Sunday, April 10, 2022

Sunday Surprise: Capsule Chix by Moose Toys!

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with vending machines.  The big displays outside of the grocery store were the biggest temptation, with so many mini-sized toy and novelty options.  There were even a few machines that had a special prize like a watch or a necklace mixed in amongst more ordinary fare.  I was rarely given the chance to use a vending machine when I was young, though, and so I overcompensated for this when I became an independent adult.  Not only did I get toys from these machines for myself with more frequency than I care to admit, but I always indulged my kids when they asked for the money necessary to get a treat.  When we moved to Maine, I even bought my own old-fashioned capsule vending machine and set it up in the basement.  I kept my eye out for interesting small toys, and so the machine was always full of new stuff.  All of my kids' friends could use the vending machine (once) every time they came over.  Younger brothers and sisters would often tag along to pick up their sibling from a play date, clutching their own quarter in their hand and hoping for a turn at the machine.  It was a big hit.

Back in February, when I wrote the first part of the L.O.L. Surprise review (the second part will come eventually, promise!), Gabby asked if I'd ever heard of the Capsule Chix.  These are small surprise-themed dolls that come in, wait for it, vending machine packaging!  How cool is that?  It's exactly the kind of thing I would have gone bonkers for when I was young...and, frankly, it's the kind of thing I still go bonkers for now.  I found a few sets for about $13 and stored them away for a future review.  Then, a month later, Amy asked about the Capsule Chix on one of my Patreon reviews, so I figured it was high time to get the sets I bought out and learn more about these intriguing blind box characters.

Capsule Chix dolls are assembled from several parts (head, hair, torso, legs, and some extra clothing bits like skirts and shoes).  Each part is wrapped inside of a vending machine capsule, and then the capsules are packaged into a box that dispenses the capsules one by one.  Every set is guaranteed to include the parts you need to make one doll, but the parts in each box are randomly assigned, so you're very unlikely to get a matched set; everything's mixed up.  You can either be happy with the mix-and-match doll you receive, or you can buy more of the sets hoping to find the parts you need to build a specific doll.

I knew these dolls and their fancy packaging would involve tons of waste, which is one of my least favorite things in the doll world right now, but I absolutely could not resist the idea of the vending machine box.  So here we go!

Capsule Chix Giga Glam doll, $12.99.

From what I can tell, there were five different collections of Capsule Chix in Season 1 and two collections in Season 2, all of them released in 2019 and 2020.  As far as I know, the toys are now discontinued.

In Season 1 there's the Giga Glam group (these are the least expensive option right now at $12.99):

This is the Ram Rock series ($14.99):

Here's the Ctrl+Alt+Magic group ($14.99):

That title is clever!
These candy-themed Sweet Circuits dolls look nice, but they're currently $20 on Amazon:

This huge Ultimix pack combines the themes from the other four Season 1 collections, and includes enough pieces to build four dolls.  It's currently selling for $39, which is not a bad deal considering the prices of the single-doll sets:

The Holo Glow collection is from Season 2 and is currently more expensive than the others at $23.99:

These dolls glow in the dark!
I didn't find the Shimmer Surge collection until I was typing up this review.  This is also from Season 2:

The dolls have rooted hair, which is new.
These Shimmer Surge sets are the best deal of all, because you get two dolls (one is complete and visible) for only $15.  And there are boy characters called B.O.T.s (Boys On Trend) in this group, too!

I definitely would have bought the Shimmer Surge set if I'd seen it sooner, but instead I got two Ram Rock sets and one Giga Glam set.  I had a hard time choosing a set by looking at the sample dolls in the promotional photos, so I just opted for the least expensive ones.

If you like to take quizzes, there's a quiz on the Moose Toys website that helps you choose the best Capsule Chix collection for your personality.  I took the quiz and it suggested that I get the Ctrl+Alt+Magic group, which definitely would have been a great choice for me (there are unicorn and mermaid accessories!).

I wish I'd chosen a different set based solely on the box decoration color schemes.  I'm not crazy about the Ram Rock's neon yellow and pink design, and it looks bad against my grey backdrop, but I didn't think ahead very carefully:

I don't know what "Ram Rock" means, either.  It's a strange name for a group of dolls.  Is it a type of music, like rock music, but where you ram into things as you listen?  Or maybe the musicians are rams?  Baah.

*Anje cleverly pointed out in the comments that Ram is "RAM," as in random-access memory on a computer.  That's very clever and honestly I should have been able to figure it out.  Thank you, Anje! 

