Monday, March 13, 2023

Tea with Lena: Penny's Box Street Series Adou

Before anything else is said, check out the beautiful new logo that Angelica Nyneave made for me!  It took half a day of wrangling with Blogger to figure out how to add this gorgeous art in high-resolution to the header (and I'm still working on the mobile view...) but it was so worth it!  Thank you, Angelica--you are a treasure.

Today, proud to be under such a fancy new header, Lena is back with the second installment of her new series!  In fact, she's going to be working with me all week as we host a little spring break celebration here on the blog.  So, be sure to check in every day to see what's new.

To start things off, Lena invited a guest over to her house who, um, caused a little bit of trouble.  He's from the Penny's Box series of blind box BJDs that I chatted about back in December:

Lena with Penny's Box Adou from the Street Series, $24.99.
First, though, I know Lena has some things she wants to show you in the kitchen:

Hi everyone!  Come on in.
A few weeks ago Lena and I thought that we'd found a really economical way to upgrade her kitchen.  There's a detailed plastic kitchen set that's for sale at places like Amazon for about $40:

I discovered this set when I was browsing Etsy for handmade kitchen options--most of which are crushingly expensive.  I found a really beautiful kitchen set at a store called Nana's Doll Furniture.  The price seemed too good to be true, though.  A bit of reading revealed that the reason for the (relatively) low price is that the owner of the shop buys cheap plastic kitchen sets like the one above and then re-paints them so that they look beautiful and unique.

I was inspired by this idea, and being a person who often bites off more than she can chew, I thought that surely I could buy the plastic kitchen and repaint it myself.  Right?  Why not.  With all of the free time I have and everything.

Who knows if I ever would have gotten around to repainting the kitchen set, but we ran into trouble way before that even became relevant.  Even though the kitchen comes in four separate pieces, they do not fit well into the Rainbow High house space:

How am I supposed to fill that gap by the window, Emily?
I mean, Lena is right.  It was almost immediately clear that the kitchen set would not work with the Rainbow High house.  But for those of you who might have a more forgiving 1:6 scale kitchen, let me quickly show you a few details of this set.

Here's the refrigerator section:

All of the doors open, but they are difficult to open and they reveal cheesy background images that are printed on thin cardboard (which is what the backing of all the units is made out of):

The cardboard could be replaced with something sturdier, but that would add a lot of time to the project.

Another one of the sections has a windowed cabinet and a sink:

This cabinet had several small accessories stored in it, many of which Lena might want to keep!

Here's a closer look at the upper cabinet and its accessories:

Oh, I'm totally keeping that tea set, Emily!
The third section has an oven with some pots and pans on top:

These doors were really hard to open (and feel like they're going to break), but the oven lights up, which is fun:

The last section has a microwave and a dishwasher:

Ooh, I wish I could keep that dishwasher!
The pictures on the cardboard really cheapen the look of this set, and I wish they'd been left out:

Like, who microwaves their entire turkey dinner?
So anyway, we tried the kitchen pieces in this configuration:

But, like Lena said, it makes the window really inaccessible, and there's no obvious place to put a table.

We also tried covering the window:

Maybe we could put a plant in the corner or something?
But that feels claustrophobic to me.

We even tried angling one of the sections, but it just looks bad:

Furthermore, some of the pieces feel too small to match Lena's size.  It's too bad because despite its cheap construction, this set really does look nice.

So, we salvaged some of the smaller items and put the kitchen into the Goodwill box.  I hope it makes a little kid happy.

No painting project for me, I guess!

In lieu of a brand-new kitchen, Lena decided to work on upgrading her old kitchen.  She chose these new bar stool chairs:

They match the walls!
These chairs came all of the way from China (via Dolly Accessories 2020 on Etsy).  They're all plastic and a little fragile, but the base compresses, so the height changes when somebody is sitting down.  This allows the chairs to work well with the Rainbow High kitchen island:

They're surprisingly comfy, too!
Lena also went to the store (A Miniful Life on Etsy) to start stocking her kitchen!

