Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Trio of Makies!

I have been a huge fan of the ground-breaking 3D-printed Makie dolls ever since my review of Glythia back in September of 2013.  I only had two substantial criticisms of Glythia: she was prohibitively expensive (around $180 with shipping) and her facial features are highly unusual.  The Makie Lab did a wonderful job of enhancing the appeal of the Makie faces with their 2014 "Cutie Face" release.  My Cutie-faced Makie, Effie, is one of my favorite dolls in the whole world.  Effie accompanied my family on our epic trip to Edinburgh, Scotland last year.  I could not have asked for a better doll companion.

Recently, the Makie Lab dramatically reduced the price of their dolls--effectively fixing all of my critiques of the original concept.  The price reduction came with a change in quality, though.  Makie dolls are still made with 3D printed faces, but they now have plastic bodies.  Also, the customization options for the faces are not as extensive as they were at the start.

I went to the online Makie Shop to check out this new approach and found both the ease of customization and the price...uh, a little addictive.  Ok, a lot addictive.  Over the last four months, I've managed to accumulate a new female Makie in each of the three available skin tones.  In this review, I will show off my trio and talk about what has changed (and what has stayed the same) with these delightful dolls.

Three new Makie dolls, $78.02 each (including shipping).
The simplified Makie customization process begins by selecting one of six pre-set, named characters.  Here's what that screen looks like:

From upper left: Aiko, Sophia, Emily, Ava, Lyra and Katniss.
I chose Sophia as a starting character for my first purchase.

There isn't currently any option for designing a male Makie.  At first I thought that male Makies had gone extinct, but then I found this on the Makies Facebook page:

Boy Makies are leaving for vacation on Monday, November 9 and will return in early 2016 with new and improved features.

Phew.  They can go on vacation.  That's ok with me--as long as they don't disappear before I get around to ordering one.

The customization tool gives each Makie a randomly-generated two-part name.  My doll was given the name VioletCoco...which I shortened to just Coco:

I love the name Coco.
I tried to stick with at least part of the original name given to each of my three Makies, but I'll admit that I went back to the site for fun on a number of occasions and spent an unusual amount of time just refreshing the first screen to see what names I would get.  Some of them are really awesome.  


And, my favorite...


I highly recommend playing with this tool as a way to giggle a lot and waste time.  Other Makie shoppers might not thank you, though, because I've noticed that the site seems to get a lot of traffic--or I assume that's what is making the process laggy at certain times.

Anyway, back to that previous picture for a sec: you can see that the first customization screen does not give very many options.  There are only three tabs: Outfit, Hair and Eye Colour.  However, if you flip the green "More Options" switch in the upper right hand corner of the screen, you can get some face-shaping tools that are fun to play with:

This is what my final design for Coco looked like:

I chose the Crafty outfit for her (because I love Minecraft...), the new Bouncy wig, and dark brown eyes.  Notice that Coco cost $78.02, which included shipping to the United States.  That's a good deal for a customized doll.

These new Makies are still being packaged in sturdy black cardboard tubes, just like Glythia and Effie...or at least the first two of my trio came this way: 

The turnaround time is better than it used to be.  Coco shipped 17 days after I placed my order.  Shipping is super-fast from the UK to the US and only took about 2 days.  My second Makie shipped 13 days after my order and the third shipped in 19 days.  This improvement in wait time is probably because only the faces have to be 3D printed now.

Coco was tied to a piece of black cardboard and arrived with a sticker and a pamphlet.  She was posed waving her hand at me, like this:

The sticker has a picture of a redheaded Makie (I love that wig!) and the pamphlet is decorated with pictures of four different female Makies:

The pamphlet is folded into three parts and has a short description of the Makies on the inside:

Here's a close-up:

De-boxing the "most creative doll in the universe" could not be any easier.

I just had to untie the purple fabric ribbon and Coco was free:

I like how her hair is controlled by a hairnet...and a hole in the cardboard that holds a short ponytail.  It's simple, hassle-free and effective.

Coco stands on her own, but I noticed right away that she does not stand up as well as Glythia and Effie.

Coco came wearing her shoes, and I wasn't sure right away if her balancing problems were a result of her feet or her shoes.  That left foot would not lay flat for me, and I didn't want to bend the legs too much without seeing what the joints looked like.

Her face is really cute, though.  It came out even better than I expected:


The wig was a little crazy right out of the box, with one corkscrew curl on the left side of Coco's face shooting off into space, but I actually like this.  She looks slightly I feel most days.

It's also neat how these new Makies come out of their tubes fully dressed, their wigs secure, their faces painted...ready to play!  The dolls will be even more accessible to younger children because of these changes.

