Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Keeping Up With Kurhn

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything, mostly because my job uses up a lot of energy, but also because I've been taking some actual time off to relax and do silly things like hang with my dogs or play Tears of the Kingdom.  It's been nice.

Time off gives me a chance to reflect, too, and one of the things I realized is that I've been reviewing dolls for so long, some of the brands I looked at early on have changed and expanded significantly since my last check-in.  Kurhn dolls are a great example of this.  I first reviewed the Kurhn brand way back in 2013 with a two-part mini series that featured a basic Kurhn playset and a more expensive Glamorous Kurhn girl.  I was impressed with the brand back then, and planned a few follow-up posts, but got distracted by other things.

I was reminded of Kurhn dolls as I was packing up to move from Maine to New Jersey in 2020. I found a second Glamorous Kurhn that I'd apparently purchased at one point...and then completely forgotten about.  I was surprised by how nice she looked, and so instead of selling her, I brought her with me to the new house.  Then, about a year ago, I took some time to investigate the current Kurhn market.  That research led to several more purchases (of course) not all of which will fit into today's review.  Today I'll look at the new-ish Kurhn fashion dolls that caught my eye, like this adorable panda-themed Anniversary doll:

Little Panda 17th Anniversary Edition Kurhn doll, $21.50.

In addition to the offerings that I found amongst Kurhn's current 11-inch fashion doll lineup, there are some other new types of doll that are worth mentioning.

First, there are two 48cm (~19inch) Giant Kurhn dolls that look really beautiful.  I'm coveting this one:

She's about $140 on AliExpress before shipping.

There's also a whole collection of 30cm (~12 inch) BJD Little Kurhn dolls.  These have child-like bodies and lots of joints.  Here's an example:

I have one of these dolls and will review her in a second Keeping Up With Kurhn post that will happen at some point in the relatively near future.

Buying Kurhn dolls was a bit tricky back in 2013.  I relied on certain eBay vendors to import the dolls for me, often with high shipping prices and a limited selection.  But with the advent of AliExpress, it's become much easier (and more economical) to acquire Kurhn products from within the United States.  That's good, of course, but also bad, given how many Kurhn dolls I've purchased in the last year.

So, which 11-inch dolls did I purchase?  Well, first things first, let's take a quick look at the Glamorous Kurhn that I found when I was packing up my Maine house.  She's number 6125, I believe, and is called Butterflies Love Flowers:

Kurhn 6125, Butterflies Love Flowers.
This girl is shy, though, and is hiding behind one of her huge ringlets:

Ringlet or tentacle?
Based on my eBay receipts, I purchased this doll in 2017 for $17 (plus $8 shipping).

Her packaging is similar, but not identical to, the Glamorous Kurhn 6077 doll that I reviewed in 2013.  Here's a reminder of what that girl looked like in-box:

Glamorous Kurhn 6077, $29.00 (without shipping).
The cardboard part of the box is different, but the reflective background and basic presentation is the same.

Incidentally, I'm not sure why there was a $10 price difference between these two Glamorous Kurhn dolls.  I don't have any idea what either doll's suggested retail price was.

Butterflies Love Flowers comes mounted against a silver metallic backdrop that slid easily out of the main box:

She came with two plastic pink combs, which I suspect was a packaging error in my favor.

She also came with a plastic stand, but I didn't find this until I was cleaning up after taking all of my photographs.  The stand came taped to the cardboard backdrop:

It's a white thigh-grip stand that can be separated into three pieces for storage:

Packaged with the stand were two cards and a square of paper displaying a photo and information about the doll:

One of the reasons that I failed to notice the stand was that I didn't really need it.  Butterflies Love Flowers can balance fairly well on her own--at least for a little while.

It'll get tedious to type "Butterflies Love Flowers" again and again, so I'm going to name this girl Hua.  I believe it is a Chinese name meaning "flower."

Here's Hua from the back:

Kraken ringlets.
The ringlets in her hair are absurdly big, with a mind of their own, but they've fared well considering that they've been flattened in a box for at least seven years.

I didn't brush the hair right away, in part because I worried that the ringlet curls would get frizzy (thus releasing the Kraken), but also because Hua has a fuzzy pink hat sewn into her hair:

She has a sweet face with a subtle smile and side-glancing eyes.  Side-glancing eyes often look wonky to me, and these are no exception, but they're not terrible.  At least she can look at the camera:

The face mold is the same as both dolls that I reviewed in 2013.  Here's a reminder of those faces:

Green Restaurant Kurhn, 3029.
Glamorous Kurhn 6077.
Hua's face paint is beautifully done.  There's no pixelation and the colors are bright and clear.  The orange above her eyes is a bit weird, but I really like the shimmering pink lip color and rich brown eyes:

The style and placement of the face details, like the simple, curved eyebrows and the stylized eyelashes, are exactly like they were on the 2013 dolls.  But that makes since this doll is from the same general time period.

