Saturday, December 29, 2012

Live Blogging from Panama

My family and I are spending the Christmas break in Panama.  This is the farthest south I have ever been, and probably the most exotic and interesting trip I have ever taken.  Of course, while enjoying howler monkeys, parrots, pelicans and even crocodiles, I have tried to take some time to examine the doll scene.  Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to check out a mainstream store (something like Target or Toys R Us), but I did find a Barbie imitator at dinner one night:

Panamanian doll.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bratzillaz Update: Midnight Beach "Meygana Broomstix"

After my Yasmina Clairvoya review,  I figured that I would never buy another Bratzillaz.  There were just too many disappointments with that doll.  However, when I was at Walmart the other day, I noticed a new line of Bratzillaz called the "Midnight Beach" collection, and my curiosity got the best of me.  First and foremost, I wanted to know if they had fixed the hair with the new Meygana.  Remember how terrible the first Meygana's hair was?  This Meygana's hair is different:

Midnight Beach Meygana, $19.99.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monster High Update: "Jinafire Long" from the Scaris Collection

I am a huge fan of Monster High dolls, but I haven't been tempted to purchase any new ones recently. Even when I saw that the Scaris line has two new characters (Jinafire and Skelita), and also includes a great version of Rochelle (who I think is great), I still didn't feel any need to go on a hunt for one of these dolls.  Then, the other day, I saw the whole Scaris line at Walmart and they looked wonderful in person.  Jinafire, in particular, struck me as something new and different (and shiny) so I picked her up:

Scaris Monster High "Jinafire Long."

Friday, December 7, 2012

City Girls Update: "Taxi!" Billy and the "Gray Haze" Fashion

My City Girls review was very recent, so this is a bit repetitive, but I have had some requests to look at other items in this line, and honestly, I was pretty excited to de-box more of these bright-eyed newcomers.

To recap my initial impressions, I was mildly disappointed with Astor because of some articulation issues and mismatched vinyl, and also because of her slightly vacant expression.  I was a bit more impressed with Houston's overall look, although she shares all of the above mentioned flaws.  Overall, though, I felt pretty satisfied with the high quality clothes, the high level of articulation and the high potential in this line.

After the last review, I still had "Golden Swirl" Astor, "Taxi!" Billy and basic Brook-Lynn in their boxes. Of these three, I felt like Billy had the best chance of being my favorite, so I opened her and the "Gray Haze" fashion pack for this update:

"Taxi!" Billy City Girl doll by Tonner Toys.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tangkou Update: "The Chinese Girl"

At the end of some of my reviews, I find myself wondering how my opinion might have been different if I had chosen to review a different doll from the same line.  Over the next week, I plan to do a series of quick "update" reviews.  In these posts, I'll look at dolls that are very similar to ones I have already reviewed, just to see if my initial impressions hold.  It's a good time for requests, by the way, so feel free to make suggestions in the comments if there's a doll you'd like to see up close.  I already have a few requests to look at Billy and Brook-Lynn from Tonner's City Girl line, so I'll be sure to do that.

I am going to start by looking at another Tangkou doll.  If you remember my review of Loli, I ended up feeling that she wasn't quite worth her price ($75) and I was left wishing that I'd purchased one of the less expensive dolls.  I love the idea of an affordable Pullip-style doll, and wanted to give Tangkou another chance to deliver.  I chose The Chinese girl, who cost me $34.99 on eBay (plus $19 shipping).

"The Chinese Girl" by Tangkou.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The City Girls by Tonner Toys

Of all the beautiful dolls being released this season, I have been most excited to see the new Tonner Toys City Girl line.  Ever since their unveiling at the 2012 Toy Fair, I have been checking the Tonner blog like an addict, waiting for the release day.  To give you a little background, Tonner Toys is Robert Tonner's play doll label and Robert Tonner (for those just tuning in) is the designer of my favorite doll of all time.  So far, Tonner Toys has produced the cartoonish Little MissMatched dolls with their contagiously happy faces and colorful mix-and-match outfits.  The City Girls are a line of more realistic-looking ~16" fashion dolls designed and priced for "beginner" collectors.  So, basically they're the younger, more durable cousins of my Cinderella dolls...selling for about half the price.  That's more than enough to get my attention.

I think there's a hole in the play doll market that is begging for a release like this.  We have a wide variety of $20 fashion dolls to choose from (Barbie, Monster High, Bratz, Disney Store princesses), and you can find plenty of collectable fashion dolls for $100 and over (Tonner, Pullip, Integrity, Sybarite, Momoko, etc), but the intermediate market is sparse.  As the holidays approach, what do you get for that careful young doll collector who is ready for something special?  Or what do you get for yourself when the budget is tight and a regular Tonner doll is out of reach?  Maybe these dolls are the answer.

On November 9th, the long-awaited email hit my inbox, telling me that not only were the dolls in stock, it was a Free Shipping Friday!  Twist my arm, Mr. Tonner.

City Girls "Houston" and "Astor" by Tonner Toys.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Momoko "Love DHEXl" 10th Anniversary Doll by Sekiguchi

When I started to be interested in Pullip and Blythe dolls a few years ago, I noticed the name "Momoko" popping up in the chat forums and blogs I was frequenting.  I have admired pictures of Momoko dolls ever since this first introduction, but have always stopped just shy of buying one because of their high prices.  During my recent Tangkou review, Momoko's name cropped up again, and this time I decided that it was time to learn more.

Momoko is a line of highly articulated 10.5 inch plastic fashion dolls made in Japan.  The dolls have childlike anime-style faces and wear very detailed outfits in a wide range of styles.  There have been Momoko dolls dressed in wedding gowns, gothic robes, office wear and even a cheerleader uniform.
Momoko dolls were first produced in 2001 by the small software company, PetWORKS.  The first dolls to be made were called DHEXs and DHEXl.  The cryptic acronyms come from "Doll Head EXhibition," the event that hosted the debut of this line.  The "s" and "l" after the acronym stand for "short" and "long" haired versions of this first doll.  I am grateful to the barbigirl website for providing this information and for having lots of wonderful reference pictures.

In 2004, the production of Momoko dolls was passed to the Sekiguchi doll making company, which is where the dolls are made today. Sekiguchi also makes the Monchhichi monkey dolls that first appeared back in the 70s (licensed by Mattel in the US).  Do you remember those Monchhichi commercials?  They're still stuck in my head thirtysomething years later.