In any case, the boxes are very brightly decorated, with lots of text.  The text at the top of the box advertises "over 4 billion looks to create" (over the whole season) but they don't advertise how many sets you'd have to buy before you'd get all of the pieces in that season.

I did some reading online, and there are about 400 pieces in Season 1.  This includes parts from all five of the Season 1 collections--not just Ram Rock.

My smart kid tells me that with 400 possible items, five collections, and about 7 items randomly assigned to each set, you'd need to buy about 44 sets in each collection to get all 400 items.  The average price of the five sets is $20, so it'd cost you $880 per collection to get all of the pieces.  So, $880 times five collections, that's $4,400 to get the advertised 4 billion combinations.

Anyway, moving on.  

The back of the box has even more information than the front of the box:

The top part of the box has a blurb about the Capsule Chix, and also advertises their 14 points of articulation.  That's impressive!

There's also apparently a limited edition doll that we should be on the lookout for.  I'm not sure if that's a picture of her there on the side of the box?  If so, she looks pretty cool.

The text on the bottom half of the box is still bragging about the 4 billion combinations:

*For the bargain price of $4,400!
This section also has tiny pictures of the other single-doll collections in Season 1, and a message that tells us to look out for "ultra rare fabric!"  But I'm not sure how we'll know if we get it.  Is all fabric ultra rare, or are some fabrics rarer than others?

I was eager to try out the box's vending machine mechanism, so let's take a closer look at that.

There's a large pink plastic dial that's prominent on the front of the box, and this is what I'll turn to release the capsules:

Next to the dial, there's a cardboard flap shaped like the a vending machine dispenser chute.  I'm assuming this is where the capsules will come out!

The cardboard flap opens to reveal a perforated area underneath:

The perforated piece pulls out to expose a small catalogue:

The catalogue is designed to look like a fashion magazine, but it's not as clever as the Catwalk Kitties magazines:

No cat puns.
The catalogue is helpful for understanding the variety of pieces that are available in this collection.

The left side of the first page has directions for how to keep track of the pieces we get and some rarity markers.  The right side shows the available faces:

I like the winking face and the two side-glancing faces the best.  Some of the others look a bit spacey.

The rarity markers show that some items are rare, and then there's rare fabric and ultra rare fabric.  So getting real fabric is not necessarily an ultra rare occurrence.  Only some fabrics are ultra rare.  Now we know!

The next page shows the different shoe and purse options, and tells us more about the limited edition doll:

The text on this page explains that the limited edition doll is the only one that comes complete--meaning we don't have to mix and match from different sets to find her.  So that's how we'll know if we get her!  That would be exciting.  You can see real life pictures of the actual limited edition doll on Garrett Sander's Tumblr page (he's the designer).  She's amazingly detailed for such a small play doll.

The next page shows how you can mix and match different parts to make different looks, while also showing some of the torso and leg combinations that are available:

The pieces are called upper torsos (UT) and lower torsos (LT).
The cape on the far right is real fabric--and it's ultra rare!  So it gets the red "ultra rare" symbol next to it.

There are a few pages that seem to be advertisements for other collections, or tips on how to put together a nice look.  I really like the rainbow hair on the right!

And look at the unicorn on the left!
The next page shows the different hair that's available:

There are some cool options!  I like the long blonde braid and the purple waves on the bottom row.  And the pink pixie cut!  Lots to love here, and it's great that every single hair shape is different.

The next page advertises the items that are studded or metallic, and also suggests another complete look:

I like the gold sparkly top on the left.
The items aren't organized very well in this catalogue.  I wish they'd just grouped all of the shoes together, all of the purses together, etc.  Also, it's confusing to have some items from other sets mixed in.  On this page, for example, the pink boots are from Sweet Circuits--not RAM Rock.

That's cheating.
I'd love to get the mermaid from the Ctrl+Alt+Magic collection that's shown on the right side of this page, though.  Look at her!  I hunted down the promotional photo of that mermaid.  She's awesome:

I love the shape of her hair.
It's a mercy that the limited editions come with all of their parts together.  A person could still spend a lot of money hunting this doll down, but at least you wouldn't have to assemble her slowly, one piece (and $14.99) at a time.  That would be agony.

The last pages advertise the Sweet Circuits and Giga Glam collections, showcasing their limited edition characters.  I'm loving all of these limited edition dolls!

That colorful puff ball coat is amazing.  I want one.  Again, you can see a picture of the real thing on Mr. Sander's page.

