Thursday, January 2, 2014

Monster High "Clawdeen Wolf" Pen

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone welcomed 2014 safely and merrily.  I thought I would start this year of reviews by sharing something small and fun that I found at Toys R Us the other day.  As many of you know, I love miniature things.  One of my dreams is to have a big Victorian dollhouse (like the ones I saw in Arizona...) filled with all kinds of wonderful, detailed tiny accessories.  I also get a huge kick out of small versions of larger dolls, so I'm a softy for things like the American Girl mini dolls, the old Liv Happy Meal toys, Annette Himstedt's club Kleine dolls, and mini Pullip and Blythe dolls.

When I first glimpsed the Monster High pens at Toys R Us, I have to say, I got pretty excited.  I wasn't even aware of these toys, so it was a big surprise to see them hanging there on the shelf.  After doing some reading online, I discovered that these pens have actually been available in Europe since 2012.  Perhaps they've been for sale in the United States, too, but I had never seen anything like them here in Maine.  Initially, I assumed that the dolls were miniature figurines, and I was slightly disappointed to learn that they are ball point pens (I imagine myself getting ink everywhere...).  However, when I saw that they are dressed like the first wave Monster High dolls, my enthusiasm was renewed.  First wave Clawdeen Wolf is my favorite Monster High doll, and I love the idea of having a miniature version of her--pen or not.

Monster High Clawdeen Pen
First wave Clawdeen Wolf and Clawdeen Wolf the pen.
These pens cost $9.99, but were on sale before Christmas for buy one get one 50% off.  $10 is a lot to spend on a pen, especially taking into consideration the fact that some full-sized basic Monster High dolls costs around $15...but I have a hard time resisting miniature things. 

The pens come in coffin-shaped plastic shells with cardboard frames.  Clawdeen's package is decorated in her signature purple and black:


Clawdeen looks a little messy inside her container, and her appearance isn't helped by the static-prone plastic that attracts a lot of dust and lint:

Is it snowing out there!?
Still, I think that the doll looks better than the cartoon of Clawdeen that is featured on the cardboard:

That is a pointy chin.
The back of the package has a picture of all four available pen dolls:


Toys R Us had all of these in stock on the day I was shopping.  There was only one Clawdeen left, and at least three of each of the others.  The only one of the four dolls that wasn't tempting was Draculaura.  Her facial features seemed sharp and a little pinched to me--nowhere near as sweet as the larger Draculaura's face.


All of the dolls are doing something different with their left hand.  Cleo looks like she's selling cars:

And on your left, you'll see the divinely elegant Scaris Convertible!
And Draculaura is pointing to her own face:

See these teeth?  They're real. 
Frankie was my second favorite of the group, and so I got her with the 50% off sale.  Her left hand is in a very strange position--almost like she's meant to be holding a cell phone...or like she's talking to herself with a sock puppet:

Um, Frankie...we need a sock if I'm gonna be a proper sock puppet...
Her outfit is wonderfully detailed for such a small vinyl figure.


She even has a tiny silver bow on her tie and multiple thin stripes on her shoes:


Her hair looks densely rooted and has Frankie's characteristic black and white stripes:


Aside from some missing paint on her left eyebrow (and the fact that she looks a little grumpy...), Frankie's face paint is fantastic, and even includes a small scar under her right eye:

Look at the detail in the reflective areas of her eyes!
If we go back to Clawdeen's packaging, you can see that there is some tiny writing on the cardboard:

 

One segment advertises the toys as being manufactured by Canal Toys, and then lists a New York address:

Made in NY...could it be?
The toy isn't actually made in the USA, of course.  The back of the doll's head is stamped "Mattel, China."  I think Canal Toys just has a New York office.

There's also a fairly intense (and poorly blocked) warning segment on the back:


"Non-contractual pictures" stands out as being an especially defensive statement, but my favorite line is, "The colors of the contents and the details may change."  That makes it seem like Clawdeen might change suddenly--without warning.  In the middle of the night.  I guess Werewolves can be tricky like that.

Anyway, Clawdeen's coffin-shaped plastic enclosure has several pieces.  


The coffin part separates into two parts and inside there is a molded plastic holder that secures Clawdeen and her circular stand.


