Saturday, April 29, 2017

Endless Hair Kingdom Barbie by Mattel

I've been going to Toys R Us every week for the past month, trying to find something new and exciting to review.  This is often a slow time of year (after the holidays but before summer) for new doll releases.  In fact, I've been noticing absences from the shelves more than additions: Bratz dolls have been discontinued and are gradually disappearing, the Journey Girls have been replaced by American Girl, Winx Club dolls--and their Make it Pop imitators--are gone, and although Cabbage Patch Kids are still around, they look really different under the Wicked Cool Toys label.

Amidst all of these changes, evidence suggests that Mattel might be doing well--recovering from their multi-year financial slump.  I don't have a lot of data to support this, but the Toys R Us doll section in South Portland is certainly dominated by Mattel these days: there's Barbie, Ever After High, Monster High, My Mini MixieQ, DC Super Hero Girls, Loving Family...and of course the whole American Girl mini-store.  The only chink in Mattel's armor seems to be the fact that Hasbro scored the Disney Princess license.

Mattel's dominance doesn't bother me the way it used to.  I think this company is starting to make a lot of great changes.  While I've all but lost interest in Monster High and Ever After High, I'm very excited about some of American Girl's new releases: the WellieWishers, Melody, Gabriella, Logan, Z and Nanea.  The Barbie aisle is more exciting to me now than it's ever been, too, with the brilliantly-articulated Made to Move characters and the diversity of body types and skin tones in the Fashionista line.  In fact, the most interesting doll I found at Toys R Us last week is a Barbie doll.  This doll is from Mattel's Endless Hair Kingdom collection.  She caught my eye because of her size (about 17 inches), her great articulation, and her very long hair:

Endless Hair Kingdom Barbie, $24.99.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Dolls from Hasbro and the Disney Store: The Beast

This is my second comparison review of dolls from the new live action Beauty and the Beast movie.  You can find my review of the Hasbro and Disney Store Belle dolls here.

I was much more excited about the Beast dolls from these two companies than I was about the Belle dolls--in part because of the underwhelming promotional pictures of the Disney Store's Belle, but also because the Beast is simply a more unique, intriguing figure.

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reviewing the Beast--especially the Disney Store's version--but this fascinating character also somehow managed to make the unfortunate Disney Store Belle doll more appealing to me.  The two dolls compliment each other quite well, and bring out something...well, something that I didn't see before:

Toy Box Philosopher review
The Beast and Belle from the Disney Store, $34.95 each.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Surprise: Happy Easter!

For more than a decade, Easter has started (bright and early!) in my house with an egg hunt and an epic treasure hunt.  I used to spend all Saturday making clues for the hunt...clues that my dynamic treasure hunting duo would solve in under an hour (baskets of candy are powerful motivators, I guess).  This year, with one kid off at college and the other with a new-found love for sleeping in on Sunday mornings...well, Easter is off to a quieter start.

I overcompensated for this change by trying to pack way too many things into today's Sunday Surprise.  I have an odd mix of surprise-themed things to share with you: some Li'l Woodzeez blind bag bobblehead figures, a Matryoshka nesting doll (with a mystery number of smaller dolls inside!) and some vintage Holly Jolly baby-filled eggs by Zapf Creation.

Matryoshka doll by Yankelus.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Dolls by Hasbro and the Disney Store: Belle

Last year, when I was re-thinking this blog and figuring out how to keep it in my life, I made a few resolutions.  One of them was that I would never feel obligated to buy another Disney Store doll.  Why? Well, when I first started collecting these dolls (back in 2012), I was blown-away by the high-quality product that Disney could offer for under $13. Over the years, though, the dolls have suffered a lapse in quality and an increase in price…to the point where I started feeling bad every time I made a Disney Store purchase.

So why am I reviewing a Disney Store doll now?  Well, frankly, it’s because I’m a total sucker for Disney movies, and I get a little obsessed when a new one comes out. When the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie was announced, I eagerly waited for the release of the associated dolls…and then bought all of them. I can’t say that this was a wise decision, but at least I’ll get to share what I learned with all of you.  In a short series of (not necessarily sequential) posts, I'll look at both the Disney Store and Hasbro’s versions of Beauty and the Beast's main characters.  I’ll start things off today with each company’s yellow-gowned Belle doll:

Beauty and the Beast's Belle from the Disney Store, $34.95.
(Shown on a Barbie Made to Move body)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Figuring Out Phicen (Part 3): The 6th Generation Females

Well, we've arrived at the third (and final) installment of my Figuring Out Phicen series.  I published this review in small segments partly because I had too many pictures for a single post, but also because I've been crazy-preoccupied by our high school's spring drama show.  Every year this fun event eats huge amounts of my time, and this year is no exception.  So, if you feel like I've been distracted lately...you're absolutely right.  Oh, and also: we're getting 21 inches of snow today in Maine.  Same old, same old.  So, basically, this review might not be my best work, but if I get it published before our power goes out, I'm gonna be psyched.

Regardless of distractions, I do read every comment on the blog, and I have to say: you guys are hysterical.  The banter about Paul and his "bits and pieces" from the last review made my entire week.  Aria, your thread made me laugh out loud more than once.  I'll admit to having the same fixation on finally seeing the Phicen secret parts.  And Alina_Mau: my apologies to you and our other day-glow pale sisters for all of the skin tone shaming.  In my defense, I don't even know what a tan is.  There's pale and then there's burned...right?

I'm afraid there will be even more skin tone discrimination in this review, though, because--spoilers--a Phicen suntan body found its way into my house and totally stole the show:

Phicen 6th Generation S17B Super Flexible body (suntan) with Kimi's Amanda Seyfried head.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Figuring Out Phicen (Part 2): The Phicen M33 Male Body

Welcome to the second of three posts about the fabulous Super Flexible Phicen bodies!  I started this series with the intention of simply finding a head for a pale female Phicen body.  However, my choice of body (the S01A--which you can read about in Part 1) was far too similar to the only other Phicen body I own (the S01--which you can read about here).

So, in an effort to learn something new about Phicen, I went a little overboard and purchased a male body and two of the newest female bodies.  Today I'll take a quick look at the male body I chose, the M33:

Phicen M33 male body with an Eleven head (left), Phicen S01A female body with a Dreamer head (right).