Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Twinn 18" Custom Doll, "Annie"

I have mentioned before how the expectations and anticipation surrounding a doll purchase can play a large role in my overall assessment.  Because of this, ordering a custom doll like a Makie or a My Twinn can be quite risky.  In the days or weeks that it takes for the doll to be made, a very clear vision of that doll will form in my mind, making it difficult for the actual doll to be what I was hoping for.  On the other hand, the process of customizing a doll is very fun, and the excitement of waiting to see that special doll adds significantly to the purchasing experience.

If you read my earlier post, Waiting for Annie, you know about my previous experience with ordering a custom My Twinn doll--how I was hoping for a redhead and got a doll with dirty blonde hair.  If you read that other post, you might also have had some time to form your own ideas and opinions about how my new custom 18" My Twinn doll, Annie, should look.  My own wishes for this doll were that she would have bright red hair, beautiful green eyes and a huge number of realistic freckles.

I'll show you right away that Annie is gloriously, unapologetically redheaded:

18" My Twinn
My Twinn 18" custom doll, "Annie."
Annie arrived late last week and I have to admit that I was nervous to open the box.  I guess I assumed that she would not live up to my lofty expectations.  It didn't help that the doll came minimally packed, with one edge of the doll box crushed and dented.  There was also a smashed tube of Tom's of Maine toothpaste wedged into one corner of the shipping box.  I still can't figure out if that was some kind of "free gift with purchase," or just an incredibly bizarre mistake.  Thankfully, the toothpaste didn't leak onto the doll box.

I cautiously opened the box, and there was little Annie, grinning happily out at me:


My first thoughts were that her hair is a great reddish orange color and her freckles are underwhelming.


I also thought that her hair seemed much shorter than what I ordered:


I chose "high back" for the length, and I think I ended up with something in between shoulder and high back:


After my experience with Kidz 'n' Cats Evita, I wanted to avoid super-long hair.  Annie's hair length might have been perfect on one of the larger 23" My Twinn dolls, but in this smaller scale, it's not a lot of hair to play with. 

Annie has a very cute face, but I'm not 100% positive it's the face I ordered:


I have to appeal to those of you who know the My Twinn faces really well.  Annie looks like she has the same face as the larger My BFF doll I custom ordered, not the wider, thinner-lipped smile of the doll I chose from the website:


Or don't, no worries.

The faces don't look the same to me, even if I try to block out all of the superficial differences:


Here's the 23" My BFF doll I ordered, as a reminder:


I was actually thinking that I should have tried to order the smaller version of that My BFF face, so even if this is a mistake, I'm ok with the doll I got.  I am more troubled, in principle, by the fact that I contacted customer service about face selection, did what they said, found a face online and then even added bold text to avoid confusion...and I still (maybe?) got the wrong face.  Oh, well.  It's a cute face:


I took the white ribbon out of Annie's hair.  I think she looks better without the ribbon:


Now, let's take an up-close look at how the freckle pattern came out:



She has a lot of freckles, but the artisans seem to have just drawn in the larger spots from my diagram--not the smaller ones that I worked so hard to create:

I am not at all surprised by this.  My guess is that the artists have limitations on the number of freckles they're allowed to paint, or something like that.  It could be that on average, customers are more likely to be unhappy when they get a doll with too many freckles rather than one with not enough.  That's fine.  This doll essentially has the same freckle pattern as the My BFF doll I ordered with a few extra freckles on her forehead and chin.

After my initial let-down, I realized that this is a pretty heavy freckle pattern for a play doll, and I am happy with it.  I love her delicately painted red eyebrows, too:

Her right eye is set quite a bit lower than her left eye.
I chose green eyes for this doll because the green/brown color I picked for the My BFF doll was beautiful, but was more brown than I wanted.  Annie's eyes are green, but they're very dark and flat, and the green color isn't realistic:


This color is similar to Carpatina Erin's eyes, but they work better on Erin because her face is not trying to be realistic.  

I really wish that there were nice, big, clear pictures of the eye choices on the My Twinn site so that I knew exactly what I was ordering.  Eye quality is really important to me and I know that My Twinn has some gorgeous eyes--or at least they did in the larger scale.

The eyes are fixed in place--not sleep eyes.
Annie has upper and lower applied lashes.  They are thick and have the same dark maroon color as Kidz 'n' Cats Evita.  I think this color looks much more appropriate on a redheaded doll.  There is some messy glue reside on Annie's left eye:


I find all of the new 18" My Twinn clothing to be unimpressive.  It's not terrible, but I don't feel inspired by any of it.  For Annie, I chose a simple outfit with blue cotton leggings and a pink long sleeved tee shirt with a flower pattern:


The pink imitation leather flats are the best part of the outfit.  These are sturdy and nicely made and will go with a lot of different outfits that I already own:


Underneath her clothes, Annie has a pair of very plain white cotton underpants:


Her body is similar to the American Girl body in that it has elastic-strung full vinyl limbs attached to a canvas torso.  The elastic is black in these dolls, but the stringing mechanism is the same, with vinyl joint capsules sewn into the torso and elastic connecting opposite limbs to one another.

18" My Twinn body


Unlike American Girl dolls, whose heads are attached with cotton string, Annie's head is attached with a plastic cable tie:


The thing is, in all significant ways, the 18" My Twinn body is exactly like the American Girl body.  Here's Annie with My American Girl #29, Keira:

My Twinn American Girl bodies

Some elements of the My Twinn body are different, but it's a short list.  For example, Annie stands with her arms sticking out further away from her sides, and the space between her legs is wider.  

What surprised me is how many things about these two dolls are identical:





The arm molds are the same.  I put together this animated file so you can see the similarities--right down to the dimples in the back of the elbow joint:


The leg molds seem to be slightly different, and not in a way that serves My Twinn very well.  They look the same initially:



But if you examine this side-by-side picture, I think it's clear that the My Twinn legs are a bit thinner, and also slightly longer in the calf area.  Also (and you have to look really carefully for this), Annie's toes slant downwards a bit while Keira's are perfectly flat:


Annie's legs are further away from each other, which is (at least in my doll) partly because the right leg is not as fully seated into the joint as the left leg:


The toes are identical:


The reason I pointed out the differences in the legs in such gory detail is because Annie does not stand on her own very well.  Keira is rock solid on her feet, even when she's in a walking pose.  Annie is extremely difficult to balance, even when both of her feet are right underneath her body.  While Keira can stand up straight with no problem, Annie has to tilt forward in order to stay upright:

Her toes aren't even touching the ground.
Aside from Annie's balancing issues, the two doll pose in exactly the same way:




These two dolls also share clothes almost perfectly, although Annie's torso has a bit more stuffing, and so Keira's clothes are slightly tight on her.  These new My Twinn dolls will be able to share clothes with any doll that can share clothes with American Girl.


