Friday, April 14, 2023

Mini Amigas by Paola Reina

The Doll-a-Day project (and also tax season...) kept me from starting a new full-length review this week, so I decided to take the opportunity to pull out the last of my photos from St. John and see if I could make a short post from those.  I took quite a few dolls with me on that trip, most of them for Lena's Spring Break series or the Mermaid reviews, but there were two more stowaways that I've been meaning to share with you.  They are both 8-inch Mini Amigas from Paola Reina, who I purchased last July when I wrote my Las Amigas update.

Mini Amigas David, by Paola Reina, $40.

It's a little hard to find Paola Reina dolls in the United States these days, but I like to shop at Dolls and Dolls in Spain.  They charge €19 for the dolls and about the same for shipping, which comes out to just over $40.  Vendors on Etsy and eBay tend to charge closer to $50.

The biggest problem with shopping for Mini Amigas is that the dolls are too cute.  I found it extremely difficult to limit myself to one or two dolls.  I really wanted to get mini versions of characters that I have in the larger, 13-inch Las Amigas scale.

For example, my gorgeous Las Amigas Mia:

Has a Mini Mia:

And for my spunky pink-haired Cleo:

There's a similar pink-haired Mini Amigas named Elena:

And of course I adore Mini Amigas Maria, with her bright red hair and freckles:

However, at $40 a pop, I could only really afford two at the most, and I thought it might be fun to add some variety.  So I chose dolls that are nothing like the Las Amigas that I already own.

The first doll I picked is called David.  He came in a plain cardboard box with a rectangular plastic window on the front:

The back of the box does not have any decoration or advertisement, just a bunch of warnings in various languages:

The top of the box lifted away to reveal David...covered by his sun hat and smelling like vanilla:

Are you hiding from me, David?
He was rubber-banded into the box and very easy to remove.  

That sun hat really casts shadows on his face though...which I suppose is what a sun hat is meant to do:

No sunburn for this fellow.
Here he is from the back:

He comes with a hand tag on his left wrist, but this doesn't say anything interesting, either (just more warnings):

The dolls are not dangerous--promise.
I adjusted David's hat so that we could see his face a bit better:

He has a smaller version of the smiling face that Las Amigas Cleo has.  I really love it!

Underneath the sun hat, there was a clear plastic band keeping David's bright red hair (kind of) in order:

The band made the hair in the center of David's head really flat...

So I tried to fluff it up with my fingers:

The hair is rooted, and I think the cut is perfect for a little kid.

David has inset eyes just like the larger Las Amigas.  He does not have any eyelashes, though--neither painted nor applied.  He also has tiny little freckles, which are unevenly (hence realistically) applied to his cheeks and nose:

Hidden by his bangs, he has eyebrows defined by five fairly thick hair lines:

The eyebrows look out-of-place next to David's realistic freckles, and I wish they'd been done with smaller and denser hair lines.

David's outfit consists only of a mint green romper--and the sun hat, of course.  He does not come with any shoes:

The romper is well-made for the most part, with reinforced edges and neat stitching. The only exception I can see is that the crotch of the shorts is only single-stitched with no serging:

Underneath his clothes, David has an all-vinyl body with five points of simple articulation:

His body has some nice molded definition, like a slightly rounded belly and a cute bottom:

There's nice detail in his hands, too, with little creases on the palms and at the wrists:

And even some very hard-to-see fingernails:

His toes have toenails, too:

All five of David's joints spin around, but have no hinged movement.  So he can turn his head and raise his arms, and he can sit on the ground--but his legs have to be spaced far apart:

At just over eight inches tall, David is taller than dolls like American Girl minis, or New York Doll Collection minis:

Mini Amigas David (left) and New York Doll Collection mini (right).
But he's significantly shorter than a 13-inch Las Amigas like Cleo:

Las Amigas Cleo (left) and Mini Amigas David (right).
I feel like David's body mold has more detail than Cleo's, too, especially in the torso.

It's hard to photograph these two together because Cleo is always looking upwards a bit, and David tends to look down.  He's also really short!

It works better if Cleo holds David up:

I just love these two freckled cuties together, but their scales aren't really compatible.  David is too petite, and his features too mature, to be Cleo's baby brother.

With his romper and sun hat, I thought David would fit in perfectly on a tropical island like St. John, so he joined the rest of the crew in my suitcase.

David was not the only Mini Amigas who came on the trip with me, though!

I also brought Noah:

It's funny because I've never heard Noah being used as a girl's name--except in the doll world.  Not only is this doll named Noah, but one of the Hairmazing Hairdorables female characters is, too.  I think Noah makes a nice girl's name, and honestly names don't need to carry a specific gender with them, but it always seems like girls are taking over traditionally boy names...and not the other way around.  Why can't it work both ways?

