Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Liv Dolls...What if You Don't Like the New Body?

I still have Liv dolls on my mind today, and since there are brand new releases to chat about, they get another post.  A commenter got me thinking--if you are like me and really don't care for the new body, are these dolls still worth buying just for the clothes, shoes and wig?  My first thought was that this is really wasteful.  I would feel bad throwing away a whole doll just to have her clothes.  However, as someone pointed out, the doll could go to the thrift store (or be given away on a blog for free...) maybe finding its way to a smaller child who would do better with a less articulated doll.  That could work out pretty well.

The Liv for Color line is priced at $10.99 and the Brites are $19.99, so with this in mind, I am going to de-box Brites Alexis and then we'll compare what you get with her to what came with Liv for Color Katie and see if it's worth the cash.  Sound good?

First things first, time to get Alexis out of the box.

There's a lot more plastic with this line than the Liv for Color line:

Cardboard insert:

She was actually pretty easy to get out of there...except for the hair.  Everything else was held in with those little rubber bands and then the hair was nailed down with plastic tags and thread and all of that:

The wigs sheds a bit, but not too bad:

Here's everything you get:

The brush is a little different from the older brushes--its smaller, and Alexis can hold it.  The older, more flexible hands can hold the brush better.  To me, the important things here are the sunglasses, the dress, the shoes and the wig.  Maybe the bracelets would be really fun for a little girl, but they look pretty small!

Here's Alexis all brushed and cleaned up:

Toy Box Philosopher

The wig is super long and very soft, but it doesn't look exactly like the one on the back of the box:

Under that wig, Alexis is hiding her pixie cut in a kind-of terracotta orange:

The paint on the shoes is a little sloppy, and they aren't the shoes shown on the box, but they look fine.  This might be a good time to mention that the shoes are easier to get on and off without articulation in the ankle, so that's one plus for the new body.

I love the sunglasses!

So, if you are unhappy with everything about the doll, this is what you get for your $20:

An older Katie models it to see if it looks good on other dolls:

I think it looks great on first wave Sophie with those bright eyes!

I need to try this set on a newer Sophie!  Very pretty.
Ok, now let's compare that to what you get with the Liv for Color Katie who I de-boxed yesterday:

On Katie:

The wig is really loose on Katie...maybe this is just a fluke?

And on Sophie (the wig is really loose on her, too):

And here are the dresses and wigs side-by-side:

In the end, it just comes down to personal preference.  I like the material, colors and design of the Brites dress a lot more.  It seems special.  The color and length of the orange wig make it unique--I don't have any other wigs like it.  The pink dress is cute, but it's very simple, it's made of polyester that snags easily and it doesn't quite match the wig.  I already have a few pink wigs very similar to this one.  

Neither dress is quite as nice as this:

I can't remember what this retailed for, though...maybe $14.99?  But it doesn't have a wig.  Wigs cost $5.99 on their own.  If my prices are right, the dress above (which comes with shoes) and a new wig would cost about $21.00 (that's a lot!!).

There's one more factor involved here.  If you like one of the new girl's heads, it could pretty easily be swapped onto an older body.  So, the question is, are the heads worth something or are they also headed to the thrift store?

Does her lower lip look really big?

Again, this is all about personal preference.  I like Alexis quite a lot.  I think Katie is a bit vacant in this version, but I could totally understand someone loving her bright lipstick and pink painted hair.  I will probably swap this Alexis head onto another body and dress her in the orange outfit and wig, but I am giving away Katie as a whole.

What do you guys think?  Would you pay $11 for the pink clothes and wig?  Would you pay $20 for the orange set?  Would you keep the head(s)?  

I wonder if most Liv collectors like the new body and I am in the minority here.  If so, that's actually good.  If not, a lot of naked and/or headless Liv dolls are going to end up in the thrift store or in the garbage. 

Perhaps in the end what really bothers me here is that I have seen this type of thing again and again in the doll world.  A new kind of doll is released and it is extremely well made and has all kinds of cool new features that are really exciting.  Then, as time goes on, more and more shortcuts are taken.  Features are lost.  Maybe the clothes aren't made as well anymore, or you don't get as many accessories for the same amount of money.  The materials get cheaper.  The quality control slips. 

It could be that part of the explanation for what happened to Liv dolls this year is that they ended up appealing to a younger crowd than Spin Master first anticipated.  I do think dolls with fewer joints are probably easier to manage for the little ones.  This "big one" loved the joints, though.  I like the idea of bringing the flexibility of high-end fashion dolls to a play line so that kids can experience the realism and posing potential of this type of doll.  It is sad for me to see the extra joints removed from Liv dolls...I'm hoping they'll be back some day.


  1. Another point is there were some long "deluxe" wigs that were $10 each. A brown one with beads and a long blond one with markers.

