Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lalaloopsy Girl "Spot Splatter Splash" by MGA

I've said this before, but I am not a big fan of the traditional Lalaloopsy dolls.  I like the mini dolls a lot, but the larger characters are not my thing.  I think they look very enticing in the store--with their cute faces and clever, colorful, diverse themes, but I have never fully bought into the idea of a plastic "rag" doll.  The dolls don't seem especially cuddly to me, and they can't stand (or even sit) on their own, which limits how they can be used for play.  Because of this opinion, I don't review very many Lalaloopsy products.

Recently, several of you have recommended that I purchase one of MGA's new 9-inch dolls from the "Lalaloopsy Girls" collection.  I've noticed these dolls in passing a few times at Target and Toys R Us over the last few months, but couldn't initially appreciate the appeal.  I mean, how many sizes of Lalaloopsies do we need?  Besides, it didn't look like these new dolls would be able to stand on their own any better than the originals--a feature that would irritate me in a fashion-style doll.

It was actually a comment over on Facebook that convinced me to open my mind and finally take a closer look at these dolls.  Tanya's comment mentioned that she, too, was skeptical about the dolls at first, but ended up falling hard for these spaghetti-limbed newcomers.  I took her words to heart and bought the Lalaloopsy Girls version of "Spot Splatter Splash:"

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"
Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash," $14.99.
Another reason for my purchase was that there are actually quite a few things to like about the Lalaloopsy Girls right off the bat.  I prefer the size of these dolls to the storage-busting bulk of the original Lalaloopsies.  Also, I think the Girls look just as colorful and tempting in their boxes as their larger counterparts:

Especially with that cute little zebra sidekick.
To top things off, the price of the basic Lalaloopsy Girls is fairly competitive at $14.99.

 The Lalaloopsy Girls come in asymmetrical cardboard boxes with a plastic window front:

The cardboard portions of the box are decorated with colorful, densely-packed writing and illustrations.  The back of the box is reminiscent of a scrapbook (or a messy desk).

There's a short description of Spot's artistic personality...and her tendency towards creative mess-making:

There's also an image of Spot with the other two dolls in this particular collection of Lalaloopsy Girls: Peanut Big Top and Crumbs Sugar Cookie:

At the bottom of the box, there's a blurb about the premise behind this new line: the Lalaloppsy Girls attend a magical prep school for the arts--because we've never seen a doll line with a magical high school before.

I suspect that this unoriginal backstory is part of an effort to attract a teenaged audience to the Lalaloopsy franchise--or to keep the attention of the current audience as they grow older.   

MGA and simple packaging do not tend to go together in my mind.  When I purchase a doll from this company I am reminded of BFC Ink box nightmares and the huge plastic enclosures of the large Lalaloopsy dolls.  Spot's box is not as easy to deal with as, say, a Monster High box, but it's not awful, either.  It has three basic areas: a plastic front, a cardboard middle, and a cardboard back.  

Each section can be separated from the one next to it by un-taping and releasing small tabs.  Here's the interior of the box exposed after the cardboard tabs along the edges were undone:

I love how the little zebra's eye is peeking thorough that hole.
From this vantage point, a piece of twine holding Spot's torso can be cut.  In addition, several clear rubber bands need to be found and cut in order to free the doll and her pet.  This is best done from the front of the box with the plastic removed.

Of course, it would be easier just to rip into the plastic window with big scissors, but I was trying to preserve the backdrop for you.  Here it is:

Spot comes with her (nameless) red and white zebra pet and a small plastic comb:

The comb looks pretty useless, but as I learned later in the review, it actually works well as a prop for pretending to comb out Spot's vinyl hair. 

The comb has a molded Lalaloopsy face on the front and is hollow in back:

The little zebra is made out of hollow hard plastic.  He has a patch of spattered blue paint on his left side:

I think I'll name him Jackson--after the famous splatter painter Jackson Pollock.

Jackson's right side has plain stripes with no blue paint. He has a bright pink short mane and a long tail gathered into bunches.  He brings to mind Zecora (the zebra from My Little Pony) but the two characters don't actually look that much alike.

