Hasbro Royal Collection Deluxe Mulan

I gladly say that, in my opinion, Disney Store makes the best Disney Princess dolls there are. However, I have to say I have found an exception. I think Mulan dolls by Hasbro are better depictions of the character, and this one is the most elaborate of them all so far:

Now, if you already know you like this doll, you should know that at the time of posting this, the doll is on sale for 10,78 USD from 29,99 USD on Amazon.com (it is an Amazon Exclusive), so feel free to drop the reading and go buy her immediately :). If you’re not so sure, perhaps this review will help you decide whether she is worth adding to the collection. Oh, and perhaps I should mention I’m not paid to say any of that – I thought I’d share what I think is a cool find 🙂

My package traveled very far very fast, and unfortunately the box cracked in transit. That’s not a huge problem, since I was going to unbox her anyway. It is a very pretty box, though, that I think in-box collectors will appreciate:

I certainly appreciated the lovely images that looked very true to the animation.

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This is the first Hasbro doll in my collection. I must say that when it comes to the unboxing process, it was every bit as tedious as with other brands. Countless, countless tiny tabs, there is always at least one more hiding when you think you got them all. On the positive side, if you want her shipped to Mars, she won’t budge in her box.

At first glance, I’d say Mulan looks very sophisticated and overall gives an impression of nice quality.

She has a face that is reminiscent of the animated style of the film, finished off with ‘real’ eyelashes:

She is wearing removable earrings and a lovely crown with a lotus flower. The crown is attached with both a comb and some thread, for good measure. I am uncertain how well it will stay on with the thread removed.

Her hair is styled. Nothing extremely complicated, but just elaborate enough. She has some green tinsel in her black hair – this, I’m not a fan of…

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The hair is long, it reaches well beyond her hips. It is smooth and completely free from any styling product.

Her dress, a ‘hanfu’, I would (ignorantly) assume, is made of satin-like material, printed with flowers and some glitter accents. The blue and red middle section is permanently attached to the dress (unlike the sheer, light blue shawl, in other pictures – after you remove the one last hidden tab, that is).

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The sleeves are quite impressive:

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Her shoes are not quite as thrilling – they basically scream ‘playline!’:

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They are on an incline, but without a heel or a platform – it’s like she’s wearing flats and standing on the tips of her toes.

There is a two-toned fan that she can hold on her own. I think it’s a very nice accessory:

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Finally, the set includes a stand. Like the shoes, the stand looks kind of childish, but is nonetheless a welcome and practical addition. It’s going to be neccessary, given the shape of her shoe-soles.

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That concludes the list of accessories. Now onto her articulation! She has articulated elbows and wrists, which I believe is an upgrade over the classic Hasbro princesses. Unfortunately, the joints do not allow the arms to bend nowhere near a 90 degree angle:

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The knees do not bend at all, the legs are just solid plastic. The legs do go to the sides a bit, as above, and front and back, as seen below.

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The articulation is, therefore, mixed. Even an internal knee joint would have allowed the doll to sit on chairs with a semblance of grace; no such luck. The arms, although limited as to the angle of movement, do allow just enough poses to make photography options more varied.

Since Mulan is my only Hasbro doll, I was wondering what kind of clothes that I already have might fit her. Supergirl’s outfit (DC Superhero Girls) fits, but that’s not really a viable option:

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Original Barbie clothes sort of fit, with some room to spare:

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Now, Petite Barbie clothes fit really nicely!

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Barbie shoes are definitely too small, but some Ever After High / Monster High shoes can be squeezed on – if you don’t mind that she’s levitating a tad:

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EAH / MH clothes, however, are way too tight. So much so, there are no images available 🙂

Finally, let’s talk about the overall impressions.

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Unlike e.g. Disney Store Limited Edition dolls (but perhaps somewhat like their Special Edition releases), I feel like this Deluxe doll by Hasbro is intended for children, but perhaps as an extra special gift. This is of course no reason not to buy one for the collection! When it comes to her appearance, I don’t think she is lacking in any way at all. Her ‘compromise’ of an articulation gives away that she isn’t as top notch as she could possibly be, but it is her shoes and the overly sweet and childish-looking stand confirm in my mind that she was meant for a younger audience. And that’s fine – after all, adults shouldn’t have all of the Disney fun.

Is she then worth her price? She is beyond a doubt worth her discounted price. When it comes to the full price – close to 30 USD – I think she should have the full articulation to fully deserve it. That said, it won’t matter if she’ll make you happy with her striking looks alone, especially for those who decide to keep her in her lovely box.

