A (Snow) White Christmas

Merry Christmas! May your hearts be filled with childlike joy, and your gifts with dolls and toys ^^

See you in the New Year 🙂

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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 🙂

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.

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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.

 

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