Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Savage Baby Rubber Joint Dolls by Monst

This post is a good example of how it can take me almost a year to complete a doll review.  Way back in March, in the comments section of the Nendoroid Little Red Riding Hood review, Breanne suggested that I look at Monst dolls.  I knew nothing about this brand, but because of the name, I assumed that the dolls had something to do with Monsters.  That assumption was way off.  In fact, they are adorable, highly articulated child dolls from China.

A few days after reading Breanne's suggestion, I purchased two Monst dolls.  They can be found at AliExpress, and cost between $30 and $50, depending on the character and the vendor.  My dolls arrived within a week or two...and then sat around for a few months while I was busy with other things.  In October, I thought I was ready to write the review, so I de-boxed the dolls and took some photos of them...and then realized I wanted to add one more doll to my analysis.  So I ordered that doll and waited for her to arrive, and then took some more pictures.  Finally, today, I have all of the dolls and photos I need, and I'm ready to share these cuties with you.  Thank you for the suggestion, Breanne!  I had a very good time with this review.

Monst doll, $30.99 without shoes.
Before I say anything else, I should explain the title of this post.  "Savage Baby Rubber Joint Doll" is actually the online translation of 野蛮宝贝胶皮关节娃娃, which is what's listed on the cover of the Chinese catalogue for Monst dolls.  The dolls are neither savage nor made out of rubber (they're PVC), so something must have gotten muddled in translation:


I tried to search out some more details about the company, but there's no Monst website (at least not that I could find) and information online is scarce.  Also, it's impossible to Google "Monst doll" without getting Monster High!

The only place I could find that's selling these dolls to people in the United States is AliExpress.  And if you search for Monst dolls on AliExpress, the most common listing available offers this trio of characters to choose from:


Aren't they cute?  I love all of their outfits (none of them come with shoes), but ended up choosing the two redheads.  I couldn't decide if I liked the toothy smile on the middle girl or not.  Now I kind-of I wish I'd bought her, just to see what that face looks like in person.

The listings often include these two girls as well:

Again, I think they're both great, but I wasn't sold on the angry doll's expression or outfit--at least not for my first Monst doll.

It's also possible to buy blank heads and bodies for these dolls.  I purchased a body and a blank head, but didn't have time to paint the head (sorry, Breanne!).  Maybe in another year.

My two dolls came in small, bright yellow, all-cardboard boxes.  There's a picture of a toddler with a bottle on the front of each box:


It's funny to me that the name and the artistic interpretation of these dolls is so baby-centered.  I feel like the dolls themselves look like four or five-year-olds--maybe older.  They don't make me think of babies at all.

The sides of the box are black, with some text:


One side has some English text that says "gift for all girls another one in the world."


Without the "another one" part, that phrase makes more sense.

The back of the box is bright yellow with more text in both English and Chinese:


The paragraph at the top starts with the words "on the other side of the world, there must be another me.  She is facing the direction of the wind, saying what I have never said, and walking the way I am not going."

Whoa.

I mean, that's pretty deep, right?  It's lovely.  I like reading it and thinking about it...although I'm not exactly sure what it has to do with these dolls.  It makes me want to go back and re-examine the "gift for all the girls another one in the world" statement.  Is the doll a gift for all girls who feel like they have another version of themselves somewhere in the world?  I don't feel that way myself, although at three distinct moments in my life I've had people come up to me, call me by the wrong name, and then tell me that I look "exactly" like somebody else.

Or maybe by giving the doll to somebody, you're acknowledging some shared pieces of identity?  Common ground?  I don't know.  My brain hurts if I think about it too hard.

The rest of that paragraph includes a mix of practical features (the dolls can wear flat shoes but cannot stand alone), and some blurbs about how Monst dolls spark the imagination and all have their own trendy style:


The sentences are generic, for the most part, but this one stands out to me: "Each Monst doll has her own look and style--from casually cool to boho bold, all of the fashions are inspired by the latest trends!" 