In any case, Noah balances well on her own (as does David) and looks comfortable and beach-ready in her polka-dotted sundress and matching hair bow:

I have to say, all of these Mini Amigas cost the same, so it's weird that Noah comes with twice as many accessories as David.  

Not only does she have shoes, which would have been nice for David, but she has a fairly elaborate purse, too.

Here she is from the back:

Her rooted hair is pulled up into a high ponytail, and is decorated with an elastic headband that holds the large yellow bow in place:

Noah's hair has a natural, realistic look, but the hair fiber is extremely dense.  I was curious to see what the fibers would do when I took the ponytail down, but I restrained myself--at least for the moment:

Noah's purse came sewn to her right shoulder, so I had to cut those threads to release it.  The purse is made out of brown burlap which, in Noah's small scale, has the look of woven straw:

The purse has a double cord strap and is decorated with some small embroidered flowers.  It opens and can hold a few items.

As far as I can tell, the Mini Amigas have one of three different face molds, all of which are miniatures of the Las Amigas faces.  

There's the smiling face that David has, which can be found on other boy dolls like this Gabriel:

There's a miniature version of Dasha's face, as seen on this girl named Triana:

And there's the mini Mia face:

Noah has the mini Mia face, and I was excited to see it in person:

This face has a large upper lip that is distinctive.  I love the color of Noah's lips, but her applied eyelashes are crazy.  They're way too long and the glue job is messy.  I prefer David's lack of lashes, although it's an odd choice.  Why do toy companies think that boys don't have eyelashes?  Some of the most beautiful lashes I've ever seen have been on little boys--and on men.

Anyway, since we've already inspected the Mini Amigas body, Noah kept her dress on and I snapped a few photos from different angles:

I really like the style of this dress.  It has an elastic-gathered neckline and slips easily over Noah's head.  There's no need for a velcro seam.

The white lace at the bottom of the dress is out-of-scale and looks a bit clunky, and there are a few areas where the yellow thread that holds the dress together is visible:

The outfit is rounded out by a pair of simple white vinyl shoes:

Once I had taken the photos I needed (including the ones in St. John which I'll show you in a sec), I took Noah's hair down.  

It didn't relax very much at first!

The hair looked a little better after I finger-combed it for a while, slowly teasing the fibers apart and trying to pull some of the volume down around Noahs' face:

I think the hair looks best with the ponytail down and the headband used as an accent, like this:

In fact, I wish I'd taken Noah's hair down before I went to St. John so that her hair was like this for all of those pictures!  

I think she's incredibly sweet.

Now, let's look at some of those St. John pictures that I keep talking about!

David was right at home on the beach, where his sun hat protected him and his bare feet allowed him to wiggle his toes in the sand:

He found a large log that was perfect for resting:

So that he could look out at the bay...and maybe spot some mermaids?

A little ways in from the beach, we found some old ruins.  David had a great time climbing all over these crumbling buildings:

I liked how David's hair was almost the same color as the old bricks!

He's an adventuresome little guy, but he really could have used some shoes for this part of the trip:

He had to take frequent breaks to give his feet relief from the hot stones:

Noah wasn't really interested in the beach or the ruins.  Instead, she was fascinated by all of the new kinds of plant life on the island--like these dramatic mangrove roots:

She was also drawn to anything yellow that might compliment her outfit, like these pretty yellow flowers that were growing a few yards away from the water:

I told her that one picture with the yellow flowers was probably enough, but she insisted that I include a second:

Noah was also happy to just stay home and explore around our rental house, with its stone and tile construction:

She also enjoyed all of the bright colors around the house, like this turquoise post:

And this bright green wall!

The wall may not match her yellow dress, but it's wonderfully tropical:

Bottom line?  I didn't really purchase the Mini Amigas with the primary objective of reviewing them.  I purchased them because as soon as I saw them online, I knew that I would really enjoy them for myself.  They're almost better than the larger Las Amigas dolls (which I also love) because of their incredibly portable, manageable size.  Also, the simple articulation is more forgivable on a doll this small.

A few things about the Mini Amigas are not as good as the larger dolls, though.  For example, some of the detail in the face molds is lost--like the lines on the lips.  Also, the applied lashes on the smaller dolls look oversized and sloppy.  And I don't think the clothing selection is as interesting for the Mini Amigas as it is for their larger counterparts.  It's especially strange that little David doesn't even have shoes, while a doll like Noah has shoes, a hair accessory, and a purse.

In terms of price, the Mini Amigas are about the same price as a basic Las Amigas doll (~€24).  And then the Las Amigas dolls with detailed outfits are twice as expensive (~€45-50).  So with the minis, you're basically getting a half-sized doll for half the price.  That's fair, I guess, although the dolls are expensive, especially in this country where they have to be shipped in from overseas.  I guess if I'm spending $50, I'd like my doll to have some shoes.

But none of these critiques are enough to stop me from loving David and Noah, and I still have a hard time resisting some of those other characters, too.  Paola Reina makes high-quality dolls, no matter the size.  I have always enjoyed the Las Amigas, and because I'm someone who tends to get obsessed with miniature versions of larger dolls, the Mini Amigas hit a sweet point.  And, having these two little friends join me on such a memorable trip, well, that pretty much secured their place in my heart...and in my permanent collection.


  1. David is delightfully impish in his vacation pictures, while Noah looks like a little lady.

    My theory has always been that boys names can morph into girls names as a way to seen trendy (even oldies like Ashley), and in a similar way surnames get used as boys names (e.g Harrison, Porter).

  2. Noa (note the lack of h) is currently very popular in Israel and moderately popular in Spain. It seems only a certain kind of boys' name gets widely used as a girls' name: those that originated as surnames and some common-noun names. And only Anglo-Saxon surnames at that; you never see a little Greenberg Smith, for instance. And many of the surnamey names didn't get much use for boys before they moved over to the distaff side, where they really took off. One major exception is Sidney, which was quite stylish for males in the first half of the 20th century. (So were names like Stanley and Milton and Harvey, but luckily they never did the crossover, Obama's mother's name notwithstanding.) Those were especially popular with Jewish immigrant parents who saw them as quintessentially American and hoped it would help their sons to fit in and succeed more than some of the Old Testament names (like Noah) or names like Moishe or Chaim.

  3. David makes me think of Huck Finn! And Noa/Noah is a very serious little girl. They are delightful, but the cost….hmmmmm. —MnGrl

  4. They are so cute! And your photos are fabulous! ❤️

  5. Lovely photos! This doll's face is a little cartoony for me. I like the bright hair color and the cute clothes though. Thank you for the post.

  6. Noah is adorable! I really don't care for David's lack of eyelashes. Not even a reddish line around the eye? Come on. They must be really profiting off the scarcity of boy dolls on the market to get away with less detailed boys for the same price as girls. Did you buy them at different times? You'd think there would be a combined shipping as an incentive to buy more at once.

  7. Wow, teasing Noah's hair downward made such a difference! Fully agreed that it's odd how she got shoes and a nicely done bag, when David had only a hat, at the same price. I could see them going for two different looks, for sure, like playing on the grass vs Sunday shipping or similar, but why not give the one without shoes a ball or something then,or a wee frog?

    (Sidenote, but thank you so much for leaving me such a kind review, it really made my day when I received it! :) )

  8. These little dolls are so cute. I think the body molds are really nicely done, and I'm surprised to see that the miniature versions of the face molds still look so good in this scale (maybe even slightly better in my opinion, if we forget about the eyelash situation for a second).

    The St. John pictures are beautiful as always. Too bad you've now ran out of tropical photoshoots to feature in the reviews, although you always manage to find the best nature backdrops, whether you're on holiday or not!

  9. So sweet! One of my favorite professors had the first name Beverly because he was from an older generation in the U.K where that originated as a male name. It IS odd that the reverse doesn't seem to happen often, if ever. I'm trying to think of examples outside of literary "boys named Sue" and the only thing I can think of is another fictional character. Assassins Creed: Valhalla is viking themed and the franchise has lately started embracing choose your protagonist's gender settings in the last couple of games. For the latest game, they used "Eivor", a woman's name, for either version of the character. They also then decided to make the female character their "canon" protagonist, for the franchise, but refuse to release much merchandise with her. It's incredibly weird to me, since in the last game, set in Ancient Greece, they had distinctive names for each version of the protagonist. (reposted for typo)

  10. This site is just a joy to me. It's always interesting and I echo what so many others have said about how the posts are often very therapeutic to read.

    I love the 32cm Las Amigas dolls and have fallen into a rabbit hole of looking at all the different faces and fun clothes. Does anybody have a suggestion for a similar doll at a lower price point? I think the size and hair would be very appealing to my daughter, but she's only two so we're not really ready to invest $60 in a play doll. (I mean, I totally want to buy one, but I'm trying to remind myself the doll is for her and not for me. 😀)

  11. I just got into Paola Reina's dolls (especially the Gorjuss line) they're so crazy expensive to ship though. It feels wrong paying as much for shipping as the dolls themselves, I wish they still sold them in America.

  12. Oh I’m so glad you got Noah!! I’ve been wanting her for so long but the price is a bit prohibitive. She’s so cute!! How fun.

  13. These little Paola Reina are so cute, I know Paola Reina dolls but I never bought one, I searched on Dolls and Dolls site and my favorite are Noah but also Triana and Inés. I know the problem of buying from Europe to Usa, because shipping cost are so expensive, and I think that is the same problem from Usa to Europe... I don't know why