Once I removed the catalog, I could peek into the box to see the capsule vending mechanism:

Basically, the dial has a plastic drum on the back with a large compartment.  When the compartment is facing up, a capsule can drop inside from the top of the box.  Then, when the dial is spun and the compartment is upside-down, the capsule spills out into the bottom of the box:

I love it.
That's pretty much the same way that a real vending machine works, but the parts are made out of plastic and cardboard, not metal and glass.

The mechanism on this box worked really smoothly with no problems.  It was fun to use.  If a box came badly damaged in the mail or something it might jam the dial, but there's nothing wrong with the design.

Here's one of the capsules:

Each collection has different colored capsules, so the yellow lids tells us that this is from a RAM Rock set.

Inside the capsule was a pink plastic bag--again, keeping with the RAM Rock color scheme:

And inside the plastic bag was...a torso!

I like the hands!
This is RR-UT-02, or upper torso number 2.  The top has a purple v-neck with shoulder accents and long black sleeves that cover part of the hands.  The hands and neck are purple!

The back of the top has what looks like a metal dial--like the dial on a vending machine!  Is the doll herself supposed to be a vending machine?

Let's not think about where the capsule would come out.
I have to admit that when I was shopping and looking at promotional photos, I didn't pay much attention to the fact that these dolls have purple skin--or that apparently they're meant to be some type of cyborg or robot.  The B.O.T. name for the boy characters should have clued me in earlier, or maybe the fact that they're called "cyber stylers" on the back of the box:

I did a cursory online search for a full backstory on these purple androids, but couldn't find very much.  That's such a missed opportunity!  Why did the designers choose to make purple robots, of all things?

Anyway, there were four other capsules in this set, let's see what was inside of those!

One of the pink bags was a slightly different shade, but I don't think this means anything:

I feel like perhaps the world is growing weary of surprise toy unboxing pictures, so I'm going to skip ahead to the point where I'd opened up all of the pink bags.

Here are my goodies!

I got the rainbow hair!  I was very excited by this.  I really like rainbow hair:

Wait...does that hair remind you of anything?

I wouldn't have known this a month ago, but it looks like Nendoroid hair!

Nendoroid Breath of the Wild Link figure.
The way the hair comes in two pieces and fits a face plate in between?  Totally Nendoroid.

I also got some plain black legs with a metallic, studded skirt:

If you look really closely at the legs, you can see that there's a subtle molded circuitry pattern:

And little molded toes!
There's also a ball-shaped peg at the top of the waist that will articulate with the upper torso.

I also got some blue boots, a yellow watch, and a purple-ish clutch purse:

The watch is super-tiny, but if you peer really closely you can see that it's 3:50:

Or 10:20.
The last bag had the purple head and part of a stand.  I got a side-glancing face!  Yay!

The clear stand piece slots into the top of the capsule.  This is very clever:

The face plate is really great.  I love that one of the eyebrows is lifted higher than the other!  She's so sassy:

She also has subtle grey freckles that look cute, and bold purple eyeshadow with a bit of shine in it.  All of the paint is nicely done, with no obvious flaws.

The back of the head has a molded projection that slots into the back section of hair:

And then the bangs fit around the forehead and slot into the back part of the hair as well:

Instead of traditional ears, these androids have circles with little holes in the middle--like a connection port:

That's a cute detail.
It takes some effort to attach the head to the upper torso.  I had to remove the hair so that I could push really hard on the head to pop it securely into place:

Could I get that hair back on, please?
Once the head was stable, I could add the hair back:

I don't see any legs or feet, though, Emily.
It's also quite hard to push the upper torso onto the legs.  If I don't push hard enough, the joint doesn't snap together completely, and the whole doll falls apart the moment I try to move her.  The little metallic skirt makes this connection even more of a challenge, but it's possible to get everything pushed into place:

Check out these cute feet!
This outfit actually matches pretty well.  I'm not sure if these pieces are considered part of the same look, but the black legs and black arms coordinate nicely, and the colors in the shirt go nicely with the hair.  The gold skirt is out of place, but the rest of it works.

This girl needs a name.  I think I'll call her Andromeda.  Probably because the word "android" makes me think of that name...and it's a pretty name.

It looks like Andromeda is balancing nicely in that previous picture, but it was hard to get her to stand up.  This was a more common scene:

We can check out the bottoms of the cute feet, at least.
All of that heavy vinyl hair makes her tip backwards a lot.

The boots are made out of flexible vinyl and have large slits in the back, so they slide on pretty easily, and they help Andromeda with her balance:

The boots don't coordinate very well with the rest of the outfit, although there's neon yellow in the treads of the boots, on the sleeves of the shirt, and in the hair.

Overall, for a doll that I didn't expect to match at all, she looks good.

