Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Sindy, Then and Now

Before I get started today, I want to let you know that I have an Instagram account (finally).  It was easy to set up, in the end, but unfortunately I'm not able to include hyperlinks to individual reviews.  Still, in general, when I post on Instagram, it'll mean that I have a new review published.  Thank you to everybody who has followed so far, and please forgive me while I learn the ropes!

Today's review has been a long time coming.  Sindy is an icon of doll history, and has gone through several fascinating transformations since her debut by the Pedigree company in 1963.  I've been getting requests to review Sindy for almost ten years now, starting in 2014 when Robert Tonner was selling his version of the character.  And I've been meaning to purchase some of these dolls for almost that long, but you know how it goes: the budget is limited, new things are always coming out, and other dolls keep stealing my attention.  Also, the Sindy story is a big one to delve into, especially for a newcomer like me.

But a few weeks ago I was reading on Facebook that the most recent incarnation of Sindy, manufactured by Kid Kreations, has been discontinued.  So I figured I should jump down this rabbit hole and try to get up to speed before a whole new version of Sindy changes the landscape yet again.

Kid Kreations Sindy from 2022 (left) and Marx Sindy from 1978 (right).

I knew that I wanted to feature the most recent version of Sindy, the 2022 Kid Kreations doll, in this review, but I also wanted to look at an older doll for comparison and context.  There are so many versions of Sindy, though, it was hard to chose who to include!

The obvious choice would probably have been one of the very first Sindy dolls.  As I mentioned, these were made by the British toy company, Pedigree.  Here's a display of early Sindy dolls from the Judges' Lodgings museum in England:

Sindy fashion doll and accessories

The early Sindy dolls were deliberately made to compete with Barbie on the overseas market.  And they were hugely successful in the United Kingdom during the 1960s and early 70s.

As you might guess, original Sindy dolls can be expensive these days, and so they were out of my price range for this review.

Fortunately, the owners of the Etsy shop Trace and Trev (who also run the Twisted Toys Shopify store) graciously agreed to let me share some photos of their beautiful vintage Sindy dolls.

This doll, Sleepy-Time, is one of the very first Sindy dolls to be made by Pedigree, way back in 1963:

Vintage 1963 Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
She's nearly complete, with all of her little bathroom accessories, and is currently for sale on eBay for GBP 249.99 (~$311).

From the very beginning, Sindy had rightward side-glancing eyes with large pupils and a slightly open mouth with a bowed upper lip.  This doll has thin eyebrows and only four painted lashes at the sides of each eye:

Vintage 1960s Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
The earliest dolls had five points of articulation with bendable vinyl arms and hollow, plastic legs.

Vintage 1963 Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
This particular doll is marked "made in England" on her neck, which is not something that we see in the doll world very often--at least not these days!

Vintage 1963 Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
Trace and Trev take such beautiful pictures, they were even asked to donate some of their shots to the Little Sindy Museum in Sweden (a website worth exploring)!

In fact, the photos are so clear and bright, I'll include one more example.  

This girl is a New Look Side Part Sindy from the Etsy shop and costs $327.68:

Vintage late 60s Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
She is also from the 1960s, but was made later in the decade in 1968 or '69.  Her neck is marked "made in Hong Kong."

This version of Sindy has similar facial features to the older doll, but with the inclusion of applied upper lashes.  These don't always hold up well over time:

Vintage late 60s Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
With the addition of a waist joint, this doll has six points of articulation, again with bendable arms and stiff legs.

Vintage late 60s Sindy doll, photo courtesy of Trace and Trev.
Sindy's popularity in the United Kingdom inspired Marx Toys to distribute the dolls in the United States during the late 1970s.  Marx was unable to replicate the success of the original dolls, though, especially under the shadow of Barbie, who had a significant head start and was already dominating the American fashion doll market.

These days, Marx Sindy variants tend to be cheaper than the original British dolls, and so this is the version of Sindy that I decided to include today.  My doll is from 1978:

There's a large gap in between this 1978 doll and the 2022 Kid Kreations girl who also appears in this review, so let me take a minute to fill in a bit more of Sindy's history.

After Marx's attempts to popularize Sindy in the United States failed, Hasbro purchased the license from Pedigree and basically tried to make Sindy look like Barbie.

Another wonderful Etsy shop owner, Elizabeth from Dolls 4 Emma, let me use her beautiful photos of a 1980s Hasbro Sindy:

1980-90s Sindy doll, courtesy of Dolls 4 Emma.
This is a perfect example of a Hasbro Sindy, and you can see that the side-glancing eyes are gone, as is the larger head and distinct mouth.  The only feature that might be seen as reminiscent of Sindy is the large pupils:

1980-90s Sindy doll, courtesy of Dolls 4 Emma.
With all of her trademark features gone, I never would have identified this as a Sindy doll, and I think fans were upset by the transformation.  Mattel was upset, too (for obvious reasons) and filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Hasbro.

After Hasbro's tussle with Sindy, the license went back into Pedigree's hands, and new dolls were manufactured by Vivid Imaginations starting in 1999.  Here's an example:

Still looks a bit like Barbie.
New Moons took over manufacturing in 2003, and then Chad Valley had a go in around 2005 (?).

There was some more flailing around after this point, where it seems to me that the brand completely lost its way.  I mean, this is a promotional shot of a supposed Sindy doll that was sold at Tesco stores in 2016:

What the...
These dolls, rather than resembling Barbie, opted for the 18-inch doll niche and tried to copy the likes of American Girl.  They also look a lot like the My Life As dolls from Walmart.

