Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Erin" Doll and "Guinevere" Outfit by Carpatina

My review inspiration comes from unexpected places.   For example, we were sitting around chatting about stuff in Panama, and my brother-in-law mentioned a play doll catalogue that had recently arrived in the mail at his house.  He couldn’t remember the name of the line, but it had clearly made an impression on him.  He described the girl dolls as being cute and wearing nice-looking historical costumes, but he described the boy dolls as being (and I quote) “grotesque.”  That got my attention.  Grotesque?  Really?  Definitely worth investigating.  He elaborated to explain that while the male dolls have child-like bodies, they’re burdened with large heads and angular man-features.  The problem was, I had absolutely no idea what dolls he was talking about.  I thought maybe he meant Ellowyne Wilde?  But Rufus isn’t grotesque, really, just comical.  I literally had no idea where to start my search for these mystery dolls.  Googling "grotesque male doll" didn't get me anywhere I wanted to be.  Fortunately, my mom came to the rescue.  She used her Google superpowers and tracked down the Carpatina line in under twenty minutes.

Carpatina LLC is a privately owned New Hampshire-based company that has been making play dolls since 2002.  The company name could be derived from the Latin word carpatinus which means "made of hide."  It's the same name as this Romanian benefit organization.  The Carpatina company got its start in 1998 selling medieval Romanian clothing for people.  Their cloaks are amazing and can be bought directly from the Carpatina website or on Amazon.  The company also makes several lines of doll clothing with an emphasis on medieval and fantasy pieces.  The Carpatina website is really fun to browse.  After a few days of deliberation, I settled on the following purchase:

Erin doll wearing the "Guinevere" fashion.
So, you're probably thinking, Hey, that's not a grotesque male doll!  I wanna see the grotesque male doll!  I don't blame you.  Here you go:

Carpatina "Adam."
Adam looks a little ticked that he's not the star of this review.  I'll have to see what I can do about that....

Adam isn't my doll.  I got permission from a very kind eBay seller to use this photograph.  This Adam is currently up for adoption.  I have to say, I don't quite agree that the boy dolls are grotesque.  They give me fits of giggles, but I don't think they're grotesque.  They're kind-of like bobble head caricatures...without bobbly heads.  Be sure to check out the catalogue pictures here, too (Carter totally looks like mini Spock, doesn't he?).

Anyway, I bought Erin mostly because I wanted to buy a girl outfit for her, and also because I thought her resale/re-gifting potential would be higher than mini-Spock.  I am still eyeing the guys with some amused temptation.  I like dolls that make me laugh.

Back to business: Carpatina dolls are 18 inch “slim” vinyl play dolls in roughly the same scale as the American Girl dolls.  They have more slender features than American Girl, and therefore can’t reliably share clothes with their more popular cousins.  To me, the Doll Diaries blog is the ultimate American Girl resource, and so it's no surprise that there are some wonderful Carpatina/AG comparison pictures over there for you to check out.  Carpatina dolls are similar in size to Madame Alexander's  Kidz ‘n’ Cats, The Doll Factory's discontinued Euro Girls or Tonner’s discontinued Magic Attic dolls.

My goodies came in a bright blue cardboard doll box.  The clothing was used as additional padding for the doll:


Erin is a basic doll (wearing a simple outfit), and she was priced at $69.  The extra Guinevere outfit cost $39.  The fully-dressed Carpatina dolls cost $89 right now, but their regular retail is listed as $108.  These prices are comparable to the $110 price of a dressed American Girl doll.

Erin was nestled beneath the clothes and under an extra layer of bubble wrap.  I love how her eyes close when she lies down.  She looks so peaceful and cozy in her box:


The outfit and accessories were packaged in a separate plastic bag with a tiny plastic hanger:


When the box is upright, Erin opens her bright green eyes.  Her box is very similar to a Tonner doll box.  It's made completely out of cardboard, and all I had to do is untie three white ribbon bows and Erin was free.  There are three foam strips to protect her vinyl from ribbon burn:


She doesn't stand very well on her own, and she doesn't come with a stand, so I had to lean her up against the wall for most of my shots.


