Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Quick Look at Li'L Ones by Ty

Last night I was at a local toy shop buying something for an upcoming review and I discovered this appealing little doll who I had never seen before:

Hello Kitty "Li'l One" doll by Ty
She's a 4.5 inch doll made of plastic and vinyl with long rooted hair and removable clothing.  She cost me $6.95, but this particular store marks things way up.  You can get her online for $5 (as long as you don't shop at Amazon), but then I guess you'd have to pay shipping.

When she first caught my eye, this doll reminded me of Barbie's sister Chelsea.  Because of this, my review will make a lot of comparisons to Chelsea.  I assumed these two dolls must be about the same size, but in fact Chelsea is quite a bit bigger:

I like the green handle on the Ty doll's box.
There was a whole rack filled with these little dolls.  I looked at each one carefully and finally settled on this girl because of her cute Hello Kitty companion and coordinating outfit.  You can get a glimpse of the other options on the back of the box, but if you're really curious, there are much better photos online.

They all seem to have the same face and
there's not a lot of ethnic diversity.
There are a few dolls with trademarked companions including two different Hello Kitty dolls, a Smurf doll and a Snoopy doll.  The rest of them have alliterating perky names like Pretty Peyton, Beautiful Bella (which is redundant), Awesome Ashley and Awesome Abby (maybe they could have brainstormed a different "A" adjective?  Amazing?  Adept?  Athletic?).  Anyway, all of the dolls in the picture were in stock except the two darker skinned girls and this one:

A Monster High fan, I think.
The doll comes in a very small cardboard window box.  It has a very simple, bright green insert:

The little Hello Kitty toy pops right out of a plastic holder, but the doll is held in place with a few pieces of easily-removable string.  You're left with mostly recycling:

The little plastic kitty is adorable.  I like the bright pink overalls with a green shirt underneath.  Very preppy.
Kool Kitty
Although the Hello Kitty figurine is a good accessory, most of the other pets were not as interesting as the Chelsea pets.

The doll comes with a brush, which seems like a good idea.  Look at her hair:

Bed head.
The problem is, this is after I brushed her hair:

Static shedding bed head.
The good news is, she has pink streaks in her hair!  I couldn't even see these when she was tucked in her box.  Her hair is a nice strawberry blonde color, and the streaks are fun.  Her hair reminds me of my MiM doll wig.

Although the hair is soft and smooth, it is pretty thinly rooted.

You can see the top of her head through the hair.
Her face is kind-of cute, with her big brown eyes and expectant eyebrows, but she has practically no nose, nothing even pretending to be nostrils, and a very low hairline in front.  Also, there's something not right about her upper lip:

That's a peculiar hairline.
She has a very large, protruding upper lip.  It could just be that her lip looks big in comparison to her non-nose, but I think there's something else going on.  She has some white paint in her mouth to resemble teeth, but they look like they are coming from the bottom of her mouth only:

It's a funny face.
The outfit is adorable.  She is wearing a long-sleeved pink top with an appliqued Easter Hello Kitty scene.  The shirt is sewn onto a green gingham skirt:

The pink top opens in the back with velcro, but the skirt part does not have an opening:

That's a big tag.  I guess she was made in China.
It is a bit tricky to get her enormous shoes through the narrow tube of the skirt:

Notice her hair shedding everywhere...

Her body is very simply articulated.  She can turn her head, but not look up or down.  Her arms bend at the shoulders and her legs bend at the hips.  Her shoes do not come off.

I like her big feet,

This is the biggest split she can do:

She can only stand on her own if she is standing perfectly upright.

This pose requires a wall to lean on.

Looking at the Ty doll and Chelsea side by side, I think the Ty doll has a better proportioned head.  Chelsea's head is really large.

The Ty doll's makeup is more natural than Chelsea's.
She's be a good little sister to Chelsea, except for the fact that I already think Chelsea is too small (in 1:6 scale) for the age of child she is meant to portray.  

Underneath those clothes, the two bodies are similarly constructed.  The quality of the plastic seems comparable.  Chelsea's body has more sculpted detail and looks more realistic overall.  Also, Chelsea's hip articulation is more flexible (she can do a full split).

Chelsea has better underwear.
Because of the size difference, the Li'l One can wear Chelsea's outfit (even though it's too big) but not the reverse.

Chelsea can share the Hello Kitty toy, though:

I like Chelsea's smiling eyes.
The mouth on this doll was bugging me, so I got out a toothpick and some white acrylic paint and drew in another line of teeth.  Do you think it's any better?  

Now she looks like she's about to say something.
She has a bit of an overbite now (which I think it cute).  Here are the two faces side by side--before on the left and after on the right:

Bottom line?  There are some cute elements to this doll, but I still prefer Chelsea.  

