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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ It is feels pleasant to touch, too. The rooting is relatively sparse, but everything looks good “on the surface” πŸ™‚

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, ifΒ  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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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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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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜€

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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.

 

 

Made To Move Ariel – the story of a doll come true

Like many doll lovers, I am a fan of My Froggy Stuff. Her crafts are so clever and cute! But for me, one the greatest Froggy inspirations was not strictly a craft, but a custom doll – her Made To Move Ariel. Ever since I laid my eyes on her, I was obsessed. Here is a link to the first video where Ariel first appeared as a re-bodied doll: https://youtu.be/mnxpMOSDVfI . She has been appearing on the channel ever since, even as a part of the Darby Show series, stirring up my envy πŸ˜‰

For a while now, I have been wanting to get one of my own, but it wasn’t easy.

  • The doll Froggy used was a 2014 Classic Disney Store Ariel. This face style is now retired. I would only by satisfied with the 2014 version or the 2013 version, which is very similar.
  • This doll was never available in my country (no Disney Store for me :(), so they are hard to find locally
  • They don’t seem to be especially highly prized on Ebay, but the shipping costs from abroad that I saw usually amounted to quite a lot extra cost.

Finally, a miracle! She appeared on a local bidding service, and really affordable too! Not long after, she was mine πŸ™‚

Well, with a small twist. Unlike the Classic 2013 and 2014 Ariel, her legs are articulated. Her outfit didn’t match any product photos either… but the face was spot on?

Following the number printed on her back…

I learned that she was a part of a really awesome “Little Mermaid” gift set from 2013 – a third viable option I didn’t even know about. If you’re curious about the set, I recommend checking out this picture on Flickr. This user’s photos are an awesome resource for all things Disney Store πŸ™‚

If you’re geeking out about the different Ariel versions from this period as I am, this photo, also from the user drj1828, showing a comparison of the Ariels from 2012 to 2014 might also interest you.

I don’t know where this doll’s substitute bra came from, other than evidently from another Ariel doll, not necessarily Disney Store made:

I quite like it. It’s even more movie-accurate than the original.

The tail is a different story. It’s a little small and just barely closes…

Especially if you try to sit the doll. Then all the secrets spill out:

Like the fact that it originally belonged to a Simba Ariel.

Other than the size problem, I quite like it. It is again pretty movie-accurate in colour, shape and finish. I especially like the fin.

Her hair was in a surprisingly good condition, even retaining the original curl. I only had to comb through it with my fingers and slightly smooth it down on the top of her head. I did not want to use a hairbrush so as not to turn it into a poof.

Most importantly, I am very happy with her face. I don’t claim that this is the objectively best Ariel sculpt in the world, but it is by far my personal favorite. I think she looks cute, curious and sassy πŸ™‚ I also like her big, striking eyes.

Finding the doll was a big step forward, but I also wanted her on a Made to Move Barbie body. The above-mentioned My Froggy Stuff video said that the pink, blonde MtM is the perfect skin tone match for her. The football player is supposed to be her equivalent too, so I ordered one, and… a big fail.

Not even close! Apparently, European, or perhaps Central European MtMs are way darker 😦 Compared to Ariel, she looked like a spray tan accident.

I thought maybe I should keep Ariel as is – after all, she has above-avergage articulation too:

Invisible comb and mirror πŸ˜‰ In fact, this is how close she can get to touching her face. She can kind of touch her head.

She does have a considerable number of joints, but there is something off about this doll’s body…

When she sits, her knees are quite far apart.

Her calves are softer than the upper leg and sort of bendy.

Worst of all, she can’t really stand straight. Her hip joints are loose and she flops back and forth. This would be especially problematic when posing her for photos.

When watching Classic DS dolls reviews, I had heard many a time that their articulated legs are awkward, so much so, some people said they prefer the unarticulated ones (or with the bend and snap, old-Barbie-style rubbery legs, to be precise). It was unfathomable to me. I now understand where they were coming from – this model is very wobbly.

