Meet Pinkie Cooper:
|Pinkie Cooper by The Bridge Direct.|
Despite the uncreative personalities that these dolls have been given, I instantly like several things about the line. First of all, the name Pinkie Cooper is wonderful. It rolls off the tongue. Apparently, the character was named after Mr. Bryant's own dog. Pinkie sounds like a dog's name, but paired with the traditional last name Cooper, it works for a humanoid, too. Pepper Parsons and Ginger Jones have perfect names as well. Pepper and Ginger make the crossover between dog and human names even more gracefully than the name Pinkie.
The second thing I like right off the bat is Pinkie's packaging. All of the products come in brown and pink striped cardboard window boxes. The simplicity of the design and the vintage feel to the color scheme and font are very appealing:
I knew that Pinkie was a 9-inch doll before I saw her, but I was still surprised to see how small she is. She's much shorter than dolls like Monster High and Barbie, and her box has less excess, too. It's a nice, compact box. Here's Pinkie next to Ever After High Briar Beauty's box:
And next to my hand:
|She's a tiny little thing.|
Here's the humdrum backstory:
The international jet setter theme reminds me of the La Dee Da Runway Vacay line. Been there, seen that.
Pinkie, Pepper and Ginger each have a pet dog. I've mentioned before how strange I think it is when animal characters have animal pets. You know--the Pluto/Goofy conundrum. If you can get past dogs having dogs for pets, though, these puppies are pretty cute:
|Pinkie's pet "Li'l Pinkie."|
|Pepper's pet, "Saltine."|
|Ginger's pet, "Sprinkles."|
For now, I'll mention two things about the dogs. First, they don't look much like the drawings on the box. Instead of flowing, curly ears, Li'l pinky has hard plastic ears covered in pink glitter. Second, while Pinkie Cooper is smaller than I expected, Li'l Pinkie is larger than I expected. I think that both of these size surprises are for the best. Pinkie's petiteness makes her more appealing and Li'l Pinkie's substantial size makes her seem more worth her price. Could they have picked a different name, though? Two Pinkies is confusing.
|English toy spaniels really squint and smile like that!|
Speaking of price, I don't actually know what the retail price of these dolls actually is. Because I have no patience and couldn't wait for the dolls to hit the shelves in Maine, I have been shopping online. Online prices are all over the map right now. I found Pinkie for $16.99 and Li'l Pinkie for $8.99 at Amazon. These might be the real prices, but I suspect that they should be slightly lower. We'll see.
The other interesting information on the back of the box is a nice description of the doll's ear-changing capabilities:
The combination of illustrations and captions is very clear and concise. My interpretation is that the hair concept is like Cutie Pops hair, but the ears have attachment pegs like Liv wigs or Create-A-Monster wigs. It looks fun!
Inside the box, there's another description of how the hair works:
This is also pretty clear--although I am not sure it's necessary. It does give the tip that the two-toned ear hair can be flipped and inserted into the opposite side of the doll's head, putting a different color hair in front:
I was a little confused about the hat directions, though. This doll doesn't come with a hat. Or does she? More about that later.
|Despite the polite recommendation, I might not keep these instructions. |
I think I've got it.
Back to Pinkie:
A pink cardboard insert slides out of the main box. The back of this insert looks intimidating:
Getting her out of the box is pretty easy--there are just a few plastic tabs that hold the limbs and some clear rubber bands and thread that need to be cut. When I got to her hair, though, it looked tricky:
The hair is sewn onto another plastic tab and it doesn't budge:
It turns out that just snipping that one thread is enough to instantly free the doll, though, so it wasn't such a big deal. The packaging is medium-good. I love the simple design and the frugal size, and it's mostly cardboard, but all of the plastic attachments and supports on this insert will make it a pain to recycle:
Pinkie comes with a pair of shoes, a brush and a plastic purse:
The purse is very small and doesn't open:
It has the same molded design on both sides--a stylized profile of Pinkie:
The brush has the same design:
The brush isn't that useful. The bristles are sparse and crooked. Truth be told, I tend to just use a Liv brush for all of my dolls. I find it to have the best design and the most effective bristles.