I chose the 10th anniversary "Love DHEXl" doll because although she is made by Sekiguchi, she honors Momoko's PetWORKS roots:
Sekiguchi Momoko, "Love DHEXl"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tonner's "Zombie Boy" and Mezco's "Frozen Charlotte"...on Halloween

The power is on back here in Maine, but my thoughts are with those who are still struggling in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.  That was a beast of a storm.

Because of the storm, it will be a dark, damp, mild evening here in the Northeast--perfect weather for Halloween.  It seems like a good opportunity to show you two of my creepy dolls.  I can't do a full review of either of these dolls: Tonner's Zombie Boy can't be moved around very much and my Frozen Charlotte arrived in a badly damaged box.  Nevertheless, these two are here to help get you in the mood for a spooky night of ghosts and zombies:

"Zombie Boy" by Tonner Doll.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Monster High "Coffin Bean" vs. The Bratzillaz "Cafe Zap" Playset

As the holiday season approaches, there are a lot of choices to be made in the play doll market.  The shelves here in Maine are well-stocked with plenty of temptations.  You could buy a Robecca Steam Monster High doll, or bring home any of the five Bratzillaz witches.  You could have some mix and match fun with a creative Cutie Pops doll or stick with the more fashion-forward La Dee Da line.  Perhaps an articulated Winx Club fairy is perfect for your house, or maybe you'd rather just grab some clearance Liv dolls while they're still around.  Even after you settle on the right doll, the accessories present a whole new array of choices.  While some accessories, like the new La Dee Da outfits, will only work for the dolls they are designed to fit, other accessory lines are interchangeable.  Perhaps the Novi Stars' cosmic companions like to hang out with your Mystixx vampires?  Just because you have a Monster High posse doesn't mean that you can't buy them a Barbie car.  A Disney Store Rapunzel can hang out in Hayden's house just as easily as she can lurk the halls of Monster High.

Both Mattel and MGA have released coffee shop playsets for 12" dolls in the past few months.  Mattel introduced the "Coffin Bean" set for Monster High dolls in April, and MGA's "Cafe Zap" for Bratzillaz hit the shelves about a month ago.  I have been searching for the perfect chair to display my 12" dolls, but I haven't had a lot of success.  I tried a Barbie chair (from an overpriced kitchen set) but it was way too flimsy and slippery.  I was delighted to see that the two new cafe sets each have nice looking seating options and figured I'd offer up a comparison review while continuing my quest for a nice, sturdy chair.

Monster High "Coffin Bean" and Bratzillaz "Cafe Zap."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Evangeline Ghastly "Dark Angel" by Wilde Imagination

Evangeline Ghastly is an 18.5" ball jointed fashion doll designed by Joe Petrollese and sculpted by Robert Tonner.  Evangeline is marketed through Tonner's company, Wilde Imagination, which is also home to the popular 16" vinyl doll, Ellowyne Wilde.  Evangeline Ghastly made her first appearance in 2007 as a resin doll.  Back in 2007, my doll collecting tastes were much narrower than they are today.  At that time, dazzled by Tonner's beautiful new Cinderella sculpt, I had little interest for the bizarre, dark-themed, and relatively expensive Evangeline.  When I saw her bug-eyed, lanky-limbed promotional pictures, I pretty much laughed and shook my head, grateful that I wasn't going to be tempted into collecting a new line.

Evangeline's exaggerated features fit well with her over-the top back story.  She is a mortician's assistant, lives in an attic, dresses with a flamboyant Victorian style and has a humanoid pet skunk.  The Wilde Imagination website says that Evangeline was inspired by Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, among other quirky icons.  This is a fun fact for me because seeing the Tim Burton line of Tonner dolls in person (during my trip to the FAO Schwarz store in Manhattan in June) was a big contributor to my new-found appreciation for the darker, stranger dolls in Tonner's diverse lineup.  If it weren't for this new perspective, I don't think I ever would have given Evangeline any serious consideration.  Two other things contributed to my willingness to acquire an Evangeline doll.  First, in 2009, Wilde Imagination added a vinyl version of this doll to their regular collection.  This dropped the price considerably, and also eliminated the concerns about yellowing and breakage that come with most resin dolls.  Also, I recently found a collector who was willing to take a doll I didn't want anymore in exchange for this intriguing Tonner Con vinyl exclusive Evangeline, "Dark Angel:"

Evangeline Ghastly "Dark Angel" by Wilde Imagination,
LE 200.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cinderella

As you might have heard or noticed in the stores, Disney recently released Cinderella from the vault...in Blu-Ray DVD.  I already own the movie, but this is still a pretty exciting time for me.  It's not so much the Blu-Ray version of the movie that I find exciting, but the fact that many stores have new Cinderella displays with all kinds of dolls and outfits and sparkly blue decorations.  These gaudy displays brighten my day and put a child-like smile on my face every time I see them.  I absolutely love Cinderella.

Why do I love Cinderella so much?  Well, first of all, to be clear, it's the general story that I love, not just the 1950s Disney movie version of the story.  I like the Disney movie a lot, but it's the plot that has always captivated me--in all of its incarnations.  I guess I just enjoy the rags-to-riches fantasy, mixed with fairy tale love.  I also cling to the notion that kindness, generosity and hard work will prevail over selfishness, greed and vanity.  Ever since I was a child, my imaginary stories have all revolved around some version of this tale...usually with lots of horses added into the mix.  I have two favorite versions of the story.  One is the 1998 movie Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott.  I love Barrymore's spunky interpretation of Cinderella and Scott's petulant prince.   My other favorite Cinderella story is Julia Quinn's intelligently written romance novel, An Offer From a Gentleman.  It's a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I find the book completely charming. It is a relaxing, Austin-esque escape from reality.

Anyway, I have many Cinderella dolls in my collection, and I thought that I'd quickly share some of these beauties with you to celebrate the DVD release and also to mark the arrival of Disney's limited edition 18" Cinderella doll:

Disney Store 18" Limited Edition Cinderella.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mystixx "Kalani" by Playhut

Mystixx are a new brand of vampire doll from Playhut.  When I think of Playhut, I think of the awesome pop-up structures that my kids used to play in when they were younger.  Apparently, Playhut has decided to throw their hat into the increasingly popular ring of slightly creepy but highly fashionable vampire/monster/witch dolls. As I mentioned in my Cutie Pops review, I enjoy seeing a smaller toy company step up and compete with the big guns.  It gives me hope for something truly innovative.  For example, while the Cuite Pops bear a certain resemblance to Lalaloopsy dolls and some of the other big-headed dolls on the market, they offer something fun and different with their removable eyes and hair.  Encouraged by the success of Jada Toys and their Cuties, I wondered if perhaps Playhut had found a fun and unique way to contribute to the monster doll market.

