Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Hermione Granger" by Star Ace Toys

In my post about Mattel's 2001 Hermione Granger play doll, I mentioned that I had another Hermione to review.  Several of you guessed correctly that it was Star Ace's new sixth scale figure from the My Favorite Movie series.  Aside from the fact that both of these Hermione dolls portray Emma Watson's version of the beloved character from The Sorcerer's Stone, they have very little in common.  First of all, the Star Ace figure costs about ten times as much as the Mattel doll: a whopping $210, to be precise.  However, Sideshow Collectibles has a great payment plan, and so I was able to make this purchase slowly over a period of almost half a year.  There are other differences--in size, quality and articulation to name a few, and also the fact that Star Ace's Hermione is not yet discontinued and can still be found for sale in several online locations.

The biggest difference between the two dolls, however, is that Star Ace's Hermione is strikingly realistic:

Sixth scale Hermione Granger by Star Ace Toys, $209.99.
As realistic as this doll is, I'm not convinced that she's a perfect replica of young Hermione from The Sorcerer's Stone.  It's hard to separate the face from the iconic outfit and hair, though.  I think perhaps she looks more like an older version of the character.  I'll talk more about her facial features a little later, though.  

The actual Hermione Granger is pictured on the Star Ace box, sporting a different expression than the doll:

That face looks a lot younger than the doll to me.
The box is mostly red and black, with modest graphic decorations:

The back of the box has only the Harry Potter movie title text and some copyright information.

The box has a five-sided asymmetrical cover that slides upwards to reveal a more conventional window box underneath:

The cover sliding off.
Here's the inner box on its own:

The doll and her accessories are packaged in plastic casing that can be lifted out of the main box.  Behind the plastic, there's a black and white backdrop showing the floating candles at Hogwarts:

The plastic casing is molded to fit Hermione and all of her accessories.  It has a clear lid to keep everything in place.

The instructions, doll stand and extra hands come taped to the back of this packaging:

When I took the lid off of the plastic, most of the accessories fell out.  I was happy to see that everything wasn't taped (or plastic-tied) in place. 

The accessories are de-boxing themselves!
It was incredibly easy to remove everything from the box.

Like magic.
I set the stand and instructions aside to look at later.  

Here's Hermione with her accessories:


She comes with a leather-like book bag, two books, a wand, a quill with ink, and three extra hands:

Hermione herself comes with plastic wrapped around her head, waist and feet:

The plastic around her waist holds the robe closed and the loop around her head does a good job of taming her significant mane of hair.

Here's Hermione with all of the plastic removed:

The hair has a waxy coating that helps give it the disheveled look that Hermione sports in the earlier movies.  The sticky wax and plastic band conspired to flatten the hair considerably at the top, though:

A serious case of hat head.

I fluffed the hair with my fingers to try and get rid of the flattened areas...


...and then smoothed the hair back down again:

Hermione's black robe has some wonderful details, including a Gryffindor crest and some fancy button work:

My doll's robe has a small woven defect just to one side of the house crest--it looks like a thin white line:

The crest looks great from a distance, but up close the pixels are obvious and the lettering is blurred:

The robe closes in front with two pairs of buttons--one of each pair is decorative and the other fastens to a loop of thread:

The buttons are backed with gorgeous little embroidered plaques.
The loops of thread do not stay in place very well, so I just leave the robe open.

The robe also has a pleated hood flap--not a full hood:

The robe has angled sleeves and is fully lined, although the lining is not maroon.  This all-black robe is accurate to the style in the first two Harry Potter movies.  The robes didn't acquire those attractive maroon linings until Prisoner of Azkaban.

The robe even has a secret pocket in the lining--along the right side seam:

For the wand, maybe?
Under the robe, Hermione is wearing her grey uniform:

There's a small white area on the back of the skirt that's visible from a distance.  It's just a spot where the velcro is showing through.

It's easier to look at Hermione's hair and face when she's not wearing her black robe. 

You can see that Hermione's hair wants to go back to its pre-fluffed shape, with a band of matted hair around the top of her head:

While I was fluffing Hermione's hair up again, I investigated the rooting pattern:

There's a huge bald patch at the top of the head.  Fortunately, the head cap is made out of brown plastic, so the bald areas are not as visible as they might be.  Even though the hair plugs are not very dense, the waxy texture of the hair makes it more than full enough in volume.

To get a good look at Hermione's face, I pulled her hair back into a ponytail and lifted the bangs up with a clear rubber band (you can see the edge of her brown head cap under her bags):

She has a wonderfully realistic head mold.  I especially love her natural smile and thick eyebrows.  As I mentioned before, I think her features look more like an older version of Hermione--not the doe-eyed eleven-year-old in the first movie.  This is how I think of the Sorcerer's Stone Hermione:

Sassy little thing.
On the other hand, some of the promotional pictures from Sorcerer's Stone make Hermione look a little older--and much more like the doll:

In fact, I'm guessing that this picture played some role in the development of the Hermione doll's head mold.

For contrast, here's a head shot of Hermione from the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban:

Looking at these comparisons, if I could tweak a few things on the doll's face, I'd make the eyes slightly bigger and the eyebrows even larger and darker.  Little critiques aside, I've never seen a better resemblance to Hermione in any other doll or action figure.

The other thing about this face is that it looks like me and my sister when we were young--at least to me.  I don't look anything like Emma Watson now--that's for sure--but there's something in the expression of this doll's face that is so familiar.  I couldn't find the greatest picture to show this, but here's my young self.  It's probably all about the eyebrows:

Hermione's face is not perfectly symmetric face (nor should it be).  However, she has some wonkiness in her right eye that makes me prefer the left profile.