Jackson does resemble the Lalaloopsy horses and ponies, though (and the seahorses...).  Here he is with my Lala-Oopsie unicorn, Cashew:

And here he is with one of the Ponies, "Ropes:"

Notice that Jackson does not have separated front or hind legs: the left and the right leg are all one connected chunk.  Also, Jackson's mane and tail are hard plastic while the Ponies have vinyl curls.

Given that the Lalaloopsy Ponies cost about $5 on their own, little Jackson is a nice accessory to include with a $15 doll...even with his simplified body design.

Ok, so I was very nervous about whether or not Spot would be able to stand up on her own.  I don't know why this is such a big deal to me.  I mean, most Barbies can't stand on their own, and dolls like Bratzillaz and Bratz wobble all over the place.  I guess I just got it in my head that this doll would be more appealing if she could stand.  I didn't think it was likely, though, since most Lalaloopsies can't stand, and Spot's legs look way too long and skinny to support her large head.  

However...much to my delight...she stands like a champ!  Look at her!

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"

She's wearing pink sneakers that are large and flat enough to give her body the support it needs.  

It's not even hard to make her balance like this.  I just set her down and she stays where I put her.

Spot has long golden blonde hair with a decorative red and white polka dot bow.  The bow looks like it should come off, but it doesn't...and I tugged on it pretty hard.  A removable bow would have been a clever idea for this line.  The dolls could have shared different hair accessories and hats.  Oh, well.

The top of Spot's hair is molded to her head in a yarn-like pattern.  Her long pigtails are made out of strands of smooth, bendable vinyl.  These strands are anchored to the doll somewhere inside her head.  

Spot has black molded button eyes and opaque pink circular blush areas on her cheeks.  Her lips are really small and have a heart-shaped pucker.  This is a noticeable change from the broad, stitched smiles of the larger Lalaloopsy dolls.  I don't like this mouth style as much as the original.

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"
But don't you think these lips make me look more mature?? 
Spot is wearing a simple one-piece outfit made out of a knit fabric:

I like the feel of this outfit.  It is soft and pliable--not stiff and synthetic-feeling like so many other similarly-priced doll clothes.  The design is very cute, and I love the ribbon suspenders with their tiny silver decorative buckles.

The cap-sleeved shirt and tiered skirt are sewn together and are extremely easy to get on and off thanks to a long single velcro seam down the back of the outfit:

The dress is well-constructed with many of the edges folded and finished.  The cap sleeves do tend to flip up when the doll is first getting dressed, but this can easily be corrected.

Spot's long white socks are molded and painted to her legs, but her pink vinyl sneakers are removable:

The shoes have mismatched laces, are different heights, and kind-of look like they came on the wrong feet.  However, the shoes are nicely labeled "R" and "L" on the treaded soles:

They're on the correct feet after all.
And (while the shoes both fit on either foot) they look even less correct when they're swapped:

The shoes have tiny molded heart patches on their inside edges, which I think is a cute, subtle detail:

They also have slits down the back for easy dressing:

I was pretty shocked the first time I saw a Lalaloopsy nubbin foot.  I've gotten used to the minimalist rag doll style of these feet over the years, though, so Spot's blunted extremities didn't surprise me.  I also think that the Lalaloopsy Girl feet are relatively larger and thicker than the original feet, so they're not quite as shocking:

The socks have little molded toes and heels:

I applaud the design of these thickened feet because I suspect they're a big part of why Spot has great balance when she's standing.  She certainly has no hope of standing without her shoes, though, so I'll leave those on while I show you her body style.

Spot has a very short, tear drop torso with painted red underwear:

Tanya remarked on the similarity of this doll to Betty Spaghetti, and I agree!

She has the trademark stitched belly button and some molded stitching on her underwear:

The back of Spot's torso has copyright information and a white heart with her birthday:

The Lalaloopsy Girls have five points of articulation (neck, shoulders and hips).  Spot can rotate her head all of the way around, but can't lift it up or down:

Her shoulders are rotating hinges with a great range of motion:

Even though Spot's arms are very spindly, the joints in this area don't seem delicate.  The hinge is about as thick as the size of the arm will allow.