The Mystixx caught my eye at Toys R Us the other week because for a split second, I thought I was seeing a Bleeding Edge Goth doll (if you're not familiar with them, you can see a nice selection of the Bleeding Edge dolls here).  I guess something about the Mystixx face (its pallor and fierce expression?) made me think of BEGoth dolls.  On closer inspection, I actually found the face to be unappealing and not much like a BEGoth doll at all.  Also, peering in the box revealed that the doll was, at best, minimally articulated.  Why, then, would I shell out $20 for such an unpromising doll?  Well, for three reasons.  First, the doll is advertised as having a changing face. She has a human face and a vampire face.   That's not something you see every day.  I get impossibly curious about things like this--I mean, a doll with two faces?  How does that work?  It sounds cool.  Also, these dolls come with interchangeable wigs and two complete outfits.  This immediately had me hoping that they would be able to share wigs with Liv dolls and share outfits with some of my 12" play dolls.  Last, I have been pondering the popularity of dark, monster dolls lately and wondering if the Bleeding Edge dolls are a kind-of ancestor to Monster High and all of the dolls that have followed in the Monster High footsteps.  This doll's ability to conjure BEGoth dolls in my mind convinced me that I should buy one and see where she fits into this burgeoning market of vampires, ghouls and goths. Here's Kalani:

Mystixx "Kalani."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tangkou Doll "Loli"

Tangkou dolls are highly articulated plastic ball jointed dolls with large heads and color-changing eyes.  These dolls are designed and produced in China by the 6th Sense Tang Doll Group.  You can read about the origins of the name, "Tangkou," here.  Tangkou dolls have body and head proportions that are very similar to the Pullip line and an eye mechanism that rotates through different eye colors just like the Blythe dolls.  Tangkou dolls cost from $45-$75, which is half if not a third of what most Blythe and Pullip dolls will set you back.

I first saw a Tangkou doll just over a year ago on one of my favorite Flickr sites.  At that time, it seemed a bit difficult to order these dolls in the US.  Now, the ordering process is very easy--from a variety of different countries.  You can buy the dolls directly from the Tangkou website (they accept PayPal) and you can often find a nice variety of these dolls on eBay.  I ordered my doll back in May from the Tangkou shop and she arrived last week, so, if you decide to order from the website, brace yourself for a long wait.  I must have run into some especially bad luck with my order, though, because I think it is more typical for these dolls to take only a few weeks to arrive.

I ordered one of the most expensive Tangkou dolls, Loli.  I chose this doll because I like her promo pictures, I like her name, I like that she is a limited edition (2000 pieces) and I like that she has a wig (some of the dolls are rooted) with lovely light blue hair.  I think she has a goofy Alice in Wonderland vibe abut her:

Tangkou doll "Loli."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hi:Glamm "Pam" Doll (Discontinued) by MGA Entertainment

Hi:Glamm dolls were recommended to me in the comments section of one of my earlier reviews.  I love getting suggestions and finding out about new dolls.  In this case the "new" doll is actually five years old and discontinued, but she fits nicely into my recent fascination with MGA Entertainment, the mega-company that markets Bratz, Moxie Girlz, Moxie Teenz, Lalaloopsy, BFC Ink dolls and Novi Stars.

Hi:Glamm is a series of vinyl fashion dolls released in 2007.  The debut release included 5 super long-legged dolls that were also marketed by an Italian toy company called The Giochi Preziosi Group.  I am not positive about what (if any) differences there are between the two versions of the dolls, but this picture of an Italian Pam makes me think that perhaps the European dolls are better.

The MGA dolls seem to have had very little success on the shelves, and as far as I know, there were no additional releases in the US.  It's not so easy to find these dolls anymore.  The pickings on eBay are slim, and the few dolls on Amazon tend to be overpriced.  I found a Pam doll on Amazon for $28, which is less expensive than some of the other characters but still way overpriced.  I think the original cost was closer to $14.  Here's Pam:

Hi:Glamm "Pam," by MGA Entertainment.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Review of the Create-a-Monster Design Lab for Monster High

First of all, big congratulations to Dailey_Star for winning the caption contest!  Fantastic job--what a fun story and a well-earned prize!  Now you can continue the adventures of Daniela and her time machine at home with all of the dolls in the photo. :)

Last week was tough, and so this weekend I really wanted to play.  I have some great dolls in my review queue, but the toy that was calling out to me the most, promising a few hours of creative fun, was the Create-a-Monster Design Lab.  The fact that I even bought this set might surprise some of you, considering how disappointed I was with my last Create-a-Monster set.  The thing is, this toy was on clearance at Target (already) and seems to offer something very different from the other Create-a-Monster sets, and so I thought it was worth a look.  I also still have the Novi Star dolls on my mind, particularly the pictures of their heads on Monster High bodies from My Dolls Are My Models' flickr photostream. The Design Lab has a green-bodied Monster High doll and my Alie Lectric is green, so an added bonus of this set is that it gives me the perfect opportunity to see how easily a Novi Star head can fit on a different body.

Creation from the Monster High Create-a-Monster Design Lab.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Novi Stars "Alie Lectric" by MGA Entertainment

The Novi Stars have been in stock at my local Target for a few weeks now.  I spent a considerable amount of time squatting in the toy aisle and examining them when they first appeared, but I didn't feel any urge to buy one.  They struck me as pretty small and simple for a $20 doll--actually my first thought was that they resemble Happy Meal toys.  That's probably not a fair comparison, but the price definitely seems high.  Since that first encounter, I have heard some encouraging things about the line and gotten a few requests for a review, so I decided to give these little aliens a proper investigation.

The first release of Novi Stars includes five characters, each with a different special feature.  Mae Tallick is a pink robot who talks, Alie Lectric is a green alien who lights up, Ari Roma is purple with big hair (she smells), Una Verse is silvery ice-blue and has glitter inside her legs and Nita Light has a white head and a transparent body and glows in the dark.  I didn't see Nita Light until yesterday (at Walmart).  If I had seen her sooner, she probably would have been my first pick (I love things that glow in the dark), except for the fact that she comes with a big plastic pod and is therefore more expensive than the other dolls.

