First things first: "MGA" stands for Micro-Games America. I did not know that. I guess in my head I had MGA confused with MGM, which is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and is a Hollywood movie-making studio. MGA is a toy manufacturer. Now that we have that straight, MGA released the Moxie Teenz line in the summer of 2010. This was after the Liv release and at the same time as the Monster High debut. In retrospect, MGA might have chosen different timing.
In any case, I was drawn to this line mostly because I was so smitten with Liv dolls. Moxie Teenz, with their inset eyes and changeable wigs, seemed to me like fairly blatant Liv mimics. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Back in 2010, I had not yet fallen prey to Monster High dolls, and so there was plenty of room on my shelves for a teenage big sister to the Liv crew. Also, FYI, I live in Maine, so I am legally required to have an inherent affinity for all things Moxie.
I am going to show you those original 2010 Moxie Teenz dolls in this post, but I'll also fast forward to the present and de-box the newest Moxie Teenz "Tristen" for you so that we can see what's up with the Moxie Teenz these days.
|Got her on an awesome sale!|
Before I get to the new doll, I'll show you the debut Tristen:
The back of the box describes Tristen's personality a little bit--she's the artist/fashion designer...so, basically, she's Alexis.
I am not going to do a full de-box discussion of this doll. I'll just say the packaging is a plastic nightmare and leave it at that. Here's Tristen out of her box:
|These dolls can wear rings!|
|Look at her cute herringbone hat!|
The Moxie Teenz wigs, in general, are pretty nice. They are thick and long and have a natural mix of colors. They don't touch the Lorifina wig in terms of feel and movement, but they're good. There can occasionally be a lot of "product" in the wigs, making them feel greasy or crispy. With just a little bit of gel or conditioner (or whatever they use) the hair is easier to style and doesn't have static fly-aways everywhere. With too much added, it's not very fun to touch.
Unlike the Liv wigs, the Moxie Teenz wig caps do not have a plastic peg in the center to help hold the wig on. They just have a plain clear plastic cap:
The good thing about not having a plastic peg to hold the wig on is that the Moxie Teenz heads don't have holes in them:
|Like the Liv dolls, they have a short hair style painted on their heads.|
|Tristen has purple eyes!|
The bad thing about not having a plastic peg to hold the wig on is that the wig doesn't stay on. Some individual wigs stay on better than others, but for the most part, keeping the wig on through any kind of active play is a big problem.
Liv wigs can be used on Moxie Teenz dolls, but you have to cut the plastic peg out of the Liv wig. Here's the red Liv wig with the peg cut out:
It's really easy to cut that peg out, but then the wig doesn't stay on Liv dolls as well as it used to.
I love Tristen with red hair:
|I also like the shorter hair|
Liv wigs actually stay on better, too, even without the peg!
Moxie Teenz wigs can be used on Liv dolls, but the wigs don't stay on Liv dolls any better than they stay on Moxie Teenz dolls. Also, the Moxie wigs are a bit long for the Liv faces and bodies:
|Ok, so I do have one mini Lalaloopsy doll in the house...|
The clothes on the older Moxie Teenz are great. Lots of items come with each outfit and mixing and matching between the different dolls is fun. Underneath Tristen's plaid scarf, she has a striped shirt and a cropped jean vest. The shirt has cute pink ruffles on the sleeves and a nice graphic design:
Look at the tucks on the back of the jacket!
|Moxie Teenz also have an online presence, and Tristen has a code |
for the site attached to her back, but I have never used it.
The skirt is this cool pink bubble with a zipper trim and a pleather belt with a flower detail. I love the skirt:
Attached to the skirt is a pair of pink lace tights and over those are some grey leg warmers:
The boots are plastic and not very interesting, and all of the jewelry is plastic, but it adds together for an intricate and eclectic overall appearance.
|Those bracelets didn't all come with Tristen|
Tristen carries a gorgeous checkered purse with pleather accents and zipper details. The purse opens and can hold a lot of accessories. I like storing all of the extra jewelry in these bags!
Take a peek at the other great purses that come with the first wave dolls:
Now that you've met their purses, I should probably introduce the other Moxie Teenz girls. There were four original characters; Tristen, Arizona, Bijou and Melrose:
|Tristen, Arizona, Bijou and Melrose|
|Tristen and Arizona|
|Arizona and Bijou|
|Bijou and Melrose (my two favorites!)|
With the most recent line, a red-haired girl named Leigh has joined the crew, as has a young man named Gavin. He's pretty cute. Amazon was the first place I found Leigh for sale, but she cost over $40. Why, oh why do these dolls cost so much on Amazon? MSRP is $26.99 and they are often on sale. I saw them at Toys R Us just today for $23.
