Saturday, September 17, 2022

Articulated Glitter Girls by Battat

I had fun hosting a guest review on the blog again (thank you, Lurkins!).  It felt like the good old days.  It's nice to get somebody else's perspective, and Lurkins chose a topic that wasn't even on my radar.  But I definitely noticed the lack of diversity in Our Generation faces.  In fact, this was one of the bad surprises that greeted me on my first trip back to Target after the hiatus.  I'd assumed that the explosion of new faces we enjoyed in 2017 would persist.  I like that Battat updated their standard face mold, though, and think the new face is pretty.  Lurkins' review even inspired me to order a super-freckly redhead with the new face.  And now I understand how reading this blog can be hazardous to the wallet.  Sorry about that!

The timing of that review was perfect, because it offers a segue to the next episode in my 14-inch doll saga.  Today I'm going to look at the Glitter Girls, which are Battat's version of 14-inch play dolls.  I've actually reviewed these dolls before, but--like the Our Generation crew--they have gone through some big changes in the last four years.

This review will include a comparison between the old Poppy doll that I reviewed in 2018 and the new version of that same character, but the main focus will be on a girl who I thought stood out from the rest of the options: dark-skinned, blue-eyed Odessa:

Glitter Girls Odessa by Battat, $20.99.

Let me start by saying that I love the name Odessa.  It's not something I ever would have thought of on my own (not sure I've even heard it before), but it's beautiful.  Odessa is a city in the Ukraine--I think it means "a long journey."  So it'd be a good name for a Journey Girl doll, too!  Anyway, Battat does an excellent job with names.  They're often interesting and unique.

My local Target store doesn't have Glitter Girls in stock anymore (they used to, but they appear to have been phased out), so I had to find Odessa online.  I'm actually glad that I was forced to seek her out online, because not only is the Target.com selection much better than the in-store selection, but there are often some really great sales.

Odessa's retail price is $20.99 (only a dollar more than these dolls cost back in 2018), and I found her on sale for $13.49.  That makes her the least expensive 14-inch doll that I've reviewed in this series.

She came in a narrow pink cardboard box, and--as is typical for Battat--most of the packaging is environmentally friendly:

Odessa is recommended for children ages 3 and up:


One of the things that's changed about the Glitter Girls since my last review is that they all have bendable arms and legs now, thanks to an internal wire armature:

I'm excited about this!
Also, similar to what we chatted about with the Our Generation dolls, the Glitter Girls were given a new face mold:


I'll compare the old and new face molds a little later when I look at Poppy.

The back of Odessa's box has a photograph of the doll and the phrase, "add a little razzle dazzle to everyday!"

Has anyone said "razzle dazzle" since 1958?
The bottom of the box has a picture of Odessa alongside five other Glitter Girls:


All of the Glitter Girls I've seen recently have the same face mold.  They only differ in their hair, eye, and skin color.  And whether or not they have freckles, of course.

Since I haven't been keeping up with this brand, I have no idea where Odessa falls in the sequence of recent releases, but the bottom of her box has a 2021 copyright, so she's fairly new:


The box opens exactly like the Our Generation boxes, with a flap at the top and a thin cardboard insert that holds the doll in place via two strong cable ties:


Here's Odessa on her own:


She does not stand up very well without support.  The wire in her legs needed a lot of fine-tuning before I could get her to balance.  And she still tipped over about three times as I was taking each of these pictures.


Her hair came in two double-tied ponytails that stayed fairly neat inside the box.


The hair at the top of her head was less neat:



She comes with a huge gold sequined bow on the right side of her head.  It reminds me of JoJo Siwa!


This bow is large enough to be a bow tie for a real person:

Or for a clown.
I found the bow a little distracting, so I removed it right away.  It's a nice item, with real sequins and a gold satin ribbon in the middle:


And it has an alligator clip on the back side that's carefully covered with coordinating ribbon:


Unfortunately, the clip came tied into Odessa's hair with thread, and removing it caused a bit of a mess:

Bed head.
So, I took down the ponytails and brushed Odessa's hair with my trusty wire brush.  

The hair is long and smooth, with a rooted part that's centered down the back of the head, but angles towards the right side as it moves towards the front:


Here's the part again from the back--you can see that it starts to angle to the right as it gets to the top of the head:


The hair brushes out nicely, and the back part can be concealed.  The hair isn't quite as smooth and silky as some of the other 14-inch dolls I've looked at, but it still feels very nice.  It's a pretty color, too, with a base of rich, deep brown, and then some medium-brown highlights.


The rooting looks a lot like what Lurkins pointed out in the Our Generation review; it's mostly rooted along predetermined lines, but the pattern can get a little chaotic in places:


The hair plugs are a bit sparse in some areas, but the overall effect is good, and I didn't encounter exposed scalp very much.  Occasionally the front left side of the scalp was visible, but that's about it.


The off-center part causes the hair on the left side of Odessa's head to fall over her face.  This looks dramatic, but it's not great for photos!