The stand grips Andromeda's upper legs firmly, and allows her to balance well:

Here she is from the back:

That's very symmetric hair.
The clutch purse is not an exciting accessory, but Andromeda can balance it on one of her extended fingers:

The bulky vinyl hair looks like it would limit Andromeda's head movement quite a lot, with the big section at her back and those two tendrils at the sides, but in fact the flexibility of the hair and excellent neck articulation allow Andromeda to move all around even when her hair is in place.

Still, the hair can fall off pretty easily, so I decided to leave it off it while I explored Andromeda's articulation:

She has, as advertised, fourteen points of articulation (neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees, and ankles).

We've seen her head and neck detached, so we know she has a ball-jointed neck.  This allows her to turn her head from side to side:

And also to look up and down:

She can even tilt her head back and forth:

Her shoulders are rotating hinges and the hinges allow her arms to lift up to the level of her shoulders: 

She can also spin her arms around, although the shape of her shirt sleeves (and her hair, when it's in place) inhibit this movement a bit:

The elbows are also rotating hinges, but they can't quite bend to ninety degrees:

Her wrists are yet another pair of rotating hinges, so her hands can spin around, and also flex and extend:

She can do the Spider-Man pose!

With 4 billion combinations comes great responsibility...
We've seen the ball-shaped peg of Andromeda's waist joint.  This allows her upper body to spin around:

Her hips are rotating hinges that allow for modest side-to-side splits:

She can do partial front-to-back splits, too, but can't balance in this position:

Rocky push-ups!
Her knees are rotating hinge joints, so she can kneel:

But her lower legs are so long that she can't kneel on one knee very elegantly:

She can almost sit cross-legged, though:

I said almost.
And she can definitely sit on the ground with her legs stretched out, no problem:

And she sits beautifully in a chair:

Even a dramatically oversized chair.
Andromeda's ankles are also rotating hinges, and so her feet can spin around and she can flex and extend them:

The articulation is pretty great!  I was pleasantly surprised.

And the stand lets her show off an even broader posing repertoire:

I put her hair back on for some of the shots:

Andromeda's articulation is excellent for such a small, inexpensive play doll.  And it's outstanding for a vending machine toy!

One problem that I had with the articulation is that many of the joints were quite stiff at first.  Because of the small peg attachments (especially at the wrists, elbows, and ankles), I was worried I was going to break something as I tried to coax the joints to move.

I would recommend, for anyone giving these dolls to a child, that you take the doll and gently maneuver all of the joints yourself for a little while.  Especially with the hands and elbows; work the joints back and forth several times until they move freely--then give the doll back to the child.  This will reduce the chances of frustration or breakage.

Andromeda is about 4.5 inches tall, so she's shorter (and much skinnier) than Nendoroid Rose:

Capsule Chix doll (left) and Nendoroid Doll (right).
I think Rose is miffed that Andromeda has copied her hair and face plate mechanic!

It's my special feature, Emily, not hers!
Andromeda is much smaller, and significantly out-of-scale with Barbie dolls like Lina:

Capsule Chix doll next to a Barbie.
And she's about twice as tall as a Calico Critter or Li'l Woozeez doll:

Capsule Chix doll next to a Calico Critter mom.
Andromeda is a nice, compact size.  She easily fits in one of my hands.  Several of these dolls and their accessories can fit inside a standard plastic zip bag.  She'd be a good doll for a child to take in the car or on a trip, too, although I'd worry about the hair falling off at inopportune times and getting lost.

One thing that I've glossed over until now is the waste that was generated from this toy.  There are the five plastic capsules, the plastic bags, and then the plastic vending mechanism that sits inside of the cardboard box:

That's a lot of plastic waste--and I didn't even photograph the pink plastic bags.  But honestly, the waste was easier to separate and recycle than it would be for a more mainstream plastic play doll box like, notably, the cumbersome Rainbow High boxes.  Those are such a huge pain to dismantle.

But it's a ton of waste for a 4.5 inch doll, no question.

For families who are only buying one or two of these dolls, I think it'd be fun to keep the boxes and continue to use them as vending machines!

Since I love vending machines so much, I used some Modge Podge and tissue paper to decorate one of my Capsule Chix boxes to cover up all of the Capsule Chix advertising:

That's a hasty job, but you could really glitz this type of project up with prettier paper and little decorations.  It'd be a fun art project for kids.  All of the glue and added items make the box feel heavier and more substantial, too, which is nice.  

You could fill the capsules with stickers and other treats and use this at birthday parties, or even as a reward system for kids at home.  It's a very clever box and I hate the idea of throwing it away!

