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.
Billy has appeal for several reasons. Most of all, I love her hazel-green eyes and dark hair.  I also like her taxi-themed black and yellow outfit:


It's risky to attempt a taxi cab outfit.  Yellow paired with black can spell a bumble bee-caliber disaster in the fashion world.  While I'm no expert, it seems like the jean jacket saves the day here and keeps me contentedly thinking about taxis and cities rather than stinging insects. 


A Google search for "black and yellow fashion" revealed this picture on the first hit.  While I can't find a designer to credit for the fashion, it looks a lot like Billy's getup.  The only problem is that now I wish my Billy had an awesome leather jacket like the one in that picture.   

Billy represents a 24-year-old woman who is the owner of a bakery.  While this isn't quite as inspiring as Astor's occupation, I totally approve.  There are few things in life better than a good bakery.  


Right out of the box, though, I noticed that Billy's right leg is wonky.  She looks like she's in the middle of a line dance or something:

...or maybe she just got off a horse?
Her legs were crossed in the box, and it looks like this positioning warped her lower leg pretty badly.  It's that silly flexible vinyl--I wish someone would explain to me why different vinyl is used for the lower limbs in certain doll lines.  It's especially bad in the Bratzillaz dolls, but I think every doll I have ever owned that has these slightly bendy limbs suffers from warping or instability of some kind or another.  

If using different materials causes warping, instability and mismatched color in the legs, why not just make the whole doll out of the same kind of plastic?  

Hoedown Throwdown.
I tried bending the leg as far as I could in the opposite direction and holding it for a while, but it just snapped back into its bendy position. 


I decided to focus on Billy's face for the time being.  She has very dark brown hair with fairly evenly cut bangs.  For some reason, she has a tendril of hair sewn to her jean jacket on either side:


She has the same face mold and style of eye paint as Astor and Houston, but I think the color of Billy's eyes is wonderful:

She also has that funny paint at the bottoms of her eyes that makes her look like she's been crying.
Her hair has a distracting indentation from the plastic head band that was keeping it in place.  Also, the hair is a bit coarse and seems to have a lot of styling product in it.  Brushing helped a little but it just doesn't feel great or move around nicely.  


I decided at this stage that after I was done inspecting her outfit, I was going to give this doll some hot water treatments.  This was a doll in need of a good boiling.

While I wasn't too impressed with Astor's plain purse, Billy's purse looks well made and fun.  The mix of white and yellow is a nice contrast to all of the black in the rest of her outfit:


The purse is made out of fabric that reminds me of a parachute.  It's very thin, seems durable, and has a slight sheen to it:

Anyone for bowling?
The purse has real metal accents and can open and close with a small square of velcro.  The purse was secured to the doll's outfit in several places with those irritating little plastic ties, and they've left a few holes in the straps and on the bottom of the bag:


Billy comes with black plastic sunglass that are exactly the same style as Astor's white sunglasses:


The double breasted jacket is made out of the same soft, flexible jeans material as the "Cape Town" pants.  I really like the feel and look of this fabric, but I was disappointed to see that the six rhinestone buttons are glued on, not sewn.  I noticed this because one of the buttons is already falling off:


Another disappointment is that the jacket doesn't have any velcro or snaps in the front--it's just sewn together:

Reminds me of Prince William's jacket.
I snipped the threads and took the jacket off.  It's very nicely made and has an interesting oversized collar:



I used some Fabri-tac to fix the button and now the jacket is as good as new.  Underneath the jacket, Billy is wearing a long knit top that is very similar to the maroon top in the "Cape Town" set.



The belt has a real buckle and a textured, sparkly finish.  It looks like it might be made out of faux leather, but in fact the material is pretty thin and feels more like heavy paper.  


The shoes are black versions of the clogs that come with Color Block Astor.  I think I said this before, but these shoes are very hard to manage.  They don't come off easily and it takes a lot of pushing and twisting to get them on.  Because this doll is wearing thick tights, the difficulty with the shoes is magnified.  After taking them off and putting them back on one time, I abandoned them.  


The opaque black tights have an elastic waist and slip on and off very easily. 


I inspected Billy's gimpy leg, and it is just a simple warping issue--not anything structurally wrong with the joint or anything like that:

Again, notice the difference in color in the legs and arms.
I soaked the leg in boiling water for less than a minute, and then held it in a straight position as it cooled.  I did this a few times and got a pretty good result:

Her legs were pink before the boiling.  Honest.
While I was at it, I flipped her over and dipped her head in the boiling water, too, hoping to get rid of some of the product in her hair.  With the hair wet and nicely combed, you can see that this doll actually has a cute haircut:


I wanted to try the jean jacket with the matching pants from the Cape Town outfit.  I love the look of black and red together, so I added the red tank top from Color Block Astor and the Cape Town shoes. 

