Friday, March 2, 2018

Teen Version Hermione Granger by Star Ace

My youngest son is really interested in movies, so we've been watching a lot of films in the last few months, mostly when we're traveling for some type of college-related trip.  We tend to alternate between me introducing him to a classic romantic comedy (like When Harry Met Sally) and him showing me something new and noteworthy (like Get Out).  Because of his enthusiasm, I find myself thinking about movies a lot these days.  One of my favorite movie series is the Harry Potter octet.  I enjoy these movies because I like the story and the characters, of course, but also because my family watched them (many times!) when the kids were younger.

With all of this on my mind, I guess it's no surprise that I chose a movie-related doll to review this week, specifically, Star Ace's Teen Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  This is a doll that I preordered back in September of 2016, about half a year after I wrote a review of Star Ace's Sorcerer's Stone Hermione.  My positive experience with the first Star Ace Hermione doll made me very excited and optimistic about this version (especially because Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite of the eight Harry Potter movies) but the reality did not turn out to be what I expected.

1:6 scale Teen Version Hermione Granger by Star Ace, $239.99.
First of all, you have to understand that the promotional pictures for this figure were good.  The doll looked convincingly like Emma Watson, and came with a wonderful selection of clothing and accessories (including Crookshanks!).  Here's part of one promotional picture so that you can see what I mean:

That's pretty good, right?
When I first saw that picture, I thought it wasn't a perfect replica of Hermione in Prisoner of Azkaban (the doll looks much older), but she's clearly Hermione.  That's good enough for me.

Here's a screen shot to remind you of the actual (barely fourteen-year-old) Prisoner of Azkaban Hermione:

Serious, but still very childlike in her facial features.
Star Ace's figure is more like Hermione from the final movie:

All grown up.
However, because the promotional pictures clearly resembled Hermione (and because her hair looks awesome, which is rare on a sixth scale action figure), I didn't hesitate to preorder.

The actual doll arrived in early January 2018, after a fairly typical string of production delays.  And honestly, I'm not sure what they were doing that whole time.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The box has a large photograph of the doll on the front, which is not a good thing:

Awkward.
A collage of movie scenes might have been a better choice.

Here's a closer look at the photo:

Oh, dear.
I see a bit a of resemblance to the character in that picture, but it might be just because of the clothing.  Nothing about the face (maybe the mouth?) reminds me of Hermione.  Still, I don't trust box photos, so I was eager to get a look at the real doll.

The back of the box is covered in text, mostly warnings and copyrights:



The box has a flap on the front that opens to reveal the actual doll (obscured by plastic packaging) and another photograph:

review

This photo is not any better than the first.  Hermione looks sad:


I really like that this set comes with Hermione's casual clothing, though, since she spends most of her time in Prisoner of Azkaban wearing that pink hoodie outfit.

The figure and all of the accessories are enclosed within molded plastic trays:


The casual outfit and the stand came tucked behind the larger plastic insert:


This stand is very simple, not like the complex broom-holding stand that came with the Sorcerer's Stone Hermione:


The black parts of the stand are made out of hollow plastic.  It's a fairly lightweight piece overall.


There were two versions of this Hermione doll released by Star Ace.  The basic version included just the school uniform outfit, and the deluxe version added in the pink hoodie, tee shirt, jeans, belt, and extra shoes:


I thought it was worth the extra $10 or so to get the more iconic movie outfit.  

I'll look at Hermione first and then change her into the pink outfit later in the review.

Here's everything that would have come with the basic doll:


The accessories include Crookshanks, a wand, an extra wand-holding hand, and the Time-Turner:

Teen Hermione's accessories.
Crookshanks is my favorite accessory:


This little resin guy is highly-detailed and realistic, although the iris color and pupil shape of the eyes are not correct:

review

Crookshanks should have orange eyes with vertically slit pupils.  Here's a tiny clipping from a picture of one of the actual cats who played Crookshanks in the movies:


For those who are curious (like I was), Crookshanks was played by two different Persian cats: Pumpkin (female) and Crackerjack (male).

In contrast to the real cats, the figure has white eyes with large, almost flower-shaped black pupils:

And a bit of a runny nose.
Also, the real Crookshanks would not have fur that was this neat and tidy!


I read that in the movie, extra fur was added to make Crookshanks look scruffy.


There's some nice shading in the painted fur,


and the molded pattern of the fur is very nice, with tons of detail and variation:


The bottoms of Crookshanks' feet are flat, and one paw is marked with the Warner Brothers copyright:


Hermione also comes with her wand:


In the movie, we get a really good look at Hermione's wand when she's threatening Malfoy...right before she punches him:

Great scene.
Star Ace did a great job of replicating this wand.

