Thursday, June 6, 2024

Super Creator Happy Meals Kitchen Kit by Rolife

Back in the earlier days of Toy Box Philosopher, I had a project series with a few multi-part articles documenting my efforts with a doll-related art project.  I think there were only two installments, The Saskia Project and The My Twinn Project.  The My Twinn Project, in which I tried my hand at restoring and repainting My Twinn dolls, blossomed into an obsession that lasted for years, and even resulted in a new blog.  I'd love to get back into repainting those dolls someday, but there's just too much going on right now.

However, I still sometimes find myself in a crafty or artistic mood, and am often looking for outlets.  One of my kids has recently become fascinated by the wooden kits made by a company called Rolife.  These kits are apparently very satisfying to assemble, and result in some beautiful pieces (things like clocks, book nooks, dollhouses, and music boxes) that are a manageable size and great for display.  You can see examples on the Rolife website.

I went to browse the wooden kits myself one day, thinking I might try one, and I noticed a newer line called Super Creator.  The Super Creator sets are plastic kits that snap together to make a single diorama-like dollhouse room or shop.  I love dioramas and dollhouses, so these kits are very appealing to me.  One thing that was unclear, though, is what the scale of the kits was, and which dolls might be able to use the rooms.  That left me curious.  So, I decided to buy one of the rooms, build it, and then let some of my dolls test it out:

Littles Pet Shop Blythe doll in the Happy Meals Kitchen by Rolife, $43.99.

There are currently three house rooms and six shops to choose from in the Super Creator series.  The house rooms are the Happy Meals Kitchen featured in this review, and also the Sweet Dream Bedroom:

That looks very crowded.
The third room is the Cozy Living Lounge:

Of the two room kits I didn't purchase, this living room looks the most interesting to me, with its mini laptop, espresso machine, and working lamp.  I like the clock on the left wall, too.  And I want to know if there's anything inside that box on the shelf.

The shop choices are a grocery store called Energy Supply Store:

Love it!
There's the outside of a produce store called Daily VC Fruit Store (VC must be vitamin C):

Is that a vending machine for oranges?  I might need that.
There's also the Golden Wheat Bakery:


The bakery looks amazing, but the advertising for it is bizarre.  Here's one of the promotional photos:


What is happening here?  Those two women are definitely not holding the bakery, and even if they were, what are they doing with it?  And what does the girl in the middle know that we don't?

The photographs for the other sets look slightly more believable.  They certainly might be fake, or AI-generated, but it's at least conceivable that this father and son are building the actual set:

They don't look very organized about it, though.
You know I have a (probably unhealthy) obsession with AI-generated images, and so I was curious to see how well something like DALL-E could handle advertising photographs like this.

I asked DALL-E 3 for a "father and son duo having a fun time together while assembling a Rolife Super Creator Happy Meals Kitchen."  DALL-E got the basic idea, I guess, but these two appear to be building the kit out of fruit and cereal:

Happy Mealles!
I tried again with a mother/daughter duo, and while they certainly look like they're having fun, there are way too many hands.  Or the wrong kind of hands, anyway:

That hand is from the Other Mother.
Also, those two are still using a suspicious amount of food (and a lot of espresso) to build their kit.  Eggs should not be required.

So I got less specific, and just asked for a father/daughter pair building a dollhouse kitchen diorama kit.  There's no food involved this time, which is great, but then why is a cutting board and knife necessary?

That is such a strange mix of parts.
Who knows if AI was involved with the Rolife advertising, but I could definitely see using a generic AI image and then substituting in the correct product.  Just make sure everyone's hands are in the right place.

Also, that is a very tiny child
I could waste all day playing around with DALL-E, and I very nearly did.  But I need to stay on track here.

Getting back to the shop options, there's also a bubble tea room called Double Joy Bubble Tea:

I've never tried bubble tea.
I'm fascinated by this part of the bubble tea set:

What does it do?
It looks like a mechanical sticker applicator or something.  Now I'm really curious.

There's also the Fascinating Book Store:

This set has a lot of paper items.
And a coffee shop called Daily Inspiration Cafe:

Cute dog portrait.
The coffee shop looks nice, but some of the items seem out of scale with each other.  Like those chairs are so small compared to the table and the cabinet in the back.

