankfully not immediately noticeable from afar.

Finally, there was a little drop of something under one of here eyes. I’m not sure yet if it will come off, I’m a little afraid to try to remove it with nail polish. It’s not a big deal, though.

The drop under the inner corner of her left eye (right side in the photo)

That’s all the problems in the face area. There are, however, very visible mouldlines on her body as well.

DSCF8095.jpg

As far as the articulation goes, all her joints are functional. Only one of her elbows is very stiff but still movable. She can do pretty much everything that the original “Made to Move” can:

The only exception is the range of her head movement. She can’t look down pretty much at all (but she can look up and to the sides just fine). I don’t know if it’s an isolated defect, a downgrade in the 2018 series of MtM dolls or an unfortunate feature of all Curvies. It’s a shame indeed for me. I find that tilting the doll’s chin downwards makes for much better photos – it makes it look more like the doll is at the viewer’s eye level.

Peach would not fit in any form fitting clothes borrowed from the original Barbie, but she looks great in the ‘one size fits most’ fashion pack outfits that I own. She cannot fit some of the classic Barbie shoes either, but you can buy shoes packs designed especially for her. I wish she came with a pair of sneakers of her own to make it easier for people who don’t already own a wide selection of Barbie accessories.

Looking good in the Barbie teacher outfit and ‘Curvy’ shoes 🙂

I bought the 2018 Curvy Made to Move doll for two reasons: first, because I thought she was adorable character and a new doll body type for me – basically, an overall interesting Barbie in her own right. The second reason was to try and see how well she could substitute for the hard to get ‘Purple top’ MtM as a ‘nostalgic’ skin tone body donor. As for the first reason for purchase, I am satisfied. As for the second one – I’m not sure. She would fit some characters and some face shapes, but not all, in my subjective view. Especially that if you rebody a Disney Store princess onto a Curvy – like I intended – she won’t fit her original dress anymore.

As is often the case with playline dolls – the only dolls I end up collecting – this Curvy MtM can definitely bring joy to the kid and the collector alike, but is not exactly a top quality product that you can trust blindly. Overall, I think she deserves a place on your shelves and in your hearts, but finding one that is really well made may require some extra caution and diligence.

 

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Bug Catcher Holly

17 Bug Catcher Holly

It’s been a while since I did a craft and photo project centered around an Ever After High doll, but I’m happy to say that this unfortunate streak ends here. This is “Bug Catcher Holly” – the result of combining two of my hobbies – Pokemon and dolls – in one.

Bug Catcher Holly

This outfit and the overall theme were inspired by the Bug Catcher trainer class in the Pokemon games. My ambitious plan was to make a few dolls representing Pokemon trainers of different types. They could even have a Pokemon battle! Will that idea come to fruition? I don’t know know yet, but I would still like it to happen.

To be honest, I started working on some clothes and propsover a year ago, did most of the work and yet never finished them in time – before the summer was over. Like these overalls and the hat. They were lying for months in a box, a few stitches from completion.

I made them according to the instructions by My Froggy Stuff – this video https://youtu.be/Hdh6EU-xTYU . The hat was also based on her idea – it’s a no-saw, no-crochet recipe https://youtu.be/dRtNGwsAp5c

The original game sprite shows a top and shorts, but overalls are so much cuter on dolls 🙂

The shoes that Holly is wearing came from the original Abbey Bominable doll. I don’t own her, but I bought the shoes separately, looking for something sporty for my dolls. As for the bug net, it was my own invention. I’m planning to describe the process in a separate post.

The Pokemon I used for these photos were also made by me. I decided to go with Butterfree and Weedle. These are not, by any stretch of imagination, exciting Pokemon. These are the common ‘rats’ nobody wants. However, design-wise, I think they are cute, quintessential bugs, with and added bonus… they were easy to sculpt 😉

Not meta but pretty ❤

They are generally sculpted from homemade clay, but Butterfree’s wings and feet are felt. I painted on the design with acrylic paint. The white mouthparts were cut from craft paint. Now, the antennae are a curious case. I needed thin wire. I cut open an old charging cable and it had a thin wire covered in black casing – just what I needed 🙂 I dipped the ends in paint to create the tear-shaped ends. They are poseable.