You can see her face better here:


The bow clip does a good job of holding the hair away from Odessa's face, but man that thing is big!


I decided to pull all of Odessa's hair back into a nice, thick ponytail for most of the review:


This hairstyle makes it easy to see Odessa's face.  She has a round head, with large inset eyes and a subtle smile:


The face paint is understated and fairly natural, although the blushing is focused on two small areas:


One of my complaints of the earlier Glitter Girls was that they had eyes that were too big for their sockets--or sockets that were too small for their eyes.  Either way, there wasn't enough sclera showing, and so the eyes looked lifeless.  The new face definitely doesn't have that problem; if anything, there's too much sclera showing now!

Odessa has bright blue acrylic eyes with slightly hazy iris detail.  Her eyes are framed by applied lashes on top and no lashes on the bottom.  Those applied lashes are a first in this series!  All of the other girls have painted lashes.


The eyebrows are thin and simple, but I like how the hair lines are not all the same length and are not all spaced apart the same distance.

Odessa's pink lips have some missing paint on the top, which isn't great.  It's pretty hard to see this defect in real life, though:


Odessa's outfit includes a fuzzy teal tee shirt, a layered skirt with pom pom decorations, colorful printed leggings, and the requisite glitter-infused shoes:


The shirt closes in the back with velcro, but the skirt and leggings do not have any openings--just elastic waistbands:


The tee shirt is made out of a velvet-like fabric, and has a large embroidered roller skate decoration:


I really like the texture of the shirt, but the roller skate looks a little too razzle-dazzle for my taste.

Here's the shirt on its own:


The fabric is lightweight, but the sewing is neat.  I'm impressed that the roller skate patch is actually sewn in place (I assumed it was glued), but I'd love to have seen serged edges around some of those seams:


The skirt came sewn to the leggings, which was a bit of a pain:


And the thread left small holes in the fabric of the leggings:


Here's the skirt on its own:


The top layer is made out of dark pink tulle and has several blue pom poms stitched in place.

The underskirt is made out of shiny gold fabric:


Here's what the skirt looks like when it's turned inside-out.  You can see that the stitching from the pom poms goes all of the way through both layers of the skirt.


This skirt is easy to get off, but a little harder to get back on.  It requires a bit of stretching and manipulating.  For that reason, I wish that the stitching around the waistband was more robust. 

There are two rows of stitches holding the skirt fabric to the waistband, but in some areas there's practically no seam allowance:

That gold fabric is barely hanging on.
Odessa's leggings have two different prints (one on each leg) in a mix of bright orange and fuchsia:

Speaking of clowns...
These leggings are pretty thin, especially when compared to Gwynn Tann's more substantial white leggings.

And again, it would have been nice to see some serging or reinforcement on the inside seams:


Odessa's shoes are made out of slightly bendable vinyl, and they're teal with silver glitter inside.  They don't fit very well, though!  When Odessa takes a step, her shoe falls right off:


Another one of my complaints in the 2018 Glitter Girls review was that the shoes shed glitter all over the place.  These shoes are great because the glitter is nicely sealed inside of the shoes and can't shed at all:


Glitter is still problematic, but this is an improvement.

In many of these 14-inch comparison reviews, I've mentioned how Gwynn Tan's outfit stands out because of its fun mix of textures and fabrics.  I feel like Odessa's ensemble has that same kind of fun.  I love the different types of fabric, and I like the mix of bright colors, too.  Some items veer dangerously close to clown territory, but they avoid going full circus.  The quality is not as nice as American Girl clothing quality, though, and there are a lot of unreinforced seams.

Underneath her cute outfit, Odessa's body has bendable vinyl limbs, a vinyl head...and a shiny plastic torso:


The only other 14-inch doll we've seen so far with a plastic torso is Be Bright Alma.

The color match between vinyl and plastic is ok, but the shine on the plastic is distracting.


Odessa has a molded Glitter Girls trademark on her lower back:


And she has a huge fabric tag sticking out of her side seam!

That's hard to miss.
I cut the tag off right away.  It was hard to remove all remnants of the fabric, but at least nothing is sticking out of Odessa's side anymore.

It's hard to say exactly how many points of articulation Odessa has.  She's got the typical five standard joints (neck, shoulders, hips), but then her arms and legs each have an internal wire that allows for more movement.  Since each wire can basically only bend in one place, let's say that she has nine points of articulation in total.  That's way more than any other doll in this series.

Another perk is that, like Alma, Odessa can move her head a bit from side-to-side:


And she can also look up!


Here's a GIF of the up-and-down movement:


And of course her heads spins around, too.

This is the most head movement I've seen in any of the 14-inch dolls, and I love it!

Odessa's shoulders have simple rotational movement, so they don't allow her to lift her arms away from her body...although the wires let her do a bizarre version of that pose:

This doesn't hurt. I promise.
Her arms also spin around normally:


The arm wires are fairly easy to bend, and they hold their position well.  They allow Odessa to almost touch her face:


She can wave nicely:


And put her hands on her hips:


She can also run a hand through her hair:


Or gesture dramatically at the sky:

Lord, what fools these mortals be...
She has a simple hand mold with long fingers that are all connected:


The pale area on the first two fingers in the previous photo is because my Odessa has an air bubble defect in her vinyl.