I really like how she looks with her head slightly tipped to the right side:

Here's Hermione's full profile:

The angle of her neck and chin is a little strange because of the style of articulation in that area.

Hermione has the most detailed little ears.  They're incredible:

One of the things I admire most about the face paint on this doll is the subtle texture and freckling.  These faint spots are stunningly realistic--so much more believable than a perfectly homogenous complexion.

As I mentioned in the last review, Hermione doesn't actually have freckles, but I think this technique still works on the doll.  The freckles aren't glaringly obvious as freckles from a distance, they just add depth to the face.

The thick eyebrows are also very well-painted.  What I don't like about the face paint (aside from the one wonky eye) is the eyelashes.  Amidst so many beautifully-done features, these stand out as looking painted, not real.  To put this in perspective, though, if you held Hermione in real life you'd laugh at me for making this comment.  The eyes are so tiny that the style of the lashes is barely noticeable.  It's only an issue with photography.

Notice that despite the very dark brown color of the eyes, there's quite a lot of iris detail--even some very fine black lines radiating out from the pupil.  Here's a little closer look:

Hermione's mouth is wonderful--although I found it a bit hard to photograph. To me it has just the right coloring and some nice texture in the lips:

I definitely see a resemblance to Emma Watson in this face, but--as with the Mattel doll--the hair plays a huge role in making the doll clearly recognizable as Hermione Granger:

Now, let's take a close look at the rest of Hermione's outfit:

The sweater is great, with a fine knit that--while not perfectly in scale--is impressively small and smooth.  The thick neckline of the sweater and tie make Hermione's chest look a little puffed out from certain angles, but it's not a big deal:

The sweater does not open in back or anything, it has to be removed like a real sweater--over Hermione's head (this helps fluff that hair up, though!).

The sweater drapes beautifully and has a subtle sheen.  My sweater has a small knitted defect in the front on the right side.  It looks like a small hole, but I think it's just an area where the yarn is thickened and doesn't lay flat.

The collar and ribbed edges of the sweater have the Gryffindor house colors knitted right into them.  Aside from a slightly thick neckline, the edges of the sweater lay nicely and look great.

The sweater is stitched together from several pieces, but the seams are small and do not interfere with the nice shape of the garment.

Under the sweater, Hermione is wearing a white collared blouse and tie:

The tie is stiff and sticks up a bit without the sweater to hold it down.  

Under the tie, the shirt has decorative white buttons.  These buttons are glued in place, and one of the buttons on my doll's blouse has fallen off.  I couldn't find it anywhere.

Accio button!
The tie is made out of fabric, but it feels very stiff--and a little like plastic.  It has a similar construction to the Mattel tie, with fabric attached to a loop of elastic.

The two edges of the tie are glued together, and this is probably the cause of the stiffness.

The blouse is well-tailored with a stitched pocket, collar and cuffs.

It even has a single pleat in the back:

The blouse opens down the front with a thick band of velcro:

I couldn't actually take the blouse off over Hermione's hands, though.  

The cuffs are tightly-fit and have incredible detail, including little sewn-on buttons...

...but the buttons are only decorative and the cuffs don't open:

Fortunately, Hermione's hands pop off pretty easily.

The wrists are ball joints with hinges.  The hands attach with a little ringed peg:

Here's the hole in the hand that accommodates the peg:

I'll look at the hands in more detail once I've finished looking at the skirt and blouse.

The skirt is pleated all of the way around and opens part way down the back with velcro:

The fabric of the skirt is very stiff--it doesn't swish or drape at all.  This stiffness will likely help keep the pleats in shape over time.

With the skirt and hands removed, it's very easy to get the blouse off.  Here's the blouse on its own so you can see the careful stitching inside:

Now, here are Hermione's removed hands.  They are covered with the same faint freckle pattern as her face:

The hands have a lot of molded detail, too, including lines in the palm and little fingernails.

Hermione's right hand is shaped in a graceful bent-fingered position:

The only clothing that Hermione was still wearing at this point was underwear, grey knitted socks and black shoes:

The right shoe always looks like it's on the wrong foot for some reason.

I was not able to get Hermione's shoes off, though.  I tugged and tugged on the shoes and the best I could do was pull the whole foot off:

With the feet removed, I worked and worked on the shoes to get them off.  I figured out pretty early on in this process that the shoes aren't supposed to come off, but I'm stubborn, and so I persisted.

Eventually, I pried the shoes off with a pair of tweezers and some brute force.  They were glued in place and secured by two pegs that fit into holes into the feet:

The shoes are very plain and shiny.  These are probably the least realistic part of the whole doll set.

The socks were also glued to the feet, so I had to peel them off with a certain amount of force.  This ripped the socks in a few fragile areas.

After all of that, the foot itself is a disappointment:

The foot has no molded or painted detail, and there are two crudely-drilled holes in the bottom:

Why do I have to be so curious??  Sigh.

Here's Hermione in her black underwear:

The underwear looks like it's made for a boy, and it reveals some funny areas of articulation at the top of the legs:

The funniest thing about the underwear, though, is that...well, hm.  How to put this?  Hermione looks decidedly male:

At least without the underwear, it's clear what's going on in this region.  The cut of Hermione's hip joints is just very high:

With that issue out of the way--holy cow, Hermione has a lot of joints.  I count 28 points of articulation.  The advertising says 30 points, though.  What am I missing?