 For some reason, the red shoes with the tight jeans make me think of Olivia Newton John in Grease:

Tell me about it, stud.
The outfit looks great, but Billy kept buckling at the knees:

She's gone from line dance to limbo.
I tried to prop her up with a Tonner saddle stand...

Major balancing act.
...but Billy's feet don't quite touch the base of the stand, so she tips over this way, too.  For a doll that needs a good stand so badly, I really wish this had been one of her accessories.  Personally, I'd gladly trade the sunglasses and purse for a really solid stand.


At this point in the photo session, I was getting even more frustrated than I was during the last review.  It is just very hard to pose these dolls.  The thing is, when they finally decide to stand up straight, they are very photogenic:


The eyes are fairly flat--meaning that there's not much of an eye socket in the face mold.  This makes it easy for the surface of the eye to catch the light and cause a patch of glare.  You might notice that in a lot of the pictures one of the eyes is slightly less clear than the other--this is just reflected light.


She looks a bit goofy but very endearing in the sunglasses:

Now she looks like a bumble bee.

The Taxi outfit doesn't mix and match with the other City Girl clothes as well as I had hoped.  The yellow color clashes a bit with the darker tones in the other sets.  I paired the Cape Town maroon top with the black leggings (meh) and the yellow top with the Color Block skirt (which works as long as the plum stripe isn't showing):


Time for some new pieces!  Here's the "Gray Haze" fashion pack ($24.99)  This set is a great value--it comes with a coat, tights, shoes, a hat, a scarf and a shirt.  This is my favorite fashion pack.


The shoes are the same black clogs that Billy is wearing, but everything else in the box looks fantastic.  There is a pair of red knit tights that has the same construction as Billy's black tights:



There is a heather gray jersey knit tank top:


The gray looks nice with Billy's coloring:

Bad eye glare in this picture.
The neckline is a bit saggy, though:


The coat is the real gem in this set.  The fabric has the feel of wool, but with a weave that is scaled perfectly for this doll.  The seams are carefully done and the stripes of red and dark gray at the bottom are gorgeous.  The coat does not fasten together all of the way down in front.  It has more of a cape-like style with just a small patch of velcro securing it at the top.  I like this design.  It hangs open in a lovely, neat triangle that shows off the underlying clothes.

I love this coat.
A common theme with the City Girl outfits seems to be that there are several simply made, basic pieces, and then there's one item that stands out because of a higher level of quality and design.  

The outfit looks good all put together, my one complaint is that the top is too short to be a dress, and even with tights, I think this doll needs a skirt to make her appearance more polished.


All of the clothes can be worn by Cami, but the fit isn't great.  The tights don't quite pull up all of the way, the shirt isn't anywhere near long enough to be a skirt, and the sleeves on the jacket are too short:


This set plays well with the Cape Town and Color Block clothes:

Cape Town jeans and Gray Haze tank top.
Gray Haze items with Cape Town jeans and Color Block red tank top.
Gray Haze items with Cape Town jeans.
Here's all of the Gray Haze outfit with the skirt from Color Block added in (again, with the plum stripe hidden):




Bottom line?  For me, some of the initial shine has worn off with these dolls.  There were issues with this particular doll (warped leg, mediocre hair, buttons falling off the jacket) that, combined with the issues that afflict the whole line (limited neck articulation, buckling knees, spacey face, no stand) contribute to a bit of a let down.  However, maybe because I'm such a die-hard Tonner fan, or maybe because I really think the doll looks amazing in those last few pictures, I can't bring myself to dismiss these girls completely.  I really want to like them.  I hope that there will be some tweaks and changes in the upcoming releases that make liking them a little bit easier to do.


34 comments:

  1. Ooh! A giveaway! Me, me! XD I'm not terribly a huge fan of the bigger dolls, but these girls are just so cute!

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    1. Yay! She's all yours! Just shoot me an email and I'll send her to you! :)

      toyboxphilosopher@gmail.com

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  2. If Verona doesn't want her, I would love to take Billy :)

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  3. I have two of these girls and I agree with you on most points, except that I don't think they have spacey facial expressions at all. I love their sweet facial expressions!

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    1. It is really nice that they have sweet faces rather than anything vampy or overdone, that's for sure!

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  4. Pretty, but not quite my style. And after getting Bratzillas I will avoid dolls with rubber legs like chickenpox. Still, I really like their clothes - unfortunaltelly I have only smaller, 12 inch dolls, so they won't fit them. (At least less things to spend moneys on)

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    1. Yeah, the rubbery legs are a pain. These aren't anywhere near as bendy as the Bratzillaz legs, but they do make the doll prone to warping and instability.

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  5. Very pretty doll! I love the Gray Haze set, espically the shirt.

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  6. I LOVE the Gray Haze set, too. Billy is, in my opinion, the prettiest of the City Girls. Doesn't have the exact outfit a baker would though, does she? ;) Do you think a smaller stand would fit her better, possibly one from a different company?

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    1. Billy's coloring is really nice. I love her eyes! It would be cool if she had an apron or a chef's shirt or something that she might wear to work--great idea!