I'm ready for anything!
The wig comes tied back into a simple ponytail, with a small metal barrette holding the hair on the right side of Coco's face:

When the ponytail is let down and the barrette is removed, the hair springs out with wonderful volume and curl:

Don't worry...I won't try to brush it!
This is a fantastic wig.
The Makies of old came with the option of having the wig glued down or left free.  Coco came with her wig glued down, and I did not have a choice about this (or I missed it).  However, the glue is not super-strong and it's very easy to peel the wig off:

It is a nicely-stitched, 7-inch canvas-capped wig:

The back of Coco's head is plastic--not 3D printed.  The color of the plastic on her body does not match her face very well, and this is most obvious on the head:

Here's a close-up of Coco's face:


She has realistic dark brown eyes that are (in theory) removable. The area just above her eyes is painted dark brown, but there are no eyelashes.

Coco has more extensive paint on her face than my earlier Makies.  She has brown eyebrows, pink lips, and even some blush.  The texture of the 3D printed plastic is really interesting.  Coco's forehead  feels fuzzy--probably because of the small lines from all the layers of printing.

I didn't remember to take a screen shot of wigless Coco while I was designing her face, but the shape of her features is very much what I expected from her design pictures.  Her coloring is quite different, though.  Most notably, the doll's lipstick is a lot pinker than the graphic version, her skin tone is lighter (and a tad orange) overall, and her eyes are darker and richer.

Coco has pierced ears, although I did not purchase any earrings for her.  I didn't actually notice any earrings for sale when I was shopping.  There were 3D-printed cochlear implants, though, which is very cool!  Some online reading revealed that Makies are actually the first dolls ever to have cochlear implants as accessories.  Makies can also be ordered with extensive birthmarks, canes...and there are plans for a wheelchair.  This is in response to the Toy Like Me campaign, which is a wonderful idea.

I tried to remove the back of Coco's head (to see how she'd look with green eyes!) but I could not get the plastic skull to come off.  It's definitely supposed to come off.

I even dug out the instructions that came with Glythia, to remind myself exactly how the head is designed to come apart, but that procedure does not work with Coco.  I eventually gave up because I didn't want to break anything.

Coco came with a two-piece outfit and 3D-printed shoes:

The design of the top is very simple.  It's a tunic with a full velcro seam in the back.  The pixelated print is reminiscent of Minecraft cubes.

The tunic looks solidly constructed and even has some sizing along the neck:

Under the tunic, Coco is wearing black knit leggings:

The leggings have not stained the legs and they allow Coco to move very freely.

The shoes are black sandals, but they don't look like they fit Coco very well:

There are gaps around the edges:

The shoes are all one color, but they have a cute little molded buckle at one side:

With all of Coco's clothing removed, I could take a good look at her joints and try a few poses.  Unfortunately, the first thing that happened was that her right foot fell off:

The ankle joint is much more fragile than it was on the older 3D-printed Makies.

I got the foot popped back on and discovered that Coco balances better barefoot than she does with her shoes on.

Her body is the same shape (with the same thirteen points of articulation) as the older Makies, but the body is made completely out of molded hard plastic:

The plastic is much shinier and darker than the 3D-printed face: 

Coco also has some molding marks and obvious seams:

She is also missing a battery compartment in her back.  Instead, she has a large silver bolt that is presumably holding everything together:

At first glance, her jointing looks exactly the same as the original Makies.

Coco's head is attached with a ball joint and is easily removable:

The ball of the joint is made out of the same plastic as the body:

Notice that there's no longer a hole in the neck.  The older Makies had a hollow track connecting the battery compartment to the head cavity.  I guess since there's no longer a place for batteries, there's no longer a need for a hollow neck.

Coco's ball-jointed neck gives her head a great range of motion.  She can look up...

...and down, and she can also tip her head from side to side.

I immediately got the sense that Coco would be able to move in all of the same ways as my other Makies.  I undressed Glythia so that I could compare the two directly and uncover any small differences:

First of all, you can see that these two have almost exactly the same body shape.  The hands and feet are different (Coco has more definition in her fingers and toes) but I'll take a closer look at that later.

Coco and Glythia have basically the same range of head movement (Glythia might be ever-so-slightly more flexible here):

The mechanics of their arm joints are almost the same, but Coco can lift her arms up a little higher than Glythia.

Both dolls can cover one eye with their hand, but Coco can cover her mouth and nose better than Glythia.

The differences in arm movement are subtle.  Notice in the picture, below, that most things look the same, but Glythia can't rest her hand on her hip with her elbow sticking out to the side.  Her elbow points backwards:

Glythia also can't tuck the back of her hand up under her chin quite as well as Coco can.