She has a very sweet face.  I thought that the face looked fine in the catalogue, but I like it even better in person.

Erin wears a hand tag with some pictures of the other Carpatina dolls and costumes:


If you look at the lineup of girl dolls on the website, you'll notice that the dolls have different head molds.  It looks like Rowena, Zoe and Erin all share a face, and maybe the other 4 girls all have the same face (?).  The faces seem ageless to me.  In some pictures, the dolls look like kids, and in other pictures, they look like adults.  This could add to the versatility of these dolls.

Erin has long, silky red hair and is wearing a basic satiny nightgown.  Her nightgown looks a lot like a slip or a negligee to me.  Again, this makes me wonder what age person these dolls are meant to portray.



In contrast to the slinky clothing, Erin's face is very young.  She has wide green eyes that open and close and faint freckles all across her nose.  I love her freckles:


Erin's lips have an exaggerated bow shape and are painted a generic pink color.  I don't love the color of her lips, but I prefer it to the bright red or orange on some of the other Carpatina dolls.  She has orange eyeshadow over both eyes, and I feel like this part of her face paint is overdone.  It's a bit hard to see in the pictures, but it gives her a slight raccoon eye.

Her lip paint is a bit asymmetric.
Erin has both painted and applied eyelashes.  The painted lashes are a light brown color and the applied lashes are black.  Her eyebrows are medium ginger brown and a bit chunky.  There is some nice detail in the irises of her plastic eyes.



Erin has great flexibility in her neck, and can look from side to side and up and down.  She can tilt her head back a little without it affecting her eyes...


But if she leans back too far, she starts to get that dreamy look:


The plastic lid of Erin's eye doesn't quite match the rest of her skin.  It looks slightly yellower and more opaque than her fair skin.


The applied lash strip is a little crude--it's just a straight line of lashes that doesn't quite span the width of the eyelid.  Also, when the eyes are closed, the painted upper lashes look out of place.  Despite all of this, the overall effect of the closing eyes is nice.


So many play dolls have tiny unrealistic noses (you can see the American Girl nose profile in this cool picture of an American Girl wearing a hearing aid).  I like that Erin has a nice, straight, realistic nose.


Erin's hair is wigged.  The wig fiber is really nice--it has shine and movement and while it can be stubborn about laying completely flat and smooth, it does not tangle.  I love the color.


The quality of the stitching in this wig is not ideal.  There are a lot of very short strands of hair sticking up, and these are most visible towards the front of the wig.  If you part the hair and look at the rows of stitches, they look widely spaced, however, in playing with this doll, I didn't notice gaps in the hair as a problem at all.


In the front of Erin's wig, you can see several of the short strands, etc., sticking up, and also a glue error that has plastered a bit of hair to Erin's forehead.  This makes for an uneven, messy-looking hairline:


While I am not crazy about the style of Erin's nightgown, it is very well made.


The garment is made out of a white shiny synthetic satin and has some nice lace details.


The spaghetti straps are folded and stitched:



And all of the internal seams look well-sewn and durable:


Under the nightie, Erin is wearing a simple pair of white cotton underpants:


The Carpatina dolls have only 5 points of articulation.  As you know, I prefer dolls with more movement, but I also understand that for younger children, reduced articulation can make a doll easier to handle.  From my personal experience, children over five (particularly those who are interested in something like gymnastics, ballet, or horseback riding) could become frustrated with this doll's inability to re-enact certain poses.

Erin has great movement in her neck, but her arms do not hold many positions besides straight up and straight down:


The shape of this doll's torso is a bit lopsided.  If you look carefully at this picture, you might notice that the right side of Erin's hip (on the left of the picture) has a small ridge that is missing on the opposite side:


It might be easier to see in the pair of shots below--the picture on the left shows the ridge (just above the hip joint) while the picture on the right shows the side with no ridge.