As an aside, the capsules are quite a bit larger than capsules for a standard vending machine, so it'd be hard to mix and match the two.  I was hoping I might get some new capsules for my machine with this toy, but they're way too big.  Here's a picture of one of the Capsule Chix capsules next to a standard capsule from my machine:

Standard vending machine capsule (left) and Capsule Chix packaging (right).
I was curious to see how successfully the different pieces from the RAM Rock collection would mix and match, so I purchased another set.

Again, fast-forwarding through all of the de-boxing, here are the items from that second set:

When you look at it like this, there's not a lot of stuff for $12.99.
When I do blind bag reviews like this one, I never know what I'm going to get (of course) and I also never edit the order in which I open things.  This surely impacts my overall impression of a brand, because--as we all know--some of these blind bag outcomes are better than others.   

This outcome was not as good as the first.

The biggest problem is that the upper torso on this doll has a black flocked shirt that really interferes with the articulation.  The flocking looks messy, too:

Moth-eaten sweater.
The flocking process presumably involves spraying adhesive and then spraying the flocking onto that adhesive.  Well, the adhesive got into the joints.  It was really, really hard to move this doll's shoulders and elbows.  And even after I got the joints to move, they don't move as much as Andromeda's arms.

And the joints look bad, too.
Other than that, the outfit is cute.  I like the little shorts and the metallic legs. I also like the plain hands and feet; they have a lot of detail!

This girl is also a vending machine.
The face in this set has large purple eyes and pursed lips.  I don't like the face as much as I like Andromeda's face:

The whistling lips are cute, though.
The wide eyes and pale pupils give this girl a bit of a blank expression.  I like the little star reflections in her eyes, though so I think I'll call her Starly.

Starly has flocked hair in a punk rock style that hangs over the left shoulder and causes more problems with the doll's movement.

That piece of hair in front keeps her from turning to the left.
The hair looks pretty good, though.  It's a funky style: 

Starly also came with glasses, and these fit into the holes in the connection port ears:

The glasses look great, but they have to be worn on top of the hair, not underneath it.  If they go underneath the hair, they push the front section upwards and the hair falls off:

Here they are on top of the hair, which looks a little strange, but keeps the hair secure:

Even without the glasses, Starly's hair falls off much more easily than Andromeda's.  Her hair almost always looks like this, with the seam cracked open a little bit:

Starly's last two accessories are a red clutch purse and little black sandals with red bows:

The shoes are super easy to use and look great.  They're one of my favorite pieces from this set.  They go nicely with the purse (I wonder if those two items are meant to go together?) but neither goes very well with the rest of the outfit.

I have no idea why I bought a third doll for this review, but because she's from a different collection, I figured I should de-box her and see how compatible she is with the RAM Rock sets.

Here's the doll (and catalogue) that I got from my Giga Glam box:

Okay, so I'm really glad that I de-boxed her!  First of all, she's the only doll I got who has *rare fabric!*  Her whole skirt is made out of some kind of synthetic, wrinkle-prone fabric...but at least it's rare.  Also, I love her glittery blue hair.  And...she reminds me a bit of Cinderella with that big blue dress!  You all know how much I love Cinderella.  And I like her purple capsules better than the neon yellow ones. 

Basically, she was instantly my favorite of the whole bunch.

Also, total tangent, but this doll reminds me of a wonderful book that I read a few years ago called Cinder.  It's young adult fiction (one of the best things to read, in my opinion), and is basically a modernized Cinderella story where Cinderella is--you guessed it--a cyborg!  So it's very relevant, I guess.  In honor of that book, I'm going to call this Capsule Chix doll Cinder.

As delighted as I was to meet Cinder, I was also happy to see a different version of the Capsule Chix catalogue.  Let's take a quick look through it:

Here are the faces available in this collection:

Lots of blank stares on that top row.
They're quite similar to the RAM Rock faces, but overall I like these better.  My favorite face is the freckled side-glancer with orange lips.  My least favorite is probably the one I got!  It's the buggy green-eyed face in the upper left.  Here's that face in real life:

I'm getting insect vibes.
The real face is better than the graphic in the catalog, but I still don't like that the pupils are the same color as the iris.  If the pupils were black, or even just a bit darker, the eyes would look a lot less vacant to me.

I went in and doctored the pictures in the catalogue to make some of the pupils black:

I think that's a bit better?  Some of the eyes look really buggy now, but it makes me like the green eyes more.