What's causing all of the little differences is that Coco has rotation in her elbow and Glythia does not.  

Notice that while Coco can raise or lower her hand without changing the orientation of her shoulder joint, like this:

Glythia can only lower her hand by rotating her whole arm (the ball of the shoulder joint is visible on the left, but not on the right):

Coco's arms fall off more easily than Glythia's arms, though.  The ball joint at the shoulder is the most fragile.

Here are the three pieces of the arm:

I looked carefully at all of the pieces and compared them to Glythia's arm to see if I could uncover the details that cause the slightly different arm movement.

The lower arms look pretty much the same.
The upper arms each have rounded hinge pieces at the bottom that snap onto the lower arm.  This attachment point rotates on Coco's arm but is stationary on Glythia's arm.

That's the source of the difference.
While Coco has more detail in her hands than Glythia, the molded seams along these hands are not very tidy:

I think the most fragile joints on my Coco are her ball-jointed hips.  The ball of the joint is so smooth that it's slippery, and this makes it easy for the legs to just pop right off...even when I don't want them to.

When she's all put together, she can do wonderful splits, though:

And, like all Makies, she can kneel in all kinds of ways:

Coco can also sit on the ground nicely.  She does all of these things pretty much exactly like Glythia.

The biggest change I found with the leg movement was only noticeable when I attempted this sitting position:

Glythia cannot touch her feet together when she's sitting like this:

Here they are side-by-side so you can see the difference more clearly:

Glythia can't touch her feet together because the flexibility in her knees is not as great as it in with Coco.  This is easy to see when the dolls flex their knees while doing full front-to-back splits.  

Coco can bend her knee to 90 degrees and is able to touch her foot even when her elbow is bent...

...while Glythia can only bend her knee to about 120 degrees, and has to straighten her arm in order to touch her foot:

Once again, the design of Coco's leg is almost exactly the same as Glythia's.  I was not able to find any obvious differences.

Coco's knee joint has the same shape as her elbow joint, but the peg in the knee does not spin around, so the knee does not have any rotational movement.

The ankle joint is another ball joint:

There are some rough edges on the molded feet--just like there were on the hands.  The toes have a lot of detail, though, and even have little toenails:

Coco also has some shape to the bottom of her feet while Glythia's feet are perfectly flat.  This is probably why Coco does not balance as well as Glythia, and maybe why the fit of the shoes isn't perfect.

Both of Coco's lower legs have a large, circular molding mark on the side of the calf:

3D-printed and plastic-bodied Makies are able to share body parts...which is fun:

I just threw a lot of relatively trivial information at you, so I'll quickly summarize the biggest differences in articulation before moving on:

1. Coco's ball joints (especially the hips, shoulders and ankles) pop apart much more easily than Glythia's equivalent joints.  This can be frustrating.
2. Coco has better arm flexibility than Glythia, including rotation in her elbow joints.
3. Coco has more flexion in her knee than Glythia.
4. Coco does not balance as well as Glythia.

Coco's balance might not be as solid as Glythia's...but she can still do this (unassisted, with no photo tricks):

Here's Coco back in her outfit and wig (minus the shoes):

And here she is next to her design picture, which I probably should have showed you earlier:

The clothing is more polished and vibrant in the design graphic than it is on the actual doll, but I like the appearance of the face and wig much better on the real doll.  Coco looks friendly and fun while her avatar looks a tad bored and sarcastic.

When she's dressed and wigged, the difference between Coco's body and head color is not too obvious.


I think she's a real cutie, and she's very fun to play with...although the balance issues and frequent limb loss make her slightly less enjoyable than Glythia and Effie.

I also like the fact that Coco's clothes allow her to move freely.  I remember that Glythia came with a "special edition" dress that was very pretty...but didn't allow her to move much at all.  Kind-of defeats the purpose of all those joints.

Now I'd like to introduce my second new Makie.  I won't spend as much time showing you all of her little details, but I think it's really fun to see the differences in coloring and clothing with these dolls.

For this girl, I started with the Aiko pre-set character:

The program randomly generated the name LalaRed for this Makie, but I changed her name to Lola--another name I really like.

Here's my final design for Lola:

I chose grey eyes for this doll (because I didn't have this color yet).  I also selected the black Ada wig and bright Festive Lights outfit.  I was very pleased with how my design for Lola came out, and the doll did not disappoint:

I'm drawn to creating happy Makies, so I had to try hard to keep Lola's expression somber.  I wanted her to look really different from Coco.