I hate to be critical, but this dress:


while absolutely incredible, was not inspired by the latest trends.  Sorry.

The bottom part of the box lists a few warnings and notices.  The fact that the dolls cannot stand on their own is reiterated, and then some other basics are covered--like that the dolls should be kept away from fire:

And not eaten.
Incidentally, the product name listed on the box, yemanbaobei, is the first part of the title from the catalog, 野蛮宝贝, and translates to "savage babe."  That has a nice ring to it.

The fourth side of the box is relatively plain, and only suggests an age minimum for the dolls:


I'd be fine giving a Monst doll to a younger person.  Some of the outfit components are fiddly, as we'll see later on, but I feel like ten-year-olds could probably handle it.

The other thing on this part of the box is a QR code:


Eager for more information, I followed that link and it took me to a site called Xiaomi Youpin.  Xiaomi is a huge Chinese technology company, and Youpin is apparently their online retail giant.  Monst dolls are often referred to as Xioami Monst or Youpin Monst dolls, so I'm wondering if the Monst brand is owned by Xiaomi?  Either that or they are just responsible for selling the dolls.  If anyone knows the details for sure, I'd love to add them here!

But anyway, I always get into the weeds trying to figure out background information for dolls like these.  Let's move on and take a look at the actual dolls.

The first girl I opened is called Little Bear (without hat):


It's not very mature of me to make fun of translations, I know, but in the catalog this little one is described as follows:

Savage Baby Knuckle Bear!
That reads like a warning sign, doesn't it?


My knuckle bear came stored in a molded plastic shell:


She had a band of plastic around her forehead to hold her hair in place, and a plastic bag around her body:


She came without any clothes on, which had me worried at first, but then I peeked inside the box and saw that there was a smaller carton tucked into the back corner:


I opened the carton and found a bag that contained the clothing:


The bag is pretty funny.  It has a cartoon of a winking girl with a lollipop in her mouth, and she's holding a heart that says "candy you."

Candy you, too!
From reading the catalog, I think there are a few different clothing designers that work on Monst outfits.  Perhaps Candy You is the brand name for one of those designers?  In any case, I'll look at the clothes in a little while--after I've looked at the doll.

The doll was held inside the plastic carton with two wires that were loose-fitting and easy to unfasten:


Here she is fresh out of the box.  And despite all warnings, she can stand beautifully on her own!

So maybe she is edible?
She's going to need a name other than Savage Knuckle Bear (no hat), I think.  So I'll call her Artis (Artie for short) which is a Scottish name that means "bear."

Artie's hair was a huge mess, so I removed all of the plastic and tried to tidy her up a little:


Her hair is a beautiful copper color and is very soft and silky, but the style was in bad shape.


Also, the bangs were way too long and a little lopsided.  They make her look grouchy:

Angry Savage Knuckle Bear.
Underneath the bangs, though, the painted face is adorable, with bushy eyebrows, some freckles over the nose, and dark eyes with lime green accents in the irises:


Here's a closer look at one eye:


The reflective details are really great!

Artis has a broad head with a tiny nose, widely-spaced eyes, and cute little ears that stick out:


Here's a better look at one of the ears:

Knuckle bears are known for their cute ears.
I love Artie's pouty mouth and all of the shaded details in her upper eyelashes.  I wish that her eyes were a bit more vivid--or perhaps had a shiny finish on them--but that's something I could easily add on my own.


You might have noticed the strands of hair along the right side of Artie's face in some of the photos, above.  It turns out that she had some hairs stuck into her neck joint.  These were easy to pull free:


Artis stands just over 8 inches tall and is highly articulated:


One thing that's quite obvious in real life, and that you can also see pretty well in the pictures, is that some sections of Artie's body are more yellow than others.  For example, if you compare the color of her arms to the color of her torso (or even to the joints in her arms), you can see that the arms themselves look yellowed.


I find the difference in color distracting, and it makes the doll look more cheap than she feels.