This page of the catalogue has some of the shoe and purse options.  It also highlights the limited edition doll.  She's pretty, but she's more forgettable than some of the others we've seen:

The next page shows the different torso options.  I definitely got the best upper torso from this mix to go with Cinder's blue skirt!

Cinder's skirt is rare, but not ultra rare, dang it.
This page is a little boring, with an ad that we've seen before, and a suggested look that's not too exciting:

The hair options in this collection are great, though.  I love all of them--especially that windswept red hair!

I'm beginning to think that the hair is the best part of these dolls!
Here are some of the shoes and skirts that are available:

Ooh, I like the fuzzy orange top and the orange tulle skirt!  Those are ultra rare, of course.
You could put together a modern Princess Belle-inspired look with these pieces, too.

On this page, I see another torso that would have looked perfect with Cinder's skirt, but--again--I wish there was some organization here.  Everything's so scattered.

And they're still throwing in random pieces from other sets.
And these are just ads for other sets with pictures that we've seen before:

Lets' take a closer look at cyborg Cinder and her wrinkled skirt:

 My rare wrinkled skirt, thank you very much.
I love her hair.  It has a flowing, asymmetric shape:

The shoes that I got with this set don't match the dress at all, but they're hidden away under the big skirt, so it doesn't really matter:

I don't like Cinder's vacant face, but I like everything else about her, including her plain arms and detailed hands:

There are little molded circuits on her arms and hands:

Andromeda doesn't have this patterning on her hands, but Starly does.

The molding pattern is easier to see on these legs than it is on Andromeda's black legs:

The color match between the upper and lower legs is not great, though.
Here are my three girls!

I swapped their parts around so that Cinder had all of the best parts (i.e. the side-glancing, freckled face), Andromeda got Starly's face and traded her plain black legs for Starly's shorts, and Starly...well, she got the leftovers:

Here's an existential query for you: should the doll's name go with her face?  Her body?  Her hair??  I attached the names to the hair and certain outfit pieces, which was a strange choice.

Here's Cinder with her new face...or here's Andromeda with her new dress and hair:

Her hairstyle has a green feather decoration on the right side.  I like the drama:

She also has a left elbow that looks like it's coming apart.  I kept trying to push that joint back together, but it won't budge:

Otherwise, if you can look past the wrinkled skirt (which would be easy to iron), I think she's great!

She also looks good in the short metallic skirt:

And she looks especially good in Starly's black shorts with metallic legs:

Here's Andromeda's new look, with Starly's old face and shorts:

I also swapped one of Starly's plain hands onto Andromeda's left arm.  The hands and feet on these dolls are removable...

But it was quite hard to pull them off and even harder to get them back on, so I don't really recommend swapping extremities between dolls.

Andromeda's hairstyle accommodates Starly's glasses nicely:

This girl is still cool, even without the side-eye face:

Last (and maybe least?) here's Starly making the best of her parts:

I have to admit that her fuzzy hair looks good, even if it falls off all of the time:

And her all-black outfit is mysterious--like she's a cat burglar or a superhero:

With bow-topped platform sandals.
I tried the metallic gold skirt on Starly, and it's not bad!

Okay, okay, it's bad.
It goes with her hair a bit, I suppose.

I put everyone back in their original clothes for a final picture, but I couldn't bring myself to separate Cinder from her awesome new face.  The side-glancing face is so much better than the other two:

Bottom line?  I was very excited about the vending machine concept behind these dolls, while also hating myself for buying a brand that I knew would have way too much invested in the de-boxing experience--and way too much plastic waste.  How did those conflicting feelings balance out in the end?

The packaging is bad, but it's not quite as bad as I'd feared.  Other than the plastic dial on the front of the box and the five capsules, the packaging is easy to take apart and recycle.  It's easier to deal with, in fact, than many play doll boxes these days.  The five plastic capsules that accompany every single set are bad, though.  They're not easily recyclable (no plastic is truly recyclable) and they're big and bulky.  Furthermore, they're not compatible with standard capsule vending machines, so I can't use them for the machine I have...but I don't suppose that's a concern many people will share.  That's an Emily problem.  The great thing is, the packages can offer their own long-term entertainment.  The vending mechanism is designed well, and the boxes can be decorated and preserved as a compact and economical vending machine alternative that--with some creativity--could generate years of fun.

I have mixed feeling about the dolls.  They're extremely well articulated for such a small doll, and this makes them fun to play with.  With the help of the capsule-top stand, they can strike some great action poses.  They can even balance on their own to some degree.  However, the articulation is tricky to manipulate.  Before I could use and play with the dolls, I had to invest a bit of time into loosening up the joints.  I wouldn't want to hand one of these doll over to a young kid right out of the box; the inflexible joints could be frustrating or lead to immediate breakage.  Furthermore, some of the clothing designs, like Starly's flocked top, inhibit the full movement of the joints.  