With her raised eyebrows and pout I think she can look slightly irritated and skeptical...or maybe just a little shy:

Like Coco, Lola came with her wig in a ponytail, and a metal barrette on one side:

I think she looks great with the ponytail down, but with the barrette still in place:

When the hair is pulled back like this, it's easy to appreciate Lola's nice profile.  The Makie design program allows you to spin your doll's head around as you are selecting features, and I think this is fun and helpful (especially when choosing a nose).

When the barrette is removed, this wig has a tendency to cover half of Lola's face:

Before I forget, here's a shot of Lola next to her design picture:

I don't notice as much of a difference in skin tone between this doll's face and the rest of her body.  To my eyes, her hands match her face better than Coco's do.


Lola's wig was also glued on..and also easy to peel off:

Here's her face up close:

I love the grey eyes--they might be my favorite Makie eyes so far:

Lola has the same bright pink lip color as Coco.  She also has very rosy cheeks.

Again, the side view of Lola's bald head best demonstrates the difference in color between the 3D printed face and the hard plastic skull.  The contrast might not be as extreme as it is with Coco, but there's still a pretty big color difference here:

Also, I was unable to remove the back of Lola's head.  I had the same difficulty that I had with Coco. I pressed in at the top and back of the head (until I was afraid to push any harder...) but it did not work.

Lola's outfit is the same shape as Coco's, but the print and fabrics are different.

The leggings are made out of a stretchy melon-colored knit with a bit of sheen.

Lola has black shoes with a different shape than Coco's shoes:

These have more of a slipper shape to them--with no buckle.  I like how the texture of the 3D printing makes the shoes look like they're actually made out of fabric.

Here's Lola without her clothes:

...with another skin tone comparison:

And here she is next to Coco, so you can appreciate the difference in their skin tones:

For my third Makie, I wanted to start with the Emily character. could I not??

Emily was re-named YellowBlue by the Makie Name Generator.  I shortened this to just Blue because of those bright blue eyes, and also because there's a great jazz club in Portland called Blue.  

From what I've experienced, the selection of Makie outfits changes quite frequently.  It's always fun to see what's new on the site.  

I was very excited to see the Cuddly (panda-themed) outfit available when I was designing Blue because I've been obsessively watching the real giant panda baby, Bei Bei, on the Smithsonian's Panda Cam.  I highly recommend it.

My goal with Blue was basically just to make her look different from Coco and Lola.  I gave her thin lips, the biggest possible smile, and a different eye shape.

I also chose the white wig because it fits with the panda theme a little...and it's quite different from other wigs I have chosen.

Here's my final design for Blue:

Blue surprised me by arriving in a brightly-colored cardboard tube that matches Lola's Festival Lights outfit:

Confession: I also ordered that red "Amy" wig...
Like Coco and Lola, Blue came waving her greeting with one hand (she seems to be left-handed, though!):

I think by the time Blue arrived, I had gotten pretty good at balancing these new dolls with their shoes.

To me, out of the three dolls I ordered, Blue looks the most like her design picture:

She's even happier-looking in real life, too, which I find very appealing.

I was a little worried about this wig because doll bangs aren't always attractive, but this wig is great.  It's even easier to manage than Lola's black wig.

Blue's outfit has a different style of top.  Instead of a tunic, she's wearing a long-sleeved shirt with a panda print.  The shirt has a full velcro seam in the back:

(She has the same shoes as Coco).

I pictured an actual knitted sweater when I was reading the description of this outfit, but the shirt is made out of a smooth stretch knit fabric.

The construction is great and the shirt is very easy to get on and off.  The only problem with it is that when the doll's arms fall off during posing, the long sleeves of the shirt make it hard to pop them back on.

Blue's leggings are made out of stretch knit fabric and have a print that looks like wild cotton:

Here's Blue without her clothes:

I think she has the best match of color between her face and the rest of her body.

Blue's fair skin makes the face paint really stand out.  Her eyebrows are distinct and her cheeks look very red:

Maybe too red?

Here's a better look at one of her rosy cheeks:

Does she have a fever??
From the side, the color of the back of Blue's head looks almost the same as the color of her face:

With this doll, I was also able to get the back of the head off, so you can peek inside.  She has the same eye-holding mechanism as the original dolls:

Blue has a dark smudge on her nose that's hard to see in these pictures, and also a lot of spray in the lip paint:

Her pretty blue eyes are the same as Effie's.  I love how there's a little bit of green mixed into the color of the iris:

Here's Blue with her hands near her face so you can see how close the color match is:

And here are all three of my new Makies together!

Merry Christmas to me.
As much fuss as I've made about the color match between the faces and the bodies on these dolls, it really doesn't bother me that some of them have a less careful match than others.  In fact, Coco is my favorite of these three, and she has the "worst" match of all.