Annie in the American Girl "Sweet Spring" dress.
Annie's hair is a bright orange-red color and the fibers are very straight, smooth and silky.  The hair is like the straight shiny hair on a Karito Kid or on my American Girl.  It has a very slight synthetic squeakiness to it, but it feels great and is easy to manage.  Some of Annie's hairs were permanently kinked and had to be pulled out.  It's probably a good idea to treat this hair with extra care and not use rubber bands or plastic brushes.


The overall length I chose is limiting because of how short the hairs at the bottom of the wig are.  This area of hair doesn't have much movement.


The wig also sheds quite a lot.  This is from the first brush-through:


The hair has been shedding two or three strands every now and then pretty continuously.

Annie had some uneven areas in her haircut:





Those areas were very easy to trim and are now nice and even.

The My Twinn wigs are neat because they have a rooted portion at the top of the head that looks like a real scalp:


So, I can pull Annie's hair into two pigtails (although it's a little short for this hairstyle):


And the part at the top of her head looks very natural:


The part at the back of her head, however, does not look so natural:


The spacing between the rows of hair is very wide and there are no shorter strands of hair to conceal the wig cap.  Kidz 'n' Cats Evita has a much better wig in this regard.  Overall, I am a little bummed about the quality of the wig.  I hope the shedding stops and I wish the "bald" patches weren't so obvious.


I assume that if you order a My Twinn doll with pigtails, she will come with a wig that has a rooted back part.  I don't know this for a fact, though, and would love to hear if anyone has experience with this.  

One thing that struck me about Annie's hair is that the color of red is different from all of my other redheaded dolls.  Here's a cluster of hair strands from various other 18" dolls:

Girl for All Time Clementine, Carpatina Erin, Our Generation Kendra, My Twinn Annie.
My camera doesn't capture the exact colors perfectly, but you can see the differences.  Erin's hair is probably the most natural color, Kendra's color is the least natural, Clementine's hair is the prettiest, and Annie's is very orange--but believable.

Kendra, Annie, Erin.
Annie, Clementine.
I love Our Generation Kendra's outfit (I was using the shirt during my Evita review):


She's a cutie for $18.99:


These two have similar bodies and will be able to share clothes nicely.  Again, all of the Our Generation clothes are just a little tight on Annie's wider torso.


I like Kendra, and I actually prefer her clothes to the ones that came with Annie.  However, seeing these two dolls together makes it clear what the higher price ($100) of a My Twinn is buying.  I think Annie's hand-painted face has a ton of character and realism when compared to Kendra.  


Annie in Kendra's outfit:



While I haven't reviewed a Journey Girl doll yet, I do have one of the outfits, and it fits Annie perfectly.  Again, I find this clothing more impressive than the new 18" My Twinn clothing.



I like Annie with her hair pulled back from her face like this (in a Journey Girl shirt):


I thought Annie would look cute in glasses, but Keira's American Girl glasses actually don't fit her.  They don't slide over her ears, but end up getting caught crookedly in her wig:


 Our Generation glasses have the same problem:


If you look at Keira's wig, you can see that there's a very slight space between the back of the ear and the edge of the wig.  Annie does not have this space, and so there's nowhere for the glasses to perch:


In fact, Annie's wig seems just a bit too big for her.  There's no room for the glasses on either side of her head, and a small flap of extra wig cap fabric actually sticks out over her ear on the right side:


At this point, I decided that, while I like Annie's freckles, it would be really easy to add in a few more smaller freckles with a brown watercolor pencil.  This took about three minutes and I can wash the added dots off if I change my mind before too much time passes.

This is more how I imagined Annie:


Here she is back in the Journey Girl outfit:





The old freckle pattern is on the left, the new one is on the right.  There's not a huge difference, but the small change makes her look slightly more realistic to me:


Here's Annie with my 23" My Twinn Adopt a Friend doll, Hazel:


Hazel moves so nicely that Annie's tendency to stand tilted forward with her arms splayed apart is glaring in comparison.




Hazels' eye color and hair color are much more realistic than Annie's.  I also like Hazel's skin tone better.  Annie can look a little too pale some of the time.  I think the 23" My Twinn dolls have freakishly long arms, but the articulation offered by their internal armature is great.  I wish that this feature had been included in the 18" dolls.


I took Annie and Hazel on an outing to a nearby pond so that you can see their features in natural light.  Annie almost face-planted into the mud on several occasions, but I did manage to get her balanced for a few quick shots.  She is wearing her own tee shirt, the Journey Girl coat and leggings, and American Girl boots:




Her eyes are prettier and less flat outside when they catch the light:








Hazel's photogenic face, realistic green eyes and delicate eyelashes kept stealing my attention away from Annie.  With the discontinuation of these larger 23" dolls, I find myself more interested in  purchasing an older My Twinn doll from eBay than customizing another 18" doll.




But Annie has a spirited personality and a wonderfully lively face:


Both dolls were very fun to photograph.  They seem like sisters to me, with a family resemblance that is clear.  Annie is bright and full of spunk, while Hazel is older and more serene.



Bottom line?  Annie didn't quite match my expectations, but I don't want to send her back.  Specifically, I wish that her hair had been a little longer and that the wig was thicker, more versatile, and didn't shed so much.  I also imagined that Annie's eyes would have the same realism and depth as other My Twinn eyes I have seen.  I like Annie's cute hand-painted face and abundant freckles, and I love the fiery orange color of her silky hair.  I feel like the perfect combination of My Twinn features probably exists, but I wish that the website had presented the options more clearly so that I could get my dream doll on the first (or second) try.  