    I don't see headless Liv dolls ending up at the thrift store so much as ones with old heads on the new bodies since what good is an extra head without a body?

    I think it is more likely they removed some of the articulation so they could offer a lower priced doll. There has not been a Liv doll on the market for anything less than $15 unless it is on sale. I think they were aiming for a more affordable option.

  2. Oh, yeah! I forgot about those longer wigs. They're $10? Wow.

    How about this--they could leave the Liv for Color as they are so there can be an affordable but less posable doll, and then give the Brites Edition back their joints for the $20 tag?

    Think about It's My Nature. Those dolls are $20 and I feel like there is a lot more in the box with them--nice outfits and accessories and the joints were still cool!

    1. Oh yeah I agree the Brites should of had all their joints for the price but I honestly think that is Target upping the price because they are an "exclusive". I think Liv should have had another poseable line without the extra gimmicks that are not exclusives that could be priced around $15-$16.

  3. I have seen just heads at the thrift store. I didn't bother to buy them.

    1. Well, I guess that makes sense. I liked Twist and Dance Hayden's face and so I swapped her onto After School Hayden's body because that Hayden's face is the same as It's My Nature. So...I have an extra Hayden head. Also, another commenter told me that Barbie heads look good on Liv bodies, so that'd be another reason for heads to roll...

      The thrift store needs a Liv body/head matching program! ;)

      I wonder what kind of impression those bodiless heads make on a little kid, though?? Yikes.

  4. The spare Liv heads could be used by Liv fans experimenting with repainting Liv faces. You might not want to use your favorite Hayden doll's face, but if you had an extra Hayden head, you could repaint that. If you like the results, pop off the original head and replace it with the new head. You avoid paying for a new doll and satisfy your curiosity.

    Or if you want to have multiple Hayden heads for an online photo album - Hayden in Her Many Moods - you can have a red-lipped Hayden, a pale-lipped Hayden, Hayden with tattoos, etc.

    1. I'd love to try repainting a Liv head in a more serious way. Do you use acrylic paints? Also, don't people sometimes use a sealant or something on top of the paint?
      Seems like it could be a very fun hobby. I love the idea of a "many moods" project.

    2. I have never repainted any of the Liv dolls, but I mentioned that option for those who like the Liv faces.

      I think acrylic paints are the preferred medium for doll artists. I haven't done any painting since I was young. I would love to do some repaints eventually though. Possibly later this year. And the "many moods" would be a project I would enjoy. If you do any repaints, please share. I enjoy reading your writing ;-D

  5. I'm sorry to hear that the body has changed! I am one of those people who purchased the body for Barbies! I have a lot of heads and wigs sitting around. I need a few more older bodies for my dolls. I guess I better scoop them up!

    1. Well, the good news is that there are several older dolls going on clearance now, so you might be able to scoop up some really good deals!
      I need to try the Barbie head swap...

  6. Thanks for this post. I need to check the clearance isles for the old bodies. By the way, my preference is the older body in comparison to the new one.

  7. Really interesting comparison - great post! I'm another person who puts Barbie heads on Liv bodies. I have sold lots of Liv heads and on ebay for people to custom into OOAKs or practice their face-up skills.

    1. Ok, that's it. I need to go get myself a Barbie and try this out!! ;)

  8. I'm double checking ... is the ankle joint the only articulation lost so far? And is that for both the Target Exclusive Brites and the Liv for Color? Thanking you in advance.

  9. Hi Dana,
    The Brites and the Liv for Color have lost articulation in their:

    So, they still have head, shoulder, hip and (basic) knee articulation (7 points)

    Sorry--I switch clothes on the dolls in this post so much it is hard to tell who is who! :)

    1. Hi Emily! Thanks for the breakdown. I got lazy ;-D

  10. The Making Waves and "Alice In Wonderland" sets still have the old joints.
    PS some of the dolls have the white "panties" paint. I wish Spin Master didn't do that. I prefer using real panties.

    I also wish Jake had wigs. Guys like to change thier hairdos too. Some guys even look handsom with long hair. Back in my high school days, one of the hotest and smartest guys in school had long hair!! Most little girls don't understand that it's OK for boys to have long hair. Unless they live in a Native American community that is.

    Jake needs friends too. And stuff. Sure he has some outfits and his Life Guard gear..... but come on. Guys like to accessorize too!

    Give Jake a car or a truck. Would be cute if it came with a mini driver's license, keys and customiazable plates. Paint it in gender neutral colors like blue, white, silver, green, red or black. That way he can take Katie for spin around town. LOL

    An army style foot locker. A video game system like a Wii, Xbox or a NDS.

