Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kurhn Dolls Part One: 3029 "Green Restaurant" Playset

Kurhn dolls are 10.6 inch articulated plastic fashion play dolls made by Kurhn Toys Co., Ltd. in Foshan City, China.  They are essentially the Chinese version of a Barbie doll and I'm told that they're even made in the same factory that Mattel uses to manufacture Barbie dolls.

Moni introduced me to Kurhn dolls back in September when I reviewed my first Tangkou doll, Loli.   It's not so easy to find information about these dolls online.  The Kurhn website, for example, seems to be out of date.  I've found three big online sources for purchasing Kurhn dolls.  The first is an eBay seller (flyingannalee) with a huge selection of dolls.  The second store is called ChinaSprout and is a New York based store and an educational resource for Chinese culture.  The third option is an eBay-style marketplace called Aliexpress where I've heard you have to be careful about which vendor you choose.  I bought my items from flyingannalee and was very happy with the prices and service.

There is a huge diversity of available Kurhn dolls.  You can see a great database of these dolls on this blog.  After a lot of deliberation, I chose two Kurhn items: a kitchen play set (I love kitchen playsets...) that includes a very basic doll and also a more elaborate "Glamorous Kurhn" doll with strawberry bonde hair and a fancy party dress.  I will review the kitchen set in this post and the Glamorous Kurhn in the next post.

Kurhn 3029, $38.80 with kitchen set
My items arrived very quickly from China, and flyingannalee charged only $8.00 international shipping for these dolls, which I consider to be very reasonable.

Despite my request that the original packaging be left in tact, the kitchen set arrived with some of the parts removed and wrapped separately.  I assume that this was done to prevent damage during shipping, but it looks like a pile of garbage or a small sheep invaded my doll box:

Since I don't read Chinese, it's difficult for me to tell what the official names of the different sets are.  This box says "Green Home" on the bottom, which I think is the name of a whole series of playsets.  I wonder if they mean green as in environmentally considerate?  Hard to tell by just looking at the set.

I love the colorful friendly cloud design:

The back of the box has an array of five small pictures showing the other sets in the Green Home series:

There's a Green Bedroom:

A Green Garden with a swing:

A Green Study with a cool laptop computer:

The Green "Restaurant" (kitchen) that I bought:

And a Green Bathroom:

Notice the cute cardboard cutout pet dog in all of the sets.

I like the study and the bathroom sets a lot and would be tempted by those if I had a large doll house or diorama I was trying to furnish.  The larger playset pieces are attached to a cardboard backdrop with several wire ties.  The backdrop slides out of the outer window box really easily:

Inside that massive ball of plastic wrap, I found a disassembled pink and green dining room table.  The table had clearly been removed from its wire ties, but all of the other pieces of furniture were still securely attached.  

This is how the set would have looked in the box originally:

I noticed two differences between my set and the picture on the box and the pictures in the auction.  My set doesn't have any accessories on the table, and also my set has a small plastic dog instead of a paper cutout of a dog:

This is the picture on the box.
My table has a lot of what looks like tape residue on it, and so I suspect that the accessories were removed from the table and then someone forgot to pack them.  I was admittedly pretty disappointed by this error since I really enjoy kitchen-themed miniatures.  I did contact the seller and she was very, very nice, but I think too much time had passed since the auction closed and there wasn't anything she could do except offer me an extra treat the next time I order.

Here's everything that was in my box:

The doll is really cute:

Everything about the packaging was very easy to manage except for this plastic thing sewn into the doll's hair.  I never know how to get these contraptions out without risking an unintentional haircut.  

She has a sweet, youthful, anime-style face with huge doe eyes.  She reminds me of a Vocaloid character or maybe Ilia from Zelda, Twilight Princess:

The face paint, particularly the eye paint, is really nicely done.  She has the look of a hand painted doll.  Her eyes are a realistic deep blue with some nice detail in the pupils.  She has painted upper and lower lashes and faint periwinkle eyeshadow.  She also has an eyelid crease painted above each eye.  I don't love the generic opaque pink of her lips, but it's fine for a basic doll.

This doll offers quite a striking contrast to Barbie's more mature features.  I think that I prefer Kurhn's innocent wide-eyed appearance.  She would make a wonderful small companion for a child.

Her outfit is very simple and casual.  It looks a bit like a house coat with capri-cut pajama bottoms.  It could be that she's supposed to be wearing pajamas, in which case they're perfect.  

The top is made out of a slightly stiff cotton print (it could be synthetic, but it feels a lot like cotton).  It has bright pink ribbon accents and cute little cap sleeves that are nicely stitched with matching pink thread.  The back closes with a long piece of velcro.

The pants are made out of a textured pink fabric and have frilly cuffs that coordinate with the shirt:

My doll's shirt has a small defect in the stitching on the left hand side, but it is overall a very nicely made outfit that seems like it could tolerate a fair amount of vigorous play.

The doll is wearing flat-heeled white vinyl shoes and no socks.