Part of me actually likes this asymmetry.  It reminds me that someone probably sculpted the model for this doll and that hand-sculpted items aren't perfect.

All of Erin's joints are strung elastic.  They are tight and sturdy, although elastic joints don't hold poses quite as well as other types of joint.  She can hold a good walking pose:


She can do an ok side-to-side split (better than I can do...):


And a great front-to-back split:


Her hands have a nice shape and her feet are very plain and unremarkable.



Since I don't have an American Girl doll yet, I'll have to show you Erin in comparison to Lorifina and my Karito Kid, Ling:


Lorifina is a different scale, but Ling is close in size to Erin.  Ling is taller, with a larger head and a cloth torso.  I doubt that they will be able to share many clothes.  


The biggest difference between these two dolls is in their faces.  I find Ling's face to be much more unique and realistic.  Ling's features make Erin's eyes look a little buggy and her lips look too pink:


Ling's orange velour shirt fits Erin pretty well...


But Ling's skirt is way too big:


The dolls find common ground in the blue dress I bought from the Springfield Collection.  This dress fits Ling pretty well.  From what I understand, Springfield Collection clothes also fit American Girl dolls.  

There's something extra special about this dress.  It fits and looks good on everyone:


The sash helps tighten the dress at the torso to make it fit perfectly:


I love the dark blue color with Erin's red hair:



With this Springfield Collection pajama set, the elastic waist bottoms fit really well, and the top is too big:



I was curious about the size difference between the Carpatina dolls and the Hearts 4 Hearts dolls.  I don't have my Nahji doll anymore, but I do have a Dell doll still in her box.  I see some younger sibling potential here:


Dell is adorable, by the way.  The camera loves her cute freckled face:



The Carpatina company makes clothes that fit their own dolls, of course, but they also make a line of clothes that fit American Girl dolls.  The clothes that fit Carpatina dolls are called the Fantasy Adventures collection and the American Girl sized clothes are called the Girlfriends Collection.  I love the selection of clothes!  I think I like the Carpatina clothes even more than I like the dolls.

Here's the Guinevere outfit ($40) that I chose for Erin.  She is pictured wearing this outfit on the website, and I thought it went really well with her eyes. The outfit prices seem comparable to some of the fancier historical outfits on the American Girl website.


The dress is made out of off-white linen and is trimmed with green velvet, gold thread and rhinestones.


There are corset-style ties on either side of the waist.  The dress is beautifully sewn.  It came a little bit wrinkled, but I imagine that a warm iron would quickly set this straight.  The full length of the dress is sewn with princess seams and it has a short train in the back.


The dress looks white in a lot of my pictures, but it actually has a faint sage green tinge to it.  Here is the skirt up next to the refrigerator-white nightgown so that you can see the difference:


Here are some close-ups of the beautiful hem detail:



The outfit includes a pair of matching linen slippers. These are very easy to get on and off:



Also included with this outfit set is a gold crown ringed with rhinestones.  


Take some time to examine the lovely detail in this piece:


Here is Erin wearing the dress:



I tied the side strings loosely to cinch in the waist just a bit.  If I pull the strings too tight, they wrinkle the dress in an unappealing way.



Here she is with the crown:


Char over at Doll Diaries thinks that her Carpatina Rowena resembles Merida from Brave...and I totally agree!  I had the same thought about Erin--even with her straight hair.  Her mouth also reminds me a bit of Juliet from Lost.  But that's just because my kids are making me watch that show non-stop and it's all I can think about some days.  My husband thinks she looks like Deanna Troi from Star Trek.


When I bought this dress, I was curious about whether or not it would fit Lorifina and some of my larger BJDs.  For Lorifina, the dress is short, tight at the bust and loose in the waist:


I can cinch down the side strings to make the waist fit better, but it doesn't look very good like this, and the top is still pulled out of shape at the bust line.