The hips are ball-and-socket joints, and so they also have a nice range of movement.

Here's a close-up of the joint:

These hips allow Spot to do full front-to-back splits:

Side splits (with her feet pointed backwards...):

And she can sit on the ground with her legs out in front of her.

I think this doll has almost the perfect amount of articulation for her size and style.  Her neck joint would have been better with some up and down (or even wobbling) movement, but the other joints are great.  Elbow articulation would have taken away from her rag doll appearance, and hinged knees would probably have prevented her from being able to stand so nicely.  

I mean, she can even balance in a walking pose:

Spot is about 9 inches tall, which is a slightly unusual height in the fashion doll world (but she's an unusual fashion doll).  Here she is next to Barbie for reference:

I also wanted to compare her to Liv and Monster High because of the extremes they represent: one of them is fairly natural in her proportions (Liv's Hayden) and the other is ultra-skinny (Monster High's Ghoulia):

Liv Hayden, Lalaloopsy Girl, Monster High Ghoulia.
As I looked at these dolls all lined up together I didn't feel very hopeful about clothes sharing.  Sure enough, there was no way that Spot's dress was going to fit onto Hayden.  

The dress slid easily onto Ghoulia's slight frame...but it is way, way too short:

Ghoulia and Spot trading clothes.
Ghoulia's clothes fit on Spot in a sloppy way and the shirt can't be closed in back.  Let's just say that these two dolls have very different shapes.  

I tried to think of some other dolls that might be able to share clothes with Spot, but it was hard to come up with anyone.  Chelsea-sized dolls like Tamika can kind-of wear Spot's dress, but it's pretty baggy.  Likewise, Chelsea's dress is really, really short and tight on Spot:

After trying Spot's dress on many of my dolls, one of the best matches turned out to be a Pinkie Cooper doll:

Pepper Parsons wearing a Lalaloopsy Girl dress.
Spot's dress is pretty short on Pepper, but I really like the style of this dress with her spunky personality.

Pepper's style is not as good on Spot--nor is the fit of her dress.  The dress looks ok from the front:

But can't quite close in back.

As an afterthought, I also tried Spot's dress on the (decapitated) Princess Malucia.  This was a pretty good match, too, aside from Spot's skirt being ultra-short yet again:

A (headless) Princess Malucia trading clothes with Spot Splatter Splash.
Update: here's Spot with Lottie and Licca-chan, too:

Licaa's dress is baggy on Spot, and Licca can't even get Spot's dress fastened in back.  

On the other hand, Lottie and Spot can share clothes pretty well--thank you for the great suggestion, Jawn Pickles!  

Even this swap isn't a perfect fit, though.  Spot's dress is a little tight on Lottie, and while Lottie's skirts are ok on Spot...the shorts tend to slip down:

With Spot back in her normal clothes, I decided to take down her pigtails and see what the hair was like:

There are about 15 strands of vinyl on each side of Spot's head, and the hair hangs in stringy, long clusters.  The plastic comb can be run through the hair, but I wouldn't say it does very much since this hair can't really get tangled.

I re-braided the hair to see if I could get it back to its original look.  I did okay: the braids aren't as neat as they were right out of the box, but I found the hair very easy to manage.  The thing about re-braiding the hair is that the crimps get re-aligned and the hair gains a certain amount of...uh...lift:

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"

The braids were sticking straight out at first, but I was able to push them down and bend them until they lay a bit flatter.  I'm not sure they'll ever be as smooth as they were right out of the box, but I actually like the added flexibility in the braids the way they are now.  They add some fun implied movement to this doll's poses:

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"

Here's one last picture of Spot with her sweet Jackson:

Lalaloopsy Girls "Spot Splatter Splash"

Because we are right in the thick of the holiday shopping season, instead of summarizing the review here, I'll quickly show you a few of the other products that are available in the Lalaloopsy aisles of my local stores.  I'll put my bottom line for Spot at the very end of the post.

Around here Lalaloopsy merchandise is stocked at Walmart, Target and Toys R Us.  Of these three stores, Toys R Us has the vastly superior selection, so I will mostly show you the things I found there.  

