|Cutie Pops Swirly Brights "Magenta" and Cutie Pops Petite "Dixie."|
Look at how awesome Tangerine is. I love her freckles, her orange hair and her paneled dress. I'd need to see her eyes in real life to know if I like those as much as I like the rest of her:
The packaging on these dolls is different from that of the original Cutie Pops (you can read my review of Cookie and her frustrating packaging if you want). The boxes are smaller and simpler. The outer box is mostly plastic and can be easily removed after cutting four pieces of clear tape along one edge. Inside, there is a colorful cardboard backdrop that holds the doll:
There's a big piece of plastic attached to the cardboard insert. I think this is to support Magenta's huge head. On each side of the doll, there are raised cardboard circles advertising certain features. The most prominent sign says, "POPS move." This is not referring to a dance style. Pops are the little snap-on decorations that come with these dolls, and apparently, Magenta's pops can move.
|Not like Gangnam style.|
Cutting those strings was almost all I had to do to release the doll. One small obstacle was that both of Magenta's earrings were secured with plastic ties to the plastic head support. This could cause trouble for, say, someone who was in a hurry to get the doll out and didn't notice the ties.
I would not want to be tied down by my earrings [shudder].
|Does she look a little nervous to you?|
I also had to free her arms from two plastic holders, but that was easy. There's much less garbage with this doll than there was with Cookie.
The doll comes with a plastic comb and three extra pops. Conspicuously absent are the closed eyes and the extra hair that accompany the original Cutie Pops dolls. The Swirly Brights costs $3.00 less than the first wave dolls. I'd have gladly paid the extra $3 and gotten another set of awesome bright hair and some closed eyes. Oh, well. Maybe there are plans to release some Swirly Brights accessory packs with extra hair and eyes?
|Um...wait. I don't have my sleeping eyes?|
|That could make a cute hair decoration.|
When I look at the Swirly Brights, I am reminded of another Brites line:
The similarity between these two lines is not just in the name. Both groups of dolls have brightly colored retro (mid-1960's) outfits and neon hair. I love the Liv outfits, but I think that the Cutie Pop outfits, with their go-go boots and colorful swirly pop decorations, are even better:
Magenta has amazing neon pink hair. This hair is very different from the other Cuite Pops hair I have seen. The hair is a bouquet of spongy, tight curls that stick straight up in the air. The ponytails remind me of the hair on the new Howleen Wolf doll, though I haven't seen Howleen in person yet.
|Gravity defying hair.|
Magenta is wearing green plastic dangle earrings that swing back and forth in an appealing way when she is moved around. The green part of the earring is removable, but the orange peg that goes into Magenta's ear is not.
|Looks like a figure eight...or a cyclops snowman.|
A black and white checkered theme is present throughout Magenta's outfit...it is even reflected in her green eyes:
Her checkered hair bows have pops that are different from the swirly decorations on the dress. These are the advertised moving pops. Indeed, the clear plastic circles spin around--they're not mechanized or anything, the attachment peg just has room to rotate freely. In fact, all of the pops can be spun around, but these particular pops spin a bit more evenly because of their circular shape. They also have swirly purple and green paper discs inside that look groovy when they're spinning.
One of my issues with the original Cutie Pop dolls is that their eyes are too glitzy. Cookie's huge cookie-filled pupils and glittery heart-shaped eyelashes were a bit too much for me. Here's a close-up of her eye as a reminder:
|You are the cookie of my eye.|
The dress is really fun. It is made out of a very stiff, shiny lime green fabric and has some cute details.
I especially like the green and blue houndstooth button that ornaments the top of the sparkly fake zipper:
There are two plastic ties in the front of the dress--one on each side:
These ties secure the skirt to a hidden piece of cardboard. This seems unnecessary to me. The skirt is so stiff on its own that I doubt it would move around too much inside the box.
Furthermore, those plastic ties leave some very obvious holes in the dress:
The dress closes in the back with a long strip of velcro:
The dress can hold three pops, and all of the pops are interchangeable. I decided to use the biggest pops on the dress so that they would cover the holes.
Here are some closeups of one of the removable hair bows:
The pops from the bows are interchangeable with the pops on the dress:
There's not a huge variety of design in the pops with this doll, but mixing and matching is still pretty fun.
|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Go-Go Boot.|
Magenta's body is the same as the other Cutie Pops dolls. Sadly, there is no additional articulation. She has 7 joints (neck, shoulders, hips and knees). There's a slight color difference between her vinyl head and her plastic body.
This doll has some articulation quality problems. Her knees were very stiff right out of the box. I couldn't bend one of them much at all. I have been able to loosen the joints by carefully extending and flexing them over and over again. While both knees now have a full range of movement, they don't feel good. The movement is stiff and I fear I am going to break a leg off at any time.