The colors look great with Lorifina's green eyes, but I doubt she'll get to wear this dress very often.


I tried the dress on my Limhwa Half-Elf 57cm BJD.  I really wanted the dress to fit this doll because I love the idea of an elfin doll wearing medieval clothing.  It reminds me a bit of Zelda and Lord of the Rings.  The dress is too short for her, too:


Again, Limhwa's bust is a way too big for this dress and her waist is too tiny:


She can still look good in the dress, but that means very little since she looks good in just about everything.


Here are a few more pictures of Erin in her dress. She can't strike very many poses, but her bright green eyes and red hair combined with this elegant dress still make her very fun to photograph.











Bottom line?  I am surprised that the Carpatina dolls weren't on my radar.  I am grateful to my brother-in-law's keen eye and my mom's internet hunting skills.  These are cute, well-made dolls and their clothing is wonderful.  The most notable differences between Carpatina and American Girl are that Carpatina dolls are slimmer, they have completely vinyl bodies, they have slightly more versatile faces, and there are a few face molds to choose from.  These dolls would be a nice alternative for collectors who don't care for the American Girl face, or who are into medieval and fantasy themes.

I would prefer a more articulated doll for myself--knee articulation, in particular, would be a great addition.  Some kids might be frustrated by this doll's lack of movement.  Erin would struggle to act out cool athletic moves or ride a horse accurately (a key element in all medieval fantasies).  On the other hand, the limited articulation makes her very easy to dress and handle, and this would surely be a bonus for younger kids or people who enjoy a lot of outfit changes.  

The wig has one irritating flaw: I don't like the short pieces that stick up, and I don't see an easy way to correct this problem.  Aside from that, there are no real quality issues with this doll or her clothing.  The hair fiber is smooth and silky and the wig is thick and durable.  The eyes open and close flawlessly and the green color is appealing and realistically detailed.  The clothes are beautifully constructed and I love the romantic medieval designs.  Accessories like the rhinestone crown and the intricate slippers make the outfit worth its $40 price.  The doll is really great, the clothing is even better.

I think this line of dolls would be very high on my list if I was putting together a gift for an imaginative six to twelve-year-old doll lover.  I don't like Erin as much as I like my Karito Kid dolls, but the fantastic clothing line makes Carpatina a competitive choice.  I probably don't need any more Carpatina girls for my personal collection, but if I ever find the perfect 18" slim doll to wear the Carpatina clothes, it will be hard to keep me away from that website.  At the very least, there must be some way I can justify buying one of the glorious full-size Carpatina capes for myself....


Summary:
Age Level
12 and up per the box.  I think a younger child could enjoy this doll.  I would gift this doll to a careful six or seven year old. 
Value
The price is comparable to similar dolls on the market.
Quality
Very good quality.  The wig has some strands that stick up, but there are no other quality issues.  There are only 5 points of articulation. The joints are tightly strung, the face is nicely painted, the eye mechanism works well, the clothes are well-made and have creative designs.
Packaging
Excellent.  Cardboard box with cloth ribbons securing the doll. There are three small foam pieces to protect the vinyl.
Collectable?
No.  This is a high-end play doll.
Versatility
Aside from her limited articulation, this is a very versatile toy.  She is ageless and has an open, friendly face.  She could be a modern child or a medieval queen.  She does not share clothes reliably with American Girl, but might share with other 18” slim dolls like Kidz ‘n’ Cats and Magic Attic.
Overall
This is a sturdy, appealing, well-made play doll with a gorgeous fantasy wardrobe.  The clothes slightly outshine the doll.  A nice option in the 18” doll market.


