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, 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.

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 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."