Saturday, July 13, 2024

Junior High, Littles, and Basic Dolls from Rainbow High

I hope everyone is doing okay with the heat of summer so far.  Here in New Jersey, we've been facing excessive and unrelenting heat for weeks.  It's not a lot of fun, especially because my air conditioner decided to give up the ghost last weekend.  We've rigged a temporary solution (a few window units), and the cats seem to think this is fine, but the dogs and I are not happy.  The nice thing is that I've been uplifted throughout this unpleasantness by the bright and colorful company of a few Rainbow High dolls.

I haven't talked about Rainbow High in quite a while.  I actually figured that the couple of reviews I did over the last few years would cover the brand adequately, but MGA has come up with several new products that forced me to re-think.

I've known about the nine-inch Junior High dolls for a few years now, of course, and I've even bought a few of them, but I never quite found the motivation to do a full review.  Lately, the release of the low-cost Swim & Style line and the six-inch Littles got me curious enough that I made some space in my review queue for the Rainbow High kids once again:

Rainbow High Littles Indigo Bailey ($9.99) and Junior High Krystal Bailey ($24.99) by Rainbow High.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Unicorn Academy Dolls by Spin Master

I've been excitedly waiting for the Unicorn Academy merchandise to hit the shelves for several months now.  Not because I'm an avid reader of the original book series by Julie Sykes (although I recently read and enjoyed the first volume), but because I tend to be interested in everything Spin Master does.

I'm a fan of Spin Master primarily because of their Liv line, which came out way back in 2009 and jump-started my enthusiasm for dolls and doll reviewing.  I was also amused by the flamboyant La Dee Da dolls, despite their minimal articulation, and kind of wish I'd kept a few of those girls in my collection.  Most recently, I reviewed Spin Master's Mermaid High dolls and found them to be versatile and whimsical little play companions.

Based on that history, I tend to have a high level of enthusiasm when I learn about a new Spin Master doll line.  And with the Unicorn Academy release I was doubly excited because not only are there a bunch of new dolls, in two different scales, but there's a wonderful selection of unicorn characters to accompany them:

4.5" Sophia and Wildstar by Spin Master, $14.99

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Super Creator Happy Meals Kitchen Kit by Rolife

Back in the earlier days of Toy Box Philosopher, I had a project series with a few multi-part articles documenting my efforts with a doll-related art project.  I think there were only two installments, The Saskia Project and The My Twinn Project.  The My Twinn Project, in which I tried my hand at restoring and repainting My Twinn dolls, blossomed into an obsession that lasted for years, and even resulted in a new blog.  I'd love to get back into repainting those dolls someday, but there's just too much going on right now.

However, I still sometimes find myself in a crafty or artistic mood, and am often looking for outlets.  One of my kids has recently become fascinated by the wooden kits made by a company called Rolife.  These kits are apparently very satisfying to assemble, and result in some beautiful pieces (things like clocks, book nooks, dollhouses, and music boxes) that are a manageable size and great for display.  You can see examples on the Rolife website.

I went to browse the wooden kits myself one day, thinking I might try one, and I noticed a newer line called Super Creator.  The Super Creator sets are plastic kits that snap together to make a single diorama-like dollhouse room or shop.  I love dioramas and dollhouses, so these kits are very appealing to me.  One thing that was unclear, though, is what the scale of the kits was, and which dolls might be able to use the rooms.  That left me curious.  So, I decided to buy one of the rooms, build it, and then let some of my dolls test it out:

Littles Pet Shop Blythe doll in the Happy Meals Kitchen by Rolife, $43.99.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Girls of Many Lands from American Girl

I've always enjoyed vintage and discontinued dolls.  They can evoke tender feelings of nostalgia, a sense of wonder over the passage of time, or just seem hilariously funny in their outdated features.  I feel like I've gotten more interested in older dolls recently, perhaps because they remind me of the dolls that I had as a kid, or the brands that got me hooked on doll collecting as an adult.

Back in January I got a review recommendation from Rory involving older dolls.  Rory had recently found two nine-inch dolls in her parents' closet that she thought were from the early 2000s--around the time I started collecting dolls as an adult.  The dolls reminded her of Robert Tonner's aesthetic, which she knows I love.  She sent me a few photos of the dolls she found, and I was instantly intrigued.  They certainly resemble Tonner dolls, with their hand-painted faces, but they also looked distinctly like Helen Kish dolls to me.  And to deepen the intrigue, they're from the American Girl brand.  It should come as no surprise that within twenty four hours I'd purchased three of them.

Girls of Many Lands Isabel, by Pleasant Company (2002).

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Tea with Lena: 1:6 Scale Horses

I have animals on my mind most of the time.  That's in part because I have eleven of them living in my house, but also because I spend my days at work taking care of another hundred or so homeless creatures.  But I also just like thinking about animals, especially horses.  The impressive size and graceful movement of horses has always been spellbinding to me.  Realistic 1:9 model horses like those made by the Breyer company are able to capture a lot of the things that I find so beautiful about horses, and so I've always admired them (and also reviewed them a few times).  I was even more obsessed with Breyer models when I was a kid, and amassed a collection that covered an entire wall of my room.

Back in March, when I wrote the Horse Foal Surprise review, I was reminded of how much I enjoy model horses.  That inspired me to do some investigating into what 1:6 scale horse options are available these days.  And my research turned out to be timely, as you'll see, because of something exciting that happened to Lena.

Lena with Hanoverian Horse by JXK, $130.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

LULUPOP Dolls by SAMG Entertainment

Spring has definitely sprung here in New Jersey, with temperatures creeping into the 80s and lots of flowers everywhere.  The beautiful weather makes me eager to get back outside with my dolls, and that's on the agenda for next time, but today I want to share a review that I've been meaning to write since September of last year.

During one of my random browsing sessions on Amazon, I found a big-eyed fashion doll that I'd never seen before, from a South Korean brand called LULUPOP (also written "Lulu Pop").  The LULUPOP dolls are based on virtual K-pop idols, so there are a few full-length songs and music videos featuring the animated idols.  From what I understand, the dolls used to be available exclusively in Korea, but they made the jump to Amazon about a year and a half ago.

I'm always fascinated to explore brands from other countries, because they often have a new aesthetic or offer a window into a different culture.  In this case, the aesthetic looks very familiar, but the songs and videos definitely offer up something new and fun.  So, with high hopes, I purchased one of the girls, Tania, to see what the brand is all about:

LULUPOP Tania, by SAMG Entertainment, $25.99.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Diva Starz by Mattel

I'm excited to be sitting down to write this review for the second time!  As you might remember, last time around I realized I'd forgotten some important versions of the doll, and felt like I had to start over with a new approach.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't be concerned about creating such a thorough review of a brand, but these particular dolls hold an interesting place in the evolution of icons like Bratz and My Scene, so I felt like they warranted a more careful look.

So, who are the dolls?  They're Mattel's Diva Starz, a varied range of electronic-themed dolls that were first released in the fall of 2000.  The original dolls were designed to fit into a market that was obsessed with electronic pets.  For example, Furby, an interactive fuzzy creature made by Tiger Electronics, was at the peak of its popularity in the late 1990s, with more than 40 million units sold between 1998 and 2000.  The early Diva Starz had more in common with Furby than they did with most fashion dolls, but by the time they were discontinued in 2005, the dolls had gone through two major transformations and looked significantly different. 

In today's review, I'll look at all three main iterations of the Diva Starz, which means it's gonna be a long one!  So, settle in with your favorite beverage and take a trip down memory lane with me.

Fashion Diva Starz Nikki by Mattel, 2002.