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:

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.

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):

"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:

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:

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