1. Chin
2. Neck
3, 4. Shoulders (hinge)
5, 6. Shoulders (rotation)
7, 8. Elbow (top)
9, 10. Elbow (bottom)
11, 12. Wrist (ball hinge)
13, 14. Wrist (peg)
15. Ribs
16. Waist
17, 18. Hips (ball hinge)
19, 20. Hips (rotation)
21, 22. Knees (upper)
23, 24 Knees (lower)
25, 26. Ankles (ball hinge)
27, 28. Ankles (peg)

I really can't figure out where the extra two joints are.  I guess it's got to be something to do with the elbows, but I don't see how to make two more legitimate joints there.

Let's look at all of these joints one at a time.  First, the head has a full range of movement at chin level.  This allows Hermione to look all around, up, down, and even to tip her head to the side.  It feels like a ball joint.

The joint at the bottom of the neck is a little less impressive.  It spins all around but only moves back and forth a tiny little bit.

Hermione's shoulders have hinged rotation at the very top, allowing her to spin her arms all around...

...and lift them straight up:

The high arm joint allows the arms to rotate below the shoulder:

Hermione's elbows are double jointed.  She does not have any rotation in this joint, though, just a fantastic range of flexion:

You might also notice that she has insanely muscular arms for an eleven-year-old girl.  The joint lines really accentuate this.

Hermione's wrists are hinged on the arm side, and then the hand also rotates around its attachment peg.  I am counting this as two separate joints.

Hermione's hands can interact really well with her face...although doing this when she's undressed puts a huge spotlight on the disparity between her youthful face and her bodybuilder arms.

Hermione's upper torso joint moves from side to side...

...and also back and forth a little:

She also has rotation in this upper joint, which I didn't photograph.  This allows her to twist her upper body about 90 degrees in either direction (so that her chest is facing to her side).

The lower torso joint is not quite as flexible.  It moves forward and backward a little:

Here are the joints from the back:

There's a series of strange plugs in Hermione's back and on her upper arms that must conceal screws or some other unsightly construction feature.

Also in the picture above, notice how Hermione's bottom hangs over and covers her upper leg joints. This is an interesting design choice that ends up restricting the backwards movement of the legs.  

The legs have great forwards movement (Hermione can kick to about 90 degrees):

(And sit on the ground nicely)

But her legs cannot kick backwards at all.

The ball hinges at the top of Hermione's legs allow her to do almost-full side-to-side splits if she sinks straight down:

And then if her legs are rotated inward below the hip, she can do sitting splits, like this:

Exactly as we saw with the arms, the rotation just below Hermione's hip makes up for the fact that there is no rotation in her double-jointed knees:

I love double-jointed knees, and these are very attractive.  The legs show very little sign of the joint when they're straight, and even when they're bent, the shape of the kneecap is natural and graceful:

Hermione has excellent knee flexibility, and can kneel in many different ways.

She can sit on the ground in almost any way I can think of...

...including cross-legged:

Hermione's ankle articulation is similar to her wrist articulation.  The ball part of the joint has hinge movement, and then the foot itself rotates around its attachment peg:

This doll also has excellent balance and can hold a fair number of poses without any need for a stand.  If her feet didn't have big, ragged holes on the bottom, she'd stand up even better.

Hermione is 9.5 inches tall, so is--appropriately--child-sized when compared to my other 1:6 action figures.  Here she is with a Otaku female and a Phicen Seamless figure:

Otaku, Star Ace Hermione, Phicen.
She's much wider through the body than other highly-articulated dolls like J-doll (also Pullip, Hestia) and Juku Couture:

J-doll, Star Ace Hermione, Juku Couture.
Here she is next to a Liv doll and a Made to Move Barbie:

Liv, Star Ace Hermione, Made to Move Barbie.
Her scale is pretty good to be a younger sister for a Barbie doll, although her head size isn't compatible with Liv's.

I don't feel like clothes-sharing is a big concern with figures like this, but here are a few more comparisons--just so you can get a sense for Hermione's scale.

Hermione with Moxie Girlz Kellan:

Star Ace Hermione, Moxie Girlz.
Hermione with my new Makie doll, Blue:

Star Ace Hermione, Makie.
Hermione with a Star Darling doll:

Star Ace Hermione, Star Darlings.
The hardest part of re-dressing Hermione was dealing with the mangled socks.  I really never should have taken them off...but I had to know what was underneath.

This is the sock that's in the worst shape:

The heel of this sock started ripping while I was trying to pull the shoe off, and then the hole enlarged as I tried to peel the sock away from the foot.

The pegs in the shoe made it hard to get the foot back in place.  I tried to cut the pegs off with scissors, but they're pretty stubborn.  Fortunately, so am I, and the front peg on this shoe broke off during my struggles:

I was eventually able to get both shoes back on.  I'm sure these shoes are on the correct feet, but it still looks to me like the right foot is incorrect:

The rip on the sock was still visible on the right:

I'll probably go back and re-glue the socks to the feet, just to keep the rips from being visible.  I can't recommend trying to remove the shoes on this doll--it's not worth it, no matter how curious you are.  The foot design seems like such a strange choice to me.  I mean, all of the clothes are not just removable, but easy to remove.  So why stick the shoes and socks in place and make them such a pain?  I don't like it.

I do like Hermione's accessories, though, so let's take a look at those.  All of her accessories fit inside this leather-like book bag:

At first, I thought this was a real leather bag, but I've changed my mind.  I suspect it's imitation...which (to me) is better.

The bag is made out of two contrasting leather colors, and the straps are accented with small gold (metal?) squares:

The bag is completely stitched together, including the delicate handles.  

The inside of the bag is what made me think it was made of real leather at first...but this was also what (when I examined it up close) convinced me that it's imitation.

If you look really closely at the inside of the bag, you can see a faint knit pattern in the fuzzy backing:

You can also see that the metal-looking square rivets on the straps span the entire thickness of the bag and have some kind of backing on the inside.  It's very impressive construction overall.

Hermione's two books are not quite as impressive to me.  For a $200 doll, I'd love to have some real paper pages on these books...even with fake or blurry text.  But perhaps that's asking a lot.

They do look fairly convincing from a distance:

The first book is called Magical Theory.  The name of the author is unreadable:

The book is made out of plastic and has a sticker cover with molded pages along the side:

The other book is Hogwarts, a History.  The author's name is readable here, and looks like Professor Garius Tomkink:

Hermione also comes with a quill and ink pot:

The ink pot has a small hole for accommodating the quill:

It's hard to get the quill to stay upright, though.  The hole is a bit too large and shallow for a secure fit.  A drop of glue would help make this a nice secure prop...but then Hermione would not be able to hold the quill (which--spoiler alert--is something cool she can do).

The feather has some decent detail, but I always picture Hermione with the white-colored quill that she levitates during her Charms class in Sorcerer's Stone.

Hermione is so good at spells, she pretty much has to come with a wand:

It's hard to make a wand look really spectacular, since wands don't often have a lot of detail to begin with.  On the other hand, Hermione has quite a beautiful wand in some of the later movies--complete with a three dimensional vine pattern.  The plain wand in this set is accurate to the first movie, though, right down to the white handle:

I need to go back through the movies and figure out when this wand changes to the fancier one.  I can't remember, and it isn't well documented online.  I think Hermione still has the white-handled wand in Chamber of Secrets.  My best bet is that it changes over in Prisoner of Azkaban.

Hermione also comes with three extra right hands, one of which I was sure would be perfect for the wand:

Sure enough!  Here's the one from the far right in the picture above:

The wand slips into the hand pretty easily, especially if you slide it up from the bottom--pointed end first.

There's another gripping hand in the trio, but this one is too loose to fit the wand...

...but it works perfectly to hold the bag:

In my opinion, the best hand is the one that holds the quill:

It's so precise and detailed, and it holds the quill very securely:

To me, this hand makes the quill a much more interesting accessory than it would be without the hand.

The right hand that comes attached to Hermione has a purpose that I missed at first--I thought it was just a random relaxed shape.  It's actually a perfect gripping hand for the broom!

The broom has solid molded bristles, making it very heavy at that end.

A broom is an odd choice of accessory for Hermione.  I don't think she rides her broom a single time in the first movie.  Broom riding is not one of her many talents.  I'm not sure what a better accessory would have been, though.  Hermione doesn't have Crookshanks in the first movie, and I can't think of anything else that she carries around a lot.

In any case, here's the hand gripping the detailed handle of the broom:

Some of the hands are a little hard to snap on.  Because the attachment peg is hinged, it has a tendency to slip off to the side as I'm trying to push the hand in place.  Still, I had an easier time swapping these hands than I've had with some other action figure hands.

Another thing that bugged me a little bit is that all of Hermione's extra hands are right hands.  This makes total sense (assuming she's right-handed) but I still wish there was a bit more mixing and matching that could be done with the hands.

I had a lot of fun swapping Hermione's hands and posing her.  Here she is with the quill hand--using it to straighten her tie:


And here's the bag-holding hand (which is probably the least fun hand to use in posing--it's not good for much more than holding the bag):

Here's the ever-important wand hand:

This hand is great for posing, partly because Hermione is so good at spells but also because posing a character with a wand is just fun and dramatic.

Wingardium leviosa!

The wand hand works for an exasperated fist-on-the-hip, too, which is not an uncommon pose for the young Miss Granger:

Here's Hermione investigating her broom:

This accessory is difficult to use in posing because it's so heavy on one end.

During my posing session, I discovered that Hermione can also use her broom-gripping hand to hold books:

I saved my favorite quill-holding hand for last:

I put Hermione back into her robe for a few pictures:

When I was redressing her, I noticed that the robe has a thin wire in the hemline.  This is a really great feature because it allows the cape to be positioned as though it's fluttering out behind Hermione:

The wire in the robe makes posing Hermione even more fun!

With Hermione in her full uniform, I wanted to get a comparison shot with the Mattel Hermione:

Star Ace Hermione, Mattel Hermione.
It's fascinating to see the differences between a $20 doll and a $200 doll.  Both capture the essence of Hermione Granger, but the Star Ace character is so much more realistic and polished.  I think the one thing Mattel did better is the shoes and socks.  I like the chunky shape of these shoes, and I really like that they're removable.

Star Ace Hermione, Mattel Hermione.
Another thing is that Mattel's crimped hair is very realistic to the movie character (and feels nice, too).  I didn't realize this until I re-watched The Sorcerer's Stone the other day, but Hermione has a lot of visible crimping in her hair.  And the hair in the movie looks softer than I remember it--not always a total rat's nest, especially towards the end of the movie.

Here's a good picture of Emma Watson from The Sorcerer's Stone, so you can see the hair and how it compares to the doll (granted, Hermione's hair is often much messier than this in the movie):

I didn't really feel the need for a doll stand during this review, but I still wanted to look at the stand that came with Hermione because it seemed very fancy:

I think this is the most complex doll stand I've ever encountered.
The stand has six main parts, but some of the pieces have ends that come off and can be interchanged with other end pieces.

The three main rods have hinged pegs that can be removed and swapped for the two small straight pegs seen here:

I experimented with how these different pieces fit together and move:

Looks like a torture device.
The simplest version of the stand is just the waist grip attached to the medium-sized rod:

This set-up does a nice job of holding Hermione in a standing position:

But if I leave the hinged peg at the bottom of this rod, the stand can be bent from side to side to accommodate more energetic poses from Hermione:

At first I wasn't exactly sure what the other pieces were for.  They can certainly support Hermione in any number of poses... 

...but that's not actually what they were designed for.

I finally figured out that this must be what they're designed for:

Holding the broom.
The smaller grip fits around the bristles of the broom (it can actually fit better than what's shown here, but early on I was afraid to break the grip):

And the taller rod has an attachment that perfectly holds the broom handle:

In order to get Hermione on the broom, the tallest rod has to go in the middle, like this:

Which puts everything in the right place to perfectly support both doll and broom:

Look Emily, no hands!
Here's a view from the back so that you can see how everything attaches:

Even though Hermione never rides her broom in The Sorcerer's Stone, I have to admit that this is a really fun prop to play around with.

First, Hermione has to summon her broom (which doesn't go well for her in the movie...):

Up! Up!
And then she's off!

I was even able to get Hermione to ride the broom side-saddle, although the stand resisted this:

The clever stand (combined with Hermione's sturdy gripping hand) make for a lot of really outlandish poses:

For photography enthusiasts, there's also some great potential for eliminating the stand from this kind of shot, making the pose seem even more unbelievable!  I'm not very skilled at photo editing, but here's my best effort:

Playing with the stand was great.  I didn't give it much thought until the very end of the review, but it adds a ton of posing potential and fun.

Hermione finally agreed to climb down off her broom and pose for a few more pictures with her other accessories.

Bottom line?  I often agonize and deliberate for months before purchasing a doll in this price range.  However, I felt an instant connection the very first time I saw promotional photographs of Star Ace's Hermione.  Better yet, the actual doll is so much like her prototype, I never felt a moment of regret for adding her to my collection.

Like many dolls of this quality, Hermione's few flaws are attached to features that are exceptional.  For example, her face is wonderfully realistic--probably the best resemblance to Hermione Granger that I've seen in any doll or action figure.  Her mouth, eyebrows and freckled face are especially well done.  However, when a resemblance gets this close, it's hard not to see all of the imperfections.  I think this doll's eyes are a little small, and the right eye on my doll is painted slightly askew.  I also don't care for the eyelash painting technique.  As minor as this complaint might be, the lashes look crude compared to the realism in all of the other tiny features.

The articulation on this doll is amazing.  She has (at least) 28 joints that allow her to pose in a myriad of ways--and balance on her own in many of these positions.  Her double-jointed elbows and knees are particularly impressive.  Overall, the body has a nice weight and moves smoothly.  However, the shape of the body is strange.  Hermione looks very masculine and overly muscular for an eleven-year-old.  This is not such a big deal since the body shape isn't at all apparent when she's dressed--which is how I intend to keep her.  Another small issue with the body is that Hermione's legs can't bend backwards at the hip.  The biggest problem with the body design is that Hermione's shoes and socks are glued to her feet, and her feet are little stubs with no detail whatsoever.  I guess this could be categorized as either a body problem or a clothing problem...and maybe a little bit of an Emily problem.  I prefer it when dolls like this are designed either for re-dressing or just for display.  I can see good reasons for both of these options.  Hermione falls awkwardly in the middle.  She has clothes that are beautifully made for re-dressing...but has to wear the same socks and shoes with every single outfit.

Other than the permanent shoes and socks, Hermione's clothes are outstanding.  Her robe is detailed and attractive.  It has a lovely embroidered button closure and a delicately pleated hood.  It is fully lined--with a little secret pocket!  I especially like the wire in the hemline that allows the robe to billow out around Hermione's legs.  The sweater is beautifully knit with tiny stitches and a smooth, silky texture.  The design of the tie makes it easy to use, although the stiff fabric does cause it to stick up.  The blouse is perfectly tailored with tons of amazing little stitched details.  My doll came with a button missing on her blouse, though, which is unfortunate.

Most of the accessories in this set are very well made and contribute to the fun of the doll.  After my initial doubts, I ended up liking the broom and stand best of all--even though I don't associate Hermione with broom-riding.  I had a blast posing Hermione on her broom with the help of the elaborate stand.  The bag, wand, quill, and books are also nice, and I like that Hermione comes with a special hand for holding each of them.  The quill and books are probably the least impressive of these items.  The quill falls out of the ink pot really easily and I wish the book pages were real paper.

I elaborate on all of these little problems mostly because I think it's good to know exactly what you're getting when you spend $200 on a doll.  But I hope it's also clear by now that I love this doll.  She's well-made, well-articulated, and bears a wonderful resemblance to Hermione Granger.  What makes this particular doll even more special to me, though, is that she reminds me of myself.  This familiarity means that the doll not only brings back memories of J.K. Rowling's magical world, but also bring back memories of my own dreams and fantasies--the ones where I was the clever and sassy witch who got to be best friends with Harry Potter.


  1. This doll is phenomenal! The articulation, the quality, the play value, everything! Amazing!

    1. I agree! But I think the neck looks a little long and giraffe-like....

    2. The resemblance is no doubt a remarkable one. I draw faces all the time and first time I saw the doll I was like wow! She looks just like her and not only that but the technical details and how realistic. You mentioned that the age is a little off, she looks a bit older. I agree.Personally, I draw a lot faces, several books on faces just in black and white. But, I mean it is very hard to etch/model someone exactly as they are, draw them 100%. I've figured out a way around that, identifying the shape and disassociating associated faces. But anyway, what I have found was that the hardest thing for me to overcome drawing/modeling figures is time, the hardest essence: The age and the features of expression going along with it. Personally I think she pretty much looks the age she does in the second one. I think there was only one pic where her face almost looked younger, and rounder, more baby-faced appearing. There was also one exception, up closer, when the hair was pulled back and she almost looks like she did in the 4th one from the profile. Pretty much, I think it is a close call but more like the 2nd one.

      The anatomy is incredible too! More technical details within and she could probably be used as a model for a health/science class example lol. Now, I have the original doll that came out but she does not look as close to the real Hermionie as this one does with this much detail and must say I'm impressed! You've taken some great photos, from a written and visual perspective, it seems like you have considered every angle with this. Thanks for this article. Does she talk too or no? I think mine talks but is too tired saying the same thing a thousand times, really the battery is pretty much worn. Thanks for your awesome post!

  2. Rewelacyjna twarz! Wspaniała lalka! Bardzo ładna i niezwykle podobna do pierwowzoru!
    Bardzo ciekawy stojak!
    Pozdrawiam serdecznie!

  3. Wow, the level of articulation and the details of the head are fabulous. Shame about the socks and feet though - what a strange design choice that was!

  4. What if they counted the extra hands as more joints? Thank you for the review, I love reading about unusual dolls!

  5. *wishes desperately that I could get her*
    Thank you so much for the review, it's the next best thing!
    Hurrah for vicarious doll enjoyment ;)

  6. I don't like her nude body. It's like her head doesn't belong to it.
    The socks+feet combo is very unfortunate..

    That stand is great though. And her face, I could totally see Hermione on it.

  7. Love this doll emily!! she does look like Emma Watson. very cool stand. thanks for the review.

  8. Hello Emily!
    What an interesting set of reviews! I love how this doll actually looks like Emma Watson. I feel like the Mattel doll didn't look even remotely like her and I honestly didn't find her attractive at all. I suppose you get what you pay for though. What a shame about the glued-on shoes. That would annoy me too!
    I wanted to let you know that I was able to get Goldie Blox's friend Ruby Rails at a walmart near me on clearance for $3. I'm not sure why or how they were able to make the dolls down for such a low price (they had Goldie too.). I had a lot of fun playing with Ruby's parachute, and my dad did too. :) I'm debating about going back and getting Goldie. They also had some other sets, but looking online those seemed to be made out of primarily cardboard, which didn't appeal to me.
    I hope you are doing well! (and if you would like me to pick you up a Ruby I would be happy to.) Love, Muzzy

  9. What an incredibly realistic doll! It looks so much like Emma Watson than the Mattel version. Maybe the extra hands or the stand count as points of articulation? Don't know why that could be but just a suggestion. Chante

  10. I had a body like that when I was eleven. Years of carrying firewood and younger siblings had aided genetics in giving it to me.

  11. between the two I think I find myself preferring mattel's version but that might be because the neck on the star ace is so prominent? Star ace's has a lot of incredible accessories but mattel's articulation is definitely comparable to this version too.

  12. WOW, what an amazing doll! She is SO detailed and realistic, not to mention articulated! It's a pleasant surprise to find out that her articulation looks relatively smooth, and also that her clothes and face are so detailed. Have you thought of maybe checking out the Dora and Friends dolls, by the way? I've seen some in Toys'R'Us and I was wondering what your opinion on them would be. :) Once again, thanks for another detailed, informative review! This is truly a doll to be proud of.

  13. You do a good job of reporting on the quality of the doll and costumes. Historical? atk

  14. I feel rather disappointed that her body seems to have been made for a different doll entirely. In fact, everything but the bust piece appears to be expressly male? That's a boy butt. I agree with you in wanting a doll to be either for display or re-dressing; it's like this Hermione is enticing me to make her new outfits, but any outfit that revealed anything beyond her hands would look odd. I'm still considering her as a display doll, though; that stand looks like an absolute blast! Thank you for the thorough review, it's always super interesting reading a review of a doll with a "rare" body.

    1. They probably just re-used the same body for Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

  15. She looks great! A wonderful review. I understand your curiosity. Could you darn the sock?

    Everything in the set looks great, very realistic. My only issue is the broom. Hermione hated to fly; she did not have her own broom.

    Thank you, again, for a neat review.

  16. One possible solution to the quill problem: White-tac. As in the removable sticky stuff for posters. A tiny bit of this pushed into the hole with a wire or toothpick, and Hermione's quill can stay upright, while still being removable!

  17. This doll looks so funky without her clothes - like a real person's head on a strange, giraffe-necked robot body. But I think it's worth it for that incredible articulation!

  18. she's a little valley of the uncanny for me, but damn her accessories are awesome. that stand design is really cool.

  19. She looks like so much fun to play with. She's a little freaky when you take her clothes off, but all of the poses are so cool, and the accessories are awesome.

  20. As always, wonderful review, Emily.
    Oh, those pesky plastic ties!

  21. Creo que la razón por la que llegaron los pies a los zapatos Es que los pies no estaban detallados cuando tengo dudas sobre las partes de una muñeca Busco fotos en internet y por lo general siempre aparecen y se despeja mi duda así evitó romper algo espero que puedas arreglar la de tal forma que no se le vean los calcetines rotos está muy padre la muñeca Lástima que no soy fan de Harry Potter

  22. I don't comment much, but have been thinking about how this blog isn't cheap for you. If you had a button so we could contribute a bit of money to help offset the costs of the dolls you need to buy for this, I'd be glad to chip in. The entertainment and educational value I've gotten from this blog has been valuable and helped me decide on some toys to get for my daughter. Of course, I can also blame you for getting me hooked on Tonner dolls. ;)

  23. Wow, I love her facemold!

    You probably won't review/buy these, but what are your thoughts on these EAH knockoffs I found? They don't seem too bad, but I can't tell since I've not found any reviews on them (save a youtube video by a young girl in a foreign language that is very brief).

    Anyway, thoughts?

  24. Many of the problems with this doll are because she is not a Doll but is an Action Figure. Articulation is always going to be more important than body aesthetics and the figure is really only intended for setting up in a posed display rather than playing with in-hand. The crude-foot-glued-sock-pegged-shoes is a standard convention (often called boot-feet) to permit a close tight look with real fabric that is visually more satisfying than molded-on footwear and any shoe change would normally involve a foot change.
    For me, one of the most disconcerting things about this figure (and with the super-realistic figures in general) is that the face has a "frozen moment" quality that isn't always right for the pose or activity. Maybe it is an Uncanny Valley reaction (almost alive but not) or perhaps that it is like she got Botox and her face can't move!

  25. Really nice review, and I think this is one of the best Hermione dolls in the market.
    Anyways, have you ever thought about making a Blythe doll review? Like, the actual Neo Blythe doll, from Takara Tomy not the Littlest Petshop.

  26. Can you do a review on the re-releases of the basic EAH dolls? I've heard about their quality going down but I've not found any good reviews that specify.

    1. The only difference is some details have been omitted. What is still there is the same quality tho.

  27. What are your thoughts on the Monster High reboot dolls? I've heard negative and neutral feedback, but I'm interested in your opinion.

  28. Hey, Emily? Are you alright? You haven't made a post in nearly a month and a half. I hope everything is okay.

  29. Hello !!! My name is Olavo, I am Brazilian, and I love your reviews , because they are very detailed, which is too much, because you do capture all the details, and I wonder if , ever heard of " dc Superhero Gils "dolls? I would love to see a review of them here on the blog! thanks!!!

  30. Hi Emily, I hope that you are OK? I know that you planned to ease off a bit with the reviews but it has been such a long time. I miss you and your wonderful reviews. xx

  31. Hello, Emily! I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. First of all, I hope everything is alright with you and your family, it's been a while since we've heard from you.
    Second, thank you for all the lovely reviews! I truly don't mind if you review old dolls or new dolls, popular or obscure, I enjoy them all. I live in Finland, and the stores here have only a tiny fraction of the toy selection that US gets - also, the prices are way way higher! Your blog is a way for me to learn about and enjoy all these lovely dolls that I would otherwise never even know about.
    So thank you, and I hope to see another review from you soon, whatever toy it is about!

  32. I've enjoyed some of your older reviews while you've been gone, but I miss you too. Saying a prayer that everything is ok with you and yours.

  33. I'm seriously scared and worried about you! I'm hoping that you've just been having a happy time with your family and have enjoyed a lovely spring break. I would be heartbroken if anything were to happen to you. You're one of my all-time favorite bloggers and you feel like an old friend. Praying that you're okay.

    1. I'm wholeheartedly echoing this sentiment... Please be okay, Emily!

  34. Emily I am missing your veviews so terribly I have been checking every day.Hope you are Ok and enjoyed your holiday.Hope you are Ok and well

  35. Emily are you okay?Where have you been...?*prays*

  36. Hi there Emily, are you okay? Where have you been? You are my most favourite doll reviewer ever in the world, please come back, if not,please tell us how you're doing, I wish you are healthy and not sick :(.

  37. Hello, Emily, Im too long time reader of your useful and awesome blog. I m collecting bjd s an mh dolls. And I love all your reviews. But now I miss your objective reviews. Or even something where you write you are all right. Please, be ok. Please let as know. Hope you are having great time in Uk or in new work or somethig. Fingers crossed.

  38. Hi Emily. Just joining the throng of well wishers! I really hope you're OK and that nothing too serious is keeping you away from the blog. Also that blogging/collecting is not proving such a big problem that you need to abandon it altogether, you're one of my very favourite doll bloggers - but no one would want you to be under financial strain. Whatever's happening, take good care of yourself.

  39. hola Emmily por favor regresa, extraño tus revisiones aunque despeines y rompas algunas cosas. Espero que estes bien. Saludos desde México

  40. Hi Emily, I also hope you and your family are doing well! Your blog has been one of my favorites for years - I hope you know how hilarious and helpful you are. Though I have been really missing your posts, I understand that your most important priorities are elsewhere. Thank you so much for running such an amazing blog for so long; please, take care of yourself and let us know if there's anything we can do for you.

  41. Hi i love your blog, i love to go back and read old posts and also have bought many dolls because of you my favorite being a makie i also bought a make it mine doll. I have noticed all the worried comments and i also am hoping you are just having fun with your family but my best wishes that you are ok hope you are fine. -Amber

  42. Hi Emily! I just wanted to let you know that it appears someone has used one of your pictures in this forum on page three of this thread. I don't know of any way to contact members there without joining the forum; however, there is a prominent member there who does have her own website, if you can't find any other way to contact someone. Hope that you're enjoying the end of the school year and that you'll be back with another post soon.

  43. Hi Emily! Just wanted to let you know that I miss your presence in the doll world, every time I see a new doll I think "I wonder what type of review Emily would write about this doll" :) I sincerely hope all is well with you, and you're off doing something you enjoy!

  44. Emily,This is Tam from Planet of the Dolls, (As I think there may be someone else showing up as 'Tam'). I have nominated you for the Great Doll Blog Award. Answer these 5 questions:
    1. What is your favourite doll in your collection and why?

    2. Do you still have any of your childhood dolls?

    3.Have you ever considered, or even attempted to design your own doll?

    4. Do you do most of your doll shopping in person or by mail?

    5. Do you attend doll shows? Are there even any in your area?
    ...and nominate 5 other blogs, let them know, and include your own 5 questions. Have fun! We all miss your posts!

  45. Something that I can clear up, that maybe someone already said and I missed it, is that the glued shoes/socks thing is actually meant to be more convenient rather than less. You're meant to switch the entire foot, shoe and all. It saves you from trying to cram a foot with sock into a tiny tiny shoe, when its near impossible to make correct-thickness socks that wont look out of scale as is. My boyfriend used to collect the 27cm tall Obitsu and Volks dolls/figures and would always buy extra feet to slide into shoes, because it just made it so much easier than trying to squeeze that tiny foot out of a tight fitting boot. A lot of the thicker bodied realistic figures like Star Ace have compatible parts as well, so you can purchase an extra pair of feet and do the same thing. I'm fairly sure Hot Toys women's feet would work fine since they're both Sideshow.

  46. Hi! I am writing because I found an adorable doll and she is very new. I bought one myself and she is just adorable! I recommend you check her out and please make a review! Search Amusement DOLL Project "COLORFULL" Mana Sakuraba + clothes set two on Amazon if you have time :) Very cute doll

  47. Hey Emily, I think a lot of us miss you and are very worried about your wellbeing. I hope you are all right, and that all is well with your family. I hope you'll be able to at least drop a line letting everyone know you are okay, if indeed you are. If not, my thoughts are with you and yours. It just doesn't seem like you to go so long without an update or an explanation.

  48. I'm hoping you're all right- I know you were taking a break from dolling.

  49. Hi Emily, I hope you and your loved ones are doing OK. I check every week to see if there's any news, and hope no news is good news.Take care.

  50. Emily, I hope you are OK.

  51. I've been reading your blog since I was twelve- I'm almost sixteen now. I hope everything is ok. I've definitely missed your presence.

  52. We miss you, Emily. I hope everything is okay

  53. Hi Emily! I really miss you and your wonderful writing. I hope you're okay.
    Grace (from Doll Dimensions)

  54. I don't collect dolls seriously (though I do have a few collector's Barbies) but I've found myself absorbed by this blog for the past few days. I don't know why - something about in boxing an inspecting a doll must be really satisfying. I really hope you come back soon!

  55. Dear Emily, adding myself to the pile who hope all is well with you and your family. You are sorely missed in the dollysphere, but please take all the time away you need!

  56. Dear Emily, I'm really starting to worry about you now. I hope everything is ok.
    If it helps to lure you back to blogland I have a Tonner Hermione doll I am willing to give you to review to seamlessly ease you back into it. I wish you all the very very best. We miss you. Please take care.

  57. Hi, are you ok you haven't had any activity for almost three months. Also can you review the monster high reboot dolls.

  58. Emily,

    I'm a longtime lurker and haven't really commented on your blog before, but I'm going to reiterate what everyone else has said and express my hopes that you're alright. I'm very worried about you.

  59. Hi Emily! Still thinking of you, still worried about your well-being.

  60. Hi, I've noticed along with everyone else that you haven't updated in a long time. I hope everything is alright and that you come back soon. I really love reading your reviews. When you eventually return and the following dolls are released, I really hope you review them:

    Monster High Reboot dolls. I'm still on the fence about them, the faces will take some getting used to, but they are growing on me.

    Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir dolls from Bandai. I am in love with the show, and I've seen pictures of the prototypes, they look really intriguing. My only complaint is that the Adrien and Cat Noir dolls have molded on hair.

  61. Just another fan hoping that everything is okay with you! It's been a long time since you've posted and it just seems off. Please let us know you are okay even if that means you are taking a break from reviewing. We just want to know you're alright!

  62. SAME HERE. are you okay??? i need another doll that i would like to buy except it's too expensive lol!

  63. I'm sad to see that you decided to abandon the blog after all. I discovered it just a few months before you posted saying it was unlikely you would continue, and I was hoping you would continue to review the dolls in your collection, since that wouldn't require you to spend money. Still, I appreciate all the time you spent making the incredible reviews that are already up here, and I hope some day you'll have the time again to come back to us. <3

    1. wait where did she post that it's unlikely she'll continue?

    2. I have the same question as the first anon. :(

  64. When you are a collector, every penny is worth it! This Hermione granger was beautifully created with precise features that almost resembles Hermione herself just like the ones I read from review.

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