So, there was just one, expensive gamble to make… The Purple Top Made to Move Barbie.

And, it turns out, it works!

To my eye, MtM Lea is pretty much perfect for Ariel. She was unfortunately quadruple the price of the blonde >.< Apparently she is rare now. And I still had to swap their heads without ruining the costly donor…

Lea’s peg was covered in glue when I took it out, but no major damage was done
Removing Ariel’s head was fairly easy

Thankfully, the operation was successful! Let me also mention that, as per Froggy’s advice, I wrapped thin rubber bands around Barbie body’s peg – apparently, it’s too loose otherwise. The trick worked for me. I’m very sorry, but I did not think to take a photo of how it looked. I do recommend the video for that.

Here she is, looking pretty good!

Her Ariel top still fits, but her tail not so much. I think it’s a fair trade off, since it was off from the beginning anyway. I wonder if I should try to resize it or make a new one from scratch?

Made to Move Ariel

Plus, the purple top retains her signature colour πŸ™‚ Now she is a ‘purple top’ Ariel πŸ™‚

When I first saw her, I thought – is her neck supposed to be so long and slim, or did I not push it down all the way? But less then a minute later I was used to it, and it feels just right.

The improvement in articulation is unquestionable, but there was never really a doubt which body is the better one.

Overall, I am ecstatic about the fact that I did not break anything, and about how lovely she looks. I’d like to announce that Ariel will be the doll to travel with me to the seaside this year for a photo shoot πŸ™‚

Also, by a total coincidence, the day I am finally read to post this, My Froggy Stuff has just released a video about yet another Made to Move Ariel πŸ˜€ https://youtu.be/dWzANxsslJc

 

Barbie Fashion & Accessory Pack Haul

It has happened. I have started to give in to collecting Barbies too.

Starting a collection of a new kind of doll usually means starting with nothing clothing-wise. While I have patiently sewn and collected Animator’s and Ever After High outfits over a few years, I have decided to take the easier approach this time and buy a few basics to jump-start my Barbie wardrobe. Let’s see if they live up to expectations!

Note: Due to a problem with my SD card, I have lost nearly all my photos of the accessories still in the package. The above photo only shows a few of the items I will discuss. The remaining items were packaged in a similar style bags with the pink-striped background as well.

But first, let me briefly introduce my today’s model:

I bought this doll on sale for practically next to nothing. I shall call her Tania. I have had her for a couple of months, wondering whether I should give her away as a gift, but I always felt the little girls in my life already have enough blonde Barbies. In the end I decided to harvest her for her clothes and shoes. Every little helps πŸ™‚

It’s a doll from a budget line – as ‘budget’ as it gets. She can’t lift her arms to the side – only up and down – and she can’t nod her head ‘yes’, only ‘no’ – to the sides. Despite that, and the fact that she is a fairly generic blonde Barbie, she has a very sweet smile πŸ™‚

Her dress is made of a t-shirt-like fabric. It has a velcro-type closure in the back. Unfortunately, the print is only in the front, the back is solid black.

Her shoes were not visible in the box, so it was an unboxing-time surprise. They are very… sweet – they look like they came straight from the Fairytopia line – and perhaps they did. Probably not very useful with modern-style outfits, but hey, they might come in handy one day:

Now, to give her some new options!

Barbie Career Teacher Fashion Pack (DNT92)

POSITIVE:

+ the pattern on the shirt goes all around

+ the top closes with a velcro (so you don’t have to squeeze the doll in)

+ the skirt is ‘denim’ all over as well

+ feels well made

+ cute glasses and books

NEGATIVE:

– the skirt is a little bulky around the hips on the classic Barbie

Comments: I bought the set because I especially dislike sewing tops, and because I like the collar. It is to be expected, but the white ‘shirt’ is sewn into the top. The books don’t open, but they still make for pretty cool props. The skirt doesn’t have a velcro, only an elastic waist-band.