At around this time, though, somebody was getting it right--at least in my opinion.  Robert Tonner acquired the rights to produce a Sindy doll for his lineup, and he went back to her roots.  This is a screen shot from an advertising email that I got from Tonner in 2015:
The side-glancing eyes, large pupils, full face, approximate mouth shape, and eyelash style are all restored back to what they used to be--finally.  I really wish I'd purchased one of these beautiful dolls back in the day, because they went on some ridiculous sales, and now of course cost a small fortune.

Anyway, Pedigree made a choice similar to Tonner when they re-imagined the brand yet again in 2020.  This time, the dolls were under the care of Kid Kreations, a small, privately-owned company in the UK.  

These Kid Kreations creations...and particularly their redheaded play dolls...are what finally tempted me to explore the Sindy brand:

The doll that won me over.
There you have it: that's my Brief History of Sindy.  I am a total novice and have skipped through a few transitions.  I never even mentioned Sindy's sister Patch, her boyfriend, Paul, or any of her other friends, either.

But I don't want to ramble on all day, pretending to be an expert when I'm not.  So for anyone who is craving more information, allow me to refer you to a few of the wonderful, comprehensive sites that helped with my education:

Now that we have a little history under our belts, let's take a closer look at the dolls!  

The first doll I'm going to show you is the one used for Marx Toy's North American launch of the brand in 1978:

1978 Marx Toys Sindy doll.
I really love finding vintage dolls in their original boxes.  It gives me such a thrill, despite these boxes sometimes being stained and smelly.  I found this particular Sindy on eBay for $50.  Similar dolls without their boxes go for closer to $30.

What's really fun about this box is that it has an old Two Guys price tag on it:

Now I'm suddenly craving a Five Guys milkshake.
The sale price was only $2.99!  That's a good deal--as is the original $6.97 price.  I'm not exactly sure when this doll was purchased though.  I know that the Two Guys store went out of business 41 years ago in it was before that.

The box has the Marx name at the bottom:

I have a soft spot for the Marx company because they made the Jay doll who was the star of so many of my childhood games.

Sindy's slogan is "a whole world to share," and she's not kidding!  The back of the box has photos of some really wonderful-looking furniture sets and accessories:

Here's a closer look at the bedroom set:

With a little breakfast-in-bed tray!
The dining room set looks really detailed, and the blue bathroom pieces remind me of my own house:

Look at all of the fancy silverware!
At the very bottom of the box is a photo of the living room and kitchen sets.  The cheery yellow kitchen is my favorite, and I've been casually checking eBay every now and then for a good deal.  It might work with Lena's house:

I also like how there are seven other dolls pictured at the bottom of the box.  These photos are small and hard to see, but the variety is interesting.  All of the outfits and themes are wholesome--more similar to Lottie than Barbie.

The side of the box demonstrates all of the ways in which this Sindy doll can move--and it's impressive!

In fact, the articulation is another reason why I chose this particular Sindy for my review.  She has more joints than the original 1960s Pedigree Sindy.

In addition to a few water and tape stains, the bottom of the box has the 1978 date that helped me place this doll on the Sindy timeline:

The box also says that there's a "posing stand" included, which I would have loved to see, but unfortunately was missing--as was the pamphlet that should have come with this doll.

I managed to find (and purchase) the pamphlet on Etsy, though, so I can show you what it looks like:

The pamphlet has details on all of the accessory sets that are shown on the back of the box.  

The set that I was most interested to read about is the Family Room.  Apparently it includes a working record player that doubles as an AM radio!  I'd love to get my hands on that:

"Eitherway, the radio will play!"
There was also apparently a rewards program where if you collected 24 Sindy tokens, you could mail away for a free gift:

I loved mail-in giveaways like this when I was a kid!  I totally would have collected the tokens, but then which gift would I have chosen?  Let's see here...

Oh, definitely the mini grill set.  That looks awesome.

The last page of the catalogue sparked an old memory inside my feeble brain:

That horse at the bottom of the page looks really nice (and well-articulated).  I had a bunch of horses like that as a kid, and also an unarticulated version that was made by the Marx company.  I've never been able to part with her:

Old friend.
The funny thing is, do you know what I named this horse, all those years ago?  No joke, her name is Cindy.  As an adult, I've always wondered why I chose that name.  I have a cousin named Cindy and it's not like me to repeat family names for my dolls or horses.  Maybe my younger self was aware of Sindy dolls (coveted them, perhaps?) and then I just forgot?

Anyway, so many tangents!  And nostalgia!  I need to focus.

Sindy came inside a molded plastic shell with a clear lid:

There were no plastic ties holding her in place (yay!) but some of the plastic around her legs had melted into her dress, so I had to be careful to pull her out very gently:

As charming as "new in box" vintage dolls can be, there are some disadvantages to this kind of purchase.  

Not only had the plastic packaging melted, but the rubber band that held Sindy's hair in place had disintegrated over the years, leaving behind a horrible sticky yellow mess around her neck:

And in her hair:

So gross.
I picked away the gobs of old rubber band as best I could, but the hair still felt sticky and stiff.

I washed my hands ten times and did my best to forget about the gooey old rubber band.  This was easier to do once I saw that Sindy can stand on her own!

She's not always easy to balance, but it's definitely possible.

This doll has yellowed vinyl, especially on her head.  I suspect she was stored in a hot environment.  Her complexion would probably look better against a white backdrop, but grey is what I have.  

Here she is from the back:

And the side:

She has large, high-set ears and a cute profile with a button nose and prominent lips and chin:

Her face is really sweet and is very similar to the late 60s British dolls:

Side glancing eyes can make it hard for dolls to look directly at the camera, but Sindy has really good neck articulation, so she can swivel her head to look right at me, no matter what:

If you look at her head up close, you can see that she has rooted and painted upper eyelashes, just like the late 60s Pedigree dolls, and no lower lashes:

She also has very large black pupils that almost eclipse her blue irises.  Her eyebrows are thin, arched lines with no hair detail.