Of the four dolls available at Target, I knew instantly that I didn't want Ari, the smelly one (even though she has neat-looking purple hair).  I also didn't want Mae, the one that talks, because I like to invent personalities for my dolls.  So, it was between Alie and Una.  Una is the "prettier" of the two, but I was not very impressed with her glitter feature in real life.  It just didn't seem that exciting.  Also, the glitter was all pooled at the bottom of Una's legs and I knew I would worry about the water leaking out or drying up over time.  Besides, Alie is green, which is perfect for my first alien doll:

"Alie Lectric" Novi Stars doll.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Caption Contest Finalists

This was really hard (but fun!) to judge.  There were so many entries that were ten times more funny and creative than anything I could come up with.  My initial list of favorites had 20 names!  I managed to choose six finalists--three clever captions and three great stories that capture the spirit of the blog.  I'm leaving the hardest part to you, though.  Please read through these entries and vote for your favorite in the poll at the side of the page.  I'll keep the poll up for about a week.

After the jump, I have the contest picture posted six times, with each of the finalist's captions.  Just vote for the number of the caption you like best (if you can't decide, it's ok to vote for more than one caption).  Good luck to all of the finalists!

Giveaway Week Results!

I had a lot of fun posting this week and reading all of the comments, stories and captions!  I really wish I could give a doll to every single one of you.  Caption contest finalists will be posted in a little bit.  All prizes were drawn blind out of my big white salad bowl.  If you are a winner, please send me an email (toyboxphilosopher at gmail.com), so I can mail your prize!  Here we go...

This time, I enlisted the help of my Obitsu dog to draw the prizes:


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Giveaway Week...Closed!

The 4 giveaways here are closed, but you can still enter the caption contest until tonight at 6:00pm EST.  I'll do drawings for prizes and post the finalists for the caption contest tomorrow.  In the meantime, a few giveaways continue over on facebook.

Rules:
Absolutely anyone can enter.  You can enter to win as many of the toys as you want.   If you enter anonymously, though, please send me an email before you comment so that I can give you a secret code name.  After you get the code name, you can comment with that name and be officially entered.

To start things off, see if you can come up with a caption or a story for the following picture and post it in the comments section.  You have all week for this one.  I'll pick some finalists at the end of the week and then we'll have a poll to vote for the winner.  The winner gets all of the dolls in the picture!  All dolls are used (out of their boxes) and have been reviewed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cutie Pops "Cookie" Doll by Jada Toys, Inc.

*You can find newer reviews of the Cutie Pops here, here, here and here. :)

I had a few much-appreciated tips about a new doll line that has hit the shelves at some of the big chain stores.  The dolls are called "Cutie Pops" and they are made by a toy company called Jada that I had honestly never heard of before.  It's nice to see another competitor enter the ring with MGA Entertainment, Mattel and Spin Master.  Jada Toys, Inc. is a California-based company that, since their establishment in 1999, has produced mostly die-cast cars, radio control toys and model kits.  While Jada has a line of Hello Kitty toys, Cutie Pops seem to be their first foray into the doll world.

At first glance, the Cutie Pops look a lot like La Dee Da dolls.  They have tiny bodies and huge heads with wide, elaborate eyes.  Their outfits are bursting with colors and glitter and decoration.  In person, these dolls have the proportions of a Pullip doll with some traits that remind me of the Lalaloopsy line.  I might have ignored them completely if it weren't for Jessica telling me that they have interchangeable eyes and hair.  This was more than enough to get my attention.  I have long thought that it would be wonderful to bring the customizing potential of Pullips and Blythes to young children.  Everyone likes to be able to change a doll to suit their own personality.

At the moment, there are three different Cutie Pops dolls to choose from (Cookie, Chiffon and Candi). My Target had Cookie and Chiffon for $19.99 each when I went last week.  Don't pay the crazy online prices.  There's also a fourth doll named Carmel who isn't in stores yet, and an exclusive doll named Starr who has made some appearances on eBay.  My choice was mercifully easy because the Chiffon at my Target had a lip paint defect...so I got Cookie:

Cutie Pops "Cookie" doll.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bratzillaz "Yasmina Clairvoya" Doll

I reviewed a Bratzillaz doll pretty recently (Meygana Broomstix), but Meygana's hair was such a disaster, I decided that it might be worth looking at another one of these newcomers before passing my final judgement on the line.  Also, I am experimenting with some different backgrounds for my pictures, and this doll works really well with my new favorite grey background.  Let me know what you think.

The other thing I want to mention before I get started is that I seem to have 99 followers.  This is really exciting for me!  I think that when our group gets to 100, there should be another giveaway, which is the only way I can think of to party online.  I also think that at least part of the giveaway should be open to the first 100 followers only.  Not to be snobby and exclusive or anything, but just as a way of saying "thank you" and celebrating you awesome first 100 followers.  There will probably be a giveaway for non-followers, too, just to be fair.  I'm still working on the details...and I still need one more follower (no pressure).

In the meantime, here is the second Bratzillaz doll I bought, Yasmina Clairvoya:

"Yasmina Clairvoya" Bratzillaz doll.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Beauty and Brains" by Tonner Doll

Remember back in June when I visited the Toys R Us and FAO Schwarz stores in Manhattan?  The highlight of my visit to FAO Schwarz was getting to see several of the current Tonner dolls on display.   Tonner makes a huge variety of dolls, and I decided early on in my collecting years that it would be a good idea to specialize, rather than try to sample the breadth of Tonner's work.  Over the years, I have collected mostly dolls with the Cinderella face mold.  Lately, I have become more interested in Tonner's diversity, and this is due in part to my experience at FAO Schwarz.  The dolls that impressed me at the store were not dolls that I would have given a second glance in the catalog--partly because I have gotten in the habit of skimming past them to look for Cinderella or Cami.

My favorite doll at FAO Schwarz was a particularly big surprise because my initial reaction to her promotional picture was, Ooo, I don't like that one.  Well, in person I found her incredibly appealing.  It didn't take long after I got back from Manhattan to search out an excellent sale so that I could add this doll to my collection.  FAO's price was $199, I found my doll for $130 at the Doll Market.  She is called "Beauty and Brains" and is a fashionable female interpretation of the Scarecrow character from The Wizard of Oz:

Tonner Doll's "Beauty and Brains."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sophie in Wonderland...Out of Her Box

This post is for Pippa and Abby, who convinced me that my Liv in Wonderland Sophie should come out of her box.  You might remember from my older Liv in Wonderland post that I refused to take Sophie out of her box. This is for a strange reason--I wanted to own all of the Liv Sophie dolls (greedy) and keep them all in their boxes (strange).  Call it a way to preserve the evolution of the Liv doll if you want, but I think it was just a weird collecting obsession.  Anyway, this dream was crushed when Girls Getaway Sophie never made it to this country...or at least never made it to Maine, and so I couldn't get all of the Sophies.  Major bummer.