This long-haired face design reminds me a lot of the Ever After High logo:
And is also strikingly similar to the Equestria Girls brush:
Here's Pinkie out of the box:
Her feet are tiny and have a very high arch, so there's no way she will be able to stand on her own without shoes:
In her pink shoes, she at least has a flat surface to balance on:
She can stand alone in her shoes, but only for a few seconds, and only after a lot of balancing effort:
Here she is from the back--she still has several of the packaging threads dangling from her clothes:
I don't know what to call her hair. Is it hair? Ears? I can't call it ear hair, because that suggests something else. I also can't call them ear wigs...because an earwig is a creepy little bug. Let's stick with hair, I guess. Her hair has a lot of styling product in it, and comes out of the box crimped, stiff and a little bedraggled:
It combs out nicely, and retains only a little bit of coarseness at the very ends:
The two things that fascinated me the most about this doll, aside from her canine head, were her eyes and the mechanics of her hair. I decided to examine her eyes and face first.
Pinkie has a white vinyl head that is painted with a tan pattern typical of the English toy spaniel breed:
|English toy spaniels don't have a pink heart on their foreheads, though.|
She has inset eyes that are glancing upwards. The eyes look like they should open and close or move from side to side, but they do not. They are made out of opaque hard plastic and don't have any depth to them like Bratzillaz eyes or Liv eyes. They do have a lot of painted detail:
The irises are light brown with a green inner rim. There are two painted reflective spots in each eye, but the shiny surface of the eye also reflects light in real life.
There are three colors of eyeshadow: two thick bands in different shades of pink, and a middle thin band of purple:
Here you can see the small gap around the lower edge of the eye, confirming that it's inset:
The eyeballs are not spherical in shape. The top edge of the eye indents along the contour of the upper eyelid, and then the plastic eyelashes are tucked into the gap above the eyeball.
This is a unique new take on the inset eye idea. I am glad to see something different.
Pinkie has a tiny little pink dog nose and an open, smiling mouth:
The jowly English toy spaniel can definitely look grouchy, but it can appear to be smiling, too, so this is an appropriate interpretation of the breed. Pinkie's lower lip has a very human lined pattern to it, though:
This style of lined lip paint reminds me of some BJD face-ups. This might be intentional since there have been human/animal hybrids in the BJD world for quite a while. Pinkie Cooper and her friends remind me of several of the anthro BJDs--the Pipos dogs and cats, and the ResinSoul dog to name a few. Even the insanely cute Hujoo dogs bear a certain resemblance.
Here is Pinkie's profile:
Her profile accentuates how enormous her eyes are, and how small her muzzle and nose are in comparison. I think real English toy spaniels actually have flatter noses than this, though.
The top of Pinkie's head has a shiny, pattern baldness look about it:
This shiny, cue ball appearance might have been lessened with some more painted areas on the doll's head--like if the white on her face had extended further up her forehead.
The thing is, this doll isn't trying to be pretty. Other doll lines are verbally promoting the idea of being happy with yourself just the way you are. I think this is a great message, but perhaps by unapologetically sporting a dog's face and a mostly-bald hairstyle, Pinkie Cooper is doing more for that cause than any slogan could hope to accomplish.
|You go, girl.|
Ok, now let's look at the mechanics of the little bit of hair that Pinkie does have.
Each pigtail is essentially a mini rooted wig. The wig has two colors of hair--blonde in front and brown in back. In the center of each wig, there's a white plastic square that peeks through the hair:
That square is the back side of a plastic peg that inserts into the doll's head. The square provides a nice pushing surface for firmly inserting the peg into the head. Both wigs were held in place in the box with a piece of tan thread that was strung through the doll's head.