It seems that the darker the skin tone is, the harder it is to get a match:

I guess I wish Coco's face was slightly darker, but I really don't notice it much when she's dressed and wigged.

My earlier Makies both have pale skin, so I wanted to compare Blue to one of them.  Here she is with Effie, my Cutie Face Makie:

Effie has a bit of a yellow cast to her skin tone, while Blue is very icy-pale.  Also, Blue came with a lot more frost bite paint on her face.  Effie originally had some faint color in her lips, but this has worn off.

Blue is slightly taller than Effie, which might be just because of the molded plastic skull:

These two dolls have very different hands.  Effie's hands have pointed, simplified fingers, and Blue's hands have well-defined, rounded fingers:

This same distinction can be seen in the feet: Blue has well-defined toes and toenails, while Effie's feet are simplified.

This doesn't show in the pictures I took, but Effie's feet are also perfectly flat on the bottom, while Blue's feet have an arch.

Here are all three of my pale Makies together:

Makies: Glythia (original), Effie (Cutie Face), Blue (new).
There's an interesting evolution to see here.  The changes early on were all in the face.  Effie has a more personable face than Glythia.  Blue and Effie are quite similar in the face, but Blue has been given a full face-up.  The new plastic body is, of course, the biggest difference between the two newest dolls.

Throughout all of the changes, there has been a decline in the customization potential of these dolls.  The Cutie-faced dolls do not have as much facial flexibility as the original dolls, and the newest dolls have even less.  Also, there's no longer any need for me to paint the dolls' faces (although I could if I wanted!).  Last, the torso battery compartment has been removed from the design (and the neck is no longer hollow) so it's not possible to mod the newest dolls with an Arduino or similar device.

The dolls are still really fun to pose, though!  Here are a few more pictures of Blue:

You can see the bottom of her foot pretty well in this picture.

I also bought the red "Amy" wig to see if one of these dolls might look better as a redhead.  

The wig actually came attached to a plastic skull piece:

I tried the wig on Blue first, since she's the only one of my newer dolls who has a head piece that I can remove.  I was not, however, able to get the wig's headpiece to snap all of the way on.  Here it is perched in place:

She looks nice as a redhead, though!

I ended up peeling the red wig off the skull and using it on Effie:

I like Effie with pink hair the best, but the red hair suits her (she just needs more color in her face...and maybe some freckles!):

Love this doll.
I'll end the review by showing you a few more picture of each of my new Makies.  I want to mention, though, that while I was posing Coco I noticed that her head flops back a lot.  I'd often find her staring upwards when I hadn't positioned her that way intentionally:

She is able to balance in a lot of fun poses, though, and only lost her arms and legs a few times.

Here's serious Lola:

And last, my sassy panda-lover, Blue:

Here are my three pale Makies all together (Glythia is wearing a MIM wig):

Makies: Blue (newest), Effie (Cutie Face) and Glythia (original).
My two favorite Makies are Coco and Effie.  Effie is my favorite of all (by a lot) but Coco brings a new charm with her open, friendly face and wild hair.

Despite her plastic body, mismatched skin tones and wayward limbs, I prefer Coco to Glythia.  Glythia will always be special to me as an original Makie, but Coco radiates a kind, adventurous personality that makes her really fun to play with.  

It's neat to look at these two and see how far the Makie company has come in the last few years.

One of the great things about the reduction in price on these dolls is that it's possible to have more of them.  It's incredibly fun to have a small assortment of these characters.  The restriction on customization gives all of the dolls a sameness, but they can still look different enough to offer their own unique personality.

I love how their expressions and coloring go together:

Their personalities are so obvious to me: Lola is shy, but loyal.  She'll go along with anything the other two say.  Blue and Coco are both very outgoing...Coco with a warmth and love for people, Blue with a bit of mischief and sassiness mixed in.  Blue will happily boss her friends around. 

Lola will keep a secret to her grave, but Blue might let a few things slip every now and again...

But Coco likes to have her moment in the spotlight, too, and won't always let Blue take center stage.

Here she's wearing Effie's boot for better balance.

Their mix of traits make them a wonderful trio of friends, and I'm already extremely attached to all of them.  These really are delightful little dolls.

Bottom line?  I'm a huge fan of the Makie company--and always have been.  The original Makie dolls were ground-breaking in their creativity and originality, and yet evidence suggests that the company is constantly striving to make the dolls better, more accessible, and more in line with what their customers want.

The three main changes to the dolls are that they now have regular molded plastic bodies, they are less customizable, and their price is lower.  The change in body design allows for the significantly lower price (and the faster turnaround time, too).  I can literally get two new Makies for the price of Glythia.  To me, though, the new bodies are not as good as the old ones.  The elbow and knee joints on the new bodies actually have a better range of motion than the 3D printed bodies, but this comes at the cost of mismatched skin tones, a decrease in balance, and limbs that fall off too easily during posing.

The new dolls have lost customization potential in three areas: the initial shaping of the face, the painting of the face, and the ability for the dolls to house batteries and computer modifications.  Even though I loved the idea of these options when I purchased Glythia, I never actually painted her face very carefully or experimented with an Arduino.  In addition, even though I had a great time tinkering with the customization tool to design Glythia's face, she didn't end up looking much like my design, and I prefer the easier, more restrictive (but more rewarding) face-designing process of the new dolls.  The decrease in customizability also means that the new dolls come out of their tubes dressed, wigged, painted, and ready for anything.  One disappointment is that while the eyes are still interchangeable in theory, I could not remove the skull pieces on two of my three new their eyes will have to stay the same.

The ease of customization, dramatic drop in price, and fast shipping times are what allowed me to buy three Makies for this review.  Because of the new bodies, I don't like any of my new dolls as much as I like my Cutie-faced Makie, Effie.  However, the fun diversity and contrast between any two (or all three) of the new dolls is something that Effie alone can't offer. 

While something has definitely been lost with the new dolls, I completely understand the motivation behind the changes.  I hope that the cost of 3D printing will go down in the future, allowing the Makies to return to their original bodies.  In the meantime, I'll revel in the best thing about the new dolls: the fact that I have three adorable, unique, highly-articulated little friends who are ready for some amazing adventures together.

Update: I read that the MakieLab has been partially acquired by Disney.  I'm not sure exactly what to make of this yet, but it doesn't feel right.  More later...


  1. YAY more Makies!

    I've noticed the new bodies photograph really not true to colour at all. I have three IM bodied ones here and to my eye in the gloomy light of my living room, the match is pretty spot on even for the cocoa one, but as soon as you take a photo it's like it captures the two materials in a totally different way. The IM parts turn darker and the 3dp face brightens up, it's bizarre and quite annoying actually.

    My two boys' legs keep falling off, it's driving me mental. I think it's the IM legs being on the 3dp body (the boys were hybrid before they removed them completely for their makeover) and I am NOT convinced the two materials work together. The IM parts are so slippy, every time I try to make them sit the hip pieces pop out of the socket.

    The new wig caps are SUPPOSEDLY so it's easier to switch wigs. They're two pieces, an outer piece that should slide right off with the wig glued on, and an inner piece which is a nightmare to remove. Oh.. my god... it's awful. Apparently it was designed for 3dp, so it would have had flex but in plastic there is NO give at all. Best solution i've seen is to ram a knife or something narrow into the hole where the tab goes (at the back of the head) but it's super awkward. The eye mechs now have this little printed tab on the ends anyway stopping you from easily removing the whole mechanism (you can get it out enough to pop the eyes off though)
    It's a pain for painting the dolls though, because you need to get those eyes out to seal the damn face, being unable to open the head easily really undermines that.

    Overall i'm loving the new price, but i'm really missing the 3dp body. It was so...tactile and nice to handle. Yeah it snagged clothing and was a bit annoying when trying to dress the dolls, but man it felt nice in your hand. I also really miss the ability to dye the dolls, sadly I got into that too late so I only have 4 custom dyed makies *sigh* I'd have loved a whole rainbow army.

    But £50 is waaaay more affordable and a lot easier to impulse buy I find. Oops? This.. may be how I ended up with over 20 of them *whistles*

    Your new girls are SUPER cute, I love them! I'm a sucker for the bouncy wig though, love those tight curls.
    I am SOOOO eager to see the new and improved boys, like omg... if they give us a broader range of options for their faces I think I may end up broke and drowning in Makies hahaha.

  2. Yay! A new review!

    I was going to buy a new makie last month or so, but waited for the explanation of the sudden price drop. (I have a makie already, but she was ordered around may)

    After seeing your review, I think that I would prefer the more expensive, but wholly 3d-printed body though.

    1. I love how the 3d-printed body feels. It feels like wood, and while the body is lightweight, I feel like it still has enough weight to pose. Are the plastic bodies heavy enough to have the substantial weight?

    2. The mis-matched colors are a little bit too extreme for me. I was going to buy a coco-colored makie, but didn't have any idea about how the body and head would have mismatched colors! It would've been nice if there's a notification from the makie company about the new plastic bodies.