Here's the Lalaloopsy section at Toys R Us:

WHOA!!  Lalaloopsy overload.
Here's one little area:

This section had boxed sets of minis that were very tempting.  There was a Sweet Bakery set:

And this Class Picture set (my favorite):

I'd love to have that mini Spot and her mini Jackson!
Here's another section:

This area had some sets of Lalaloopsy Tinies, which remind me of Squinkies and Shopkins...but are cuter than either of those toys (in my opinion):

There were also some accessory sets for the Tinies, like these houses:

Target even had a Tinies castle playset with a mini Cinderella:

Don't need the castle, but I'd love to have those Tinies!
There were also Ponies and individually-boxed Minis at both stores:

And playsets for the Minis, like this big house!

That looks pretty fun.
There were also several other Lalaloopsy Girl options, including this twin pack with Cloud E. Sky and Storm E. Sky:

The pets in this set are not as impressive as Spot's zebra, though, if you ask me.

It's a legless, bubble-faced poodle and a legless lightning-tailed cat.
Toys R Us had a large selection of the plush Lalaloopsy Babies, which I don't think are as cute as most of the other dolls.  They also had the seemingly unpopular Workshop dolls on a big clearance sale (the twin packs are marked down to $10):

And they had this styling head, which I had never seen before:

It has the puckered Lalaloopsy "teenager" mouth.
To me, a styling head is not an obvious choice for Lalaloopsy hair, especially since the vinyl curls can't even really be brushed.  However, the tangle-free nature of this hair might actually be a good thing--especially for younger kids. 

Another product that I hadn't seen before was the collection of Lalaloopsy Newborns:

A few of them are pretty cute, like this smiling and winking pair:

And this little yawner:

However this baby does not look cute to me:

It doesn't even look human to me.
It's funny how that one face turned me off of the whole Newborn section.

Of course there was also a nice selection of the original Lalaloopsy dolls, and as I said, even though I have no desire to purchase one of these dolls, they're always fun to look at.  I liked this gingerbread girl the best--Fancy Frost 'N' Glaze:

I prefer the Lalaloopsy Littles to the full-sized dolls, mostly because they're smaller, packaged better, and can pose and stand up on their own.  This adorable ice skating girl, Twirly Figure Eight (and her seal pet!), stood out to me as especially neat:

As did the awesome Tiny Might (who I could only find at Target):

With his hedgehog pet!  Awesome.
My favorite Lalaloopsy discoveries at Toys R Us were the mini playsets.  These included some moving sets with different features, like this Dyna Might who spins around if you push a button:

A Peanut Big Top who can pedal her bike:

And a Prairie Dusty Trails who jumps rope:

This Prairie's smiley head bobbled all around as she was jumping and actually made me giggle out loud:

The moving sets are super-cute, but they seemed slightly gimmicky to me, and perhaps not as well-suited to imaginative play as the more standard this kitchen:

I LOVE this kitchen.
For $12.99, there's a ton of detail in this little set.  I am so curious to know if the oven opens, or if the little heart-shaped eggs come off the frying pan!  I think there will have to be a follow-up review some day....

Here's another set in this series--a bedroom sleepover playset:

The Spot doll is a cardboard cutout.
Pillow is a real doll.
My favorite piece in this set is the tiny little (flat) pet sheep that makes me think of Wallace and Gromit:

There's also a bathroom playset with Marina Anchors.  This set and the kitchen are tied as my favorites:

Marina even looks like she might be able to stand up on her own:

I love the little mirrored vanity:

And the knitted bathtub with a soap holder, shower curtain, and even a toy sailboat!

The last set I saw was this tea party-themed dining room:

I think these sets are wonderful.  They make me like the Mini Lalaloopsy dolls even more than I used to.  I can imagine kids having a wonderful time collecting and playing with these little cuties.  It's possible to have all of the creative fun of the larger dolls, but with a fraction of the clutter and waste.  

I also like the addition of the Tinies.  Even though they resemble Squinkies and other similar capsule toys, these little ones are in scale with the regular Minis and could easily be incorporated into games as younger siblings.  As an example, let me show you a few of the minis I bought recently. 

