Monday, January 8, 2018

More Our Generation Accessories (Featuring Maru and Friends Mini Pals)!

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone's 2018 is off to a great start.  Here in Maine, we've already had a bomb cyclone storm and a lot of nights well below negative 10 degrees...so that's been fun.  There are several new dolls that I'm eager to review this year, though, and that will keep me plenty busy on cold or snowed-in days.

Before I do anything else this year, I want to finish up an idea from 2017: looking at Our Generation accessories and seeing how well they fit the Maru and Friends Mini Pal dolls.  Today I'll de-box the Our Generation School Band play set, the It Seams Perfect sewing set, and the Retro Records items.  On hand to help me with this review are Mini Pals Savannah and Raven...and also American Girl Eliza, to model the things that are way too big for the Minis:

American Girl Eliza wearing Our Generation retro headphones.
I'll start with the School Band set because I was most excited about this one.  I live in a very musical household, so anything instrument-related is fun for me.  Incidentally, I've never seen this set in the stores.  I only happened upon it while I was shopping online for something else.  It cost $24.99 and shipped for free.

The set comes in an open-faced cardboard box with molded plastic protecting all of the instruments:

Our Generation School Band set, $24.99.
The front of the box has a photograph of four Our Generation dolls wrestling with the instruments:

First day of music class?
At least two of these dolls are the flexible versions with wire armature in their limbs--that's the only way they'd be able to hold the flute and the saxophone. The drummer looks pretty comfortable with her snare, but the rest of them are a mess.  I mean, the flute player looks confused, the saxophone player is going to drop her horn any second...and the poor pianist can't even touch the keys.  She looks like she's about to cry.

This picture basically summarizes my two main problems with 18-inch play doll accessories: the dolls are not designed to use accessories very well, and most accessories are way too small.

In any case, the set comes with a working keyboard, and I was excited to contrast that to Melody Ellison's Electric Piano (reviewed here).


The back of the box is eyesore orange and has a few photographs and an Our Generation inspirational paragraph:


This paragraph is fun because it references astronauts (Luciana Vega!!), but why are the girls so blasé about ditching their dreams?  "We'll help each other become astronauts!  Or not.  Because that's ok, too!"  I mean--yes.  It is ok for dreams not to pan out the way you expect, but it's kind-of a bummer way of approaching life. 

Reach for the stars!  Or don't.  Makes no difference to me.
One photograph shows everything included in the set, and the other is a great shot of a doll playing the trumpet (I love her outfit!).  She and the drummer should leave the others behind and take their show on the road:


Here's everything that was in the box:

Snare drum, drum sticks, flute, saxophone, poster, music stand, music, notebook, trumpet, clarinet, keyboard, keyboard stand (hiding behind keyboard) and triangle.
Here to help me model these instruments is the lovely limited edition Raven Mini Pal from Maru and Friends:

Mini Pal Raven by Maru and Friends, $99.
She's every bit as beautiful as the larger Raven doll--amber eyes, long textured hair, sweet face--but she's dressed differently.  This Raven comes in a special holiday-themed white taffeta dress with plaid trim and a matching headband:

review

You guys all know how much I love the Mini Pals.  I adore them.  I'm addicted to them.  But...I have to confess that I'm not crazy about Raven's dress.  I like the concept (white with a beautiful muted plaid trim) but the balance feels wrong (there should be more plaid--maybe a thick sash? Maroon tights?).

Furthermore, the white taffeta is semi-transparent, making the tag visible when it's flipped towards the front of the dress:


Considering how carefully mini Maru's dress is lined, this is disappointing.

Fortunately, flipping the tag towards the back of the dress makes it less visible:


It's not a bad dress, but of all the Mini Pal outfits I own, this is my least favorite.

I have no issues with Raven's shoes whatsoever.  They're lovely little red leather pumps with bows on the front:


I think Raven's dress is so disappointing to me because the doll herself is probably my favorite of all the Mini Pals.  I'm starting to like her even more than Savannah and Chad, if you can believe it.  She's simply gorgeous.  I want her to have a dress that's worthy.

Anyway--I'll look at each component of the School Band set and then have Raven step in to show off the scale.  

First, here's the music stand (with music, notebook, and poster):


The poster is strange, with little dotted lines separating all of the instrument sections:

Am I supposed to fold it?  Cut it?
It shows the basic organization of an orchestra (not a band) but I'm not really sure what I should do with it.  It mostly emphasizes the cool instruments that aren't included in this set (harps!  Tubas!  Cellos!).  Also, where should the saxophone player sit? (That's a trick question–there are no saxes in an orchestra).

The notebook and music are much more fun:


The notebook has a stitched binding that's quite secure:


And there's tiny blank staff paper inside!


The sheet music is the first two pages of a Chopin Ballade in G minor:


Here's my son (and the parakeets) playing it, if you're curious.  He's mostly a jazz pianist, but he loves classical music, too. What will I do without him next year??



And yes, we still have our Christmas tree up.  It often stays up until my February birthday.  Laziness. Tradition.

The music stand is made out of plastic and has an unconventional shape:


This is the type of stand I'm used to seeing:


American Girl's stands looks a lot like this traditional one.  Here's a low-resolution screenshot from a video of Melody's Sound Studio:


The Our Generation stand has a taller (and brown-colored) music-holding section (not sure what this part is called--the rack?  The tray?):


The tray is not adjustable, but rather held in place with a single screw:


The height of the stand is adjustable, though, thanks to a telescoping pole:


So while the regular height of the stand is too short for Raven...

That might work if she was sitting on the floor....
...it's a nice size for her when it's at full height:


Now let's look at some of the instruments!

We'll start simple.  Here's the triangle with its beater (yes, that's what it's called):


Both the triangle and the beater are made out of plastic.  This was a missed opportunity.  If the parts–or even just the triangle–had been made out of metal, this instrument would have been playable to some degree.  As it is, the plastic parts just make a dull, high-pitched, clunk when they're banged together.

The triangle looks good, though, and while it's a little thick to be perfectly realistic, it works fine with Raven:



Next, here's the clarinet:


This model does a nice job of trying to recreate the complex arrangement of keys on a real clarinet:

  Clarinet

From a distance, my clarinet-playing son actually thought the picture, below, was of a real instrument:


One giveaway is that the ligature and reed are molded, the reed is ridiculously small, and the reed is painted the same color as the back of the mouthpiece:


This clarinet does not have any moving parts, but the bell is hollow, which is a nice touch:


I also like the molded Our Generation heart design that's on one side of the bell:


The bell is usually where the maker's mark of a horn is placed.

The clarinet is a tad small for Raven, but it's a way better fit for her than it is for the Our Generation dolls.  Also, she can't hold the instrument without the help of clear rubber bands:


Raven's limbs are made out of firmer vinyl than the earlier Mini Pals, too, so even when one hand is tied to the clarinet, she still can't position her other hand or fit the clarinet to her mouth.

Moving on to the flute!  This piece is missing a few keys and details, but looks good overall. It is made out of plastic and does not have any moving parts:


Here's a real flute for a rough comparison:


The tone hole in the mouthpiece is hollow:


But the end of the flute is solid:


To me, the flute looks like a good size for Raven--maybe a bit big.  It's certainly not in scale with the clarinet.  However, there's no way that Raven can hold it correctly or even get it into contact with her mouth and fingers at the same time.

Maybe I could twirl it?  Like a baton?
The trumpet is made out of plastic that's painted a metallic coppery gold:


Compared to a real trumpet, this model is missing the spit valve and all of the finger holds.  Here's a real trumpet so that you can see what I mean:

Trumpet 1

The model has realistic tubes and valves but–again–nothing moves.


The bell is decorated with another Our Generation heart:


With a few rubber bands and some careful manipulating, Raven can convincingly hold the trumpet up to her mouth:


The trumpet is a decent size, too.  Maybe Raven has found her instrument?


Let's not forget the saxophone, though!


The ligature, mouthpiece, and reed are all quite realistic on this horn:


With a bit of sloppy painting here and there:


However, the sax expert in my house says that the keys are not even close to correct.  In fact, there aren't any keys at the top of the horn, only a few on the bottom:


The quality of this image of a real saxophone isn't great, but you can at least see how complex the system of hole covers, levers and springs is:


Also, the Our Generation saxophone has practically nothing on the "back" side:


Which is also inaccurate:


The bell of the horn is hollow, but I don't think the tone quality would be very good with that warped shape!


If we assume that the saxophone is an alto, then it's about the right size for Raven–just a bit too small and skinny:


She also can't hold it close to her mouth:

I want the trumpet back.
The set also comes with a snare drum and two plastic drumsticks:


These pieces look good, but the drum is just a plastic cylinder, so it doesn't make a very satisfying sound when you hit it with the sticks.


I like how the red edges of the snare have little sparkles!  This is quite realistic for a drum:


The drum is way too big for Raven:


It's almost big enough to work as a bass drum for her!

I saved the most intriguing instrument for last.  Here is the working keyboard with its collapsible stand:


I knew right away that the key action would not be as impressive as it is on Melody's piano, where every single key can be pressed separately.  Here, there are three sections of keys that function like three large buttons:


The gaps between the sections of keyboard are pretty obvious:


And the black keys are not painted perfectly, but the overall look–especially from a distance–is good.


There's also a small speaker and three nonfunctional blue buttons:


Now, let's find out what the keyboard can do!

Here's what happens when I press the far left section of the keyboard:



A taste of elevator techno.

Here's the center of the keyboard:



Your basic 60s backing track–think The Monkees.

And finally, the right side of the keyboard:



I get an 80s Pat Benatar vibe from this one.

It's an interesting assortment.  Certainly not a Chopin Ballade in G minor.

The stand unfolds and operates a lot like the real keyboard stand we have in our house:


With the stand in place, the keyboard works really well for Raven when she's standing up:


Both of her hands can touch the keys...and the piano even matches her shoes!


Now I think Raven has found her instrument!


After Raven finished modeling the instruments, I had an idea.  Her shoes perfectly match Mini Maru's red taffeta dress, which made me wonder how Raven would look in that lovely dress.

The answer?  Amazing:


Pictures don't even do her justice.  In real life, her hair is deep black.  The combination of that color and the brilliant red of the dress look fantastic.  Those amber eyes almost glow.  I'd probably prefer Raven if she had darker, chocolate brown eyes, but she's wonderful as she is.


I've been contemplating the idea of picking a TBP Doll of the Year each year, but never seem to get around to making that hard choice.  This year, it would have come down to a contest between three of the 2017 Mini Pals: Savannah, Chad and Raven.  If Raven had come wearing this red dress, the choice would have been easy.  

Even in her own outfit, I think she's the winner.

For what it's worth: my 2017 Doll of the Year.
At first, I wasn't sure which Our Generation accessory set I should look at next.  Many of them are clearly not the correct size, like all of the pets:

Parakeet of Unusual Size.
I finally settled on the It Seams Perfect sewing set because even though the dress maker form is clearly the wrong size for Mini Pals, many of the other items are fun and look like they'd work well for smaller dolls.

This set costs $29.99.

Our Generation It Seams Perfect set, $29.99.
I like how there are so many smaller items in this set:


There's even a real dress pattern and fabric to make a doll dress!


The back of the box has a long list of contents, a few paragraphs of text, and a photo of an Our Generation doll using the sewing table:


Once again, they've used one of the deluxe flexible dolls to model this set. I don't think the regular dolls would fit as compactly under the table:

She looks almost as orange as the box.
The text on this box is nice--nothing too noteworthy:


I'll start by looking at the larger items: the table, the chair, the sewing machine, and the dress form:


The dress form is the size of an Our Generation doll and sits on a sturdy plastic stand.  The torso is decorated with the words "La Belle Mode de Paris," or the beautiful fashion of Paris(?).


The dress form dwarfs little Savannah:

Are you my mother?
The sewing machine looks very realistic and has a few moving parts.


There's a stitch guide on the front with some decorative white buttons.  The silver knob just below the guide spins around:


The green knob on the right hand side of the machine causes the plastic needle to move up and down:


The grey handle on the back of the machine goes up and down to raise and lower the presser foot:


The top of the machine has two green knobs that stick up--I think one of them is a holder for the spools of thread:


The back of the machine is very plain:


The size of the machine seems good for Savannah.  She's eager to start sewing something!


The sewing table is made out of pinkish red plastic with some white and silver accents:


There's a silver handled drawer on the front and two smaller drawers with pretty white imitation ceramic handles.  None of the drawers open:



The top of the table does open, though.  To accommodate this, there's a small brace that pops out of the left side of the table:



The brace holds the weight of the tabletop extension after it's been opened:


My table has a brace mechanism that's slightly defective.  It's hard to get the brace to stay tucked into the table–it pops out all of the time.

Here's the table with the top flipped open:


Underneath the extension, the table has a depression that fits the sewing machine perfectly:


It looks great!  Just like my mom's old sewing machine:


The set has a chair with a red polka dot seat cushion:

Minnie Mouse chair.
The cushion has a huge tag sticking out on one side:


The frame of the chair is made out of lightweight white plastic.


The chair is a good size for Savannah, although her straight legs make her something of an inelegant sitter:


Nowhere near as inelegant as Eliza, though....


Eliza really does have a yellow tinge, doesn't she?  It's not just my pictures (although they don't help), she's very "tanned" in real life.  I've never owned a pale American Girl before, so this was a bit of surprise to me.  It takes some getting used to.

Happily, the chair also works well with Raven's red keyboard:


Savannah looks very comfortable around the sewing room:


She can sit comfortably in the chair and easily reach the controls of the machine:


Eliza seems massively oversized in comparison:


And, since she doesn't have armatured legs like some of the Our Generation dolls, sitting at the sewing table is awkward:


Now I'll take a look at the smaller items that came in this set.  

I think it's very cool that Battat would include a usable pattern and enough material to make a dress:


The little roll of fabric is especially cute:



Savannah thinks that a dress in this color would look good with her eyes!


I'm not a seamstress, but I suspect that this pattern is fairly basic and easy to follow:


This would be an even better idea if the sewing machine actually worked.  As it is, kids who don't have a sewing machine in the house will have trouble completing this project at home...unless they want to hand-stitch the seams.

Here are all of the other small object that were in the set:


There's a plastic sewing box:


Two wooden spools with real thread on them:


However, the spools do not fit over where I think they should go on the sewing machine:



That's really disappointing.  Maybe I don't understand sewing machine anatomy well enough? Hm.

There's an adorable little ruler with all of the markings:


The ruler and spool are a nice size for Savannah:


There's a little tomato pin cushion wrist band (my mom has one just like this!):


It has tiny silver painted pinheads:


The wristband is way too big for Savannah, though:


The scissors are probably my favorite of the smaller accessories.  They have black handles and silver painted blades:


And they actually open and close!


The last few items are a thimble and four plastic buttons:


A sliding button hole measuring tool:


And a white pencil for marking fabric (it doesn't actually leave any marks, though, the tip is painted):


Most of these items are well-scaled to Savannah.  The scissors are nearly perfect for her, but the thimble is too big:


Everything fits nicely into the round sewing box:


I was going to stop the review here, but the musical theme of the School Band set inspired me to try one more group of accessories–the Retro Records set and its matching Rock and Tote with Records accessory:

Our Generation Retro Records (left) and Rock and Tote with Records (right) sets.
This packaging is a bit simpler than the larger sets, with a basic picture and a list of the set's contents taking up most of the back:


Here's everything that was in the box:


The paper items are a purple notebook and a sheet of music note stickers:


The notebook has blank staff paper...that's a bit small for the note stickers, especially the treble clef:



You've already gotten a peek at the brown headphones that come with this set:


These are very realistic.  They're made mostly out of hard plastic, with a coiled vinyl jack cord.  The earpieces have molded speakers on the inside:


And some silver painted detail on the outside.  The pads on the earpieces are hard plastic, but they have some molded lines to make them look soft and comfortable.


There's even have a connector at the end of the cord that actually fits into the record player:



We know that the headphones fit Eliza really well, but let's just double-check the fit on Raven...

Nope.
Not even close.

The set also includes a pink guitar:


This is made out of plastic, but it has actual strings that can be plucked:



I took a movie of the strings being played, but then I lost it somehow.  Oh well.  

The notes are not in tune, but they don't sound terrible.  There are decorative tuning pegs, and the strings are actually wrapped around the front of these pegs, but the strings can't actually be tightened or loosened, though:

My guitar is missing the little silver part on one of the pegs.
The back of the guitar is very plain:


...although the backs of the tuning pegs have little silver hearts:


The guitar is a nice size for Raven:


And more like a ukulele for Eliza:


Now let's look at the items the set is named for--the records and the record player!

There are two record sleeves, one of which has a record inside:


The record is titled "RockNRoll."  Pretty general:


The record sleeve has a decorated side that confirms this title:


The pink record sleeve in my set is coming unglued at the edges:


The record that matches the second sleeve comes packaged inside the record player.

The record player itself has a speaker on the front and a plastic catch to hold the lid closed:


I wonder if it will play "RockNRoll" music?


The bottom of the player has a battery compartment:


I hope it comes with batteries because we used all of ours up for new instant cameras this Christmas (those are very fun, by the way).

The top lifts up to reveal a turntable and the missing record:


This record is just titled "1950:"

The whole decade.  In one 45.
Here's the back of the second sleeve:


The platter is flanked by two cream-colored buttons and a silver arm:


The arm can move back and forth over the platter:




I was all excited to push the buttons and make the turntable move, but the buttons don't do anything.

They're glued in place.
This made me revisit the battery compartment...which doesn't open!

Believe me, I tried to get it open.  Pry bars were involved.
I've never seen anything like this.  How bizarre.

I dismantled the turntable to see what the heck was going on.

After a few screws were removed, the top came off to reveal an underlying structure that looks for all the world like a mechanism to make the platter spin:

Why would the platter be made out of two separate pieces otherwise?

I removed a few more screws and pulled out this fake mechanism.  All that's left underneath is the back of the fake battery compartment:



So, this ridiculous record player was designed to have moving parts, but Battat manufactured it to do nothing.  It's like an empty wrapped present.  

I don't mind when inexpensive toys are simple, that's to be expected, but for goodness sake, don't make something look like it's going to use batteries to spin around and play music...and then have it do nothing.  That's lame.  I mean, Fisher Price makes a $20 record player for babies that works better than this.  Sheesh.

I searched around trying to figure out if Battat is just using the mold from another similar toy that works.  I didn't find anything with parts that match exactly, but American Girl Julie's turntable comes the closest. In my search, I also discovered that Hallmark makes some pretty great musical record player ornaments that seem like they might be in the same scale as the Our Generation turntable.  These ornaments light up, spin around, have interchangeable records, and play music.  They're a little pricey once they've been discontinued, though.

Anyway, at this point I didn't have much enthusiasm left for the Our Generation Retro Records set.  

I still decided to take a quick look at the smaller box of records.  They look nice in their packaging:


This set has a bag and four records--three of the records have covers:


The loose record is titled Rock 'n' Roll (better spelling than the last attempt...) and has the song "Surfin' 1, 2, 3" by the Cherry Pips on one side:


The other side is blank:


Overall, this group of records has a bit more detail than the ones that come with the larger set.  Each album cover has a band name and each record has a song listed on it.

The first covered record is actually a repeat of the Cherry Pips hit single:


Good to have a backup copy, I guess.


The second covered record is "At the Sock Hop" by the Laundry Mats:


The third is "Flock Around the Clock" by the Bird Tones:


The opposite sides of all these album covers are undecorated.

The tote bag that comes with the set is well-made and nice-looking.  It's stitched together out of imitation leather and has metal buckles on the handles:


It's only decorated on one side:


The bag opens, but it's pretty narrow...


...and can only hold the records when they're out of their covers:


Raven was eager to hang out with Savannah and play some tunes!


Savannah is a bit of a crazy dancer, but Raven doesn't mind...


...although she will try to teach Savannah some new dances every once in a while:


They hung out late into the afternoon, sharing favorite songs.

Wanna hear "Surfin' 1-2-3" again?
Despite the fact that the record player doesn't actually play songs or do anything, its size and scale are a great fit for these girls.

Of all the accessories I reviewed today, I think my favorites are the musical instruments from the School Band set.  While not all of the instruments are completely accurate or perfectly-scaled to Maru Mini Pals, a few of them are really great.  

Savannah and Raven have settled on a small band that includes a keyboard and a saxophone.  Can't go wrong with that combo:



Because Savannah has a bit more bend in her arms than Raven does, she can actually hold the sax up to her mouth while at least getting her fingers close to where the keys should be.  All of this with the help of clear rubber bands, of course.


And that piano truly was made for Raven--not just because of its nice size, but because I think red is definitely Raven's signature color!


Bottom line?  The Our Generation accessories are a mixed bag, as usual, but let me briefly summarize the high and low points of each of the sets I opened today.

School Band 


School Band lows: The triangle and the drums are disappointing to me because it would have been relatively simple to design these instruments so that they can make an authentic noise.  As it is, they just produce plastic clunks.  I also wish that the instruments were in scale with each other.  Some milder critiques are that the music stand is strangely-shaped and does not have an adjustable tray, the poster is a throwaway that does not fit the theme of the set, and the Chopin sheet music, while lovely, has nothing to do with the techno backgrounds that are recorded on the piano.  

School Band highs: the saxophone, flute, trumpet, and clarinet all have enough accurate molded detail and coloring to make them fun miniatures.  The piano may not be as fancy as Melody Ellison's keyboard, but it looks great as a prop and the sounds are probably entertaining for kids. I also love the little staff paper composition notebook.  A person could actually write little songs in that book!  Last, despite my criticism of the music stand's shape, I do appreciate that it has a telescoping pole so that the height can be adjusted.

Best fits for the Mini Pals?  I think the piano is the best fit overall.  Not only is it a good size, but the Mini Pals can stand (or sit) next to it and place their hands appropriately.  The snare drum is way too big, but the other instruments are convincing, even if they're proportions are slightly big (flute, triangle) or slightly small (clarinet, saxophone).  The stand, notebook, and sheet music are also great accessories for the Mini Pals.

It Seams Perfect


It Seams Perfect lows: it's a bummer to me that the spools of thread don't fit on the sewing machine.  I don't know why that bothers me so much. Also, the extension leaf of the sewing table is supported by a collapsible tab of plastic that tends to pop out.  And one really minor critique: I wish the table drawers opened.

It Seams Perfect highs: The sewing machine, dress form, and table look great.  These are all nice, reasonably sturdy items that would be fun to play with.  The chair is the least durable of these larger pieces, but it's still useful. My favorite parts of this set are the little things–the ruler, the bolt of fabric, the spools of thread, and especially those scissors.  I also like that everything fits inside the cute sewing box.  The usable dress pattern is a wonderful touch, I just wish I had a sewing machine on hand to make the dress!

Best fits for the Mini Pals? The dress form can't be used for the Mini Pals, but everything else is a pretty good fit.  The thimble, spools of thread, and buttons are a tad big, but not in a way that bothers me.

Retro Records


Retro Records lows: the record player.  Boo. It's designed to have moving parts and sound (there's even a battery compartment) but in reality, it does nothing.  Well...ok.  That's not totally fair.  The arm moves around and the records can be swapped out (which is pretty fun) but that's it.  The guitar is nice in some ways (it has real nylon strings that can be plucked) but it feels pretty cheap overall.  The records don't fit into the bag unless they're out of their covers. The records themselves are great, but some of the album covers are coming apart.  Easy thing to fix.

Retro Records highs: I love the headphones.  They look great on Our Generation dolls and American Girl dolls.  They even plug into the record player.  I also like the records themselves a lot, especially the ones that Battat put some creativity into.  I'd really like to hear the Bird Tones' rendition of "Flock Around the Clock!" The set makes a really great prop as a whole.  My Mini Pal girls seem to love it, and it's hard to argue with them.

Best fits for the Mini Pals?  Everything except the headphones is a near-perfect fit.  This is a great set for the Mini Pal crew.

Phew!  That's it for Our Generation accessories for a while...but you'll see more from me about the Battat company very soon.  I bet several of you know which petite newcomers I'm getting ready to de-box.  The other things I have in store for 2018 will remain a secret (you know me) but you can be sure you'll see more of the Mini Pals, since they're my favorites.

In the meantime, I'll let Raven and Savannah play us out with a funky jam.  Take it away, girls!

14 comments:

  1. Could the "poster" from the band set be temporary tattoos or nail stickers? Either would have those dotted lines to indicate where to cut them

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  2. The flute is most disappointing to me (as an ex-flute player) because it is missing the G# key and the headjoint is out of alignment, the hole you blow into should be in line with the keys. I also agree about the drum! How hard would it have been to make a drum that made a decent sound??

    I love the sewing set! The sewing machine looks like it has a molded spool of thread on it already? And also there looks to be an empty bobbin on the bobbin winder (the other green lump). Are there any instructions for the sewing pattern? Without instructions it would be very intimidating for a child; even for an intermediate sewer I'm wondering how you're expected to finish the edge with the velcro. It's nice that it comes with the fabric, and I guess you could hand-sew it with the white thread although it would have been nice if the set came with matching thread, a needle, maybe some fabric clips, and a bit of stick-on velcro. Or a no-sew pattern! Ah well.

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  3. If Batter could just get scale right (and supply chains), they would make so much more money of their sets.

    Thanks for the comps.

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  4. I completely empathize with you with regard to scale. Some things can be good and others way too small. I find it most aggravating with foods and dishes.

    With the records, as 45s they work for OG and AG size, but the turntable is not sized for 45s it would have been for 78s, 33s and 45s so too small to be accurate and even more frustrating to have it look like it should work. :-(

    The sewing machine, seems to me like the top peg where the spool of thread sits is shaped like a small spool of tread already and not just a peg. If you have some thread (in your own stash so you don't have to unravel the one that came in the set) you could wind it around that top peg to make it look more authentic.

    Thank you so much for your great reviews. Eliza is beautiful. So is Raven; I love her eyes. The dance party with Raven and Savannah is too darn cute!
    ~Xyra

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  5. Ah, I love those gorgeous girls! Thanks for the fun OG reviews. Their affordable accessories have been a nice way for my dd to enjoy her AG dolls since AG accessories are so much more expensive. I think the AG Wellie Wishers are a similar size to the Mini Pals...they'd be another good fit for the out-of-scale OG accessories.

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  6. The turntable is really frustraing :(
    The spools of thread on the sewing machine look molded to me, too. I think it's a cool set in general.
    The thing I liked the most is little accessories. I'd really like to see School Band and Seams Perfect sets in person - maybe they would fit for some of my dolls.
    And the girls, of course. Raven looks so cute and gentle to me, and red is really her colour.

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  7. OMG, these mini-pals are really cute! I haven't seen them in any store, but since I don't collect this size of doll, maybe it's because I haven't looked for them. Your review is very thorough. I love all the little accessory sets. Will have to be on the lookout for those.

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  8. "the poor pianist can't even touch the keys. She looks like she's about to cry." lmao irl

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  9. I hate sets with several different scales. What's the point of that?! It happens a lot though. Maybe the original idea was to have the record player work, but they decided it would make the set too expensive. Those Hallmark record players are great. I have a couple,and they look really good in 1/6 scale settings.

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  10. For the sewing machine, the little green nub you showed in the photo is the bobbin winder, so a spool wouldn't go there anyway. The spool holder is over to the left and as others have said, looks like it has a molded spool on it already. I agree they should have made that a slide-out peg to hold the enclosed spools.
    As for the sewing of the dress, it would be very simple to hand-sew it. Real machine sewing of doll size clothes is actually pretty hard. Most kids of the age the dolls are aimed at wouldn't have the skills to do it on a machine. Too, I would imagine a child who wants that particular set probably already has a mom or grandma who sews and could help them with directions and sewing. I don't think a kid who's not around sewing would be too interested in that set.

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  11. Long time reader, first time commenter! Heard about a doll line I think you'd like! Kruselings, a doll line by Kathe Kruse and Sonja Hartmann- little 9 inch fully articulated dolls with inset eyes and detailed clothing! Seems right up your alley.

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  12. As for the sewing machine, the green molded thing on top (that looks like a small spool) is indeed where the spool should be. A plastic peg/pole should be inserted into the hole in the green thingy, and that plastic pole is where the spool should be slid on, using the hole that is running through the middle of it.
    At least that's how the spool holder of my (real life) sewing machine works :)

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  13. Loved that you mentioned the Monkees, ahahaha, as they're one of my favorite bands and retro sitcoms...and I was born in the 80s! I blame my mother.

    Thanks for another great review, Emily, as always! I always enjoy reading them.

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