The other reason to take Sophie (who portrays Alice in this series) out of her box is that Alison from The Fashion Doll Review just published a new book which is called Alice Out of the Box.  So, you see, it had to be done--if only so that I could write this caption:

Alice out of her box with Alice Out of the Box.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

La Dee Da "Dots of Style Dee" from the Sweet Party Collection

After my first La Dee Da doll review, in which I examined the "Runway Vacay" Cyanne, I got the feeling that I might have chosen the wrong doll to exemplify this new line. I reviewed Cyanne mostly because she was one of only two dolls available online at the time.  To recap that experience, I was disappointed by Cyanne's thinly rooted hair, but learned that perhaps this is a necessity when creating up-dos with rooted curly hair.  Cyanne's nondescript style was also a point of criticism.  I found her tiny dress to be unimpressive, and she struck me as mundane, with a face and a theme I've seen many times before.  Last, I made no secret of the fact that I was disappointed by the lack of articulation and versatility in this line.

On the other hand, I did find Cyanne to be charmingly photogenic, and noted that several of the other dolls in the series appear to have more imaginative outfits, more interesting face paint, and more personality.  This got me wondering if I might have made a bad choice for my first La Dee Da doll.  I decided to re-assess these dolls with a fresh perspective.  This time, I selected my favorite doll in person, at a real store, where all of the dolls were in stock.  This was a surprisingly easy decision. Many of the dolls look similar to me, but a few stood out as special.  City Girl Dee is very appealing, and Runway Vacay Sloane and Tylie are distinct, but the uncontested show-stealer, in my eyes, is Sweet Party Dee:

Sweet-Party-Dee
La Dee Da Sweet Party "Dots of Style Dee."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monster High "Ghouls Rule" Clawdeen Wolf

I was tempted to pre-order all of the Ghouls Rule Monster High dolls from Entertainment Earth a few months ago, but the case price was overwhelming (I think it was $180...maybe more).  I decided to wait and look at all of them in person and just choose my favorite.  I was lucky to find all of the dolls at Toys R Us about two weeks ago.  This is a fun, elaborate group of dolls and they make an excellent (and tempting) first impression.  At the store, I grabbed all of them greedily into my arms and lurched towards the checkout.  As I got to the front of the store, though, my head cleared and I did some quick mental math: $26.99 times four equals...ugh.  Too much.  I sulked back to the shelves and put them all neatly in a row and began making my agonizing decision.

I won't bore you with all of the details of how I made my choice, but let's just say it took a while.  Like maybe forty five minutes.  The tenth time I circled the Monster High section, I think the TRU employees were getting ready to call security.  The problem was, my favorite dolls from the pictures (Frankie and Draculaura) were not the same as my favorites in real life.  In the store, Clawdeen struck me as the most unique (and there was only one of her), Draculaura didn't dazzle like I thought she would (there were ten of her), and Cleo was about twice as beautiful as her pictures.  Cleo was putting some kind of Egyptian spell on me from inside her box or something, because I found her very, very hard to leave behind.  The saving grace was that all of the Cleos had some minor defect or another, which gave me an excuse to abandon them.  In the end, I liked the dolls in this order: Clawdeen (awesome, unique hair), Frankie (I have a soft spot for Frankie), Cleo (putting a spell on me...), Draculaura (amazing wings!), but I would have been happy with any of them.  Here's Clawdeen:

Ghouls-Rule-Clawdeen-Wolf
Ghouls Rule Clawdeen Wolf.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Delilah Noir "Pretty in Pink" by Ashton Drake

Well, first of all, I've been having some camera troubles lately, so it takes me ages to pull together a decent post.  Sorry about that.  I think I've got a solution in the works, but in the meantime, please forgive the pictures.

I have been curious about Delilah Noir for several years.  Delilah is a 16" vinyl ball jointed doll made by Ashton Drake.  Delilah was first released in late 2009 and the debut edition earned a Doll of the Year award.  The first Delilah doll was dressed in a modest school girl outfit and wore a long blonde wig, but she also came with an extra, slightly more gothic evening ensemble and black hair.  These outfits were meant to hint at the two contrasting sides to Delilah's personality, a sweet straight "A" student and a dark, edgy wild child.  The subsequent doll releases have maintained this split personality to varying degrees.  Despite declarations to the contrary, there were never any new characters introduced to this line, and I understand that the dolls have now been discontinued.  You can still find the first Delilah doll for $150 at places like Amazon (for full price), and directly from Ashton Drake.  Many of the later releases are still in stock in various doll shops...and lately they are on clearances sales of varying levels.  

I was reluctant to buy a Delilah Noir doll for several reasons. First of all, I have had some bad experiences with Ashton Drake.  Years ago, I was interested in their "So Truly Real" baby dolls (which also retail for around $150).  After about the fifth time I got seduced by incredible promo pictures only to be horrified by the actual product, I finally got wise and gave up on Ashton Drake completely.  The company tempted me back with Delilah and Emily the Strange, but I balked on purchasing Delilah because of her price and also because I found it difficult to get a good sense for what she was like by looking at pictures online.  I was unwilling to take another $150 gamble.  Recently, one of my favorite doll shops had Delilah on a half price clearance, and I decided that the awesome price and her recent discontinuation made this the perfect time to buy.  I chose "Pretty in Pink," one of the dolls from 2011:

Delilah Noir "Pretty in Pink" by Ashton Drake Galleries.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bratzillaz "Meygana Broomstix" Doll by MGA Entertainment

Bratz dolls are not really my style.  I can honestly say that I have never walked the aisles of a toy store and been tempted by a Bratz character.  I don't even like the name.  Remember that I am a huge Cinderella fan, and looking at the world through that lens, the Bratz dolls come off a bit like the bratty stepsisters.