There's an extra griping hand so that Hermione can hold the wand:


The hand is heavily freckled and has pale pink nail polish (would Hermione wear nail polish??):



The last accessory is the Time-Turner.  This piece is also very well done:


It has a fine metal chain and a little gold-painted plastic (?) Time-Turner:


The shape and design are accurate to the movie:


So the accessories are great.  Let's see about the doll herself!

She comes with bands of clear plastic around her head and chest:


Here she is without the plastic:

review


She balances very well on her own.  No need for the stand right away.


The things I noticed right away were that Hermione's hair is really flat and sticky, and also her robe is lined in bright red (not accurate) and has a really pointy hood (might be accurate, but I never noticed that in the movies).  I wish that the hood lay a little flatter against the back of the robe.

Also, the doll definitely does not look the same as the promotional photos:


Not only is the hair flat and the face wrong, but the bulky sweater is overly prominent (it's well-disguised in the promo pictures) and the tie is too big and has the wrong pattern and colors.

review

I'm used to there being some small changes between the prototype and the production version of an action figure or doll, but this seems extreme.

review
You are not what I ordered.
The reminds me of somebody in real life, just not Hermione.

I wasn't really sure what to do with the flat hair, so I decided to leave it alone and take a closer look at the robe.


Despite the inaccurate color of the lining, the robe is very attractive and beautifully made.  It has a tiny button closure in the front and a little Gryffindor crest decal on the left side:


Here's a closer look at the crest:


The robe is fully-lined (including the hood) and has full, angle-cut sleeves:


There's a small stitched pocket inside the robe...


...which perfectly accommodates Hermione's wand:

That's a great detail.
All of the edges of the robe have fine wire stitched into the hem, so the robe can be posed along with the doll:


When the robe is removed you can see the lining really well.  Also notice that all of the curved edges of the garment (the hood, sleeves, sides, and bottom hem) are getting their shape from the wire:


Under the robe, Hermione is wearing a cardigan, a white dress shirt, a tie, a pleated skirt, and a pair of black knit tights:


The sweater is knit in an impressively fine gauge, but it still looks bulky on the doll:

review

The tie is much too big, and this adds to the slightly frumpy look of the costume overall:


The cardigan has a deep v-neck, with decorative buttons over a metal snap closure:


The whole front of the sweater looks a little sloppy to me.  Maybe it's that the stripes don't line up?  The v-neck is too low?  The snaps are visible behind the buttons?

The three snaps are easy to use, but feel a little delicate.



Here's the sweater on its own:


The sweater is dark grey, which is accurate to the movie.

I like the knitted bands of color and the tiny ribbed section at the bottom:


It's a nice little sweater, I just don't feel like it's very flattering on the doll.

With the sweater removed, the tie cannot lay flat:

Wingardium leviosa!
This would be ok for an action pose, I guess...

Whoa!  Is that a hippogriff??
But it's really frustrating most of the time.

The tie is attached to a clear rubber band that loops around Hermione's neck:


The rubber band is stained near where the tie connects, and of course this makes me worried about what else the tie might stain:


The tie has an accurate knot and shape, but the short end is glued to the front so it cannot be untied (or tightened):


I don't like the tie at all.  It's hard to use, sticks out, and is the wrong color and size.  

I messed up Hermione's hair when I removed the tie...


...so I figured this would be a good time to gather the hair into a ponytail and take a closer look at the head.

Here's a look at Hermione's face without her hair in the way:

review

For contrast, here's a clip from one of the promotional pictures:


And here's a screenshot of Emma Watson in Prisoner of Azkaban:


Here's the doll again–a bit closer:

Who are you, and what have you done with Hermione?
There are things I like about this face.  I like the eyebrows, the coloring and detail of the mouth, and the overall realism.  In fact, it's a much nicer head than many of the sixth scale heads I tested for my series of Phicen reviews.  I also like the freckles, but Hermione is not heavily-freckled like this in the movies.

I don't like the eyes on this face, though.  They're slightly wonky and look lifeless.  The eyes of the promotional doll have more shine and color variation, giving them depth and character.  The worst thing about the head, though, is its failure to evoke the actress or the movie character.

Here's the head in partial profile:


Again, not what was advertised:


Oh, how I wish the production doll had the same subtle smile, natural-looking skin, and upturned nose!  The prototype is SO much better.

The head mold includes a blocky section of neck that cuts off abruptly below the ears.  It's good that the hair usually hides this:


The section of the head that is rooted with hair is painted brown.  There's a large patch of brown visible beneath the rooting, too:


There's some nice painted detail in Hermione's face, like the tiny hairs in her lashes and brows, and the minuscule iris lines radiating out from her pupils:


Up close, the eyes look fairly well-painted.  I'm not sure why they look so dull from farther away.  The solution might be as simple as just adding a touch of gloss to the surface of the eyeball.


For perspective, here are a few of the close-ups I've taken of other sixth scale eyes:





After looking at these, I think perhaps Hermione's eyes also don't have quite enough fine detail or shading.

The lips are a nice natural color, and have delicately-painted lines to give them depth:


The edge of Hermione's hairline is also painted, including some slightly odd sideburns:


I think this head looks best in partial profile, and it also looks better when it's facing downwards:


Here's an upward-glancing pose for comparison:


This head baffles me.  The sixth scale figures I've seen tend to have excellent likenesses to their subjects.  It's common to find little inaccuracies here and there, sure, but I've never seen a head that has pretty much nothing whatsoever in common with the intended character.

The outfit has some very nice qualities, though, so let's go back to looking at that.

The white dress shirt has wonderful little details, like miniature buttons on the cuffs:


The cuffs don't open, though. These buttons are entirely decorative.


The cuff buttons are actually sewn onto the shirt.  That must've required a very tiny needle!

The front of the shirt has a velcro seam that's decorated with more tiny buttons:


These buttons are glued in place.

I really like the darts on either side of the button placket:


The velcro makes the shirt easy to open...


...although Hermione's hands have to be removed in order to get the sleeves off:


Like the wand-gripping hand, these hands are heavily freckled and have pink nail polish:


There's not much fine detail in the hand sculpture, and my doll came with some red marks on her right hand:



Under the shirt, Hermione has a strange torso.  I'll look at that in just a minute.  She's also wearing a pleated grey skirt:


This skirt has only two large pleats in the front and two in the back:


The skirt is nicely-sewn, with a well-scaled waistband and even stitching:


It opens in the back with a small strip of velcro:


This skirt is accurate to the costumes in Prisoner of Azkaban, but it's simple when compared to the Sorcerer's Stone Hermione's skirt.  Here's a reminder of that garment's intricate pleating:


The color of this skirt is much lighter than the Azkaban skirt, too, but each is accurate to their movie.

Under her skirt, Hermione is wearing black tights that had me very worried about staining!


In order to pull the tights off, the shoes had to be removed.  These were hard to get off, but (unlike the Sorcerer's Stone Hermione) they are actually designed to come off.


They're simple plastic flats with molded buckle straps:


I was happy to see that there were no black stains underneath Hermione's tights, but I was more than a little surprised to find these, ah..."feet:"

Noes toes.
They're little plastic flesh-colored shoe horns.

Furthermore, they seem cheaply-made, with white blemishes in the plastic and uneven seams:


There's not much range of motion in these feet, either.  This is the extent of their flexing (left) and extending (right) positions:


The shoe-feet are screwed together from the bottom with a single metal screw:


The strange stubby feet are not great for balance.  I had a hard time getting Hermione to stand up straight–she kept listing to the right:


Finally I aligned her legs and feet just right so that she could stand up nice and straight:

body


Hermione has a plastic body with a vinyl covering over her lower torso and a really soft (and sticky) vinyl covering over her chest.  She has 20 points of articulation.

I find the shape of this body a little odd.  The vinyl chest piece looks the strangest, and I think this is because the breasts are very small and so the chest joint is more obvious than the actual breasts, giving the whole doll a barrel-chested appearance.

Still, the body is more natural-looking than the Sorcerer's Stone Hermione's body:


The flap of vinyl over Hermione's chest looks lopsided (and a little ragged) in the back:


And Hermione's reddish hands don't match the ultra-pale skin tone of the rest of her body:


Here's a closer look:


The head itself is attached to the neck with a simple ball joint, but there's also an internal joint at the base of the neck.


The ball joint does not allow the head to lift up or down very much, probably because of the neck section on the back of the head.  

The ball joint does allow the head to turn from side to side, though:


I tried to get some photos that illustrate the different points of movement in the neck.  In the pair of pictures, below, the left side shows Hermione looking up using just the ball joint in her head, and the right side shows her looking up with her lower neck joint:


The pictures look almost the same because there isn't much backwards movement in either of these joints, and it's very hard to move one without the other.

In contrast, there's a big difference between Hermione using her head joint to look down...

Is she looking down at all?
...and using her lower neck joint to look down:

OMG!  Stop doing that!
The neck joint is also good at moving the head from side to side:


Between the two joints, Hermione can look almost anywhere I want her to look.  


She's especially pretty when she's looking to the side and slightly down:


Hermione has five joints in each arm.  This is by far her most impressive area of articulation.

Her uppermost shoulder joints are rotating hinges.  They allow her arms to spin around and also to hinge away from her body:


The soft vinyl covering around the collar bone area tends to get stuck in the joint when she moves like this, though:


Right underneath the rotating hinges of the shoulders, there's a simple rotating upper arm joint that allows the arm to spin 360 degrees:


These joints are a little stiff.