The bigger question here is how successfully My Twinn has engineered their entry into the 18" play doll market.  What My Twinn has offered to collectors over the last decade or so is a realistic, customizable doll with beautiful eyes, several distinct face molds, and a large articulated body with a unique internal armature.  My Twinn's shortcomings, in my limited experience, have been a strangely-proportioned body and some inaccuracies in the customization process.  It seems to me that the decision to branch out into a new scale gave the company a valuable opportunity to re-design the dolls in a way that captured their special qualities and reduced their flaws.  I had hoped that the 18" My Twinn dolls would have the internal armature of their 23" predecessors while switching to the more practical dimensions of an 18" play doll.  This would have been an exciting new addition to the market--basically offering a Kidz 'n' Cats level of articulation in the standard 18" scale.  Instead, My Twinn simply took some of their beloved face molds and put them on an American Girl body.  Literally.  I don't know exactly how these things work, but it always strikes me as odd when I see features being directly copied in the doll world.  My first thought was that Mattel must have purchased My Twinn (which wouldn't surprise me...), but My Twinn clearly states on their website that they are completely unaffiliated with American Girl.  The upside for collectors is that the American Girl face repertoire has essentially just been expanded.  This could be good news for collectors who already have one of each American Girl face and are looking for some new personalities.

So, My Twinn has become yet another version of the American Girl archetype.  What, then, are the biggest differences between these two lines?  The biggest marketing difference is probably that My Twinn does not have the club mentality or the popularity of American Girl.  It's unclear to me whether or not the new My Twinn dolls will be accepted into the American Girl club.  I suspect that loyalists will stay largely true to their brand, and I wouldn't blame American Girl fans for being turned off by My Twinn's blatant copying of the body mold.  Another big difference is the purchasing experience.  American Girl offers an overwhelming in-store extravaganza of choices.  There's the compelling option of the historical characters with their richly-detailed backgrounds, and also the modern My American Girls with their wonderland of accessories.  My Twinn offers the fun of thinking about and designing a doll, and then waiting and dreaming about her arrival, wondering what her unique hand-painted features will look like in real life.  Despite the uncertainty of this process, the end result will be a doll that isn't exactly like any other doll in the world.  The last difference is that American Girl and My Twinn have very different face styles, and many people will simply find one style more appealing than the other.

The challenge for me with these new dolls is seeing past what could have been.  I think My Twinn had the ingredients to make a truly exceptional new doll line.  These 18" girls could have been uniquely articulated, well-proportioned dolls with realistic, one-of-a-kind custom faces and gorgeous eyes.  They aren't.  They are, however, an interesting expansion of the American Girl idea, offering a wide range of new, realistic faces that can seamlessly share American Girl's superior clothing and accessories.  I also have to look past what could have been with my Annie.  I want to go back in time and order longer hair, a different eye color and maybe a darker skin tone.  If I put all of these "what ifs" aside, though, I find that Annie herself is not a disappointment.  She has a wonderful, impish face and an unanticipated, spirited personality that is rapidly eclipsing my unmet expectations.


69 comments:

  1. At first I wasn't so fond of Annie's face, but I think it's grown on me. It's nice that My Twinn dolls can share clothes with American Girl dolls, and Annie looks very cute with Hazel.

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    1. Thank you, N! Annie's face is different from most other dolls I have, so it can take some getting used to, but I think it's a pretty special little face (that deserves better eyes!). ;)

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  2. I had a friend as a child whose hair was that orange. She wasn't just a redhead. ... Her hair was actually orange. She also had very white skin, and freckles everywhere. Thanks for the review. I like the My Twinn dolls, but don't love that they have the same awful cloth body as the American Girls. It's the only thing about the AGs I don't like, and the My Twinns have the same body. Bleah. The face is nice, though, and I LOVE the customization options.

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    1. The customization was really fun--almost addictively so. I am very anxious to see other versions of these dolls show up on the internet! I am thinking the My BFF customization might be safer, though, in terms of getting the doll you imagine.

      That's neat that your friend had similar coloring--it makes me feel better about my choices! Annie's skin is so pale it's almost blue, but I was thinking about a very fair, freckled child in my head and so wanted to try the palest option I could get. I wonder, do you remember what color your friend's eyes are? I'm thinking I should have gone for a pale blue with Annie.

      The body was a disappointment to me, too. Annie will have the same neckline and articulation restrictions as American Girl dolls...and her body isn't even as nicely made.

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  3. Her face kind of grew on me throughout the review and by the end of it, I really thought she was quite cute, especially when photographed with Hazel.

    Would I get one? I.... probably not. You said yourself, people are going to be loyal to their brand, and I have coveted an American Girl since I was 10, and that is where my loyalty lies. And yeah, it does kind of feel like MyTwinn is just trying to jump onto the 18" doll bandwagon. And when they had such a good thing going with the 23" dolls, that's exactly what it seems like, especially since a MyTwinn 18" doll isn't quite as expensive as an American Girl, but certainly isn't as inexpensive as a Our Generation, Springfield, My Life As, Positively Perfect, etc etc. It's all quite interesting.

    On a completely different tack, more new Ever After High dolls are being found in the wild. If you, like me, were put off by the promo shot of Blondie Locks, rest assured she is much, much, much cuter than that picture let her be.

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    1. Hi AJ! Blondie Locks is beautiful--wow. She looks like Cinderella to me! ;) Thank you for the picture!

      I didn't even get into price with this review because I am not sure what to think. My Twinn seems to be marketing these dolls as cheaper alternatives to American Girl, but no one is going to get too excited about a $10 price difference--at least not when the price is at the $100 level. I justify the price because everything about the two dolls is equivalent except that AG has better wigs and open/close eyes, and MT has a more elaborate, customized face and more face options. I think it's just a matter of which means more to each customer.

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    2. There's a really good chance that AG will be upping their doll price to at least $115 by Jan 1, and I wonder if MyTwinn is counting on that? They definitely seem to be using their price point in their marketing messages ("Our NEW 18" My BFF Doll is only $89!")

      I think you are correct that $10 is nothing to get excited about but $25 is starting to sound like something and on the chance that AG goes to $120+, now there might be enough of a price differential to make potential buyers look MT's way.

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    3. Hi Steph--that's an interesting bit of information! I was wondering why My Twinn was making such a big deal about the price when it's not that different from American Girl. I agree that $25 is starting to be a real difference--the price of an outfit or accessory!

      It's strange that the My BFF dolls are 18" now, but the customization program still shows the 23" dolls. I hope they change it--a new app might give us a better idea of what all of the options look like!