No more bare cupboards!
Lena is still missing some essentials, but A Miniful Life has a fun mix of affordable paper items for the kitchen.

Lena also bought some cups that her sister Sela will be able to hold:

No way she can complain about this cup, right?
After making these little changes, Lena felt ready to invite somebody over.

Emily, do you mind telling everybody a little bit about my guest before he arrives?
Sure thing, Lena!

Lena's guest is another Penny's Box BJD.  The girls in this series are called Antu, and the boys are Adou.  Adou was supposed to come in a blind box, but I didn't allow myself to be surprised this time around.  I actually went to a shop on AliExpress and chose the exact character I wanted to have: the little redhead with a black bulldog pet:

The box came already opened (because somebody had to check which character was inside) and the clothing was packaged separately:

My set was missing the white socks.  There have been two versions of this doll: one with shoes that replace the feet and attach with a peg and hole, and dolls like mine who have shoes that fit over their feet.  Both sets should come their own style of sock, but I didn't get any socks whatsoever.

I was also missing the two pairs of extra hands that should have been included!

Maybe I was supposed to get an extra pair of eyes, too, but I'm not sure about that.  It looks like this promotional photo is advertising two different eye styles:

But I didn't get any extra eyes.

Instead, the seller crammed an extra pair of generic boots into the top of the box:  

Needless to say, this was a pretty big disappointment.  I can't recommend buying an opened-box doll for this reason.

Here's everything that was actually in the box:

The shoes that come with the set are really cute.  They're orange, with little molded horns on the toes:

The treads have a lot of molded detail and say "Penny's Box" when they're lined up together:

The shoes fit on over the feet, but they're made of rigid plastic, so they're difficult to remove.

Adou's best accessory is his pet: this tough-looking bulldog with a spiked collar:

His red eyes and angry underbite make me giggle!

THAT makes you laugh, Emily??  It makes me scared!
I know, but I usually think of bulldogs as being adorable and mellow:

Old World Shaving Parlor Bulldog, Red Bank, New Jersey
So I just tell myself that Adou's dog is faking all of that anger and is probably a marshmallow underneath, like this:

Bulldog frances
That's pretty marshmallow-y.
Lena and I decided that the dog's name should be Burnt Marshmallow, or Burnie for short.

This outwardly fierce fellow has a skull and bone with the "Adou" name on his left side:

And I love the little "x" on his bottom!

Sure, that's funny until he poops in my house!
Burnie is great, but Adou himself is even better.  He has fourteen points of articulation!

You should remind them that I have 22 points of articulation, Emily.
Not as impressive as Lena's 22 points of articulation, sure, but really great for a doll this size.

Better yet, he's not elastic-strung like the Penny's Box girls that I reviewed, which means that he is very sturdy on his feet, and his body will probably last for much longer.

He has spiky dark red molded hair, and a grouchy little face:

His hair has a central seam that divides the front from the back, and he's wearing a black earring in his left ear:

Under slightly better lighting, you can see that Adou has totally black eyes, and some blush and freckling around his eyes and on his upper cheeks:

The hair pieces can be removed, just like we saw on the other Penny's Box dolls, and also on the Nendoroids and Nendoroid Dolls:

Adou's head is open in the back, and you can see that his eyes are all part of one plastic piece:

Ahh!  Where are his brains??
The eyes are removable (and it would be easy to swap them with an alternate pair):

That's so creepy, Emily.  Why do you always have to take everything apart?
It would be fun to customize these eyes since they're so easy to access.

Now, let's see how well Adou can move!

First of all, he has a lot of ball joints.  His neck and all of his arm joints are ball-shaped rotating hinges.

He can look up, down, and from side to side.

His elbows and wrists can't quite bend to 90 degrees, but it's close:

And even though I didn't get the extra set of hands, the default hands have nicely splayed fingers and can be quite expressive:

The hands attach with a peg and hole and can be pulled off with a bit of effort.

Adou can touch his mouth and rest a hand on his hip:

He can touch other parts of his head easily, too:

He has a rotating torso joint that allows his upper body to twist around:

That looks freaky.  Don't do that.
Adou's hips are ball and socket joints that allow him to slide into partial splits:

He can't do full front-to-back splits, either, but he makes a good effort:

He can sit nicely on the ground:

Just underneath his hip, Adou has an extra rotating joint, so he can turn his legs inwards or outwards:

His knees are ball-shaped rotating hinges with a good range of motion.  He can kneel on one knee:

Or on two knees, although his balance is precarious in this position!

He can also sit nicely in a chair:

Adou's ankles are also rotating hinges, and so he can flex and extend his feet, and can also rotate them inwards or outwards:

His whole body has a nice weight to it, and feels smooth and high-quality; it's either made out of solid plastic or very hard vinyl.  

The body is well-designed, too.  The evenly-distributed weight and tight joints allow Adou to balance on his own in a lot of different positions.

I didn't have to use camera trickery for any of the poses in this review!

Adou is a bit of a show-off, too, so he kept posing even after I told him it was okay to stop:

Work it, Adou!

Adou is taller than both my Nendoroid Doll, Rose, and my Penny's Box Antu, who I named Honey:

From left: Nendoroid Doll, Penny's Box Adou (Street Series), Penny's Box Antu (Natural Wonderland).
Despite Adou's taller height and different proportions, he and Honey can swap heads and hair...

Penny's Box Adou and Antu with swapped heads and hair.
And Adou can wear Antu clothing:

Ooh! He's cute in a dress!
Adou's jumpsuit is a bit long on Honey, though:

I did not expect Adou's body to be so different from the Penny's Box dolls I'd seen before.  Not only is it hard-jointed, with no elastic, but it also has different proportions.  As much as I love my Antu girls, I much prefer Adou's body and articulation.

Adou was pretty easy to get dressed, although his head had to be removed in order to get the chain necklace in place:

I like the high-necked style of this stretchy denim coverall suit, and the cool graffiti lettering matches the sneakers. I can't quite read what the lettering says, though.  Maybe "Dou Hollo?"

Anyway, here's little Adou posing with Burnie:

They both have a tough exterior, but I swear they're softies at heart:

Some of the Street Series characters come with a skateboard, and I guess my Adou is a little jealous about that.  So I found him a cheap plastic board that came as a freebie with another AliExpress purchase:

He's really good at skateboarding!

After rolling all over the place for a while, Adou had to take a little break and check in with Burnie:

But he didn't want to be late for tea with Lena, so pretty soon he was back up and on his way:

And sure enough, he and Burnie arrived right on time!

Hi Adou!  Um...hi Burnie?
Lena's not used to dealing with kids (or dogs) so she made Adou some regular (fully-caffeinated) black tea.

I'm out of cream and sugar at the moment.
Something tells me that Adou doesn't like tea, though:

Um...Adou?  Are you okay over there?
Without any warning, Adou leapt up onto his chair and shouted nonsense at Lena!

Adou!  Sit down!  Don't break my new cups!
But Adou is not great at taking orders:

The table is not a skateboard, Adou!
Before long, he was running all over the house, making a big mess!

Oh, my.  Don't look at me like that, Burnie.
You trampled my favorite bag!
Adou!  Get my bikini off your head!
Eventually, Lena realized that Adou wasn't responding to her outcries, so she cornered him and sat him down to ask what was wrong:

I feel like something must be bothering you.
As it turns out, Adou was just hungry!  Thank goodness Lena has a mostly-stocked kitchen.

Does a cheeseburger and chips sound better than tea?
Adou was hesitant at first...

There's no mustard on it, promise.
But Burnie went straight for the chips!

And Adou could only resist the smell of that yummy burger for so long::

Good job, Lena!

Phew!  Can we stick to adult guests from now on, Emily?
But Adou was so polite as he was eating his burger, Lena decided to make him a huge sundae for dessert!

Maybe sit down to eat, Adou?
Finally, it was time for Adou to leave, and I think Lena might have been a little sad to see him go.

Maybe an occasional kid would be okay?
I've never thought of Lena as the motherly type, but apparently she's a natural.

She got to work cleaning up the house:

No harm done here.
And as she was cleaning up the bathroom, she was reminded of our trip to St John:

Hey!  This is the orange bikini I wore on our trip!
I suggested to Lena that this week, which is spring break for a lot of college kids, might be a fun time to talk about some of the characters we met in St. John.

Why don't you come back tomorrow and I'll tell you more!
The plan is that every day this week, Lena and I will share some mini reviews from our St. John adventure.  That way we can all celebrate a kind of virtual spring break together!

In the meantime, what's the tea on Street Series Adou?  I was very happy with the quality of my Penny's Box Antu dolls, especially for their price tag, but I have to say that I'm even more blown away by the quality of Adou.  It doesn't seem possible that such a well-articulated, charismatic little fellow would cost only $25--especially if you look at Nendoroid Doll prices as a benchmark.  His body is very sturdy and high-quality, and his articulation is wonderful.  I love that he has hinged ball joints and not elastic-strung limbs.  This makes him much more sturdy than the Antu girls, and it means I don't have to worry about elastic loosening over time.  I also love Adou's face.  While the Penny's Box Antu girls have slightly vacant expressions, Adou is full of personality.  His swappable eyes and hands have the potential to make him even more expressive.  I like the coverall outfit because it fits Adou's personality and theme so well, but of course the best accessory is the grouchily endearing bulldog.  The blind box element of this series can offer a fun surprise, too, unless there are certain characters that don't appeal to you.

My only complaint with Adou has nothing to do with the actual doll, but with my purchasing experience. I was able to hand-pick the exact character I wanted, which was great, but the AliExpress seller removed the extra hands and socks (and maybe eyes?), which was disappointing and made me wonder what else I was missing.  In order to get the full experience of these toys, I've since ordered a few unopened blind box Street Series dolls from Strange Cat Toys.  I had a good purchasing experience with them for my Antu review.

Overall, I highly recommend these charming Street Series boys.  It's hard to beat the quality, articulation, and charm for the price, especially because there are so many cute little accessories and extras.  A word of warning, though: if you're thinking about inviting one of these little rascals to live at your house, just be sure you have plenty of chips and cheeseburgers on hand.


  1. Oh, my goodness! I love the story you told! Started my day with a huge smile! And Strange Cat Toys is dangerous! So many fun blind boxes!

  2. I cracked up at the dog in the toilet! He has so much attitude as well. He could have been a G1 Monster High pet!

  3. I've been intrigued by the Penny's box dolls since seeing the tiny centaur blind box figures some time ago. They look like great quality, especially considering the price. Usually I prefer bigger dolls and dolls that could share clothes with the girls I already have, but I've been strongly considering adding one of these little dolls to my collection... It's awesome to see pictures of how this guy looks together with a 1/6 doll and 1/6 scale furniture, since that is more my preferred scale for toys. Thanks for another wonderful post! Your blog never fails to brighten my day.

  4. ohh adou is so cute! his face reminds me so much of the hirono blind box series - so grouchy and blushy!

  5. Congratas on Wonderful new logo! Happy to see Lena is back & looking forward to checking in!πŸ’–
    lil rascal is cute & his pet is Adorable! Woah! Wish That kitchen is available real size too!😍

  6. very excited about the upcoming daily updates, i really love reading this blog! I know i have a stressful week ahead so the prospect of getting to read a little something here to relax during all that has genuinely already made me feel a bit better, thank you.

  7. Delightful to see another of these wonderful little blindbox series! Speaking of, there's another recently that I wonder if you'd be interested in- Unlike Antu, School Haunting and Adou all being under Penny's Box series umbrella, this one is from another company! The Teennar Campus series is a set of fruit-themed girls that have really charmed me, I ended up getting two for myself already.

  8. OMFG, a new review every day?! I'm sooo excited! We're off to a great start as I'm really into dollhouses at the moment. Adou is so cute and I love your dollhouse photos!

  9. They are super cute!

  10. What a fun idea to do daily mini reviews with Lena for spring break! How I wish I had spring break though, I'm in the middle of my thesis and sadly universities here don't do spring break xD

    It's a shame the kitchen didn't work out. It seemed like a neat set. Maybe you could search eBay for older Barbie kitchen sets. I don't know how affordable those are, but Barbie had some really nice furniture sets during the 2000s.

    Adou is an adorable little doll! I love how expressive his face is. Too bad he was missing some parts :c

    Lastly, Angelica's logo is amazing. It's so elegant, I think it fits you and the blog very well.

  11. The way you manage to pose Lena in the photo series has me cackling. Her body language is so expressive and lifelike, like a real (and really funny) human xD

    I'm very surprised about Chelsea's articulation as well. It makes me wonder why it is so hard for Mattel to add a few more joints to their basic Barbies, though I guess Chelsea's price shows why. Her face is not my favorite (the pixelation doesn't help) but the suit is incredibly, incredibly cute. If I had her, I would probably keep her in the suit the entire time. Imagine having all these tiny animal mascot Chelseas hanging around on shelves and among your other (unsuspecting) dolls. It would be such a funny sight!

    I actually prefer Rosalind's face over Chelsea's, but again, the costume just steals the show! Despite some of the issues like quality control and painted-on/molded outfits, I honestly think this is currently one of the best (and certainly most fun) Barbie playline series Mattel has to offer right now.

    1. Oops, I meant to post this below the Cutie Reveal review, of course!

  12. Lena's house looks amazing (still) and I love the little stories in these reviews. Lena's such a sport. XD

  13. Those boys are my favorite! I'm glad you got one ❤️ I believe the extra eyes were a bonus from buying the whole set. But you should have gotten socks and extra hands for sure! Interesting to know there was a set with removable shoes, my boys have the type of shoes that replace the feet. I didn't know there was another option!

  14. Thanks for this review, Emily. I really like the articulation Adou has, it's impressive considering how small he is.

    (About your kitchen set, a while ago I remember seeing somewhere on the web that someone added a foam core base to this set in order to make it more proportionate to playscale. I can't recall if one layer was enough or it required two.)

    Lena's home is coming along nicely.

  15. Love the new logo and Lena's kitchen supplies!
    This series is a little too grumpy for my tastes but I've been browsing all the Penny's Box and similar dolls on AliExpress. Good to know about the downside of purchasng a specific character.

  16. I've been behind on my blog reading the past week and a half while doing final prep for selling at a convention, and wow! So many new reviews to read after a weekend of hard work is a real treat! (I still have one sloth in stock, btw, I'll try to email you about him later if you are still interested, but no hard feelings if not :) ).

    Poor Lena and her beautiful home, LMAO! She's not used to kids, but I think she deserves kudos for how she handled Adou and Burnie. I'm always amazed at how expressive and full of life she can be, you make her utterly relatable.

    It's too bad about the kitchen project you had in mind, cardboard backing aside, it looked like a nice set. I'm excited to see how else you expand on Lena's lovely home, miniatures and dollhouses are so fascinating. There's something dangerously addictive about all those tiny things.

    Adou is an impressive little doll, as you'd expect after seeing his sister line. I was hoping to see you check out the centaurs, and I'm surprised you didn't beeline to them next, but after seeing Adou, I'm not even disappointed. There's so much personality in both him and Burnie, and they honestly improved on the original line, which was so impressive to start with. You already had me eyeballing this company's blind boxes, and the temptation only grows.