 

Barbie Dolphin Magic Tropical Set Fashion Pack (FBD85)

POSITIVE:

+ classic, realistic cut

+ cute opalescent pattern

+ closes with a Velcro

+ fun accessories

NEGATIVE:

– the swimsuit is not elastic at all and it doens’t fit very well

– the print is only in the front

– the swimsuit was pinned to the cardboard and the tabs left little holes in the fabric

– the velcro gets caught in the fabric and leaves marks in it easily

Comments: The bottle of the sunscreen bottle has a ‘peg’ that fits Barbie furniture with corresponding indentations (so as not to move or fall). It also has a loop that fits around the doll’s finger. Both these features are handy, but they also detract from the realism. The puppy is too unrealistic for my liking, but it is vinyl-like to touch and overall well-made.

 

Barbie Fashion Pack, Pink Plaid Shirt (DMB38)

I have no idea why it’s called ‘pink’, it’s definitely more red πŸ™‚

POSITIVE:

+ feels pretty well-made

+ made from cotton fabric

+ the pattern continues to the back

+ realistic cut and pattern

Comment: I hesitate to name any negatives, but I will say what would fit my taste a little better: I think the shirt should have the closure in the front, not the back, then it could be worn undone. It is also slightly more loose-fitting than I imagined, but it’s not objectively a problem.

 

Barbie Fashion Pack, Heather Heart Tank (DMB36)

POSITIVE:

+ trendy, contemporary look

+ fastens in the back

NEGATIVE

– slight defects in the hem

– not as well-fitted as I expected

– a little bit short

 

Barbie Fashion Dress – Sweet Casual Dress (DNT81)

POSITIVE:

+ feels well-made

+ velcro-type closure for easy dressing

+ pattern continues all around, the stripes align neatly

+ really brightens up the doll!

NEGATIVE:

– the ‘belt’ is only in the front

 

Comment: I wasn’t initially going to buy this dress because dresses – especially sleeveless ones – are relatively easy to sew. Since this one has a t-shirt top, I made an exception. I’m so glad I did! It’s so lovely and joyful-looking πŸ™‚

Barbie Accessories Original & Petite Doll Shoe Pack (FCR92)

POSITIVE:

+ a nice collection of basics for a decent price

NEGATIVE:

– …except for the orange ones, I don’t really need those πŸ™‚

– could use a touch of paint

– why put flat and high-heeled shoes in one pack? What if I only have one type of Barbie?

 

Comment: I thought the white sneakers were for the high-heeled foot type, but they really have flat soles – in case someone was wondering.

Barbie Accessories Curvy & Tall Doll Shoe Pack (FCR93)

POSITIVE:

+ again, an affordable boost to your Barbie shoes collection

NEGATIVE:

– again: lack painted details

Β – again: a mixture of flats and heels

Comment: Why areΒ there separate shoes for Curvy and Tall Barbie? It turns out there is a slight difference. They are slightly big on the Classic Barbie – which is OK, the manufacturer did their best to warn me πŸ˜‰ The shoes are still usable just not as snug-fitting.

Barbie Fashion Accessory Pack, Pink and Red (DHC55)

POSITIVE:

+ nice sculpted details

+ cute designs

NEGATIVE:

– mixture of flats and heels

Comment:Β Because I really like the shapes and textures of these items, the lack of painted details doesn’t bother me with this pack. I love the red boots and I definitely wanted some girly flats in my collection. I only wish they had skipped the pom-poms. I’m not a huge fan of the bracelet and the necklace, but it’s highly subjective.

* * *

This concludes my Barbie haul.

D’oh! I forgot to order a pair of jeans 😦 I guess I will have to do some sewing after all.