She has a Monst mark on her back, and a small metal screw just below her waist:


The Monst mark says, "Monst, Joint Doll" and underneath that is says MONST.COM.CN.  I was not able to get that website to load here in the United States, and Monst.com is not an active site.

There's a Monst mark on Artis' neck, too:

And more hairs stuck in her neck joint!
She has a whopping sixteen points of articulation:


Because her neck is a ball joint, not only can she spin her head around, but she can also look up and down:


And tip her head from side to side:


Her shoulders are rotating ball-shaped hinges, and so she can lift her arms up:


And also spin them around:


Her elbows and wrists are also rotating hinges with good mobility, although they can't quite bend to 90 degrees:


Her elbows can bend a few degrees in the wrong direction, though!

Knuckle bears are often double-jointed.
Overall, her hands are very expressive.  She can touch her face and rest a hand on her hip:


She can clasp her hands in front of her:


And do all kind of other expressive...


...or dramatic poses:


Artie's hips are ball-and-socket joints that allow her to do partial side-to-side splits:


She can also do imperfect front-to-back splits.  The shape of her bottom prevents her back leg from being fully extended:


She can sit solidly on the ground, though:


Beneath the ball-and-socket of her hip, Artis has a rotating thigh joint:


This allows her lower leg to rotate inwards or outwards:



Artie's knees are ball-shaped hinges with no rotation.  All of the rotation comes from that thigh joint.  She can kneel:


And sit nicely in a chair:


She can sort-of sit on the ground with her legs tucked to one side, but this isn't the most natural pose for her:


She can sit cross-legged very well, though!


Or with both legs rotated out:

That looks uncomfortable.
She's an excellent doll to pose and her balance is great:


Although I won't pretend that she was able to hold this next pose on her own:

That required a little help.
After I'd inspected all of her wonderful joints, I decided to try and do something about Artie's hair.  I took down the clips that were holding her bangs: 

Fuzzy knuckle bear.
And I took down the ponytail at the back of her head:


I brushed the hair until it was smooth.  It feels really nice and looks gorgeous:


And the rooting is pretty good, too, although a bit more density would have allowed for a wider array of hairstyles:


The bangs were still a real problem, though:


I tied back most of the hair to get it out of the way.  This left behind the bangs and a few tendrils of shorter hair at the side of Artie's face:


This is a neat as I could get the hair to look:


So I trimmed the bangs and tried to even out the length:


Here's how she looks now:


That's better, I guess, but I don't like it when I have to cut a new doll's hair!  It's stressful.

With her hair under control, I decided it was time to check out Artie's outfit:


She came with a dress, an apron, a hair bow, suspenders, and socks:

All the latest fashions.
The hair bow is made out of red gingham ribbon, and is longer on one side than the other:


The suspenders are basically just loops of chartreuse embroidery thread:


And the rib-knit socks are a lovely deep red color:


The dress is the star of the show.  It's made out of four different types of fabric: a floral cotton base with denim sleeves, a red collar, and a delicate white lace ruffle at the hem:


The stitching is excellent, and everything is reinforced:


The apron is made out of green striped cotton, and has real wooden buttons at the waist:


There's a cute bear appliqué on one side:


And there are two more buttons on the back (to hold the suspenders):


 The whole thing opens and closes with velcro:


Here's Artis wearing the dress, the hair bow, and the socks:


This looks great, but the dress is really short and so I wish Artie had some bloomers or underwear.  For any sewers out there, Resin Rapture has a free undies pattern that looks awesome!  I might attempt it myself.


Another thing is that red collar on this dress sticks up all of the time.  I had to re-take tons of pictures because the collar was sticking up and I didn't notice right away.

Next, I added on the suspenders and the apron or overskirt:


The suspenders were the hardest thing to get in place, and these are the reason I wouldn't give this doll to a younger child.  The outfit would be fine without them, though.

Monst dolls do not come with shoes for some reason.  But some AliExpress vendors have shoes available that fit.  I bought these little leather shoes for Artis for about $10:


They fit perfectly and go well with the outfit:


Artis can still balance on her own in the shoes, but I'd say that her balance is better without them.


Here's a closer look:


Artis feels like a high-quality doll, especially with her detailed clothing and her new haircut.


My biggest complaints are that some parts of her body look yellowed, I wish she had underwear, and I wish her eyes had some shine.


Otherwise, she's a real joy!


Oh, and before I forget, I should show you how big she is next to some other dolls.  First, here she is with my invaluable assistant, Lina:

Monst doll (left) and Signature Look Barbie (right).
Artis is about the right height to be a child in the Barbie world, but her head is too big and her torso and limbs are too thick.

She almost matches the scale of a Rainbow High doll, since those characters have larger bodies and heads:
 
Monst doll (left) and Rainbow High doll (right).
I didn't realize Ruby's face was so crooked.  That's odd.

Anyway, the second Monst doll that I bought is called Little Rabbit.  I won't go through nearly as much detail with her as I did with Artis, but I always like to show a few different examples of a doll line like this.  Little Rabbit cost me $43, so a bit more than Artis.

And, because you know I can't help myself, I have to show you that in the catalogue, Little Rabbit is described thusly:

Somehow we went from savage to downright barbarian.
I don't think I'll call her Barbarian Baby Joint Bunny Table, no offense, but in keeping with the animal name theme, maybe I'll call her Kani (which means "rabbit" in Finnish).

I had to give Kani's bangs a trim, too, and this is what she looked like after that ordeal:


Kani has very pale green eyes that are glancing to her left.  The eyes have a lot more color in them than Artie's eyes, and they also have tiny heart-shaped reflective dots.  Otherwise, the two dolls have similar face-ups:


I like how the pupil looks scribbled in:


Kani came with a scuff on her face (underneath her left eye), presumably from moving around in the box too much.  Artis has a few little marks on her face, too, making me wish that there had been a bit of tissue paper or other padding in the box.

Kani's hair is a beautiful bright strawberry blonde color, and it came in two silky ponytails, with braid accents in each:


The hair also has a rooted part in back, which will allow for a wider range of hairstyles than Artie's hair does.


Kani's outfit is really adorable.  It includes a romper, a jacket, socks, and a bunny hat with big ears:


The bunny hat is made out of soft rose-colored fake fur, with polka-dotted fabric on the inside of the ears and a big bow accent on one side:


The entire interior of the hat is lined with a peach-colored cotton print:


And the edges of the hat are trimmed with a delicate white ruffle:


As an added bonus, the ears have wires inside, so they can be posed in many ways!

Extra points of articulation!
The jacket is another work of art.  It has tiny little hand-stitched (decorative) pockets, a perfect white collar, and even a pearl clasp at the neck:


The inside of the jacket is fully lined with a complimentary polka-dotted fabric:


Look at the scalloped edges on the back of the tiny collar--and the little vent in the coat!


The romper is also really cute, with a lace bib and elastic-gathered legs:


The romper opens at the back with metal snaps and is complete with a pom-pom bunny tail!


As if that wasn't enough, the top of the romper is lined, too:


And the socks are as cute as can be, with little stitched faces and attached bunny ears:


Here's Kani wearing just her romper:


And here she is with the jacket and socks added in:


The best part of the outfit is the hat, though.  It adds so much personality!



She looks like a real barbarian, doesn't she?

Grr.
As with Artis, I had to buy Kani's shoes separately.  This color was randomly picked for me because I didn't check my AliExpress messages in time to make my own color choice:


They don't match the outfit perfectly, but they look fine:



I was very excited to photograph Artis and Kani outside, so I took them along with me when I visited New York back in October.  You might recognize the garden setting from my I'm a Wow review.

Artis was a little overwhelmed by the big garden at first:


So she sat on a wall and just took in the sights for a bit:



But then she started to get more comfortable and began to explore!


Artis was especially good at seeking out structures and plants that match her beautiful red hair--like this rusted planter:


And then striking dramatic poses on said structures:


She also found some fascinating lichens and plants growing among the rocks:


Many of which had the red hues of fall:


But her favorite part of the whole garden was this tangle of vines that turned out to be perfect for climbing!


Don't fall down, Artis!


Kani was also a little nervous in the wide expanse of the garden:



And it took her a while to get up and move around.


But when I let her wear her bunny hat, somehow she began to feel more at home.


And eventually she started to explore.


She enjoyed climbing in the bushes...



And sneaking around in the grass!


I was having such a wonderful time with Artis and Kani that while I was editing their photos, I was also thinking about what to do with the extra Monst body and head that I bought.

I realized that I would never have time to paint a blank head myself, at least not anytime soon, so I went back to AliExpress to explore some of the options for buying a painted head.

During those searches, I realized that there are a ton of heads available for these dolls!  Not only are there artists who are painting blank heads, but there are also heads available with holes for inset eyes--opening up a huge range of possibilities!

Here are two examples of heads that are available from AliExpress.  This one has inset eyes:

Incredible!
And this one has hand-painted eyes:


Now I'm inspired to paint my own Monst head!  Wow.

These heads can cost as much (or more) as the factory dolls, but I wanted to see one in person, so I ordered this option (for $45):


Since the individual heads do not have any hair, I also had to find a wig.

Monst wigs are hard to find on AliExpress, but I managed to get a cute red mohair wig that I figured would work in the short-term.  From my measurements (the head is 7.5 inches around) I'm guessing that 7-8 wigs should work for these dolls, but I have not tested that hypothesis myself.

Here are the head, body, and wig that I bought:


The body came in a black cardboard drawer-style box with MONST written in big letters:


The body itself was enclosed within a metallic plastic bag, but there was also a smaller clear plastic bag holding a string and a wire:


I was confused about the string and the wire, but I assumed that I would have to attach the new head with a string...and that somehow the wire would be required for that.


I've never strung a doll before, so I looked around for a way to open up the body, and remembered the screw on the lower back:


With the screw gone, the lower torso comes apart and the legs can be removed:

Now that's barbaric.
So I got the head out to see how it might attach...


And then I realized that it's a simple ball and socket connection.  The string and wire are red herrings; the head simply snaps into place with no accessories or skill required:

Too easy.
I think this head looks even better in real life than it does in the sale photos:


And the mohair wig fits perfectly:


As much as I love Artis and Kani, this little cutie quickly became my favorite!


I love her vibrant green eyes, and how the wig has tiny little braids at the back.

And how the bangs are the right length!
I'm going to name this one Fern, after the Charlotte's Web character.

Fern could have borrowed Artie and Kani's wonderful clothing, but I decided to buy her something of her own.  I found a lovely Irish shop on Etsy called Yu and Gui Doll Clothes.  There's usually a wonderful selection of handmade outfits for Monst dolls in this shop, and the outfits even include shoes!

I found Fern this gorgeous dress and sweater set for $28.39 (plus another $17 in international shipping):


The sweater is exquisite, and I love the little shoes!


All told, Fern ended up costing about $140 ($45 for the head, $25 for the body, $21 for the wig, and $49 for the outfit) so about three times as much as Artis and Kani.

But I'm worth it, right?
That's a lot of money, but custom items always cost more, and I love having a Monst doll with such expressive eyes--and with a wig that can be changed whenever I want.


Fern's outdoor pictures are nowhere near as fun as Artis and Kani's, since I was limited to the cold confines of my own backyard this time around, but I wanted to have at least a few photos of her in natural light:


The green in her eyes doesn't really match the more muted green of the sweater, but I still think she looks adorable:


This little doll, assembled with parts from all over the world, feels pretty special to me.




Ha!  I bet you thought the review was over with that last picture.  Not quite.  There's one more little thing I have left to say.  