The pegs have plastic ridges that help keep them in place, and from what I can tell so far, the hair stays in place nicely.
The rooted hair is sewn down and is pretty thick:
Here's another shot of the hair, parted so that you can see the plastic peg and the clear wig cap:
Just as the instructions suggest, Pinkie's two wigs can swap sides so that the brown half of her hair is in front:
The brown-haired Pinkie in particular makes me think of the 1993 Fisher Price pull toy dog. My son had this dog and adored him. His name was Funter. I think my son wanted to name him "Thunder," but the mispronunciation was too cute to pass up.
What the instructions don't mention, is that you can flip the wigs upside down and have a hairstyle with more body:
There are some styling possibilities with this unusual hair. For instance, simple braids look nice, and they mix up the two colors of hair:
This is essentially the Cutie Pops concept--a childlike, wholesome doll with removable mix-and match hair. You know I am a fan of the Cutie Pops, but Pinkie Cooper has them beat.
Bald Pinkie is also very cute--especially from the front:
From the sides, you can see the holes where the wig pegs fit, and from the back, there's just a vast, unadorned tan area.
I couldn't help but play around and see what a different pattern of white would look like on Pinkie. How about this: no eyebrow spots, and the white travels further back on the head (which does happen with the real dogs):
My lines are jagged and rough, but I actually like it this way--it suggests a furry texture. I foresee some very creative repaints with this doll! I would love to see Pinkie repainted as different breeds of dog.
Pinkie is wearing a pink party dress that is not the same as the dress pictured on the box:
Both dresses have a beaded neckline that looks like a dog collar. This is fantastic:
The dress has an animal print bodice and a two-layered full skirt.
|Tulle over pink satin.|
The waistline is accented with a gold ribbon bow.
The dress closes in back with velcro:
All of the pieces of the dress are permanently attached:
The stitching seems fine, and the bodice has a bit of stretch to it, which makes dressing and undressing less stressful on the hems and seams.
Here are some pictures of the plastic collar accent up close:
It is made up of five square segments, each with a rhinestone in the middle:
The beaded collar is sewn to the back of the dress on each side, so it lifts up to reveal a mock turtleneck collar underneath:
Pinkie wears a single gold plastic bracelet that coordinates with the collar:
Pinkie's shoes are a little frustrating. They have a ring that encircles her ankle, but this piece fits tightly, and so it is hard to get off.
The shoes are made out of a very bendable vinyl. They have a rose pattern on the front:
Pinkie tends to slide sideways out of her shoes:
Most of Pinkie's body is made out of flexible vinyl. Her torso is hard plastic. She has nine points of articulation, including internal click knee joints. Look at how bendy her limbs are:
The most noticeable thing about her body at first glance is that she has peachy-pink blush on the front and back of her elbow and knee joints. I wonder why they didn't make the body spotted? I would have preferred that to the super-pale white with the funny blush.
The doll also has an unusual shape to her torso. She's very short-waisted and teardrop shaped--especially in profile, and she has big, gaping hip joint sockets:
Here are some zoomed-in shots so you can see her features more clearly:
She has a rotating peg hip joint with a hinge:
Her knees can click twice--or at least that's as much as I am willing to bend them after what happened to my new Disney Store Rapunzel's knees. The two clicks do not bend the knee joint very much. Here's a picture with one knee fully extended and one knee fully flexed:
|Notice her four brown spots--they're only on that left leg, though.|
I like how unique the hands are, but they're not terribly expressive. Both hands are in the same basic position, with the thumb extended and the other fingers in a gripping pose.