The mix and match element of these toys is very fun, and works a lot like the Nendoroids and Nendoroid Dolls I showed you a few weeks ago.  The hair, in particular, is easy and rewarding to swap around.  The problem is, of course, that to generate a collection of parts, you have to buy a lot of full sets.  These are expensive and produce a big pile of garbage.  It's cheaper for me to buy a new face plate for my $70 Nendoroid than it is for me to get a new face for one of these girls.  It would have been nice if Moose Toys had released some accessory packs so that kids could choose individual items that they wanted to add to their collection.  Mixing up outfits and accessories is fun, too, although this is more hit-or-miss since not all of the outfits pieces go well together.  The other problem I had with mixing and matching these dolls is that the heads and especially the torso parts are difficult to snap together--particularly if there's a skirt involved.  Changing the hair is much easier, but the downside to this is that the hair falls off more easily, too.  This was especially bad with Starly's flocked hair.  For a child who was actively playing with these characters, I fear the hair would be frustrating.

There was clearly a lot of work that went into the design of these dolls.  The outfits are creative and detailed, and some of the limited edition dolls are definitely special (I want that mermaid!).  The hair is probably my favorite element, since it's so easy to use and all of the hair pieces have different shapes and styles.  I wish there was some more variability in the faces, and I wish that the pupils weren't so pale and dead-looking on some of the characters.  I like the android theme in general, but I'm left wishing that the skin wasn't purple.  It makes the dolls quirky and unusual, but it also detracts from their versatility and makes it harder for me to engage with them.  There's no backstory to enhance the dolls' appearance, either, so they come across as generic big-eyed fashionistas...who happen to be purple androids.

Long story short, I had quite a lot of fun with these little dolls.  I especially like my blue-haired Cinder with her princess dress, coy face, glittery blue hair, and expressive hands.  And for someone who has grown incredibly weary of de-boxing hype, I actually had a lot of fun with the vending machine box.  If you're tempted to buy a Capsule Chix, I'd recommend choosing a set with multiple dolls like the Ultimix collection or the newer Shimmer Surge two-doll sets.  This will give you the best mix-and-match bang for your buck--with the least garbage.  The thing is, the little irritations with these dolls can add up, and in the end they just don't appeal to my emotions or my imagination enough to warrant investing the money to build up a big collection.  For a similar kind of fun, another option is to skip these little robot sets and pool your money for a single Nendoroid instead.


  1. So fun to see a review on these!

    Garrett Sander indeed designed this line - he even did some demonstration videos for the brand before the official launch on how to use/play with it. I never quite got more than the one I tried out - the concept was fun but there was genuinely so many other dolls I was spending on otherwise that they kind've got lost in the shuffle - but there's so much love and care put into this concept that I wish I had prioritized them a bit more or even bought one from each concept/line.

  2. i'm pretty sure its RAM rock as in Random Access Memory, to go with the robot theme; giga glam as in gigabytes etc etc. also said ram rock packaging makes me think of the cyberpunk 2077 yellow and that just makes me laugh

    honestly they're cute and all but your son's maths re: the total price to get a desired set basically sums up my issue with this line (and blind bag toys in general)

  3. Thanks, Emily, this was a lovely review. The one thing I mind, probably because I've been spoiled by Liv dolls is that I would have preferred it if the heads looked normal without hair. Other than that it's amazing to see such great articulation in a doll this small. I had two Polly Pockets with articulations at the elbows and knees and thought that was as good as it could get.

  4. I have a few of these dolls and the concept is cute. They are very nicely articulated for the price and size The pieces don't always mix and match the best, for example I got one with a skirt with a bow in the back and then long hair, which didn't fit well with the bow. The packaging is a cool idea, but I wish there was someway to make it more reusable and less waste.

  5. This! This is what LOL should have been like! The wasteful packaging makes a lot more sense with this approach. I'm so tired of seeing blind bag toys with each detachable part wrapped separately and declared as fifteen surprises. I'm not fond of the dolls themselves, but I'm pretty hard to please in this regard. I just wish the mix and match concept had caught on instead of what we have now with most surprise toys.

  6. The over packaging...*groan.” I’d be curious to know how many kids slowly open the boxes and follow the directions vs ripping the box open. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by these little ladies that I’ve never heard of before. They have a certain amount of charm, and would fit right in on the shelf with the motley collection of space creatures And superheroes I have. But you’re that I actually have a real nendoroid, the difference in quality is worth saving up for.