The very last thing I did, just yesterday, was to paint over Artie's irises with some glossy Modge Podge.  I thought it might add the illusion of depth to her eyes.  

In person, the only thing that the Modge Podge did was make the surface of the eyes uneven, and add glare that makes it difficult to see the iris details.  

In photos, I can't appreciate much of a difference.  Can you?


Here's a close-up of one glossy eye:


And here's a comparison to the eye before I put the Modge Podge on:

Without Modge Podge (left) and with Modge Podge (right).

The painted eye looks slightly darker, but there's also a difference in exposure because of the placement of Artie's bangs.  Oh, well.  I guess the eyes didn't need to be changed after all!


Bottom line?  What fun!  I'm not sure how I ever would have found these dolls without a recommendation, so thank you again to Breanne.  Honestly, thanks to everybody who takes the time to suggest new and interesting dolls to me.  A lot of those dolls make it into my queue...even if it might take a year for me to write the actual review.

I am overall quite charmed by the Monst dolls, as I'm sure you can tell.  However, it's worth reiterating the few things that I wish were different.  First of all, both Artis and Kani came with messy hair and bangs that were way too long for their faces.  I'm always nervous about cutting doll hair, so I didn't like having to fix this.  Second, the yellow tint on some of the body parts is aesthetically bothersome, and also makes me wonder if certain areas will continue to yellow over time.  I wish the eyes had a bit more sparkle or depth, but after coating my Artie's irises with Modge Podge and not really liking the result, I'm happier with the eyes as they came.  Another thing is, while I like that there are a few different face molds (even though I didn't take advantage of that fact), it doesn't sit right with me that there's no diversity in skin tone.  I hope that's something on the horizon for Monst.  A few smaller critiques are that Artis and Kani both came with marks on their faces.  The marks are small and subtle, but it's still sad to see any kind of blemish on such a cute face.  Last of all, while the outfits are mostly amazing, I got frustrated by Artie's collar always sticking up...and I wish the girls came with shoes and underwear.

But in general, I don't really feel like criticizing these dolls because so many things about them were a pleasant surprise.  They have wonderful articulation and balance, and were very fun to pose.  I especially like how many sitting positions they can achieve, and how expressive their arms and hands are.  And their 8-inch size is so portable and easy to handle.  I had such fun with them in New York, and think they make excellent travel companions.  They remind me a bit of the Makies in this sense.  Also, I was shocked to see how nice their clothing is!  Both Artis and Kani came with wonderful outfits, but Kani's takes the cake.  The construction is impeccable, and there are so many amazing little details.  I love the rabbit hat the most, with its fully-lined hood, ruffled edges, and bendable ears.  With Kani in particular, I feel like the outfit alone is worth the $40 price of the doll.  The faces on these dolls are sweet and appealing, and my only regret is not buying one of each of the different face molds.  Despite my few little criticisms about the hair, I think it's very nice overall.  It has a soft, silky texture, solid rooting, and of course I love both of the beautiful shades of red.

The most compelling thing about the Monst line, and the thing that I came to realize only towards the end of this review, is the potential for customization.  Not only can you buy blank bodies and heads separately (for very reasonable prices) but there are artist-painted, one-of-a-kind heads available on the market--including some heads with holes for inset eyes.  These things, coupled with the high-quality handmade clothing that can be found at places like Etsy, open up a wonderful array of options for creating uniquely special little dolls.  Without even trying very hard, I was able to assemble my lovely Fern.  I'm incredibly fond of her and would love to keep her as part of my permanent collection.

If you're looking for an affordable little ready-made doll with excellent articulation, beautiful clothing, and an endearing personality, dolls like Artis and Kani are great.  I think they'd even make wonderful play dolls for kids younger than the recommended 15 years (not under three years, though, because of the small parts).  But if you want to spend more money to build a collectible treasure, with customized or one-of-a kind features, Monst can accommodate that, too.  And while Fern only demonstrates a fraction of the variety that's available, I hope you can see the exciting possibilities.