49 comments:

  1. Erin is so cute! I love her outfit but I'm into American Girl dolls so it wouldn't fit them :( Thanks to your reviews, I now have three Liv dolls that I just absolutely love :)

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    1. I am so glad you like your Liv dolls! Aren't they great?? I think Liv is my favorite play line. :)

      Carpatina makes some similar dresses for American Girls...just in case you're looking for a medieval dress for your girls!
      http://www.carpatina.com/dolloutfits_AG_historical.html

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  2. I thought those boy dolls were a little weird looking, but now I think they're really weird looking since you hid his face in your photos!! BUT at least they're attempting boy dolls, I think there should be more out there.
    If you want a larger play doll that has more joints you should check out A Girl for All Time. They're British historical dolls (that have a book series like American Girl) but are 16" tall and I think have knee and elbow joints. I don't have one (really really want one though!) but I hear they're super nice quality.

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    1. That's a good point about boy dolls in general. It would be fun to do a post about some of the boy dolls out there. I love the Kidz 'n' Cats 18" boys (at least in pictures) and some of the Tonner guys are cute. There aren't enough guys, though, you're right.

      I have never heard of the Girl for All Time Dolls, either! I need to get up to speed on my larger play dolls. :) I love Amelia, but I love her clothes even more! How amazing is that party dress?? I can see why you want one. I also like the look of the books. The "Matilda's Secret" book cover looks creepy and mysterious. I will have to keep my eye on these girls! Thank you for the tip!

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    2. I love this review. Am enjoying 18 inch play dolls most lately. I got the Tudor Girl for All Time for Christmas and love her. To the reader who needs a medieval dress to fit American girl go to Carpatina website. As the Philosopher says they have an entire line to fit the AG bodies also.

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  3. I've been dying to find out how they compare with BFC and the disney 18 inch princess dolls from toysrus. I bought the cinderella doll and every review said the doll was amazing and the dress was crap. I can't find any comparison reviews which is sad cause carpatina also has the slim doll historical clothing as patterns you can buy and sew yourself as well.

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    1. Hi Angel, I will have to go look at the Disney dolls at TRU. Maybe there will be an after-Christmas sale. :) A few other people have mentioned them to me and it would be nice to know if they can share clothes with Carpatina! Sorry the Disney outfit was crummy. :(

      I had a BFC doll, but I gave her away. Looking at my old pictures of Britt (http://www.toyboxphilosopher.com/2012/04/review-of-bfc-ink-pen-pal-doll-britt-by.html) it seems like BFC dolls are about the same height as Carpatina Erin, but quite a bit more slender. Wish I could be more helpful!

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    3. For what it's worth, the Carpatina slim-bodied clothing looks great on the BFC dolls who have just slightly narrower waists. I have 4 of them and love dressing them in the Carpatina wardrobe. The shoes fit wonderfully well too. The BFC head, however is a bit bigger; the Erin crown, for instance will not stay on well although it looks nice balanced on the head. The quality of the BFC hair, however, falls far below that of the Carpatina dolls in terms of texture. It's probably the worst feature of the BFCs. In my opinion, the BFC and Disney dolls share identical body shapes, save that the BFC dolls have far more (14) points of articulation… while the Disney dolls have more articulation (6) than the Carpatina dolls (5). However, the Disney heads are outrageously over-sized. The BFC dolls wear the Disney clothing just fine too. The articulation of the BFCs is their best feature compared to the other two lines. As long as the clothes don't have to go over the doll's head, all three lines can share clothing pretty well.

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    4. I'm going to have to amend my opinion on Carpatina slim-bodied clothing on BFC dolls. I just received the two new steampunk style outfits. While they are detailed and clever costumes, they are 'way too big - particularly in the waist (and the wrist and neck accessories are too big too) - for the BFCs. I'm going to have to move all the snaps around to make them actually fit. There's a half to a full inch, depending on the garment, extra material. I was so surprised that I went back and looked at their packaging to make sure I hadn't been sent AG-sized outfits, but, no, these were packaged as "small". My BFCs look great in the Guinivere, the Marie Antoinette, and the two Chinese historical outfits I've purchased. I assumed everything else would fit beautifully too. I apologize.