  7. I loved these but the cost coupled with the fact you didn’t get an actual “set” in each box prevented me from buying more than a couple of them. Getting duplicates of unwanted items was a huge let down too.

  8. Great review as always! I had heard of Capsule Chix before but the dolls never really caught my attention so I didn't actually know much about them. Like so many others I'm a bit over the surprise toy fad, and with the OMG dolls still dominating the surprise toy aisles it doesn't surprise (!) me that these dolls have been discontinued already. Despite some of their flaws, however, it is still clear to me that a lot of love and hard work went into designing these dolls. Just look at that articulation alone! I can definitely see the Monster High influences in there (Garrett sure knows what he's doing) but they also remind me of the highly customizable Betty Spaghetty dolls, combined with the name of that other 'cool cyber chicks' toy line from the early 2000s - Pixel Chix. I can totally see why you fell for these. Who doesn't love getting toys from vending machines? First thing I will do if I ever go to Japan is go nuts on gachapon, hahaha!

  9. It's pretty obvious Garrett Sander worked on this line even if you don't explictly know. The art style is the same as MH, and all of the characters are like descendants of Elle Eedee with all their circuitry and robot features.

  10. Great review as always, just wanted to ask where did the blythe post go?

    1. Excellent question! I was getting bullied and harassed by the company that sold me the doll. I decided to take the post down and re-write it using one of the $30 AliExpress imitations, which are very nice! I will explain everything in that review (whenever I get it done....) and never mention the other shop here again, lol! I do not want to be associated with them in any way.

    2. What! We speculated that they might be a little sneaky and overpriced, but otherwise harmless, and they only worsened their reputation by attacking you. Too bad I don't remember the name of the shop. That was really low of them.

    3. I am so so sorry you had to deal with that, that is absolute bs and you don't deserve it

    4. Thank you. I feel fortunate that in 10 years of blogging, this is the first time I've had to deal with such an unpleasant thing. It started nicely, or so I thought, and I tried to be sympathetic and accommodate them (staying up until 3:00am to change the review), but they kept constantly nagging and nitpicking and then threatened to sue me (talk about bs...) if I didn't re-write the post (and edit the comments) exactly to their specifications. No thanks! But I'm excited to start over and review one of the less expensive dolls. It will be really fun. :)

    5. Now that is one review I can’t wait for!!!

    6. So awful that you had to go through that, Emily. In the long run, that shop is only hurting its own reputation by acting in such a ridiculous and childish manner. Good riddance! Looking forward to the new review.

    7. Wow, I knew they were shysters. They gave you a bunch of crap because they had been caught out in their scam artistry and didn't want the work to know. WTF, man, that's some bull. (I knew it had to be something terrible... >_<) Makes me want to harrass them back, somehow - expose them for the crooks they are. Ugh. You're too nice to have to deal with s****y people - and companies - like that. Frankly, they ought to have given you your money back - but they're nothing but scammers and jerks. *hugs*

  11. Um....wait a minute. This is very troubling. You are not allowed to have an opinion? Free speech and all that? Did they accuse you of slander? How does consumer reports get away with reviewing things? Are you supposed to just write glowing reviews of everything? Apparently you stepped into a money making machine. Or.....were your comments about copyright and “How do they get to use this name” comments touch a nerve???

    1. I bet Consumer Reports has armies of lawyers and probably makes companies sign an agreement before their product gets reviewed, if the company requests the review (as I'm sure many companies do). And seriously, it was very clear to me that those people were doing something only borderline legal, so they were probably scared they might themselves get sued if the actual Blythe brand owners saw what they were doing. That's my theory, anyhow. >_<

  12. Speaking of Moose Toys, have you heard of FailFix dolls? I saw and ordered a few, they look cute!

    Also just now seeing you were harassed by the knock off seller...that's terrible Emily, I'm sorry. Some folks are a little out there. -Micah

  13. Love these little figures. Every one of their joints can be pulled apart (and swapped), not just the hands/feet. I find it helps to twist them back and forth a bit first. The joints feel super fragile but hold up to quite a bit of abuse. I used a purple acrylic wash to detail all the molded "circuits", and sealed the glittery hair pieces with modge podge. (Sorry not sure what to suggest for the shedding flocking...)

    The Chix from the Shimmer Surge actually are wearing wigs, they have a semi-transparent "skull" plate (which I almost prefer to the hair) that it plugs into. Apparently they fit Barbie if you cut out the post.