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    4. Hmmm, up to $115. I know it is normal for prices to increase, but does it seem to you that they are starting to price themselves too high? Especially with the Springfield, Our Generation, My Life options. There are definitely more customization options with American Girl over the others, but still.

      I love American Girl and am loyal to the brand, but am getting increasingly disappointed by pricing and quality in some items.

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  4. Not very impressed with Annie. I like Hazel a lot better. I was thinking about getting an 18" version, but the big ones are actually better!

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    1. Hi Makenzie, throughout the review I felt the way you do a lot--that the older My Twinn dolls are really special and I should have paid more attention to them. Many things about Hazel are of higher quality, and she only cost $50. My husband thinks her features look "dead," though, and while I don't agree with that level of criticism, Annie does have a sparkle in her face and a cuteness that Hazel is missing. In the end, though, I agree with you because I was thinking that if I ever get another My Twinn, it'll be a larger girl on sale. :)

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    2. Wow I never thought you would reply back to me! I totally agree. And wow hazel was only $50!!!!!

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    3. Yep! $49 (plus shipping, though). My Twinn has these amazing sales every now and then on the Adopt a Friend dolls. It's worth watching out for. I hope they do it again now that the larger dolls are discontinued!

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    4. Yep! I really want an adopt a friends doll or a custom doll that looks like me. The large dolls are discontinued?

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  5. Don't like at all. Even for a carrot top, freckled girl, she's too pale, or just not the right shade of pale. Hair is terrible other than the color. Awful wig, and doesn't look stylable. She's has hair like Emily of AG, but the wig quality is much better for Emily. Don't know if Emily has short hairs for two pony or pig tails, but the front is just much nicer. You did get the wrong lips for that doll. And the eyes are just completely unnatural and not even pretty,

    A lot of the dolls look the same in this line and Hazel looks like many MyTwinns I've seen. Those eyes are just all the same.

    Keira looks terrific in comparison and the OG doll is a cutie and a deal at that price. OG/Battat went through some ghastly doll periods and bad quality clothes for them, but their accessories have always been pretty good and they seem to have brought up the quality of their dolls and outfits. For the money, they are probably the best bet.

    Thanks for the review. The MyTwinns dolls won't be coming here. Some of their things, furniture and accessories are a very good deal when they go on sale, however, the quality is not consistent.

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    1. Hi Catherine, I totally agree about Battat upping the game with their Our Generation dolls! I find many of the dolls very charming, with great clothes and thick hair--all for under $20. Just the other day I found an adorable little OG glasses set at Target for $7. I think it had four pairs of glasses! Very fun. As much as I appreciate Kendra and Charlotte, though, Annie seems much more special to me. Her face is so unique. The crime, as you said, is that while she has a special face, her wig and eyes seem like shortcuts. I wish My Twinn had gone the extra mile to make her feel like a $100 doll in every aspect. An AG quality wig and eyes like the older My Twinn dolls would have made her SO much better.

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  6. I did grow to like Annie more as your review went on, I especially liked her outdoor photos. The My Twinn faces don't appeal to me in general although I think the brown haired doll with her hair in pig tails (the face mold you requested) is the cutest I've seen.

    I find myself mostly an AG brand loyalist, but not out of any tradition or club mentality, I have only been a collector for 2 years and I really think it's the overall quality of the doll (particularly the wigs) that keeps my eye (and wallet) on AG. I also like some of the non-pouty Kidz n Cats and my ideal doll would be somewhere between KNC and AG. Love the articulation of KNC, but most of the dolls look more toddler-like then I care for.

    Anyway, great review as always! I've almost worked through your entire archives and I'm going to be sorry when I've exhausted the supply. I would love to see a Journey Girls review someday if you're willing!

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    1. Hi Steph! Thank you so much for your nice comments! I have my Journey Girl here, but need to clear some time for a review. I am hoping to look at her before the holiday season is upon us! :D

      I do wish that My Twinn had given me the face I asked for--I was so curious to see how those features would look with Annie's coloring. Sigh. I agree with you about the wigs, too. I love the color of Annie's hair, but wish the wig was more on par with American Girl or Kidz 'n' Cats. It's funny that you said your ideal doll is probably somewhere in between AG and KNC--with great articulation and a nice face. I think these My Twinn dolls could have been that perfect mix! It's SO frustrating that instead, they've just given us a copied body with scaled-down faces...and scaled down quality. Despite all of that, I can't help but like Annie. She's a cutie. :)

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  7. I like Annie more than I thought I would. Her face is very cute and it's great that she can share clothes with other 18" dolls. I never did like the bodies of the 23" My Twinns. I kind of want to order one now but I've never spent that much money on a non-Barbie doll. I only have Madame Alexander 18" dolls. Thank you so much for the review. I was very curious about these dolls.

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    1. Hi Aileen, thank you for your nice comment! The 23" My Twinns have strange bodies, but if you can look past the long arms, the bodies actually pose very nicely. I was really hoping that the new dolls would fix the arms while keeping the movement! There are so many nice 18" for under $50 these days (like Madame Alexander) that it's hard to justify one of the $100 dolls. I think that the fun of customizing a doll makes some of the My Twinn price worth it, and then if you love the face you end up getting, they are probably worth close to $100.

      I guess I am mostly unsettled by the unpredictability in this line. For $100, I want to know that I'm going to get a high-quality doll that has the features I asked for. With an expensive Barbie doll, you probably always know exactly what you're getting for your money--and maybe you even have an idea of what the investment value of the doll will be over time. With My Twinn, there's a lot of uncertainty. Annie had quite a few surprises. I ended up liking most of her surprises, but things could easily have gone the other way.

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  8. I guess I am in the minority because I liked Annie almost immediately when I saw your pictures despite the shortcomings made on the part of My Twinn that were pretty obvious. The wig definitely leaves a lot to be desired for but I think she has a really cute face (so hard to achieve in the doll world) and I love the possibility of having such a "galaxy" of freckles painted on (though I would just as well paint them myself) and there are so many other things that I feel like really make her unique and lovely. Though I don't know that I will be able to do it any time soon, a My Twinn 18" original (for lack of any other way of putting it) is now on my wish list! Doesn't hurt that I know the company is based in Chatham, VA and though it's very small, I have always thought of it as quite a charming little town.

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    1. Hi Andrea, I am so glad you like little Annie! I agree that she has a special face. I prefer her face to the American Girl face, and just wish she had a better wig and some beautiful eyes. It's very tempting to re-wig her and give her some lovely glass eyes, because then she would come alive!