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  4. I was glad you mentioned Lorifina as my poor Lorifina is always trying to find new clothing lines to borrow from. I had been wondering if the Carpatina outfits would fit her. I like historical costumes and these look like they might have been a reasonably-priced choice to fit that "need." I'm sorry the outfits are a little too short and don't fit so well. They seem nicely made and pretty colors.

    Also, had to laugh at the boy doll's head popping up in your photos! Too funny.

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    1. I know--poor Lorifina! It is so hard to find clothes for her. Maybe I should make that one of my missions for the future: find Lorifina some clothes! I do have a few BJD outfits from Elfdoll that might be worth trying, but she has a very unique size.

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  5. Oh my...you made me laugh so hard during this review. I agree...I love the outfit so much. I'd love to find another doll that would fit in those clothes.

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    1. Adam makes me laugh every time I see that strange face...and the eBay picture is awesome, with him in his undies and his hair all messed up. I feel like someone woke him up and he's crabby!! ;)

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  6. Erin is cute, but not quite my style, though I really like fantasy/medieval themed outfits for Carpatina dolls. And I must to say that Heart 4 Heart dolls stole my heart - they are so cute! If only they have better articulations...

    PS. There were seven Adams pasted into photos or I missed few?

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    1. You're good! You found all seven Adams! Yay! My husband missed one, so you beat him. :)

      I love the little Hearts 4 Hearts girls, too. The newer ones don't seem quite as cute to me, but this Dell and the Nahji I used to have are wonderful!

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    2. I almost missed Adam hidden in crown, so it was close. :)

      Personally, I like Rahel most. I wish that H4H dolls were available here - while I wouldn't really buy them, but it would be nice to have cute and innocent dolls for children. We really lack diversity in dolls - there are only Barbies (or Barbie-like dolls) or dolls shaped like little babies. Yes, there are few dolls similar to Heart4Heart or Carpatina, but not enough.

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  7. He he! That's me giggling, up the road from you. Could you hear me? Very appealing dolls and outfits. Thanks for the review. I would find some of those features frustrating. The appeal is obvious. :)

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    1. I think I might have heard you...or it could have been something swirling in the dense Maine fog. :)

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  8. Great review :D
    I'm not really into American Girl like dolls (considering Winx Mattel and Monster High are my favorite doll lines, go figure! xD)but I really like the nice quality of these dolls. I love Erin's hair color and the closing eyes are very sweet.
    I don't really like the boys though, they're kinda freaking me out, haha xD
    I think a large doll with a male head and a child like body is a bit too freaky for me.
    I loved all the little Adam's popping up in this review though, it was so funny, I was giggling all the time and my mother looked at me as if I was crazy, lol! xD

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    1. Just show your mom a picture of Adam and she'll be giggling, too! :D

      The nice thing about Monster High and Winx dolls, when compared to American Girl dolls, is that they're smaller so you can fit more of them in your house! ;)

      I like your Winx profile picture, by the way!

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    2. Believe it or not, American Girl is owned by Mattel. Mattel bought out Pleasant Company (the original maker of American Girl) in the late 90's or early 2000's. Random, I know. I am on my 12th cup of coffee. Blame the coffee.

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    3. I showed my mom a pic of him and she thought he looked weird, lol! xD
      That's so true :D
      Thanks!

      @ Zoe: Wow, not smething you would expect, I guess.

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  9. I love Carpatina dolls!
    I have Emma-- Erin's red-haired predecessor and the model for the Guinevere outfit-- and Adam :D.
    In real life Adam doesn't look quite as goofy (partly because I re-styled his hair a bit to look a little more boyish), but the boys are still a little quirky. I got him because I really wanted an 18" boy doll and didn't know where else to get one. I think Carpatina was attempting to make the boy dolls sort of "ageless" like the girls, but it didn't work as well :D. They would have done better if they had given them less-mature faces.

    Thank you for another great review! I enjoyed seeing your pictures and comentary on one of my favorite doll lines, and I kept laughing everytime Adam showed up (that poor doll needs a makeover, pronto!). If you get another Carpatina outfit, I'd suggest "Elizabethan Ball." It is one of my favorite doll outfits EVER. :)

    Thank you again!