Of all these sets, the only ones I don't covet are the book store, because (spoilers) those little cardboard items are not my favorite thing to make, and the coffee shop, because of the strange proportions.  And maybe the bedroom, too, because of how crowded it is, and because the bedding is made out of vinyl, not fabric.

There are many other rooms and shops available through the wooden kit line, too, which I believe is called Rowood.  These are all really beautiful and detailed.  Take this coffee shop for example:

That looks so cozy!
But I stayed focused only on the plastic Super Creator sets for now.  The wooden kits have longer build times (6-10 hours) and seem more fragile and less geared towards play.  And I have no idea if they are the same scale as the plastic kits.

Despite all of the excellent options, it was easy for me to choose the Happy Meals Kitchen set for this review.  I love doll kitchens, and have reviewed several of them, all of the way back to the obscure Muppet Show Swedish Kitchen that I showcased in 2012.  I think that was only my third review of all time.  Does anyone remember it?

The Muppet Show Swedish Kitchen (2003).
When I wrote that review, I didn't have very many dolls in my house, and so I claimed that the kitchen wouldn't work well for anyone but the Palisades Muppet figures.  I doubt that's true.  Maybe I should revisit the Swedish Kitchen someday and prove myself wrong?

The Rolife kitchen came in a small cardboard box with plastic wrapping:


The bottom of the box has the piece count (152) and an age recommendation (8+):


The sides of the box have photos of some of the details in the set:


Here's a closer look at one side:


And the other:


It looks pretty great, doesn't it?

The back of the box is packed with information:


The top left shows how multiple kits can be combined to make a huge dollhouse--although most of the rooms in the house are shops:


I hope Rolife releases more sets in the future (bathroom, kid's bedroom, dining room) so that I can actually make a complete house.  That would be very cool.

There are some text warnings in the middle of the box:

Don't let your children swallow.
My favorite part is: "the environment will be influenced if you discard this product at will. Please dispose properly."  Well said.

The bottom of the box shows the different ways that you can expand on the kit, by purchasing a roof or a transparent dust cover door (both sold separately).


I appreciate the credits at the bottom of the box.  It's often hard to dig up this type of information, and so I love having everything spelled out so clearly.

I removed the plastic wrapping and opened the box:


The pieces are organized into about a dozen plastic bags, much like a Lego set:


For example, this bag has all of the pieces required to make the refrigerator:


You can see that some of the pieces are quite big, so the building element here is much less intense than it is with something like Lego.

I took the kit up to my kitchen table where I had room to spread out and get started.

Here's the instruction booklet:


I won't go through every step of these instructions, that would be boring, but I'll show you the first page so that you can understand the general layout:


The pages are in color, and the steps are clear, described with both graphics and words.  The first step was to assemble the oven, which mostly involved snapping pieces together in a certain order:


All of the pieces for the oven and its accessories came in a single plastic bag:

This is everything that was in that bag.
I think all of the Super Creator sets have an item with a light-up feature.  For this kitchen it's the interior of the oven:


The pieces were all easy to snap together and seem to stay together well.  And the details are great!  The little oven knobs actually move, and all of the doors open and close:


The directions suggest using tweezers (included) to insert the oven rack and shelves, and this was a helpful tip.  Everything is very small:


Once the oven was assembled, the instructions wanted me to use adhesive dots to permanently attach the pot and pan to the burners:


I decided to ignore this step, because I wanted to be able to move things around.  Here's how everything would have looked if I'd stuck it where it was meant to go:


With the really tiny pieces, like the teacups and saucers, I took the advice of the instructions and used the adhesive dots.  The dots have an orange protective film on one side that has to be removed:


The tweezers were helpful for this, too:


The next step was to assemble a wall-mounted cabinet, and I wanted to share some of the instructions from this part because they were especially helpful.

For example, it says to use the back of the tweezers to push the small door handles into place:


I was like, nah I don't need to do that!  But then I had a really hard time using my fingers to push the handles, and so I ended up taking the advice.  It worked perfectly.