Here's the other side of the hand:


Odessa's hips have simple rotation, but--again--the wires in her legs allow for some wacky side-to-side splits:

Okay, this hurts a little.
But she can do perfectly normal front-to-back splits:


And she can sit on the ground with her legs angled apart:


The wire in her legs allows her to kneel (she can't actually balance alone like this, though):


And she can even frog-squat sit in a chair:

Ribbit.
Because the wire can be bent in either direction, Odessa can also do this...

This hurts a lot!
She has normal-looking blocky feet with minimal toe detail:


Odessa's armature was better than I expected.  It can look funny when the limbs are bent because the vinyl gets really thin, but the movement is smooth and the limbs go right back to their resting position when the wire is straight. 

I could picture what the armature looks like pretty well, because it's possible to feel the wire inside of the thin vinyl of the arms and legs.  But I was very curious to see it with my own eyes.  I had a lot of questions, like how thick is the wire?  Does it look durable?  Is there any kind of jointed area, or is it simply a plain-looking wire?  How is the wire anchored to the body?  

But there was no way I was going to cut into Odessa to satisfy my curiosity.  I like her too much.  And only a monster would hack into a doll like that, right?  Um...right.

Does anyone remember this redheaded girl, Hallie?

I have a bad feeling.
I bought her so that I could check to see if her clothing would fit the Ruby Red Fashion Friends (it does).

She's pretty cute, but I couldn't bond with her at all.  Maybe because I don't like her freckles?  They're too dark and heavy, even though the random distribution is nice:

More like chicken pox than freckles.
So, anyway, Hallie and I were chatting and she seemed excited about donating her body to science.

Did I say that??
So I made a slit down one of her arms and one of her legs to expose the wire:

She doesn't seem to mind.
The armature is made out of a thick wire covered in a tube of foam padding.  There's also a plastic cap on the end of the wire to protect the vinyl of the hand:


The foam makes it hard to see how the wire connects to the body:


So I took the foam off, and could see that the wire is gripped by two plastic pieces inside the shoulder joint:


The wire is thick and seems durable, and it can bend even more when the constraints of the foam and vinyl are gone:

Well, hello there!
The leg wire is very similar to the arm wire, but there's a little foot-shaped peg on the end:


The connection into the body looks similar, too:


But actually, the arm wires aren't connected to the body as securely as the legs.  

When I opened up the hard plastic torso (don't ask how), I discovered that the arm wires stop just inside the shoulder joint:


While the leg wires are anchored into an elaborate plastic holder that sits inside the pelvis (this was also the contraption that held that infernal white tag in place):


Odessa was shocked by Hallie's fate, although when she realized that she'd gained a new outfit from the deal, she was mollified:

Thanks, Emily!
Okay, so maybe now you need something to get those armature photos out of your head?  I figured this would be a good time to put Odessa back into her original outfit for a little portrait session.


Odessa's arms and legs can certainly look funny when they're bent...


But I love that she's able to move at the knee when she's walking or reach up and touch her hair:



Of course some poses are not possible because of the limitations of the wire.  For example, I tried to pose Odessa with her legs crossed, and that was a fail:


I wish her balance was better, too, but that seems to be the tradeoff for having a wire armature.

Overall, she's a really fun doll to pose and play with!


I want to chat a bit more about how the new Glitter Girls compare to the older version from 2018. Fortunately, the Poppy character who starred in my previous review is still being made--she's just been updated with the new body and face mold:


Here she is right out of the box, with her hair still looking a little disheveled:


The hair color isn't realistic, but I think it's beautiful:


I brushed Poppy's hair a little to smooth it out and did my best to balance her:


She's wearing exactly the same outfit as the 2018 version, right down to the glitter-encrusted shoes.  I don't like this outfit nearly as much as I like Odessa's outfit.

Her eye and hair color are the same, too, but the new face mold makes a huge difference:


Her hair comes pulled back into a small ponytail at the top of her head, but when the hair is let down, there's a rooted part on the left side that runs all of the way down the back of her head--similar to what we saw with Odessa's hair:


Poppy's hair is very silky and smooth, but it doesn't feel as thick as Odessa's hair.  With Poppy, I'm keenly aware of the sparse rooting, because the hair plugs stick up here and there and bits of scalp peek through all over the place--especially on the right side:


Here's a closer look:


This caused me to re-check Odessa's hair, to see if I'd missed something, but her hair looks and feels more full.  It doesn't have little bumps where the hair plugs stick up, and I rarely see the scalp:


I gave away my 2018 Poppy a long time ago, but I was able to find a used one on eBay for a great price.  Here are the two versions of the character side-by-side:

2021 Glitter Girls Poppy (left) and 2018 Glitter Girls Poppy (right).
When I first saw the new Glitter Girls face mold at the store, my thought was, "oh, that's way worse than the old face."  But looking at them next to one another, I don't think that's true:

2021 Glitter Girls Poppy (left) and 2018 Glitter Girls Poppy (right).
I like the oval shape of Old Poppy's head better than New Poppy's round face.  But Old Poppy looks pouty, and--just as I'd remembered--her inset eyes have irises that are way too big.  New Poppy looks pretty startled in comparison, though!