      Now I want to go to Chatham, VA and visit the factory! Maybe they would let me take pictures of all of the eye colors and face molds to post online? ;)

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  9. Hi have you considered getting one of the 18 inch boy dolls?

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    1. I haven't, but then again, I do have lots of pictures of little boys that they could use to make a custom doll! :D I have a feeling that if I expected a doll to look like one of my sons, though, I would surely be disappointed. They're hard to replicate. ;)

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    2. I waiting for mine arrive and he should be here soon.

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    3. I really want to see the 18" boys!

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  10. Hi Emily, No you did not receive "Danielle" as specified, but a "Madison" mold. Overall, aside from her balance issues, I think she is superior to the American Girls, but I too am disturbed by the lack of articulation. I don't have one of these yet, but I have been collecting Twinns from 1197 until last fall. Some are very rare. Some are common. Some have custom face work. Her hair is spectacular, on fire, and with an orange tint I find more common on children and can't be recaptured. Your freckle addition made a huge difference in the level of customization. My Twinn used glass eyes from Secrist, Eyeco, and mouthblown paperweight from Masterpiece. Some are un-nerving like looking into a human eye. The rises, I mean. Today an acrylic eye is used. These appear to imitate the popular LS Kelsey Dark Green eye from Denver. I would suggest looking on Ebay for an older Denver doll. Both are like sisters. perfect together! Enjoy her!

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    1. Hi Heather--thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I had a feeling you would know which face I got, and I am glad to have it confirmed that it is not the face I asked for. I just couldn't be sure and kept second-guessing myself! Whew. I was so curious to see what the Danielle face would look like with pale coloring because all of the Danielles on the website have darker skin. Maybe that face only comes in the darker shades? Hm.

      The hair color is glorious, isn't it? It's exactly what I was hoping for. I wish the wig had the thickness and feel of Hazel's wig, though. And, by just copying the American Girl body, My Twinn lost so much of what made their dolls unique!

      For some reason Annie makes me want to go back and, exactly like you recommended, start looking at the older Denver dolls. I am actually eyeing one on eBay right now! I think Annie is adorable and I am happy to have her, but the movement away from articulation and away from realistic eyes is sad for me. I will get used to Annie's wig because I love the color and I don't need to style it much, but the eyes are harder. The information you shared about My Twinn eyes of the past makes me want to find Annie some Masterpiece glass eyes of her own! I think it would make her face incredible.

      Thank you so much again for sharing your knowledge and passion about these dolls! I do feel very lucky to have both of them. :)

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    2. Glass eyes? Wow. I would love to see a pic of an older MT with glass eyes. Everything I have seen have been the acrylic/Realistic/Glastic. I have not been collecting as long as Heather, but i do have some of the older dolls. The only time i have seen glass is in the FairyGodmother to the Dolls repaints and makeovers (she has a FB page and sells on eBay regularly.) Were these prototypes perhaps and not their standard market?

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    3. No, glass eyes were standard and were supplied by Secrist. The eye colors had depth and a human quality that was incredible. Eyeco was popular and Masterpiece eyes were amazing. She just follows you around and takes awesome photos, but I can't transfer them from my phone to the computer. Westport dolls and Logans Ladies My Twinn history is so informative and Westport has photos of all 44 molds and the prototypes. I used their site constantly to make sure I was buying the right mold. The homepage has Matt: a pleading Madison boy with upturned eyebrows. He's mine. ;-) FairyGodmother uses the exquisite eyes the vendors supplied to the Denver company during their golden era: 1998-2001. Acrylic became the standard when the company moved to VA and the 2003 China eyes are so poor, they need to be replaced. My prototype has the standard glass eyes used by My Twinn - nothing special!

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  11. Emily - Thanks for your amazingly detailed review as always! I just love Annie's little face! I agree, she would be fun with hair that is just a bit longer, but her hair should be easy to care for. I agree with you on the MyTwinn inconsistencies. I received on of the 18" custom dolls that was made using 3 photos of my daughter. While there are a few little things that make me scratch my head, the one thing I like about her best is her eyes.

    I guess I need to get my photos and review posted!!

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    1. Hi Char! I saw your teaser picture and was fascinated by the eyes! They're very pale, but they look much more detailed than my Annie's eyes. I can't wait to see your pictures and hear what you think of these new little ones. :D Did you get the Danielle face? I think that's the face I asked for!! I have such a hard time identifying these faces for some reason. Anyway, I am very fond of my Annie, but not sure how I feel about the line in general. It's not as original as I'd hoped, and I don't think they're doing enough to highlight those special faces.

      Very excited to see more of your new girl! I hope Natalie (Megan?) is happy with her. :)

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  12. Emily - Supposedly the face they used for mine was Catherine. My daughter Natalie has these crazy, gorgeous light eyes with a dark ring around her iris and while they are not quite as light blue as the ones they used in her doll, the effect is still very much the same. The doll's hair is darker than Natalie's but is probably the color hers will be by the time she is a teenager (which is what mine did).

    I have only taken a few iPhone photos so far. Natalie and I will take her mini-me outside this afternoon for a real photo shoot and then we should be able to get the full picture.

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    1. I guess I can see the resemblance to the larger Catherine face (one of my favorites). That has me back to wondering if the Danielle face only comes in a darker skin tone. I don't know why else they wouldn't give me the face I requested.

      Those sound like cool eyes! Will you share a picture of Natalie's eyes, too? That would be really neat to see. :)

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    2. I had a Twinn made of me in the 23" size last fall and the Catherine mold was used. All the molds are available in the the skin tones. I did notice that Danielle is featured in the more medium skin tones. It took two attempts to get Catherine just right and her hair is still a shade too light (blonde!), but they first used a Wendy mold (too thin, I have a round face!) and then very fair vinyl which was running ghostly pale at that time. Her eyes were blue, not green like mine, and her hair was terribly dark. I feel this Catherine is the best attempt possible with her bobbed hair, eyeglasses, the mold, and the eye color. I only have 1 doll - Beatriz - from Ebay with Masterpiece eyes called water sapphire. The pupils just follow you at every angle, it must be from the domed effect of that brand of eye. There are many beautiful Twinns on Ebay right now and Westport dolls is having an auction on Sat Nov 16th where the prices range considerably - it is worth taking a look. You just e-mail the request FAST and if you are number 1, you fill out a PayPal receipt. On the homepage, there is a boy named Matt with a pleading expression and upturned eyebrows. He's mine - a vintage VA tan fair boy with a custom face-up - Denver T50 darkest brown eyes and custom brows. I have a Vanessa also from the current now retired run with eyebrows painted by Laurie Capps. Face-ups are common - replacing the eyes with Denver glass, archival eyebrow and lip work. I plan on it for Catherine in the future. Both of the 18" Twinns are really sweet and way too tempting . . .