28 comments:

  1. When I gloss things, I tended first to use a simple craft varnish for paintings and the like, but I've since found paint-quality gloss gel to be the best, since the craft varnish can have a blue tone and seems to absorb pigment from other objects, which spoils the finish. I don't think Mod Podge is actually the best thing for gloss since it's kind of intended to be a glue as well, so maybe a painter's gloss gel could make more of a difference.

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    1. Thank you so much for the tip, DB! I might be able to get the Modge Podge off and try again, since it's water soluble. If the eye paint comes off with it, then I suppose I really will have to paint a Monst head, won't I? :)

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  2. Super cute!! I love the bodies and the outfits, the latest fashions indeed! The inset eyes head reminds me just a little of Azone KikiPop dolls. The overall effect also reminds me of Blythe. Great review!

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  3. Good review! I love the soft boho feel of these dolls. Your photography is, as always, beautiful. I would love to see some behind the scenes as to how you do everything in a review…? The eyes look a ton better after the modge podge, truly a big difference.

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  4. Nope, "Savage Baby Rubber Joint Doll" is pretty much an accurate translation. I'm guessing it's done as an ironic thing; either that or these dolls will wake up in the middle of the night to murder you. Who knows? :D

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    1. I'm embarrassingly monolingual, so this is not so much a guess as a dart thrown by someone who is blindfolded and may not even be in the same room as the board, but maybe the "savage baby" phrasing is meant to relate to the wild animal motif? I suspect something was lost in translation here, but I feel like a forest elf type of vibe would match these dolls' aesthetic well, so it could also imply something about living off the land. tiny village made of sticks, mushroom hat, moss rug, leaf blanket, etc.

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  5. omg, first, these dolls are beyond adorable - probably the cutest you've had in recent memory. second, I was in absolute stitches with that "Savage Knuckle Bear" and "Barbarian Baby" stuff. (no hat) 🤣

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  6. They are too cute! Especially the custom one. I've seen these but I'm generally wary of AliExpress because they sell so many knockoffs it's good to see these seem legit! I'm definitely tempted to get the angry one now she's my favorite.

    If you're ever in need of similarly sized dolls to review you could check out Penny's Box blind box dolls! They're super popular right now.

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  7. These dolls are absolutely delightful and so was your review! You made me laugh so many times! Your custom doll (Fern) with her bright red pigtails reminds me of a young Ana from Frozen.
    -Korglady

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  8. I bought the blond girl that is shown with the angry doll. I thought the same thing, that doll does not look happy. What shoe size did you find? I am thinking of getting the one with the teeth or the one with bear on her apron. Btw, you can get them on Amazon too. That's where I found my girl, but you have to be careful because they have varying prices there too. I got her underwear on Etsy that fits the Kish Riley doll. They are a bit tight, but not bad. I think I was shocked more by the lack of underwear than I was the shoes! In addition to more diversity, I would like to see some boy dolls.

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  9. Fern is heartachingly adorable, I have her face stuck in my head. She's just so sweet

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  10. These dolls are adorable. Unfortunately, I've never been able to successfully make a purchase on AliExpress. The other day I was trying to buy some clothes and shoes for my Smart Dolls and after I'd log into my Paypal and it came back to the cart, a blank error message pops up and the order can't go through. I tried using a different credit card through Paypal and the same thing happened. I guess I'm not going to get one. I saw a few Monst dolls on eBay, but they're like $70 or more and I don't think they're worth that much. Too bad because I'd love to make a custom one.

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  11. These are so cute, they're new to me too! You're not alone in having a giggle at wildly translated names, I do too, and I think that's a universal, whatever language you speak. A funny phrase is a funny phrase.

    Style wise, I think they're going for a Japanese street fashion, maybe? I think it's called Mori, or Mori Kei, but please don't quote me on that. It leaves very old fashioned and cottage country looking, with some more modern cute elements added, depending on the person.