Her mouth is molded to be slightly open, but with no visible teeth.

It looks like her upper lip is painted outside of the molded edges, but it has the typical bow shape. The lower lip is very full.

The back of Sindy's head has some molded numbers and "2 GEN 1077."

This is the marking seen on second generation British Sindy dolls, which were sold mostly in 1979.

Sindy's blonde hair doesn't feel as silky-smooth as some modern play dolls like Rainbow High or Signature Looks (and the sticky, rotting rubber band certainly doesn't help).  The rooting is also quite thin:

Three rows of hair = not enough.
I think her hair looks fine, but it's not something that invites play, in my opinion.

Sindy's outfit consists of a floral print dress and a pair of molded loafers:

Hello, 70s.

The dress is pretty ugly--or at least dated.  I've seen pictures of my mom wearing prints like this in the late 70s.  The print itself is ok, and I like the small scale of the flowers, but the lace trim, puffed sleeves, and canvas belt really drag the whole thing down.

If you disagree with my criticism, keep in mind that this dress was competing with Barbie's glamorous wardrobe, which looked something like this in the late 70s:

1977 reproduction Barbie on sale at FAO Schwarz.
Sindy has some cute outfits in her arsenal, though, mind you; the flower dress isn't a great representation of her overall fashion style.

I may not like the look of the lace on this particular dress, but it's delicate and nicely-applied: 

The dress closes in back with metal snaps, which still work perfectly:

The construction of the dress is good, with tiny elastic-gathered sleeves and a neat hem.  Like a lot of modern play doll outfits, it doesn't have reinforced fabric edges:

The dress seems quite durable overall, but of course since it's been protected in a box for the last 45 years, it hasn't truly passed the test of time.

Underneath her dress, Sindy is wearing some high-waisted underpants with lace trim:

Here's a closer look:

The edges of these panties had melted into the plastic of Sindy's hips, so I had to extract them carefully.

I wanted to see if Sindy would be able to stand on her own without her shoes, so I took those off.  They're made out of soft vinyl and have hollow heels:

The shoes were stuck to Sindy's feet when I first got her out of the box (melted in place?), so they didn't fall off at all, but once I loosened the connection, they started to fall off all of the time.

Sindy's feet have a bit of a fashion heel, but the ankles also have an interior wire armature, so I can bend the feet to be almost flat:

Still, the ankle flexibility is not enough for Sindy to be able to stand on her own without her shoes, so I put those back on:

Sindy's torso is plastic, and her arms and legs are rubber.  She has an impressive fourteen points of articulation.

Her back has "made in Hong Kong" molded just below the waist joint:

As I mentioned earlier, Sindy has fantastic neck mobility.  Her neck is elastic-strung, with a ball-shaped point of connection.  This allows her to look pretty much anywhere she wants, like down and to the side:

Or up and to the side:

And of course she can tip her head back and forth, too:

As I was manipulating Sindy's head, I noticed two things.  First of all, she has a very high hairline all around her head:

Can you image if your hairline started a hand's width above your ears?
Also, it looks like her neck is double-jointed--like the head can move around the ball at the top of the neck piece, and the neck piece is also articulated with the torso:

As it turns out, my doll's head is just set poorly onto the neck piece.  Because it isn't set straight, it looks like it's been tipped upwards and might be able to tip back down.  But it's glued in place like that.

My doll has also suffered some shoulder joint damage over the years.  You can see that the plastic right next to the joint has melted:

I can't know for sure, but this looks like a chemical reaction between the plastic torso and the rubbery arms, probably precipitated by hot storage conditions.

The damage makes the arm-to-shoulder connection poor, but it also allows us to peek into the joint and see the rubber band that attaches the arms to the body:

Fortunately, that rubber band has not disintegrated yet!

Sindy's elastic-strung shoulders allow her to lift her arms straight up away from her body...and pretty much move them in any direction she wants:

She also has wire armature inside of her arms that allows them to bend at the elbow:

These joints can bend past 90 degrees, too, with some extra effort:

The elbows look a little funny when they're bent, just because the thickness of the arm decreases, but it's less noticeable than in dolls like the articulated Our Generation or Glitter Girls.

Sindy's wrists are rotating hinges, but they can't bend all of the way to 90 degrees:

I can get Sindy to touch her head and even her mouth if I'm holding her arms in place, but she can't maintain all of these positions on her own:

The torso joint is also elastic-strung, and so Sindy can twist her body all around:

And she can tip her upper body forwards and backwards quite a lot!

It makes me nauseous just to watch her do that!
Sindy's hips are, you guessed it, elastic-strung, and so they have a great range of motion.  She can do full side-to-side splits:

And excellent front-to-back splits:

She can also sit on the ground with her legs close together:

Sindy has internal click knees, and these should be able to bend through three clicks of motion, but only the first two positions hold well:

The knees also bend in the wrong direction:

The click knees are good enough to allow Sindy to sit nicely in a chair:

The wire armature in Sindy's ankles was a fun surprise, and really adds a lot to her poseability!

...though not necessarily her realism.
Without the articulation in her ankles, she would probably not be able to stand on her own.

Okay, so thinking back to the box's claim that Sindy can "move just like you," let's see how we're doing.

She can definitely move her head really well...

And also her wrists and ankles:

But what about some of the more ambitious poses, like this...whatever this might be called?

The "collapsing bridge," perhaps?  Or the "wobbly sloth?"
Whatever it is, she can do it:

But how about this?

The "talk to the hand jeté."
With the help of a stand, no problem!

This one doesn't look too hard:

The "flapping flamingo."
Piece of cake!