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    3. Heather, who did your Beatriz? Peggy (Westport) or Rachel (FairyGOdmother)? or another current independent artist? :-)

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    4. Many of wish we knew why MT gets the faces "wrong" even with pictures. JMHO the new little girls look somewhat blended (although I have seen a Kate that is nearly PERFECT on FB MyTwinnCollectors. Somebody must have been in a hurry picking the head. Did you send only one picture? actually that 'should' not have mattered as in theory they should know which prototypes they were using in their catalogs. MT did say they had all the faces in all the skin tones early on in this 18" process (friend tried to order a Pearl and was told they were 'out' of very fair, which on followup was incorrect).
      If they have new hires on the assembly line it is quite possible some are less able to distinguish face shapes n noses etc than others. Lots of collectors still have questions after years of study LOL.

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    5. Beatriz came from Ebay and I actually know her history! A collector (1 owner) ordered her in 03 with platinum blonde hair and the water sapphire Masterpiece eyes. She was sold bald and the seller glued down an ash blonde wig that suited her far better. Peggy did Matt for me, the Madison boy with the pleading expression. I love Peggy. I have a TLC Audrey for her in the spring. When I saw this Beatriz, I nearly fainted. I'd never seen one look like that and I searched for any Beatriz for 10 years! Yes! In 2003, the company went bust and they could not make a Beatriz doll for me (for my mom who has those lips) and we chose Theresa. In one crazy week, 7 Beatriz dolls were on Ebay. Collectors were stomping over each other. The longer you wait, I think you treasure them even more. Beatriz was a dream I never thought would come true. I believe that it should be made to the customer a choice between artist selection or self selection of the face mold. My original Twinn was self selection and I chose Audrey. Her profile and nose just suit me perfectly. But My Twinn sent me a Catherine, who has a perfect little nose. I eventually found a clearance Audrey on the Vintage page with my eyes and short, short hair, grabbed her, and am enjoying her as my Twinn again. I cannot find Cai in the new 18" molds, but Catherine and Vanessa and Madison shrunk perfectly. I have not seen Kate yet. But I just received my catalog. Haha

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  13. I was very curious to see Annie and am happy for you that you like her despite the flaws you wrote about. I think her face is cute, especially with the freckles you added, that's more natural. Annie's face mold may not be the one you ordered, but it suits her very well! The resemblance with American Girl dolls is a bit intriguing. They look so alike in detail, I would think Mattel produces these dolls too. I've read some articles in the past about Mattel beginning lawsuits for toys that aren't even so alike as this doll is. But maybe there's some agreement or the doll parts aren't exclusively made for American Girl? I would love to find out more about this.

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  14. Annie is really cute and she looks so perfect with big sister, Hazel.

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  15. Annie's face really pulled me in after you added the extra freckles, they made her seem so much more alive. I love how she looks in the Journey Girl outfit, I might have to get that for my dolls to share. The last photo of Annie and Hazel was beautiful. I would love to have one of the larger MT dolls I just can't get over their arm proportions.
    Great review as always and I can't wait to see which Journey Girl you purchased.

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  16. I really like Annie! Her freckles are very pretty, even more so after you added some. If they couldn't make all the freckles you wanted, they could never do enough for me ;). I love for how amazingly custom the new dolls are, no two are the same. Just like people XD

    " I wouldn't blame American Girl fans for being turned off by My Twinn's blatant copying."

    I got the My Twinn catologe this weekend, and one thing that really turned me off was their hair things for 18" dolls. The names where- Braided Headband, Chic bun, Bright Highlights set, and curl ponytail. They where the SAME things as the AG version. Every thing about them-the name, style, everything- was the same. I do find it bit annoying that they don't seem to be trying. *sigh*

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    1. THIS THIS THIS. Oh my goodness. I just saw that myself on the website, and I like that there's a green and dark blue stripe in there, but holy crap on a cracker, could it be anymore blatant that that? Not cute, MyTwinn. Not cute at all.

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  17. Wow, this is so interesting. I love her sweet wide eyed contemplative look, but I have plenty of AG dolls and stuff already, and I think I would be happier with them than with a My Twinn. I love your really detailed reviews!

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  18. Any reason why MyTwinn did not give you the face mold you specified? I've seen this a number of times with this company when for no reason, one does not get what was on the specs sheet. Very frustrating. I agree that the half price specials are incredibly good deals. I'm not sold on the full price dolls at this time.

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    1. This is the reason I'm a little nervous to order a custom. One of the customs I have in mind is actually built around a specific mold while I'm more flexible on the hair and eye color, etc., so it would be more of a hassle to try and get it corrected. I know they could always make a mistake, but since the 18 inch dolls are relatively new, I'm going to wait awhile to order a doll so they have some time to get settled in with making the new dolls.

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  19. Your Annie is a darling! I gasped aloud when I saw the first picture. I adore her hair, and I'm so intrigued by the possible ability to share clothes with American Girl dolls. Now I'm very interested in this new 18" size! Thank you for sharing pictures of your new cutie, I think she's made of win!

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  20. Hi Emily!

    Thanks for the review. There are definitely some disappointments with this doll, but overall I like her. Her eyes aren't realistic looking and to me; they look more like a dark blue-green than a true green. Also, it's too bad she can't stand on her own without bending forward a little bit. This wouldn't be a factor for me since I use doll stands for all of my 18" dolls, but could be bad for a kid or collector who doesn't use a stand.

    I would like to get an 18" My Twinn doll, but am not sure the My BFF would lead to getting more of what I would like. You specified the face mold for your custom and still didn't get the one you requested. I'm unsure if this would be an issue with the My BFF dolls too.

    The My BFF has some limitations. There are less skin and hair colors to choose from. Also, you can't get the doll with a particular hairstyle. You can specify length and bangs, but it won't come with pigtails or braids. You can't specify with straight hair if it is very straight or has a slight wave. You also can't specify loose or tight curls.