Here's a closer look at each face individually:

2021 Glitter Girls Poppy.
2018 Glitter Girls Poppy.
And here's a GIF of the two faces.  I find that this helps me to see the differences better:


Old Poppy has smaller eyes, more finely-drawn eyebrows, a longer, a straighter nose, larger ears, and full lips (especially that lower lip!):


As excited as I am about Odessa's head articulation when compared to other dolls in this series, one of the first things I noticed as I was posing these two together is that Old Poppy has better head articulation.  I think this is because her neck is strung with elastic (don't worry, I'm not going to take her apart to check).  

So Old Poppy can tip her head around in ways that new Poppy cannot.


The outfits are identical, but it was still interesting to see how the older items fared over time.  The leggings showed their age the most.  As you can see, not only are Old Poppy's leggings dirty, but most of the glittery stars have rubbed off:


The shoes look similar, though, and neither of them shed much glitter at all (which is not how I remember the older shoes!).


Here are the two Poppys together without their clothing:

2021 Glitter Girls Poppy (left) and 2018 Glitter Girls Poppy (right).
Both have the same vinyl limbs molds, and both have a plastic torso, but Old Poppy does not have molded underwear, and she didn't have a huge tag sticking out of her body!

The one obvious difference between the two bodies is that Old Poppy is elastic-strung, with five points of articulation, and new Poppy has wire armature with many more posing options.  Old Poppy's limbs felt loose to me--certainly more lose than I remember from my earlier review.  That tends to happen to elastic over time, and I'm not sure if there's a way to avoid it.


Despite Old Poppy's loose limbs, she can still balance better than poor New Poppy.

Half of my photos look like this.
In my last Glitter Girls review, I purchased an extra "Shimmer Glimmer" outfit for Poppy, so I did the same thing this time around.  The new version of the outfit came in a cardboard box, which has much less waste than the packaging I received in 2018:

Progress.
Here's New Poppy in the Shimmer Glimmer outfit:


This is a cute outfit, and I like it a lot, but the bolero jacket is smaller and tighter-fitting than I remember, and some of the stitches along the neckline are coming loose, so that was a disappointment.

I really like my cover shot from the 2018 review, which features Old Poppy wearing the Shimmer Glimmer outfit:


So I tried to re-create that photo using New Poppy:

Does she pull it off?
Here are both girls again wearing the Shimmer Glimmer outfit:


This comparison made me realize that there are many things about the older Poppy that are good, but overall, I like the new version better.


...still, I can't help but want to see Old Poppy with better-fitting eyes and maybe lip paint that doesn't accentuate her pout.  That'll have to be a project for another day...if only I could find the time.


Now that we know a lot (too much?) about the new Glitter Girls, let's compare Odessa to the other dolls in this 14-inch series.  

First here's Odessa with American Girl's Gwynn Tan:

Gwynn Tan (American Girl) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
Odessa's outfit is very similar to Gwynn's in terms of the included pieces; each has a top, a skirt, leggings, and shoes.  Also, both outfits offer a mix of colors and textures in their fabric selections.  I actually like the look of Odessa's outfit more than Gwynn's, though Gwynn's is certainly made better and the fabrics are heavier and higher-quality.

However the quality of Gwynn's outfit is not quite as good as I'd originally thought.  At the end of this photo session, the skirt was starting to come apart at the waistband seam:


And the fabric right below the waistband is getting thinner and thinner every time I have to yank on that area to pull the skirt off.

Here are the two without their clothing:

Gwynn Tan (American Girl) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
They have very similar body shapes--the most similar of all the dolls so far.  But Odessa has that unsightly plastic torso, and Gwynn's vinyl is nice and uniform.  Gwynn's balance is much better than Odessa's, too, but of course Odessa has a lot more flexibility in her limbs and in her head.  Gwynn's eyes still look a little vacant to me--especially next to Odessa's wide-eyed gaze.  Both girls have nice hair, but Gwynn's is wigged and Odessa's is rooted.

The two dolls share clothing perfectly:


I think Gwynn looks great in Odessa's flamboyant outfit!


I'm not sure Gwynn's outfit suits Odessa quite as well:


But it still looks nice:


Next, here's Odessa next to Kindness Club Emmi by Madame Alexander:

Kindness Club Emmi (Madame Alexander) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
Odessa's outfit is so much more playful and interesting than Emmi's.  I love the darker colors in her ensemble, too.  Both dolls have shoes that don't fit them very well, but Odessa's leggings are better than Emmi's socks.