Overall, I am pretty pleased. My most pleasant surprise was how much I enjoy the yellow-blue-and-white dress. I really like the teacher set as well. My biggest disappointment was the swimsuit. I might have still bought it even if I knew its downsides because I have something special in mind for it, but it feels the most flimsy out of all the items.

It seems to me that Barbie clothes and accessories are more affordable then they used to be – or perhaps I have learned to find better deals online – but the cost of a decent wardrobe starter is still high. Normally I would choose to spend the money on a new doll, but going for the outfits lets me skip the sewing part – which is a chore πŸ˜‰ – and get straight to the photography part – where the real fun is for me πŸ™‚ And that’s a good deal.

The Ruby Red Barbie Fashionista

After discovering highly articulated dolls, I never thought I’d ever again be interested in any other kind. However, whenever I saw the “Ruby Red” Fashionista – usually online – I thought she looked lovely and that I should adopt her – eventually. Maybe I could put her on a Made to Move body? – I thought. Alas, the “purple top” MtM doll with the corresponding skin tone is both rare and now extra pricey. So I stalled.

This particular doll in the photos was the last one that I’ve been seeing in ‘offline’ shops in my area. Articulation or no articulation, I knew I’d be sad to one day find out that they are no longer available. I put my joint-count prejudice aside and let me take her home and love her for what she is.

According to the packaging, she is a part of the 2015 series of Fashionista dolls. She is definitely my favourite among the listed ones, although I also quite like number 23 and 25 (click here for a bigger image).

I was surprised how fun it was to open the doll (aside from the excess plastic tabs :)). I had not opened a Barbie doll in yeeeaars πŸ™‚ A lot has changed, but there is a familiar feel to the experience.

Out of the box, her bangs were gelled stiff (above) and her hair overall messy, so I gave her a wash at once (below).

Here is the back, before and after. Never mind the tab through the skull. They are used to it πŸ™‚

I feel like she would benefit from a quick trim too, but I haven’t had the courage so far.

Upon seeing her face to face, I do think her face is lovely:

It’s a kind of a simple, classy look. It is certainly in good harmony with her outfit. Her right eye might be a tad higher than the other one, but it’s nothing distracting. I knew I’d take her over a blind online purchase any day.

I also really like the way she looks with her hair tied – except it’s kind of hard to make a bun that will actually hold:

Speaking of her outfit, I pretty much love everything about it! Give it to me in human size and I’ll totally wear it πŸ™‚

Actually-wearable-if-life-sized fashions are a relatively new development in the Barbie world. From my childhood, I remember everything being pink and either puffy, or glittery or iridescent. I really can’t decide which style I like better in dolls. Each has a very different appeal.

I think this dress looks cute and classy, and the colours are well matched. I like the pattern, too. My only complaint is that the skirt part and the collar aren’t hemmed. They also took the easy route and the sleeves aren’t separate pieces – but they look fine anyway. Sometimes I take the same shortcut when sewing, so I’d better not criticise too harshly πŸ™‚ The dress is one piece, but I would expect it to be.

Oh, and there is a slight mistake with the collar which makes it curl up, but I can live with it.

Lea – which I believe is this character’s name – wears a bunch of white bracelets…

And simple black mary-jane flats:

…which let her stand on her own on smooth surfaces.

I love these shoes as well πŸ™‚ They aren’t necessarily flawlessly sculpted, but I do love this style – for toddler dolls, for adult dolls, for myself! I think they are cute and girly. I see them as a playful reference to school uniforms, but my love for this style started with Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland.

(I didn’t like the film as a kid, it was too trippy. But I did like the shoes)

Alice In Wonderland Disney Joy Pinterest Alice

I’m very happy to own a pair of similar ones for Lea and my future Barbie-sized dolls.

To accommodate these flats, Lea’s feet are flat as well – as in, no high heels for her. Other than that, I believe she is a classic body type – although it didn’t say on the box.