The shoes have small molded buckle details but no painted decorations:

The buckles don't open.
This Kurhn doll has 10 points of articulation (neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, knees).  Some of the Kurhn dolls are missing knee and elbow articulation, and these dolls tend to be much less expensive ($14-$20).  Be careful, though, because some of the fancy-looking higher priced dolls do not have all ten points of articulation.  Kind of like the Barbie Gold Label dolls.

The doll's lower limbs are slightly bendy--nowhere near as flexible as a Bratzillaz doll's limbs, but bendy enough to come out of the box slightly warped (very similar to the City Girls):

Mild case of Jimmy leg.
The hair is rooted and bluntly cut.  It is very prone to static spazziness in this dry weather, but it is soft and attractive.  The hair has a lot of fine white "dandruff" flakes stuck throughout, but I'll show you that a bit later.

The doll is very loose at the hips and can do some impressive side-to-side and front-to-back splits as a result:

All of her joints are plastic hinges except for her hips. The hips are held together with an elastic stringing mechanism.  Since this area is already a bit loose, I worry a bit about the integrity of the hip joints over time.

Extreme close-up.
The doll has a diagonally-cut waist joint that swivels slightly in either direction:

The upper and lower torso molds don't line up if the waist joint is twisted:

These pictures show the waist joint turned as far as it will go in one direction.

I like the waist joint, but as always, I'd gladly trade that joint for some hinged (or hinged and rotational!) wrists.  Those are hard to beat.

The knees are hinged, but they do not have a big range of motion.  This picture shows the right leg bent as far as it will go:

Even though the knees are limited in their movement, the loose hips allow the doll to sit fairly well in her chair:

Ok, maybe this pose isn't very elegant, but it's still better than the new Disney Cinderella:

At under 11 inches tall, the Kurhn doll is shorter than most of my other fashion dolls.  Here's a lineup of some similarly-sized characters:

Disney Store Rapunzel, Fashionista Barbie, Kurhn, Barbie Basic, Monster High, Liv
I added my Bratzillaz Meygana into the naked doll posse because she is about the same height:

Just from looking at all of the dolls together, these four are the ones who I think have the best chance of sharing clothes with Kurhn:

So, you're cute and all, but we're just interested in your clothes.
The Kurhn outfit looks ok on Rapunzel...

But the pants don't quite pull all of the way up:

They show off my cute purple underwear, though, Emily.
The shirt is a bit loose on Meygana, but the pants fit well:

The top looks great on Liv, but the pants are a bit of an embarrassment...

With the tables turned, Kurhn can't pull Meygana's skirt all of the way up because of the attached underpants, and both pieces are too tight for the velcro to close.

Rapunzel's dress is a bit loose on top, but looks fine:


Some of my basic Barbie dresses fit beautifully (the peach dress on the right is from My Scene Kennedy):

The Liv top is loose, but again, the pants fit perfectly.  In addition, Liv's boots can slide on and actually help the Kurhn doll stand on her own.  Kurhn shoes do not fit Liv.

Wearing Liv Hayden's plaid shirt.
The free clothes that came with my purchase are pretty poor quality and don't even fit the Kurhn doll, so I won't bother to show you pictures of everyone trying them on.

The accessories that come with the kitchen set are very nice.  They seem to be more solidly constructed than most Barbie furniture that I have seen.  They might not be quite as nice as the Monster High furniture (like the pieces in the Coffin Bean set) but they are more sturdy than the Bratzillaz furniture.


The set comes with two pink and green plastic chairs.  These are excellent all-purpose chairs and will surely crop up in many of my future pictures:

The set also includes a large yellow cabinet with four pink (opening) window pane doors.  The window panes are made out of thin plastic sheeting.

The cupboard holds some cardboard decorations and three miniature plastic water bottles. The detail on the bottles is great and really makes me wish that my set had come with all of the smaller items:

Most of the furniture is made out of a solid, heavy plastic which seems very sturdy.  The back of the cupboard is made out of yellow cardboard, which is the only structural disappointment.

I like the design of the pink table and just need to clean off the sticky, smudged tape residue.

The little dog is very simple and made out of light, hollow plastic, but he's surprisingly cute.  I might give him a bit of a repaint to make his features more charismatic.

Good boy.
So, I mentioned that the doll's hair came with a lot of little white flakes in it.  This looks like dried glue or styling product and is especially bad in the bangs area.   It is pretty unattractive and difficult to brush out.  

"Deep, like me."
The flakes are hard to photograph, but they look for all the world like bad dandruff.  You can also see that the hair has a medium rooting density--not too thin, but not especially thick, either:

I boil-dipped her hair and brushed it out.  All of the white flakes instantly disappeared:

Here are some pictures of this cutie showing off her poses:

This is as close to keeling as she can get...

My overall impression of this set is that, while the clothes are not really my style, and I am still bummed about the missing accessories, the value is good and I can see kids having a great time with the sturdy kitchen pieces and this sweet, versatile little doll.

