Disney Store 2016 Classic Snow White – a review and head swap

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I am slightly embarrassed to admit that, for the longest time, Snow White was my least favourite Disney Princess. Fortunately, it changed completely over the course of this year 🙂

The first thing that changed my mind was watching the animation. Or perhaps re-watching it? I’m not certain, because if I ever did watch it, it must have been a very small child, so my memory is failing me. Despite it being very different from recent Disney films, I found it very charming, and Snow White herself – very likeable, actually.

The second factor was the release of Disney’s Limited Edition “Snow White in Rags” doll. Her face was the sweetest! The doll filled me with more appreciation for the character. Even though I wasn’t able to buy her, I was thrilled to find that the same flawless face-sculpt was used in her playline (“classic”) release! Inevitably, here she is…

Snow White 2015 Disney Store

This is the 2016 version of the doll. I intentionally chose her over the currently available version, because I liked her simpler dress and appreciated the addition of the bird figure.

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the back of the box

The theme of 2016 at Disney was definitely glitter…

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She has a glittery yellow skirt…

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Glittery red cape…

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And glittery… legs?

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Unfortunately, yes. The glitter sticks to the rubbery material of her legs. Not to worry, though! She’s going to be transferred to a Made to Move body anyway.

The bodice has remained mostly the same for the last few years, and is satin-like. It is permanently attached to the skirt. The cape is also attached for good.

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Snow White wears yellow flats. I would think them quite cute, if not for the fact that they seem to point upwards at the toes?

Please ignore the fact that I had not removed the rubber bands holding them in place 🙂

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Overall, I like her dress. It is relatively simple and fairly faithful to the original animation. I wouldn’t mind if it did not have all that glitter, but I’m not upset about it either. I’ll take it over more elaborate patterns and rhinestones. However, I wouldn’t be too too upset if they sold her even without any clothes at all, because, as I mentioned, it was her face that won me over…

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Her face is somewhat round – if only relative to other dolls. Her eyes are light brown, and her lips – oddly – are not red as in the fairytale, but pink. No problem. She still looks very cute. It may be her red band or her bob hairstyle, but there is something distinctly retro / pin-up girl about her, and I love it!

To keep the style secure, the hair is heavily gelled, so it’s hard to touch. I am OK with it, as long as it helps to preserve the shape. There are some specs stuck in the styling product, and yet, some loose hairs did escape its hold.

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She also has plastic tabs in her hair due to the way she was packaged :/

As other princesses in the 2016 line, she comes with a little friend – a blue birdie that clips onto her hand! It is rather cartoony looking, but I suppose its appropriate for a Disney character. The quality is pretty good, I only wish its feet were painted the same colour as the beak – something I may have to fix on my own.

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Disney Store dolls do come with some articulation. Their arms, elbows and wrists move, however, it is not a very wide range of motion. They can’t quite reach their chest or touch their face.

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The legs only have an internal joint, but I was positively surprised how far it can go, considering.

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Overall, this amount of articulation is infinitely beyond what a basic doll with stiff arms and legs can do, and is probably more than enough for play. That said, I fell in love with this doll so much that I wanted to give her even more poseability…

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Her being as white as snow and all, I had to pay up for the lightest, “purple top” Made to Move Barbie 😦 I was very seriously considering putting her on the pale curvy body instead – I even think it would suit her style. Unfortunately, she would not be able to wear her princess dress anymore – I checked on my Curvy doll.

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I softened both heads by placing them in plastic bags (to keep them dry) and then in hot water. They say you shouldn’t use very hot water. I did anyway. For me, nothing bad happened. I wanted very as soft as possible.

I pulled the heads off. There is not particularly smart or safe way to do it that I know of. I can only recommend holding the neck as close to its top as possible – there is a rounded piece of plastic inside this part that, as you pull on the head, will push against the tapered top of the neck. Mine started to show little cracks 😦 Luckily, it did not crumble all the way, there are just thin lines, and they are hidden under the head anyway.

I preemptively tied some rubber bands on the peg of the new, MtM body – apparently the Disney Store head might bobble otherwise.

Now, pushing the head on is the easy part.