Hermione has double-jointed elbows, which are fantastic:


These joints have a great range of motion, but no rotation (that's taken care of by the upper arm joint):


Hermione's hands are attached with a rotating hinge peg joint.  She can spin her hands around and also bend them forwards and backwards:


The stiff upper joints make Hermione's arms a little hard to wrestle into certain poses, but for the most part she can do anything I want her to do with her arms.


The upper torso joint is probably another ball joint, because it can twist from side to side...


...and also move forwards and backwards a little bit:


This joint tips backwards more than it tips forwards.

When the joint is tipped backwards, it's possible to see under the soft flap of vinyl:

Double breasted.
There seems to be a lot of excess space between the hard plastic and the vinyl.  Perhaps this contributes to Hermione's strange chest proportions.

This is freaky, but the soft vinyl can actually be lifted up to reveal the plastic shape of the joint underneath:

Put your chest flap down, Hermione.
The waist area moves so little, it took me a while to figure out that there's a joint in there.  I'm still not 100% sure there is a joint, actually.  I tried my best to hold the chest joint still while I bent the waist.  This was the most movement I could get tipping the upper body forwards:


And backwards:


Not very impressive.

Hermione's hips have large, chunky ball joints:


These allow her to do full side-to-side splits:


But she can't do front-to-back splits very well:


She can move her legs forwards nicely...


But can't move them all of the way backwards:


I think this is because the plastic and vinyl in her bottom restrict the backwards movement of the leg.


I also think that the vinyl above her legs gets stretched out and slightly malformed every time I try one of these extreme poses.

Hermione has hinged knees with excellent range of movement, but no rotation:


Here's a look inside the knee joint:


I wish there was rotation in the knees or the upper thigh.

Hermione would be a good kneeler, but her inflexible foot stubs get in the way, as does the vinyl lining on her lower torso.


The stiff vinyl lining of her torso also prevents her from sitting completely upright when she's on the ground:


The more I tried to straighten her back, the more crumpled her belly would get:


For this same reason, Hermione is also pretty bad at sitting in a chair:


She can kneel on one knee well, though:


Overall, this body is similar in construction to my Hot Toys Jakku Rey's body:

Star Ace Teen Hermione body (left) and Hot Toys Jakku Rey body (right).
Both have soft vinyl coverings on their torso, and both have nearly-identical arm articulation.

The biggest difference between these two (other than their coloring and bust size) is the leg and lower body articulation.  Rey's body can kneel much better, and she actually has some movement in her waist joint.

Hot Toys Jakku Rey body.
The next thing I wanted to do was pop Hermione's head off and experiment with some different body/head combinations.  Before I did that, though, I took Hermione's hair down to have a closer look at it.  Notice that she has bits of hair stuck all over the soft vinyl of her chest:

That chest area is a lint magnet!
The color and style of this hair are accurate to the Prisoner of Azkaban movie.  The curls could be tighter and the layered hairs that frame Hermione's face could be more prominent (and maybe cover a bit of her high forehead?), but the center part, the length, and the basic shape are all good.

The hair has too much styling product in it (it feels stiff and coarse), and yet it manages to look unruly most of the time. 

Also, the rooting in back is stingy:


One positive thing I noticed while Hermione's clothes were off is that the skin tone of her head matches the rest of her body very well.  Much better than the match on the hands:


It was easy to pop Hermione's head off:


There are several Emma Watson heads on the market right now, and I wanted to see if one of them would be a better match for this doll than the head she came with.  

Here's the best option I could find:

Hermione head by THREEQ.
I love the attitude in this face, and I think it looks much more like Hermione than the Star Ace attempt.  The hair is also softer and thicker, with some beautiful blonde highlights.  I found the head on eBay for around $35.  I think it's by a company called THREEQ, but several vendors sell this head with no identification.

Here's a closer look at the face with the hair pulled back:

THREEQ Hermione head.
The eyes have nice painted detail, although my doll's pupils are a little wonky.


The painted freckles on this face are more subtle than the freckles on the Star Ace doll.  I like freckled dolls, but again, obvious freckles aren't really appropriate for Hermione's character.


One concern I had is that the new Hermione head is smaller than the Star Ace head:

Star Ace Teen Hermione head (left) and THREEQ Hermione head (right).
Also notice how different the eye sizes are on these two heads.

Sure enough, when the new head is on the Star Ace body, it looks too small:

THREEQ Hermione head on Star Ace body.
Darn it.  I really wanted this head to work!  I love the sassy expression.  The skin tone match isn't bad, but the head is a little darker than the body:


The neck connector also doesn't work perfectly with this body, so the head perches a too high on the neck.


I removed the neck connector so that I could seat the head lower down.  Maybe this looks a bit better?


I also wanted to try the grouchy Hermione head on one of my Phicen bodies.  

The 6th generation bodies are my favorites, so I compared both the S16A (pale) and S17B (suntan) bodies to Hermione's original body.  Here's the S16A:

Star Ace Teen Hermione body (left) and Phicen S16A (right).
Both bodies are pale, but they have very different tinting.  The Star Ace body is yellow compared to the pinker Phicen body.

Here's the S17B:

Star Ace Teen Hermione body (left) and Phicen S17B (right).
These two are quite different, too, but I sensed more potential because grouchy Hermione's head is a tad darker than the Star Ace Body.

Sure enough!

THREEQ Hermione head on Phicen S17B body.
The head is a better size for this body, and the color match is near perfect:


The connector that came with this head causes the head to sit a bit too low on the neck, though.  In these pictures, I tried to balance the head a bit higher up so that it would look more natural.


I think this is an amazing match.  The body is too mature for 14-year-old Hermione, but I think the head is mature, too, so it works.

The real question was whether or not Hermione's clothing would fit onto the Phicen body.

The clothing does fit, but the fit isn't perfect:

THREEQ Hermione head on Phicen S17B body, wearing Star Ace clothing.
Hermione was irritated by that ridiculous tie, so I took it off.

The shirt is very tight around the Phicen chest, and the rubbery limbs and bottom make it pretty hard to pull the skirt on.

THREEQ Hermione head on Phicen S17B body, wearing Star Ace clothing.
The cardigan is so bulky that it makes this head look way too small:

THREEQ Hermione head on Phicen S17B body, wearing Star Ace clothing.
There was no way I was getting the black tights anywhere near my Phicen body (these bodies stain really easily), so I had to settle for the outfit without tights or shoes:

THREEQ Hermione head on Phicen S17B body, wearing Star Ace clothing.
Not bad!

THREEQ Hermione head on Phicen S17B body, wearing Star Ace clothing.
The clothes are fine for pictures, but everything feels a bit tight.  I can't really display this combination of Hermione items, either, because the head isn't seated correctly and I have no tights or shoes.  I might be able to modify the neck connector somehow to get a better fit, perhaps by just pushing some putty into the head opening?


The extra head wasn't the quick fix I was hoping for, so let's take a look at Hermione's casual outfit and see if perhaps the original doll looks better in different clothes.

The casual outfit includes a hoodie, a tee shirt, jeans, a belt and sneakers:


The sneakers are molded around feet (presumably the same shoe horn feet that we've seen already) and cannot be removed:


These shoes are much more detailed than the black shoes that came with the school outfit.  I especially like the greenish mottled effect on all of the dark brown areas:


The jeans only fit on when there are no shoes (or feet) on the legs, so I wrestled the jeans on first and then popped on the sneakers.

At first, I was sure that my doll had been given two left feet.  Her right sneaker looks like it's pointing outwards, not inwards.


Here are the feet closer together. What do you think?


I checked the bottoms of the sneakers and the treads are different, so the shoes I got must be correct:


When the shoes are removed, they look a little better.  Maybe the outward-facing toe is an optical illusion?


The jeans are a little hard to pull on, but they're nicely made:


The fly closes with velcro and the belt loops are functional.  The front pockets are only decorative, though:



The back pockets work:


Here's the rainbow belt that came with the set.  It's just like the one Hermione wears in Prisoner of Azkaban:


I love that the belt has a metal buckle, but the length is way too long!


Also, it was hard to push the belt through the tiny loops on the jeans (I used the wand to poke it through) so when I had to push a third of the belt through the loops a second time, I wasn't too thrilled.

The belt creates a lot of bulk around Hermione's waist:

Humpty Hermione.

The tee shirt does not have any opening seams, so I removed Hermione's head and slid the shirt on over her neck:


The shirt is really soft and has a delicate gauge knit.  Still, it ends up looking a little bulky on Hermione's wide frame:


I'm starting to understand why doll bodies have to be unnaturally skinny.  This is the only way that clothing in this scale can look like it's draping naturally without adding too much bulk.

The shirt is beautifully-contructed, though, with tiny little hemmed edges:


The sweatshirt is really impressive, too, but again–it adds a lot of thickness to Hermione's frame:



I think that the drape and fit look slightly different in the promotional pictures:


There's nothing inherently wring with the proportions of this doll, but fourteen-year-old Emma Watson was a very petite person.

The hoodie has a tiny little zipper that works well:


The teeth are plastic and the pull is metal:



The hood of this sweatshirt can be pulled up over Hermione's head:


Here's how it looks from the back:


I like this casual outfit better than the school uniform.  First of all, it makes me less concerned about the likeness between the doll and the movie character, but also, it gives Hermione a softness that she doesn't have when she's wearing a collared shirt and tie:

review

One bad thing about the outfit is that the jeans are so tight, they make it almost impossible for Hermione to sit in a chair:


She's much better with standing poses:



She balances in these poses all by herself, too.





For anyone who's curious, here's what the other Hermione head looks like with the casual outfit (this is with the Star Ace body) :


The head just needs to be a little bit bigger to make this work.


At this point in the review, I remembered that I had another sixth scale Emma Watson head in the house!  It's the Modular Art head I bought when I was hoping to make use of the Disney Store's Belle dress by using a Phicen body and a new head.

This head might look a bit more like Hermione than Star Ace's version, but it's not a good head:

Modular Art Hermione head on Star Ace body.
Her eyes are super-wonky and that hair is totally out of control.

Modular Art Hermione head on Star Ace body.
The head is also too dark for the Star Ace body, so I don't recommend this as a good fix, either.

Modular Art Hermione head on Star Ace body.
After that, the original Star Ace doll looks pretty good!



I'll end the review by taking a quick look at my two Star Ace Hermione dolls together.  

When Teen Hermione has her head turned, she looks passable...

Teen Hermione and the original Hermione Granger by Star Ace.
...but from the front, she simply can't compete with her delightful younger self:

Teen Hermione and the original Hermione Granger by Star Ace.
For a character as sassy and expressive as Ms. Granger, the blank expression on this doll is inexcusable.

Teen Hermione and the original Hermione Granger by Star Ace.
The younger Hermione is not a perfect likeness, granted, but I think she really captures the essence of the character...and I just love her face:


As I was changing the larger Hermione back into her school uniform for a few more comparison shots, I noticed that in the few hours her clothes had been changed, the jeans had managed to stain parts of her vinyl.  It's hard to see in these pictures (and the stains are minor), but I'd advise against keeping this doll in her casual outfit for any length of time:

The largest stain is on the right side of her bottom .
The hip bone area and the edges of the vinyl are also stained.
When I redressed Hermione in the school uniform, one of the little shirt buttons fell off:


Another button fell off when I was taking her sweater off a little later.  I could easily glue the buttons back on...if I hadn't lost one of them already.  They're really small.

Also, when I put the shiny black shoes back on, suddenly the right foot looked like a left foot again:


Maybe I'm imagining things?


Anyway, here are the two Hermiones wearing everything except their robes:


Both uniforms are accurate to their respective movies.  Many of the details should be finer, like the stripes on the sweaters and the scale of Teen Hermione's tie, but the overall colors and shapes of the clothing are spot-on...right down to the difference in pleating on the skirts.

Teen Hermione and the original Hermione Granger by Star Ace.
Even though I have no real complaints about accuracy (well, except for Teen Hermione's tie), I think that the uniform on the Sorcerer's Stone Hermione looks much better.  The large pleats of Teen Hermione's skirt combined with her bulky sweater and huge tie make her look frumpy and dull to me.  Her blank expression is no doubt a big contributor to this impression.  In contrast, Sorcerer's Stone Hermione has a sweater with nice drape, and a heavily-pleated skirt that seems to have some spunk and life of its own.  All of this is balanced by a charming face and crazy hair that instantly make me think of Ms. Granger.

Here are the dolls with their robes on:

Teen Hermione and the original Hermione Granger by Star Ace.
Both robes are great.  Even though the red lining on the Azkaban robe is not movie-accurate, I like its dramatic effect.  I also like the wire-lined edges, which allow the robe to be positioned as though it's moving.



Here are some more action shots of Teen Hermione:




The stand is simple, but it does allow Hermione to strike some even more dramatic poses:



In my eyes, the best parts of this set are the little Crookshanks figure:



And the Time-Turner:


Even though Crookshanks doesn't appear until the Prisoner of Azkaban book, I've always wished that my younger Hermione doll had this scruffy cat as an accessory:


Maybe it's because this doll feels like the "real" Hermione in my collection.  In any case, she seemed very happy to be introduced to her future pet!



Bottom line?  The only reason I'm tempted to purchase hugely expensive figures like this is because they tend to offer uncanny accuracy in their faces and clothing...along with stellar articulation, of course.  Star Ace's first Hermione figure delivered beautifully in these areas.  Let's review how the new version measures up.

Teen Version Hermione's clothing is well-tailored and almost perfectly accurate to the movie.  The clothes have wonderful details, like the tiny cuff buttons on the white shirt and the stitched wand pocket inside the robe.  My favorite feature is the wire-lined edge of the robe, which allows the garment to adapt to even the most extreme action poses.  The casual outfit has its own impressive features (like the hoodie's working zipper and the rainbow belt) and carries the added of advantage of looking better on the Hermione doll than the uniform does.  I find myself disappointed with the outfits overall, though.  Why?  Well, first of all, there are a lot of little defects.  The tiny buttons on the shirt are glued in place, and so they fall off really easily.  My doll's shirt has already lost two buttons.  Also, the tie is way too large in scale, and the rubber band collar makes the whole tie stick out at an absurd angle unless it's being held down.  While I love the rainbow belt in the casual outfit, it's much too long and has to be fed through the belt loops too many times, creating unnecessary bulk.  Also, the shoes are hard to get off, the jeans leave stains, the pointy hood of the robe sticks out in back, the robe lining is the wrong color...all of these little things add up in my mind.  Last of all, the clothes just don't look very good on the doll.  I think this has more to do with the shape of the doll's body than the clothes themselves, but when Hermione is fully-dressed, the child-like, petite physique of young Emma Watson is completely absent.

Hermione's body is not that different from some other sixth scale bodies that I've seen.  In fact, it has similar size, shape, and construction to the body on Hot Toys' Jakku Rey.  That's a problem, though.  Fourteen-year-old Hermione doesn't look like Rey, and Hermione has to accommodate much bulkier clothing.  But even without clothing, the body is a little disappointing.  While the arm and head articulation are outstanding, the torso movement is limited (the waist "joint" barely moves at all) and without any rotating joints, the legs can't do as much as I expect them to do.  It doesn't help that the rubbery chest is a lint magnet and the feet look like shoe horns and can't bend much at all.  I feel like a broken record saying this, but Mattel really changed the game with their Made to Move line.  I can no longer find excuses for why an expensive collectible would be unable to meet this standard of appearance and articulation.

The problems with this doll's body pale in comparison to the problems with her head.  The head bears almost no resemblance to Hermione, especially not a fourteen-year-old version of the character.  The hair looks terrible right out of the box and is difficult to fix.  The rooting is also quite sparse in back.  The skin is painted to look like it's heavily freckled, not subtly textured.  The eyes look bored and a bit lifeless.  Even if the features did resemble Emma Watson, the bland expression does absolutely nothing to convey the spark and sass of the movie character.

I should take a moment to reiterate the good things about this figure because she's not awful.  The doll comes with a lot of extras, which is very nice.  Most of the clothing is beautifully made.  The accessories (mostly Crookshanks and the Time-Turner) are absolutely wonderful.  Even the face is realistic, and would work fine for a mature, freckled character.  It's certainly a better head than the Modular Art Emma Watson head (and a few of the other heads) that I introduced during my Phicen reviews.  And the doll moves well, especially in her upper body.  She also balances very well.  She might not be able to sit in a chair, but she can stand on her own in a number of upright poses.

No matter how many details Star Ace got right with their Teen Hermione, I simply cannot get past the fact that she doesn't look like Hermione.  Her face and body might remind me of someone real...it just isn't the beloved, clever witch from Harry Potter.  This doll has about the same level of resemblance that I would expect from a $20 action figure or play doll.  For a $240 collectible, that isn't nearly good enough.

My best offerings from Star Ace.

26 comments:

  1. A very thorough review! I have the Star Ace Prisoner of Azkaban Hermoine and think she is adorable. I do wish her feet were feet and not just shoe holders. I like your ThreeQ head on the Phicen body. The Star Ace Teen Hermoine does seem to have some nice qualities, but I agree that she leaves a bit to be desired for her price. Thanks for this review!

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  2. Wow. When you first showed the little girl Hermione, I was disappointed that she looked so much more like Ron than Hermione. But this one . . . It looks like Snape and Hermione had a child together and her hair is weirdly flat on top. The extra bits and pieces look great though.

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    1. That's exactly what I was thinking!

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  3. I look at the face and see Lena Durman from Girls not Emma Watson. Which is disappointing in the extreme

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  4. I think what you have there is an Amy Farrah Fowler doll. That's who she looks like to me anyways

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  5. She looks like late Alan Rickman the actor who plays Snape.

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  6. That doll's face looks like Lena Dunham.

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  7. It's such a pain when dolls look really different from their prototype, and this is an extreme case! I probably would've returned her if it were me.

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  8. As a theatrical costumer, I've often resorted to the button-over-snap/button-over-Velcro ploy for quick changes. This only works when all buttons are fastened, as the aim is to make the garment appear as if the buttons are actually buttoned from the correct side -- left-over-right for men, right-over-left for women. The bottom button on Hermione's sweater has no corresponding snap, and while the sweater looks good open at the bottom, the lack of a snap ruins the illusion and causes a "something is wrong, but I don't know exactly what it is" reaction.