Her legs move front and back, and slightly to the side. So do her arms – except the range is greater in each direction. Her head moves pretty much any way you want it to, except, like most dolls I own, you can’t lower her chin quite as much as I’d like to.

 

There are a few aspects about the Ruby Red Fashionista that do whisper “budget doll”. Her limited articulation is perhaps the most painful one when it comes to doll photography – the number of possible poses really is small. At the same time, I am fully aware that advanced range of motion has been the exception rather than the rule with Barbie, and you simply have to decide if Barbie is your thing nonetheless. If you don’t expect this Fashionista to be something that she wasn’t meant to be (which at first was a challenge for me) she has enough to offer: a good design and a lot of charm.

If I ever do find her a Made to Move body it would be great. If not, she’s been a great source of fun even as mere eye candy πŸ™‚

EAH “Birthday Ball” Cedar Wood: a review

Between procrastination, a very long cold, and terrible, snowless weather outside, the past weeks haven’t been a very good time for crafts and photos for me. However, the winter season is the best time of the year when it comes to expanding my doll collection! It’s of course because of Christmas, but also my birthday. Quite appropriately, “Birthday Ball” Cedar Wood was my birthday present this year πŸ™‚

Even though Cedar is one of my favourite characters in the EAH webisodes, I never seriously considered buying her doll before. But recently I went through a phase of fascination with 80’s and 90’s Barbie reviews, and suddenly, I began to miss all the sweetness, tackiness, all the tinsel, glitter and iridescent fabrics. The Birthday Ball line marries some of this Barbie-like magic with my favourite doll brand, and I found Cedar to be the sweetest of them all πŸ™‚

This line isn’t exactly new. But it certainly is something different! All the featured characters – attending an unspecified birthday ball – have pastel coloured hair and dressed inspired by desserts. Some of them, Cedar included, are also scented like their treats.

I wasn’t sold on the scent at first. Cedar is supposed to smell like an orange pastry, but it smells more like artificial vanilla to me. While still in the box, the scent was also quite overpowering, but after the doll has been taken out and aired out it’s become much more agreeable.

The packaging and the art is adorable!

Unfortunately, I already have a complaint. Every other of these dolls that I saw online or in reviews had a stand attached and visible in the box. My seller also used a photo featuring a stand, but the box comes with none attached 😦 I thought my box had been broken into and looted, but no. It isn’t even listed in the contents (and they also are). It’s a shame, I was looking forward to another doll standΒ  😦 I didn’t even realise this model was available in a variant without one.

I decided to keep the purchase, though. The doll herself doesn’t disappoint, and it would be a shame to have to part:

She is wearing an elaborate one-piece dress made from two fabrics, in pink and violet. I especially love the glittery, princess-like peplum… thingy (I have gone through an entire glossary of tailoring terms and I still don’t know what to call it). The hemline is scalloped, perhaps to look like a cupcake. Unfortunately, it isn’t hemmed, but it’s holding up for now.

There is also a removable belt and a necklace, both gold and decorated with a bow. The necklace is sculpted and painted very neatly (although the gems could use a bit of colour too).

Her shoes were definitely a positive for me!

I love the general shape, they are smart and fancy. They are certainly whimsical with, again, icing-like designs and little cupcakes in the front, but I am very glad that they still look like actual shoes that a human being could wear (some Ever after High and Monster High ones barely do). I feel like they can be used with many other outfits, perhaps as long as you don’t zoom in on the cupcakes too too much. They also look very neatly made.

Cedar’s handbag looks like a present. Or perhaps it really is meant to be a present box, as simple as that. It is made from two separate pieces of plastic, but it does not open. It is sculpted to have a wood grain surface with some frills on the front and back. Very cute.

Now for the doll’s face. Since she is the future Pinoccio, she has sculpted wood pattern on her forehead and her lips have her signature two-tone look.Β There is some pearlescent highlighter above her eyes. The pink lip colour and violet eyeshadow match her outfit, and seem to overall suit her.