Here are a few of my girls in some mix-and-match outfits and wigs so you can see the diversity of appearances:
|Melrose in Tristen's wig, her own tank, Arizona's skirt and Bijou's vest!|
|Bijou in her own wig and Melrose's jacket|
|Tristen in Bijou's top and a sold-separately wig|
|Bijou in her own tank and a sold-separately wig|
|Melrose with Hayden for a size comparison|
I would categorize the Moxie Teenz bodies right in between the awesome old Liv bodies and the stiff new Liv bodies. There is not much up and down head movement, which is too bad, and that torso joint doesn't add a lot, but the bodies look really nice overall and have a good range of motion:
|Lounging poses are a bit awkward...|
The bodies sit nicely, with a slight temptation to tip backwards:
I love that the feet can switch from fashion heel to flat:
There. Now you're armed and ready to look at the new Tristen! I found her for $12 on clearance at Walmart, but she's usually $26.99. The reason I didn't buy her until she went on clearance is that I can tell even through the box that she is not a wigged doll. Her hair is clearly rooted, and furthermore, it seems rooted too low on the forehead (that could just be the hairstyle):
MGA scores big with me right off the bat because "Hundreds of Poses!" is spelled correctly with no errant apostrophes (unlike on the Tonner LittleMissMatched doll's box).
|You can see the new characters on the back of the box|
Oh, sigh. How I wish the new Leigh character came with a thick red wig! That would have been awesome.
So, you have to rip and cut all of the plastic on the front and sides of the box off. You're left with a cardboard back, which still has the doll securely connected:
|It says she has "two different looks." We'll need to explore that.|
Her feet and hands are sealed into these plastic holders that go through the cardboard and are taped on the other side.
|Would you wear those boots with that dress?|
I had to cut about five plastic ties (a few stubborn ones connected directly to her head) and some thread to get her out, and she still has those plastic shackles:
|These dolls come with a nice hair brush, just like the first wave.|
|That's a new trick.|
I never know what to do with the cut plastic ties sticking out of the head. I usually just cut them really short and call it done:
Let's take a look at her:
The skirt of the ball gown has a texture similar to silk shantung with a shimmery transparent overlay. It has a chunky seam in back:
Her eyes are very similar to the first wave Tristen's eyes. A bit lighter and slightly wonky. They look great with the dress:
The rooted hair seems coarser (especially at the ends) than the hair on the wigged dolls. It is a bit hard to tame, and I worry that it will tangle easily.
My doll has shiny marks underneath the hair that is styled over her forehead. That's a little scary:
The bodice of the dress has nice pleated detail and transparent shoulder straps holding it up:
That bow is hiding a tiny button:
That button is the secret to Tristen's "extra look." Under the skirt, there is a ribbon hanging down. The ribbon can be pulled up and looped over the tiny button to hike up one side of the skirt:
Don't try this with the dress still on the doll. Doing that almost drove me insane. It is much easier to loop the ribbon over the button when the dress is off.
|Could that ribbon have been purple?|
Here's the inside of the dress' bodice. It is fairly nicely finished with some strange netting underpants in there. Not sure what those are for:
This Tristen's body is almost identical to the older body. My particular doll couldn't sit very well, but I see no change in the mechanics of the body that suggest this would be a problem with all of the new dolls. If anything, the head moves up and down even less on the new doll.
The new dolls can't wear rings, but you can still see where the ring hole would have been:
One of her knees was stuck at first because of a plastic defect, but I got it moving again:
Here are the two Tristens together:
While the purple dress is nice, you're just not getting as much for your money with that outfit as you did with the first wave. I can't mix and match the way I do with my older dolls.
The faces are very similar. The older Tristen's eyes have a bit more depth, the newer Tristen has nice silver eyeshadow and more detail in her eyebrows.
Bottom line? The new Tristen is a pretty doll. She is not a $27 doll. I like her dress and her eyes and her sweet face. I worry a bit about her hair getting tangled...but the issue here is larger than this particular doll, I think.
MGA introduced Moxie Teenz as a line of wigged dolls. I bought all of the dolls and several of the extra wigs and have had a really fun time mixing and matching wigs, dolls and outfits. When a new line of Moxie Teenz is announced, I am hoping for new wigs, different faces and more fun wardrobe pieces to add to my collection. Because the new dolls have rooted hair, they can't share wigs with their predecessors, nor do they come with new wigs for the other girls to try. It's almost like buying a completely different type of doll...that looks exactly like the old Moxie Teenz.
Why did MGA make this change? I think I get it. The wigs on the first Moxie Teenz were a weakness. The second wave made an attempt to fix the wig but it didn't work. While wig issues don't bother an adult collector like me, I can imagine that having wigs fall off left and right would be a huge irritation for a younger kid who wants to play. I'd have been happier if MGA had chosen to invest more in improving the wigs rather than eliminating them completely, but probably any improvements (adding a peg, for example) would have rendered the new wigs useless to the old dolls anyway....while costing more to make.
So, maybe these new dolls are the best solution to a difficult problem. Maybe for a collector just discovering the line, the dolls with rooted hair are interesting and appealing in their own right. My opinion is that the elimination of the wigs spells the eventual end for Moxie Teenz. There just isn't enough to make them stand out in the crowd anymore, especially at the high price. However, if the line continues to produce new releases, I will keep watching. Two things that would keep me particularly interested are if MGA makes more wigs for the older dolls, and if the clothing sets return to their original quality and their fun mix-and-match style. That would be fantastic, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Summary (new Tristen):
6 and up
Overpriced at $26.99
Good overall quality. Dress is very pretty and solidly made. Eyes are realistic, hair is a bit coarse, but thick and long, face paint is nicely done.
Poor. Mostly plastic. De-boxing is easier than with the first wave, though.
Not as versatile as the older Moxie Teenz. Several of the mix and match options are gone: can’t change wigs anymore and the outfit is one-piece and very formal.
Recommended with two caveats: only if it is on sale, and only if it is for someone who isn’t expecting an older-style Moxie Teenz doll with a wig.