Sunday, November 7, 2021

Barbie Signature Looks by Mattel: Part Two

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Today's post is a follow-up to my review of the Barbie Looks male characters.  Some of the background and deeper thoughts about this line can be found in that review.  I still feel regret that I didn't include Model #1 (Nina) in this review, since she's very beautiful and would have added to the fun, but the three characters I bought kept me plenty busy.  They are a delightful and diverse trio:

Barbie Signature Looks dolls from left: Model #2, Model #6, and Model #3.

I discovered the Barbie Looks line during one of my internet research missions.  Before that, I thought that the only new developments with Mattel's highly-articulated body were the newest Made to Move characters.  My Target didn't have a great selection of Made to Move dolls, and I wasn't too impressed with the ones I found.

This girl was one of my options:


So first of all, what's up with that pose?  The original Made to Move dolls came boxed in more elegant positions, as I recall.  Also, I'm not crazy about the outfit.  It looks stretchy and flexible, which is great, but the pants are so garish.  Probably that reaction is because I've spent the last few weeks looking at only black and white outfits!  Anyway, this particular doll is also very generic. She's yet another tan, blonde Barbie with blue eyes.

This doll was less generic (she has red hair!), but I found her really bizarre-looking:


Those pants are even worse than the first ones.

I don't know what it is about her face, but it's not working for me.  I actually laughed out loud (a nervous, what the heck is that? kind of laugh) when I first saw her.  I don't like the way she's looking at me:

From Barbie's Uncanny Valley collection.
Those were the only two highly-articulated Barbie dolls in the store, and so I figured I would have to resort to online shopping if I wanted to do an updated Made to Move review.  I was in the process of choosing between a cool wheelchair doll and a basketball player (who has the tall body) when I found the six Looks characters.

As I mentioned before, I left Model #1 out of the mix because she has the same body as the original Made to Move dolls, but I did spring for all three of these beauties:

From left: Model #3, Model #2, and Model #6.
Thanks to Black Kitty, I now know that all of the Barbie Looks characters have names.  Mattel names all of their face molds, and these dolls all have new faces, so they also have names! 

From my last review, Malik's name should have been Jon, Kyle is actually called Sean...and both are still wearing Ken's underwear.

The three dolls I chose for this review are named Kit, Elle, and Victoria.  I'm not sure that these names suit the characters very well, but I'm going to stick with them for simplicity's sake.

I'll start by looking at Kit (Model #3), who has the petite body:  



Kit is posed very nicely in her box, but notice how much empty space there is above her head!


I think she has a really beautiful face:


The female dolls all come with certificates and stands, just like the guys.  Kit's certificate was pretty beat up:


Kit's stand is assembled from three separate pieces, just like Malik's stand (or maybe I should say Jon's stand).  The base is made out of very lightweight, hollow plastic.


Kit's stand is smaller than Malik/Jon's stand, and has a differently-shaped grip:

Kit's stand (left) and Malik/Jon's stand (right).
Kit does not need her stand, though.  She balances just fine on her own:



I think most of these dolls look better in person than they do in their promotional pictures, but Kit's face wins the Most Pleasant Surprise award.  I wasn't very interested in her promotional photos, but her features look much better in person:


Our family watched the old Twin Peaks TV show during the pandemic lockdown, and Kit reminds me of Josie Packard (played by Joan Chen).  Left to my own devices, I probably would have named this doll Josie.

Kit has large brown eyes with eyelashes on the bottom and orange and brown eyeshadow on the top:


The eyebrows are blocked in with solid brown, but have a few delicate hairs drawn on top:


The eyebrows look fine, but I think the stencil with the fine hairs might be offset.  All of the other dolls have fine hairs that perfectly overlap the underlying shape.  Intentional or not, it's an interesting way to add some character to the brows.

I like that Mattel included a woman with short hair in this collection, but I think Kit's hair is ridiculous.  She has a hairstyle a lot like Kyle's (Sean's).  The sides of her head are flocked, and then she has a big patch of rooted hair on top.  The hair is plastered into shape with a ton of styling product.


The hair doesn't look terrible from the front, I'll admit that, but I don't think it looks great from the sides or back:


There's so much styling product that the hair looks lighter than it is.


Yuk.
Kit's features may have been a pleasant surprise from a distance, but when I started to look at her up close, some of the magic was lost.  This is mostly because she has a lot of defects in her mouth paint.

Kit's mouth is molded with the edges turned down--like she's sad or serious--but her painted lips turn up a bit, especially on the left side of her face.


Unfortunately, my doll has a gap at the edge of her lip paint on the left side, which makes this area even more confusing:


There's also a lot of debris in the paint, which ruins the clean edge of the lower lip and makes the shape of the mouth less defined.  This is more pronounced on Kit's right side:


Most of the defects are difficult to see without a zoom lens, though, so Kit looks fine from a distance:


Kit's skirt seems way too long...or maybe not long enough?  It's a non-committal length that makes it look like it was borrowed from a regular Barbie.  The length also hobbles Kit's movement, although the stretchy fabric counteracts this somewhat.

The skirt is a simple tube with elastic at the waist:


Under her long skirt, Kit has two of those cardboard braces:

Mattel really didn't trust her to stand up straight in the box.
Her lower body has a nice shape:


Her thighs are the same thickness as a regular Barbie's thighs.