Even without this (potentially isolated) problem, the knee articulation is limited. I wish the knees could bend just a little bit more--at least to the point where they form a right angle. This would allow the doll to sit more naturally.
Underneath her eye pops, Magneta has bright baby blue irises. I would have preferred the nice, dark green.
Magenta looks a little freaky with her eye pops removed. Something about the hollowed out hearts can look downright sinister...
|Look into my heartless, empty eyes...|
...especially if I forget to turn off the flash!
|Ahhhh! Run for your life!|
All of Magenta's accessories are interchangeable with the other Cutie Pops dolls. The only other (de-boxed) girl I have in the house right now is Candi, so let's see what kind of part-swapping these two can do:
|Candi wearing Magenta's hair and Magenta wearing Candi's yarn ponytails.|
Candi's rainbow color theme coordinates well with Magenta's bright palette:
At first, I thought that the hair exchange wasn't quite as successful in the opposite direction....
But I actually think that the crazy combinations are the most enjoyable element of these dolls. Pink Bozo ponytails might look unconventional against Candi's dark molded hair, but these dolls are already so over-the-top in their design that any combination works for them is some weird way. In this case, the pink hair brings out the pink in Candi's pops and polka dots.
Candi's closed rainbow eye is one of my favorite pieces and goes extremely well with Magenta's color scheme:
Candi's regular hair is probably the least flattering on Magenta, but it certainly doesn't look bad:
|Jack Sparrow hair.|
I also think these dolls look very sweet without any hair extensions at all. Magenta's pink pixie cut, in particular, goes very well with her 1960's themed outfit. She reminds me of Twiggy:
It would be fun if the hair bows could attach directly to the doll's heads (they can't):
Here are Candi's open eye (left) and Magenta's eye (right) side-by-side so you can see the difference in complexity:
With Candi's eyes, the designers didn't know when to stop. They must have been having too much fun adding glitter and colors and lollipops.
I think Magenta's green eyes look fantastic on Candi. She has so much more personality with these simplified eyes:
Here are Candi and Magenta together with both of them wearing their own parts. It's funny to me that they can't quite get their arms around each other--not so much because they lack elbow articulation, but because of the size of their heads (and the volume of Magenta's hair!):
With Candi's eyes, Magenta can finally get some sleep:
I wanted to see my Liv Brites Alexis next to Magenta. With her amazing hair, Magenta is actually taller than Alexis.
|I think all that neon is burning my retinas.|
|Nope. I am not copying you at all.|
Here are a few more pictures of Magenta:
She fits really nicely in the Kurhn chair:
|If only her knees would bend more.|
While at Target, I also picked up one of the new Cutie Pops Petites dolls ($6.99):
"Petites" is an overused name. I think they should be called the "Cutie Poppets."
All four of these dolls were in stock for my inspection. At first, I thought I wanted Carmel and her cute puppy. I love it when there's a miniature version available for a doll I own (like the McDonald's mini Liv toys). Unfortunately, this Carmel doesn't look anything like the larger version, which takes some of the fun out of it.
I like the Summer doll. Her hair is a fun pastel orange color and it has a nice cluster of high-volume curls. This is appealing since the other dolls have pretty skimpy ponytails. If I'd bought Tangerine, I probably would have purchased Summer to go with her. In the end, I decided to buy Dixie. Her pink hair matches Magenta's and I love her piano skirt and music theme.
The box boasts a long list of accessories for this doll. She comes with 5 pops, hair, and a pair of plastic headphones.
She can stand on her own with a little bit of effort:
|It looks like she's concentrating really hard on staying upright.|
The concept of these dolls is very similar to the Lalaloopsy minis. The Cutie Pops are larger, but they come in very similar packaging, they share the same colorful big-headed style, and they have the same type of leg articulation.
The face on this doll is a pretty good replica of the larger Cutie Pops face. She has the same large eyes with decorated irises. She also has painted heart-shaped eyelashes and a pink heart of blush on her cheeks.
The eyeshadow is a little heavy-handed on this doll and the cheek blush is not as subtly done as it is on the larger dolls. I do like that she only has a single heart design in each of her eyes.
Maybe it's the heavy eyeshadow, but something about this doll's face paint makes her seem angry when you look at her from certain angles:
The ponytail base is decorated with an orange bow-shaped pop:
The hair attaches to the head with a donut-shaped peg and hole:
The outfit is molded plastic and is painted in a bright mix of colors. It has space for two pop decorations.
The dress has a fun mix of orange, green, yellow and blue with contrasting pink arm bands. The highlight of the dress is the flared piano key skirt:
Under her dress, Dixie is wearing painted textured blue leggings, pink heart socks and bright yellow high-top sneakers. The level of detail is nice for a doll this small.
Here are the four music pops--two guitars and two musical notes:
The pops leave behind some very noticeable holes.
|Shot through the heart, and you're to blame.|
This picture also demonstrates Dixie's arm articulation. She can only swing her arms back and forth.
