Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Frights, Camera, Action!" Monster High dolls--A Joint Review!

I am so grateful for guest reviews, because not only do I get a fresh, new perspective on a doll line, but I often get the motivation I need to review a doll that has been sitting in my house for ages.  Today, I am happy to get a chance to review a couple of Frights, Camera, Action! Monster High dolls, with the help of Grace, a 13-year-old doll friend from England.  Grace's perspective is especially valuable to me because she is the target audience for the Monster High franchise.  In other words, her opinion is what really matters.  Grace will share her Clawdia Wolf doll with you, and then I will do a quick review of my Honey Swamp doll.  I would like to thank Grace for her insights, her patience, and for inspiring me to buy a Clawdia Wolf of my own:

Frights, Camera, Action!  Clawdia Wolf.

Hi! I'm Grace, a 13 year old doll lover from England.  I recently got a Clawdia Wolf doll and e-mailed Emily to ask if I could do a guest review, and she said I could, and I am delighted because this is one of my favourite blogs, thank you so much!

I am a big fan of Monster High, and I love it when they introduce sister dolls, so I immediately bought Clawdia. I think it is really cool how all the new characters have ties with one another, such as Clawdia being Howleen and Clawdeen's big sister, Viperine being Deuce's cousin, Honey's grandma being friends with Operetta, and Elissibat being Draculaura's friend.

This doll comes with an iCoffin, notepad, diary, brush, stand, and pen (my pen was loosely secured and fell out of the box the minute I opened it, and I have yet to find it!)...as well as Clawdia herself.

Empty Abandoned Box.

Lets get on with the non-doll stuff so we can get to the doll as quickly as possible! 

Clawdia comes with a normal brush and stand. The Frights, Camera, Action! diaries are really cute, and look like a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.  Clawdia's says "I'll make you a villain if you read my diary!"



The pen was really cute with a skullette in the end and a sticky-out thingy which you could use to make Clawdia hold it.  There's a super cute iCoffin which does not have a handle, so I suggest that you keep the rubber band ON it.

Can you see the Monster High logo on the back?



[Emily says: this is hard to photograph (it's blurry even in real life...) so here's another picture]:


Lastly, there is a plain book with rubber band marks which is not easy for Clawdia to hold:


[Emily says: here's a picture of the book with my pen, which isn't lost...yet!]


YAY! Now we're onto the actual doll.  She is really pretty and darker than the other wolves.  I think her blonde hair is a really good idea and stands out with her dark skin.  I absolutely, positively, ADORE these glasses and have tried them on all of my dolls.



Here is Clawdia out of her box:



She is SOOO PRETTY and her hair is so curly.  It matches the two curls in her artwork on the front of the box.  Let's let it out:



Her hair was held by two rubber bands securing it at the back and front and it looks amazing out.
Clawdia has a beautiful face and a smile I've never seen on any other doll:


Her red tweed jacket was hard to get off and can not be taken off without removing her hands, but the dress underneath was worth it.  She has long red stockings and some beautiful gold shoes matching her necklace.  Here is everything she comes with:



[Emily says: here are some of the smaller pieces up close]:

Earring, earring, bracelet.
When I bought Clawdia, I wondered if (like Nefera) she would be taller than the other dolls.  I would have loved to compare her to Clawdeen or Nefera, but I am still saving for them, so I will compare her to Black Carpet Draculaura instead.  Draculaura is about a head shorter than Clawdia, and has smaller feet:



[Emily says: I don't have Nefera anymore, either, but here is Clawdia with Headless Headmistress Bloodgood, and with 13 Wishes Clawdeen]:

Same body, but Clawdia has a smaller head.

I also noticed that Draculaura's face was different and she that she has thinner body parts.

When looking on the back of Clawdia's body, I was surprised to see 2011 MATTEL printed on it with Clawdia being a new character introduced in 2013 not 2011.  

This doll is beautiful and I adore her!

To say "bye," all of my Monster High girls joined in!

Goodbye!
PS: Thanks for letting me do this review, Emily!

PPS: If you ever come to London, pop into Selfridges and take Effie to their Makie store!

-Grace

I agree with Grace that Clawdia is a great doll, but it actually took me a little while to reach this conclusion.  I had been passing Clawdia in the store for months before I bought her, because all I could think about when I looked at her red and yellow color scheme was Mc Donald's.