Personally, I think she looks beautiful and have no regrets 🙂

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A little more Little Kingdom

My personal Frozen fever continues… with a little side of Cinderella.

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I recently went to an outlet store with a view to buying some pretty mundane stuff and they happened to have lots of awesome toys at a 50% and more discount, among them, the Little Kingdom Frozen series. And a single Cinderella.

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I really like the Little Kingdom, and Anna and Elsa are especially cute. After a moment of deliberation, I grabbed the “Royal Chambers” playset for half of the regular price.

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It is a two-level mini-castle with opening doors, a working swing, a movable bed and chest and a detachable fence that helps connect the set with other ones in the series. The stained glass also rotates to show an alternate view: spring Arendelle scenery. It is decorated with traditional details.

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The chest is a great accessory. It actually holds the snap-ins and Elsa’s gloves. She has tiny removable gloves (Elsa is shown wearing them in the previous picture)!

The front of the castle is just solid violet plastic. It would certainly look lovely with the details painted in.

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Elsa’s outfit is the coronation dress. Her hair is also styled as in the coronation scene . Her cape comes off, and you need to do just that to let her use her swing:

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I don’t know why Elsa’s body is a block of plastic, unlike the usual design with actual legs and a removable skirt. I thought maybe it was the only way for her to sit in the swing, but no. My other Elsa sits just fine, if not better than the one from the set.

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I already have an Anna to keep her sister company, but I bought even more friends. This here Kristoff was marked at a price that translates to roughly 1,75 USD!

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He can wear his snowshoes and hold his lantern. He moves his legs and arms and his hat is removable – no pegs, it just sits on the head. He comes with a Husky (?) and a bone for the puppy. Too bad Sven wasn’t included.

I have really wanted an Oaken for a while, and that was before I found him on sale – same price as Kristoff’s. I’ve wanted him because I love the cute detachable skis – they remind me of a Kinder egg toy I had a child and which I loved – a skiing frog, whose skis I unfortunate lost, ending the fun.

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Oaken’s hat also comes off, although leaving a hole in his head (where the peg goes). His backpack is also detachable and it opens. You can put his bunch of carrots in it. Again, too bad Sven isn’t around to enjoy these.

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He can move at his waist and at his arms, but not a lot. They also look like noodles looking from the side:

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Only slightly creepy 🙂

Here are all my Frozen characters together, including my previously bought Anna:

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Then there is Cinderella. I don’t find her quite as cute as the other characters, but she was discounted to about a dollar, so definitely worth it, even just for the accessories.

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To me, she has slightly crazy eyes, but is adorable otherwise. I certainly like the colours on her.

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Everything except the playset was kind of beat-up, which is a shame, as I would have gladly bough a few more pieces as gifts for the kids in the family. I did take just one more playset to gift away.

All in all, it was a very lucky shopping trip. I really like the design and the quality about the Little Kingdom series. Admittedly, I don’t expect to find as many creative uses for these toys as I do with full-sized dolls, but I am thinking about at least upgrading the castle with some paint details and snapping a few pics. Anyway, it would have been a crime not to bring them home 🙂

At the mountaintop

This was supposed to be my last-day-of-winter post, but that didn’t work out. Oh well. Better late then never 🙂

These photos, showing Elsa in her coronation dress, were taken during my trip to the mountains, now a week weeks ago. I can’t take credit for the dress or any props – these are works of the Disney Store – it’s just my photo tribute to Elsa’s iconic scene at the mountain.

During my stay, the weather was unreasonably warm for winter time. My last day there, there was finally a snowfall. It was still so warm that it rained at the lower level ski-lifts, and only actually snowed at the top of the mountain – and that’s where I hung out.

At one point the sky lost all its clarity…

I was taking the above photo, crouched down in the snow, when a fellow skier asked whether I had seen the Frozen 2 trailer. It’s encouraging to know that there are Disney fans everywhere 😀

I never went as far as to do a costume change and take a few photos in the iconic ice-queen dress, since I didn’t want to risk losing doll shoes and accessories in the snow in the process. I also really wanted the trees to look all frozen and frosty for that, but no such luck. This goes on my things-to-do-next-winter list 🙂

I also did get totally soaked from sitting in the snow and from the slushy snowflakes. I went through two changes of hats, you could wring out water from my thick skiing gloves, and even the pack of tissues in my pocket was all soaked through! No dolls were harmed, though, as I covered her battery compartment with layers of tape in advance, and tucked her safe in the deepest parts of my backpack. I was actually quite happy to go back to the hotel and have some hot coffee that day 😉

There are quite a few more projects I would have loved to complete this (past) winter, but with this one last touch of cold, I think I’m ready to move on 🙂

Gone skiing

About two weeks ago Elsa and I went skiing. It was freaky warm for a skiing trip! The snow was all but melted in the town below the foot of the mountains, holding on so-so at the slopes, and in a slightly better state only at the peak.