Here they are again without their clothing:

Kindness Club Emmi (Madame Alexander) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
Emmi is slightly larger through the torso than Odessa, but both dolls have soft vinyl in their limbs which feels nice and enhances poseability.  I like the shape and uniformity of Emmi's body, but I don't like the color of her vinyl.  In contrast, Odessa has a lovely shade of vinyl, but that plastic torso stands out.  Emmi might be tilting a bit to the left in that picture, but don't be fooled: she certainly balances better than Odessa.  The hair on these two is very similar, but Emmi's is slightly silkier.  I prefer the streak-free realism of Odessa's hair color, though.

These two can share clothes, but Emmi's items are loose on Odessa:

Ugh.  That mint jacket is the worst.
Here she is with just the dress:


Odessa's top is tight on Emmi, but the color is great for her.  The streak in her hair makes so much more sense with this outfit!


I love the dark colors of Odessa's outfit with Emmi's black hair and pale vinyl:


And Odessa's shoes fit Emmi better than they fit Odessa:


Here's Odessa next to my other Kindness Club doll, Avi:

Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat) and Kindness Club Avi (Madame Alexander).
These outfits are much more equivalent in terms of how fun and youthful they look.  And Avi's serene, realistic face makes Odessa appear cartoonish.

Next, here's Odessa with Ellery, a Glamour Girlz doll from the New York Doll Collection (keep in mind that I replaced Ellery's original eyes with new glass eyes):

Glamour Girlz (New York Doll Collection) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
First of all, the Glamour Girlz name seems like a pretty blatant copycat in this context, doesn't it?  At least Battat didn't feel the need to use a "z" in their name.

These two are the most similar in terms of price, with Ellery being just a bit more expensive.  I'm fond of Ellery, but her outfit can't hold a candle to Odessa's.  Even if Ellery's dress hadn't come with sewing errors or caused bad staining, I'd like Odessa's outfit more.  The bright colors and fun patterns are surely more appealing to kids as well.  I love the color and texture of Ellery's hair, but Odessa's hair also feels nice and has a lovely, natural color.  Furthermore, Odessa's scalp is nowhere near as visible as Ellery's.

Here are the two dolls without their clothing:

Glamour Girlz (New York Doll Collection) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
The proportions are similar (except for Ellery's short arms), but Odessa is so much more engaging to me.  These two offer a really good example of why head articulation matters; Odessa looks so bright and interested, while Ellery looks spaced out.  That said, I prefer Ellery's face mold to Odessa's.  I like the serenity in her features and her more normal-sized eyes.  I prefer Odessa's face paint, though.

These two can share clothing nicely:


Odessa looks good in pretty much everything:


Odessa's colorful outfit is great on Ellery, too.  


She looks so much younger when she's wearing this set!


And the shoes fit securely, too:


Last of all, here's Odessa next to Be Bright Alma:

Be Bright Alma (Adora) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
This is Exhibit A for why Alma's head should have been smaller.  Both dolls have similarly stylized, wide-eyed features, but Odessa looks much better to me.  Her outfit is more interesting, too, although Alma's outfit is better-constructed and probably more durable.  Odessa gets the win on hair here, too.  Alma's hair is just too thin and stringy, and that color--while pretty--is not versatile.

Here they are without their clothing:

Be Bright Alma (Adora) and Glitter Girls Odessa (Battat).
If you try to block out the difference in the heads, you can see that the bodies on these two are similar--right down to the shiny plastic torsos.  Alma's limbs and torso are a bit wider, though.  They both have additional movement in their necks (Odessa more so than Alma).  I like Alma's painted underwear, and she has better balance, but Odessa's body is better overall--mostly because it's in proportion to her head and has limb armature.

Alma's dress is loose on Odessa:


And you can see that the white tank top section rides up a bit on her shoulders:


The boots are loose, too!


Odessa's outfit is tight on Alma--especially the shirt (a bit of tummy peeks out every now and then!):


I thought perhaps Odessa's teal shirt would match Alma's hair, but no.  Nothing matches Alma's hair.

Odessa's shoes were also a really tight fit for Alma, and it seemed for a moment that they wouldn't go on, but the little bit of stretch in the vinyl made it work.


If I were to design a 14-inch doll at this point in time, I'd be sure to make them compatible with other popular dolls on the market (i.e. American Girl).  The fact that Alma is just slightly too big for some of the clothes-sharing is a minus in her column.

Now it's time to see all of the dolls together.  It's getting hard to fit them into one photo!

From left: Gwynn Tan, Glamour Girlz, Glitter Girls, Kindness Club, and Be Bright.
Here they are again with their full outfits (minus Odessa's hair bow):

From left: Gwynn Tan, Glamour Girlz, Glitter Girls, Kindness Club, and Be Bright.
Odessa really shakes things up for me.  I didn't expect to like her as much as I do, probably because I felt zero connection to Hallie, the first of the new Glitter Girls dolls that I purchased.  But if you flashed this lineup of dolls in front of me, with the prices listed underneath, I'd grab Odessa first...and Alma last.