This doll's Hello Kitty theme is her best feature, and will make her interesting to Hello Kitty collectors and enthusiasts. The themed outfit matches the quality and design of the Chelsea clothes.  The Hello Kitty mini figure accessory is great--you could easily pay $3.50 for that alone.  The fact that the shoes don't come off might be a huge plus from a parent's perspective, and it makes this doll safe for younger children (but then you'd have to remove the Hello Kitty figure).  

This doll's head and facial features are her weakness.  Her hair is thin and rooted too far down on her forehead.  Her face sculpture has some features that don't look quite right, and there is no variety in the faces of the different dolls in the line.  I do find her endearing, but I much prefer Chelsea's detailed, cheery face.

In the end, I can picture a small child leaving the toy store content with this small companion.  At the particular store I visited, leaving with something cute for under $10 is not easy, so this doll fills an important niche.  If a Li'L One and Chelsea were side by side at Target, though, and each was selling for retail,  I'd pay the extra dollar or so and get another Chelsea instead.


  1. These dolls are pretty cute -- I'd never seen them before either. Right now at the TY store online (per your link to photos of the whole group of them), the price is reduced to $4.99 per doll which includes free shipping, pretty good deal! I think I kind of like her "different" upper lip and eye shape. If I get one (I can feel the pull!) it will have to be Pretty Payton with the tiny little Siberian Husky (we have Huskies) :)

    1. Is it free shipping? Wow, that is a great deal! You can't really find a less expensive brand new doll than this. I almost picked Payton--she's a cute one, especially because of the husky. Let me know how you like her if you decide to grab one. I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)

  2. Hello from Spain: I also prefer to Chelsea but I also like the clothes are the little Hello Kitty. The copy of Chelsea had not seen before. keep in touch

    1. Hi Marta! The clothes on this girl are really cute--I wish Chelsea could share them!

  3. I like both of them I had one of these dolls but lost her sadly she had a pretty kitten

    1. I'm so sorry you lost yours! You want mine? She has painted teeth, but she's still cute. :)

  4. Hi Emily - I've enjoyed reading all your posts over the past few months! Very interesting, thorough, and informative! I collect dolls along with my youngest daughter who is 14. We came across these dolls for the first time a couple of years ago in one of those pricey boutique toy shops. I bought one against the advice of my daughter who said she liked the Kelly/Chelsea dolls better. Didn't do much with her until.....I realized their outfits fit PERFECTLY on the Wilde Imagination "Amelia Thimble" doll! Can't use the shoes because they are non-removable, but the outfits and toy work great! When I realized this, I ran out and bought all 16 dolls! (The two not shown on your box are the dolls based on the Obama daughters who both have a toy dog "Bo".) If anyone has a "5 Below" store near them, you can get them for $4.99. I did buy some I couldn't find in the store from the Ty Shop on Amazon. Great price, but be prepared for slow shipping! I think the doll you are showing is fairly new because I only found her recently. I only had the regular Hello Kitty doll at first. Anyway, I have a bag full of naked dolls now and my two Amelia's have a huge wardrobe at a MUCH lower price than WI charges for their Amelia outfits. Highly recommend these to anyone who owns Amelia.

    Do you have any Wilde Imagination dolls? Would love to see you review Ellowyne or Evangeline someday. When I got my first Ellowyne back in 2006 I didn't like her at all! Then she grew on me and I have about 30 dolls from that line now. Go figure! I've found through many years of collecting that first impressions of dolls change over time. When I re-visit a doll after awhile, I see it with a new set of eyes...sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. You just never know!

    Keep up the great work with your reviews!

    1. Hi Maria! Thank you so much for your nice note. :) I think Amelia is adorable, but I don't have her. It's interesting that the Ty clothes fit her so perfectly--that gives me a great idea of how big Amelia is, which is difficult to determine from pictures. $4.99 is an excellent price for an outfit for a doll like Amelia.
      I had no idea that two of the Ty dolls are based on Obama's girls! I don't think those two were at the store I visited. That's a neat fact!

      I had a basic wigged Ellowyne once (with inset eyes) and didn't care for her enough to keep her. At the time, she just didn't fit into any of the categories of dolls I had on display. Some of the newer girls are SO tempting...I will probably have to try again (maybe with a painted-eye fully dressed doll?)

      I am fascinated by Evangeline--perhaps even more so than Ellowyne. She looks so strange to me in pictures, and yet she has a very fierce following. This combination of things always gets my attention! :)
      So, those two are definitely on my radar.

      Thanks again for your note and for the great information on the Ty dolls!

  5. I have Preppy Paige and Hip Hannah(the MH fan). They're lips aren't like that though. I wish they were more articulated. Both of they're hair is unmanageable and needs to be put in a ponytail. But Hannah loves to swim in the sink. :)