Would you like fries with that?
Grace's review actually convinced me that Clawdia might be worth a closer look.


Clawdia's dark skin and yellow hair are a great mix, but I don't care for the combination of the red jacket and the yellow hair.  

Clawdia's hair is soft and puffy, and feels like mohair.


She has tall, elegant ears and a cute, ski-jump nose:


Clawdia's eyes are two shades of yellow with a black outline.  They are accented with a rainbow of warm colors, which is a great match for the dark vinyl.


Her smile has a very straight row of un-delineated front teeth with two exposed fangs.  Her wine-colored lips have a sparkly top coat.

The teeth don't look quite as fake in real life--remember they're really small.
In profile, you can see that the two fangs stick out further than the rest of the top teeth:


I was worried that Clawdia's expression would be funny-looking, but it's actually quite a contagious smile.

The red jacket closes in front with velcro, but it doesn't stay closed very well.  I agree with Grace that the underlying dress is fabulous.  It would coordinate well with 13 Wishes Clawdeen's dress.


The jacket looks ok, but it's not constructed very well.  The lapels are constantly sticking up, some of the edges are uneven, and there are several visible stray threads.

Meh.
I think that the red knee-high stockings are even worse than the jacket.  This is way too much red, with no pattern or design to break up the glare.  The golden shoes are clunky, and together with the stockings, the look gets too clownish.


However, with all of the red removed, Clawdia becomes much better...at least to me.  Suddenly, she's tall and elegant, and her metallic dress makes her hair and eyes remind me more of sunshine than of mustard.



I like these glasses a lot, too, but they're a bit too much like goggles for Clawdia's glamorous, jacket-free golden persona:


I might have them on upside-down, too.

With her hair up in a simple bun, Clawdia's transformation from fast food to fabulous is complete:


I can't let this opportunity pass without at least doing a quick review of my Frights, Camera, Action! Honey Swamp. This fascinating character has been sitting in my review queue for ages, and it was fun to finally get her out of the box and see how she is different from my expectations.

Her box is a typical Monster High cardboard window box:


Honey Swamp is the daughter of the Swamp Monster.  She is a feminine southern ghoul (from New Gorleans...) who aspires to be a famous cinematographer.  She is also a perfectionist:


The back of the box has a short description of the Frights, Camera, Action! movie plot:


Honey's box art is a little intimidating.  She looks like a carnivorous swamp plant:

Related to Venus McFlytrap?
Honey comes with a stand, a brush, a journal, a movie camera, and a clapper board:


Great accessories!
Her journal does not have any pictures.  On the front it says, "if you don't want me to snap at you, sugar, keep your claws off my diary!"


Honey's camera does not have any moving parts.  It is decorated with a spider web design, and the back end is scalloped--probably also meant to look like a spider web:



One side of the camera has a small decorated handle:


The clapper board is black with white, chalk-like coffin outlines and dripping borders:


The top actually moves up and down:

It has teeth!
This accessory also has a handle on the back:


I think Honey comes with better accessories than Clawdia.  The clapper board, in particular, is really great and would be fun to play with.

Honey can stand on her own pretty well, but I noticed right away that she does not move smoothly: her arms are stiff in the shoulders, come loose at the elbows, and her knees buckle.  Also, one of her hips makes a loud clicking sound when it is extended.  At first, I thought that the design of the Monster High hip articulation had been changed, but it's just that one of Honey's hips isn't seated exactly right, so it bumps into the torso when the joint is moved and makes a loud click.   

She has the hips of a 115 year old.
Honey is a bright greenish-blue color and is dressed in a matching green dress with purple and pink accents:

That's a lot of green and blue for my eyes.
This doll's hair is one of her most interesting features.  It is a thick, surprisingly dense mass of tight blue curls.  The hair is much, much thicker than I expected it to be.  It feels neat, but there's no way it could be brushed.  The hair comes tied back at the front with a small pink hat headband decoration:


It's awesome that this swamp creature has an old southern lady's flowery hat:

Bless your heart!

The hat has a small flower decoration at the front:


Honey has emerald green reptilian eyes:


Her eyes are surrounded by blue and pink eyeshadow, and her eyebrows are purple:


Honey's mouth reminds me of Venus McFlytrap's mouth:


Honey's impressive hair is held back with just two thin strands:


Here's a peek at the very dense rooting pattern:

No shortcuts here.
Honey's hair is one of her most impressive features.  I really didn't expect it to be so substantial and thick.  It can't be styled in very many ways (rubber bands can easily get tangled into all of those curls) but it's dramatic and fun just as it is:


Underneath all of that hair, Honey is wearing two white stud earrings:


They look like simple pearls from a distance:

Perfect for a southern belle...
But they have little angry monster faces on them if you look really close:

Booga booga!
Honey is also wearing a bracelet that looks like it has a simple bead or pearl design:


But these beads also have tiny faces (that are really hard to photograph):


This juxtaposition of monsters and southern ladies is hysterical, and very cleverly done.

Honey is wearing a one-piece dress with a removable vinyl belt:


The dress has a matronly purple bodice and a printed skirt with a feathery, fake fur underskirt.  


Perhaps the underskirt is supposed to evoke hanging moss or other vegetation?  It does remind me of this a little bit, but it is also quite feathery and bird-like.

The belt cannot be positioned directly around the waist--it rides up all of the time:


The belt look like it has a mossy, flowery design...


...but again, the centers of both flowers have little angry faces:


Here's the dress without the belt:


The dress closes in back with velcro.  It can be taken off with Honey's hands in place, but the hands need to removed to get the dress back on.  


The skirt is made out of a stiff, shiny fabric that has a floral pattern with little monster faces in the flowers:


The bodice has a black lace collar and painted white buttons.  If you look closely, you can see that the velcro is covered in black fuzz from the feathery underskirt:

That fuzz gets everywhere.
Honey's pink vinyl shoes match the color of her hat and belt.

 

The shoes are incredible.  They have creepy crocodile faces in front and a row of spines down the back:

Best shoes ever. 

Crocodiles and alligators are easy to confuse, but you can tell that this is a crocodile face because the teeth from both the upper and the lower jaw are visible when the mouth is closed.  Only an alligator's top teeth are visible when its mouth is fully closed.

Crocodiles are extremely rare in the United States, but Louisiana is nasty with alligators.
Honey doesn't move very well for a Monster High doll.  Several of her joints are stiff and hard to bend, one of her hips clicks, and one of her arms falls out easily.  Every time I remove her arm to re-dress her, this problem gets worse.  

However, this character has a very intricate body mold.


She has raised, asymmetrical vine-like designs along both sides of her body:



Her right leg is especially detailed:


She has webbed fingers and decorated hands:




Honey's back has two rows of adjacent small spines that remind me of an opened zipper: 


The heavy, vine-like design is concentrated on the right side of the zipper up around her neck:


She has wavelike molded underwear and elegant vine tendrils weaving up along the left side of her torso and down her left hip:






Here is Honey back in her full outfit, practicing her cinematography skills:







Bottom line?  Each of these Frights, Camera, Action! dolls has something that makes her special, and each has something that detracts a little from her charm.

Clawdia has a unique smile and a vibrant blend of hair color and skin tone.  She is also one of a very few Monster High dolls made in the taller size.  The thing that was holding me back from purchasing this character was the combination of her bright red jacket and her neon yellow hair.  For some reason this was a big turn-off for me.  However, without the jacket and the red stockings, I think Clawdia takes on an entirely different look.  Her yellow eyes gleam once the overshadowing jacket is removed.  Her hair transforms from fast food yellow with the jacket, to illuminated gold without it.  The jacket's glaring red color does nothing to compliment the rich earthy tones of Calwdia's face paint.  The metallic dress is easier to use, more sturdily made, and more attractive than the jacket.   I know some people will enjoy Clawdia's bold mix of colors, but I vastly prefer her sleek, elegant style with no traces of red in sight.

Honey Swamp is special because of her thick mass of tightly-curled hair, the intricate vine-like scrolls on her body, and her incredible crocodile shoes.  She also has a funny, clever theme.  The hair was the biggest surprise to me--I expected something like the Switch-a-Witch hair (which is fine), but this hair is significantly more dense and very fun to touch.  What takes away from Honey's charm is her flawed articulation, and a dress that doesn't do much for her theme or her color palette.  Honey's articulation is my biggest concern: some of her joints are too stiff to move well, and some of them fall apart too easily.  The fact that her hands need to be removed every time she is dressed just exacerbates this problem.  A few of my oldest Monster High doll have loose arm joints, but if a doll comes out of her box with bad arms, that doesn't give me a lot of confidence for the future.

Overall, I think Honey Swamp has a better character concept (and the best shoes), but Clawdia is a nicer doll.  My small complaints with Clawdia were really easy to fix...I just removed her jacket and socks.  I'll stick with Grace on this one: Clawdia is beautiful and I adore her!

30 comments:

  1. I nearly bought both these dolls yesterday, but ended up buying a Doctor Who dvd instead. Now I'm kind of wishing I'd gotten the dolls.
    I'm a very recent Monster High convert and one thing I'm continuously impressed by is the amount of work and detail that has gone into them. In that respect Clawdia actually looks a little bit disappointing (but I love her face) but Honey Swamp seems to be a new high (despite the articulation problems).

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  2. My Honey Swamp doesn't have any articulation issues. Sharing a hometown she gets brought out and shown off to everyone who walks in the door. I have removed the fake fur on her skirt as it was shedding on everything. I thought the rest of her dress was a nice nod to the modern takes on traditional clothes that are currently popular down here. The shoes are the best part and I wish I could find some to wear.

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  3. Will you do a review of Freaky Fusion line?

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  4. After reading this review I'm going to pass on Clawdine. McDonalds, indeed. She reminds me of a hooker in Times Square in the '70's. I know these dolls aren't made for anyone who even remembers the '70's.

    I already have Honey Swamp. I had all the same issues with the doll that you did. One of her legs fell off. I called Mattel and they sent me another doll. I really like Honey Swamp. She's beautiful and I love her hair.

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    Replies
    1. her name is Clawdia, if your going to insult a doll's design, at least know the name of the doll, especially since this blog post is a review of the doll, and the name of the doll was definitely said more than once. -_-

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    2. That wasn't an insult, honey. That was actually a compliment. And I'm sorry if I've offended by getting the name of a cheap plastic doll wrong. I often do the same thing with people but I mean no harm to inanimate objects or humans. Please forgive me.

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    3. Oh, goodness--I get Clawdia and Clawdeen confused all of the time, especially when I'm typing! Mrs. Wolf must be tongue-tied all of the time with Clawd, Clawdia and Clawdeen. I hope Howleen doesn't feel left out for being the only sibling with an "H" name!

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    4. In the books, Howleen is a triplet ! She has twin brothers who's name start with H's too !

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  5. I've loved the MH dolls since day one. The level of details is amazing and I absolutely love all the shoes. Thanks for another great review!

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  6. My Honey Swamp actually has identical articulation issues to yours, bar the hip making sounds :/. One of her legs is also set higher which means she always looks crooked in the back if I want her to have both of her feet on the ground. Its a shame because I really love her as a doll.

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  7. This is Zoë from Glowyzoe.blogspot.com. Claudia's hair, dress and shoe combination look beautiful without the red jacket and stockings. Honey Swamp is gorgeous. I defiantly would buy her. Your reviews are very detailed and tell the good and the bad about the dolls you review. Bye! Zoë

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  8. Great review, thanks for helping me notice the little faces on honey's accessories! I would have never noticed those. My honey swamp has loose leg joints, so she doesnt have a snapping problem. I tried brushing honey swamps hair and it didnt go so well... Never try brushing it!

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  9. Wow! They are both beautiful! I LOVE Honey's hair. I have lanky straight hair & have always wanted thick, thick curls like this ( I know, the grass is always greener). I may have to actually go buy her!

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  10. I reccomend contacting Mattel about Honey Swamp - yours definitely seems to have a production defect or two - mine has no problems like that, but does have a loose head - mattel sent me a voucher when I brought this to their attention - if they have the doll in stock, they'll usually ask you to send the defective one back (I think they send you a prepaid shipping box) and then they send you a new one.

    The articulation is not a problem with EVERY honey swamp, that's for sure!

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  11. Man, you always seem to get broken dolls! I have both dolls here and their clothes and bodies are perfect (actually my Honey has two left shoes but its not a problem).

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  12. Emily, I just wanted to link you to a new MH doll that is a centaur! (Okay, Centaur/Harpy, but I remember your excitement over a MIM centaur, so...here you go!

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-High-Freaky-Fusion-Trotter/dp/B00IVFCKF4/ref=pd_sim_t_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1EJXN23PQXYKNMZJSJTM

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Micah! You're absolutely right--I do love centaurs!! I am actually reviewing Avea right now... ;)

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  13. I absolutely ADORE these two but haven't bought them yet because they're too tall for my MH shelf! XD
    I personally don't mind the red in Clawdia's outfit, but I do agree that she looks much more elegant without it.
    Thank you for another awesome review!