Let's resurrect the big lists from last time and see what happens!

Price (MSRP)
1. Odessa (Battat): $20.99 (seen on sale for $13.49).
2. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): $30.99 (seen on sale for $23.39).
3. Alma (Adora): $49.99 (seen on sale for $26.83).
4. Emmi and Avi (Madame Alexander): $59.95 (seen on sale for $32.50).
5. Gwynn (American Girl): $65 plus shipping (seen on sale for $52 plus shipping).

Outfits
1. Gwynn (American Girl): this outfit isn't my personal style, but it has the most intricate and diverse pieces and is well made with high-quality fabrics.  But it's really hard to use, and the skirt is starting to come apart.
2. Odessa (Battat): I love the style of this outfit, and it has a great mix of patterns, textures, and colors, but the construction could be more robust and the shoes are too loose.
3. Alma (Adora): the outfit is simple, with only a dress and boots. This dress is well-made and durable.  The style is a little bland and might get dated, but it suits Alma and doesn't clash with her hair.
4. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): I love the idea of this dress, but the execution is poor. There's a defect in the front embellishment, and the red color causes staining.  The boots are also hard to use.
5. Emmi (Madame Alexander): this outfit is made well enough, but it's generic and has no personality.  Also, the sash on my doll's dress isn't sewn thoroughly.  Furthermore, the socks are weird and the shoes do not fit without socks.  *Avi's outfit is way better than Emmi's, and better-made than Odessa's, so it would have earned second in this category.

Hair
1. Emmi (Madame Alexander): her hair feels amazing. It could be rooted better, but the center part is nice and it's easy to style the hair in ponytails. I wish there was no streak of color; it doesn't match the outfit.  *Avi would also win this category.  Furthermore, her hair has more body than Emmi's and so I don't notice any problem with the rooting.
2. Odessa (Battat): her hair isn't quite as silky-smooth as some of the other dolls, and the rooting isn't obvious.  Also, I really like the natural color with subtle highlights. *the thin rooting on New Poppy's hair is more noticeable and would have ranked lower.
3. Gwynn (American Girl): this hair also feels great, but the short length and wig stitching can limit styling options.  Also: bangs.
4. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): yet again, the hair feels amazing.  It's also a beautiful color, but the rooting is thin.
5. Alma (Adora): this hair feels great, too!  It can look and feel a bit "greasy," though, and the thin rooting does not help.  The color is unique, but clashes with a lot of clothing.

Face
1. Gwynn (American Girl): she has a sweet face that is painted well, but I wish there was more detail around her eyes--they can look vacant.
2. Emmi (Madame Alexander): she has the classic Madame Alexander features that I love, and nice realism, but her face paint is too bright and her vinyl is too pale.  *Avi would win this category.
3. Odessa (Battat): she has stylized features and slightly wonky eyes, but I like her bright expression and her applied lashes.
4. Alma (Adora): she has natural face paint, sparkling eyes, and a sweet smile, but her head is too big.
5. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): she has a nice, serene face mold that is painted badly.  Her factory eyes are also too pale and vacant.

Body
1. Odessa (Battat): This was hard!  She has that ugly plastic torso, but her head and limb movement is so fun.  More articulation = more personality.  However, her balance is not very good and the limbs can look strange when they're bent.
2. Emmi (Madame Alexander): I like the flexible soft vinyl and the realistic body shape and proportions, but I don't like the opaque, overly-bright skin tone. I also demoted Emmi because she doesn't share clothes as easily with other 14-inch dolls.  *Avi's vinyl color is much better than Emmi's, so she might have won.
3. Gwynn (American Girl): she has a lovely skin tone, and the vinyl is high-quality, but the body is very rigid and the head is always looking up.
4. Alma (Adora): she has enhanced articulation and a really nice skin tone...too bad about the shiny plastic torso. Also, she can't share clothes as well as some of the others.
5. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): she has strange proportions and bad balance.  Her head is always looking down.

For my overall rankings, I'm liking Alma less and less for some reason, so a few things have changed here: 
1. Avi (Madame Alexander)
2. Odessa (Battat)
3. Gwynn (American Girl)
4. Emmi (Madame Alexander)
5. Ellery (New York Doll Collection)
6. Alma (Adora)

Whew!  It's getting hard to keep track of all these girls!  And I still have two more to go.  I hope I can fit all of them onto my photo table.  I'd love to know: which one is your favorite so far, all things considered?

As usual, I'll wrap up this review by showing you a few pictures of Odessa outside in the sunshine.  Thankfully, the oppressive heat has broken here in New Jersey and it's become quite pleasant to spend time outdoors.


Odessa looks lovely in the sun; her vinyl captures the light well, and the highlights in her hair are more prominent:


And her eyes are so bright!


It's too bad that the sun makes the shininess of her plastic torso even more obvious.


This shininess became especially glaring when we were in the shade of the tree:


But Odessa loved examining the yard form this protected spot!