I remember really liking my older Glamorous Kurhn doll's outfit, but this one did not make a great first impression:

The white fake fur wrap is a nice detail, but it can't hide the ill-fitting neckline of the underlying dress:

There's a permanent crease in the fabric that obscures the glittery decoration and cheapens the look of the whole ensemble.

Here's the white wrap on its own:

The detail here is great.  There's an elaborate button closure in the front that actually works, although a metal hook-and-eye attachment hiding underneath is what really keeps the wrap secure:

The sewing across the back is sloppy, with a wayward row of stitches visible in the fur, but it's pretty hard to see:

Without the wrap to distract the eye, the scrunched neckline is even more obvious.  I tried to smooth the bodice down, but it's stubbornly stuck in that position:

That doesn't look very comfortable.
The dress opens down the back with a long velcro seam:

The skirt has four rows of chiffon in alternating shades of pink.  The bodice is satin, with an applied glitter decoration that's a bit easier to see with the dress on its own:

Other than the poor fit of the neck, the construction is very good.  The bodice is even lined with a lighter pink satin:

You would not see this level of detail in a regular Barbie outfit.

Hua is also wearing pink vinyl shoes that coordinate with her dress:

The fit of these shoes is poor.  You can see the lines of Hua's toes trying to poke out behind the bow...and none of her toes are visible at the tips of the shoes.

Hua has slightly raised heels, so she cannot balance on her own without the shoes:

This outfit is fine, except for the defect in the neck, and I'm impressed by the construction and diversity of fabrics.  I like the outfit on the Glamous Kurhn I reviewed in 2013 better, but that's just my personal taste:

I tend to have Barbie dolls in the back of my mind when I look at Kurhn, probably because Kurhn is referred to as the "Chinese Barbie doll."   One thing that strikes me is how different the outfits are between the two brands.  Barbie's clothes are modern and often skimpy, while Kurhn clothing is more frilly, formal, and childlike.

The Kurhn bodies are also less curvy than a standard Barbie.  Hua's body has ten points of articulation (neck, shoulders, elbows, waist, hips, and knees).  Her torso and upper limbs are hard plastic, but her lower limbs are vinyl.  This is why her legs look bowed at the knee:

That's giving me Disney Store doll vibes.
Here she is from the back:

There's a Kurhn factory mark right below the waist joint:

This body is exactly the same as the one I reviewed in 2013.  Here's a reminder:

More warped legs.
You can refer to my older reviews for a thorough rundown of the joints, but I'll go through a few key points here as a refresher.

Hua's arm movement is limited; her elbows only bend to 90 degrees and she has no articulation in her wrists.  But the waist joint is a fun feature, and it doesn't look too strange when it's twisted to either side:

Maybe a little strange.
The thing I like least about this body is that it has elastic-strung hips:

This style of joint allows for awesome flexibility...

But elastic will not last as long as plastic, and so the joints will inevitably weaken over time.

Hua is fun to pose, but her limited arm mobility can make her look robotic:

She's still a very photogenic doll, though, and I love her face.

I took one last portrait of Hua in her full outfit before I removed the little pink hat:

The fur hat looked cute, but I don't like having accessories tied into my dolls' hair.  So I cut it out.

It was stuffed with tissue paper to hold the shape:

I like Hua better without her hat!  There's more focus on her pretty auburn hair now:

The rooting pattern in the hair is good, with a partially shaded scalp:

I actually used one of the plastic combs that came with Hua to carefully brush each of her ringlets individually.  This worked well!  The hair looks even better now...and I have a new respect for those comb accessories.

Instead of overly-large ringlets, Hua now has soft, natural-looking curls:

I'm getting Mona Lisa energy here.
This is the hair from the back:

Tamed the Kraken.
The fiber feels nice, but it's not as soft as saran and not as silky as nylon.  So I'm not sure what it is.  I read that Kurhn dolls tend to have polypropylene hair, but this feels nicer than that.  Perhaps there are different levels of polypropylene quality?

Here are a few last pictures of Hua before I move on:

Hua was a great way to start this review, because she reminded me of why I like the Kurhn brand.  She also reminded me of how these dolls move and feel in my hands, and what their general level of quality is like.

With all of that fresh in my mind, I was ready to take a look at some of the newer dolls!

One of the first dolls that caught my eye has a new face mold.  As much as I adore the traditional Kurhn face, I always like to see variety.  As a bonus, I tend to enjoy happy dolls, and this girl is definitely happy!  She's called Sweet Lolita Fantasy:

Sweet Lolita Fantasy Kurhn doll, ~$17.
The price on this doll leads me to believe that she's intended as more of a playline doll than a collector's doll, but her price is within the range of what I've paid for my Glamorous Kurhns.