    --Anonymous :)

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    1. Oh! You have Adam? I'm kind of jealous! He's growing on me because of all the smiles he produces around here and also because of how unique he is.

      I had to go and look at the Elizabethan Ball outfit you mentioned--it's wonderful! Wow! I will certainly be back to buy another outfit from Carpatina, if not for me, then for my niece. I love the lined doll capes, also. Those might fit a wider variety of dolls because the fit is loose. So many temptations....

      Have you seen any of the Kidz 'n' Cats boys in real life? I admire several of those cuties (Tim, especially), although they look pretty young and so wouldn't be very good "dates" for Erin. ;)

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    2. Adam does look better with his hair styled in a more "boyish" fashion (I brushed it into more of a "Beiber" style :D), and he does wear fantasy/medieval costumes really well. He takes a while to get used to because he is a little quirky, but overall I like him.

      I'm pretty sure the capes fit AG and other wide dolls just as well as the slim dolls, but I can check the fit if you'd like. :)

      I have not seen any of the Kidz 'n' Cats boys in real life, but they look really cute. I'm not sure if I have room for another 18" boy doll, but if I do decide to get another, they'd be a possibility. Some people also customize AG dolls into boys, and the results can be surprisingly cute as well.

      --Anonymous : )

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  10. Hello from Spain: I like very much Carpatina dolls. They look like American dolls. I adore American Dolls. I like the dress. Keep in touch

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    1. Thank you, Marta! They do resemble the American Girls. I wonder if lots of people have both dolls in their collection and play with them together? I just wish they could share clothes!

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  11. Your reviews are always so much fun to read (and thanks for the mention, too, you made me blush)!! I love all your photos of Erin - she and Rowena are definitely favorites in my collection.

    I have Erin, Ana Ming and Rowena from Carpatina as well as outfits for the slim body and AG sized 18" dolls. Their historical gowns are just amazing to me! And I now need to get a hold of the Guinevere gown for Rowena to have something else to wear.

    I like the weight of the Carpatina slim body dolls - they feel substantial - like you can play with them and know they will hold up to adventures, love and hairstyles.

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    1. Thank you, Char! That's a great point--these dolls do feel nice and heavy. Not cheap at all. I love imagining kids going on great adventures with this kind of doll. :)

      I LOVE Rowena's hair. I almost bought her instead of Erin, but I decided that I couldn't resist Erin's green eyes. I would love to see Ana Ming's face up close--it seems like it has a slightly smaller size than Erin's, but it could just be an optical illusion in the catalogue pictures.

      Thank you for your input--and thank you for the awesome pictures on your blog! Those were very helpful. Without an American Girl for comparison, I felt a bit handicapped with this review. I am eyeing the new American Girl, Saige. She likes horses, so we have something in common! ;)

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    2. My sister has Ana Ming, and yes, her head is a little smaller. The crowns don't fit her quite as well as they do the other dolls, but overall she's stunning (as are her additional outfits). If I bought another, I might get her or Veronika.

      I would LOVE to see you review Saige! The curly-haired AG dolls definitely take a little more TLC than the straight-haired ones, but if she's mostly on display, her hair probably wouldn't need much more than an occasional styling. I would love to see your thoughts on her!

      --Anonymous : )

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    3. Emily - Saige would be a very good choice for your first American Girl doll - she is very pretty. I would love to read your insights on them as well.

      Ana Ming has a more narrow face sculpt as while she is pretty, I like Erin and Rowena's face more. Veronika will probably be my next Carpatina doll - but there are a few more of her gowns for AG and slim body that are on my list first.

      So many dolls, not enough time or money...