The pen tip on the bottom of Clawdeen's shoes inserts into the purple plastic stand so that she can be displayed.  She's a little messy right out of the package:


This little doll has a ton of curly hair. I tried to smooth it down with my fingers so that I could get a better look at her face:



Like Frankie, Clawdeen has great face paint for such a tiny doll.  Her eyes are golden yellow and they are surrounded with pink eyeshadow.  She even has individually drawn eyelashes (top and bottom) and two white reflective dots painted on the surface of her eyes:


The eye makeup is fairly plain, but other than that, when I am looking at Clawdeen up close like this, it's hard to tell that she isn't a full-sized Monster High doll:


Her lips are painted bright pink, and she has two white painted fangs that are reasonably well-placed.


Clawdeen has only one point of articulation--her neck.  I wish her arms could move, but they can't.  

You can see the neck joint here, in addition to the classic Monster High profile, and a very nicely-rooted hairline:


Like her full-sized counterpart, this doll wears her hair in an elegant side part (which is also tightly-rooted) : 


In fact, the rooting pattern is great all over Clawdeen's head, with hair plugs encircling both ears:


And nice rows of hair all along the back of the scalp:


I was actually quite surprised by the quality of Clawdeen's hair.  Not only is the rooting good, but the fibers feel soft and smooth.  The thickness of the hair and the large curls make it a little difficult to tame at first, though.


Clawdeen's clothing is not removable--it's molded onto her body and painted.


She wears a black jacket with a fur collar, a tiger print shirt, and a low-waisted purple mini skirt accented with a gold-studded black belt:


The painting around Clawdeen's neck is not great.  Her coat's fur collar and her purple necklace have several areas of missing or sloppy paint.


Clawdeen's right hand is sculpted against her waist.  The hand has tiny little clawed fingernails:


The left side of Clawdeen's torso has a gouge in the vinyl and some stray flecks of black paint:

It's only a flesh wound.
Clawdeen's left arm is held, palm down, out to one side.  This is the most natural of the four pen dolls' hand positions:



This hand does not have the clawed fingernails that the left hand has.  These fingers are blunted with no nail detail:


Here's the back of Clawdeen's outfit:


The sculpting is detailed, with creases in the black jacket and Clawdeen's right thumb hooked around her waist.  


On her legs, Clawdeen is wearing pink thigh-high stockings and tall black boots with purple straps:


There are some areas of missing paint here, too:



Her (unclawed) toes peek out at the bottoms of the boots:


The plastic stand is hollow and is decorated with a white Skulette:


Here's the pen sticking out of the bottom of Clawdeen's right foot:



It'd be neat if the heels of Clawdeen's shoes were pen tips, but then I suppose the pens would be even harder to use.  

I jabbed myself with that pen tip several times when I was photographing Clawdeen, and I'm surprised I didn't get ink on my shirt when I was styling her hair.  It doesn't seem like such a great idea to put a pen into a toy that might get played with a lot.  Perhaps all of those warnings on the box are appropriate?

Even though the hair became calmer and easier to manage the more I brushed and handled it, I still found it difficult to keep stray strands of hair out of Clawdeen's pretty face:


I tried pulling the hair back into a simple ponytail.  I like how this style highlights the side part, and sweeps some hair across the right side of Clawdeen's face:




I wanted to introduce this little Clawdeen to my full-sized version, just to see how similar the two dolls are.  I was able to track down most of Big Clawdeen's original outfit, but am missing her jewelry.

At first, Big Clawdeen thought that Little Clawdeen was dissing her with that hand...

Oh no you didn't!
But then Big Clawdeen realized that her little companion was simply unable to change her arm position.  Then I think she started to feel kinda sorry for her....

What? You mean your arm is stuck like that?  You poor thing!

Now the two are inseparable:

OMG, you are so cute!
Can I keep her?  Please?
The two dolls' outfits have some differences (like the color of the jacket and the shade of purple in the skirt) but it's clear that the pen doll is a copy of first wave Clawdeen: 


Big Clawdeen has lighter hair, with rust-colored highlights that Little Clawdeen is missing.  Big Clawdeen's makeup is also more richly colored and elaborate.