The backs of the legs can look messy on some of these dolls, with molding artifacts and big knee joints, but Kit's legs look fine:


I like the design of Kit's top.  It's made from black knit and white mesh (like Malik's shirt) that cross over in the front:


The shirt is a funny length, though.  It looks like a crop top, but it doesn't show very much skin.  This adds to the feeling that Kit has borrowed her clothes from a taller doll.

I have a long torso, and so it's hard for me to find clothing that fits correctly.  For example, I can't buy dresses with a defined waistline because the waist never hits me in the right place.  It's irritating.  I imagine that petite women have similar shopping frustrations, and might be sick of sifting through clothes that are designed for taller women. With this in mind, Mattel could have put a bit more thought into what outfit would celebrate Kit's petite frame.

The shirt is well-constructed and doesn't seem to have any finished edges that stick up:


It closes in back with velcro and is very easy to put on and take off.


The shoes are simple molded slip-on sandals.  There's a small difference in curvature between the left and the right shoe.  The thick wedge heels help with Kit's balance.


Kit balances well even without her shoes, though!  Here's a shot of her full body:


It's a nice body with good proportions.  I like how the legs aren't stick-thin.  If she had a bit more fullness in her hips, it would make the body look less childlike, but plenty of women have slender hips.

Kit has a dark stain on the left side of her torso:


The body has a 2019 copyright:


One big difference between Kit and the older Made to Move Barbies is that Kit's balance is way better.  This is because many of the older dolls have loose ankle joints.

I wanted to pose Kit next to my Made to Move girl, Tia, but Tia refused to stand up!


I must have tried to get this comparison shot for about 20 minutes.

Good grief, Tia.
This is my favorite outtake, because Tia is in the process of pitching towards the camera, and so her head and upper body look huge!

From the Barbie Balloonhead collection.
Kit stood there like a rock through all of these tribulations.

I put some clear tape around Tia's ankles and this helped a little.  At last I got the shot I wanted:

Barbie's highly-articulated petite body and highly-articulated regular body.
The obvious differences here are height and vinyl color.  Kit is about 10.25 inches tall and Tia is 11.25 inches tall, so there's a 1-inch height difference.  Kit's vinyl also has a lot more pink in it, although not as much pink as some of my photos suggest.

The different face molds are interesting to me, too.  I loved Tia's face until I saw Kit's much more realistic and detailed mold.

I laid the dolls flat on the table so that I could align their shoulders.  This view highlights some different contrasts:


Almost everything about the petite body is smaller than the original body.  Kit's shoulders are narrower than Tia's, all of her limb segments are shorter, and her torso is shorter (but not narrower).  A lot of the height difference comes because Kit's legs are half an inch shorter than Tia's.

Kit's legs look more realistic to me.  They make Tia's lower legs look unnaturally long! 

Several measurements are the same between these two dolls, though, like the width of the upper legs, the size of the knee and elbow joints, and the size of the necks.  The hips and shoulders are very close in size, too, which means that some clothes sharing will be possible:


The fact that the dolls have the same neck size suggests that head swaps would be possible, too.  Lucky for Kit, I don't know how to swap Barbie heads without ruining them.

This view shows the different waists a little better:


Kit's hands have a different mold than Tia's, and they are also smaller:

Original Made to Move Hand (left) and Kit's hand (right).
Kit's feet are also slightly smaller than Tia's:

Original Made to Move foot (left) and Kit's foot (right).
The difference in foot size is small enough that Tia can still wear Kit's shoes:

Original Made to Move foot wearing a petite shoe.
Kit can wear Tia's original outfit:


And looks really nice in Tia's new red dress!


I think the length of the red dress really suits her.

Tia can also wear Kit's full outfit, but can't balance in her shoes:


That whole outfit looks much better on Tia than it did on Kit.

Kit has the same 18-point (or 22-point counting double joints) articulation that all of the other Made to Move dolls have, so I won't go into detail about that.  Instead, Kit will just show off some of her favorite poses!









I didn't notice any huge differences between how Kit poses and how Tia or the Looks men pose.  Perhaps she sits in a chair a bit more gracefully than any of the other dolls, but that's the only thing that stood out to me.

After I'd tested her articulation, I got Kit dressed again.  I also rumpled her hair so that I could see what the style looked like without hair goop gluing it in place.

It's safe to say that I probably should have left the hair alone:


I found it really hard to get the rooted hair to look nice again:


The hair is always falling into Kit's face.

The cut is also strange:


It arcs over Kit's ear, but doesn't have much shape outside of that:



The hair looks best from the flocked side at this point:


I tried feathering the hair back away from Kit's face, but that didn't work very well, either:

The windswept look?

If I were going to keep Kit, I might consider boiling her hair and then trying to put a bit more shape into the front and back edges.  But because she'll be for sale after this review, I opted to leave things alone.

For now, let's forget about Kit's awkward hair and focus once again on her incredible articulation:



Although Kit doesn't need her doll stand any more than the male dolls did, it's a fun accessory for trying out some action poses:

See Kit run!

I think serene poses suit Kit really well.  If it weren't for that hair, she'd be exquisite.



This is my favorite photo of her because I can't believe she was able to strike that pose!