Anyway, Bratz dolls first appeared in 2001 and have been dominating an impressive chunk of the fashion doll market ever since.  Mattel and MGA Entertainment have been suing each other back and forth over these dolls since about 2005--MGA claiming that the My Scene dolls are a rip off of Bratz and Mattel claiming that they actually own the rights to Bratz because the Bratz designer allegedly came up with the idea for these dolls while he was working for Mattel.  A third party is suing Mattel and MGA for stealing what he claims is his idea.  Sheesh.  It's a big mess, and for a while there, I remember there was some serious tension among collectors about whether or not Bratz would be permanently pulled from the shelves.

Things seem to have calmed a bit on the legal front (after lots of money flew back and forth) and Bratz is alive and well and legally owned by MGA.  I have always been mildly interested in this legal battle (I mean, who wouldn't be?  Two behemoth doll companies locking horns is the doll collector's version of watching the World Series) but as I said, I have never been interested in purchasing a Bratz doll...until last week.  Last week I plunked down $20 for a Bratzillaz doll, and I'll tell you why in a sec.  First, here's a picture of the doll I chose (the redhead, of course):

Bratzillaz-Doll-Meygana
"Meygana Broomstix" Bratzillaz doll by MGA

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Winx Club Believix "Bloom" Doll by Jakks Pacific

I was at Toys R Us the other day, as I often am, checking out the new dolls.  As I was walking from the La Dee Da section back to the Monster High section, I saw a doll I'd never noticed before.  I was immediately drawn to her sweet face, her highly articulated body and her bright red hair.  These are three things I love to see in a doll.  So, I was standing there in the aisle inspecting this cute new doll when a whole group of Toys R Us employees bustled past with determination--clearly on a mission.  One of them stopped, halting the whole group behind him, looked at me and shouted, "There!  She has the last one!"  I went all deer-in-the-headlights and pointed to myself questioningly, wondering if I should put the doll down and run.  Most of the employees looked at me, looked at the doll, and then slouched defeatedly back to the cash registers.  One kind soul stayed behind to explain that I was holding the last Winx Club doll in the store, that none of the stores in the area have any left, and that "some lady" keeps calling and asking them to search the store and put all available dolls on hold for her.  He earnestly recommended that I not put the doll down lest someone grab it away from me.  Seriously?   I clutched the box closer to my chest and said, "oh, really?  So...these are, uh, popular with the kids?"  He smiled at me and shook his head, "you have no idea.  I guess there's a show or something."

Well.  This was an excellent Toy Box Philosopher moment.  I was dying to learn the whole story behind these dolls and their show.  I plunked down $20 for the doll and skipped out of the store, feeling like I had the last Winx Club doll on the planet and that I must be the luckiest person alive.  I came home to do a little research, and it turns out that these dolls are not, in fact, impossible to find.  You can get Bloom on Amazon for three dollars more than what I paid (with free shipping).  The other characters are a bit more expensive.  I think I might have picked the least popular doll in the group, but that's okay because I love her red hair.  Here's Bloom, my Winx Club fairy:

Winx Club Believix "Bloom."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Disney Store Doll Articulation Update

I wasn't as thorough as I should have been with my Disney Store Rapunzel review yesterday, or with my 12" Merida review, for that matter.  Fortunately, I had time this morning to de-box Cinderella, and she made some of the flaws and potential problems with the new articulation pretty glaringly obvious.

Cinderella enchanted me from within her box, mostly because of her coy side-glancing eyes:

Disney-Store-Cinderella-New
Charming, right?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Quick Look at the New Rapunzel Doll from the Disney Store

In my Brave Merida review, I praised the new articulation of the Disney Store dolls, and also wondered if the latest 12" version of Tangled's Rapunzel has a new face mold.   Even though it feels like I just recently reviewed a Disney Store Rapunzel, the "2 for $22 sale" at the Disney Store made it hard to resist investigating this slightly newer version.  Rapunzel arrived the other day:

Disney-Store-Rapunzel-Dolls
The newest version of Rapunzel and her predecessor.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Toy Box Philosopher on eBay...and Portraits of a Philip Heath Doll

I'm taking over the internet!  Today it's eBay, tomorrow--the world!  Bwahahaha!  Seriously, though, I have my eBay page up and running.  My call sign is "toyboxphilosopher." There's a button on the right hand side of the blog which is a bit annoying, but it should take you to my auctions any time you want.  My plan is to start all auctions at $1 with actual shipping.  I'll probably need to tweak things and try different selling methods (Buy it Now?  Longer auctions?), but I'm hoping this can be a way to clear out reviewed or extra dolls at fair prices.  Please feel free to offer advice or suggestions in the comments.  I am not a very experienced eBay seller.

To avoid this being a totally boring post, here are a few pictures of a favorite doll from my collection (who is not for sale on eBay).  She is Leisandra by Philip Heath:

Philip Heath's Leisandra.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The "Diamonds" Marilyn Monroe by Tonner Doll

I never thought I would own this doll.  I watched with interest when she was released at the Tonner Doll Company's Flights of Fancy convention back in May, but knew I couldn't swing the $350 price tag (which, of course, translated into $500 on eBay).  I was drawn to her not because she depicts Marilyn Monroe, but just because she is a rare type of release for Tonner--a 22" inch doll with a new face.  And it's a beautiful face.

On the discussion boards, this doll was met with a ton of criticism for not looking enough like Marilyn Monroe--specifically for not having Marilyn's voluptuous curves.  I am not a Marilyn expert, nor am I interested in finding the perfect Marilyn clone, so I'm a pretty easy audience.  I picture the real Marilyn as having had a tiny waist and a large chest, and this doll fits that image just fine.  She might be a bit too tall and long-legged, but that's about the only critique I can muster.  Despite the online discontent, collectors who saw this doll in person at the convention seemed to think she was lovely--some even used the word "stunning," and this made an impression on me.  Furthermore, I was downright haunted by her unique face.  I kept gazing at pictures of her online, wondering what she might look like in person, waiting to see if her price would drop.  She struck me as something special.