Here's the Flowerpot Sister Set:

With little Petal:

And her older sister Blossom:

I can add the little pastel-haired girl from a Tinies set to this family:

I don't think this little one has a name, but she goes perfectly with the Flowerpot sisters:

Now I have a family of three! 

Of course the dolls don't all have to match...I just thought it would be fun to show them together with their coordinating lime green outfits and pink hair. 

So...after all of that...what's the Bottom Line?  Even though the Minis are still my favorites among the ever-expanding Lalaloopsy empire, I have to say that "Spot Splatter Splash" from the Lalaloopsy Girls collection is better than I ever dreamed she would be. 

I don't find Spot's expression quite as endearing as the full-on smiley faces of some of the other Lalaloopsy characters.  However, I think her size, articulation and balance are all improvements on the original concept--especially for children over 5 years of age.  She offers most of the charm of the Lalaloopsy line with a design that seems much more manageable and conducive to creative play.  

Overall, it seems to me like MGA is trying too hard to capitalize on the popularity of the Lalaloopsy idea.  There are so many new products in this section of the toy store that it has become a bit overwhelming.  The real treasures--like the mini playsets--are almost lost in the mix of less appealing options.  However, amidst this cluttered aisle of hit-or-miss new products, the Lalaloopsy Girls strike me as another hit.


  1. Thanks for reviewing these - What an interesting doll that 9" one is!

    I'm always intimidated by the vastness of the Lalaloopsy aisles (so many sizes!), so I hadn't realized that this articulated version existed. I love the material used for the hair - that seems like it would pair perfectly with a vinyl braiding craft kit for a solid themed gift.

    1. Oh, gosh, I felt intimidated by this aisle, too! There are just so many products in the Lalaloopsy line, it's hard to process. I wish MGA would focus on just a few of the best items, but I suppose they have to throw a lot of stuff out there to see what's best.

      I hadn't thought about the connection between the hair and the braiding craft materials!! Great observation. If I could only remember what my niece taught me, I could have styled Spot's hair like those friendship bracelets!! That would look very cool. I love your gift suggestion, too. A doll and an art kit that go together? Perfect. You should sell that idea to MGA. ;)

  2. When I first saw the Lalaloopsy Girls I thought really? Do we need more Lalaloopsy stuff? After reading you review I might have to give them a closer inspection. I have however fallen for the Tinies and now that I know they are in scale with the Minis I see more of those making their way to my house very soon. Another wonderful review as always.

    1. Thank you so much, Starr! That was exactly my initial reaction to the Lalaloopsy Girls, too, but they're very nicely done--better than a lot of the other new things. I don't see collecting huge numbers of them, but I really appreciate the idea.

      Aren't the Tinies irresistibly sweet? I think I like them even better than the little sister Minis! SO fun.

  3. Ooh, what's the swappability of the clothes between a Lottie and Lalaloopsy Girl though?

    1. Great suggestion, Jawn!! I added in some pictures for you. Lottie and Spot can share pretty well--Spot's dress is slightly tight on Lottie and Lottie's clothes don't fit perfectly on Spot, but the two dolls' styles mix well and the fit is about as good as it gets! Why did I forget poor Lottie?? ;D Thanks again!

  4. I think an appropiate name for the little one would be - Bud?

  5. Well shucks, I had one of these ready to review and you beat me to the punch! Do you still have your Novi Star doll? The Novis can wear Lalaloopsy Girl clothes very nicely. They're a little baggy but the overall look is good. Spot wouldn't be able to wear Novi clothes though; it's a one-way sort of thing. Thanks for the info on the Newborns too; their expressions are hilarious.

    1. I do still have my Novi Star doll...I think. I never would have thought to try clothes swapping with those two, but they do have similar body shapes now that you mention it! Thank you for the tip. And, I hope you'll go ahead with your review anyway! I think it's awesome to have a variety of opinions out there. I'd love to see what your thoughts are about this collection.

  6. Love the review as always! (I would also love a review of that kitchen set ;) ) Maybe Lottie or Licca-chan clothes would fit Spot?