    Kate :)

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  14. I love honey swamp it is a work of art with all those details

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  15. To exploit animals for just a hobby is really disgusting, I don't get the collectors that use mohair.
    Mh is great cause they have saran hair.

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    Replies
    1. I hear your frustration, but I think mohair is shorn from goats just like wool is shorn from sheep...with no harm to the goat whatsoever. :) Thank goodness!

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  16. Three words Emily:
    Monster High Centaur

    http://www.amazon.com/Monster-High-Freaky-Fusion-Trotter/dp/B00IVFCKF4/ref=pd_sim_t_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=12BHK7829BWDYQ19Y7G4

    Isn't that cool?

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  17. Great joint review, Emily & Grace!

    I think both dolls look spectacular (I actually like the combination of red and gold/yellow on Clawdia). Funnily enough, when I first saw preview photos of Clawdia, I was under the mistaken impression that she was Clawdeen, so I was wondering why she had started wearing glasses and dyed her hair blonde, lol. Mattel should use that smiling head sculpt with other Monster High dolls too; Clawdia's grin gives her a lot more personality that the others MH dolls in my opinion. Swampthing is one of my favorite DC comic book characters (especially Alan Moore's run as the writer), and I love all the molded detail on her body, so Honey Swamp is my favorite out of the two, but they're both wonderful additions to the Monster High cast in my book.

    @betty jordan wester: You want curls, I want to get rid of mine. My hair naturally curls, and poofs out, not unlike an afro, when it gets long, but I hate that, so, ever since I was in my teenage/early-twenties years, I've always kept it buzzcut.

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  18. Hi there, just wanted to say I love your blog and I've been following it since the beginning of the year! I saw you're planning a review about Avea... are you planning on doing either of the Zombie Shake packs? I just purchased the Rochelle/Venus pack at Toys R Us and I'm really impressed with the level of detail on Rochelle, I think you'd enjoy reviewing their accessories :)

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  19. Hello Emily.

    I'm a doll enthusiast like you, and I've been a huge fan of your blog. I've been wondering how you get people to do guest reviews. You see, I am getting Raven Queen from the Ever After High toy line and wondered, of course, if it'd be at all possible to get on your list to review her for your blog.

    I understand if your plans for the blog will be taking a different course, its just that I'd love to share in the doll enthusiasm.

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  20. Hi Emily ! My name is Lindsey and I am 13. I was really excited to see this review, because I was afraid that you'd turn me down for a guest review because I'm just a kid. I have a high quality camera that I got for taking doll pictures. I have around 40 MH dolls. Could we do a review on the New Scaremester collection ? They're only $10 a piece now ! :)

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  21. When I saw clawdia in the store, I kind of freaked out. I love her personality in the movie, but her smile kind of scared me!

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  22. Aloha and WoW! Thanks for the excellent photos of Honey Swamps body. I want her now. My complaint is why doesn't Mattel reveal these little known 'details', some of these dolls have. A good example is the gears on Robecca Steams legs. So cool and I didn't know this until someone gave me one as a gift. I might have never gotten her. And especially the spine back fin on Gil-such a cool detail and it is not even mentioned on the box. Clothes often cover up these impressive details. Knowing these extra, and important (at least to me),details on these dolls, will make me want and buy more MH Dolls.
    I am an adult collector/seller, who does repaints, custom made clothes, period costuming, and re-molding of MH dolls. I have never watched the cartoon (yeah, I know. Shame on me, since part of my livelihood is due to MH dolls), so maybe these details, I am surprised to find, under the dolls clothes, are made known in the cartoon? Probably, but regardless I think MH dolls are a fantastic doll series, even if they are made by Mattel. Wish they had more quality control on the dolls poor joints. Many won't hold poses and joints are seriously loose, right out of the box. Since it's**Mattel I am not surprised! Thanks so much for the info. Found you looking for other info, and had to take a look~ ;~}
    Aloha from Hawaii!
    **P.S. My Mom worked at the original Mattel factory in Hawthorne California, in the 1960's. Boy the stories I could tell about Mattel!

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  23. phew! I'm not the only doll lover in london! I was worried that I was weird for liking dolls but yay! Besides that, the review was good.
    P.S Grace that was a good idea to bring Effie to selfridges!

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