    For the reasons above, I think I will order a custom when I get the money to order one. I want to make a doll of me when I was a child. I had very fair skin, which is not an option with the My BFF doll. I had light brown hair, which the closest hair color to mine appears to be the golden brown which is not available with the My BFF doll. My Twinn's straight hair appears to have a slight wave, which I had, but can't be too sure that's what is available with this option. And I want to order mine in pigtails just to see if the wig doesn't do what yours did. I plan to take her hair out of them at times and braid or re-pigtail her hair at other tim. The wig you got limits the potential hairstyles. When I get one, I'll let you what the wig does in the back. It might be after Christmas before I order one though.

    There are some things I don't like about how your doll came out, but I have disappointments in some of the American Girl dolls I have bought too, and they are more expensive. It's worth noting that American Girl has gone up $5 a doll the last several years, so they very likely will be $115 in January. Anyways, some of the fair-skinned American Girl dolls have a weird tint to their skin. Saige is my favorite of the Mattel made American Girl dolls because she (at least mine) has a rosy tint to her skin.

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  21. I think the red hair color and skintone are perfect. My youngest sister is a redhead, and the "Girl of Today" redheaded doll she got as a kid had hair that wasn't that red looking, almost auburn.

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  22. After a lot of thought, I would choose Annie or any 18" My Twinn over American Girl right now.

    I just wish they wouldn't blatantly copy the AG superior products which I am loyal to and use accessories from their line even for my big girls. I would use the MAG line of clothing if I buy one of these.

    Annie is so much more lifelike, despite a few shortcomings, her hair takes my breath away. And unless you wear big black eyeglasses like I do, glasses aren't a big issue for most girls. Emily, don't worry about Annie's eyes. My rare prototype Haley has the same issue. All Twinns, big and small, are asymmetrical for realism purposes and I can notice this in photographs of my older Denver Twinns too. It's like the arms - you get used to it. Ironically, I did fish out my dad's tape measure and measured the length on 3 all Denver dolls and 2 Hybrid bodies like Hazel and there IS a length. I never noticed this! You're very perceptive. This is almost half an inch between 2 particular bodies I compared. There were so many bankruptcies and body changes and new shades like tan/fair (my Madison boy) or my China era Allison who has an ever so slight pinkish sunburned tint to her vinyl. Terms like Vintage Virginia and transitional Denver dolls get all blurred up. For example, one of my rarest, Josie, is all Denver 2002 - right before the China company took over the plant and the dolls plummeted in quality - especially the eyes. My Josie's eyes are on no color chart I can see. Maybe 1. They might be a "transitional" eye the company was trying out. And there were three prototypes also - 2 faces were made into editions of 15. We chose Haley. One was a one of a kind. I think if My Twinn can simplify the process, and LISTEN to the customer (Danielle is Danielle - I requested Catherine once via the doll hospital in VA and ended up with Ariel. Sheesh.) they can succeed in the doll market. But, I would have loved the articulation. That's why we dunked our toe into Kidz 'N Catz. Because we fell in love with Evie. As for Annie, she's a perfect package and she and Hazel belong together. I think she's the perfect redhead and a true one of a kind.

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  23. Annie is soooo cute! Actually she reminds me of someone, but I can't remember who :)
    I just wish I had an AG doll.Why are they so expencive since they are play dolls????

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    1. I am also not crazy about $100 as a price point for play dolls. The quality difference when you line up the $$ vs less$ copycat dolls though is very evident in the weight of the vinyl limbs, the stitching on the cloth bodies, the appearance of the eyes and details of the iris, the hair, and whether they can be repaired. AG dolls have their doll hospital, there are warranties on the eyes, and while I have not encountered little girls who use their dolls (or misuse them) in very rough play, moms i have spoken to are very happy with how the dolls and their clothing hold up day to day. They can be passed on to other children as the owner grows (or saved...LOL) and resold on the secondary market and rehabbed well. So there's play, and there's play, if you know what I mean (plus all the research and experimentation that goes in to creating dolls with a good solid backstory to educate children, for AG if not other $$ dolls)

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  24. Thanks for a great review. I have many twinns, and a variety of 18 inch girls, including American Girls, but the twinns always had something special and I feel the new dolls do not have that extra something. I hated the whole idea of the new 18 inch dolls, though I am softening towards them. I have not ordered one yet and will probably wait to get one off of ebay as I am more likely to be able to see exactly what I am really getting. I am enjoying seeing the pictures of ones that others have purchased because in honesty, I rarely meet a doll that I don't like.

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  25. Fabulously detailed review. Hope you sent it also to MT, maybe with a summary?

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  26. I love the added freckles! They make her a lot cuter, in my opinion. And I just noticed this, but my hair is almost the same color as Carpatina Erin's! I thought you might like that:)

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    1. Oh, you are so lucky, Emily! That hair is a beautiful color! :D

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  27. Emily, your review is highly recommended by Peggy Foggio on Westport dolls with the comparisons of Annie and Hazel. Also, there is an auction today, beginning I think at 11:00am. There are two redheads. One has an orange tint like Annie. She is a retired Kelsey mold. The other has more of a strawberry color, deeper, redder, and is dressed for Christmas. To see her incredible work, scroll down the homepage to Matt, the Madison boy with the pleading eyebrows. He's mine. I'm sure she could add just as many freckles as you like if you're interested. nonetheless, take a look for fun. I'm glad your review was featured.

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    1. Hi Heather--LOL! I didn't even notice that until you mentioned it and I have been pouring over that site all week! Thank you. :) I wrote you a longer reply on your Evita comment...

      I love your Matt, by the way. He is priceless!

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    2. Thank you! He is a cutie! I have been on the site myself . . .

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  28. A most excellent review. Thank you very much for the detailed reporting. I have a large assortment of 18" AG and AG wannabe dolls and was curious about the new MTs. When another doll collector asked if I was going to buy one, conveniently posting the link to this review, I had the information I needed to make a decision. After reviewing the pictures and descriptions, I found too many little things I didn't like and won't be adding one of the new MTs to my comfort of dolls.