The window box design is a bit different from the older dolls that I've looked at.  There's a patterned, matte backdrop and more decoration on the outer box.  

I especially like the lovely drawing in the lower right hand corner:

The back of the box has the same girl, but with her entire body included:

It's frustrating to me that the Kurhn boxes are not dated, because I don't get any clues about when this doll was released.  I get a lot of warnings, though:

A flammable doll?  Yikes.
There was another doll in this release, with a black and white color palette:

I should have bought her instead, since black and white go much better with my grey backdrop than the pinks and blues in the doll I chose, but I try to avoid dolls with bangs, so it was a tough call.  They're both very pretty.

Lolita and her accessories came mounted on a pink patterned cardboard backdrop:

This presentation is not as sleek as the glossy, metallic backgrounds on the earlier dolls, but I guess it fits the wholesome vibe of the doll.

Lolita comes with a basket, a stand, and some lacy, see-through lingerie:

Did I say wholesome?
There were also two cardboard inserts that came with Lolita, one of which has the text translated into English:

Okay, look.  Somebody worked really hard on these translations and I appreciate that.  And there's some good advice here, like to use neutral soup water and not acid to clean the doll, or to not hit the doll with metal ware.  Got it.  But can we zoom in on two sections for a sec, please?  

First, here's In Time Repairing:

This section suggests that if the doll breaks, I should repair it "in time."  But in time for what?  In time for the holidays?  In time for dinner?  By the stroke of midnight?  I don't know.  And then when I get around to fixing it, I need to use bone glue (not while glue) for the repairs.

I was so busy laughing at "bone" and "while" glue that I almost missed the fact that bone glue a real thing.  Like, you know the old saying about horses being sold to the glue factory?  Yeah.  Eeew.

Bone glue is a granular, water-soluble adhesive that was (is?) used a lot in furniture-making:

Knochenleim Granulat
But does it work on plastic dolls?
Even more horrifying is the whole Anti-Insects part:

First of all, I know what camphor is and I'm not putting it anywhere near my dolls.  I don't like the smell.  But then we have a whole grocery list of Chinese anti-insect drugs to consider.  Things like Shaanxi pepper, Sichuan pepper (I think I've had that in my takeout), Stemona tuberosa Lour, Chinaberry seed, and...arsenic sulfide?!  I mean, how bad is the bug problem in China?  Bad enough to start playing around with arsenic??

Here's what the New Jersey government has to say about arsenic sulfide:

CARCINOGEN for crying out loud.
Sheesh.  I think I'll take my chances with a few spiders.

Fortunately, Lolita and her accessories emerged bug-free from the box: 

Bugs Love Flowers.
And even though Lolita comes with a saddle stand, she doesn't seem to need it!

Or maybe she does.

After Lolita's first topple, I inspected her knee joints...and was very surprised!

Those are double-jointed knees!
She has double-jointed knees!  Hurrah!  There's a rotational joint right above the knee, too.  But all of that flexibility makes for crooked legs and a higher likelihood of tipping over.

While I was under the hood, I noticed that Lolita's dress had a piece of cardboard plastic-tied to the skirt, to improve the volume:

That doesn't look very comfortable.
I removed the cardboard and posed Lolita with her stand:

I think her face is really cute.  She even has freckles!

Like my other Kurhn dolls, this girl has side-glancing eyes, but she's looking to her left:

I don't detect any wonkiness in the eyes, which is great.

Her hair is not great, though.  It was very frizzy right out of the box, and has a lopsided shape, especially in back:

There's an intricate barrette on the right side of Lolita's head, though, and this looks really nice:

But the hair is so bad.
The barrette is secured with a large metal alligator clamp:

I had a heck of a time getting this thing out.  I eventually realized that it was plastic-tied into Lolita's hair in two places.  You can see one of the ties here, in a petal of the yellow flower:

I hadn't really intended to take the barrette out right away, but once I started fussing with it, Lolita's hair got messy, and so I forged ahead.

Here's the barrette on its own:

The tiny jingle bells are so cute--and they even work!  I also love the glass bead accents.  It's one of the nicest doll hair accessories I've encountered on a play doll.

It left behind quite a mess, though:

Lolita's hair originally had sections from either side of her face pulled back into a small ponytail:

But I took the ponytail out and brushed the hair thoroughly:

It's not very good hair.  It feels coarse and looks wild.  I probably could have gotten better results by just finger-combing the curls, but it's not like this hair ever looked good.

There was nothing to lose.
I pulled the hair away from Lolita's face again, and put the burette back on:

That's better.

We can definitely see the facial features better now, anyway:

As much as I love this face mold, I don't like the face-up as much as my other Kurhn dolls.  It looks okay from a distance, but is less impressive up close.

The biggest problem is that the paint is pixelated or granular.  It looks faded and indistinct in some areas:

There are even some lines of missing pixels in Lolita's pupils:

It's interesting to note that the eyelash design has been reduced from what we saw with the Glamorous Kurhns.  The upper lashes are confined to the edges of the eyes, and there are no lower lashes.

Also, the color choices here are odd.  The eyes are orange, the eyebrows are an ombre mix of burgundy, orange, and yellow, and the lips are a bright orange-ish red:

Why so much orange?
None of those colors go very well with Lolita's light, pastel theme.

The pastel theme is set mostly by Lolita's frilly, mint green dress:

The dress has a velcro seam in back and is easy to take off and put back on again:

There's a lot going on with this dress.  It has a chiffon neckline and sleeves, both of which are trimmed with lace.  The bodice is also covered with fabric flowers in four different colors:

The skirt has a sheer overlay on either side, accented with lace and more fabric flowers:

And there's a dropped-waist net underskirt to add volume:

No cardboard required.
Lolita's green and white shoes coordinate well with her dress:

She could use some socks.
The shoes look awkward on Lolita's feet, probably because they are too big.  

But the design is really cool.  They have little vinyl straps with peg-and-hole closures that really work!

They remind me of Victorian boots for some reason.
The white paint on the straps and soles could be a little neater, but overall these are fun shoes.

Again, the aesthetic of this outfit is so different from the fashion doll clothing in this country.  I'd love to know how American kids would react to this style.

After getting a peek at Lolita's fancy knee joints, I was very excited to see the rest of her articulation.  Unlike my Glamorous Kurhn dolls, this girl has an impressive eighteen joints!

Her stand isn't much use to her without her shoes, but it kept her upright for that photo, at least.

Lolita's entire body is made out of plastic.  This gives her more rigidity and stability in her lower extremities, however many of the limb joints feel loose, which counteracts that stability a bit.

Let's run through the joints from top to bottom, though, starting with the neck.  Lolita's head movement is great.  She can look up...

And down:

And she can tip her head from side to side:

Her shoulders are rotating hinges that can lift straight up to about 90 degrees from her body:

Her elbows and wrists are also rotating hinges, with decent movement.  Her elbow flexion stops a bit shy of 90 degrees in some orientations, but it's still good articulation:

Lolita can touch her face and rest her hand naturally on her hip:

The elbow joints feel loose and can fall out of position, but for the most part the arms hold their poses well.

Lolita's hand mold is different from the earlier Kurhns.  All of her fingers are spaced apart, and she has little molded creases and fingernails:

Lolita has a swivel joint just under her bust:

Because of the changing contours in this area, the joint can look a little funny in some positions:

This body does not have elastic hips, which is awesome.  However, that means that the side-to-side splits aren't as impressive as they could be:

But front-to-back splits are pretty great:

And Lolita can sit on the ground without any balance problems:

I was especially excited about the knee joints, because while many of my favorite dolls have double-jointed knees, not all of them have rotation.  In this case, as I mentioned, Lolita has simple rotational joints just above her knees:

And then, of course, her fancy knee joints allow her to kneel on one knee:

Or on two:

And the joints are able to collapse in much the same way as a Made to Move Barbie's knees:

The extra rotation allows for a lot of balance control...and a lot of uncomfortable-looking poses:

But Lolita can tuck her legs off to the side in a very realistic way:

And she can sit in a chair beautifully:

With her legs crossed, even.
The lower knee joint is a bit loose, and this, combined with the rotation in the knee, can make it hard to keep Lolita's legs organized!

Everything's fine.
Last of all, Lolita has rotational hinges in her ankles, so she can point and flex her toes, and spin her feet around:

This doll is crazy-flexible:

And very fun to pose:

However, I found the flexibility in Lolita's knees a liability at times.  That part of the body is so flexible, it causes a lot of instability and posing confusion.

That said, Lolita's articulation is far superior to that of the earlier Kurhn dolls that I've reviewed.  Here's a look at Hua and Lolita side-by-side:

Glamorous Kurhn (left) and Sweet Lolita Kurhn (right).
Lolita's body design is a significant improvement for the most part.  I love her articulated wrists, especially.  I'm not sure that the upper torso joint is an improvement on the earlier waist joint, though.  I prefer the more aesthetically pleasing waist articulation.  However, I like Lolitas' plastic hips and super-flexible legs much more than Hua's warped vinyl appendages and elastic hips.  I also appreciate that Lolita can stand on her own two feet--even without shoes.

The down-side to the upgraded articulation is that Lolita's double-jointed knees are so flexible that they can easily get stuck in strange positions and often collapse under her weight.

Her are both Kurhn dolls next to Lena:

From left: Glamorous Kurhn, Signature Looks Barbie, Sweet Lolita Kurhn.
Lolita's articulation is similar in many ways to the Made to Move body, but I think putting the leg rotation in the upper thigh is a better decision that consolidating so many joints at the knee.

Hua and Lolita are the same height, but they have different torso proportions.  However, these two are still able to share clothing:

Hua wearing Lolita's outfit.

Hua's pink dress coordinates with Lolita's hair better than Lolita's own dress!

But the neckline of the dress doesn't fit Lolita any better than it fit Hua.

While I was changing Lolita's clothes, I figured it was a good time to try out her extra lingerie set.

The panties fit well, but the bra rides up and does not provide complete coverage:

Not wholesome at all.
As you might recall, Lolita also came with a woven basket:

She can hold the basket if I balance it in just the right way, but most of the time that elbow joint will collapse under the extra weight.

The basket itself is cute, if a little lopsided:

I put Lolita back into her full outfit for a few more pictures:

Look at how well I'm holding this basket!
The basket is a strange accessory.  I feel like it would make more sense if it was filled with flowers or something.

After I'd gotten all of the photos of Lolita I needed, I decided to try and boil wash some of the frizz and curl out of her hair.

Before the boil wash.
Even after several soaking sessions, the heat made practically no difference.  This is after the boil wash:

A little straighter, perhaps?
I guess the hair is slightly easier to control, with a bit less curl, but it still feels frizzy and coarse.

After the boil wash.
I'm really happy with Lolita's articulation, even if it feels loose in some places.  I also love her happy face, but I'm not as thrilled with her hair and her frilly outfit; it's just not my style.

I was eager to find a smiling Kurhn doll with better hair, and I stumbled upon this:

That doesn't look like a Kurhn box!
This is the first Kurhn doll I've ever seen that came inside a plain cardboard box with no window.  There's just a small amount of writing on the front of the box, and additional text on the bottom:

What is this doll, you might be wondering?  It's Kurhn's Alice The Playing Card limited edition:

Alice the Playing Card Kurhn doll, ~$48.
I was confused about this doll initially, because some of her promotional photos make it look like there's a red-haired version.  You can see one of those photos on the collector's card that came with the doll:

Sure looks like red hair to me.
I got very excited about a redheaded Alice, as you can imagine, but I think the hair color in that one photo is just an artifact of the lighting.  This doll is blonde, and I have not found any other versions.

Blonde is fine.
Alice has articulated wrists like Lolita, but she does not have double-jointed knees:

I believe her face mold is the same as Lolita's, but it's painted very differently!

She has lovely coral lip paint, but her eyes look blurry.  They're not pixelated the way Lolita's eyes are, but they're painted with lots of tiny dots, in an Impressionist-like style--or like they were drawn with chalk.  I prefer the clean, crisp lines on Hua's face, but this face-up has a dreamy, romantic look that I can appreciate.  I think the eyebrows look especially nice.

I mad a GIF to try and convince myself that this is the same face mold as Lolita.  It has to be, right?

But, wow.  Not only does that look like two different face molds to me, it looks like two different doll companies!

Anyway, I didn't take Alice out of her box for this review, because I've already showed off this face mold, and Alice's articulation is the same as the last doll I want to share.

The last doll I want to share is, of course, Little Panda:

Kurhn 6167, Little Panda 17th Anniversary doll, ~$20.
I could see even before de-boxing Panda that she has articulated wrists and single-jointed knees just like Alice.

Her box has a more typical Kurhn design, with a large window and a shimmery metallic backdrop.  The back of the box is covered in text, with a nice picture in the lower right hand corner:

The backdrop pulled easily out of the box:

Panda comes with the purse that she's holding, but no other little extras.  The only things next to her on the backdrop are little decorative cards:

I didn't miss the stand this time!  It was in a plastic bag taped to the backdrop:

Like all Kurhn dolls, Panda was very easy to de-box.  She had four longer plastic ties holding her in place, but nothing stuck into her head, thank goodness.

She didn't need her stand right out of the box, but you can see that her leg position is a bit weird:

She's struggling to stand up.
I had to bend her (warped) left leg in order to get her to balance:

But look at how cute she is!

So cute!
The card that comes with her is long and narrow and has a blank interior:

There is a place to fill in "to" and "from" on the back:

The card is a cute idea.  And because of Panda's simple packaging, it'd be possible to take the card out, write a little note, and then put it back in the box as good as new.

Panda's stand supports her thighs and helps with her balance considerably:

Although her shoes don't even touch the base of the stand most of the time!

Walking on air.
Here she is from the back, where you can see her long braids more clearly:

Panda's hair has a rooted center part, but the part on my doll is crooked, which is too bad:

Despite the crooked hair, this doll is so photogenic, I found myself posing her and playing with her even before I went through all of my usual review steps:

I really love her face.  This must be the classic Kurhn face mold, right?  But it looks so different to me!

First of all, Panda looks happier than your average Kurhn.  There are little lines that have been drawn at the edges of her mouth to accentuate her smile:

Also, her face paint is beautifully done.  She has the crisp delineation and clear colors in her eyes that are typical of Glamorous Kurhn dolls, but she also has subtle, detailed eyebrows like Alice:

And only slightly wonky eyes.
I like the hints of color around her eyes, too, like the orange lining her lower lid and the dot of pink on the inner edge:

Notice that she has no eyelashes whatsoever.  That's very different from the Glamorous Kurhn design!

Here's her lovely face from the other side:

In a rare combination, at least for this review, I not only love Panda's face, but I love her outfit, too.  It's a fun mix of Chinese elements, like the white silk fabric and panda accents, and a youthful, Sweet Lolita silhouette:

There are even some black bloomers hiding underneath the skirt's playful hemline:

The whole ensemble looks like a dress at first, but it's actually a skirt and tank top, both of which close in back with velcro:

The black elements in this outfit had me worried about staining, so the first thing I did was remove the neck band to see if it had left behind any marks:

This has a sturdy velcro seam that makes it easy to use.

Fortunately, there was no staining on Panda's neck!

Next, I removed the panda headband.  This is really well made, with a full white satin lining on the underside, and a strip of elastic in the band for easy use and a snug fit:

Removing the headband messed up Panda's hair a bit, though, which is a bummer.  I like her factory hairstyle and wanted to keep it in tact.

Panda also carries this fuzzy panda-themed purse with a white ribbon handle:

The purse has a small slit opening at the top, and was filled with tissue paper:

In lieu of conventional sleeves, Panda's outfit has two long silky arm cuffs with elastic at the top to grip the arms:

These pseudo-sleeves don't stay in place super-well, but I love the little jingle bell accents!

With the sleeves out of the way, Panda's arm articulation is on full display, and it looks great! 

The tank itself is simple, but pretty.  I love the unusual shape of the hemline, although it is not finished:

The construction is good, with a double-layered area at the top of the bodice and neat darts outlining the waist:

With the shirt out of the way, it's easier to see the design of the skirt:

It's a three-tiered confection with a satin waistband:

The top pink layered is pleated by hand, I suspect, and the white layers have a pleated texture in the fabric.

Under the skirt, Panda is wearing black bloomers, black and white striped socks, and black shoes:

The shoes have the same design as Lolita's shoes, with the tiny working straps.  The black and white striped socks, miraculously, did not leave any stains on Panda's legs:

The pattern on the bloomers is the same as the one on the neck band, but we get more of it here:

The pattern hints at bamboo, I guess, and has some white spots throughout.  It's a strange design, but it works nicely with the rest of the outfit.

Under all of those layers, Panda has a body that's different from both Hua and Lolita!

The body looks great.  It has twelve points of articulation (neck, shoulders, elbow, wrists, torso, hips, and knees).  The omissions from the Lolita body are double-jointed knees and ankle articulation.

The neck joint behaves like the other Kurhn dolls' necks, with side-to-side and up-and-down movement.

The arms behave in much the same way as Lolita's arms, but the design of the joints is different:

The wrists have more flexibility than Lolita's wrists, but the elbows, because of the angled cut on the upper arm, can't quite bend to 90 degrees in some orientations:

Panda can almost touch her mouth:

And she has very graceful hands:

Of the three Kurhn dolls in this review, I like Panda's hands the best.  Even though Lolita's mold is more detailed, the hands themselves look a bit clunky:

From left: Butterflies Love Flowers, Sweet Lolita, Little Panda.
Panda's torso joint looks very nice and natural, but it doesn't twist around like the other girls' joints.  Instead, it allows the upper body to tip from side to side:

And lean back and forth slightly:

Panda has plastic hip joints that do not allow full side-to-side splits:

But she has excellent front-to-back splits:

Maybe a little too excellent!

Her knees are simple hinges, so she can kneel on one knee:

Or on two:

And she sits in a chair really nicely:

I don't think Panda has rotation in her leg, but I'm away from home and can't double-check this before publication.  I will update!

Panda's lower legs are vinyl, so they have the tendency to warp and look odd, but the stability in her legs is better than it is with Lolita.

Overall, I really love her articulation.  I think she strikes a great balance between the other two dolls.  I don't miss the ankle joints at all, and I don't miss the double-jointed knees as much as I thought I would.

Here are all three dolls together:

From left: Sweet Lolita, Little Panda, and Butterflies Love Flowers Kurhn dolls.
All three dolls have good articulation, although Sweet Lolita and Little Panda stand out because of their jointed wrists and more appealing legs.

Despite the different bodies, all of these dolls can share clothing.  Here's Panda wearing Hua's dress and shoes:

The shoes look ridiculous, but they're not any better on Hua.
And here's Panda wearing Lolita's flowery dress:

Lolita is cute in Panda's dress, but it's hard to get past her hair:

I put Panda back into her own outfit for a few more pictures:

This girl is so adorable!