Flap away, Sindy!
Certainly not all dolls can do this:

Straight-up perfect splits.
But for Sindy, it's easy:

The melted joints get in the way of Sindy having optimal mobility, but she's an extremely well articulated doll.  Her head and leg joints are especially good.  And I'm impressed that all of her elastic-strung joints have remained intact and functional after so many years.  I would not have thought that 1970s rubber bands would last this long.

I put Sindy back into her dress for a few portraits:

I can totally see why this doll was so popular.  She has a charming face, and she's so much fun to pose!

I don't think Barbie dolls of the 70s were able to do things like this:

Or this!

Sindy feels a bit like a cross between a Barbie doll and a Madame Alexander doll; she has a fashion body like Barbie, and child-like facial features that remind me more of Madame Alexander:

Do you see the resemblance?  I mean, the Madame Alexander girls are grouchier, but there's something similar in the mouth and eyes:

Little Women Amy by Madame Alexander, photo courtesy of Heather from Primrose and Madge.
Or maybe not?

In any case, Sindy is a delight and know I would have loved playing with her as a kid:

...especially because she can ride horses so well!

Sindy and Cindy.
Thank you for sharing your world, Sindy.

Now, time warp, we're going to leap ahead 44 years to 2022, when Marx Toys was no longer in business (they folded in 1980) and Kid Kreations was in control of the Sindy universe!

Kid Kreations' first rollout was a group of six collector dolls, each wearing modern interpretations of older Sindy outfits:

These dolls were produced in limited editions that are currently hard to find (and very expensive) on the secondary market.

More accessible are the play line Kid Kreations dolls.  These were released in two waves, the first in 2021:

A redheaded equestrienne??  Gah!
And the second in 2022:

I love all of them, but was drawn to the two redheads (of course).  Of those, the 2022 Flower Magic Playset was the only one I could find.

I'm not sure if these dolls were ever easy to buy in the United States, but at this point the only place I was able to find them was on eBay, usually for between $50 and $100.  My set is from Australia and cost just over $50, including international shipping.

These larger sets come in nice, sturdy, attractive-looking window boxes.  

The box has a cardboard strip at the bottom that keeps it securely closed.  The strip features a lovely illustration of Sindy:

Sindy's image is repeated on the back of the box in a larger size:

I love the box art so much.
The back of the box also has some text describing this girl's personality.  She, as her theme suggests, is a nature-lover with a special fondness for flowers.

The back side of the cardboard strip has drawings of all five dolls in the 2022 play collection:

I removed the cardboard strip and noticed that it advertises a flower store scene that can be made from the packaging:

That's a great idea!
This reminds me of the B-Kind dolls and their fun projects.

Once the cardboard strip is gone, and a few clear tape circles are removed, the box can be opened like a book:

Inside, Sindy is displayed with her accessories in a molded plastic shell:

...and a lot of hair!
Behind the shell, there's a nice backdrop with some shelves, flowers, and butterflies:

This backdrop pulls out, and on the flip side are pieces that can be cut out to assemble the flower shop scene:

I won't attempt to create the shop here today, even though it looks fun, just because time is a factor and I want to keep the box in-tact.

When the cutout pieces are removed, another backdrop is revealed.  This one has even more flowers and tools on display:

The packaging is really beautiful, and helps to make the doll feel special.

Here's everything else that was inside the box:

Sindy comes with an apron, complete with a working front pocket:

The apron closes in back with velcro:

She also comes with some purple vinyl flowers.  Two of them look like roses and come in a white plastic vase, while the other is a potted plant with indistinct blooms:

The two roses can be removed from the vase:

I wish that the three flowers were all different colors, but it's not a big deal.

Sindy also has a watering can, which is fully-functional:

The little lid is even removable:

The last thing Sindy comes with is a booklet.  I was eager to see how this booklet compares to the one from 1978:

I won't show you the whole thing, but it's filled with advertisements and activities:

Honestly, those flower questions are hard!  The answers are interesting, though.  Like who knew that tulips were once worth more than gold?  It's nice to see content that isn't completely generic.

The pamphlet also has a lot of product advertisements, including photos of the other dolls in the series.  I really like this blue-haired girl:

But the doll I really should have gotten is this one--she's a toy review vlogger!

Like me!  But more cool and modern.
I'm not wild about her streaked hair and mismatched pant legs, but I might have to go back to eBay and find her--just for my own collection.

Incidentally, Black Sindy dolls are historically rare.  There was a Black doll named Gayle who was released at around the same time as my Marx Sindy, but I don't know of many others.

Anyway, Sindy herself came out of the box looking scraggly, with her wavy red hair wild around her face:

I like her face, though!  She's very clearly a Sindy doll:

And while her hair might look messy, it's bright and thick and has a wonderful color:

I took off her headband so that I could try to tame her hair:

The headband is nicely-sewn and ties in back with a knot.

Underneath the headband, Sindy's hair is mostly loose, but she has twisted sections of hair on either side of her face that are pulled back over her ears and tied at the nape of her neck:

I brushed the hair thoroughly with my wire brush, and although brushing didn't really make the hair look better, the texture feels great and there are no snags or tangles:

The rooting is pretty dense, too.  It's certainly much better than the Marx Sindy:

Seven rows = very good!
In addition to the hair being slightly unruly, Sindy's jacket was also difficult to control.  I couldn't get the sides to lay flat or the collar to look symmetrical:

In an effort to get Sindy's act together, I pulled her thick hair back into a ponytail, and tried once again to flatten her jacket.  This is better:

Sindy's face is similar to the original design, with side-glancing eyes and a slightly open mouth, but one thing I noticed right away is that her neck articulation is nowhere near as good as the Marx Sindy's.  This doll can only turn her head from side to side, and so it's harder to get her to look at the camera:

She's giving me side-eye.
Her eyes have the same large pupils with tiny slivers of iris that we saw on the Marx Sindy, but the applied lashes have been omitted and the eyebrows are thicker.  This doll's mouth is wider than the older doll's, too, and her upper lip looks significantly thinner.  All of this gives her a slightly different expression:

Overall, I'd say that she looks worried or suspicious, which is not something I associate with the Marx Sindy:

I don't trust your opinions.
Here are the two faces side by side so that you can appreciate the differences:

The new Sindy's head looks quite a bit wider here, but I'm not sure how much of that is an artifact from the camera position or the different ways that the dolls rest on the table.