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  29. I have recently been "stalking" your blog since I ran across it looking for reviews on certain 18" dolls. My daughters, ages 5 and almost 7, do not yet have an 18" doll and they have recently become interested in them. I wasn't ready to take the plunge and buy them American Girl dolls just yet, so I first went to Target and picked up a few dolls from the Our Generation line for my girls' Christmas present. They are cute and affordable dolls. But I've always been intrigued by the My Twinn dolls and love how you can create a doll that at least resembles your child. Well, I have to tell you that I actually bought 2 My Twinn 18" dolls today for my girls! I went through the "My BFF" part of the website and my girls and I created their dolls together. Part of what made me decide to get these dolls was that the price is currently $89 per doll and with a coupon code (SAVE13) I was able to get another 20% off, making the dolls close to $70 each. So, more than OG dolls, but a good bit less than AG dolls! (I will be returning the OG dolls, I think.) Anyway, I am very excited to see the dolls when they arrive and I HOPE that they turn out well. I know that they are well-made dolls. Thanks for your reviews - they are very helpful, and as a fellow doll-lover, they are entertaining, too!!

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    1. And... one of my daughter's My Twinn (My BFF) dolls arrived today - it turned out beautifully! Lovely doll and we are very pleased. The only issue is that she arrived with NO freckles and we requested light freckles. Guess I will be calling them on Monday, but we may just keep the doll as it arrived. It is very cute!

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  30. Well, your review is clear and fair, especially to the real collectors like myself. And then came a catalog in the mail. I read your review again against Diana Gash and Char. Char's Twinn for Natalie came out beautifully. Diana Gash's "Twinn" is stunning, but a custom creation rather than a Twinn. So I came back to your review again because it is so detailed. And because I had that catalog. For collectors who bought back in November 2012, we received coupons and a different catalog melding together the idea of a 23" "big sister" to these new 18" little sister Twinns. Good marketing putting rare Beth on the cover in 23". Hanukkah is in 1 week and my parents said, "You can have another Kidz 'N Cat or a new Twinn." You know already. I went with the BFF option because I like to be control of the head mold and I wanted an Audrey. She's a common face, but highly realistic and resembles me greatly, it's just that her face is a bit slim. But her nose is perfect, my shape, perfect profile. My Audrey came from the Vintage page. Your review was something I referred back to while I was ordering. I chose an Audrey head, light green eyes, fair skin, shoulder length hair with no bangs (it's still too long) in golden brown because she should resemble me and the same pink floral outfit. Then I ordered nice thick plastic brown eyeglasses with rhinestones I realized 15 seconds after I placed the order will NOT fit. This morning, I added to the pot with matching denim dresses, white sneakers for little Audrey, and thin black frames for both Twinns. I am hoping for 50% of what I can envision. It took me all day to choose her attributes and lots of mirror checking, say, what color are my eyes again? I like traveling dolls, yes, and my father likes their smaller size. I will stop back and see how well she matches her original 23" sister, how much she looks like me, and quality in general. I hope the thinner glasses fit. When you've worn them for 28 years, you look plain strange without them and so does your doll! Annie truly grew on me. It was 1 gift his season and 1 only and I picked My Twinn. To be continued . . .

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  31. Well, my 18" Audrey is here and I almost fainted. Remember, I made her on BFF so I could guarantee myself an "Audrey" mold. Not only is she a mini replica of her big sister - Denver headed 23" Audrey, but looks lifelike all her own. Aubrey, as my mom named her, came in with rich chocolate brown hair that I side parted with a barrette. I chose the same outfit Annie is wearing because it coordinates with her big sister's, but I also purchased them matching denim dresses and black eyeglasses. The first thing that shocked me was that her eyebrows were handpainted, not stenciled. My Catherine from last Fall has nonedescript, almost invisible eyebrows that are stenciled. These are dark and busy. Just like mine in real life. I chose fair skin and light green eyes. Ay first I thought her eyes were glass, they must be! But, no - not now, the acrylic eye is lifelike and wet looking, incredibly light. It was like I sent in a photo and someone finally got it right. Because Audrey came from the Vintage page as a 23" girl, she matches me to about 80%, her hair is still ash blonde, her eyes a bit more blue than green, and her hair is so thick. But those eyebrows are there. Thanks to Emily, I ordered brown glasses, then reconsidered and chose matching slim black frames. I had no trouble except for the nose pad touching her eyelashes (one side is a titch longer than the other). Also, one eye, the pupil is set just a titch higher. It's only noticed by me because I went to her eyes and brows with a flashlight. Once the glasses were on, she looked just like me. The experience was amazing in every way. Normally, you have some disappointment and with My Twinn, the outcome is always a roll of the dice. I felt your Annie was endearing enough to roll them and I cannot believe the little doll I have now. These dolls are great if you have a bad back like me, she's going to be so easy to take places! I'd recommend to try it if you can find your face shape on BFF. There are 6: Audrey, Catherine, Madison, Berkley, Denika, and Theresa. Photos can be seen at Westport.com

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  32. Hi. I am not a doll collector or enthusiast but, I am looking to get a MyTwinn doll for my daughter and ran across your site. Very informative and entertaining. I can't find the designer that lets you see your end product the way bff does. That makes me nervous. Anyway, what I really want to know is: what color is Hazel`s hair and what color would it line up with on the current options. I'm torn about the selections because I can't find any current examples of dolls with named color combinations so I can make an educated guess. Any chance you can point me in a direction?

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  33. I do not know what happened in the past year with quality of these dolls. The girl I received had socket holes the color of orange nothing close to a skin color swatch on the website. The pink lettered tag on the body shown in your shots was replaced with a cheap one with plain black printing. The plastic pieces of the torso is littered with shiny spots. The most beautiful part was her face and eyes but the rest just disappointing. I have dolls with nicer bodies that cost less than $20.

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  34. I just ordered three MT dolls for my daughter during the Christmas in July sale; my daughter wanted dolls of my mom, my mother-in-law, and me from when we were little girls. My mom received the Madison facemold, like your Annie doll. I was really surprised to discover that the Madison facemold has two DIFFERENT ears. Completely different ears. It's bizarre. It doesn't seem like the 23" Madison dolls had this issue. Does it bother you at all, or because Annie wears her hair down, you don't notice it as much? My mother always wore her hair in two braids, so it's pretty obvious on her doll (especially when I tried piercing her ears and realized that was impossible since the ears don't line up the same on either side of the face!)

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  35. Next to Annie, Hazel looks like a young lady.

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