Showing posts with label Hasbro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hasbro. Show all posts

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday Surprise: Secret Central Dolls by Hasbro!

This week I'm going to look at an older surprise-themed line of dolls that Yumi recommended a few weeks ago (Thank you, Yumi!) but before I do that, I want to mention a new tab at the top of the page called What Happened?  I'm shifting gears with the blog for various reasons, and this new tab holds an explanation.

I don't want any of that to take away from the fascinating mini dolls that I'm investigating today, though!  The brand is called Secret Central and includes a collection of 3.5 inch dolls depicting high school students.  As the name suggests, each doll has a secret!  All of the dolls come with a secret note (revealing something about the relationships within their high school class) but some of the sets have a concealed character (a whole extra doll!)--who also has a secret note.  I could not resist this concept.  Here's one of the girls to start things off:

Secret Central doll Rachel Ruff (Hasbro, 2003).

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Forces of Destiny Rey and Leia by Hasbro

Star Wars is everywhere these days.  The Force Awakens still feels relatively new to me, and yet there's another movie coming out this year (The Last Jedi) and there's still a 2016 movie that I haven't seen yet (Rogue One).  When I was a kid, I had to wait three years between each of the original movies.  Now, granted, three years felt like too long to wait, but this recent deluge of media is overwhelming.  And it's not just the movies, either.  There are trailers, video games (Battlefront 2), and even short YouTube cartoons (Forces of Destiny) to fill the time between films.  While the onslaught of Star Wars media might be too much for me to keep up with, I suspect most fans of the franchise are thrilled...I know members of my family are.

Star Wars merchandise is everywhere, too.  Hot Toys releases new ultra-realistic sixth scale figures regularly, Hasbro has a variety of The Last Jedi action figures out already, and of course there's always a great assortment of Lego sets.  The toys I'm most interested in these days are Hasbro's highly-articulated 10.5-inch dolls from the Forces of Destiny cartoon series.

In this review I'll look at two of these dolls; Rey and BB-8 from The Force Awakens and Leia and Wicket from Return of the Jedi:

Forces of Destiny "Endor Adventure" Leia, $34.99.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Disney's Rapunzel from Tangled: The Series

Over the years, I've chronicled my increasing frustration with the Disney Store and its Classic Princess dolls.  My problem with the company centers primarily around their inability to design functional and durable knee joints.  That was not a huge deal back when the dolls cost $13, but now that the prices have crept up and the limbs have gotten more fragile...I think it's a big deal.  In fact, I was so exasperated with this trend that I decided to stop reviewing Disney Store dolls altogether.  But--as many of you know--I made an exception to that rule when the live action Belle doll was released last spring.  My love for the Belle character inspired me to try and take a fresh-eyed look at the doll.  Sadly, even when I ignored Belle's predictably bad knees, she still disappointed me in other ways.  I figured that review would surely mark my last Disney Store purchase.  Wrong again!

Back in May, during my Bratz Secret Date review, Sév and Dmitry encouraged me to consider the Disney Store's 10.5-inch Tangled:The Series version of Rapunzel.  They told me that this doll has a completely new body, with--wait for it--a new knee joint design.  I've literally been waiting five years to write those words.  Not only that, but it's a Rapunzel doll, and I love Rapunzel even more than I love Belle.  So, I broke my promise to myself one more time and bought another Disney Store doll:

review
The Disney Store's Rapunzel from Tangled: The Series, $19.95.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Dolls from Hasbro and the Disney Store: The Beast

This is my second comparison review of dolls from the new live action Beauty and the Beast movie.  You can find my review of the Hasbro and Disney Store Belle dolls here.

I was much more excited about the Beast dolls from these two companies than I was about the Belle dolls--in part because of the underwhelming promotional pictures of the Disney Store's Belle, but also because the Beast is simply a more unique, intriguing figure.

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reviewing the Beast--especially the Disney Store's version--but this fascinating character also somehow managed to make the unfortunate Disney Store Belle doll more appealing to me.  The two dolls compliment each other quite well, and bring out something...well, something that I didn't see before:

Toy Box Philosopher review
The Beast and Belle from the Disney Store, $34.95 each.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Dolls by Hasbro and the Disney Store: Belle

Last year, when I was re-thinking this blog and figuring out how to keep it in my life, I made a few resolutions.  One of them was that I would never feel obligated to buy another Disney Store doll.  Why? Well, when I first started collecting these dolls (back in 2012), I was blown-away by the high-quality product that Disney could offer for under $13. Over the years, though, the dolls have suffered a lapse in quality and an increase in price…to the point where I started feeling bad every time I made a Disney Store purchase.

So why am I reviewing a Disney Store doll now?  Well, frankly, it’s because I’m a total sucker for Disney movies, and I get a little obsessed when a new one comes out. When the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie was announced, I eagerly waited for the release of the associated dolls…and then bought all of them. I can’t say that this was a wise decision, but at least I’ll get to share what I learned with all of you.  In a short series of (not necessarily sequential) posts, I'll look at both the Disney Store and Hasbro’s versions of Beauty and the Beast's main characters.  I’ll start things off today with each company’s yellow-gowned Belle doll:

Beauty and the Beast's Belle from the Disney Store, $34.95.
(Shown on a Barbie Made to Move body)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens 1:6 "Jakku Rey" by Hot Toys

I was nervous about watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as I imagine many children of the 80s were.  The original Star Wars trilogy was such an important part of my childhood, I needed this continuation of the story to be good.  And it was good, I thought.  A bit predictable, certainly, but an awful lot of fun.  I laughed and cheered and even gasped a few times.  The thing on my mind as I was walking out of the theater had little to do with the plot or the well-loved older characters, though.  I was focused primarily on Rey, the new female protagonist.  She is awesome.  I think Daisy Ridley's  spunky and intelligent interpretation of this mysterious girl from Jakku transformed Force Awakens into much more than the simple nostalgia-ridden adventure than it might easily have been.  Because of Rey, I'm impatiently eager to find out what happens next in this new saga.

My reaction to the Rey character might be exaggerated, but it compelled me to immediately start scouring the internet for Rey paraphernalia.  I bought several of the less-expensive action figures (a few of which I'll show at the end of the post), but found their resemblance to Ms. Ridley disappointing.  When I saw the promotional pictures of Hot Toys' Rey online at Sideshow Collectibles, I wasn't convinced that she was the perfect tribute to the character, either.  However, after a few days' reflection, I decided that she was easily the best option out there, and so I placed my pre-order.  I ordered Rey in January--a few weeks after I saw the movie--and she arrived in mid September.

Let's dig in and see if she was worth the wait...and the price:

1:6 scale Star Wars: The Force Awakens "Jakku Rey" from Hot Toys, $224.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Surprise: Bratz Lil' Angelz!

Happy Sunday!  Today's post was originally going to be short, but it's morphed into something a bit more substantial.  I'll explain.  What started me on this path was the discovery of a Bratz Lil' Angelz "Secret Surprise" set a few weeks ago.  I flipped out.  I mean, any toy that has both the words "secret" and "surprise" in the same sentence has got to be good.  And this toy looks amazing: it has a small baby doll with a secret gender, a hidden eye color and a hidden hair color.  The set also includes two shrouded pets of unknown species!  Doesn't that sound like fun??  But the other thing that makes this set so great is the fact that I knew nothing about the Bratz Lil' Angelz dolls before I saw it.  I have no idea how these babies escaped my radar, but I absolutely love discovering a new kind of doll.

Immediately after purchasing the Secret Surprise set, I made it my mission to learn more about the Bratz Lil' Angelz.  In doing so, I realized that surprises are a bit of a theme with this line.  I found two other sets (Pet Shop Surprise and Surprise Litter) that involve some kind of hidden feature.  I bought an example of each of these toys to show you today.  So, this post will feature three Bratz Lil' Angelz surprise toys, not just the set I originally bought.

The Bratz Lil' Angelz are all discontinued, but the silver lining is that none of the toys I'll show you today seem particularly expensive or hard to find at the moment.  I have to say, though, I think I got really lucky with the Secret Surprise set.  I found it for $10.24 on eBay, which is close to the original price.  The only other example I've been able to find is a blue version on Amazon for $83.  Yikes.  Of course I'm going to save the Secret Surprise for the very end of the post, but here's a preview of the wonderfully mysterious baby from that set...who looks like he/she might have red hair!

Bratz Lil' Angelz Secret Surprise baby (discontinued).

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Disney Descendants Doll Update Review

I have already reviewed the Disney Descendants Mal doll by Hasbro, but before I found her--unexpectedly--at Toys R Us in early July, I had pre-ordered several of the other Descendants characters.  In this update post, I will quickly share some of those other dolls with you.

Oh, and coincidentally, the Descendants movie premiered yesterday on the Disney Channel (I haven't seen it yet).

With many dolls lines, looking at one of the characters is sufficient because all of the dolls share certain basic features.  One of the things I like best about the Descendants dolls is that each character has his or her own unique head mold and coloring.  For that reason, my experiences with Jane, Audrey and Lonnie were all a little bit different...and resulted in me liking one of these dolls much more than the other two:

Jane, Lonnie, Audrey
Coronation Jane, Coronation Lonnie and Signature Audrey from Disney's Descendants movie.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Disney Descendants "Signature Mal" Doll by Hasbro

The Disney Channel is releasing a movie at the end of the month called Descendants.  This show is set in a modern-day imaginary kingdom and focuses on the offspring of famous Disney characters.  Re-imagining fairy tales has been an extremely popular theme these past few years--both in the movie/television world (Maleficent, Cinderella, Snow White and the Huntsman, Once Upon a Time, etc.) and in the doll world (Ever After High, Once Upon a Zombie, Fairy Tale High, Tonner's Re-Imagination line...and probably a few that I'm forgetting).  It's especially noteworthy how similar the Descendants premise is to the the inspiration behind Ever After High.

The Descendants movie plot centers around Ben, who is the son of Belle and the Beast.  The teenaged prince decides to invite several of the villain's kids (who have grown up banished on the Isle of the Lost) to attend his fancy prep school...and then--if I am judging from the trailer correctly--promptly falls in love with one of them.  The villain kids feel torn between the wishes of their evil parents and a growing fondness for Ben and his royal friends.  Several things about this whole set-up are confusing to me (do all of the fairy tale characters live in the same kingdom?  Are they all the same age?  Why does Ben get to be the leader?  Didn't most of the villains die before they got to reproduce?) but I'm willing to wait and see if everything is explained in the actual movie.

I thought that the 11-inch Descendants fashion dolls were being released just before the movie (on July 20th), so I pre-ordered a few of them and was eagerly anticipating their arrival.  However, last weekend I was visiting a Toys R Us store up north and found four of the dolls already in stock!  This was a nice surprise, so I jumped on the chance to do a review of one of the characters I didn't pre-order--who actually seems like she might be the star of the whole movie: Mal, the daughter of Maleficent.

Doll review
Disney Descendants "Signature Mal" doll, $19.99.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Blueberry Muffin Retrospective--Part 2!

It's spring break here in Maine and there is visible (kinda green?) grass, a scattering of brave flowers, and a fair amount of sunshine.  It's pretty great.  Also, I am walking in normal shoes again for the first time since January, which is pretty amazing, too.  The walking came in handy this past week because my family spent the break looking at colleges for my eldest son...which is an exhilarating and terrifying experience, let me tell you.  Now we are back at home and I have finally found some time to finish the second part of my Blueberry Muffin marathon review.

In the first installment of this post, I looked at the debut Blueberry Muffin doll by Kenner, and also the Toy Head Quarters (THQ) and Bandai versions of the character.  Today I will review the Playmates, Hasbro and Bridge Direct dolls.  Hasbro has controlled the Strawberry Shortcake license for as long as I have been a blogger, so I've grown very accustomed to seeing those dolls in the store.  For this half of the review, I was eager to discover whether or not I like the newest Bridge Direct version of Blueberry Muffin as much as I like the familiar Hasbro doll.

I have also been looking forward to seeing the original Kenner Blueberry alongside her modern counterpart, which we can do right now to start things off:

Blueberry Muffin dolls from Kenner (left) and The Bridge Direct (right).

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Kitty Surprise by Just Play

Once again, I got sidetracked from another review I am writing because of a routine stop at Toys R Us.  I don't regularly check the stuffed animal section at this store, but the other day there were no new dolls to look at, and so I wandered into some less-frequented aisles.  To my amazement, I saw three pink boxes with Kitty Surprise plush inside!  I absolutely love surprises, and so this is one of my favorite toys of all time.

The "Surprise" line of stuffed toys started way back in the early 1990s with vinyl-faced plush dogs, cats, ponies, bears and bunnies that came with an undisclosed number of babies in their bellies.  The original animals were released by Hasbro.  Playskool (a division of Hasbro) re-introduced the line in 2005 with a few changes.  The new animals (only cats, dogs and rabbits this time) did not have vinyl faces and resembled more typical stuffed toys.  A couple of years ago, I looked at some of the Puppy Surprise toys that were made by Playskool in 2005.  Those toys didn't last long on the market, and so when they were discontinued, I figured we had heard the last of this brand.

As it turns out, the line has now been turned over to Just Play (whose Doc McStuffins doll I recently reviewed), and the design has gone back to a vinyl-faced version similar to that of the original toys.  So far, there are only dogs and cats in this new collection.  I found several of the cats at my local Toys R Us, and thought the pink and white kitty, "Snow," was especially cute:

Kitty Surprise Just Play
Kitty Surprise "Snow," by Just Play, $24.99.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Little Pony Equestria Girl "Rainbow Dash," by Hasbro

I am not a serious My Little Pony collector, although I own a few of the figures and I remember these friendly little faces from my childhood.  Most of my pony-playing days were in the 1980s, so I have a special fondness for the chubbier, more docile-looking ponies of that decade.  Among my favorites were the mid-80s first generation (G1) ponies that look to one side (like Applejack) and the half-rearing characters (like Skydancer).  I also love the original mold, and in my youth, I badly wanted the larger My Pretty Pony toy that shared that same basic shape.

The ponies have morphed quite a lot in the last few years.  I have never seen the Friendship is Magic TV show, but I find the G4 toys cute in a new way.  Although they've shed the cow-like appearance of some of the 80s molds (G1 Posy looks particularly bovine...), they don't necessarily look like horses to me.  These little guys remind me more of Chihuahuas...but that's cool because I love Chihuahuas.

When I started hearing bits of information about the new line of Equestria Girl dolls, I wasn't sure what to think.  The Equestria Girls are teenaged human versions of the regular My Little Pony characters.  These teens appear in a new movie, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.  The promotional pictures of the dolls did not look great to me.  For starters, they don't look human.  The movie characters look like reasonable cartoons of human beings, but the dolls have huge horse ears on top of their heads.  The other problem was that the promo pictures I saw showed only dolls with very limited articulation.  However, at one of my visits to Toys R Us, I found a small stock of the Equestria Girls, and I was delighted to see that two of the dolls (Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash) have articulated knees and elbows.  Furthermore, the dolls looked way cuter in person than they seemed in their pictures.  Won over by Rainbow Dash's colorful hair, I left the store with her, feeling unexpectedly excited about this review.

My Little Pony Rainbow Dash
Equestria Girl doll "Rainbow Dash" and her Crystal Masquerade Pony equivalent.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Review of Lorifina (Discontinued) by Hasbro

Lorifina is a 20" articulated plastic and vinyl fashion doll line that was made by Hasbro a few years ago and is now discontinued.  These dolls have inset acrylic eyes and long changeable wigs.  When it was first introduced, the Lorifina line was special because you could design the appearance of your doll online and then she'd be shipped to your house from the factory.  There were at least two skin tones, three eye colors and many wigs to choose from.  The dolls came in two-piece sleepwear, but you could select additional outfits from three city-themed collections: London, New York and Tokyo.

When Hasbro unveiled this line in 2009, I got caught up in the excitement for a little while.  I spent some time on the website, designing various dolls and seeing how they looked in all of the outfits.  I don't know why I never hit the checkout button.  Perhaps it was the $98 price tag, or the fact that together with all of the cool clothes and shoes I had also added to my cart, the price was discouragingly higher than $98.  I can't remember exactly.

Last year, I saw a picture of a Lorifina doll's beautiful face on Flickr and went in search of these girls on the secondary market.  Nothing.  Maybe there was one on Amazon for close to $200, but again, I can't remember the specifics.  What I do remember is seeing another picture of these dolls on Flickr just recently and feeling compelled to start the search again.  This time, I was well-rewarded.  There is a bounty of these dolls on eBay right now, and (with some patience) they can be won for around $50...often with many accessories included.  I figured this was a good time to do a review.  Here's the one I got (this combination of hair and skin color was the most common on eBay during my hunt):

Lorifina-Doll-Review
Lorifina: light skin tone, green eyes and a blonde wig.