Her hair is amazing! Certainly, it is a little on the tacky side, but how fun πŸ™‚ It looks like it has layers.

The colour is gorgeous. It is neon-pastel-coral – or perhaps salmon – with pink streaks. The streaks aren’t readily visible, but they add to the overall richness.

In the front, there is a short braid – reminiscent of her signature doll – and, of course, there is some tinsel magic. The strands of tinsel look like they have little shiny dots, but in reality, these are just shines on the facets created by the twists in the tinsel.

Cedar wears a bow headband in a light pink colour. I understand the design on the bow’s ‘body’ to be modelled after the decorative texturing on the sides of a frosted cake – but it is quite abstract. The middle piece is like a stick with two acorns, a chain of three links and three leaves hanging off it. It sounds a little odd, but I think it is to be understood as a reminder of Cedar’s connection with… wood. I can only argue any of the above interpretations based on the general themes of ‘Pinoccio’ and ‘sweet birthday treats’.

Some reviewers shy away from showing naked dolls, but if you’re not going to admire this doll’s sculpt, you’re missing out:

The light caught in her wood grain texture looks quite beautiful. This is my first Cedar and I’m glad to now have such a unique looking doll in the collection. Her limbs are also different in that she has faux wooden screws or hinges in her knees and elbows, but her actual joint mechanism and range of articulation are as usual in the line.

Not only is this doll unique among other characters, she is also especially sweet in this particular release. Her colours, her frills, glitter and tinsel make my inner 90’s child very happy πŸ™‚ Despite the decorations being dangerously far to the tacky side, I feel like the overall design gets away with it’s sweetness, because from the very beginning we know it’s all a part of a convention – the theme of a fairytale birthday party bursting with magical desserts.

The doll is very well made – there are no upsetting defects (there often are), the paint details are neat, the clothing is nice and elaborate. My only complaint is the unexpected lack of a stand – I swear, most releases of this very doll contain one!

Finally, I have to admit that for craft purposes she isn’t very customisable. No matter what I dress her in, she will always look like a magical wooden puppet with a crazy hair colour and tinsel. Well, at least I love her this way πŸ™‚

If you, like me, like something sweet from time to time, this doll and her friends from the “Birthday Ball” line are an excellent excuse to take a trip to the slightly better days of Ever After High.

EAH “Epic Winter” Apple White: a review

I love winter. I also love Ever After High. So when the “Epic Winter” line was released, I was ecstatic. What is more, it so happened that this was the first EAH line released after I started collecting – my first opportunity to look forward to new dolls along with other fans and collectors.

It was Apple that impressed me the most with her bright and fresh face, but I was on the fence because of the irremovable tights. This year again, as the winter season came around, the theme grew more and more appealing and I finally gave into this Apple’s charm.

All the dolls in the line came packaged in largely see-through boxes resembling blocks of ice. Pretty cool, no pun intended:

What you see here is pretty much what you get. There is no hidden compartment with a stand. It was the first time a major, deluxe release did not include one of those.

When I look at the product shots in the back, I get a strong feeling that the omission of a stand wasn’t the only deviation from the initial design and plan:

The dolls in the photo have extra jewellery and, perhaps more strikingly, still have their pre-reboot faces. Did the changes arrive so quickly there was no time to update the tell-tale packaging? How did they not know they would be altering their faces long ahead of time?

Also for the first time ever, the actual doll is cuter than the art – although that’s my subjective opinion:

I could swear they use the same drawing with every Apple White doll – unfortunately so, because her face is strangely far away from her neck. Only the rest of the body gets re-drawn.

But the actual doll looks so sweet and it’s all that matters πŸ™‚

Her face has many of the same colours as the signature (which I don’t own) when it comes to her features and her make-up, but the expression is very different. I do have a “Getting Fairest” Apple to compare, though:

"Getting Fairest" Apple White and "Epic Winter" Apple White

I’d say that the original looks more artistic when it comes to her face-paint, but the newer one looks more friendly. I’d also say that the re-boot sculpt captures Apple’s character as we know her from the series better – she is almost always positive and enthusiastic.