This little doll is no match for the original Clawdeen, of course, but for a pen miniature, she's nicely detailed and unexpectedly attractive.




Bottom line?  I am absolutely thrilled to have a tiny version of Clawdeen Wolf in my collection, but a lot of this enthusiasm is due to my special weakness for miniature doll duplicates.  Given how close the price of the pen is to the price of a full-sized, articulated Monster High doll, I am not sure that this mini doll is the best value for the money.  If the pens cost $5, I would endorse them without reservation.

Part of what makes me question the price of these dolls is that they have several obvious flaws.  There are quite a few paint defects on Clawdeen's body--most notably on her clothing.  There is also a large gash in the vinyl of her waist.  I also think that the pen inserted into Clawdeen's foot is a liability.  The shape of the doll's legs makes an awkward pen, and the pen tip makes it hard to play with the doll.  A retractable pen tip would have been better--or just a simple figurine.

However, for a six inch pen doll, this miniature Clawdeen has some pleasant surprises in quality.  I am impressed by her thick, soft, well-rooted hair.  While the hair comes out of the box in a mess of disarray, it can be held down with a ponytail and will loose some of it's unwanted body after a bit of handling and brushing.  I am also very impressed by the detailed face paint on these small dolls.  Both Frankie and Clawdeen have well-painted faces that maintain the classic, recognizable style of a Monster High doll.  Clawdeen's voluminous hair and detailed face make her an attractive little doll.

With so many 12" Monster High dolls priced at under $15 right now, it's hard to advocate spending $10 for this pen doll.  However, if you find a good sale (or you're like me and have a strong fondness for miniatures) the pens make fun little treats, and are wonderfully amusing accessories for the larger dolls.


45 comments:

  1. Hi Emily! Great review and happy new year!!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you are having a wonderful new year so far, too! :)

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  2. Awww she looks like a sweeter and more innocent Howleen!

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    1. Her features are very sweet--you're right!

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  3. I loved your commentary on the meeting between the big and little Clawdeens. The pens seem fun, but I think I would like them better if the clothes weren't molded to the doll-pens. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. Hi N! That's a good point--the pens would be AMAZING if they had tiny removable clothing! Even if it was flexible vinyl clothing like Polly Pocket's outfits. If the minis had removable clothing and some simple arm and leg articulation (and kept the great faces and hair that they already have...) I might pay more for these than I'd pay for a regular Monster High doll!

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    2. removable clothing and limb articulation are too much to ask.after all its a pen that looks like a doll,not a doll by itself.i think too much detailing could make the pen difficult to hold.

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    3. You're absolutely right! I wasn't thinking it through--all of those extra features would definitely make an awkward pen! The pen is a little hard to hold even with the molded clothes and fixed legs! What I should say instead is that I wish the minis had removable clothes, limb articulation and no pen inside! That would be my idea of perfection. ;)

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  4. I love these pens! I think Cleo is my favorite- her head mold is always so beautiful!

    If you like mini dolls, I would certainly look into the Barbie Mini Kindgom line; they're mini versions of the popular Barbie princesses and they have wonderful fashions and accesories!

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    1. I looked at some of those on eBay Connor--you're right! They look great! The problem is, they tempt me to want the larger versions of the princesses, too, and those are getting very expensive and hard to find! I might have to grab a mini on its own, though. Thank you very much for the tip!

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  5. Emily, did you ever see the Apptivity mini Monster High girls? They're little figures meant to work with a Monster High app on the iPad. I don't have an iPad, but fell in love with the ultra-mini Frankie Stein figure as soon as I saw it. It's such a cute miniature of the full size doll and mine is really, really well painted - particularly for something so tiny. I haven't seen the other characters (there's also Draculaura, Clawdeen and Lagoona - all in their basic first wave outfits) in person, so I'm not sure how they *actually* look, but Frankie is just the cutest thing possible.

    Also, I love-love-love the shot of Big!Clawdeen resting on Little!Clawdeen XD So cute!