    A high school varcity jacket, a track suit, some sweats, some boots.
    Some army style dog tags, basball caps, a Newsboy/Drivers cap.
    A backpack or a messenger bag. A TV, a Laptop or desktop computer.

  11. I agree about Jake! I almost bought him the other day (on sale at Toys R Us) but just like you said, he doesn't have wigs (and he has a bad hair cut), he has no accessories or extra outfits, and there isn't any indication that any of these things will become available in the future...especially if this is the end of the Liv line for good. Oh--and I don't think he has wrist joints.

    I still might get him some day because I have seen some people give him really handsome haircuts, and he is pretty good looking, all things considered.

    I love your car idea--especially if it had keys and a driver's license! He's got to keep up with Ken. I'd also totally buy Jake if he came with a mini XBox. :)

    1. I have the Jake doll. I can confirm the he has wrist joints.

      See my own blog.

  12. I really don't mind it at all. i grow up with Bratz and Barbies. right now i'm on Monster high. When i heard of Livs and Moxie teenz going i wanted some wigs and some dolls. I was going to get a liv red wig with a doll and name her Foxface. (hunger games) than get a another doll with a blonde pigtail wig and call her Glimmer. than Clove and Katniss. ( yea i'm a hunger games geek) -rebelmockingjay

  13. que pena, yo jamas dañaría o desarmaría una muñeca, si me gusta la compro y la dejo como esta, pero si veo que no esta articulada de los brazos o las piernas, no la compro los accesorios y la ropa han bajado de calidad, los zapatos de las colors no les ajustan bien. Compre una liv dance pero me decepciono que no tuviera las piernas articuladas, así que le quite todo, y se lo puede a otra liv que compre sin ropa en un mercado callejero. La muñeca le puse un vestido y la cambie por una articulada en un puesto. Las de victorious no me gustaron, ni las colors, ni las dance y las demás no las sacaron en México. que pena supongo que producir muñecas sin tantas articulaciones es más barato. Y además no pegaron.

  14. I think Liv is way prettier than Tonner's Ellowyne series. It is sad to see her downgraded. I was attracted to her inset eyes, removable wigs, and her articulation, I am the type of person who would spend money just for a wig and a dress, re-dress the doll and then donate her. I have loved the photos of your Liv dolls. They are a doll I would have collected had I known about her. These are favorite dolls of mine in which you state beautifully, quality control slips and dolls decline. You summed it all up. Here are the following consequences from the 1980s, 1990s, and now: sorry for the novel, but I'm a doll nut (and a writer) and I couldn't agree with you more. It someone has an idle moment, please read on. If not, maybe you can come back! I have watched quality control slip with My Twinn. I have Twinns from 1998. The vinyl looks like porcelain, the eyes are heavy paperweight glass, it's like staring into human eyes. Lashes matched the hair (like platinum blond or bright red). These dolls were heavy. That was some thick vinyl. And the eyebrows - handpainted by the best artists. I just spent a chunk on a vintage Twinn with artist brows from 1997 and she needs restoration big time, but it'll be worth it. Today's Twinns have a lightweight translucent vinyl, hair is thin, eyes are a plastic acrylic, and 44 molds were reduced to about 18. Options are limited. I had one VA new Twinn get a face up by one of the retired artists. It happened with Cabbage Patch Kids by Coleco - perfect dolls. Sold to Hasbro - cartoonish faces and gimmicks like glasses and teeth. Big hand stitched babies - small, proportional faces and handpainted eyes, hand-signed by Xavier Roberts now, large cartoonish heads, evocative of Pullip and Cuite Pops, great on the small dolls, weird on the 24" rag dolls, stamped signatures, bigger prices. Why do these companies mess with perfection? I have searched for a World Edition I Karito Kid for 2 years now. World II Zoe broke my heart - brittle, thin hair, mis-matched clothing that stained her vinyl limbs, hollow vinyl, vacant eyes, (my cousin has World I Zoe and what a "world" of difference). Even her breastplate was flat so she looked 8 or 9 instead of about 14 years old. In 2 hours, my World Edition I Ling will be here. A two year search finally ending in this Chinese beauty. I bought that AG microscope set for her - I was hooked! The mini books have pandas on the cover! The worst is the timeline of Pleasant Company-American Girl-Mattel? presents American Girl. Oh, everything was wood, porcelain, authentic - now plastic molded food. Gorgeous dolls from West Germany. Oh. The decline. The retirements. Addy had stilts. Kirsten had Swedish clogs. Josephina Montoya had a real piano made in Mexican tradition! And now, farewell, Molly. My childhood Molly had Dad's picture in it, perfect food, stainless steel rings in the binder, colored pencils. Now it's plastic, empty locket, molded food, 1 pencil. I believe the original Liv dolls will escalate in value.