All right, let's take a closer look at that wayward jean jacket:

It's plain in back, with a high collar that I think is designed to lay flat, but will only stick straight up:

The jacket feels substantial, though, with thick fabric and nice construction.  The inside looks a bit messy, but the edges are serged:

I clipped the front of the jacket together so that you could see the stitched detail.  It really doesn't want to stay in this position, though, and springs open as soon as the clip is removed:

I like the heart-shaped Sindy tag!
I have mixed feelings about the jacket, but the underlaying dress is really nice:

It's made out of a lightweight chiffon-type fabric and has a much more modern and youthful floral print than the one on Marx Sindy's dress:

I like the asymmetrical dropped-waist skirt and cute cap sleeves, too.  That said, I'm not entirely sure that the skirt length is supposed to be asymmetrical, so I guess that might be a flaw?

The skirt looks more symmetric when the dress is off the doll:

The whole thing closes in back with velcro:

And has decent construction:

The outfit also includes a pair of slip-on purple flats with bows on the top:

These are simple shoes, with no painted details, and they fall off a bit too easily:

Sindy has flat feet, though, so she can stand on her own, even without shoes:

She has an all-plastic body with fourteen points of articulation--just like her predecessor.  But as we'll see, many of the joints behave differently from the Marx Sindy's joints.

For starters, as I already mentioned, the neck joint is only capable of simple rotation, so there's no up or down movement:

In my opinion, this is an important omission.  Dolls with simple neck rotation don't have the same capacity for expressiveness as dolls with better head movement.  Because of her stiff neck, Sindy is often looking off into space and difficult to engage.

Sindy's shoulders are rotating hinges, though, which is great!  And there's no melting around the joint, so the movement is smooth and the arms can hold their positions:

The elbow joints are also rotating hinges, but they don't have anywhere near as much flexibility as the Marx Sindy's elbows. They stop shy of bending to 90 degrees, let alone going further:

The rotating hinge wrists are very similar to what we saw on the earlier Sindy, which is to say that they stop short of bending to 90 degrees, too.

All of that adds up to the fact that Sindy can't touch her face at all, but she can rest a hand on her hip...or thigh:

But she can brush the hair away from her face and touch the top of her head:

Sindy also has a waist joint, and while looking at this, we can appreciate her textured, molded underwear with the Sindy logo at the top:

The waist joint can rotate, so Sindy's upper body can spin around:

And it can spin all of the way around...

Oh, dear!
But unlike the Marx Sindy, this joint does not allow for any forward or backwards movement.  At least that saves me from a nausea-inducing GIF.

Sindy's hips are rotating hinges that can achieve nearly full side-to-side splits:

And excellent front-to-back splits:

She can also sit on the floor with her legs together:

Sindy's knees are rotating hinges, but they don't quite bend to 90 degrees.  Still, she can sit in a chair:

And she can kneel on one knee, but it takes some balancing effort!

Take the picture quickly!
The rotation at the knee is nice, and allows Sindy's lower legs to pivot inwards or outwards:

Is there a bathroom break soon?
She has hinged rotation in her ankles, too:

That picture makes it look like there's a color discrepancy between Sindy's upper and lower legs, but I don't see that in real life.

Overall, she's a solid, well-articulated doll who can strike a lot of poses:

She's not as flexible as the Marx Sindy doll, but her body feels more solid and durable.

What are you running from, Sindy?
Sindy's hair was driving me a little nuts at this point, so after I'd finished investigating the joints, I decided to try and improve the situation.  

The first thing I did was remove the rubber band that was holding the sides of her hair in place.  This caused even more of a mess!

I tried pulling all of the hair back into a single ponytail, but the section at the front is thick and has it's own rooted part, so it looks out of place:

I abandoned the hair temporarily and posed the two Sindy dolls together:

Kid Kreations Sindy doll (left) and Marx Sindy doll (right).
They are about the same height, and with very similar body proportions, although clearly the design of the two bodies is completely different...except for the hands.  

A fun fact is that the two dolls have identical hand molds:

A dominant trait, I guess.
Speaking of hands, I had to turn my attention back to the hair after taking these photos, because the Marx Sindy's sticky hair was messing up my hands and I didn't want to transfer the goo to the newer Sindy.

So, I decided to give both dolls a quick boil wash: for the new Sindy this was an attempt to tame the curls, and for the Marx Sindy is was an attempt to clean the hair.

The new Sindy's hair turned out very nicely:

Although that section of hair at the front of her head is still really thick and hard to deal with:

But the hair looks great without the curl, and falls in long layers to just above Sindy's knees:

Marx Sindy does not look as good with straight hair, but at least her hair is clean now!

She also has some long layers, but they're not very even:

After both girls were clean and dry, I let them try on each other's dresses.  

They share clothing well (including shoes):

And actually, Marx Sindy's drab dress goes well with the newer Sindy's red hair!

The new Sindy is slightly smaller, so her dress is a bit tight on Marx Sindy:

For some other size comparisons, here's Sindy next to my Liv Sophie:

Kid Kreations Sindy (left) and Liv doll (right).
Liv and Sindy have a lot of similarities in my mind, maybe because a lot of their articulation is comparable.  For example, both dolls are confined to only simple rotation in their necks, and both have extremely flexible hinged legs.  Sophie is a bit taller than Sindy, but I suspect these two could share some items of clothing.

Next, here's Sindy next to my hard-working assistant, Lena:

Kid Kreations Sindy (left) and Signature Looks Barbie (right).
These dolls are similar in size, but Lena has a longer torso and Sindy has a much larger head.  There's not much contest with articulation between these two, though.  While Sindy is a nicely-articulated doll, Lena's joints are much better across the board.

I put Sindy back into her outfit for a few portraits:

Her hair is difficult to manage, with that thick front section, but the big, brushed-back hair kinda works with the high-collared jean jacket:

She's like a character from Grease or something:

Tell me about it, stud.
I tried the flower shop apron, which fits nicely and looks good:

Now Sindy is all ready to sell some flowers.  If only she didn't look so nervous!

I feel like I might spill this dirt...
Does this flower look too big to you?
I got frustrated with the hair yet again, and decided to put it back into its original style.  

This looks better:

So we tried a few more poses with the new hairdo:

I hope I don't spill any water!
I suggested Sindy dance around to loosen up:

I don't think I'm a very good dancer...
This hairstyle reminds me of the 60s, which is a nice nod to Sindy's origins:

Do you see what I mean?

Anyway, she's a cutie:

Did you really think so?
I snapped a few photos of the two Sindys together.  Seeing them side-by side really accentuates the difference in their expressions.  Marx Sindy looks inquisitive or attentive, and new Sidney just looks worried:

Does my hair look bad?
I experimented a bit more with new Sindy's hair...

I think the clips make it worse!
But then reverted back to the original style again:

Can you see me?  This pose feels weird.
These two make me think of movies like Back to the Future where a modern kid goes back in time and meets their parents at the same age.  With 44 years between them, Marx Sindy could definitely be new Sindy's mom:

But what are the space-time implications of me meeting my younger mom??
Bottom line?  It was such a treat to take some time to finally learn a bit about the rich history of Sindy dolls.  I only scratched the surface of the information that's available, but I certainly gained an understanding of the ups and down of this brand's past.  And I feel fortunate that I embarked on this mission during a time when the most recent incarnation of the doll is charming in her own right while also being faithful to the original concept.

I won't go into much detail about Marx Sindy at this stage since it's not really fair to formally review a toy that's 45 years old and has been melting in her box for a lot of that time.  What I will say is that the Marx dolls were extremely well articulated, especially when compared to other dolls of the era, like Crissy and Barbie.  The dress on my doll is a little frumpy, and not a great representation of the cute wardrobe that Sindy has to offer, but that's a small detail.  Most of all, I was charmed by Sindy's distinct face, and can't fathom why that design was ever set aside in order to copy other popular brands.

I'll give you a more typical summary of the Kid Kreations Sindy, because while she's been discontinued, there are still plenty of new-in-box dolls available.

This Sindy is presented in a beautiful way, with a colorful window box that includes the pieces necessary to make a cut-out flower shop scene.  And she's accompanied by several nice accessories that compliment her theme; I was especially impressed by the mini watering can.  But Sindy herself did not make a great first impression.  Her wavy hair was a mess, and her jean jacket refused to lay flat, exposing the less tidy interior of the garment.

Fortunately, Sindy overcame that first impression with all of her good qualities.  First of all, she's a very well-articulated doll.  I wish her head had better movement, and her elbows and knees are not quite as flexible as I'd like them to be, but with fourteen points of articulation, she's more poseable than a lot of play dolls.  She feels sturdy, has good balance, and is fun to play with.  I also really like her outfit--despite the unruly jacket.  All of the clothing is made out of high-quality fabrics and has good construction.  And I like the style of the outfit, too--it's not flashy or sexy, but sweet and modern.  It would be completely appropriate for kids of all ages.  Sindy's hair is great, especially now that it's been straightened.  The section of hair at the very front of the head is difficult to manage, but when that hair is pulled back into the original style, it looks really nice.  The hair is also thick and silky and has a gorgeous color.

Perhaps most importantly, I love the Kid Kreations Sindy's face.  Okay, so she looks worried all of the time, but it's an endearing kind of worry.  She has sweet, well-painted features that make her appealing and relatable.  But most of all, those familiar features connect her to a long and important legacy.  So now, thanks to this little redhead and her flexible Marx ancestor, I'll have to count myself among the collectors who will be eagerly (and nervously) waiting to see whether this is the end of the line for our beloved Sindy, or whether Pedigree will manage to resurrect their iconic girl once again.

I worry that your review was too long, Emily.


  1. How cool! I am not yet familiar with Sindy dolls, except by occasionally coming across them and not knowing their many differences. The 1970s Marx Sindy has such an interesting body sculpt. I was thinking she looked rather odd at first but then I was very charmed by her expressiveness and the capabilities of her articulation. Thanks for the post!

  2. I prefer the earlier Marx version of Sindy more, the hair on the later KK version is far too boofy and even with the articulation being added, I'm not a fan of the new body. I'm glad you provided this comparison though, it's difficult to get an accurate idea of what a doll is like when you only see one doll at a time. At one time, I had a Sindy doll created by Pedigree Dolls & Toys in 1963, however, the Sindy I really love is my 2014 Robert Tonner Bridal Bliss. (You can see her here:
    Big hugs,

  3. After reading Monkfish's blog for so long, I've come to feel halfway familiar with Sindy dolls, and yet I never noticed you hadn't talked abiut them--but I'm glad you did! I like how strongly sixties the classic look feels--it's a charming kind of outdated in my eyes, and so I didn't find your assessment of the Marx dress too fair--I found it charmingly innocent and removed from time rather than frumpy and heavily dated. I'm really intrigued by the Marx doll's articulation scheme--it seems like a pretty economical low-engineering method of getting high results for posing, and it's always fascinating to see older toys which manage to be functionally superior.

    I also agree there was no good reason to abandon the Sindy "look", though for sure her face is much more childlike and that puts her in a different zone from Barbie altogether. Maybe she didn't need to compete at all. Maybe she just needed to be Sindy.

    1. Wire articulation is functionally superior at achieving a wide range of poses, but it is also way more prone to breaking, which I've never felt was a very good trade-off.

  4. What a wonderful and thorough history and review but oh dear, now I think I must have a Sindy doll! You’re absolutely spot on about the expressions and how a little choice in the paint can make a big difference in the doll’s expression!
    One thing though! The Living Barbie of the early 1970s was a posing dream and was almost Made to Move before Made to Move! She was popular enough to inspire some spin off Barbies with the same feature.
    I agree that Sindy and Barbie are two very different dolls though and probably happily coexist in a collection (we’ll see if it will be my collection, ha!).
    Thank you for another absolutely wonderful review and I think I actually love these vintage reviews more than those of current dolls on the market!

  5. Whatever you do, DON'T try to bend Marx Sindy's ankles sideways! I did that with mine and one of her ankle joints came unhinged. Now it doesn't hold poses at all, and it does a poor job of holding Sindy up. So don't do that, LOL.

    Red-haired Sindy surprised me! I was expecting a repeat of Meygana Broomstix's hair, it was so big in the box, but it turned out to be nice! You've got a cute little pair of dolls here.

  6. Such a fun review of an iconic brand! I'm definitely surprised by the amazing articulation of the older Sindy, although it's sad that her age took a toll on her despite being in her box for all those years. Just goes to show that keeping dolls in their boxes is not always the best way to preserve them.

    I absolutely adore the newest Sindy dolls. First time I saw them I went looking for them right away, but sadly no retailers carried them here -- despite the brand being historically popular over here, to my knowledge. Anyway, I just think they're all stinkin' cute and I love how the boxes double as playsets.

    I also just find it fascinating that they kept the same hand mold after all those years! It's a very sweet nod to the original dolls. Thanks for this review, Emily :)

  7. Oh wow, I had exactly that 1978 Sindy doll! I remember the dress distinctly. I have no idea where she is now, but I played with her heavily -- the vinyl at her ankles tore at some point and the metal was visible through it, and her hair was an utter mess, but she was a steady part of my childhood doll family for years. I would have been 3 in 1978, I am guessing I got her a year or two later.

  8. Hi Emily, thanks for such a fun and entertaining post! I didn't know that Kid Kreations had ended their licence with Pedigree, so I'm grateful that you mentioned it here. I live in the UK and grew up playing with Sindy dolls (and a few Barbies!) My first Sindy was a basic doll with 8 points of articulation but wore the same dress as your Marx doll. I think this was around 1982. The dress was ruined beyond repair over the years, but I now find plenty of enjoyment sewing new clothes for my dolls, all of which I am fortunate still to have, along with the town house and furniture.
    I've bought some of the KK dolls and you made me laugh when you said they have a worried expression! I hadn't really thought about it but you're absolutely right! I love all my Sindys and I hope Pedigree are able to celebrate her 60th birthday this year with a special doll.
    I love reading your blog which is both informative and entertaining - thank you for continuing to post your reviews!

  9. New Sindy reminds me of Kurhn in many aspects, especially when dressed. I much prefer the old dress and articulation, but both dolls have merits.

  10. Holy spoon!! Seeing the "new" Sindy's face (the one that looks like Barbie) made me realize I actually own one! It's the one that moves the eyes from side to side thanks to a lever behind her head.
    Wow.... I did not know I owned a piece of doll history, I thought it was another Barbie. Thanks for this info, I'll make sure this doll is well kept in my collection :).

    Zef Davenport.

    1. Found her: it's "Sindy: Magic eyes". I only have the doll, not the dress, but still, what a nice surprise.

      Zef Davenport.

  11. Thanks for the comparison! I've seen Sindy around over the years, but didn't know about the Hasbro versions. And like you, I'm still kicking myself for not splurging when the Tonner versions went on clearance.

  12. I loved this review! I feel like I've seen vintage Sindy, but didn't know anything about her. It's fascinating to see the modern version's journey, coming right back around to a close approximation of her original! It's really nice to see a company coming back to what made a doll charming in the first place, instead of mixing another company's success too.

    This set was charming too, the flower theme was so cute! And I'd have lived that booklet as a kid.

  13. Sindy reminds me of my Ginny doll -- and even in the late 70s I would have much preferred SIndy's dress to Barbie's pink puff piece. She has a sweet face -- maybe an older sister to Ginny? And clothes like what I wore. This makes me want to see if I can find my Ginny doll (s--actually. I got one in the late 70s and one in the early 80s. The one in the 70s the doll's hair is a DISASTER. Kind of like how I envision Hermione's hair. Because I was never one for hair play this did not bother me. I could still change her clothes and play with her, etc. But the one I got when older I was careful to keep her hair nice (plus I think it was straight/easier to keep nice). My mother also has a GInny doll from the 1950s that she got out on very special occasions for us to treat gently so if I can find both of mine I might be able to get pictures from three decades there.

  14. Thank you so much for this review Emily. I have to confess I was never a fan of that typical Sindy face, but the 90s dolls from Hasbro (the Barbie ones) were my absolute favorites, and I had so many of them! I loved their faces and the more natural shaped bodies and the themes they came with. They were the ultimate 90s toys to ke and I really miss them ❤️

  15. I'm always all "omg... I exist!" when someone name checks me in something lol.

    But oh my your vintage girl is gorgeous! I do love an old doll box, they're such wonderfully facinating pieces of history in and of themselves.
    Melt is sadly really common with the 70s girls. A little scalpel and carefully cutting away the worst of it should improve the mobility of the joints.
    I really like the 70s clothes BECAUSE they're so dated lol. Sindy was always that "girl next door" and so her fashions generally tend to be more what you'd see people on the street wearing while Barbie was much more "what the celebrities wear".

    If you ever want any Sindy comparison pictures I can oblige. I'm at this point only missing a gauntlet from my collection and too stingy to pay the £100+ for one on ebay lol.
    Why you gotta cost so much gauntlet sindy!? WHY?

    I wish florist Sindy had a proper parting. That's what's making me hesitate on getting her even on clearance at Argos. I know her hair is gonna drive me crazy. And it's a bummer because it's such a pretty colour.
    I'm sad that we won't get a third wave but i'm also really worried we won't get anything for sindy's 60th. We didn't get anything for her 50th either really. Pedigree aren't very good at celebrating. poor Sindy.

  16. not gonna lie, I actually love the old Sindy doll - her face, her California-girl coloring, her dress (which I think is adorable and couldn't be much more 70s). And the new Sindy doll is also very cute, and they're an especially good pair because they've both got floral dresses! It's such a cute and unique face. It reminds me a bit of Licca-chan - just very sweet and endearing, pretty without being glamorous or aloof the way Barbie is. I'd never heard of her before now. (Also, I love it when you review old/forgotten toys. The time-capsule element is a lot of fun. My goodness, a record player that was a real-life radio? That's a nice toy!)

  17. When I was a child, in the 90's, I like Sindy more than Barbie... She look sweetest. And the Sindy Twister was the most articulated doll that I have, because she and her friend have a mini Twister game and they really can play with!.

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  19. I bought two of the British Airways Sindys issued in 2007 (I think).

  20. Stil got my sindy and some furniture, horse, caravan and some clothes. Can't bring myself to throw them away

  21. OMG I lived my Sindy doll as a kid!!! I have the Marx one in the Little House on the Prairie dress! And I cut out those tokens to send away for the hair set and the shoe set. I also have the dining set and hutch as well as the sink. I kept them for my daughters to play with and have them stored away. I should check on them!

  22. Thanks for your review and the many photos! I own this worried looking redhead, too. And older Sindys, a brunette and a blond, which look really similar to your Marx doll. I bought them used from Ebay.

    But in fact, my little collection started with the smaller Sindy doll version, also called Pamela Love. I searched for them in a nostalgic feeling, because as a child , we often visited the Netherlands, where these dolls, minature Sindy Ballerinas are sold.I played a lot with the these days.

  23. Thank you for this comprehensive (and perhaps only) online review comparing the old Sindy and the new Sindy! From the US, it's been impossible to get hold of the new Sindy (2021-2022 models) which are available on Argos's UK website for as low as GBP 9 on sale. They are, as you know, reselling for so much more on eBay.

    As of my writing in Feb 2024, there is only 1 Sindy model left on Argos (Party Girl - light blue hair) for a clearance price of GBP 12. What a steal! After hearing my laments, a very kind friend from the UK, who had never even heard of Sindy, surprised me by sending me the 2021 redheaded equestrian, which comes with a horse and tack. The shipping cost from the UK was many multiples of the clearance price of the doll. I was so touched. I had the old Sindy, as well, so I was able to, like you, compare them side by side. You are spot-on - the new Sindy looks worried! Perhaps because they were launched during the pandemic, LOL. I was surprised at how limited her articulation was (compared to Made To Move or even less-articulated modern Barbies), which explains the price tag. Oh well, back in the 1970s, we would have been so happy for even this limited articulation! Her plastic was also lighter and flimsier, compared to Barbie's plastic.

    Pedigree has just announced a collector's Sindy to launch on April 2024. It's pretty expensive, and her diamond-bling dress is not to die for, IMHO. Barbie is bling - Sindy must be classic! Also, it seems you have to wait till they fulfill UK orders before worldwide orders. I hope they make more new Sindy playline dolls and clothes in the future.

    Just in case anyone reading this in the US wants to buy a new model Sindy - she can wear modern Barbie's clothes, since Barbie has started making clothing for more sizes (Curvy, etc.) She can also wear old model Sindy's clothes. For us in the US, modern Barbie clothes are plentiful and less expensive than trying to obtain old or new Sindy clothes, so your Sindy will have a huge wardrobe, don't worry.

    Toy Box Philosopher, thank you again for drilling down on Sindy in your (very rare) article. Deeply appreciate your time and your labor of love.

  24. P.S. The 2021 redheaded Sindy that comes with own redheaded (I kid you not) horse - the horse is Breyer Traditional size, so I was able to buy Breyer horse blanket and tack for her (have decided she's a mare). I am laughing as I write this - somehow it seems so important for me to share with you, and your readers, this data point. Just in case it nudges someone over the edge to get one, if they are humming or hawing between the different models :)

  25. Thank you for educating us on the 1978 version of Sindy, which was available in the US. You sounded a little underconfident about your expertise on this version of Sindy, but I think you did a great job of informing us about the US version. I'm currently doing research for a blog post on my own website, about Sindy, and I'm going to send my followers to this post, if they want to learn more about the US version because honestly, I think yours is the best description of the Marx Sindy that I can find on the internet at this time. So thank you so much for this post!