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Seeing the stress in the peg and the neck, the procedure was close to a disaster, but in the end, everything worked out! Perhaps I should just be extra careful not to drop the doll, to prevent the damage from progressing.

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The colours of the skin are not *identical* – her face is slightly more yellowish, but they look perfectly passable together.

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Snow White’s singature dress still fits. She looks so ready to pose with woodland creatures in a field somewhere (although it may have to wait until spring…)

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While it was important for me to maintain the option to dress her in her fairytale attire, I am the most excited about dressing her in more contemporary clothes. I am already working on some outfits ^^

There is no such thing as an ugly Disney Store doll – they certainly know their trade and their princesses – but I am glad I was able to find this version in particular. The face paint is on point, adorable and faithful to the film, the outfit also has a genuine Disney look to it. This Snow White was ready to be enjoyed by a child the second she was released from packaging. With the addition of the head swap, she is more than ready to be enjoyed also by the slightly more picky doll enthusiasts. I firmly believe this doll will bring me loads of enjoyment – starting very soon 🙂

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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 😉

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 😉 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 🙂 Now she is a ‘purple top’ Ariel 🙂

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 🙂

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 😀 https://youtu.be/dWzANxsslJc

 

EAH Bunny to Bunny head swap

Bunny Blanc re-headed

Not long ago I bought one of the recent dolls from Ever After High – The Archery Club Bunny Blanc. I did it specifically because I liked her reboot face more than the original:

Signature Bunny Blanc (left) vs Archery Club Bunny Blanc (right)

However, I found everything else to be far superior on the original release, and that including her body…

My intention from the start was to swap the heads on these two. I had never swapped heads before, so I was certainly a little nervous! I tried finding some advice online. I did find a few photos and videos, but all in all, I feel like nothing out there can thoroughly guide you through the process. You need to feel it for yourself to judge how much force you need to apply, and wiggle things around until the head comes off.

Nonetheless, here are a few tips that may make the process a little easier:

  • Carefully heating the head will soften it – some people recommend using a hair dryer, or putting the doll in a plastic bag and dipping her head down in very warm water (I went with the latter method)
  • Try removing the head from the ‘bad’ body first – the body is more likely to break (the parts inside the neck) than the head, so you probably want start with the poorer body for practice
  • This is what the neck peg looks for Ever after High. See the plastic getting white from the strain? These are the most endangered parts. Also, it is these thin prongs that you will need to somehow wiggle out through the narrow neck hole, probably one at a time.

 

EAH neck peg

I make it sound scary, huh? It was a little scary for me, but many people do this regularly with no casualties 🙂 Pulling the head off is the difficult part. Slipping the new head on isn’t much of an issue.

Overall, everything went well for me – hurray!

Personally, I feel like this Bunny face-up is the prettiest and the most true to her character so far. I was expecting to see lots of head swaps with it, but I couldn’t find a single photo online. I do have a theory now why it may be so. Unfortunately, the skin tone match between the two dolls I used isn’t perfect:

Her body has a peachy undertone, and her face has a cool bluish undertone. The difference is easily noticeable when you look for it, but I feel like it isn’t particularly distracting otherwise. She kind of looks like some of us look like with make-up on, maybe? The difference is also less clear when she has her arms down, the white fluff of her vest obscures her neck.

Another thing worth taking into account is that her new head is slightly smaller, and her headband sits more loosely. If you move the doll it may slide off, but it stays on fine on display on the shelf.

Finally, the Archery head doesn’t have her ears pierced. I have seen a tutorial suggesting that it is possible to pierce them yourself, and I’m considering it. Frankly, though, her earring were never all that visible to begin with, so I’m not in a huge rush.

Overall, the re-headed Bunny is not perfect because of the slight colour discrepancy. It also bugs me that I reward the manufacturer’s mistakes with both releases by buying not one, but two dolls! But all in all, I feel like the resulting doll looks very much like the doll we deserved in the first place – both sweet like her character and properly articulated. A slight mismatch or not, I do enjoy her in this form way more than any of her official releases.

P.S. I almost forgot! This is what she would look like in her Archery clothes: