Monday, May 13, 2013

EuroGirl Diana Collection Doll by The Doll Factory

I've been pretty distracted lately--sorry.  There was a week of complete pandemonium in my house as we helped my son prepare for a big science fair in Phoenix.  Now that we're finally in Arizona, I have some time to relax and write.  I am so excited to be here--partly because of the science, but also because it's neat to be in the desert.  It looks completely different from Maine.   I mean, I saw a cactus at the side of the road last night as we drove from the airport.  A cactus.

My internet searching tells me that there are a few doll stores in this area, so I hope to have some time for live blogging later in the week (please let me know if you have a tip about a doll location in the greater Phoenix area!).  In the meantime, I'd like to quickly show you an 18" play doll that I have been wanting to de-box for a long time.  This is a (discontinued) EuroGirl from the Diana Collection.  She is a slim 18" size, like the Magic Attic and Carpatina dolls, but she has this amazing character face:

EuroGirl doll
EuroGirl by The Doll Factory.
I really enjoy smiling dolls, but I know that they freak some people out.  I think that this doll has a face you'll either love or hate--I love it...my husband hates it.  Just so you know where I'm coming from, the 18" smiling doll I covet most of all is "Sandra" by Verena Eising.  Sandra has a smile that makes me really happy, but I will freely admit that it's an extreme smile and it might not appeal to everyone.  So, smiles are risky, but the EuroGirl's smile won my heart even before I opened her box.

The box is amazing.  It is made out of heavy cardboard and is designed to look like a chest.  It has a generous plastic window in front that displays the doll beautifully:



The box has actual metal hinges on one side, and metal clasps on the other:


The metal has an aged, antique look:


On top of the box is a hinged pink plastic handle secured with metal tacks:


Everything about the box is securely made and visually appealing.  The plastic window is probably the weakest part of the box and doesn't have the same weight and sturdiness of the other elements, but it's still well done.

I should back up a bit and mention that EuroGirls were first produced in 2003 by The Doll Factory.  They were designed by Spanish artist Jose Martinez.  The dolls are not made anymore, and I haven't been able to trace the year of their discontinuation.  All of my information about these dolls comes from the Just Magic website, which has a wonderful review of its own.

The dolls come up for sale occasionally on eBay, but I don't know of any other place where you can purchase them.  The clothes seem to be in stock in a few online stores, including The Doll Factory's website, where the remaining outfits are on a huge sale.  The dolls originally retailed for around $30, but you often have to pay a bit more for a new-in-box doll now that they are discontinued.  


The box opens smoothly and the doll is tied in place with a white satin ribbon.  There's a bit of a chemical odor when this doll first comes out of her box.  It's not overwhelming or anything, but I didn't find it very pleasant.



Actually, the ribbon is not doing all of the work of securing this doll.  Around her neck and at her ankles are plastic ties that are holding her securely in place.  What I love about these plastic ties is that they don't even have to be cut--you can just slide the locking mechanism and pull the tie off.  It could be used over and over again.


The plastic ties and the ribbon are all connected to the box with metal accents.  The ribbon is nailed down with metal tacks and the plastic tie loops through metal eyes:


Behind the doll is a plastic-enclosed certificate of authenticity.  It talks quite a bit about how awesome the quality and details are on this doll, and how wonderful she is for play.  It also remarks on her "international skin tone."  As a kid, I remember being impressed by the skin tone on Sasha dolls.  Sasha was also meant to have an ambiguous ethnic tone.  The blonde hair and blue eyes on this doll are very Eastern European, but the EuroGirls come with a full range of hair and eye colors.

I have to say, though, that it's a little funny to have the EuroGirl with her international skin tone hail from a Palm Beach company.  Oh well.  


It's extremely simple to get this doll out of her box, and she could easily go right back in and look brand new.  Here she is out of the box with her hairnet removed:


EuroGirl doll
Those bangs are a little uneven.
She comes with three hand tags--two paper ovals with writing on each side:



And one plastic medallion:


I have to pause here and say that everything about the presentation of this doll is fabulous.  Her box is amazing, her face is adorable (to me), she's easy to get out of the box and she looks like she's worth much more than $30.  Comparing her to the Jakks Pacific Rapunzel doll at this stage is like a bad joke.  The EuroGirl presents like a pricey collectable and the Rapunzel doll seems like a cheap toy in comparison...and yet Rapunzel costs almost twice as much.  

Her outfit is really cute, too.  She's wearing a red and white striped tee shirt and jean overalls.  The stitching looks nice and the fabrics seem natural and soft.  She's got a small kink in one of her overall straps, but that's just from the positioning of the plastic tie.


The overalls have a cute little gathered, elasticized waist:


At this point I noticed that her bright blue eyes are a little wonky.  It's not too bad, but she has a bit of a wandering eye there on her right side:


The eyes have some realistic detail in them, but they're not like other acrylic doll eyes I have seen.  They do not have a lot of depth--the painted features are opaque, and are all very close to the surface.  Despite this, I like the overall look of these eyes and I like that they are distinct.  She has very long, fine applied upper eyelashes and subtly painted eyebrows and lower lashes.  Her eyes are fixed and do not open and close.



Her mouth has a nice happy shape and an impressive amount of molded detail for a doll this size.  She has a single, straight tooth ridge on her upper jaw, and two teeth are painted onto this ridge.  The tip of her tongue is artfully sculpted behind her teeth, giving the mouth the appearance of having much more depth than it actually has:



The doll's profile is a bit unusual.  She has a nice small chin, but then a deep, rounded jawline that doesn't seem quite right.  It was when I started looking at the doll from this angle that my opinion of her began to head south.  

The first hint that things weren't right was that little area of white stitching you can see towards the back of her wig:


It was hard for me to fathom why the stitching would be on the outside of the hair like that, and I was also distracted by a long white scratch along the right side of the face.  I washed the scratch and it isn't as noticeable now.


I decided that it was time to take the hair down and get a better look at that wig stitching.  This didn't go well.  The hair is not as soft as it looks.  It's pretty coarse and messy at the ends and it tangles really easily.  If only that had been the biggest problem with the hair, though.  

You think this is bad?  Just wait!
The biggest problem with the hair is that when you take down the ponytail, you're left with this:

Holy cats!
Don't believe it?  I didn't either.  Here it is from another angle:

It's alive!  
And up close, just in case you're still in denial (I was):

Facepalm.
The wig is SO ridiculous, I don't know where to begin.  It's basically an upside-down stitched wig with all of the hair on the back of the head cut really, really short.  Oh--and with a band of white stitching that shows on top of the hair.


Is this like a euro-mullet or something?


Maybe from this view it kinda works..?

EuroGirl doll

No!  No, it does not work.  Nothing about this wig works.  My review could pretty much end right here.  I mean, I was loving this doll.  Her box!  Her face!  Her outfit!  Her price!  But a play doll with a wig like this is a deal breaker.  It is simply impossible to play with the hair on this doll and there's no way a kid (or even I) could have this doll and not play with the hair.  If the doll was meant to be for display only, that would be a different story, but the certificate clearly says, "hours of enjoyment, entertainment and play value for children the world over."  Not.

Sigh.  The thing is, you can slick her hair back, and if you don't move her or bump her or breathe too hard, the hair will stay in place enough to almost hide its dirty little secret:

Her smile looks a little nervous to me now.
I put the hair back into a ponytail, repressed my crushing disappointment with the wig, and tried to evaluate the rest of the doll with an open mind.  Remember her cute outfit?  Let's focus on that:

EuroGirl doll

The shirt is made out of a nice knit, and it has a long velcro seam in back for easy dressing:



She has matching striped socks:


But..guess what?  The socks stained her feet really badly:

It looks like she's been stung by a jellyfish!
And the shirt stained her torso and neck:

It looks like she's been strangled!
Well, ok, let's forget those stains and look at the nice overalls:


The straps fasten with metal snaps and all of the seams are well sewn.  The side pockets are decorative, but the back pockets and the pocket on the bib are real.



Unfortunately, one of the snaps broke the second time I redressed this doll:


The shoes are made out of matching jean material, and thankfully, as far as I can tell, there's absolutely nothing wrong with them:



I guess the tongue is a little ratty, which makes sliding the shoe on the doll's foot a bit tricky, but it's not really a big problem overall.


The doll comes wearing white cotton underwear:  


The seams on the underpants are flimsy and turn inside out a lot:


Removing the underwear revealed some dark stains on the doll's back and a lot of dust.  She almost looks used.  Considering how easy it would be to put this doll back in her box and make her look mint, it's not totally out of the question that she isn't mint, but I have absolutely no reason not to trust the person who sold her to me.  I think she's just been in the box for a long time.


The doll has five points of articulation (neck, shoulders and hips):


She is not strung, but has simple rotational movement in all of her joints--including her head, which cannot look up and down.  This seriously restricts the number of poses she can strike.


She sits very nicely on the floor, but would look awkward in a chair.


The only way she can do side-to-side splits is if you rotate her legs all of the way back so that her feet are pointing straight down:


She can do this really well:

Slow clap.
The EuroGirl is a bit shorter than the Jakks Pacific Princess & Me Rapunzel doll.  The EuroGirls' face and skin tone are much more realistic.  Looking at the two dolls together, I prefer the appearance of the EuroGirl.


Rapunzel's dress fits the EuroGirl the same way it fit Carpatina Erin and Magic Attic Heather--it looks fine in the front, but doesn't close in back:


The EuroGirl is very similar in size to Carpatina Erin.  EuroGirl's head is larger, but they look like they will share clothes perfectly:


Indeed, Erin's medieval dress looks great on the EuroGirl and Erin is really cute in the EuroGirl's shirt and overalls.  


Erin getting her first look at Euro's wig...


The EuroGirl's $30 price tag is great, but Carpatina Erin is a higher quality doll.  The extra money buys you nicer hair, moving eyes, higher-quality vinyl and move movement in the joints.


The EuroGirl is also very similar in size to Magic Attic Heather:


These two also share clothes beautifully--right down to their shoes:





In fact, Heather and the Euro Girl are not just similar, they are exactly the same in some areas.  Look at their hands, for example:


And their feet:


A lot of 18" play dolls have similarly shaped features.  There just aren't a lot of different finger configurations that are possible on hands this small.  Look at Erin's hand next to the EuroGril hand, for example:


Those are similar, but not exact.  The Magic Attic and EuroGirl hand sculptures are exactly the same.  



The shoes have some notable similarities, too.  They both have the same textured foam material in their soles, and they have the same shoelace material:



They are also exactly the same size.  


This is great for clothes sharing, of course, but it makes me wonder about the history of these two doll companies.  Magic Attic dolls came first, getting started in around 1994.  There was some overlap between the production times of the two dolls, since EuroGirl was launched in 2003 and Magic Attic folded in 2004.  Maybe the body mold was sold to The Doll Factory?  That's possible since the Magic Attic body sculpt completely changed in 2003.

Here are a few pictures of the EuroGirl in Heather's shirt and her own overalls.  I like this combination, especially since the pink shirt doesn't stain:




Here a re a few more shots of the EuroGirl back in her original outfit:




Bottom line?  This doll needs to be re-wigged.  Her wig is a disaster.  Not only is the hair fiber dry and coarse at the ends, but the style of the wig is inexplicably bizarre.  The upside-down stitching and short fibers on the top of the head make the hair impossible to play with.  I have seen pictures of other EuroGirls, and their wigs look fine.  Maybe this was just one bad doll variation?  In any case, I'd be wary about purchasing another one of these dolls unless I could see the full wig first.  

The body staining is a disappointment.  I don't mind a little staining on my dolls, but this doll's marks are quite extreme.  Worse, the red color of the stains makes her look wounded or bruised.  The clothes are well made, and the fabrics feel nice.  The exception is that broken snap, which is something that might be difficult to fix.  The broken snap wouldn't prevent me from buying more EuroGirl clothes, though.  In fact, with the great sales that can be found on these outfits, they are a nice way to add to a Carpatina or Magic Attic wardrobe.  I am eyeing this $5.99 dress as a replacement for my EuroGirl's broken and stain-prone outfit.