The next doll I'll look at is the curvy model, Elle.  She is Model #2:



Elle is arranged in her box in a very relaxed pose: 


Her hair is fantastic.  I think Mattel got the volume just right: it's big enough to make a statement, but not so big that it overshadows her face:


Unfortunately, Elle's head was attached to the back of the box with several plastic ties.  These are so annoying:


Despite the ties, it wasn't too hard to free Elle from the box:


Elle is wearing a plain black jumpsuit that is wonderfully flattering.  It's one of my favorite outfits in this collection and is very well suited to Elle's curves.

The jumpsuit ties at the back of the neck:


The ties were held in place by another one of those sticky squares:


The placement of this square makes a lot more sense to me than the sticky areas under the male dolls' shirts.

Elle's face is gorgeous.  She's one of the prettiest Barbie dolls I've ever owned:


Furthermore, her facial screening is nearly perfect.  She has wide brown eyes with elongated, mascarraed lashes and subtle gold glitter eyeshadow:


Her full lips have shimmering deep coral lipstick...with only a few tiny bits of stray lint:


As soon as I had this girl out of her box, I started snapping pictures.  I couldn't help myself!


My photos, particularly the close-ups, make Elle look a bit lighter and more orange-tinged than she really is.



Elle's jumpsuit is very easy to get on and off.  It has a small velcro closure in back in addition to the two neck ties:


The black fabric has some stretch in it (it's the same black fabric that was used for Kit's skirt) and looks very solidly made:


Elle's outfit also includes these silver, heeled boots:


There's no molded detail, and no difference between the right and left boot.


Here's a look at the curvy articulated body:


The proportions on this body are nice for the most part, but the lower legs and feet look comically small:


It's a wonder that her balance is so good.


Elle has some molding artifacts on the backs of her legs:


Her body was copyrighted in 2017:


Here's Elle with Kit and Tia (this is a better representation of her skin tone, by the way):

Petite articulated body, curvy articulated body, original Made to Move body.
And, of course, Tia could only stand for so long before she took a face plant:

Tia, you're fired.
I don't remember having this much trouble getting a Made to Move doll to stand up!  My Teresa balances much better than this.  I wish I could remember which moving box she's in....

Elle is 11 inches tall, just slightly shorter than Tia.  Before this review I assumed that all regular Made to Move Barbies were 11 inches tall, but Tia is actually about a 0.25 inches taller than that.  I measured both Tia and Elle ten times to be sure about this.  While Tia has longer legs and a longer torso, I think Elle's larger hip joints make up some of that height.

Elle has wider proportions in almost every part of her body, so she will not be able to share many clothes with standard or petite Barbies.

She can, however, wear Tia's original shirt quite well!

Just not the pants.
Here's a look at the three dolls lined up at the shoulder:


I think Mattel did a great job with the curvy body. It's more attractive and realistic than the Lammily body by a long shot.

Elle's feet are larger (both longer and thicker) than Tia's feet:


As an aside, you can see a small white patch in the plastic of Elle's right leg in this photo.  It might be her only factory flaw, if you can even call it a flaw:


Elle's feet are different enough in size that she cannot share shoes with petite or regular Barbies:


Elle's hand mold is different than Tia's, but their hands are about the same size:

Original Made to Move hand (left) and Elle's hand (right).
Elle and Kit have the same hand mold, but Elle's hands are bigger:

Kit's hand (left) and Elle's hand (right).
One thing I noticed as I was taking these hand comparison shots is that Elle's wrists do not twist.  When I try to rotate either of her wrist joints, the vinyl of her hand stretches and pulls away from the joint.  You can see a bit of that stretching here:


I'm not sure if this is because the joint is stiff and the vinyl isn't strong enough to leverage it to move, or if there's something about the design of the wrist that's inhibiting movement.  The former is way more likely, and I'm probably just not brave enough to force the joint into motion.

Fortunately, Elle can be quite expressive with her hands without rotating at the wrist.


Several of Elle's other joints were very stiff right out of the box, too.  For example, both of her upper elbow joints were extremely stubborn.  Even after quite a lot of manipulation, I still have trouble moving those areas.

These overly-tight joints are, in my book, way better than Tia's loose ankles.

Despite those little hiccups, Elle can strike a wonderful variety of poses!



Elle's front-to-back splits look great...


...but the mechanics of this position are different than with Tia or Kit.  It's a subtle difference; Elle tips a bit to one side and rotates her body outward when she's in a full split:


Tia can keep her torso perfectly upright and facing front:


The difference is because when Elle is in a split, her back leg no longer has any side-to-side movement.  It's locked into one position.  In contrast, Tia can move both of her legs back and forth to fine tune this pose.

Elle kneels a bit differently from Tia and Kit, too:


The mechanics of the kneel are the same, it just looks different to me.  I think this must be because Elle's knee joints are quite large:


Here's a kneeling comparison:


Elle's balance is wonderful:


And she can sit with the best of them:





Let's let Elle get dressed again.

I mentioned that Elle's jumpsuit is easy to get on and take off, but the ties in back have a tendency to stick up and look messy.  I tried to tuck them into the back of her jumpsuit whenever possible:


I think she feels very self confident in her jumpsuit!


It doesn't inhibit her movement at all.


I seriously want to be friends with this girl.  She looks like so much fun!