My favorite pictures of this doll were taken by Alison of The Fashion Doll Review.  Alison's pictures are colorful and artistic, and they triggered in me the doll collector's version of falling in love.  That sickness where you know you have to find a certain doll for your collection--somehow.  Coincidentally, Alison put her Diamonds doll up for trade, and I happened to have something I could offer in exchange.  So, in a dream-come-true moment, I got my Marilyn--and I even got the very doll in those gorgeous pictures.  So, with a million thanks to dear Alison (who is a total sweetheart and a blogging superhero...), I have this tall beauty in my house:

"Diamonds," 22 inch tall Marilyn Monroe by Tonner

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Limited Edition Merida Doll from the Disney Store

I posted these pictures of the 18" limited edition Merida doll from Brave over on facebook and on my Flickr photostream, but some of you asked me to show them here, too.  I'm leaving this doll in her box for now, so I can't really do a full review yet, but I did snap a few quick pictures of her.  The pictures aren't that great, since the box casts some weird shadows, but just in case you are interested, here she is:

Limited-Edition-Merida
18" Limited Edition Merida.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Classic Merida Doll from the Disney Store

You might remember how excited I've been to see the Pixar movie, Brave.  My excitement stemmed mostly from my enthusiasm for Disney's last masterpiece, Tangled.  I haven't enjoyed a Disney movie that much since I was a kid.  I had high hopes for Brave, and for the the Disney Store doll line that would inevitably accompany it.  The Brave dolls have actually been out for way longer than the movie, which just opened last week.  Not only are the Disney Store shelves packed with Brave dolls right now (including the limited edition 18" Merida), but brand new versions of all of the other princess are available for $14.50 (or 2 for $22 with the current sale).  These new dolls are worth a look because they have different articulation and, it looks like at least Rapunzel has a new face mold.  I'll have to check that out.

I saw Brave on the day it was released.  I'm no movie expert, but I really enjoyed this movie.  It's not Tangled caliber in my eyes, but it's very, very good.  The Scottish accents and music are wonderful, there are numerous laugh-out-loud moments, and I almost cried a few times.  The animation of Merida's hair is incredible, as is the fur animation on all of the creatures.  Merida's horse Angus is amazing and realistic, though he doesn't have a personality like the Tangled steed, Maximus.  My kids and I agree that the plot could have been developed for another 15 minutes or so.  Also, I found myself wishing the movie would slow its frantic pace and let me look at the beautifully rendered characters and scenery a bit more.  I wish Disney movies weren't so frenetic--it's as though they assume kids have no attention span and the visual frame rate of a hawk.   In any case, I liked the movie well enough to be delighted that I have the doll.  She's a charmer:

Disney-Merida-Doll
Classic 12" Brave Merida from the Disney Store.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze Lagoona

Many of you voted on which Monster High Roller Maze doll I should de-box next, and Lagoona won with a whopping 48% of the votes!  I'm so glad you picked her because she is my favorite Monster High character.  Ghoulia was the second most popular pick with 18% of the vote, and poor Frankie came in last--but just by a hair (16% of you wanted me to open her).

Here's the lovely Lagoona!

Skultimate Roller Maze Lagoona.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

La Dee Da Dolls by Spin Master

Well, I got my hands on a few of the newest dolls from Spin Master.  These girls have been causing a stir since they were displayed at the Toy Fair in New York last February.  They are called "La Dee Da" dolls, named after Dee, who is the fashion-forward leader of the pack.  The name of the line confuses me, though, because although it's catchy, don't people usually say, "well, la dee da" when they're being mocking and dismissive?  Sometimes even "la dee frickin' da?"  Are these dolls dissing me from inside the box?  Presumably not.  Perhaps it's just meant to be an upbeat, sing-songy name in keeping with the cheery appearance of the dolls.

Spin Master has a knack for manufacturing trendy products.  Bakugan toys, Tech Deck mini skate boards, the adorable Zoobles--these have all been highly sought after and impossible to find at times.  Spin Master is also, of course, the company that introduced us to the innovative and highly articulated Liv dolls in 2009, and then recently announced the discontinuation of that beloved line.  Given the company's track record,  I feel pretty sure that the La Dee Da dolls will be trendy, at least for a little while.

Because it seems like the La Dee Da line is being rolled out to take the place of the faltering Liv dolls, it is hard for me to evaluate these new dolls without directly comparing them to Liv...and Liv dolls are the sole reason I became interested in play dolls as an adult.  So.  I will try very hard to step away from my disappointment about Liv's discontinuation and cast a fair eye on these new kids, but you should keep in mind that I probably have a pretty big chip on my shoulder.  Anyway, meet Cyanne from the "Runway Vacay" line, who I bought for $19.99 online at Toys R Us:

La-Dee-Da-Cyanne
La Dee Da "Runway Vacay Cyanne."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze Dolls Arrive!

It's been a while since I've seen a new Monster High doll--there hasn't really been anything new since the great granite Rochelle Goyle, who I reviewed back in April.  I guess April wasn't actually that long ago, but given the typically furious release pace of the Monster High dolls, it felt like a long gap in the action.  Today made up for that gap, though, because all of the roller skating Monster High dolls arrived at my doorstep.  I tried something new this time and pre-ordered an entire case of dolls from Entertainment Earth.  If you're not familiar with it yet, Entertainment Earth is a fun store with a huge variety of merchandise including Monster High dolls, Pullip dolls, Living Dead dolls, Tonner dollsLittlest Pet Shop toys, a huge diversity of action figures and lots more.  My transactions with this store have always been reliable and professional.  They have excellent communication, which is especially nice with pre-orders.  I've also had a lot of fun just recreationally browsing their site.  Anyway, a case of Monster High dolls sounds impressive, like it should be a hundred dolls or something.  It's actually six dolls--the four dolls in the release and two duplicates.  I paid $80, or about $13 per doll, which isn't too bad.  Here they are:
Monster-High-Roller-Maze
Monster High Skultimate Roller Maze from left: Ghoulia, Lagoona, Frankie and Operetta.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Sylvanian Families Water Mill Bakery--a Quick Look.

One of the very first toys I reviewed was the Li'l Woodzeez Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery.  Ever since I found that delightful and inexpensive diorama playset at Target, I have had a heightened interest in the Li'l Woodzeez and their more expensive counterparts, the Calico Critters.  After I wrote the comparison review of the two different brands of toy animals, it occurred to me that the Calico Critters might have their own bakery playset...and it might be awesome.  While there doesn't seem to be a Calico Critters bakery set sold in North America, there is a Sylvanian Families bakery set available in Europe, and I found a used one on eBay.  It looks like you can also buy a version of the set at the Sylvanian Families website for 40 pounds (about $60 dollars).  It's called the Water Mill Bakery and it does, in fact, look awesome:

Sylvanian Families "Water Mill Bakery."