Dixie's accessory is a pair of green molded headphones. These do not have any painted details. Carmel's puppy accessory is much more interesting.
The tops of Dixie's legs loop around a plastic bar to form a pendulum joint. The legs can swing back and forth within two grooves in the plastic of her skirt. The leg articulation is not as floppy as it is on Lalaloopsy minis, but the construction is virtually identical.
Dixie does not have a lot of posing options. She can't balance on her own unless she is standing perfectly upright with both legs underneath her.
Her legs don't swing out enough for her to be able to sit on her own, either:
But she can sit in a chair:
She's about half as tall as a regular Cutie Pops doll, but her head isn't as large in proportion to her body:
If you look at the details of the mini doll's face, everything seems to be a perfect copy of the larger Cutie Pops--the shape of the eyes, the rosebud mouth, the style of the molded hair. However, I still think something went missing in translation. The smaller face is not as cute. Maybe it's because the head isn't as wide? The eyes are set slightly closer together? What do you think?
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Dixie and Magenta can share pop decorations. Magenta's larger pops are too big in scale for Dixie and Dixie's pops look a bit small on Magenta's dress, but it's great that they were made to be interchangeable.
I have to say, I wasn't very impressed with the mini dolls when I was at Target. I almost decided not to buy one. I think it's because I don't find their faces anywhere near as appealing as the faces of the larger dolls. Also, I was a bit put off by the blatant similarity to the Lalaloopsy line. Much like my reaction to the original Cutie Pops, though, there were a few pleasant surprises that made me like this doll more than I thought I would. Her outfit is very nicely molded and is painted in fun, vibrant colors. While I don't love her face, I do find it cuter than it seemed at the store. I love miniatures, and while I'm not likely to buy any more of the
Petites Cutie Poppets, I think I will enjoy owning Dixie.
She is part of a three-doll release that includes Chiffon and Candi in new outfits.
Her eyes look pretty crazy, but I really like the rich caramel color of her hair and the fact that some of her pops look like miniature plates of dessert. Yum. I am passionate about miniature desserts. Her closed eye pops are vintage blue with tiny pink flowers, and her extra set of hair is matching blue and pink yarn. She looks pretty great.
I can picture all of Carmel's pink accessories going very well with my Magenta!
Bottom line? When the first pictures of the Cutie Pops were released last year, I was sure that they weren't my style. They're for younger kids. They're way too garish and sparkly. They aren't nearly articulated enough. Then, even though I really liked the first doll I reviewed, I figured that my interest would wane. The funny thing is, I am still really excited about these dolls. I love Magenta and Carmel and I have Tangerine on my personal wish list--not just on the list of dolls I'd like to review. The more of these dolls I have, the more interesting they are. Trying out different combinations of hair, eyes, clothes and pops is just plain fun. Not only are the parts very easy to manipulate, but the quality of the materials is pretty good. The hair is soft and manageable and I have yet to find a doll with a paint defect.
I am a little concerned about the articulation issues I found in my Magenta doll. Maybe it was just an isolated fluke, but the stiffness of her knee and neck joints was disappointing. I can work around the stiffness, so it doesn't detract too much from my enjoyment of this doll, but I am always nervously watching the quality trajectory of a new doll line. This doll has so many movable and removable parts, the quality needs to stay solid. Also, I have read some complaints online about the hair not staying in place. This is a bit of a concern, but I have yet to encounter the problem myself. I find the hair pieces to be remarkably stable for what they are. My only other complaint is that, while I appreciate the option of a less expensive doll, the $3 price drop in the Swirly Brights line isn't worth it if I have to give up the extra eyes and hair...especially if I'll have to pay $6 to buy similar parts separately. I like the reduced packaging with these new dolls, though.
The thing that struck me most as I walked back and forth down the aisles of Target is that there are a lot of look-a-likes among the first dolls of 2013. The Cutie Pops Petites look like Lalaloopsy minis. The Lala Oopsie horses are reminiscent of My Little Pony figures. One Bratzillaz line has a new body with a dancing motion (sound familiar?). The Cutie Pops Swirly Brites have a lot in common with the La Dee Da girls, and they also seem to have gathered some inspiration from the discontinued Liv Brites line. Everything is very exaggerated and colorful. I have mixed feelings about all of this. Part of me is discouraged by all of the imitation. I would love to see a completely unique new doll out there. On the other hand, "completely unique" is hard to achieve, and if we had to wait for that, we'd have a lot fewer dolls on the shelves. Also, the different versions of each idea give consumers a lot of choice. If I want a colorful, big-headed doll with stars in her eyes, I am not limited to just the La Dee Da section. I can choose a neon-haired, retro-style cutie with removable eyes and go-go boots instead. It's hard to complain about that.