      I'm sure there's a stand out there that will fit her...I just don't seem to have it! I wonder if the Madame Alexander stands would fit? That's something I haven't tried...

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  7. They are very cute, and I love their different careers but also kindof boring with the same face mold. I'm way more excited for Maudlynne to come out!

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    1. I need to read more about Maudlynne! She seems like an Ellowyne Wilde or Agnes Dreary style character for beginner collectors...which is a neat idea. I am glad Tonner Toys is making so many diverse dolls!

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  8. Oh!! A give away! o.o if Astor is in that pile, I'd love to take her!! This was a good review, like always and it was a good look farther into the line of the City Girls, Billy was kinda of a disappointment to me :/ I thought she was going to be more appealing to the eye for me, but after seeing her, Houston and Astor in your pictures I think Astor is more appealing to the eye for me. It must be because I'm a sucker for Redheads lol.

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    1. I think that the fancy Golden Swirl Astor is my favorite in the end. She's lovely. I, too, am a hopeless sucker for red-headed dolls. :)

      Sorry about the giveaway confusion--I deleted the doll once she was spoken for. I had a Brook-Lynn left over and gave her to the first taker.

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  9. If you are planning on giving them away, I would LOVE to take Houston off of your hands. She is just gorgeous. I also like Brook-Lynn. Thanks!

    My email is conart98@gmail.com

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    1. I gave away my Brook-Lynn to the first person who commented...sorry for the confusion!

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    2. I am the person that you are giving Houston Too :) We were emailing back and forth, sorry for the confusaion of the comment, and the email. By the way, i responded to your last email, in case you haven't seen it!

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  10. if you had a giveway, I would LOVE to have Astor or Billy! But I spent the last of my money on another American Girl doll, and I am not alowwed to give any personal information.

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    1. I'd like to get an American Girl doll some day! They are very well made and have amazing accessories! You have smart parents for not letting you give away personal info on a blog. :)

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  11. I am so confused... All of these comments about a giveaway, but I didn't see anything about a giveaway in the post... Am I missing some super secret codeword or something? Maybe a disappearing ink font? XD

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    1. LOL! I am so sorry for the confusion. I did have a giveaway posted for about thirty seconds--she went to the first person who wanted her. No codes that you are missing. ;) I thought that by deleting her picture I could avoid disappointment, but I think I just added to the confusion!

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  12. ...and I hope you're happy. Your fantastic blog has caused me to start a Blogger account, just so I can officially "follow" you on here and (hopefully) comment more easily XD

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    1. Yay! I am happy! It's great to have you here. Thank you so much for being a follower. :)

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  13. i love the grey outfit set,looks very cosy and it's sewn nicely!coat is a great piece of clothing!it would look lovely on my very first Tonner doll Esme :)

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    1. I love Esme! She's gorgeous! Congratulations on getting her. :) She has the regular Tyler body, right? These clothes would be too tight for her, I think...but the colors would be perfect for her.

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  14. About the colored legs... Maybe she stood out in the sun too long and got a nice, pink, uhh... never healing sunburn? Get the poor girl some aloe, already! ;D

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    1. Hee hee! You are so right. She looks like she sat out on the sun too long with capri pants on! Poor thing. :)

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  15. Giveaway? O.o What's the info on that...? If you havnt given away your give-away doll already I'd love to enter :D

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    1. Sorry--I didn't mean for it to be covert, I just gave away Brook-Lynn to the first taker. Never fear, there will be more giveaways in the new year! :)

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  16. Hello from Spain: this collection of dolls is very cool. I love the clothes they have. Keep in touch

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  17. Hi Emily, sorry that I didn't comment earlier, I was really sick (I've never been that sick before) and I missed out on alot :c
    I love Billy, she's my favorite doll, besides Golden Swirl Astor, she looks amazing. Again, the colour issue is there but other than that she looks perfect to me (I can work with warped legs, sometimes it even makes poses interesting and high fashion, I think ^^)
    The fashion pack is really fun, the coat is amazing. Overall, I think is a very enjoyable doll, congrats Verona :)
    I can't wait for the next review!

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  18. Hi Emily,
    I'm curious, do their shoes fit Moxie Teenz? What about other clothing items? I know City Girls are 1.5" taller, but their feet might be similar sizes, and shirts might work as tunics for MTs. Have you tried?

    Thank you for doing another review of these dolls. I think Billy's awfully cute, but I'll wait and see if Tonner works some of the kinks out of these dolls before I get one (and I DO wish that they had made them closer in size to Cami/Antoinette for clothes sharing. Grrr!).

    Thank you! I love your reviews. :)

    --Anonymous :)

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  19. She's cute but for dolls in this price range there should be NO problems with things like legs bent oddly & hair issues. I think MH has really spoiled me but still - if even their skinny boxed/under $20 dolls can have pefect limbs & fantastic rooting then ALL dolls in the collector market should.

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