You can see in the next picture that the hemmed edges at the bottom of Elle's pant legs tend to stick out.  That's my only criticism of the outfit and it's barely worth mentioning.


Elle loves the camera, and it loves her.





Look at that face!


Elle is a hard act to follow, but let's give the tall girl, Victoria, a chance to strut her stuff.  This is Model #6:



The folks at Mattel chose an unusual box pose for Victoria:


What is she looking at?


And why are her feet turned in?


This awkward pose set her up right away with a bit of a goofy, geeky personality.  The name Victoria seems awfully formal for this personality.  Tory, maybe?  Or Vicky?  I might have named her something cute and Scandinavian--like Freja, perhaps.  I'll stick with Victoria to avoid confusion.

Victoria was fastened to the box the same way as all of the other dolls, but instead of plastic ties around her head she had thread securing her long hair:


I snipped the thread, cut the vinyl restraints, and released Victoria into the wild:


This is the only doll I bought from this collection who has long hair.  That's pretty amazing!


Her platinum hair was a little disheveled right out of the box,


but it brushed out nicely:


Victoria has a unique face mold, as do all of the Looks characters, but this face looks familiar to me:


Maybe it's because she looks like Claudia Schiffer...or maybe Sasha Luss?

The face is very pretty, with kaleidoscope blue eyes, normal lashes, and generic pink lips:


I think she looks like she's about to smile, which is endearing.

This is the first tall Barbie that I've ever owned, and I was surprised by how different she feels when compared to a regular Barbie.  She's awkwardly tall, which is something I've felt for the better part of my life.  

I had an instant kinship with Victoria.


I mean, she's a platinum bombshell and I'm not, so that something we don't have in common.


Victoria's hair has a rooted center part, and all of the hair from that part is gathered and pulled back under the rest of her hair.  The rooted part lines up nicely with the rest of the rooted hairline, so I think it would be okay to let the hair down. 

The hairstyle looks nice, though, and so out of respect for Victoria and whoever owns her next, I'm going to leave that hair alone.


Victoria is wearing a 70s-inspired dress with an ultra-short hemline and attached off-the-shoulder bell sleeves:


The dress closes in back with velcro:


All of the edges are finished well:


Victoria also comes with white vinyl boots.  These don't have much of a molded pattern, but you can see that there's a zipper on one side and not the other--so there's an actual difference between the left and right boot!



The strange thing is, I'd have thought the zipper would be on the outside of the boot.  That's how real boots work, right?  That's how the boots were put onto Victoria's feet in the box, anyway:


However, in this very poorly-focused picture, you can see that this shoe is marked inside as "L2:"


The other shoe is marked "R1."  I assume that these marks designate a right and left shoe.  Except that following those marks would put the zipper on the inside of each boot.  Which isn't right.  

It's a small thing, granted, and it really doesn't matter at all.  But I get hung up on small things.

Here's a look at the highly-articulated tall body:


She's tall and skinny, with legs for days, no hips, and a long torso.


None of these newer Barbies have much in the way of hips, but Victoria is still an extreme.  I find the body quite refreshing. 


The torso was copyrighted in 2018.


Victoria and Elle are the only dolls in this collection who don't come with cardboard braces on their knees (maybe Nina doesn't either, I don't know).


Victoria's legs and knees are super-skinny, but they look fine, with nicely-matching knee joints and minimal molding artifacts:


The most jarring thing about Victoria's body is that her arm plastic does not match the vinyl in her shoulder or elbow joints very well--it's much paler:

Veering a little into cyborg territory.
Here's Victoria next to Tia...who didn't fall over!  Go Tia!

Barbie highly-articulated tall body (left) and highly-articulated regular body (right).
Victoria is 12 inches tall, so 0.75 inches taller than Tia and the same height as Malik and Kyle.  

Most of this height comes from her long legs, and a small bit comes from her elongated torso.  You can see the torso difference best in this picture:


Victoria's feet are larger than Tia's feet:

Barbie tall body foot (left) and regular body foot (right).
As a tall person with size 9 feet, I respect this choice.

Victoria's feet are the same size as Elle's feet:

Barbie tall body foot (left) and curvy body foot (right).
So these two models can share shoes:

Elle wearing Victoria's shoes.
Unlike the other two Looks girls, Victoria has the same hand mold (and hand size) as Tia:

Victoria's hand (left), original Made to Move hand (right).;
Now it's time for Victoria to show off some of her poses!




Most of Victoria's poses feel very similar to Tia's, but when she's sitting or kneeling down, her upper body can't move as far forwards as a regular Made to Move doll.


You can see in this picture that Tia can move her upper body forwards when she's kneeling, but Victoria can only sit bolt upright:


And Victoria can only sit up to this extent when her legs are flat on the floor:


There are dents in the vinyl of Victoria's upper legs that demonstrate the stress put on that area when she tries to sit forward at all:


Still, she can sit in a chair nicely:



And do all kinds of other fun things!

That is a very long leg.



Here's Victoria back in her full outfit for a bit more modeling:


The retro style of this dress adds to Victoria's charm.  I think it accentuates her height nicely, too.  I might have preferred the go-go boots if they were taller, for dramatic effect, but they're fine as they are.

The skirt is so short that it doesn't interfere with Victoria's movement, but she does have to take extra care to keep her underwear hidden.