Now, Weedle is certainly no one’s favourite. However, sculpting it from clay, I rediscovered its design anew! Yes, it’s weak and painfully common in the game, but design wise, it’s actually quite brilliant. Almost every part of it is a sphere – or a bead, if you will – except for the stinger and the horn, which are still quite simple shapes. You could say it has a geometrical rhythm to it. And guess what – it’s original, Japanese name transcribes to Beedle 🙂

While it was easy to shape, the figures were looking quite fragile in the process of sculpting, so I gave them both paperclip ‘skeletons’. In Weedle’s case, I had trouble shaping its tiny legs, so I used… coriander seeds 😀 The paint stuck to them surprisingly well. Finally, I covered the figures in varnish. For Weedle, I used an extra thick layer, so as to ‘swamp’ all the tiny elements and make them extra secure.

The Pokeballs were also made from cornstarch and baking soda clay, and the little carrier is a basically a little paper box with a clear plastic front.

 

For the first time ever, I used a fake grass mat – even though I took the photos outside. It can’t be me alone who noticed that real grass is always to high and too sparse for dolls 😦 Moss is great, but is a rarer find. I resorted to this solution, and it looks very good – except now I have to bring my grass with me 🙂

I almost forgot to mention the small bushes in the background. They help to mask the sharp, unnaturally straight edge of the grass mat. I sculpted them from a sponge and painted them shades of green, a method borrowed from the modelling community. The miniatures and dioramas kind of modelling.

It took me a year of stalling, many days of active crafting and a surprising two hours of ‘photographery’ to put all of this together, but I’m pleased it finally happened. I don’t know if anyone out there shares my enthusiast for this mixed theme, but I hope you can enjoy the photos nonetheless 🙂

Famosa “Club Hello Kitty” Kelly doll review

Before I started collecting dolls, I use to ask for all sorts of gifts for special occasions – if given a say, which we usually practise in our family. Now, whenever I can, I ask for dolls. This year, I’ve even had to bring home a doll as a souvenir from the seaside – even though there is nothing inherently ‘seaside’ about her:

I had heard of the Spanish company Famosa, knowing them as the makers of PinyPon – a toy which I’ve never owned, but always thought was very cute…

…but I had no idea they also produced fashion dolls.

I was very intrigued when I saw the dolls. First of all, they had articulation, with double-jointed knees and elbows! The clothes were really cool, and the dolls were really inexpensive. I only wasn’t sure about the style of their faces, but overall, it was definitely worth a try. Of the four dolls available, I grabbed the one named Kelly.

This doll cost me 25 pln, which at the moment is equivalent to 5,60 euro, 6,70 usd or 5,2 gbp. To put this into perspective, Barbie Fashionistas typically costs 40-50 pln. Although I imagine prices vary from country to country, because of the costs of transport and other things, but anyway, she is the price of half a Fashionista to me and that’s great 🙂

For a moment I worried that at this price the doll may be a fake. One of the things that convinced me that it’s not was the quality of the packaging. It’s fantastic! Cute themed graphics all over…

Pretty shiny embossing on a matte background… and an outline of Hello Kitty’s face with a bow on the side.

The card in the back of the box is also shaped like Hello Kitty with a themed print on it:

The back gives you a sneak peek at other characters, complete with some polka dots for decoration.

Wow! I really love this box design. It looks really neat and well thought through.

Inside, there was a small poster showing the dolls in more detail.

I also quite liked the one on the right – Yanina. However, nothing can beat… Kiss-inspired Hello Kitty 😀

Unfortunately, when I sat the doll down, it creased Hello Kitty’s head 😦 I would consider this a bit of a design flaw – but the outfit is overall is fun. It’s pretty nicely made too – I especially like the gathered sleeves and the interesting choice of fabric. It goes with the rock/metal theme.