Friday, June 8, 2012

The William and Catherine Royal Wedding Barbie set by Mattel

The only dolls that followed me home from Manhattan last weekend are the William and Catherine Barbie dolls that I found at the massive Toys R Us in Times Square. I had seen this set in pictures online and been slightly interested, but never interested enough to shell out the currency necessary to buy them. I don't know if it was seeing them in person that won me over, or that I was caught up in the excitement of the big city, but they seemed like the perfect set to buy at the time--certainly the most special of the numerous Barbie sets that were on display. The problem with getting caught up in a moment is that you loose track of things like the little fact that while I paid $127, this set actually only costs $109 if you buy it online...and I mean if you buy it online at Toys R Us.  So I paid a premium for the experience of buying it at the flagship store, but I guess I am okay with that.  It's a really fun store.

Incidentally, the other Barbie set that kept catching my eye on this trip was the Pillow Talk set with Rock Hudson and Doris Day.  You can get these dolls on Amazon for 40 bucks right now.  If I could remember anything about that movie, I would definitely have purchased this set.  I can only remember Doris Day from the Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much.  Anyway--the dolls look great in real life.

I chose William and Kate because I love the British royal family, I am a sucker for wedding dresses, and because the William doll was grinning at me and I found it kinda irresistible:

William-Catherine-Kate-Barbie
William and Catherine Barbie Gold Label set

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz in Manhattan

I am back from a short trip to Manhattan and I'd love to share a few pictures with you while I get unpacked and organized for the next review.  My mom lives in New York City and so we visit every now and then--although nowhere near as often as I wish we did.  When my kids were little, trips to FAO Schwarz and the massive Toys R Us in Times Square were nice rest stops in between more educational outings.  Now that they are older, my boys are more interested in the Apple Store and the jazz scene, but I am still drawn to these two behemoths of toy retail.

I think Times Square is impressive no matter how many times you've seen it or how old you are.  Between the massive screens and billboards, the throngs of fascinating people, and the sidewalk sideshow-like attractions, there's always something unexpected.  On this visit, the scene that had me stopped in my tracks was this:

Times-Square-Toys

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Review of Hayden's House...as the Last of the Liv Dolls Leave the Shelves.

For a few months now, there have been whispers that Spin Master is shutting down production of the Liv doll.  A friend on Flickr warned me about this a while ago, and it was confirmed on Dana's blog last week.  Now, even Wikipedia reports the sad news (although I read Wikipedia with a skeptical eye).

This decision is surely based on low profits, so my question is--why weren't Liv dolls more successful?  Well, I want to hear your thoughts on this, but here are mine for starters.  First of all, the beauty of Liv dolls is that they are highly customizable.  In theory, you could buy just one Liv doll and then change her wig and outfit every day for endless new looks.  At most, it seems like you might want one of each character, and then you could focus your spending on accessories and new wigs.  Two problems with this from a marketing standpoint--first, people don't feel the need to buy very many dolls, which is good for buyers but bad for business.  Second, Spin Master didn't make enough outfits, wigs and accessories for these smaller items to carry people's enthusiasm or turn a profit on their own.

My second thought is related to the first.  The earlier waves of Liv dolls were all very similar.  Except for different outfits and wigs (and some small changes in face shape and eye color) the dolls were almost identical.  This contributed to consumers feeling that they didn't need every single doll that came out.  In addition, I can imagine some resentment in people who felt like they had to buy a whole new duplicate doll just to get a cute outfit or wig.  Spin Master seems to have tried to remedy the sameness in their dolls by making some drastic changes to the most recent doll's bodies.  In my opinion, these changes were a big mistake.  The Twist and Dance dolls' gimmicky bodies are virtually impossible to play with, and the Liv for Color and Brites dolls, while not awful, have definitely lost the Liv magic.

My last hypothesis is much simpler--Monster High dolls came out right after Liv and these creative and seemingly rare creatures stole everyone's attention and allowance.

So.  Whatever the reasons, the news is sad.  The silver lining is that Liv merchandise is on clearance everywhere and I am taking advantage.  I have always wanted the Toys R Us exclusive Hayden's house:
Hayden's house playset

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Flamingo" from the Tonner Doll Convention

From what I have heard, Tonner Doll conventions are extremely fun.  I have never been to one, but when there's a convention going on, I follow the excitement through Tonner's high-coverage blog, the Prego message board and Terri's blog.  Photographs from these events always include lots of big smiles, lots of people in elaborate costumes, lots of creative decorations and centerpieces...and of course tons of gorgeous dolls. This year the convention was in Chicago and the title was "Tonner Air."  Dolls from the event had an aerial theme, including airline staff characters and dolls dressed as different colorful birds.  How fun does that sound?

My primary objective when I am watching a Tonner convention from afar is to scope out any Cinderella-faced dolls.  Because, you know, I am a bit obsessed with this face.  Some of the most beautiful Tonner Cinderellas and Camis have come from conventions; Christine Daae, Lady G, Blue Fairy, Delight, Fare Game, Party All Night and Silver Splendor to name a few.  While I adore Cami, my heart belongs to Cinderella, and so I like it when Tonner revives this sweeter, less modern version of the face mold, as he did with Nu Mood Jess.  I also prefer that my Cinderella dolls be in ball gowns, rather than the more modern wardrobe of the Cami line.  So, considering all of that, you can picture my glee when I saw this year's convention Cinderella-faced doll, "Flamingo:"

Tonner-Flamingo-Doll-Convention
Tonner convention "Flamingo," LE 300.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Emily the Strange by Ashton Drake

Nicki asked to see my Emily the Strange doll, and I happen to have a few pictures of her, so here we go.  I think Emily provides an interesting contrast to my Little Apple Doll, Erro.  Both are white vinyl dolls with black features and black hair, and both have a gothic edge to them.  The difference is that while Erro's character is caught in between the living and the dead (and is therefore a bit creepy), Emily is fully alive and just...strange.

I have liked Emily the Strange since her emergence in 1990.  I remember that when she first appeared, it wasn't clear who she was.  She was just this girl who wore black and liked cats and lurked on tee shirts.  I used to buy Emily the Strange tee shirts because, you know, she and I share a name (and the tee shirts are pretty awesome).  Nowadays, you can buy a ton of Emily the Strange merchandise, including books, stickers, comics, clothing and dolls.  I think there's even going to be a movie.  But this isn't a full review, I just want to show you the doll really quick, if I can manage that.

Ashton Drake made their 12" vinyl Emily the Strange doll in 2010.  She retails for $60, which is too high, but I decided to buy her anyway.  She is still readily available.

Ashton Drake's Emily the Strange