At this point I was running out of ideas for interesting poses, so I came up with this:

I call it the Question Mark pose.
Then I realized that since Victoria was the only doll in the review with long hair, I should probably take advantage of that!



She has beautiful hair.


Her are all three of my Looks girls together:


Let's have some fun with math for a second.  I'm very curious about what these dolls' relative heights would be if they were real women.

We have to set one of the girls' heights as a benchmark for comparison, so let's assume that the regular Barbie body (Tia) is average height, which for a woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall.

That would make the other dolls measure as follows (rounding up in all cases):
Kit (petite) = 4 feet 10 inches
Elle (curvy) = 5 feet 3 inches
Victoria (tall) = 5 feet 8 inches

The definition of a petite woman is someone under 5 foot 1 inch, so that works out for Kit pretty well.  I don't think of 5 feet 8 inches as very tall, though.  Especially not in the modeling world.  I'm 5 feet 11 inches tall, and I'm no model.

So let's set it up again, but this time assume that Barbie is the average height for a model, which is 5 feet 10 inches (rounded up from 5 feet 9.5 inches). All of these girls are models, after all!

That assumption gives the following results:
Kit (petite) = 5 feet 4 inches
Elle (curvy) = 5 feet 8 inches
Victoria (tall) = 6 feet 3 inches

That makes everyone a bit too tall!

The last thing I could think of was to set Victoria's height as the average hight for a man (5 feet 9 inches), since Victoria is the same height as Malik and Kyle.  That would result in the following measurements:
Kit (petite) = 4 feet 11 inches
Elle (curvy) = 5 feet 3 inches
Tia (regular) is 5 feet 5 inches
Victoria (tall) = 5 feet 9 inches

That last set of numbers seems the most realistic to me.  No matter which way you look at it, Mattel did a nice job with the relative heights of these dolls.


To end this review series, I wanted each of the girls to get a chance to meet Malik and Kyle before they went off to their new home.

First, here's Kit meeting Malik.  I think she was slightly intimidated at first.  He is, after all, the most popular guy in this collection:


Their initial interaction was slightly awkward...


But then Kit had an idea for how to lighten things up:


And they started to have a lot of fun together!!


Malik met Elle next:


She was pretty amped up by the fact that I gave her such a positive review:


Malik's more modest approach to fame finally won Elle over, though, and I think there might be a budding friendship there, too:


Malik met Victoria last, and of course the first thing they wanted to do was see who is taller:


Victoria gets the win here, but only because of her heels.

Malik is still tall enough to spin Victoria around, which is a huge plus:


Victoria has few inhibitions, so everyone is instantly her friend:


Kit felt an almost immediate connection with Kyle, probably because they have the same hairstyle and they both have flawed outfits.  She was, however, a bit irritated by his height:


She orchestrated this pose to keep their faces at the same level:


Kyle wanted to do this comparison shot of their matching hairstyles:


Kyle met Elle next...


Their personalities clicked right away, so they decided to do a vogue contest:

Elle wins. Every time.
I think Kyle managed to impress Elle with his effort, though.


Kyle met Victoria last, and maybe he was just tired of mingling, but he made the mistake of starting with a bad tall joke:

How's the weather up there?
Victoria, unencumbered by shyness, shut that nonsense down and jumped on Kyle's back:


It seemed like an attack at first, but ended up as an embrace:


They're definitely friends now.


Bottom line?  I was interested in Barbie's three new female body types back when they were first released, but the minimal articulation in those early dolls prevented me from buying or reviewing any of them.  Mattel's decision to incorporate their amazing Made to Move articulation into these new body types was brilliant.  All of the dolls in the Looks collection are great.  Kit, Elle, and Victoria have varying degrees of success, though, and I'll summarize my thoughts about that below.

Kit is my least favorite of the three.  Her body is a wonderful size and it poses beautifully, but her outfit doesn't flatter her figure.  The skirt it too long and the tank top looks like it should be cropped, yet it shows very little skin.  These things combine to make Kit look like she's wearing a larger doll's clothes.  I like that Mattel decided to include a short-haired woman in this collection, but I'm not fond of the hairstyle that they chose for Kit.  Once the styling product has been disturbed, it's hard to make the hair look nice.  The blunt-cut style is so long in front that Kit always has hair in her face.  I was initially quite impressed with Kit's serene, realistic face mold.  She certainly looks much more beautiful than I expected from her promotional pictures.  Unfortunately, my particular doll came with some bad blemishes in her face paint.  This makes it hard for to me to properly asses the face.  

Elle is as beautiful as I hoped she would be.  Both her face mold and her face paint are striking and unique.  Her features are framed by dramatic, perfectly-curly hair.  Her black jumpsuit is well-made and flattering for her figure--while also allowing her to pose like a pro with no constraints.  The curvy body is nicely done and adapts to the heightened articulation well, although there are three small hiccups that I noticed in Elle's joints.  First of all, I can't get her wrists to rotate.  The joints are so stiff that the soft vinyl of the hand doesn't create enough force to move the joint.  I was worried that I'd rip the hand if I tried too hard to rotate the wrist.  Elle's upper elbow joints are also so stiff that they require extra effort to bend.  This is something I've noticed in other Made to Move dolls, too.  Last, and much less serious, Elle doesn't have as much flexibility in her front-to-back splits as the other dolls do.