She found a bright red leaf:

And can even hold it!
And a perfectly ripe tomato:


It seems strange to find a changing leaf and a ripe tomato at the same time of year, but that's New Jersey for you.

Odessa's eyes are a little wonky, and this is more obvious in the bright light than it was indoors.  I also wish she could balance better so that she didn't always have to lean up against something, but for the most part she was really fun to photograph.  


The camera just loves her--even in the direct sun:

You speak an infinite deal of nothing...
Bottom line?  Odessa is the least expensive doll that I will be looking at in this series.  Even when she's not on sale, her $21 price is very reasonable--especially for such a large, well-articulated doll.  And because her price is so low, I didn't have high expectations.  However, not only did Odessa exceed my expectations, but she does a few things better than her more expensive counterparts.

First of all, and very dear to my heart, Odessa is better-articulated than any of the other dolls in this series.  Her head has side-to-side and up-and-down movement that allows her to cast her gaze in many different directions.  In addition, she has a sturdy wire armature in her arms and legs that allows her to bend at the elbows and knees.  Bent-limb poses can look strange because the limbs get unnaturally thin when they're bent, but I think these poses look better than they do on the Our Generation dolls--simply because the Glitter Girl limbs are narrower to begin with.  Inspection of the internal armature was consoling because the wire is thick and the anchor points look stable, but it's hard to know what will happen to the wire over time as it gets bent again and again in the same place.  Still, I prefer this armature to the elastic-strung joints of the older Glitter Girls, because that style of joint loosens over time.  The biggest down-side to the wire armature is that it comes at the cost of balance.  Unlike the older Glitter Girls, Odessa does not balance very well on her own.

Another pleasant surprise with Odessa was her outfit.  It has a lot of personality, and is made up of five different pieces that are all brightly-colored and eye-catching.  I like the mix of fabrics, too, with the velvet-like shirt, the sequined hair bow, and the tulle-lined skirt with its soft pom pom accents.  And the glitter-infused shoes don't shed any glitter at all, which is a huge improvement over the last time I reviewed this line.  The shortcomings of the outfit are that many of the seams are not reinforced, and the shoes fall off too easily.  An added perk is that Odessa's body shape is very similar to that of Gwynn Tan and the WellieWishers, which is nice because these two popular brands share clothing really well.

Odessa's hair is similar to all of the other 14-inch dolls I've looked at.  It feels nice, has a multi-toned, natural-looking color, and is easy to brush...but the rooting could be better.  Odessa's hair is nicer than both Old and New Poppy's hair, though, which is confusing.  I barely noticed Odessa's scalp when I wasn't looking for it, but New Poppy's sparse rooting pattern caused me quite a bit of trouble as I was restyling her hair.  That discrepancy makes it hard to come to a firm conclusion about Glitter Girls hair in general, but if I'm judging Odessa on her own, then her hair meets or exceeds the quality of many of the other dolls in this series.

I can see why Battat chose to replace the face mold on these dolls, since the old version looks pouty and has eye sockets that are too small for the size of the irises (not enough sclera is visible).  The new face mold seems to have swung too far in the opposite direction and has a lot of sclera showing.  But as startled as Odessa can look in some photos, I prefer her eyes and expression to the older version.

I'm not sure if it's the low price, the low expectations, the wire armature, or what, but this little doll was the best surprise of the bunch so far.  And I had more fun with her than I did with any of the other dolls, too, mostly because of her added articulation.  Many of the other 14-inchers seem stiff and disconnected when compared to Odessa's flexible body and bright, engaged face.  I wish I'd compared Odessa to one of the new WellieWishers instead of to Gwynn Tan, since the Wellies have a cheerful style that's more similar to Odessa's, and outfits that I like better than Gwynn's.  But with the comparison as it stands, I'd pick Odessa over Gwynn.  And given the $45 price difference between the two, that's the biggest surprise of all.

13 comments:

  1. It's hard to beat the value of these when they are under $15! I've splurged on a few in the past year; the outfits alone can justify the price. I do really wish the faces looked less startled though, between the large eyes and slight pout. There has to be a happy medium between the old and new versions.
    The tag on a plastic body is such a bizarre concept as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Odessa is so beautiful! My favorite so far! In my eyes I rate them:
    1. Odessa
    2. Gwynn
    3. Avi
    4. Ellery
    5. Alma
    6. Emmi
    I may have to get a glitter girls doll myself now! Thanks again for your reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My own hair tends to fall over the left side of my face, so that wouldn't bother me much in a doll. As for the name Odessa, I believe it was semi-popular about a hundred years ago. There is a small town here in Delaware called Odessa and a good-sized city in Texas called Odessa too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gwynn is still my favorite, but Odessa is a close second. The internal wires are a neat feature and make the dolls so much more posable and expressive. I’m always curious what things look like on the inside, but not always brave enough to find out, so thanks for showing us Hallie’s internal workings! My third favorites are the Kindness Club dolls. I thought they were a little bland at first, but Emma and Avi are definitely growing on me, the more I see them. I may even have to start looking for one of my own!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gwynn's face is so adorable, I cannot help but love her the most. Avi is also a big contender. I think Gwynn and Odessa's slight face blankness would be improved vastly if their eyes weren't just aligned straight forward? Like a look to the side would add a lot of personality and also less staring into the void vibes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another insightful addition to this series of blog posts!