Whether it is intentional or not, Pinkie's mouth and hand position are perfectly suited to a thumb sucking pose:
The heavy blushing causes some problems around her elbow joint. When the arm is in an unrotated position, the blush looks fine:
But when she rotates her arm, the blush on the upper arm doesn't line up with the blush on the lower arm anymore:
She has an outie bellybutton (an umbilical hernia) and molded, unpainted underpants with little bows on them:
Here are some of Pinkie's poses:
As you can see, Pinkie is much shorter than many of the popular play dolls. Here she is with Monster High, Bratzillaz, Liv and a Disney Store doll:
|Monster High Clawdeen, Bratzillaz Meygana, Pinkie Cooper, Liv Katie, Disney Store Rapunzel.|
After comparing her to most of my similarly-sized dolls, I think she is most comparable in torso proportion to Monster High, Ever After High, La Dee Da and maybe Cutie Pops.
In terms of clothes sharing, Pinkie's dress does not fit Cutie Pops dolls at all. It's obscenely short on both Clawdeen and Apple, and it won't close in back on Apple's wider frame. The style does suit Clawdeen, though.
La Dee Da wins, with the dress being really short, but closing nicely in back:
On the flip side, La Dee Da's tight dress doesn't do any favors for Pinkie's figure. It looks ok from a distance...
...but up close, the ill fit is obvious:
Apple White's dress looks like it fits, with just a little difficulty getting it closed in back:
But there's a huge gap in the bust:
In general, Pinkie's proportions are different from most other fashion dolls. She has a small chest, a short torso, and a larger belly and hip region than a typical fashion doll. This makes it difficult for her to wear other dolls' clothes.
While I was sharing clothes around, it occurred to me that Liv wigs might fit Pinkie--especially if the peg is cut out. I did have one Liv wig lying around with its peg removed, so I gave it a try:
|Ah! My eyes!|
It fits...but I'm not sure it's a good idea. The full head of hair looks bizarre on her. I actually prefer her with a partially bald head!
Here's Pinkie back in her normal hair:
|Why, hello there, stranger.|
Pants isn't usually interested in my dolls, but Pinkie provoked some powerful reactions from him. Initially, things didn't look like they were going to go very well...
But after they sniffed each other Pinkie asserted her dominance...
I think they're starting to form a nice relationship.
Maybe Pants could be the forth character in the Pinkie Cooper lineup?
So, this review is already long, but I have a few more interesting things I'd like to add before I call it a day. First of all, it wasn't as simple as me just ordering a Pinkie Cooper doll from Amazon for $16.99. Before I did that, I ordered a Pinkie Cooper doll from eBay, because it seemed like the dolls had only arrived in Great Britain, and I am not a patient person. Unfortunately, my British Pinkie Cooper took a long time to arrive...and again, I am not a patient person. Of course, the day after my Amazon Pinkie came (the one featured in this review) my gal from overseas showed up. Notice anything about these two? They're not the same:
British Pinkie has ditched the hairbrush and has a hat instead:
|Well, it's more of a headband.|
I significantly prefer the British hat version--especially with this doll's hair pattern.
Less interesting, but still different, are the backs of the two boxes. The British version has a large cartoon of Pinkie, with the other two dolls appearing in the lower right hand corner. The pet dogs aren't on the British box at all:
I actually ordered Pinkie and Pepper from eBay, and so British Pepper arrived after I started this review, too:
I like Pinkie quite a lot, but I am really, really excited about Pepper. Pepper has much more authentic English toy spaniel coloring...including an uneven white patch on her face.
She's wearing a different dress form the garment pictured on the box, and she doesn't have the cool dog collar neckline, but I like her dress and I love the color combinations with her dark skin:
She has nondescript little high-heeled clogs:
Pepper has lovely green eyes and a black nose:
Pepper's eyes don't seem as upward-glancing as Pinkie's eyes. The pupils still leave some of the white showing at the bottom, but not a lot. I think this will make Pepper more fun to pose than Pinkie--she might look at the camera more reliably. This difference between the dolls is so minor, it's probably just a variation in eye placement, not a difference between all Pepper and all Pinkie dolls.