Victoria is an unexpected treat.  I was thinking she might be a bit generic compared to Kit and Elle, but she's delightful.  Her face mold is not as distinct as Kit's or Elle's, but there's still subtle character in her features.  She has the hint of a smile playing on her lips, and something about the way her bright blue eyes are painted makes them hypnotic.  Her platinum hair looks great with her super-pale complexion, and the hair fiber is soft and fun to brush.  I think Victoria's white bell-sleeved mini dress suits her well and enhances her absurdly tall and skinny frame.  Victoria poses and balances beautifully, although she has less flexibility in her hips that the other dolls do, and there are dents in her upper legs where the plastic of the pelvis digs in. 

I hope Mattel continues to include all of the body types in their highly-articulated collections.  The range of characters that are possible with these new faces and new bodies is exciting.  It'll be tough for Mattel to do much better than Malik, Elle, or Victoria, but I'm eager to see them try.


Update: while I was working on this review, I decided that I really wanted to see Lina (Model #1), too, even though she doesn't have one of the new newer body types.  So, I fired Tippy Tia and hired Lina to take her place as my scale comparison doll!  She arrived this afternoon.

Here's a peek at her:


She's fabulous!


Her long, white, asymmetric skirt and mesh-topped tank offset her rich complexion really nicely.


I love the gentle waves in her hair and the highlighted streaks.  It's also nice that her hair didn't come in a style that I had to worry about keeping neat.  It's loose and full and very pretty.

Her face looks a lot like other Barbie faces from the front, but it has really distinctive lips--especially in profile.



I got lucky because this doll's facial screening is perfect.


You'll be seeing a lot more of Lina around here.  Her balance is excellent, so she'll be able to do Tia's old job like a pro!

Here's the whole gang:

28 comments:

  1. Hi! As soon as possible for me, I will support you on Patreon!
    These dolls are so fun, diverse and versatile! I love how they all look as really good friends! I imagine all the stories they have lived together. Almost like a cast of a comedy, like "Friends"! They just need their Reachel,who of course is my latina gril, Lina!

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    1. Hi Luis! Thank you for the wonderful comment! Aren't these dolls great together? I love them as a group. They really should have their own sitcom!

      As I was making this review, I felt so bad about excluding Lina that I went ahead and ordered her, too! Ack! I decided to hire her to replace Tia as my size comparison model, so you'll be seeing a lot of her on the blog. She should arrive soon, so I'm hoping I can get a few shots of all four girls together before these three fly the coop. :)

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  2. Thanks for the wonderful review! I picked one female and one male favourite but now I want them all... Your poses look really good, especially the group ones. My Elle is on the way and I'm even more excited to get her.

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    1. Elle is absolutely wonderful, and I think you'll love her. You made a good choice. But I agree that it's hard to pick just one! Cursed Mattel for making us want all of them. :/

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  3. Victoria reminds me a bit of Nico, one of Andy Warhol's cronies. These are an awesome bunch of dolls. I hope there will be more waiting in the wings, like maybe an Asian man.

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    1. I'll admit that I had to Google Nico, but that was fun! There's definitely a resemblance. I really hope Mattel keeps pushing forward with more face molds, complexions, and ethnicities. An Asian man would be awesome. A South Asian character of any gender would also be great. Mattel is on a good path lately and I hope they keep it up!

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  4. Hi,

    I think its past time to introduce myself. Thank you for hours of enjoyment.

    I’m in Melbourne, Aus and was first drawn here 4 years ago when my girl ‘needed’ a red haired younger sister for her Florrie Doll - now sadly defunct but their dolls are very very similar in all dimensions and quality to AG. I had found a Paola Reina that looked as though it might work but as we had a very strict doll on birthday only i wanted to be sure it would hold up. Your review helped with that choice and Poppy is much loved. Just enough smaller to be a younger sister but can share a large proportion of the clothing.

    My own collection is mainly kept under control by my desire for little ‘things’. I discovered that I love the AG scale furniture and extras. Beyond that i try to restrict myself to wheelchair using dolls.

    Which is where a request comes in. Mattel’s fashionista line has just added another 4 wheelchair dolls. I want to know if the ken chair is the same dimensions as the Barbie one (it has ‘ken’ modded into the back so it may not be) and if any of these dolls fit the chairs - particularly the curvy girl.

    I’m also looking for reviews of the new AG rigid wheelchair. I can’t find anything at all. I have an old journey girl folding chair but its nothing like something anyone would actually use. And AG is not giving much info. The cost of getting one to Australia is so high I’d really like to know more first. Especially as the barbie wheelchair has castors that face backwards and don’t move, so the chair only goes forwards and backwards (its still the best miniuture chair on the market and is a great price point. Though I wish they’d add one for Chelsea sized dolls too.

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    1. Hi Brie! Thank you for introducing yourself! I love the miniature furniture and accessories from AG, too! I almost like those things more than the dolls...ok, I definitely like those things more than the dolls! Not that I don't like the dolls, but that company does such an excellent job with miniatures!

      I was drooling over the Barbie wheelchair doll on Amazon just the other day! I'm also curious about the Lammily wheelchair, although I gave the one I bought away (unopened) when we moved to Jersey. Maybe I can find another one? That would be a fun comparison review. The thing about me reviewing the Barbie wheelchairs is that all of the dolls from this review are going to be sold and out of my house (that's my new rule!), so I will not be able to test whether they can fit into Ken's wheelchair. The best I can do is review the wheelchairs themselves--and the dolls who come with them. Sorry! :/

      I'll check out the AG wheelchair, but those accessories tend to be cost-prohibitive. Still, if you're having a hard time finding information about a specific item, I would love to help.

      I know that the My Twinn company made an excellent, highly maneuverable wheelchair for 23" dolls, but perhaps that's not what you're after?

      Let me know what your first priority is, and I'll see what I can do. I can't make any promises, though! I hope you understand. I'm definitely curious about the wheelchair dolls, too.

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    2. Really and truly I would love a solid review of the AG wheelchair. BUT price might make that impossible.

      So maybe just a comparison of the ken and barbie ones - and i think there may be a similar scale actions figure chair that was put out with a wrestling set. I have Paralympic Becky from the 2000 olympics in her sports chair and one of last year’s barbie dolls, the blonde. It looks like barbie has made a sit ski doll, but I’ve only found photos - not evidence that its designed for sales.

      I know absolutely nothing about the my twinn chair. My twinn never made it over here to my knowledge. Would be terribly interested in seeing that too!

      (I don’t think i narrowed anything down at all, did I?

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    3. I have the Ken wheelchair and it’s just ever so slightly bigger than the one for Barbie to make it more proportional to Ken.

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  5. Great review as always! I like all three girls. I like victoria surprisingly much, her face has a hint of mischief, and in that outfit she looks like she could be on star trek and have a romance with captain kirk (maybe he can stand on a box). By the way, my boots have their zippers on the inside.

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    1. Yes! Oh, my gosh, Victoria could have been on Star Trek! Maybe that's why I like her so much? ;) And she'd definitely tower over poor James Tiberius, lol. I need to get over the boots! They're fine.

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  6. I think there is sadly just no way to do short hair well at this scale. There just isn't enough room to work with.

    Your reaction to Victoria is the exact same one I had for Kit! It's so refreshing to see that dolls can be small humans too (: I can definitely sympathize with the struggle to find bottoms that aren't horrendously long on me...

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    1. That's true. Although Elle's hair works well and it's relatively short. Maybe something shoulder-length would work? It's depressing, because Kit has such a beautiful face, her body is a perfect size, and I think short hair is the right idea for her character. Perhaps some of the talented re-rooters in the world will give Kit the hair she deserves? She might just need a good hair cut.

      It is funny how we see ourselves in these dolls, isn't it? Something about Victoria instantly resonated with me. Mattel is on the right track by trying to give more and more people this type of reaction when they look at a doll.

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  7. Love the site, and have for years.
    Just wanted to mention: zippers on boots aren't standardized, and I have owned and own now boots that zip up the inside, and some that zip up the outside.

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    1. Hi Aimee! Thank you. I need to calm down about the boots. I even have boots that zip on the inside and this still bugged me. I think it was just because Victoria was dressed in the box with the boots on the "wrong" feet. In retrospect, it's cool that the boots work either way! Maybe that was Mattel's intention all along. :)

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  8. Awesome review! I love how creative you get with posing these dolls!

    I think Kit's shirt is trying to emulate that one trend in teen party dresses where the shirt is cropped but not enough to see the belly button? But the skirt is either too long or sits at the wrong place in the waist to look right, and the skinniness of the skirt isn't helping. Not exactly sure what it is, but something's off.

    By the way, I didn't know you were so tall! I'm 5'9, so not as tall as you, but I get the frustration when shopping for women's clothes. They can't ever seem to work right for us long-torsoed folks lol! -L

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    1. Thank you, L! It's nice to find another long-torsoed friend! I can't wear regular bathing suits, either--only bikinis or tankinis. But I wouldn't trade the tallness now, even though I would have sold my soul to be short when I was younger. Oh, the lengths I would go to to try and shrink! Poor younger me.

      Kit's shirt is okay, I agree. In fact, now that I have Lina, I see that she is wearing a similarly-styled shirt and it looks good. Perhaps it's all about the skirt? It is hard to pin down, but something about the outfit is not right.

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  9. Elle is my favorite of the whole group (though now that I see Lina, she's a close second - her face with those dark eyebrows is really gorgeous). I have this giant weakness for the '70s, and with the big 'fro, gold eyeshadow, and halter top, Elle definitely channels a femme fatale from a Blaxploitation film. I can see her posing like a Charlie's Angel with a gun or doing karate moves. It's also really funny how SKINNY Tia's legs look next to Elle's.

    It amuses me that Kit looks better in Tia's clothes than Tia does, and Tia looks better in Kit's clothes than Kit does. But the whole Looks group together look very fab.

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  10. Lina looks like Victoria Beckham.

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  11. Wow I can't believe how gorgeous Elle is! I really liked Malik, but Elle makes Kyle shine!

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  12. Emily, they are gorgeous! I love all of them, each stunning and unique. I like Elle and Victoria the most. With Lina coming in close third, her hair is ❤!

    Gotta love your reviews, they're always so detailed and humorous, especially your comments about firing Tia. Any chance you'll hire her again?

    Take care,
    Posh Pear

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  13. I'm so happy to see your reviews again, Emily! They're always so detailed and wonderful to read.