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    1. Theatrical costumer as well. That misaligned line isn't helping matters.

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  9. She's nor like Emma Watson's Hermione of course, but to me, she still looks pretty, just sad, as you mentioned in the beginning. Thanks for great review, as always! ♥

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  10. Personally I think the older doll DOES look like Emma Watson (with a little Natalie Portman in there from some angles), of course, she could do with a teensy little bit of a smile to those lips but then she'd be I think a lot more characterful. For the price her blank expression is very disappointing and not having actual feet is a strange decision. Means you can't ever have her chilling out barefoot. Though, given how odd her body is, i'm not sure you'd want her out of lots and lots of clothing. And her very thinly rooted hair is a huge disappointment as well. Why on earth didn't they root her correctly when they're charging such a premium?

    The little details on her clothing are super nice though.

    Are you sure the shoes are on the correct feet? Sometimes it's really hard to tell which is left and which is right and swapping em fixes the odd problem when by all reason it shouldn't. and sometimes one shoe is just oddly shaped regardless.

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  11. Hm, as member of the 1/6 community, I heard about of the likeness problems with the newer Star Ace figures. Sadly the same also happened to Dani (Game of Thrones) from ThreeZero. She looks nothing like the prototype.
    I heard many collectirs saying that they now wait to order till they see in hand pics of Star Ace and ThreeZero figures.
    But it‘s stilk sad, esp. after that cute little Hermione.

    About the uniform...I remember that I bought a Slytherin uniform based on Azkaban when I was a teen and it had green lining.
    The Gryffindor lining isn‘t as blood red as on the figure, but it is there.
    http://m.coolspotters.com/characters/hermione-granger/and/clothing/hogwarts-uniform-grey-skirt/media/1802173


    Thank you for another great review Emilyy

    xxxSéverine

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  12. Hello Emily! Have you seen this doll? I found her very different and interesting ://www.thescarygodmother.com/products/scary-godmother-fashion-collectible
    As always loving your reviews, hugs!

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  13. I wonder if the Sorceror's Stone Hermione head will fit on the teenage Hermione body? or if they can share clothes at least? they might be bulky but they are nice clothes, especially the hoodie. if young Hermione can wear the casual outfit (the top part, anyways) it might give you more fun options for her, if not for the teen version.

    For me it looks like the top of teen Hermione's head has been sliced off. I know it's because her hair is so flat, but even if the hair were fluffier, I feel like her head is just ALL face, and that's very weird.

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  14. *shudders* ughh, this is the first time I've felt truly repulsed in a doll review. The Disney Store Belle at least resembles Emma Watson, especially with her hair fixed. And the body isn't so creepy. Some of these images will probably show up in my nightmares. This doll- and the body without a head- feels like something out of Sid's bedroom in Toy Story.

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  15. Huh, of the many Emma Watson doll likenesses to appear on this blog, this is surprisingly one of the worst. What could have ever compelled them to release an inferior head sculpt after the advertised prototype pretty much nailed it?

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  16. Wow! Teen Hermione is so far off, especially when dressed in her school robes. You are definitely right there, the muggle outfit looks better on her. During your review certain angles and hairstyles worked better and made her actually look like the Hermione we know and love. However, the straight one view is terrible! She looks angry, beyond frustrated at Ron and Harry angry. I don't recall Hermione looking that angry ever - even when she punched out Malfoy.
    ~Xyra

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  17. Hey, I don't know if you are interested or if you already knew, but there are these new(?) Disney Toybox action figures. They are kinda like the figures from the Disney Infinity game, but articulated!
    I had to get some Star Wars ones (Rey, Kylo Ren and a stormtrooper) and Black Widow :) They're cute, feel sturdy and overall seem to be good quality. I think they are Disney Store exclusives, but I'm not 100% sure. Check them out, maybe you'll like them too :)

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  18. Why don't they just give up and start making heads that match the Barbie made to move body? It seems like such a big design effort for such little reward. Emily, have you seen the new Obitsu 24cm body? I don't have one yet but it looks amazing. By the way, the second Hermione head from THREEQ looks like Matt Damon in drag.(Once you see it, you can't unsee it.)

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    1. That's what I thought!! A grumpy Matt Damon lol

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  19. Is that comment, "Put your chest flap down, Hermione." a quote from a scene in Deathly Hallows part 1, when Harry walks into the tent and catches Hermione and Ron and a delicate situation?

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  20. The teen Hermione doll looks like sue heck from abc's the middle (im sorry) lol

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  21. Great review! I was wondering, have you spotted the kruselings yet? They seem right up your ally.

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  22. How tall is the body? Would it be comparable to a person who is 5'4 or 5'5?

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