There's also a suggestion to not push down on the middle of a longer cupboard piece:


I suspect that piece would have snapped in two if I hadn't heeded the advice.

I did have a small problem with the cupboard, though.  I managed to get one of the sliding doors into the wrong track, and it was difficult to snap it into the correct position.  I was very worried I would break something!


But with some patience and gentle pressure, I was able to fix it.

Both the cupboard and the oven interact with a kitchen wall, so the next thing I had to do was build the room:


This was easy (just snapping things together again), and the design is very clever.  The walls of the kitchen both have a grid of hexagonal holes:


There are decorative cardboard pieces that cover most of the holes, but certain areas have cutouts so that specific holes are accessible:


In this case, the exposed holes are for the oven light cord, the cabinet, and a small picture that hangs on the wall.

I was instructed to run the oven cord through the hole in the wall and out the back:


Then, I had to string the cord through a hole in the cardboard that decorates the exterior of the kitchen:


The cord plugs into a port that's designed to look like a utility box:


What a great design!

Once I'd mounted the cabinet, hung the picture (and a small row of wall hooks), and secured the oven, this is how things looked:


And all of that only took about 20 minutes.  It was very satisfying.

The rest of the build involved mostly snapping more pieces together, but there were a few unique steps.  For example, I had to assemble a bunch of lightweight cardboard accessories:


These shapes had perforated edges that made it easy to punch them out:

Cheese is power!
And then I folded along pre-creased lines to make little boxes:

A box of peanut butter?
Here's the variety of items:

Two boxes of peanut butter!
The cardboard items fill the food storage spaces nicely and look okay, but they were my least favorite thing to assemble in this kit.  I especially disliked having to seal one edge of each box with an adhesive strip.  The strips are small, sticky, and hard to manage.

I tried not to use a lot of adhesive dots or strips as a rule, but as the set started to come together, I realized it was going to be hard to control some of the smaller accessories.  So I followed the instructions and attached a few things, like these sausages:


The adhesive strip has a bit of shine, but is mostly inconspicuous:


The whole build went very smoothly, with one exception...which was completely my fault.

The instructions clearly say to hang the exterior part of the refrigerator door before snapping the interior part of the door in place:


But I was getting cocky at this stage of construction and for some reason thought I didn't need the instructions.  Silly me.  So I snapped the two pieces of the door together first:


Then I realized my mistake and had to pry the door apart with a screwdriver.   It came apart eventually, but not easily, and not without damage:


The damage is not too obvious when the fridge is fully-assembled, but it's a bit of a bummer:

RTFM, Emily.
That error taught me two things: the first is that the pieces hold together really well, which is great in terms of durability.  The second is that mistakes are hard to correct, so always read the directions!

Here's the completed kit:


It took me under an hour to build, and I'm really happy with it!  The details are wonderful.


I'll show you all of the details up-close in my studio in a sec, but first I want to point out a few pieces that I didn't use right away.

There's this ceiling lamp:


And a funny cord:


The kitchen does not have a ceiling, so there's nowhere to hang a lamp.  However, it's possible to buy roofs for these sets, sold separately for $7.50:


The roof accessory set is very simple.  It includes a pre-fabricated roof with plastic panels, and two small connector pegs:


The little pegs are to connect different rooms together.

Anyway, the light from the kitchen set snaps into the underside of the roof, like this:


Then there's a groove to conceal the cord as it runs down one side of the roof:


My cord kept falling out of the groove, so I used some clear tape to hold it in place.

The decorative cardboard has to be removed from one side of the kitchen so that the light cord can go through one of the holes...


And then connect to the power hub:


The kitchen set came with a few more connector pegs and a long pole:


The pole stabilizes the fourth corner of the roof when everything is assembled:


I wasn't sure what to do with the funny short cord that came with the kitchen:


But the directions explain that it's to connect light features from different room units:


To power the kitchen, I had to dig up my own USB-C cable.  My cable is short, so I had a hard time finding a place where I could photograph the house and plug in the cord.

But it was the worth the effort:


The warm glow of the overhead lamp is really great, and I love the effect of the oven light:


It actually looks hot in there!


Here's another angle:


And a look up at the overhead lamp:


The lights will be great for display, but in order to photograph everything carefully in my studio, I removed the roof, the lamp, and the supporting pole:


Now you can see each part of the kitchen again with all of the included accessories:



And here are the outside walls with their decorations:


I like how the windows have pictures of what's actually inside the kitchen:

Including a bottle of ketchup!
I'll take you around the inside of the kitchen walls, too, starting with the left edge, where the row of hooks is mounted to the wall and holds a pink and white striped vinyl apron:


The window on that wall shows a nighttime scene with the coffee shop across the street:


On the opposite wall, there's the mounted cabinet, the oven, and a small framed picture:


The cardboard accessories fit nicely into the cabinet, and the cabinet has a rod with hooks that hold some kitchen items:


The framed picture is of a girl walking near the ocean at sunset:


And of course you've seen the oven before, with all of its opening doors and spinning knobs:


I stored some of the extra pieces from the kit in the bottom drawer of the oven, just in case I need them some day.

The accessories that came with the oven are a frying pan, steak, and tongs:


And also this wonderful red dutch oven:


With a removable top and an interior that looks like ceramic coating:


I didn't show you any of the sink's assembly stages, but here's the completed piece:


It came with a soap dispenser and a yellow sponge, both of which I decided to stick into place with adhesive dots:


The front doors of the cabinet open, and there's plenty of storage space inside:


The sink countertop has enough room to hold this small microwave oven:


The microwave has nice detail on the back:


And on the bottom:


And the clear door opens to reveal a grey interior:


The other food accessories that came with this set are toast and eggs, a bowl of pasta, and the cutting board with sausages that I showed you earlier:


There's also a clear bowl with (removable) lettuce, and a bottle of ketchup:


And here are all of the little cardboard boxes that I had to assemble:


A few of them have nutritional details on the back, which reminds me of the Make It Mini food!


Here's a close-up of the Five Yummy Multi-Grain nutritional facts:


I was curious to see how all of the food accessories would fit into the cool yellow refrigerator:


I love the retro design of this fridge:


Both the fridge and the freezer doors open, and there are clear plastic shelves and a plastic drawer inside:


Unfortunately, the food does not fit very well into the fridge:


The lettuce doesn't fit into the crisper drawer, and the ketchup only fits into the door shelf if it's tipped over.

But at least the lettuce fits into the freezer (even though that's a terrible idea) and some of the boxes fit on the fridge shelves:


Food items can also be stored on this little green cart:


The non-food accessories in the set include a glass, a coffee mug, a pot, and the lettuce bowl:


There's also an intricate little fork and a serrated knife:


And the two tea cups that I stuck to their saucers:


The last two items in the set are the kitchen table and a single chair:


The chair has a green cushion, and the table has a light woodgrain surface:


I had a fun time arranging all of the accessories in different ways:


I'm happy with the mix of free accessories and things that are stuck in place.


It's a really cozy, inviting, and highly-detailed kitchen!


Now comes the really fun part, though: seeing which dolls are able to use this kitchen.

Lena would normally be the first one to offer some scale perspective, but she's out of town visiting Ian this week.  I think they're going rock climbing or something.

Standing in for Lena, I have one of the newest Signature Looks girls with the Andra face mold:


Her name is Petra and she's gorgeous:

I have my moments.
Petra has an original, 1:6 Made to Move body and is way too big for the kitchen:

No kidding, Emily.
Even Chelsea-sized Barbie dolls like my little Rebecca are too big for this room!

Barbie Chelsea doll in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
I wanted to try out a 1:12 dollhouse scale doll, but realized that I didn't own any.  I turned to Amazon, as I often do, for a quick solution.  I found this 5.75 inch porcelain doll for $14:

She even came with a stand.
She's a lovely little doll, especially for the price:


And even though she can sit at the kitchen table and her outfit matches the fridge...


She's much too big for the room.

Some of the 1:12 fake food that I bought for my Li'l Woodzeez diner works pretty well with this kitchen, though, as you can see here:


I searched around for smaller dolls and found my LOL girl and the little knockoff doll, Eloise, who has the same body:

LOL Surprise in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
Eloise thinks that the food in this kitchen is a perfect fit for her!


Lulu Pop mini dolls like Elva fit the space in a similar way:

Lulu Pop mini in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
Elva, Eloise, and my LOL girl all have the same problem: their bodies work in the space, but they have large heads with big hair that takes up too much room in the small kitchen.  The girls were constantly knocking things over with their hair!

I also wanted to try one of my favorite mini dolls, Littlest Pet Shop Blythe:


Autumn looks great in this kitchen.  Her body is in scale with most of the items, it's just that she has a huge head.  

She can even sit at the table:


I looked around for similarly-sized dolls and found my four-inch Enchantimals fox, Feana:


Standard Enchantimals are too big for this space, but the younger sibling dolls like Feana look okay, as does the smaller Cambrie, who came in the Enchantimals matryoshka-style set that I showed you last summer:

Enchantimals in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
There's a similar thing going on with Mattel's Extra Minis and Extra Mini Minis.  The regular Extra Minis are too big, but the Extra Mini Minis look fine:

Extra Mini and Extra Mini Mini in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
Rosa spotted some yummy-looking eggs and decided to stick around after her scale-check photo:


She's a little small for some of the appliances, but she sits at the table nicely and could definitely move into this kitchen:


I also had to test out some Calico Critter dolls with this set.  Here are Lucy and Buddy:

Calico Critters in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
Like Rosa, these two are a little short for the space, but that didn't stop Lucy from getting right to work making Buddy a snack:

Cheese is power, son.
For another point of context, here's a Calico Critter fridge next to the Rolife fridge:


They're almost exactly the same height, but the Rolife fridge is more delicate.

Because the Critters work fairly well in this kitchen, that means Li'l Woodzeez should work, too:

Although they take up more space.
In addition to Honey Bee Acres families:

Honey Bee Acres in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
I was running out of options in my house, so I ran to Target to see what small dolls I might discover there.  I was excited to find a new Polly Pocket set that I thought might work:

Polly Pocket Fash-tastic Bday Pack, $22.99.
Most of the new Polly Pocket items involve super-tiny dolls (one of which I'll try to review on Patreon), but this particular set has two of the larger 3.5" dolls...and tons of little accessories.

Polly Pocket bodies are about the same size as Littlest Pet Shop bodies, but they have heads that are more in proportion to their bodies:

Little Pet Shop Blythe (left) and Polly Pocket (right).
So it's no surprise that Polly and friends work very well in this kitchen:

Polly Pocket in the Rolife Happy Meals Kitchen.
I think Polly is 1:24 scale, so it's fair to say that this is about the right scale for the Rolife kits.

Polly certainly felt at home, and got right to work fixing dinner:


Anyone in the mood for some pasta and salad?


The Polly Pocket set that I bought includes an oven, so here's a side-by-side comparison to double-check the scale:


They're pretty much the same size.

Being able to confirm that these sets are approximately 1:24 scale was great, but unfortunately there aren't too many 1:24 doll options on the market--at least not ones that fit the budget of this review.  I searched Amazon and Etsy and couldn't really find much for under $100.

However, there's a Swedish company called Lundby that makes 1:18 scale dolls, which I thought might be close enough to work.

I had a bunch of Lundby dollhouse stuff when I was a kid.  The items I remember are from the 1960s, but I wasn't alive in the 60s, so I'm not sure where they came from.  Maybe my grandmother?  Anyway, I know I had the mustard yellow bathroom set shown in this house:

From Wikipedia's Lundby page.
The dolls from the 60s look like this:

I had a few of those.
By the 1970s, the appearance of the dolls had changed dramatically:

And not for the better.
In 1997, Micki of Sweden took over the development of Lundby dolls and dollhouses.  Over the years, Micki introduced a completely new body design for the dolls, in addition to some ethnic diversity.  

The current Lundby dolls look like this:

That baby is so cute.
In around 2019, Micki added a modular room option to their dollhouse lineup.  The room boxes are not super-easy to find in the United States, but they're definitely on my radar:


That would make a fun comparison to the Rolife rooms, wouldn't it?  For this review, though, I have to stay focused on the dolls.

Complete Lundby families like the ones I showed you, above, tend to cost $50-60, but I was able to find single, out-of-box dolls on Etsy for under $20.

The first one I bought was this mother character from the 70s who I had to name Jennifer:


Jennifer is wearing a long-sleeved striped shirt and denim skirt, both of which scream 70s.

The clothing does not open in back and is not meant to be removed:


Jennifer's expression is, um...sleepy:


But she has rooted hair with bangs that is impressive on a doll this tiny.

Jennifer has five points of standard articulation.  Her head and arms can spin around:


Her legs have hinged movement at the hip that allows for front-to-back splits (sorry for the indelicate pose here):


She can also sit upright on the ground:


The bonus with this doll is that she has rubber legs with a wire joint at the knee:


The leg can't bend below or above the knee, which I discovered by trying too hard and snapping what feels like a plastic armature underneath.  Sorry, Jennifer.

Jennifer is 4.25 inches tall, so just a bit taller than Polly Pocket.  And she has a head that's in realistic proportion to her body.  She felt to me like she was going to be a great fit for the Happy Meals Kitchen.

And she is!

Maybe a bit tall.
Jennifer's delicate features align well with the smaller details of the kitchen like the oven knobs, cupboard handles, and utensils.  She can even slide her thumb into the hole at the end of the spatula, which makes cooking a lot easier:


Jennifer went and made herself a huge plate full of eggs and toast:


The food pieces look too big for Jennifer, but that tea cup looks about right to me.

And if I zoom out, I feel like Jennifer fits the Rolife scale and level of detail well:


Jennifer is great, but she feels a little dated to me, and her face is, shall we say, not an easy one to bond with.

So, I turned my attention to the most current line of Lundby dolls.  I ended up buying a used mother figure from the Charlie family set:


This doll, who looks like a Freja to me, has bright facial screening with clear features:


Freja's short blond hair is made out of soft vinyl and has a nice molded texture.

She has good balance and can stand on her own, which is great


And from the back, I can already see that her fabric clothing was designed to be removable:


I wish I'd paid more attention to how the scarf was originally tied, because it looked good and laid flat before I removed it.  

Underneath the scarf, the red dress has a boxy cut and unfinished edges:

Like a hospital scrub dress.
There's a velcro seam in back that makes dressing and undressing very easy:


Underneath the dress, Freja has a plastic torso with hard vinyl limbs:


Seeing those jointed knees for the first time was a nice surprise!

Freja has seven joints in total, which is really great for a four-inch doll.  Her head and arms can all spin around:


She can do very slight side-to-side splits:


And full front-to-back splits:


She can also sit solidly on the ground:


The knee joints are simple hinges that allow Freja to kneel:


She'll also be able to sit in a chair nicely.

Before we see how Freja fits in the kitchen, I wanted to pause here and show you a few comparison pictures of the different sizes of doll that I've looked at today.  First, here are examples of the four different scales:

1:6 (Barbie), 1:12 (brand unknown), 1:18 (Lundby), and 1:24 (Polly Pocket).
And here are just the three smaller dolls:

1:12, 1:18, 1:24.
This doesn't feel right to me.  There should be as much difference between the 1:12 girl and Freja as there is between Freja and Polly.  I guess it's not an exact science, or one of them isn't what she claims to be.

To add to the confusion, Calico Critters and Littlest Pet Shop Blythe are often described as 1:16, which should put them somewhere in between the porcelain girl and Freja.  Not so much:

From left: unknown brand 1:12 doll, Calico Critter, Littlest Pet Shop Blythe, Lundby mother, Polly Pocket.
If Polly Pocket is 1:24, then I'd say Littlest Pet Shop Blythe is, too.  Calico Critters are harder to gauge since their proportions are so different.

Anyway, I may not know their exact scales, but here's a group shot so you can see the whole assortment together:


And the really important question that remains is: does Freja work with the Happy Meals Kitchen?


I think that both Freja's size and her bright coloring go well with the space.  She might be a little on the tall side, but hey, so am I.

She certainly had no trouble accessing what she needed to start cooking:


I think maybe she's making a meat stew or something?


That'll have to go into the oven for quite a while.


But once the stew went into the oven,


Freja started cooking something else:


I asked her what she was doing, and she told me that she'd invited all of the other dolls from the review over for brunch!

Well, that's pretty ambitious, I have to say.  You'd better get back to work, Freja!  

And she did:


A lot of hard work and a few hours later, she was all ready for the party:

Time to eat!
Bottom line?  The Rolife Super Creator Happy Meals Kitchen achieves a satisfying blend of the easy-to-assemble simplicity of plastic Lego bricks, and the realism and detail of a wooden kit.  I also like that the kitchen can be made without the mess of sandpaper or glue.  I've started a few wooden dollhouse kits in my life, but I've never finished one.  I found it hard to make quick progress, and difficult to store the pieces and contain the mess during assembly.  In contrast, not only did I finish the Rolife kit, but I was able to do it in under an hour.

That might actually be my first criticism of the kitchen, though: as someone who loves elaborate Lego sets, the build here is not as complicated or involved as I would like.  I would have been happy to continue the project for several more hours.  On the other hand, an hour-long time frame is great for younger kids, who might want a faster result.  I don't have many other complaints about the building experience.  I had a small issue with one of the cabinet doors, and damaged the refrigerator because of my own failure to follow directions, but most steps were smooth, and there were no missing pieces.  Unlike Lego, however, mistakes can be hard to correct, since the pieces do not all easily come apart.

Looking at the kitchen as a dollhouse and not a building kit, it's even harder for me to find critiques.  I love the look of the room, with its bright colors, retro-design refrigerator, and detailed oven.  The fact that the oven has an interior light is especially amazing.  I love how so many of the doors open, and that the little knobs on the oven even spin around.  As a bonus, the included food and utensils are realistic enough to make a great display.  It's a bit disappointing that so few of the food items fit inside the fridge, and everything is so small that the adhesive dots were more necessary than I wanted them to be, but these are small complaints.  At a roughly 1:24 scale, this kitchen can accommodate a surprising number of my smaller dolls, including Calico Critters, Polly Pocket, Littlest Pet Shop Blythe, and of course the 1:18 Lundby dolls.  Overall, I feel like the set is worth its $40 price, even without considering the entertainment value of the DIY experience.

Speaking of price, the overhead light that comes with this set can only be used if an extra $7 roof part is purchased, and I think this is probably worth it, especially if you intend the room for display and not play.  The lights look really great.  The only problem here is that you have to supply your own USB-C cable, and have to have a display set-up that accommodates the length of that cable.

An added perk of the Rolife kitchen is that it gave me an opportunity to re-visit several of the small dolls that I have in my collection now, and also learn more about the Lundby dolls and dollhouses that I was acquainted with in my youth.  And that right there is the beauty and the danger of doll reviewing: now, not only do I want three more of the Rolife kits (at least), but I've fallen down the rabbit hole of the Lundby world, and I have no idea where that will take me next.

17 comments:

  1. What a cute little set. I've becone increasingly interested in dollhouses and dioramas for taking art photos to pair with my doll reviews, but unfortunately the majority of my dolls would require much larger rooms and I am not a miniaturist, so I haven't yet achieved a full constructed room. Just backdrops that get taken down after photos, sometimes using corners in the house! The only doll I have right now that would fit this kitchen is a four-inch Living Dead Dolls Mini, and her tone doesn't fit such a cozy space, nor does her toddler design.

    Still, I'm always fascinated by small dolls and their engineering, so it was great seeing such a wide comparison in this post! I think there are some 1960s Lundbys in my mom's old toy collection, but I never knew the name until now!

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  2. Hi Emily! I don't know if you remember me, but this is Chrissy, I did a review for you ages ago of Ashlynn Ella from Ever After High (I'm commenting as anonymous because I certainly can't remember my old login info). I'm so happy to see you're still writing these reviews. I love how you manage to make me chuckle just through your words and photographs. I hope you are doing well.
    This looks like a fun set! I've been seeing more of the book nook diorama kits popping up lately and as someone who loves miniatures I've definitely been intrigued.

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  3. The thing on the bubble tea machine fuses plastic wrap to the top of cups - why they don't just use lids like everyone else is beyond me. And you are not missing on much by not trying it. The little balls have a chewy slimy texture that almost made me throw up (I only tried one sip and ball luckily).

    The kitchen is nice, I didn't know about the plastic kits! I hope you can manage to get the other rooms you want without regrets. After all, you have all these dolls to put in them...

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    1. personally i LOOOVE bubble tea and highly recommend it! my favorite is when there's also cheese foam, it's sweet and slightly salty and I can't get enough of it.

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  4. Awesome review as always!

    Im curious as to how nendoroids fit in these sets

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  5. hi emily!! i just wanted to let you know that recent studies have shown that generative AI programs like dall-e, midjourney, etc contribute disproportionately to carbon emissions! they require a tonne of power and consume a large amount of fresh water for cooling down their servers and computers - microsoft and google have both reported that their water usage has increased by between 20-30% since they started increasing their usage and promotion of AI products. i think it's important to raise awareness of the environmental impact because it's something that people are largely unaware of at the moment. i hope you don't mind me pointing it out! thank you for reading :^)

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    1. I'm glad someone already pointed this out, and I'll add that for a lot of AI it can't be determined if they have the rights to use the material they learned from or if it was stolen/scraped from around the internet.

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  6. I love the journey you take us on in your blog posts like this. Many people would just do "here's the build, here's a doll in there, done".

    Having said that, if you'd stopped at the Littlest Pet Shop Blythe we might have avoided Jennifer's crotch... part of me wants to know what on earth is happening down there and part of me wants to forget that image!

    I've watched assembly videos on YouTube for these sets, because it is quite relaxing to see everything fitting together. But for the exact reasons you give when you compare them to Lego I don't think they're for me. I do love Lego and the satisfaction of building, I also love that all mistakes are fixable, and that you can easily disassemble and reassemble many times or use the pieces for another project. I shall stick to enjoying them vicariously.

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  7. Oh, and I was also going to add , have you seen the Mini Brands books and Zuru 5 surprise My Mini Baby toys? Perhaps you could do another Sunday surprise soon...

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  8. G’day from Australia - you might enjoy looking at these dioramas - very fiddly but charmingly detailed! -Lizzie
    https://www.diykits.com.au/collections/robotime-miniature-rooms

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  9. You've never had bubble tea??? It's such an East Asian staple that spread like wildfire to other countries; this is kind of blowing my mind haha. The machine will wrap the top of the cup with a plastic film to keep the drink in place: https://www.utoc.sg/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Bubble-Tea.jpg

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  10. Hi Emily, you might not read this but this is kind of a funny coincidence -- I first found out about Re- Ment's Pose Skeleton from your review, and I actually bought a few and found out they fit pretty well into my Rolife rooms! I'd say they're roughly 1:18, and the rooms are about 1:24 (though, as you mentioned, the scale of certain items within the room isn't always consistent). Just wanted to say I love reading your blog too :)

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  11. Playmobil people should work well with this kitchen, they can use calico critters furniture.

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  12. I have a few of the wooden kits but didn't know about the plastic ones! These seem like a fun middle ground between the wood builds and the plastic assembly of Calico Critters or Playmobil.

    Personally I prefer the wooden sets, because they allow for more customization, but I also to like crafting in general. It's nice to get a sense of what size dolls will fit. We had a set of dolls with a wire armature that interacted with our Playmobil sets as a kid. I think they were either felted or wrapped wire (or both). That's probably the easiest way to get possibility and correct proportions at a reasonable price. I just searched for 1/24th dolls and the tiny bjds that size are works of art but way out of my price range.

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  13. Do you still have your Rement Pose Skeleton family? If so, would they be the right sort of scale for these kits? Thanks for a really entertaining review, as always.

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  14. I was wondering if MH or RH could fit in these and yeah....that ain't happening lol

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  15. Have you ever considered reviewing any doll designed by Ashley Wood? I would love to know your thoughts on them. For example, this one of the newest https://underverse.com/news/im-pop-swing They are quite expensive thought.

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