    Kit is pretty cute! Her name reminds me of the American Girl doll though, so if I get her, her name will be changed. So she's a bit over 10 inches? Maybe I'll get her to pose with my old Bandai Marinette doll, and my new Playmates one. (Have you seen the redesigned Playmates Miraculous dolls? It looks like they fixed many of your issues with the Bandai dolls, including making a set with a thin vinyl mask!)

    Elle is gorgeous! Her face is really pretty, and I'm loving her hair! If I only end up getting one of these gals, she's going to be the one.

    Victoria is pretty too. I'm 6 foot 1, with a really long torso and kinda short legs, so it's nice to see taller dolls, that actually have taller proportions. A tall curvy body would be a dream come true!

    Take care, Emily! I look forward to your future reviews. :)
    - Cole

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  14. They are all amazing! I was looking into a few over the summer when they were ridiculously hard to find, so might try again now. I do think that Barbie clothing in general now is less fitted to try to accommodate more body types, with the downside that it doesn't fit anyone well.

    Swapping heads is super easy. I've switched several fashionistas to more articulated bodies.

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  15. Oh wow, I never saw Victoria before. She‘s so special and beautiful and reminds me of Barbarella (how fitting cause Elke reminds me of Foxy Brown with Pam Grier…such 70s Bombshells).

    Awesome Review Emily, thank you ❤️

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  16. Somehow I didn't see this second part of the review had been released until yesterday?? How did I miss that? Anyhow, this was so cool to read! I've been really curious as to how the different body shapes would affect the MTM articulation, and so I was especially interested to see you address the differences in proportions and body mold, and how it results in things like Elle's splits being different, and Victoria not being able to sit at as acute an angle as the others-- good stuff to know, so thank you for covering that!! :0

    I also really loved the photographs in this review as well!! I didn't realize just how beautiful and expressive all of these girls were until you made them come to life like this! Definitely have to agree that Elle was especially breathtaking, but they're all lovely~

    I'm sorry your Kit's face had some defects, and her hair was hard to handle though, that's unfortunate. :(
    I hadn't realized that her outfit looked too big for her until you pointed it out, but you're right, and now I can't unsee it! XD Makes me wonder what she would look like if her outfit design had been something like Victoria's dress instead.
    My favourite part of this review was definitely seeing Malik and Kyle meeting the girls! You created such fun dynamics between them, and they seem to pose so naturally together??

    As always, your sense of humour is amazing XD I was a little sad earlier, but I was cheered up and had a great time reading this; definitely had some good laughs!

    Hope your day is going well!

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  17. Wow, these comparisons are so helpful! But oh no - I suddenly want several of these ladies! :D
    Victoria looks like she's stepped out from some '70s-'80s sci-fi. To me the zippers on her boots look to be on the correct side - at least that's where all my boots have zippers: on the inside, not on the outside. Maybe it's just me and my style preferences though :D
    It was shocking to see how some of the dolls' skin tones compare: first I thought Kit will have the same skin tone as Tia, but her skin tone is apparently a totally different hue - I couldn't say if it's darker or not, it just has a different undertone. Seeing her and Tia next to one another reminds me of how my husband ans me look next to one another: apart we are just referred to as "pale", but next to one another we suddenly become "pale pinkish and pale yellowish". Victoria also surpsised me from this aspect: she seems to be the new palest M2M girl, she's even paler than Tia, who, AFAIK, has been the palest M2M girl so far.

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  18. I love the whole concept of the Looks dolls! I still have Lina and Sean on my wish list, along with 2 of the new metallic Looks dolls-the Original who looks like short-haired Miley Cyrus (face sculpt name: Andra) and the long-haired male who looks like Taylor Lautner (face sculpt name: Cam). I bought Kit last month and just got Victoria for Christmas, so I'd like to share a few insights I've gathered from my own experiences with the different body types.
    1) I don't have very many of the newer body types, but there are more shoe-sharing possibilities between Tall/Curvy feet and Original/Petite feet than it'd seem at first glance. Most boots are pretty interchangeable between the two foot sizes because either the inside's hollow or they have a slit up the back. They can share some shoes, but the shoes have to be made of a pretty stretchy plastic to accomplish this. 2 examples-Victoria's wearing a pair of T-straps now, and a Curvy body I have (The Barbie Look Metallic Mini, who I used as a body donor for my Hasbro Moana doll) came with stretchy sandals.
    2) Looks dolls do look great in each other's clothes! Kit and Victoria have already exchanged clothes with each other, and my mom thinks they look better now than how they came! That's actually why Victoria's wearing T-straps: Kit's sandals are too solid/stiff to be interchangeable between foot sizes, and the T-straps were the first stretchy black shoes I could find.
    3) Barbie was originally meant to represent a 5 foot 9 inch woman, and Ken a 6 foot tall man-presumably to match 1960s modeling height standards. I would calculate that as giving Original Barbie, with a height varying between 11.25 inches and 11.5 inches, a real-world height varying between 5 feet 7.5 inches and 5 feet 9 inches. Assuming an 11.5 inch doll/5 foot 9 inch woman as the Original benchmark, real-world heights would be 5 feet 1.5 inches for Petites, 5 feet 6 inches for Curvies, and 6 feet for Talls.

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