She looks a little cold without those sleeves...

And the outfit feels so more complete with the sleeves in place, even though they're a little hard to manage.

The panda decoration lacks subtlety, and it's not as pure white as the shirt.  I'm kinda tempted to snip it off.  But it's a panda for goodness sake.  How can get rid of it?

Especially when that little face and Panda herself are smiling so endearingly up at me:

Here's one last group shot of all three girls so you can see them side-by-side in their full outfits:

From left: Sweet Lolita, Little Panda, and Butterflies Love Flowers Kurhn dolls.
Bottom line?  When I first reviewed Kurhn dolls, I was so caught up in discovering a beautiful new brand of playline fashion dolls that I didn't think too much about variety--or even about articulation.  So now, eleven years later, it's fun to go back, take a more critical look at an early doll, and explore some of the new bodies, faces, and painting styles that have cropped up over the last decade.

I'll start off by saying that the clothing has not changed much over the years.  There's a lot of variety in terms of style, and certain outfits are going to appeal to some people more than others, but the construction, attention to detail, and fabric choices are good across the board, with the exception of the ill-fitting neckline on Hua's dress.  Little Panda stands out in this category to me.  I love everything about her outfit, and the quality is way better than what I expect from a $20 play doll these days.

I was very excited to see the new face mold on Lolita, and the mold itself did not disappoint.  It has a sweetly subtle smile that adds variety while staying true to the Kurhn aesthetic.  However, the paint job on that doll diminished my appreciation of the mold.  The paint is pixelated and the colors are too bright for the pastel outfit.  The Kurhn Alice doll has a much better version of the smiling face, although even that doll has an odd eye paint technique.  Hua and Panda both have well-painted faces with no pixelation, but again it's Panda who stands out.  Her face paint is wonderfully detailed, and somehow brings out a new expression in the much-used original Kurhn face mold.

I was most interested to see three different versions of Kurhn articulation side-by-side.  Hua's joints felt familiar because of my old Glamorous Kurhn review, but looking at them again after becoming so familiar with bodies like Made to Move and Rainbow High made me feel less impressed than I was in 2013.  It's still a nice body, but I wish the legs weren't so prone to warping and I'd love wrist articulation.  The two newer bodies are both very nice.  Not only does Lolita have wrist articulation, but she has double-jointed knees with rotation.  Furthermore, her legs are made out of hard plastic, and so they don't warp.  This sounds like perfection, and it's close, but I found the joints on this doll to be a bit unwieldy.  It's partly because the joints are simply too loose in a few areas, but perhaps also because there are three joints grouped together in the small knee area.  Little Panda (who has the same body as Alice) strikes a nice balance in terms of articulation.  She has the wrist articulation that Hua is lacking, paired with a hand mold that I think is more attractive than Lolita's.  She has vinyl legs and single-jointed knees, and while I miss the flexibility of double-jointed knees, I appreciate the stability in her body.  In the future, I'll probably seek out Kurhn dolls with bodies like Panda and Alice as a first choice, and Lolita as a close second choice.

It's fascinating to me that in a Chinese Toys R Us store, you can find Kurhn dolls and Barbie dolls together.  I'm so curious which brand sells better, and I'd love to know how Kurhn would fare if they were offered alongside Barbie in this country.  There's such a different aesthetic between the two brands--from the face shapes and body types to the contrasting styles of clothing.  And there's a fairly big gap in clothing quality and average number of joints, too.  I think Kurhn dolls bring something sweet and unique to the 1:6 fashion doll market, and you get a lot for your money, even with international shipping.  I, for one, would absolutely love to be able to stroll down the aisles of Target or Toys R Us and have a new Kurhn doll as one of my options.


  1. Thank you for another lovely review!!

    I'd forgotten about Kurhn dolls myself, but I remember now how charming I find their faces!

    I've been in a bit of a slump, and was just thinking to myself that I'd like to get a new doll from a line I'd never had before, which led to me thinking about your reviews, so this is lovely timing for me, haha! :) Even if I don't end up with a Kurhn myself, it was fun to see all the different types of dolls they've got going on now! (I love the panda one especially, she's super cute!)

    Aslso! If you see them and are interested: I was browsing Target's site for craft kits and for some reason a blind box plush was in that category lol. They seem to be new, as there's only a (smaller) toaster set and a (larger) oven set. They're called "Cookeez Makery" (love the pun! make+bakery, I imagine?) and the oven one's mechanics baffle me (you seem to make clay? and it magically turns into a plushie, somehow?) but the character designs seem cute and interesting! I'm not sure if there will be more designs out later, but if you're interested in looking at some surprise plushies, perhaps you'd enjoy those!

  2. I've only been half paying attention to Kurhn's releases, but there newer ones were definitely a surprise to see just given the drastic change in facial aesthetics. I have to agree that I definitely prefer the pandas body of all the available current bodies. Their hair is polypropylene, but they tend to use a coating kinda like a pomade that helps it look and feel a bit better. Also on a side not, have you seen the new AG cinderella collection? It seems like it would be right up your alley!

  3. Sweet Lolita Fantasy? Forget neutral soup water, someone should have been clued in to the trouble with the doll's name!

    1. "Lolita" is an established fashion term in Asian fashion culture for girly, frilly elegance, but yes, that specific phrase is not the best when considering the other connotation!

  4. I really liked sweet Lolita fantasy’s face it was so different from most other dolls. Out of curiosity, have you seen the new Smart Doll Pear Body dolls?

  5. I personally adore Lolita’s outfit! It’s my favorite out of them all! If only she had nicer hair…

  6. Sweet Lolita’s face and outfit have utterly charmed me! I wish she had hair that matched her good qualities!

  7. Yet again your reviews make me want dolls I probably wouldn't care about if I saw them in the wild. Also, I noticed that some of the listings on Kurhn's AliExpress store (one was the christmas dolls) include a nice infographic comparing the different body types.

  8. I know a lot about Kurhn dolls actually based on this chinese site called Baidu i've come across and the Glamorous Kurhn line was released around a decade ago in 2013.

  9. Hi Emily! This is unrelated, but have you seen the new American Girl Cinderella doll? I thought of you immediately when I saw her!

  10. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and detailed review as always! I love the detail in Kurhn's outfits and her faces are very cute. The panda themed doll is enchanting.

    I have to say the lack of updates made me worry a little, not because you have any obligation to update here but because I hoped all was well. We don't know each other except through chatting on your posts now and again but you have been a big help to me in my collecting hobby by providing such thoughtful reviews and reference information about the dolls you've featured here, so I truly wish you well as a fellow collector and as someone who has made such a lovely resource for the collector community. Glad to hear you've been relaxing!

  11. Ah, Kurhn! Probably one of the most underrated (or maybe just unknown?) doll brands in the (western) doll collecting community. One of my favorite dolls in my entire collection is a Kurhn doll -- I think you know which one. I've been eyeing Kurhn dolls on Aliexpress for a while and I really regret not buying this one doll called "Kurhn Style" with strawberry blonde hair, a pink dress, and, interestingly enough, multiple hand options! Some of my favorite ones are the very elaborate Kurhns in traditional Chinese attire. I love the brand's range, offering highly stylized or thematic dolls, as well as traditional ones and more modern fashion dolls. I appreciate that they are easily available through Aliexpress nowadays, although I usually do prefer seeing dolls in real life before I make the decision to purchase. Regardless, I'm sure some more Kurhn dolls will charm their way into my collection at some point.

    The differences between the classic Kurhn dolls and their newer offerings are very interesting to see. I absolutely adore Lolita's outfit and aesthetic (the translated instructions in her box make for a good laugh as well), but her face isn't as charming to me as the classic Kurhn face. And the Mattel levels of pixelation definitely don't help with that. Her articulation seems wonderful, but her hair is a big let-down. Many pros and cons overall. When you showed Alice I couldn't believe it was the same face mold! The technique they used for her face-up makes for a very sweet, almost OOAK look. Panda is actually one of the dolls I've been eyeing on Aliexpress. I've been hesitant to purchase because, in all honesty, the classic Kurhn face is unbeatable to me. Panda's face is super cute but I think I would've bought her in a heartbeat if she had the classic face. I might just have to go for it though, I fear your review and pictures have maximized her charming powers to me, haha!

  12. Glad to see you're doing well, if busy. And delighted for another review.

    I really enjoy the aesthetics of the kurhn dolls. Not my go to, or what I would wear personally, but so fun to look at or draw. They have such sweet faces, that get surprisingly varied, and the outfits are beautiful and well done. I though Lolita's was my fav, but I think Panda won there.

  13. Btw, those white spots on the bloomers? They're pandas! If you look close, you'll see their black spots for ears too

  14. My lone Kurhn doll is Sweet Lolita Fantasy! She was a holiday gift last year. I was enraptured by her pink hair and mischievous expression. And now I really want the Panda girl. Great review as always!

  15. I'd forgotten about these dolls, but the classic face mold is kind of perfect for a custom project I've been considering... might need to look into them more! please don't feel obligated to experiment, but by eyeballing it do you think they'd work on a Made to Move body?

  16. "Keeping Up with Kurhn" is a delightful blog, offering a refreshing perspective on various topics. The content is engaging, insightful, and always leaves me eager for more. It's a wonderful platform for both learning and enjoyment. Keep up the fantastic work