I was blown away by the tights. Actual, fabric tights are so rare in dolls lately, I’m usually happy if the doll at least doesn’t have painted legs. But this doll has nice, patterned mesh tights. And she was so cheap!

The only problem with the tights that they have discolored the doll’s feet. Oh well.

She comes with a purse that, unfortunately, does not open:

To be quite fair, her shoes are not the best I’ve seen. First of all, they are pink. The product shot shows Kelly wearing grey shoes, which I think would have looked way cooler on this Hard Rock gal.

Secondly, they only fit with the tights on, and only stay on securely if you leave the rubber bands on. Thirdly and finally… I thought these dolls were supposed to be young teens, so these shoes don’t seem appropriate?

Um, maybe they just really aren’t tweens… Don’t get me wrong, the tattoo is an awesome touch, it’s just weird that she looks like a tattooed kid.

The outfit is topped off with a Hello Kitty-esque bow, a common theme in this doll line:

I like how it’s a real fabric piece, but it also looks cartoony. It is, however, a little hard to put on, because the band is a rubber band that pulls on the hair along the way.

Speaking of the hair, she reminds of Raven Queen because of the purple highlights. I like her bob cut – short hair in dolls is not exactly unheard of, but less common. Her hair is not very soft but it’s generally nice, thick and totally free from gel or glue.

Hello Kitty

Now onto her face… I’ll be honest, at first I thought it looked horrid 🙂 I think that I’ve spent so much time dealing with Mattel and Disney Store dolls that other styles automatically look ‘wrong’ to me. Over time, her face has grown on me to where I don’t feel like I have to try to repaint her, but I still think there is room for improvement. I have a big issue with how their eyebrows make them look, which is another reason why Kelly was my favourite – hers are mostly covered.

Just like many Mattel dolls lately, quite a few of the dolls on the shelf had a degree of eye-wonk. I found one which is free from that affliction, but the trade of was sloppy lip paint.

Let me also mention that her head is not vinyl. That’s pretty unusual. It is made of fairly hard plastic, but it’s not shiny. The head has a decent range of motion.

Even more impressive are her leg and arm joints…

She has double-jointed, Made-to-Move-like elbows and knees. Her wrists are also articulated. The arms bend very well, the knees a bit less so. The following photos shows them bent as far as they can go.

She can’t do splits too too well. This is how far her legs go to the sides:

This is how Kelly compares to other dolls height-wise:

I think she could pass as a pre-teen child in comparison to most doll lines, but as I mentioned before, I am not sure if that was the intention, or if she is a young adult doll on a completely different scale – or whether she has an assigned age at all.

It so happens that she can sort of share clothes with Monster High and Ever After High dolls. While Howleen’s leotard has an excessively long torso section…

… more loose-fitting outfits work just fine. Just longer than on the original owners 🙂

As for the shoes, she can borrow boot-style footwear from Ever/Monster High dolls, but not dress shoes or sandals. These need to be borrowed from the Curvy Barbie, especially ones with a raised heel. They all looks slightly awkward, but passable.

Now for some final thoughts…

I feel like “Club Hello Kitty” Kelly is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea at first glance – that’s judging by my own initial uncertainty – but given enough time and exposure, she has a chance to compete with other fashion dolls out there. Her face took me some getting used to, but seeing the overall quality – of the body, the clothes and accessories, the packaging – I believe it is not a case of sloppy design or manufacturing, but rather quirky design. I can most definitely say that this doll is the best value for money I’ve seen perhaps ever (barring some wild discounts) – with fun design, good detail and advanced articulation, all at a price below many a budgets doll. I absolutely recommend her… as long as you like her face or are good at repaints 😉

Nobody is paying me to say this, but if you’re interested in this doll line (and read Spanish or use Google Translate or are satisfied with just looking at the photos :)) check out their website famosagroup.com/hellokitty/ especially the ‘Catalogo’ http://famosagroup.com/hellokitty/es/catalogo/ to see other dolls available.