Once I purchase a new wig (maybe in dark brown?) and a new outfit, I will have added about $30-$40 to the cost of this doll.  That puts her in the same price range as basic Carpatina Erin and the Princess & Me Rapunzel doll.  After my experience, I'd say that unless you're in love with the smiling face or find a great price ($30 or under), I'd never recommend one of the EuroGirls over a Carpatina doll.  I probably would recommend her over a Princess & Me doll, provided that her face doesn't give you the heebie-jeebies.  As for my opinion of this particular EuroGirl, as the initial disappointments surrounding her fade, and even taking into consideration the unfixable body staining and very limited articulation, that eager smile still makes me happy.  This doll has a unique face and a gorgeous dark skin tone that make her special.  Special enough, in my eyes, that she is worth a little extra time and money to fix.

EuroGirl doll

32 comments:

  1. Hi Emily, good to see your latest review. Enjoy your stay in Arizona, I miss seeing the cactus and I am certain you are experiencing some nice warm weather.
    What a cute doll, too bad about her hair, I wonder why they would do that? I like her box and her overalls.
    Can't wait to read your next review-
    Thanks Tina

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    1. Thank you, Tina! It is quite warm here, but very nice in the shade. I feel like a desert animal--spending my days seeking shade. :)
      I am baffled by this doll's hair. I think it is the most poorly done doll hair I have ever seen!

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  2. Haha I have to agree with your husband- I'm not a fan of it. Of course, everyone is allowed to have their own opinions. :)

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    1. I'm not a fan of the face, I mean. I forgot to say that. ;)

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    2. Hi Maddy--it's so funny because my husband REALLY doesn't like this doll's face (nor do my kids, but I don't think they'd admit to liking any doll's face...) but I just don't see it. I see a cute little happy grin! It's like we're looking at different dolls. I'd love to do a poll here on the blog where I show a lot of happy doll faces and see how everyone reacts to them. I bet it would be interesting! :D

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    3. Yup i really don't like this doll's face. Just trying to be subtle. xD

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  3. She's a very cute doll! I actually like her smile, But OMG that wig! o.o I was in shock. You're totally right about her wig does look like a mullet lol. I loved her in the Magic girl's outfit.

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    1. Thanks, Amber! I'm finding that the pink Magic Attic outfit looks great on everyone. It's a magic outfit! :D

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  4. I love the extra details with the teeth and the tongue, but that horrible wig is the deal breaker for me. It's sad because I really was loving her before I saw that wig.
    Thanks again for another great review.

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    1. It's so sad, isn't it? She was in the fast lane for a glowing review and then that wig was like the brakes being slammed on. I could almost hear it in my head: screeeeeech! Whoa! Epic fail.
      I'll post a few pictures of her when I get that wig replaced. :)

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  5. Mine has a blonde frizzy shoulder length wig. I got her used at the Dover (NH) doll show for less than $10. No red staining, but it looks like somebody started to scribble on the left side of her neck with a black marker. I got her for her face which reminds me of a niece when she was little. :) Enjoy the desert. One of my friends heard we are to expect frost here, tonight. :D Oh, and for a replacement wig on the cheap, go to a thrift store, buy a porcelain doll (or ask if they have broken ones) with a wig you like or could cut and/or restyle. Much cheaper!

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    1. For less than $10, I'd even buy one of these dolls bald! That's a great deal. It is really all about the face on this girl. For those who like the face, she's a nice, unique doll.

      Frost?? Wow. I'm not sure I like 97-102 heat every day, but frost in May is a bit extreme, too. I hope the flowers survive!

      Thats a good tip about the wig! There are even a few doll repair places around here, so I might stop in and ask if they have spare wigs from old dolls...

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  6. HAHAHA-
    Sorry, I used to live in Arizona, and you haven't seen the half of it yet. You can find rattlesnakes in neighborhood parks, cactuses in front yards, bobcats, coyotes, and javelinas in washes!
    As for the doll, I just don't care for her face mold.

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    1. Rattlesnakes in the parks?? Eeek! I have to admit that I needed to Google what a javelina is. I wouldn't mind seeing one of those! :D

      http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/game_javelina.shtml

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  7. What an interesting read. I'm not really into the 18" and up size so I didn't recognize the company or the brand--never even heard of this doll before--but she is striking. I do have to side with your husband though--dye that wig red and finish hacking it up, and you've got a Chuckie, for sure.

