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.