    The yellowed parts really are a shame, the rest of the quality seems so high! From the face ups, to the articulation, month outfits, it sticks out because everything wise is so polished and well thought out!

    Really lovely review of some lovely dolls. Hopefully they get more variety in the future. :)

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  12. Emily! You can't do this to me! These dolls are absolutely stunning and adorable! I stopped buying dolls soon after you stopped blogging, and I've managed to keep a hold on it since, but now I've got the itch! These dolls are everything I love! Teeny, well articulated, and they're even baby faced! Artie's cute little face was making me nervous on if I would be able to hold off on buying, but then you showed us Fern! I'm trying to remain strong though! Thank you for this lovely review!

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  13. Hi, Emily, Aimee here. Have you ever heard of Dusty? She was a 1970s doll, marketed to be a Barbie alternative; she was very into sports and outdoorsy activities, and had accessories for those pastimes. She was a bit before my time but a favorite babysitter had her and we had fun playing with Dusty and her horse. If memory serves, she was a bit bigger than Barbie in height and width. She had a boyfriend named Cliff and an African-American friend named Skye. Check her out sometime!

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  14. I love your trio of redheads! Fern is extra special with her custom face and outfit.

    I've seen them on AliExpress and lately on Amazon as well. You can search for Monst even though it's not actually in the listing titles.

    The faces are especially sweet, and remind me of some of the Disney Animator dolls.

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  15. Gosh, these must be some of the cutest-looking dolls I've ever seen. Normally I don't really go for the highly articulated or younger looking dolls, but for some reason I'm smitten with these. That is not good for my wallet, Emily!! I love that they're for sale on Aliexpress (can't believe I haven't spotted them before). It makes it really easy to order them from almost anywhere in the world, and I feel like they are reasonably priced as well. I also love their clothing; not just the quality, but also the styles and colors. That vintage, autumn-y style is what I wish my own wardrobe looked like (perhaps even including those amazing posable bunny ears?!) Your beautiful outdoor photography only highlighted the pretty autumn vibe the dolls give off. I will definitely keep my eye on these little barbarian baby bunny bears (lmao).

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  16. Ok, yes, they are sooooo adorable, esp. your custom one. And the little resheaded bear girl (Merida? ;)). I think I need one, too, thank you for telling me about them 🥰

    PS: I just googled them and some photos show a redheaded boy with a knitted beanie, but none of the sellers have him. I wonder he‘s a custom. Hmmmm

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  17. Oh, goodness, what a lovely review! And of course, I am heading to AliExpress to get one! I adore tiny dolls!

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  18. These dolls are so cute, and you convinced me to go buy one, and AliExpress isn't letting me create an account! I've tried several times. Perhaps the universe is telling me I have too many dolls already lol

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  19. Hi, I love your blog. You should consider linking some amazon affiliate links....

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  20. Funny to see you fell for them too. They and similar sized dolls can be found at LuLadoll as well. Monst makes legit BJD as well, those are available via eluts for example. And they are indeed lovely to customize, the face paint comes off easily.

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  21. When you look for the clothes on Etsy what do you search for? Monst doll clothes or ...?

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    1. Yes, I just searched "Monst doll outfit" and got some hits that way :)

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    2. Holala doll clothes fit. And Blythe shoes.

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  22. Just found out your site is active again.
    I have the "bear" MONST and did a face up. I too didn't like the flat finish to the decal eyes.
    What I did, and it was risky, was to use thick decoupage gloss. I used a craft syringe and just dropped on the eyes (like using eye drops) laying flat and masking everything.
    BTW I am the person who bought your "reborn" Masterpiece Sleeping Beauty a few years ago.
    I still have her and love her.
    When doing a search on reborning, I stubbled across your site and have been a viewer ever since.
    I was upset when you said you we're letting your site go inactive. Glad you are back.

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  23. Oops, I meant your Snow White Masterpiece doll! Sorry..

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