I love wintry landscapes, so it was a great treat to feast my eyes before the spring is here for good. I would have loved to see caps of snow on the trees, but Elsa refused to work her magic this time. She too deserves a holiday, I guess.

I am very much on board with the idea of Disney Princesses in modern, casual clothes. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I’m much less enthusiastic about sewing them. This time I decided to instead buy this custom winter jacket and leggings. The scarf is a loop cut out of a sock (and, frankly, so is the mock ‘sweater’ sticking from under the jacket ;))

The skiing equipment came from the Barbie Careers Advent Calendar (but it can also be purchased with the Made to Move Skier).

I painted in a few details (as seen above):

  • the silver buckles on the boots
  • the black handles
  • the teal baskets on the poles
  • the topmost snowflakes on the skis
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The unpainted ski equipment from the Advent Calendar. There were also pink goggles, but I apparently forgot to include them in the photo 😉

I did not use all of the included items on this trip, because they either didn’t fit the Disney Store doll, or because I had a different idea in mind. Just so people know, the jumpsuit was also extremely hard to get on Elsa’s rubbery legs (as in, I never succeeded, but then I wasn’t desperate).

I must say there is something heartwarming about putting Elsa in a setting where she looks like she is at peace, enjoying herself, in contrast to the turmoil we see in the film (which is an epic story, don’t get me wrong!). Judging by the recently released trailer for the second part, there may be more challenges to come… but not just yet, not here.

Just… chillin’.

Speaking of Frozen 2, I find this theory on what it may be about actually quite compelling… https://youtu.be/ryVdLROEkms I can’t wait to find out ^^

I really appreciate the doll and the few days I was able to spend in the mountains – and to put them together, it just makes sense 🙂

See you in the next post 🙂

Elsa Deluxe Singing Doll Set from the Disney Store – a review

The trailer for Frozen 2 is out! How exciting 🙂 And I’m only now adding a doll from the first film to my collection…

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When I first watched Frozen in a cinema in 2013, I liked it a lot. I love winter, so the theme and all the beautiful views were a treat, and also I appreciated the wisdom that film conveyed. And then… the waves of endless Frozen merchandise hit the stores everywhere, and everything seemed a little less special than before.

I recently decided that it’s no reason to be sullen forever – I do want an Elsa doll, eventually. And since the Disney Store recently changed Anna’s and Elsa’s face sculpts for their classic dolls, and since I like the old ones better, ‘eventually’ may as well be now, while they are still available. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this 2014/2015 set  for a decent price:

I love the box…  It shouldn’t be important in making the decision on which release to buy, but… it was 😉

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It looks like a story book! Of course, the contents do not disappoint either: Elsa comes with numerous accessories, a spare dress, and even a little companion in the snow-person of Olaf.

(I guess she does also sing, but that doesn’t matter to me all that much.)

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There have been quite a few Elsa’s since her original release – after all, every little girl wanted one 🙂 They don’t differ that much, but one significant detail that has changed over time is the shape of her bodice. The movie accurate, heart-shaped bodice is the less frequent, and I must say I like it more. As you can see, this version does have it (the alternative has a simple, straight edge at the top of the opaque part).

This time around, there is no glitter other than on the cape. I like it this way as well. It’s overall very well made, only slightly crumpled from being pinned shut inside of the cape while in the box.

 

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Elsa’s face has been mostly the same until very lately, and with good reason: it is pretty and accurate. Mine has a slightly chipped lip paint, but no big deal.

As far as her hair is concerned, I appreciate that they tried to faithfully recreate her wind-blown braid, but I wish it was a little more… wind blown. You can see various carefully styled strands from the back, but the front looks a little too helmet-solid. Also, what’s up with these… earlocks?

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Looking from the back, you can also see the battery compartment and the speaker.

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Elsa comes with a plastic representation of her ice-powers. This is pretty cool, and will certainly help recreate the “Let It Go” scene – which the set is all about.

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When you move her left wrist to the sides, she plays a fragment of the song, exactly as in the film – starting from the line “It’s time to see what I can do…” up to “…you’ll never see me cry”.

The wrist can be moved up and down without starting the music. However, the left arm lacks elbow articulation, as it apparently hides a part of the mechanism. On her hip, there is an on/off switch.