In my opinion, Pepper is a show-stealer. She is a special little doll. She could very well snatch the spotlight away from Pinkie. I have not seen Ginger yet, but now I am really curious about how her coloring looks in real life.
Since this review is mostly about Pinkie, though, let me get back to her.
As I was playing around with Pinkie, the most frustrating things to me were the fact that she can't stand on her own and that she has unexpressive, clunky hands. Pinkie's inability to stand is not something that will impact her play value much at all...it's mostly a hassle for photography.
The hands detract a bit from the overall personality of the doll, though. I mean, she can hitchhike really well, but she can't strike a lot of other interesting poses that involve her hands.
Here are some of my better shots:
Bottom line? I am often complaining about how similar play dolls seem these days. I will certainly not be complaining about that with Pinkie Cooper. Ms. Cooper stands out from the crowd as a refreshing new take on a fashion doll. Pinkie is not completely original, though. Not only do many of the BJD companies produce anthropomorphic animal dolls, but dolls like this have graced the toy world before, too. As Quiche pointed out in the 13-Wishes Clawdeen review comment section, Catwalk Kitties and Peteena Poodle dolls put animal heads on fashion bodies long before Pinkie was invented.
I have practically no significant complaints about Pinkie Cooper. In general, I am not crazy about flexible, rubbery limbs on fashion dolls. Given a choice between a doll with a hard plastic, highly articulated body and a doll with a bendable, less articulated body, I'd almost always choose hard plastic. For this doll, though, the bendable limbs add a softness that is very appealing, and is also very appropriate for the nature of the doll. Pinkie is a soft, gentle character whose cheerful face will beg hugs and kisses from her younger owners. Pinkie's pliant limbs will welcome these embraces.
I don't like all of the painting decisions that were made with this doll. I think her body would have been even better if it had continued the English toy spaniel color pattern seen in the head...or at least done without the heavy pink blushing. I think the head paint could be more lopsided and realistic, and could have been distributed more evenly across her head...but these critiques are minor. Overall, I love that the designers tried to stay true to color patterns seen in a real breed of dog. Pinkie's face is good, and I think Pepper's face is even better.
The outfit is not spectacular, and it doesn't seem to be compatible with most other play dolls. The shoes are frustrating to get on and off, and they don't support the feet very well. The American version of the doll is missing the wonderful hat. There are a few clever design elements in Pinkie's dress, like the dog collar neckline and the animal print bodice, but for the most part this is just a generic, well-made play doll dress. This is not meant as a criticism, per se, because I feel like if you're making a doll with a dog's head, for goodness sake, you shouldn't really go overboard with originality in the other elements of that doll. The dress is sweet, modest and fashionable...and it suits Pinkie very well.
Pinkie's hair gave me mixed reactions at first, with it's strange bald pattern and odd mix of human and canine qualities. In the end, though, the hair is one of the things I like best about Pinkie. She doesn't look right with a full wig and her hair is soft and creatively done. I am very excited to try out some of the hair and fashion add-on packs. I think that Pinkie's hair gives her recognizable dog ears while offering a decent amount of styleable human-like hair. In fact, Pinkie's appeal is all about striking balances like this. She's a perfect size. She's large enough to be easy to dress and play with, but she's small enough that her dog characteristics aren't overwhelming. I think that if her head was scaled up to fit a 12 inch doll, the features would become slightly disturbing. Pinkie also strikes a great balance between being a fashion doll and being an animal figure. Little kids who like animals will find enough doggy cuteness in her face to fall in love...and yet she still offers a nice figure and fun clothes to kids who are primarily interested in fashion dolls. Maybe what I love best about Pinkie is that she is stylish and charming, but she is by no means beautiful. She is humbly accessible and completely unthreatening. If I were my six-year-old self, and was standing in the toy aisle confronted by Barbie's glamorous, haughty stare on the one hand, and Pinkie Cooper's disarming, quirky grin on the other...I know which one I'd choose.