    1. Thank you, Stella! I would love to own that kitchen set. It is SO cute...and I have a soft spot for kitchen-themed miniatures. I probably should have bought it, but there's already too much going on (and too much being purchased!) at this time of year. I have it on my list for the new year! Your suggestion about Lottie and Licca clothes is great (I forgot about them!)--but I just added in a few more pictures to show how these dolls can share. Lottie and Spot are actually a pretty good match!

  7. Spot is reminding me of Flatsy, though I don't think my own reasoning here holds water.

    I'm distracted by the prospect of crosstown rivalries among Monster High, Fairy Tale High, and the fine institutions that educate Mystixx and Midnight Magic. Fairy Tale High is presumably in the kind of sleazy neighborhood out by the airport or the highway.

    1. This comment made my night! Crosstown rivalries, indeed. Now THAT'S a backstory. ;)

  8. Sew cute!! I love her, btw have you plan to review the new Lammily doll? I know she's somewhat controversial and I'm very curious about her..

    1. I am working on the Lammily doll review right now. ;)

    2. Yay I was hoping for this too. I just got my Lammily the other day, can't wait to see if you find any other clothes that can fit her since the other outfits don't come out for a month. I hope if the line is successful they can get the price points down on the outfits, they look awesome. That one with the yellow jacket is calling to me lol. But I can't justify the $27. The little "marks" set looks like a great idea though, I know my daughter is going to love making up little stories with the stickers.

      Love the site!

  9. Yes, please do review the Lammily doll! Always enjoy your reviews!!

  10. the tinies remind me of South Park, don't you think?

  11. The lalaloopsy girls haven't arrived here in Singapore yet but from your review, I can say that I'm a fan of them!

  12. I had been hoping you would do a review of these dolls as i saw them online and in-store and thought they were super cute, but couldn't find a detailed review and knew you're always so thorough.

  13. Now you just make me want more minis and this new 9" girl!

  14. LOL, I was going to e-mail you so I could review my Spot splatter splash XDD

  15. Also, believe it or not Spot can wear (some) Winx Club doll outfits. I tried her in Bloom's Enchantix outfit from the Good vs. Evil pack and it looked like a cute prom dress on Spot... though it was hopeless when I tried on Stella's Enchantix outfit. Spot also looks good in Bloom's Believix outfit though it looks like a one-piece outfit. Spot's outfit is extremely short on the Winx Dolls though.

    When I first noticed they were 9-inches, my mind switched to the Winx Club dolls not by JAKKS Pacific, but by Mattel. Those were 9-inches, and they had amazing and accurate outfits to the show. If only I got one at the time they were out i'd have so many... *goes to corner and cries*

  16. Thank you for this review--I had wondered if they could stand on their own. That's why I didn't buy one--cuz they are Adorable! I immediately researched and raced out to buy Suzette. Isn't she awesome?!

    I still have my Novi Stars, and will try the outfit, but scared to undress the little aliens because they are so fragile. I'm a bit of a clod like Spot and Tippy (the ballerina girl).

  17. Thank you for this informative review. I was wondering how the new Girl doll would be. I am partial to the Mini Lalas but I didn't really care for the bigger size dolls. To answer your questions, the egg is the pan cannot be removed. It's painted on the pan. The oven door does open though. The Mini Lala Marina cannot stand by herself but the furniture sets are adorable and they will fit in most 1:12 dollhouses (if you don't plan on buying the Lalaloopsy playhouse).

    The oven does open. Love your blog btw! :)

  19. the little one is actually blossom flowerpot

  20. Another great review! I was wondering if their clothes might possibly fit American Girl mini dolls? I'm guessing they are too tight, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask. How do the mini LaLas compare in size to Amelia Thimble? The theme of their furniture would sure be sweet with her if the sizes work.

  21. Hi there. I'm quite interested in getting one of these dolls and try to modify them a bit. Just wondering, would you know how hard it is to detach the head from the body?

  22. Emily, can you do a review of Crumbs Sugar Cookie for me (also, Lottieville Festival Lottie doll can share clothes with Crumbs, so does Basic Patsyette, Maru and Friends Doll, Savannah, Travel Friends Ireland and a Kelly Doll - Tagged Soccer Outfit and Apple Juice).