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There is also a sort of a snowflake disc, that is supposed to help recreate the scene where Elsa stomps on the ground and a snowflakes pattern appears:

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When you press the button in the center, it flashes different colours for a couple of seconds. It is a pretty thing, but kind of pointless. It should have been the base of a stand for the doll. Perhaps I should try make into one?

I was very excited for Elsa’s coronation dress – all of the dresses in “Frozen” are lovely, so the more the better! Although it does not have any the intricate details it had in the film, it still looks great. The cape is detachable. Unfortunately, it has been pierced by all the plastic tabs from the packaging and there are little holes in it.

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Whichever outfit you opt for, you only have one choice when it comes to the shoes. Pretty basic, but not bad. They came rubber-banded to the feet:

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The feet are made to fit high heeled shoes as well. The legs are rubbery, with an internal knee joint that allows a modest degree of movement.

Let’s not forget about Olaf.

Now, don’t hate me for saying that, but I don’t particularly like (or particularly dislike) Olaf as a character. But he is a part of the story, and and it is nice to have him in the collection.

The figure is well made and faithful to the film – even though not articulated in any way. He does not have his nose, because he too is based on the “Let It Go” moment in the story – where Elsa re-creates him, without the carrot nose.

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Elsa is an iconic character from a pretty great animated film, and this doll represents the character very well – Disney Store sure knows how to turn their princesses into dolls. I also wanted her in my collection because of my love for winter and snow – it’s not often that we get a heroine inspired by such themes. I am excited for the prospect of taking this doll and creating something new with her and for her 🙂 Elsa may be loved by many, very many, but I hope I can add a personal touch to her doll.

Little Redhead in the Snow

Some of my friends have said to me that they are already looking forward to spring. But not me! Especially not now that we have finally been blessed with some snow ^^

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was already over a year ago that I prepared this winter outfit for little Merida. Unfortunately, last winter I stayed home for a whole month with pharyngitis and I missed all the nice snow that there was to be enjoyed that year. I’m happy to say that this winter I’ve stayed pretty healthy and I was ready to jump into action the moment it was white outside 🙂

The outfit was loosely inspired by Nordic winter clothes (I know this doesn’t really fit Merida’s origins as shown in the film, but she rocks it anyway)

  • I made the boots according to the awesome free pattern from https://iivenihmetykset.blogspot.com/2012/11/uggit-nelli-tahkapaalle.html (many thanks to the author for publishing it!), except I sewed the pieces in such a way that the seam allowance faces outwards. I think it makes them even more Ugg-like.
  • The ‘sweater’ is more of a sweater vest, and it was made from a sock. A sloppy, trial-and-error sewing job.
  • I actually knitted the scarf, that’s all I can do in the knitting department 🙂
  • I made the earmuffs similar to how MyFroggyStuff made hers, except I didn’t use pom poms. I used a circle of fluffy fabric and gathered it around the edges.

The rest of the clothes was recused from previous projects.

I was quite lucky to find the little sled in a home decor section. It is perhaps slightly on the small side, but not by much. Luckily, decorative sleds in different sizes seems to be popular these days. The furry seat was already there. I only added the rope to pull the sled.

This is my first post about an Animators’ doll in quite a long time. These dolls were the reason I decided to take up doll collecting again in adulthood, but at a certain moment did not inspire me the way they used to. Sometimes I’ve felt bad about it but, in the end, dolls supposed to be fun, you can’t force yourself to enjoy something. I believe you just have to let the excitement return to you naturally when it wants to.

…and sure enough, I had a blast with Merida that day 🙂

After that, there was coffee with cinnamon, and then another walk in the snow! (this time with a human companion)

I’m happy to say that my winter adventures may not be over yet, as I’m going skiing in a couple of days. Naturally, a doll will be coming along and I’ll be sure to share the photos 🙂

Snow in the city

I am afraid I am about to post about Snow White again…

Snow White in the snow

We don’t get much snow in my city, so every such occasion is celebrated. I did not have a lot of time that particular snowy day, but luckily the outfit was ready in advance, so I just slipped the doll in my bag and took a few photos on the way to a meeting. I had about 15 minutes altogether.

I was already aware at this point that Snow White has been getting all the attention lately, but the red cape suits her so well, I could not bear to go with any other character 🙂

There isn’t much to say beyond that, really, just a few photos to share. I did not use any particular pattern for the cape and beret, I just improvised. I suppose they could be used to make a pattern retrospectively, but I’ve never made one before.

 

Clearly, I’m still enjoying my MtM Snow White, but I’m now hoping to include some other dolls in the winter fun – time and weather permitting. I still have an Animator’s doll ready with a winter set of clothes and props since over a year ago, waiting for the right moment. Hopefully this year we make it 😉