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    1. Thank you, Astroasis! I had a fun time photographing this duo. :)

      I looked at the mini Apptivity Frankie and agree with you! SO cute. I bought one on Amazon--$5 with free shipping. Yay! Thank you so much for the suggestion! I will post some pictures of her here or on facebook. :)

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  6. She is very pretty! It is too bad that she is kind of hard to use. Thinking about it, she could be a pretty good normal MH doll for a 18 inch doll like American Girls! Great review! :)

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    1. That's an outstanding idea! I should have taken a picture of pen Clawdeen with Keira or Annie!! Good thinking. :)

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  7. Happy New Year Emily! I always enjoy your photos, and this review is no exception! The pen is darling, and perhaps it wouldn't be so hard to part with $10 if all of those little flaws weren't there.

    I have to agree with the comment from The Connor Diaries about the Barbie Mini Kingdom dolls; they are great miniatures of the full size Barbies from the related movies (Clara from Barbie in the Nutcracker Suite, Odette from Barbie in Swan Lake, Anneliese and Erika from The Princess and the Pauper and Rapunzel from Barbie as Rapunzel - can you tell I have girls?) There were Caucasian and African American versions of the dolls, and they came with miniature furniture (which works in doll houses by the way). Actually, Clara came with a carrying case for all of the dolls and two extra dresses. They have five points of articulation (neck, shoulders and hips - as you can see, I've dug out my set while I'm writing this). Now that I think about it, they are about the same size as Dawn dolls. But I'm straying!

    Despite the paint flaws, I'm really impressed with the facial screening and rooting. If I had any of those first wave dolls, I'd probably break down and buy one...if they were available here.

    Anyway, I look forward to another year of interesting reviews, discussions and sharing!

    P.S.: I found this link for a dress pattern for Lottie dolls, which may be handy for those readers who are crafty: http://a-little-crafty.blogspot.ca/2013/02/lottie-doll-dress-pattern.html

    Joette

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    1. Hi Joette! Ok, you and Connor have convinced me! I am going to try and find the Mini Kingdom Rapunzel at a good price. I am a softy for Rapunzel in all of her forms anyway. :) Thank you for the additional information!

      I had to hunt down Dawn dolls, too, after reading your comment. How cute! I will have to do some more reading about those. Thank you for introducing me to yet another neat, new (new to me, anyway...) doll. :)

      Thank you for the link to that Lottie pattern, too! I am no seamstress myself, but I know a lot of very talented people who could work wonders with that!

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  8. Happy New Year to you and your family! Oh, I adore this miniature Clawdeen, what a great accessory to display with other kinds of large dolls too! X Nymphaea

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    1. Thank you so much, Nymphaea! She is a very fun little accessory, and I like the idea that she could be like a Monster High doll for an American Girl or similar sized child doll!

      I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start, too! :)

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  9. I wonder if the heads can be put on Polly Pocket or Lil Bratz bodies?

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    1. Hmmm...interesting idea! It looks like Clawdeen's head will pull off her neck (I'm too nervous about ruining her to pull it all of the way off...) but I am not familiar enough with the Polly Pocket or Lil Bratz head attachments to know if they'd work. My guess is that Clawdeen's head is too big for Polly's body--but that's just a guess!

      Actually, I have never seen or heard of a Lil Bratz doll before, so now I have a new exploration mission! Thank you for mentioning them! :D

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    2. There are actually 2 different sizes of Lil Bratz. There were some that were slightly bigger than Polly Pocket and then there were some smaller ones around the size of the Barbie Mini B's.

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  10. Hi Emily I just found the toy box philosopher & read through all your reviews.Your reviews are amazing,so detailed & funny! THX for the review.

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    1. Hi Jessie! Thank you so much for your nice comment! It's great to have you here. :)

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  11. I totally love mini Clawdeen! She is just so cute! The caption for Cleo's pen was hilarious. It does look like is a car dealer, or a tour guide with that pose, but I think that pose is something she sometimes does when she talks. Anyway, the pens aren't available here yet, but when they are I'm going to snatch up Cleo and Clawdeen. I am really surprised that the hair is so soft, considering they are only pens/mini figurines.

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    1. I totally agree about the hair! I was assuming it would be more like those little Liv doll Happy Meal toys (thin and not very soft). I don't really expect great hair on a mini doll (and a pen, at that!) so this was such a nice surprise. Despite me making fun of poor Cleo, she's lovely and it was hard to choose between her and Frankie. Hope you find them soon! :)

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  12. Happy new year!!! I've never seen this pen before, its really cute ^3^ !!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Joanna! I hope your new year is off to a great start, too. :)

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  13. Really cute find!
    I have a doll house that my dad built me when I was little. He never wanted me to furnish it with anything plastic so I have only one set that is. The wooden pieces are so much better. when you do get your doll house I highly suggest passing on a miniature chess table. While fabulous, the slightest bump of the table or house send pieces flying and you must use a tweezer to set it up properly. You do have a lot of patience though, so maybe...
    Thank you for another great review. Happy New Year.

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    1. Thank you for the advice, Melody! I think I prefer the wooden furniture, too. It's funny that you mention the chess set, because I bought a chess set at the store in Arizona last year and had to break out the tweezers to get it set up! :D I hadn't considered how those pieces would tumble over every single time the doll house was bumped, though. With three dogs and two teenagers in the house, that's a serious consideration! ;)

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  14. Thanks for a great review. Now, I have to go on the hunt.

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  15. I really hope these hit South Africa soon, even with the paint flaws, I find them very cute

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    1. They are really cute--and I should have mentioned that the paint flaws are not as obvious in real life. That camera zoom doesn't do them any favors! :) I hope they come to your area soon, too!

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  16. What do you think of the new Clawdia? Her big smile reminds me of the My Scene Getting Ready dolls. I don't have any Monster High Dolls - yet, Clawdia is tempting.

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    1. I saw her yesterday at Target--she's one of a kind! I love that her fanged, toothy smile is so different from the other dolls. The yellow hair turned me off a bit. It looks bright and bold with her red outfit, but it also makes it slightly hard for me to take her seriously. I'd love to see her with darker hair. I still think she's special, and I like her larger size, too. So...I guess I'm still tempted--mostly because she's very unique.

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    2. I would absolutely love it if you reviewed Clawdia! She is amazing!

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  17. Hey Emily!
    I just thought of a question often passing through my mind-
    Why are monster high boys selling for SO much seperatley online these days?
    -Chrissy

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    1. Good question, Chrissy! I think they're just hard to find. For example, Gil virtually disappeared after his initial release (at least around here...) and so for about a year, people had to turn to eBay to find one. Now, of course, he'll be easy to find again since a new version is available in a gift set! Mattel must not make as many of the guys--assuming they won't sell as readily as the girls. However, yesterday at Target I overheard a persuasive little girl pleading with her dad for a boy doll, "I have wanted a boy doll ALL of my life, Daddy!" It was very cute. :)

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  18. LOL, I'm the same way about miniatures! I didn't realize that she was four inches until you said so, dang that doll is small! But it's very cute how she looks almost exactly like normal Clawdeen, very cute indeed. Thanks for another great review!

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    1. Hi Juliet--actually, she's six inches tall. My bad! I lost my tape measure and guessed, but I'm a bad guesser, apparently! I'll go back and change that in the review.
      I am really glad you commented!! :D

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    2. Ah, good to know! That's about the same size as the AG mini's :)

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  19. Wonderful review :)

    I was wondering if you have heard of the Paddywhack Lane dolls. They are cute little figurines with 9 points of articulation(hope I spelled that right!) and adorable animal costumes. You can find them for 2.99 at Barns and Noble and online.

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  20. Aww, I think that she is super cute. If I found these in the shops then I might be tempted by Frankie... for the sock puppet joke if nothing else. lol.

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  21. I once saw some small 8GB Monster High pendrives. they were quite nice, but never something like this. I supposed that it would be difficult to actually write with them, but the idea and the doll itself is cute.

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  22. Hi Emily, Would you consider my blog as a possible new "Favorites" blog on dolls? It is here:
    http://vintagedollcloset.blogspot.com/
    I have been refurbishing vintage dolls and Barbie dolls for a few years and just started a new blog on the dolls themselves (although I have been blogging about where I live for almost 6+ years.) Thanks and now...back to browsing your blog. I am finding that there are not many blogs on vintage dolls (or dolls at all for that matter.) Thanks! Karen (louvregirl)

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