Stay tuned for my review of a slightly fancier Kurhn doll and a summary of my initial thoughts about this line overall. 


  1. Fascinating! I'm a huge fan of Asian play fashion dolls, and I've NEVER heard of this one. I'm looking forward to the next Kurhn!

  2. Oh, I'm so happy you did a review on these! I love their sweet faces, and I keep trying to convince myself I do not NEED one. I think I'll eventually lose (or win, depending on how you look at it) that battle. ;)
    I can't wait to see the next part of this review!

  3. Oh, she's lovely! I'm a fan of her sweet expression. It's too bad she doesn't have wrist articulation, though.

  4. Yes! Thank you so much for reviewing this doll. I've had my eye on them for months wondering if I should give her a try...

  5. Wonderful! I've never heard of these dolls before. Can't wait to see the next review and your overall thoughts!

  6. She is gorgeous! How I wish I had one of my own.

  7. A good friend of mine is crazy about them. I'm such a fan of playsets so maybe I'll just buy one of these. The Green Study looks nice. But I don't really like the doll. Other Asia dolls look way nicer.

  8. Hello from Spain: I like these playsets but I did not know. I love this doll. She is very cute. Even the furniture is very nice. You bought very well. Keep in touch

  9. awww,what a pretty face she's got! never seen them before,I assume they're quite rare in Poland :) she looks perfect in violet :) don't mind her wonky leg :P

  10. I cannot wait for summary, and im really curiouse which "fancy" Kurhn you chose. They are so cute, the cutiest barblie-like dolls you can imagine and i always wanted to get one...maybe one day.
    The dog looks like a boar to me, but hey, who am i to judge? :)
    Thanks for sharing it was such a fun!

  11. Toys R Us in China carries them, or at least the one store in shanghai did. They are about $10 there. The quality varies some from doll to doll. I liked the design a lot but they didn't strike me as high quality dolls, not as nice as the Liv dolls.


  12. It's official, your blog is doom for me. :D Everytime I read your blog I discover all these pretty dolls and find myself wanting them. I never liked dolls when I was a child!

    I was amazed when I saw your review of Little Apple Dolls, I had no idea such dolls exist! They were exactly dolls I had dreamed of. Now I thought that Kurhn Dolls' face is very pretty, so I decided to go look for them and found absolutely beautiful dolls with traditional chinese costumes! I must have at least one of them!

    I absolutely love your blog, but my wallet doesn't, lol.

    1. As if I should have said it myself! Most of my dolls are Emily's fault, on some level. The most important thing she has taught be is that cheap dolls are fun, too. I got into this doll thing more from the BJD side.

      Emily I love your reviews.

      I can feel a Kurhn order building up; I love those faces and the fashions are surprisingly nice!

  13. Great review as always :)
    I like the face of this Kurhn doll but I just can't believe your set didn't came with all of those small pieces!
    The seler must've known about that, I assume you look first before you sell soemthing, right?
    Overall, I kinda like this set but with all the minor issues (cardboard backdrop on the cabinet, white flakes in her hair, stitching defect etc.) I don't think she's worth it.
    Maybe I'll change my mind after your glamorous Kurhn doll review :)

    By the way, I wanted to ask you if you received my Christmas card? :D I really hope you like it!

  14. This is the Chinese Barbie and the Japonese Barbie is Takara Jenny or Licca chan.

  15. This have a better face than brarz dolls, bratz dolls look like plastic surgery addicts... and monter high are pro-anorexia.

  16. I think that this doll is a must in my collection. Not matter how difficult should be to acquire it, I think she is cute and has many possibilities. I wait for the next review!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Oh wow, it made my day to see you mentioned me! lol
    I think kurhn is very cute and has an overall good quality, especially for being Chinese (just saying this because they usually mass produce things with quite poor quality).
    I love the dresses of the ones that are wearing the traditional clothing, like this one
    I can't wait for your next review!

  18. You know, I just realized what Kuhrn dolls' faces remind me of: Margaret Keane's paintings! The half-smile, the big painted eyes... I can definitely see why people like them, even though they're not my thing.

    Too bad you didn't get the tableware, but I agree the furniture looks good. And now I have to check out Aliexpress too...

  19. I want to thanks you for getting me onto these beautiful dolls.

    I bought

    And I adore her. She is so pale and beautiful. The clothing fits Liv dolls really well (everything but the skirt does up and is the right length)

    The boots fit Liv, but the pink heels don't.
    So I do believe that all the boots would fit Liv gals.

    I have got my eye on the beautiful Mickey with multiple outfits.

  20. Thank you for this fun, lighthearted, informative blog! GREAT photos, too. :-)

  21. For younger children, you may want to take a photo of the toy and place that photo on the outside of the box so it’s easy to know at a glance what belongs in the box.

  22. I bet that cabinet would look super classy if you spray painted it black and gave it a more durable backing. :) Disney store boxes have thick plastic for the windows too.

  23. I bought kurin dolls while travelling in Asia and like them. I ordered a few more online and they are great!