    3. No idea if you know about the Five Nights at Freddy's video game, but the plastic reminds me a lot of the "toy" characters. They're also made out of plastic, so something about that makes me a bit squemish, haha.
    Here's the link to an image of the "toy"character! (it's a bit scary)

    I do appreciate the makielab lowering their prices though, after all, over $100 for a doll in the past would make some parents stagger back in shock...
    Can't say I love the new development, but it's certainly a necessary step for lower pricing :(

  3. Loved seeing these comparisons - I had one one the older Makies (although I eventually gave him away), and I'd been thinking about ordering one of these new ones, but wondered about the colour mismatching and differences in posing abilities - now all my questions have been answered!

  4. I do hope in the future they can return to the 3D-printed bodies. I think the mismatching colours and limbs falling out would irritate me far too much to be worth it, unfortunately, since I would have liked some friends for my current one. I didn't actually mind the old price all that much since I know it was necessary and if it had been possible to make them cheaper, they would have been.
    Perhaps one day they'll start selling the fully 3D-printed Makies as a separate option, that way those who don't mind the difference in quality could still have the cheaper option and those who like the old ones could still buy them.

  5. Your new Makies' faces are adorable!

    Sadly, my parents had a different experience when they tried to order a Makie gift certificate for my Christmas present. Two weeks before Christmas, they got an email stating that it was impossible to mail my gift certificate (so nothing my parents could give as the physical gift to open, which is traditional in our family), plus the news that, on top of the $20 of shipping already charged, they needed to bill another $20 of shipping that could be refunded later. That adds up to a great deal of shipping and, honestly, I would have been dreading trying to get back the second $20 in shipping. My parents cancelled the order and, fortunately, the company refunded the entire amount promptly.

    Seeing your thorough review, I have to admit that I'm relieved the situation resolved the way it did. I would definitely have designed one of the darker-skinned dolls, and the mismatch between face and body color would have been something I found very disturbing. The core of my doll collection is brown-skinned dolls -- I come from an ethnically diverse family and live in an ethnically diverse city, so it's very important to me that people of all colors be properly represented in the doll world. Finding that a $75 semi-custom doll can't do medium-brown as convincingly as most play dolls, including fakies and Dollar Store Beauties, would have created a real barrier to my bonding with the resulting doll. And that's just sad, especially in a gift.

    So it all worked out for the best for both of us. Enjoy your new Makies! Merry Christmas!

    1. The gift card thing is a right mess. SO many people hit with some sort of error that meant they couldn't honor any of them. Nightmare! I suspect they lost a LOT of business as a result which is worrisome.

      The cocoa isn't too bad to the naked eye, it just doesn't take photographs well at all. It is "colder" than the head in tone though, something to do with the way the nylon takes the pigment causes a sort of "glow" that's especially obvious in photographs.But the texture difference coupled with the shine really does mean the doll feels like a hybrid not a factory produced product and that I think is a real shame. It's very offputting for people to have such a difference in head and body like that. it's like two different dolls.

      I'm hoping they bring back the 3dp bodies. almost all the adult fans really really want that option and are more than happy to pay for the choice. Apparently there's a logistical issue with it because they've changed the head connector or something to fit the IM bodies, so they'd have to alter the prints. The new bodies have different joints in the arms and legs and the hand and foot pegs are slightly smaller so they can't neccisarily share all body parts or indeed the clip on shoes.

      I really hope they do sort out some sort of compromise though. Even if they just offered white nude makies with no wig or outfit i'd be happy. I just want the option for fully 3dp dolls I can dye back!

    2. I have to say I agree with these comments. I'd have wanted a dark skinned doll myself, but seeing the big difference in color between the head and body is a total turnoff to me.

      Also, I was never a fan of how Makies look to begin with, sorry Emily! I know you love them, but to me they look weird. Even the "cute" ones I find vastly unappealing. And I like a lot of weird looking dolls!

      Fortunately for my wallet, these dolls are a big Miss for me lol

      And I'm also very happy to see a new review!!!

  6. I love the idea of Makies (I've been following them since the beginning), but I'm really disappointed with their execution of the concept.

    For instance, I hate all of their eyebrow options and customizations, but there's no way to order a Makie without eyebrows (so I could paint them on later). Also, I've asked the company multiple times over the years if there would ever be a "small head" option for people who like their dolls more realistically-proportioned, and they've always said no. I'd give up inset eyes if I could just have a small head, even as an accessory!

    The color mismatch is also disturbing. I don't want a pale doll, but I also don't want a doll that looks like it's wearing a mask.

    Either the Makie company will have to get it right, or a new competitor will. At this point, I'm almost rooting for the (hypothetical) upstart.

    As always, thanks for the review!

  7. I got a new makie with the lightest coloring and i love her i had a old one and she looks like she has no coloring compared to my new makie.The one pain is removing the wig caps i get them off but i ordered a handfull of wigs and i feel like i am caving my dolls head in when i remove them. But she looks stunning in them.thanks.

  8. I have a tan one (the middle skin tone), and the headcap on mine actually comes off nicely without too much trouble. The color match between the head and body is also pretty good. Now, I only just got her last week, though, and I've heard they've spent the past couple of months working on improving the color matches, so I guess they've gotten better about matching the colors with the new hard plastic bodies. Thank goodness, because an extreme color mismatch would have driven me crazy.

  9. Wonderful thorough review, as always a pleasurable read. And I admire how your photos turn out. I wish I could do this, too... Thank you, Miss Emily! Do you happen to have a comparison pic of a Lammily doll and one of your adorable Makies? I wonder if they could swap clothes.

  10. I've been seeing Makies around for a while now, since one of my favourite Youtube based doll reviewers got one and sometimes has her sitting in the background, but I never felt that attracted to them because of the sameness you mentioned. Even when they were still fully customizable, I felt they all ended up looking pretty much alike, and it wasn't worth the high price point for a 'unique' doll. But with this review, you've totally changed my mind! They do still have that sameness to them (more than ever, I guess :D), but this 'guaranteed cuteness' set-up puts so much more life into their little faces, and the new price is attractive. I'm somewhat bummed I missed out on the fully printed bodies, since I think one of those would have added more character, but it's a compromise I'm willing to make. Thank you for convincing me, Emily; I think I'm going to have a blast designing one of these girls for myself :)

    PS: I saw the edit you made on the Star Darlings review, I really appreciate you taking the time. Now I'll feel at ease ordering one online whenever they become available on a local Amazon (I'm Europe based), I had become worried some of them were printed and some of them weren't! - Dainty

  11. I've been eyeing Makies since they first came out, and I'm thinking I may have to get one now! The lower price point makes them much more attractive to folks like me. :)

  12. Thank you for this review and the comparisons between your five Makies. I've enjoyed playing with the creator ever since your first review. One of these days I will actually buy one. They are so very cute!

  13. You're so right about the personalities shining through the dolls! Just for fun, here's my impressions of your beautiful collection.
    Glythia is a little Elf creature from the forest. She doesn't quite get humans, but she thinks they're amusing to watch. She usually keeps to herself, but enjoys long intellectual conversations.
    Effie is at least part fairy. She's sweet and bubbly and loves to dance.
    Coco is the life of the party! She's the girl who walks in and turns the music up and brought cookies too. But when a friend needs her she's more than happy to sit down and listen to what's troubling them- and she's known for her hugs.
    Lola is a foreign exchange student who is very shy and has some trouble speaking English, however once you get past her studious exterior she loves watching films with large amounts of popcorn snuggled up on the couch with a friend or two.
    Blue is the most childish one of the bunch, always giggling and pulling harmless pranks on her friends. She loves animals, both real and plush, and is always challenging her friends to cartwheel contests. She's got a big sweet tooth and will always make her friends laugh.

    I hope you get some enjoyment out of my silly perceptions of your dolls! :P I'm not sure if a Makie will ever make(haha) their way to my house. I think with the new bodies and the amount of shine they have, and a few of the other problems you mentioned here they just aren't quite worth the price tag for me.

  14. Have you seen the not-exactly-knockoff doll line called "Gothic Girl"? They're exclusive to Dollar General and they're pretty good for practicing face-ups. Do you have a P.O box or something? I'd be happy to send you one or even two so you could judge for yourself whether the quality has improved or not. I think the hair rooting has gotten better. I can even send you one with a new face so she won't be a blight on your collection (or you could gift her to someone if she's unbearable).

  15. Loved the article! But i recently bought a doll from . I have to say one of the most beautiful dolls I've seen in a while, may consider doing a post on them ! Absolutely beautiful


  16. Great review!
    I got a Makie not too long ago.
    And I'm not sure if the body is 3d printed or not, because I can see print lines in some places.
    So I wonder if they just switched plastics, or started smoothing down the ridges?
    If so the color matching would make sense, because they would have to buy pre made colors.

  17. Love all your reviews, but sadly, the Makies company has closed its doors and no longer produces these dolls. The CEO moved back to America and sold out to a corporation who "might" put the dolls back into production, but more likely just wanted to own the software for their own line of dolls... I was fortunate enough to get five of the Cutie phase dolls (two boys and three girls), and while I adore these dolls, I am seriously disappointed in the company.