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    4. LOL! This: "So many dolls, not enough time or money..." is the theme of my life, Char! :)

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  12. Now, this is the sort of doll that I would have adored as a child but have less interest in as an adult. I do however love her dress and I think that it is wonderful that you can buy patterns to make your own. I keep intending to have a go at making doll clothes myself but I am mildly terrified of my sewing machine...and sewing patterns. Once I have overcome these obstacles, I am sure that I will have a go ;) I do love medieval dresses.

    Adam reminds me of a Thunderbirds puppet, which makes me giggle a lot.
    Your Limhwa doll is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the review. x

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    1. Nat Kat!!! Oh my goodness, I can't believe you made a Thunderbirds reference! I love the Thunderbirds! You are SO right about this, too. I can't believe I didn't see it. I totally had a crush on all of the Thunderbirds when I was younger. Now I want Adam even more and his auction ended!! Ahhh!

      Here's a reference for anyone who doesn't know the Thunderbirds:
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057790/

      "Thunderbirds are go!" :)

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  13. I have always found the male dolls to look a bit... off in person. Something about the eyes and the cheekbones. I'm a little surprised your Erin didn't stand well on her own, the Carpatina dolls I have seen all stood beautifully. I do think the clothes outshine the dolls... especially the jeans. They are incredibly detailed and I desperately want some of the Asian costumes.

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    1. I was surprised that Erin doesn't stand well, too. She seems like she'll be very solid--the vinyl is heavy and her feet are wide and flat. Maybe my doll is just strung a little bit lopsided? The jeans sound great--I will have to inspect the ones my niece got for Christmas. I think she got an outfit with jeans. It's so hard not to covet all of the beautiful clothes, isn't it? :)

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  14. LOL! You had me totally in stitches with every one of Adam's unexpected appearances in the photos! XD Great review, as always!

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  15. When I saw those faces in the photos I started to flip! I thought that I was the only one at first!

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  16. When I saw Adam, I immediately thought, Why he's like Benjamin Button, who was born old but got younger as he aged. What an interesting doll, I will go to the website and see how many other Benjamins there are! the diversity of dolls on your site makes it one of my favorite places!

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  17. I've toyed around with getting some of the Carpatina clothes for my BFC Ink 18 Elsa, especially the shoes. I discovered Elsa when the dolls had already been discontinued, so find clothing for her has been challenging.

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  18. It was funny reading my name through the entire review (I'm an Erin too!).
    She's truly beautiful. Your photos make me crave her!
    Something crazy about her and I are that we are both named Erin, have red hair and green eyes!

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  19. All of the photo bombing with Adam was awesome! I mean, this review was awesome (as all of your reviews seem to be) but Adam popping up all over the place - especially the one with the butterfly wings made this review that much better. My daughter got on this kick of wanting a boy doll and I ended up getting her an AG Bitty twin boy doll from Ebay after I stumbled upon the Carpatina Man-boy dolls.

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  20. Am I the only one seeing Adam like 5 times during the review!?

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  21. She looks like Ariana Grande when she played Cat on Sam & Cat! My daughter would love this doll for that reason alone. I was cracking up from all of the Adams. Lol

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  22. I'd like to make a Civil War historical costume and see where Carpatina sells such patterns. But how might I style Erin's straight hair for that period? The only thing I've come up with so far is to crochet a snood. Any other ideas?

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  23. DID YOU REALLY NEED TO PUT THE CREEPY ONE EVERYWHERE?!?! XD

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  24. DID YOU REALLY NEED TO PUT THE CREEPY ONE EVERYWHERE?!?! XD

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  25. Quote from this review: "Her nightgown looks a lot like a slip or a negligee to me. Again, this makes me wonder what age person these dolls are meant to portray."

    Quote from the carpatina description: "she loves creating gorgeous fashions... Dressed in white camisole and panties, she is ready to wear the outfits she designed"

    I think she's just a girl with fancy undies, with the "fashion designer" story to explain why she's not wearing clothes. (I also notice that she's cheaper than the dolls in full outfits. As someone who "plays" with dolls by sewing clothes for them, I like this marketing idea.)
    --Nat

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