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  8. She looks like those dolls could kill you while you sleep

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  9. Woah that wig! It's just terrible!! Also I did a little dance when I saw you updated! :D

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  10. Hi Emily-

    Enjoy Arizona! there are several doll stores and even a doll museum in the Phoenix area; http://www.yellowpages.com/phoenix-az/doll-store. I heard that The Doll House store was nice.

    Thanks for through un-boxing. Look forward to more reviews-
    Sarah

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  11. Thanks for the review. I've been curious about these dolls...now I know that I'll only try one if it's extremely cheap. I don't want to overpay for such a horrendous wig!

    I'm a bit undecided on the face. To me it's a borderline creepy grin. :}

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  12. This review is just great!(: I love it!(: But in my opinion, Diana is a bit creepy.. :o)

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  13. With the eyebrows covered, I find that it looks A LOT like a 3-year old Olsen twin. Maybe it's just the lighting.

    And oh my God that wig! It will give me nightmares.

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    1. I thought of the Olsen twins too when I saw her in the pink outfit:) Also seconding your wig comment; I have NEVER seen a wig like this, not even cheapy ones!

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  14. the outfit reminds me of Chucky from the Child's Play movies. I can see why some people don't like the face, it's very hit and miss.

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  15. Her hair reminds me of the Cabbage Patch Kid that I got one Christmas. I wanted her so badly and was beside myself with excitement that my parents were getting her for me. On Christmas morning I let her ponytail down to find that she was only rooted around the hairline and completely bald under a single layer of hair. I was so disappointed and lost all interest in her immediately. I felt bad for my parents so I pretended to play with her for a while. My mother recently found her in the attic and is keeping her for me....so the lie lives on. I digress. This poor girl's hair is really really bad. I'm not a big fan of the larger dolls but I am starting to like the idea that they could wear my daughter's baby clothes. Initially I disliked her face. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about these dolls that creep me out. Maybe it is the Chucky Effect but there is something about an inane grin that is terrifies me to the core. A scene from Mulholand Drive springs to mind *shudder*. However, the more I look at her I think I prefer her to the other dolls that you compare her with in this review.

    Nope, just looked again. That last picture... terrifying!

    Hope you enjoy Arizona. Love the idea of some on the road blogging. x

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  16. Have fun in Arizona Emily ^^
    Great review (as always). This doll is not exactly my cup of tea (my mother likes her a lot though). Too bad there are so many things wrong. Especially the staining and that monstrous wig are bad. I hope you find a better wig soon, and that polkadot dress looks really cute!
    I find it fascinating that the Magic Attic and EuroGirl are so similar. Great for clothes sharing, you can never go wrong with that!

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  17. You know, after a re-wigging, she'll be quite cute! I don't usually go for the smiley dolls - with the exception of my eternally happy looking My Little Ponies, I was a spooky little kid who would have eaten Monster High up -with a spoon- if they'd been around when I was little. But she's quite adorable. And with the right wig, she'll look even cuter!

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  18. hehe... I really like that picture of Erin when she sees EuroGirl's wig!:D

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  19. OMG, that's insane! LOL, her smile DID look a bit nervous... :)

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  20. I really enjoyed this review, the EuroGirl appeals to me and I happen to think she shines next to the other dolls. Her body looks like our European Hannah doll made by Gotz. You had me laughing during your big reveal!

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  21. I have the brown eyes/ brown hair version of her with the same kind of wig. Planning on rewigging her at some point. It seems like her left leg is a little shorter than the other. Anyways. I love that face! She's so adorable. I payed like $35 for her on amazon back then. I wonder if they stopped making her? She is pretty rare and actually your blonde one is the first I see! In the meantime I started the more expensive dolls Kidz n Cats by the artist Sonja Hartmann. They also have adorable faces , I believe 5 different molds. What I love most is that they have 11joints which lets them do most any pose.

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  22. I AM DESPERATE TO FIND THIS DOLL OR JUST THE OUTFIT...WILL PAY A VERY GOOD PRICE FOR THE OUTFIT, THE DOLL AND OUTFIT OR THE COMPLETE DOLL,OUTFIT AND CASE...GET ME AT HESBIRD@YAHOO.COM

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.