I am perhaps slightly bothered by the violet-purple line inside her eyes, under the eyelids. Actually, it turns out both versions have it, but it seems more obvious with the new release. Nonetheless, I think her face is overall adorable.

…mostly because she looks so frickin’ happy!

Even though, for me, the “Epic Winter” line marks the beginning of a decline in quality, in this case, the changes did not affect her articulation, so both her and me have reasons to feel happy.

Let’s talk about her outfit. It is a one-piece hybrid between a dress and a coat with someΒ  fur accents. It’s more pink than red this time around (red being her signature colour).

The main theme seems to be ice-crystals and snowflakes, with a personal touch in the form of Apples:

The odd part is that when you remove the belt (shaped like golden icicles?) it reveals a plain white band. It’s a shame, since I’m not a fan of the accessory and was intending to remove it, but now it has to stay on, I guess.

On the positive side, the outfit is made of three different types of fabric: satin/polyester, faux-fur and faux-leather. I think it makes it look interesting and more complete:

I’m also wondering if I would be able to separate the dress into a skirt and a separate jacket, but right now she feels too new for such a risky undertaking.

Part of the reason why I decided in favour of Apple and not Blondie (who is also cute and doesn’t have moulded tights) is that I really like her boots…

At first I noticed that hers looked the only boots in the line that didn’t resemble ice crystals. Later I realised that she wasn’t actually exempt from the theme: she too is wearing ice-boots, judging by the heels, but she is just wearing knit leg-warmers over them. I wish there were no crystals involved at all – I am a big fan of more ‘normal’ looking shoes – but since they generally look like super-cute sweater boots anyway, I am satisfied. These are perfect for Christmas outfits.

Then there is the head band. It’s all sculpted plastic, but it still looks sweet and cozy. The details on the band look like beads and snowflakes. Out of the box, it comes attached to the doll’s head. I still haven’t removed the tabs and bands from mine.

She comes with a solid piece of slightly see-through, glittery plastic for a purse:

Can I send it back to Mattel and asks for the jewellery from the box art instead? Because I think it would have made for a much better accessory.

Finally, the most problematic part of her ensemble – the infamous moulded-on tights.

I don’t like them because they limit the possibilities when it comes to redressing. I also wish that they were at least only painted on, without the sculpted pattern – it looks chunky and awkward to me. It’s also odd how the detail fades on the front part of her thighs. The mould-lines on the sides are very obvious, too.

Her hair is rather nice. It is styled into soft curls without the use of any gel. It feels silky and non-oily.

My only complaint is that there are sections where the hair has lost its curl, especially in the areas that were squished in the box.

Be forewarned that her head is hard. In the past, this have often meant future problems with glue leaking through the hair and making it permanently sticky. Hopefully they have learned since then and have used a different kind of adhesive. Time will tell.

Supplied with the doll there was a ring for the child. To me, it’s another useless accessory (along with the handbag). Not only because it is both too small and too silly for me to wear, but also because it’s not the best design to begin with: it’s supposed to be a magical rose under a dome, but it looks like chewed up gum:

The crystals around it also look strange in red. Like some evil substance from a sci-fi film. (perhaps it’s the crystals that the Sith put in their lightsabers). I do like the dome part itself. I might pick the ring apart and reuse this part for something else.

I think this covers all the important parts. Summing up, this doll represents a slightly lower standard than its predecessors when it comes to detail, but it’s still a pretty good design. If you like the reboot faces and can get over the moulded tights, it is a solid doll that represent a fresh new theme – quite perfect for the holidays, too. Most importantly, in my opinion, she does have the magic – that something special about a doll that makes you fall in love with her and brings you happiness.