    I never like saying that a doll creeps me out because there's such a stigma around dolls being "creepy" already, but the eyes on these Glitter Girls did take me aback at first. I guess it also didn't help that you exposed Hallie's armature, but I appreciate that it's all for the science, lol! As I read more and more of the review and scrolled through all the pictures I got used to their look pretty quickly. New Poppy is actually quite cute to me (I even prefer the newer face mold to the old one) and she reminds me a bit of Alice in Wonderland. (With eyes like that I wouldn't be surprised if she comes from Wonderland, haha!)

    Emmi is still one of my least favorites but I have to say that Odessa's outfit looks absolutely amazing on her. Suddenly all her colors make sense! Overall, though, Gwynn is still my favorite in terms of looks (which pains me a bit to say since she's so expensive compared to all the others).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh boy. This was a pleasant surprise. I must be getting used to your methods because as soon as you were wondering about how the armature worked, I KNEW we were all in for an anatomy lesson! Odessa has her charms…now about the eyes…do you think running a narrow line of dark paint or such on the upper edge of her eyeball below the lid work? Kinda like how women use eyeliners on their eyelid edges? You *might* have a spare head now that her body has been donated to science…MNGRL. Let us know!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great review yet again! I’m so happy whenever you post! It really makes my day💕

    I was wondering if you had seen the new VIP Pets! I remember when you reviewed Gwen in 2014 (oh man I didn’t realize it was so long ago) and it seems there has been a reboot released! The surprise reveal ones would make a cute Sunday Surprise 💕

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ah, so you decided to spring for Teagan after all. I do hope you'll show a few pictures of her, on Patreon if nowhere else. ^_^

    Odessa's giant eyes freak me out a little, but I really like her outfit and all of the dolls look great in it. (Emmi looks about a billion times better in Odessa's outfit than in her own!) Just looking at the lineup, with no prices and no time to examine the dolls further, I'd pick Gwynn, then Odessa, then Ellery (she has an endearing face, what can I say), then Emmi, and Alma last. That giant head... yeeeeek. It looks worst when compared to the other dolls. And somehow looks even bigger when she's clothed.

    It's interesting to me how drastically different dolls within the same line are, though - Avi vs. Emmi, or Odessa here vs. poor doomed Hallie. It's too bad, screams a lack of quality control to me. (And really goes to show how important consistency is. If your first doll from a company is a dud, you'll never want to buy from them again; even if you just had bad luck, you'll never know.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. whoops sorry, Lurkins here

      Delete
    2. Loved this review! And I like the idea of reviewing many different 14-inch dolls. I think this category gets overlooked a lot. And let's see....I have added a Kindness Club Paisley to the ranks here, as well as several of the Glitter Girls (and their separate outfits/accessories sets!) because Amazon has had them for a steal! I thought about you when I saw that Amazon has the big 4-doll Capsule Chix collection on sale, too (yep, I have some of those, too....). Keep up such lovely work, Emily--I for one appreciate it!

      Delete
  10. Wonderful review as always, I love how thorough you are. Odessa Cleveland is the first Odessa I can think of, and I think it's funny that she has not one, but two place-names!
    I really like Old Poppy over New Poppy. Her face is more charming to me. A bit more realistic somehow, less crazy eyes. Her hair is nicer too. I just think she's really sweet.
    I have a small collection of 14/15" dolls going. For a while, they were impossible to find outside of antique stores because nobody was making them before AG introduced Wellie Wishers. I still have no modern 14" dolls in my collection, but have Patsy Joan and Sissy from Effanbee, along with a few Horsman dolls including Ruthie. I love Effanbee faces, they're so charming and sweet, and they have a huge variety of face molds.
    After reading this review, I think I would have to go for the Wellie Wishers over all of them. Be Bright would be in second place, but the rest just look so cheap and shiny. Shiny hair, shiny skin, shiny, wide eyes. It's very interesting to see each brand's unique approach to this market, because for a long time it seems like all doll manufacturers in this (limited) size range (18", and now 14") copy each other (or more boldly, copy American Girl. I have no loyalty to the brand it just seems obvious). Any variances are welcome, but in this case, a lot of them miss the mark.
    I am really happy to see you do this series. I love play dolls in this scale and I must've read your Paola Reina and My Twinn reviews a hundred times (love the project blog too, and have gotten great advice from you there!). Keep being a fantastic blogger :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. MNGrl here. You know, I'm really liking this comparison theme. I know you won't/can't do it all the time, but it is really helpful to see a grouping of the same size and generally type of doll together. I'm thinking about all the 6" dolls, or 18" or the mermaids....especially when they are grouped together and undressed so we can see their body differences for clothes sharing. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete