Showing posts with label Liv. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liv. Show all posts

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Barbie Becky "I'm the School Photographer" and Fin Fun Mermaid Tails--A Joint Review!

I think this is surely the most unusual combination of reviews that I have ever posted together, but there's a neat connection--you'll see.  First, I'm delighted to welcome my friend Feerie B. Wolfie from France who offered to review a rare wheelchair doll for the blog: Barbie's Becky, "I'm the School Photographer" (from 1998).  Feerie is a blogger, toy collector and doll customization artist.  Her site (with the awesome name Dollzenstein) reviews old toys from her childhood.  The blog is posted in both French and English, which is really helpful.

I was thrilled to get Feerie's review offer for several reasons.  First, I love working with doll enthusiasts from other parts of the world.  In my opinion, these collaborations are one of the best things about the internet.  Also, it's nice to see a character with a disability incorporated into the Barbie empire.  The other neat thing about Feerie's review is that it's quite rare to see a wheelchair in this scale.  From what I've read, most collectors looking for an accurate 1:6 wheelchair use one of Becky's chairs, the chair from Drastic Plastic's Franklin D. Roosevelt figure...or simply make their own.  I'm particularly fond of this version of Becky's wheelchair because it isn't pink and it's quite realistic:


Barbie Becky "I'm the School Photographer," 1998.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Project Mc2 Dolls by MGA Entertainment

Ever since my friend Melissa told me about the new 11-inch Project Mc2 play dolls by MGA Entertainment, I have been looking forward to writing this review.  There were a ton of things to get excited about with this new doll line.  First of all, the promotional pictures of the dolls make their articulation look incredibly promising.  Also, the girls all have realistic-looking inset eyes that make me think fondly of Spin Master's discontinued Liv dolls.  The icing on the cake is that this new group has a science-based theme, wonderfully geeky personalities, and creative, project-based accessories.  Sounds like a dream come true for me, doesn't it?  Many of you thought so, and generously took the time to email when you saw these dolls show up in stores.  Thank you so much for each and every message--you guys know me well.

This doll line is based on a live-action television series following a group of smart tweens who belong to a secret spy organization called NOV8 (for innovate).  The four members of NOV8 use their S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills to go on missions.  The series premiered yesterday on Netflix.

I was in such a hurry to get my hands on these dolls, I ordered all four of the characters on eBay the instant they appeared.  Unfortunately, as those of you on Facebook already know, I ordered too hastily to notice that the dolls I bought were the $14.99 basic versions that have limited articulation.  To get a doll with the number of joints shown in the promotional pictures, you have to order one of the more expensive Project Mc2 playsets ($24.99).  The great thing about ordering the sets, however, is that each one comes with a doll and a fun-looking science-based activity.  After realizing my mistake, I immediately bought one of the sets: McKeyla's Lava Light.  In this review, I will look at McKeyla and her activity, and will also de-box one of my basic dolls for comparison.  Brace yourselves, folks, this is a long one.

review
Project Mc2 "McKeyla" from the McKeyla's Lava Light set, $24.99.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The 17-Inch Freak du Chic "Gooliope Jellington" from Monster High

Mattel seems to wait until my interest in the Monster High line is waning, and then they announce a very cool and unexpected new addition that gets me all enthusiastic again.  The last time this happened was in June of last year, when the centaur Avea Trotter came out.  In one fell swoop, that exceptional equine renewed my awe for the creativity behind the Monster High concept.  My enthusiasm also got a mid-year boost with the release of the Inner Monster dolls. This year, just as I started to skip the Monster High aisle at Toys R Us, or yawn as I scrolled through pictures online, the new 17-inch dolls were announced.  A Monster High doll this large would have been plenty exciting on its own, but these new giants also have an updated style of articulation.  Yay!  Monster High articulation is already so good, the idea of improved and increased joints on these dolls was enough to make me absolutely giddy with curiosity.

I want to thank everyone who emailed me about the appearance of the first super-sized Monster High doll: Gooliope Jellington.  Without your tips, I might not have noticed from the online pictures that Gooliope was any larger than a regular Monster High character.  This doll is scaled up so accurately that when she's photographed alone, she can easily be mistaken for an 11-inch doll:

Freak du Chic "Gooliope Jellington," $29.99.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Lammily Doll

Lammily is a unique new fashion doll who was released at the end of December.  The mainstream media is very interested in this doll, and has been since her conception in early 2013.  In fact, I didn't learn about Lammily through the usual doll collecting channels, but rather from my brother-in-law, who saw an article about her in The Atlantic last May.

Lammily was designed by graphic artist Nickolay Lamm, and the reason that she has captured such widespread attention is that she was designed to have the body proportions of a typical American teenager.  Unlike Barbie (and most other 12-inch fashion dolls) Lammily does not have an impossibly tiny waist, large chest, oversized head or spindly legs.  Mr. Lamm used body measurements published by the Center for Disease Control to ensure that his doll would not only be realistic...but would be average.  The word "average" does not tend to conjure visions of loveliness, but Mr. Lamm challenged this preconception and branded his doll with the inspiring logo, "Average is Beautiful."

I pre-ordered two Lammily dolls immediately after reading the article in The Atlantic (the dolls are $25 each).  This is exactly the kind of crowd-funded, vision-driven project that I love to see in the doll world.  I was inherently enthusiastic about the Lammily concept, but an email I received from Nickolay Lamm last May added to my excitement.  Mr. Lamm wrote seeking some advice about the doll's articulation--and you guys can probably guess that I, uh, had a fair amount to say on that subject.  Conversations back and forth with Mr. Lamm over the past few months have given me a fascinating glimpse into the creative process behind this unique new doll.  I have been on pins and needles to see how all of Mr. Lamm's ideas came together in the debut doll, and am beyond excited to share my initial impressions with all of you:

The Lammily Doll
The Lammily doll makes her entrance.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dorothy & Toto from "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return"

The animated movie, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return premiered on May 9th and is getting perplexingly polarized reviews--people either love it or hate it.  I watched the trailer, but probably won't see this movie myself since it seems to be intended for a pretty young crowd.  I do have a general fondness for the original Wizard of Oz movie, though, based on our family's tradition of watching this classic every year when it aired on television.  I always forgot from year to year that the movie starts in black and white and then bursts into color once Dorothy gets to Oz.  For some reason, that effect was perpetually magical to me.  Anyway--because of this fondness, I always stop to look at Wizard of Oz merchandise at the toy stores.  A few weeks ago at Toys R Us, I noticed a brand new group of attractive-looking Dorothy dolls and stopped to investigate.  Seeing these dolls is actually how I first learned about Legends of Oz.  The new dolls are made by Bandai, and are designed to resemble the animated Dorothy from the movie.

Bandai's initial release of Legends of Oz toys includes three different 11" Dorothy dolls ($16.99-$24.99), a larger scale 15" child Dorothy ($19.99), and two sets of small secondary character figurines ($11.99 per set).  I was drawn to these toys not just because of their association with the Wizard of Oz, but because all of the dolls have very sweet faces.  I decided to review the 11" Dorothy that comes with a Toto companion, since this particular doll is in the middle of the price range and I am a fan of Cairn terriers (note: Dorothy can't actually hold Toto on her own):

"Dorothy & Toto" by Bandai, $19.99.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Ahoy Patience" by Wilde Imagination

Patience is a new 14" hard plastic and vinyl child doll from Wilde Imagination.  Patience is sweet and upbeat compared to Wilde Imagination's more established characters like the elegantly melancholy Ellowyne Wilde and the fashionably creepy Evangeline Ghastly.

The debut Patience doll, Garden Patience, was a gorgeous little redhead with bright green eyes and an amazing, romantic dress.  When this doll was announced, I was so wrapped up in other things that I missed the beginning of pre-orders.  I want to kick myself now, because this gorgeous little doll sold out in a flash.  Unwilling to pay the high secondary market prices for Garden Patience, I had to be, ah, patient and wait for the new dolls to arrive.  I was thrilled when a trio of Patience dolls was released for pre-order before Christmas.  All of these newer dolls are still available on the Wilde Imagination site, and so I figured that this could be a good time for a review.

The Patience dolls are limited to 300 pieces each and cost over $150.  The available dolls are called "Wonderland Patience" (an Alice in Wonderland doll, $169), "Tokyo Patience" (a lovely brown-eyed Japanese girl, $199) and "Ahoy Patience," the doll whose platinum blonde bob and sailor dress tempted me the most:

Tonner's Ahoy Patience
"Ahoy Patience" by Wilde Imagination, $169.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ever After High "Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman" Set

I reviewed Ever After High's Apple White doll back in July, and while I wanted to be super-enthusiastic about her, she left me feeling underwhelmed.  Her round head and plain features were not as pretty as I had hoped, and her outfit was nowhere near as creative as it could have been.  On top of that, many of you reported that there are widespread problems with the facial screening on these dolls, leaving some of them unacceptably wonky-eyed.

Despite these issues, Apple has enough good qualities that I was cautiously optimistic about the arrival of my favorite Ever After High character--Cinderella's daughter, Ashlynn Ella.  When the first pictures of Ashlynn were released, I was disappointed to see that she comes in another short generic princess dress.  I was hoping for something more original.  On the other hand, I was thrilled to see that Ashlynn comes with the first male doll in the Ever After High lineup, Hunter Huntsman, who is the son of...you guessed it, the Huntsman:

Ever After High Ashlynn Ella
Ever After High "Ashlynn Ella and Hunter Huntsman."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Kawaii Crush "Katie Cat Meow Meow" Doll by Spin Master

I am always interested in what Spin Master is doing.  Even before this company produced my favorite play dolls--the Liv girls, they had me running all over Maine looking for that special, impossible-to-find Bakugan dragon for my boys.  Spin Master's latest doll line, Kawaii Crush, was announced at Toy Fair in February.  These anime-style dolls represent the trendy Japanese kawaii culture, epitomized by popular characters like Pokemon's Pikachu and Hello Kitty.  Kawaii means "cute" or "lovable" in Japanese and has taken on the secondary meaning of "cool."  Kawaii culture centers around everything looking cute--be it physical appearance, collectibles, jewelry, art, clothing...even vehicles and food.  For example, Lolita fashions, like those embraced by some of Groove's Pullip dolls, are common in kawaii style.  Kawaii merchandise seems to be very, very popular right now, and not just in Japan.  In Maine, I see a little bit of this craze...if only in the knitted animal hats that are being worn by people of all ages.  While I wasn't really captivated by the promotional pictures of the Kawaii Crush dolls, I assumed that these toys would be popular.  Spin Master seems to have their finger on the pulse of what's trendy, and a real a knack for making toys that fly off the shelves...at least initially.

Just so you know, it is very difficult for me to review these dolls objectively.  Although my rational brain totally understands that Spin Master didn't stop making Liv dolls in order to make Kawaii Crush figures, my emotional brain can't help but compare everything this company produces to my beloved, discontinued Liv girls.

Kawaii Crush "Katie Cat" and Liv "Katie."

Friday, May 31, 2013

Monster High "Headless Headmistress Bloodgood"

For the better part of this week, I have been working on a different Monster High review, but I was getting bogged down by too many pictures, mixed opinions and stuff like that.  I took a break to run some errands and check out what's on the shelves at Toys R Us and Walmart...and I am so glad I did.  I knew about the Headless Headmistress, but she had dropped off my radar somehow.  When I saw the shelves of Toys R Us lined with blue horses, I think I squeaked out loud and maybe jumped up and down once or twice.  What made it better is that I was clutching some beloved Toys R Us dollars, so the $42.00 price tag on this set wasn't quite as intimidating as it might have been.  I'll get back to that other Monster High review some day, but for today, I just couldn't wait to get Mistress Bloodgood and her blue steed out of their box:  

Headless Headmistress Bloodgood
Monster High Headless Headmistress Bloodgood and
Nightmare.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Juku Couture "Hayley" by Jakks Pacific

Update: two quick announcements: thanks to a reader suggestion, you can now translate the whole blog into the language of your choice with the Toy Box Translator (on the right).  This is fun even if you speak English.  I love the Latin translation of the blog title, In Toy Box Philosophus.  Classic.  Also, you can now follow the blog by email.  Hope that works.

Juku Couture dolls are 9 inch articulated plastic fashion dolls with inset eyes.  The dolls are named after a Japanese fashion trend called "Harajuku" that involves combining lots of mis-matched fashion elements into a personalized look.  The dolls are dressed in multi-layered outfits with pieces in contrasting styles and colors.  These dolls were released by Jakks Pacific in 2008 and, from what I can tell, were discontinued after only four waves: Series 1, Series 2 (called "In the Wild"), a 2009 re-release group, and the "Global Good" series.   Each release of dolls has four different characters, Hayley, Jun, Kana and Audrina.

The dolls originally sold for $19.99, and can now be found on eBay and Amazon for significantly more or significantly less than that.  The 2009 re-release dolls are thought to be of lesser quality than the originals, and they seem to be the easiest group to find.  I bought Hayley from the 2009 re-release series for about $10 on Amazon:

Juku Couture re-release Hayley (2009) by Jakks Pacific.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Welcome Home, Sophie

I am up to my ears writing my next (really long--sorry) review, but I had to share this piece of news with all of you instantly.  You know I love Liv dolls, and maybe you remember that I have this strange desire to own all of the Liv Sophie dolls.  This obsession started when Spin Master released their second wave of Liv dolls, and I didn't think I should buy all of the characters again so soon.  I mean, the dolls look pretty similar from one wave to the next and they aren't free.  So, I decided to buy just Sophie from every wave, and then maybe other dolls now and again if there was one that really appealed to me.  That sounds almost reasonable, right?  Except that for some reason I decided that all of my Sophies should stay in their boxes.  This is edging towards the loony side of things, I realize, but once I embark on something, I find it difficult to stop.  So, I bought a Sophie from every wave and am keeping my Sophie army carefully stored in their boxes.  

Spin Master has made a lot of Sophie dolls.  Seventeen, to be precise (including the huge Sophie styling head).  I'll admit to feeling a little tiny bit relieved when the Liv line was discontinued, simply because there's not much room left in my house for more Sophies.

Some Sophies were harder for me to find than others, but really, none of the dolls posed much of a challenge except for one.  Girls Getaway Sophie evaded my searches and haunted my mind for over a year:

"Girls Getaway" Sophie with Sophie as Alice.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cabbage Patch Kid Babyland Mini Dolls by Jakks Pacific

I found the most wonderful little toy at Toys R Us the other day!  It's a tiny little Cabbage Patch doll.   To me, this is the perfect miniature doll.  It has so many elements that I find irresistibly fun, it's almost like it was made for me.  First of all, this doll costs under $5.00 ($3.99 at the moment), which is practically unheard of these days.  Most of the mini dolls on the market (Lalaloopsy, Cutie Pops, LPS Blythe) cost closer to $10.  Second of all, the gender of the doll is a secret.   I love surprises!  To me, waiting to learn the gender of a real child is one of life's greatest and most exciting secrets.  Any doll that can re-create even a tiny fraction of that anticipation is instantly appealing to me.  Third, this doll has a hidden name.  As a little girl, I named everything in sight, including all of my dolls and a massive collection of Breyer model horses.  I still love naming things and thinking about names and I am always excited to learn what friends and relatives (and even celebrities) name their babies.  Full size Cabbage Patch Kids all come with a unique name (a first and a middle name), and I used to lurk in the toy aisles, trying to get a peek at what the names of all the Kids were without giving away what I was doing.  I still do that, actually.  Having a secret name for a doll is a brilliant marketing strategy, because I have to buy the doll in order to learn the name.  Luckily, for $3.99, this isn't a huge burden.  So...here's my cute baby who could be a boy OR a girl and who has a secret mystery name!  Eeee!  Are you excited?

Cabbage Patch mini doll: blonde hair, blue eyes.
Gender: UNKNOWN!  Name: ??

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cutie Pops "Swirly Brights" and Cutie Pops "Petites"

I was inspecting the toy aisles at Target the other day, and it was pretty clear that 2013 is in full swing...at least in the play doll world.  I saw two new Bratzillaz lines (Magic Night Out and a group of basic dolls), the Ghouls Alive Monster High dolls (the ones with sound, lights or action), some tempting Garden Party La Dee Da dolls, the Orbit Beach Novi Stars, adorable Lala Oopsie horses and three new Cutie Pops lines.  Phew!  I was especially excited to see the new Cutie Pops.  There is a new character (Carmel), old characters in new outfits, more new characters in a collection called called "Swirly Brights," and a group of four mini dolls or "Petites."  I am a pretty big fan of Cutie Pops, so I like to think that the release of all these new items indicates that Jada Toys is enjoying some well-deserved success with their colorful, creative dolls.

Cutie Pops Swirly Brights "Magenta" and Cutie Pops Petite "Dixie."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kurhn Dolls, Part Two: Kurhn 6077 Glamorous Kurhn

This post is a follow-up to my original Kurhn post, below. In other words, my original post was way, way too long and I had to divide it into two parts.

In this review, I will look at a slightly more expensive Kurhn doll, the "Glamorous Kurhn," 6077.  I purchased her on eBay from flyinannalee for $29.10 plus shipping:

Kurhn 6077

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kurhn Dolls Part One: 3029 "Green Restaurant" Playset

Kurhn dolls are 10.6 inch articulated plastic fashion play dolls made by Kurhn Toys Co., Ltd. in Foshan City, China.  They are essentially the Chinese version of a Barbie doll and I'm told that they're even made in the same factory that Mattel uses to manufacture Barbie dolls.

Moni introduced me to Kurhn dolls back in September when I reviewed my first Tangkou doll, Loli.   It's not so easy to find information about these dolls online.  The Kurhn website, for example, seems to be out of date.  I've found three big online sources for purchasing Kurhn dolls.  The first is an eBay seller (flyingannalee) with a huge selection of dolls.  The second store is called ChinaSprout and is a New York based store and an educational resource for Chinese culture.  The third option is an eBay-style marketplace called Aliexpress where I've heard you have to be careful about which vendor you choose.  I bought my items from flyingannalee and was very happy with the prices and service.

There is a huge diversity of available Kurhn dolls.  You can see a great database of these dolls on this blog.  After a lot of deliberation, I chose two Kurhn items: a kitchen play set (I love kitchen playsets...) that includes a very basic doll and also a more elaborate "Glamorous Kurhn" doll with strawberry bonde hair and a fancy party dress.  I will review the kitchen set in this post and the Glamorous Kurhn in the next post.

Kurhn 3029, $38.80 with kitchen set

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mystixx "Kalani" by Playhut

Mystixx are a new brand of vampire doll from Playhut.  When I think of Playhut, I think of the awesome pop-up structures that my kids used to play in when they were younger.  Apparently, Playhut has decided to throw their hat into the increasingly popular ring of slightly creepy but highly fashionable vampire/monster/witch dolls. As I mentioned in my Cutie Pops review, I enjoy seeing a smaller toy company step up and compete with the big guns.  It gives me hope for something truly innovative.  For example, while the Cuite Pops bear a certain resemblance to Lalaloopsy dolls and some of the other big-headed dolls on the market, they offer something fun and different with their removable eyes and hair.  Encouraged by the success of Jada Toys and their Cuties, I wondered if perhaps Playhut had found a fun and unique way to contribute to the monster doll market.

The Mystixx caught my eye at Toys R Us the other week because for a split second, I thought I was seeing a Bleeding Edge Goth doll (if you're not familiar with them, you can see a nice selection of the Bleeding Edge dolls here).  I guess something about the Mystixx face (its pallor and fierce expression?) made me think of BEGoth dolls.  On closer inspection, I actually found the face to be unappealing and not much like a BEGoth doll at all.  Also, peering in the box revealed that the doll was, at best, minimally articulated.  Why, then, would I shell out $20 for such an unpromising doll?  Well, for three reasons.  First, the doll is advertised as having a changing face. She has a human face and a vampire face.   That's not something you see every day.  I get impossibly curious about things like this--I mean, a doll with two faces?  How does that work?  It sounds cool.  Also, these dolls come with interchangeable wigs and two complete outfits.  This immediately had me hoping that they would be able to share wigs with Liv dolls and share outfits with some of my 12" play dolls.  Last, I have been pondering the popularity of dark, monster dolls lately and wondering if the Bleeding Edge dolls are a kind-of ancestor to Monster High and all of the dolls that have followed in the Monster High footsteps.  This doll's ability to conjure BEGoth dolls in my mind convinced me that I should buy one and see where she fits into this burgeoning market of vampires, ghouls and goths. Here's Kalani:

Mystixx "Kalani."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sophie in Wonderland...Out of Her Box

This post is for Pippa and Abby, who convinced me that my Liv in Wonderland Sophie should come out of her box.  You might remember from my older Liv in Wonderland post that I refused to take Sophie out of her box. This is for a strange reason--I wanted to own all of the Liv Sophie dolls (greedy) and keep them all in their boxes (strange).  Call it a way to preserve the evolution of the Liv doll if you want, but I think it was just a weird collecting obsession.  Anyway, this dream was crushed when Girls Getaway Sophie never made it to this country...or at least never made it to Maine, and so I couldn't get all of the Sophies.  Major bummer.

The other reason to take Sophie (who portrays Alice in this series) out of her box is that Alison from The Fashion Doll Review just published a new book which is called Alice Out of the Box.  So, you see, it had to be done--if only so that I could write this caption:

Alice out of her box with Alice Out of the Box.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bratzillaz "Meygana Broomstix" Doll by MGA Entertainment

Bratz dolls are not really my style.  I can honestly say that I have never walked the aisles of a toy store and been tempted by a Bratz character.  I don't even like the name.  Remember that I am a huge Cinderella fan, and looking at the world through that lens, the Bratz dolls come off a bit like the bratty stepsisters.

Anyway, Bratz dolls first appeared in 2001 and have been dominating an impressive chunk of the fashion doll market ever since.  Mattel and MGA Entertainment have been suing each other back and forth over these dolls since about 2005--MGA claiming that the My Scene dolls are a rip off of Bratz and Mattel claiming that they actually own the rights to Bratz because the Bratz designer allegedly came up with the idea for these dolls while he was working for Mattel.  A third party is suing Mattel and MGA for stealing what he claims is his idea.  Sheesh.  It's a big mess, and for a while there, I remember there was some serious tension among collectors about whether or not Bratz would be permanently pulled from the shelves.

Things seem to have calmed a bit on the legal front (after lots of money flew back and forth) and Bratz is alive and well and legally owned by MGA.  I have always been mildly interested in this legal battle (I mean, who wouldn't be?  Two behemoth doll companies locking horns is the doll collector's version of watching the World Series) but as I said, I have never been interested in purchasing a Bratz doll...until last week.  Last week I plunked down $20 for a Bratzillaz doll, and I'll tell you why in a sec.  First, here's a picture of the doll I chose (the redhead, of course):

Bratzillaz-Doll-Meygana
"Meygana Broomstix" Bratzillaz doll by MGA

Thursday, June 21, 2012

La Dee Da Dolls by Spin Master

Well, I got my hands on a few of the newest dolls from Spin Master.  These girls have been causing a stir since they were displayed at the Toy Fair in New York last February.  They are called "La Dee Da" dolls, named after Dee, who is the fashion-forward leader of the pack.  The name of the line confuses me, though, because although it's catchy, don't people usually say, "well, la dee da" when they're being mocking and dismissive?  Sometimes even "la dee frickin' da?"  Are these dolls dissing me from inside the box?  Presumably not.  Perhaps it's just meant to be an upbeat, sing-songy name in keeping with the cheery appearance of the dolls.

Spin Master has a knack for manufacturing trendy products.  Bakugan toys, Tech Deck mini skate boards, the adorable Zoobles--these have all been highly sought after and impossible to find at times.  Spin Master is also, of course, the company that introduced us to the innovative and highly articulated Liv dolls in 2009, and then recently announced the discontinuation of that beloved line.  Given the company's track record,  I feel pretty sure that the La Dee Da dolls will be trendy, at least for a little while.

Because it seems like the La Dee Da line is being rolled out to take the place of the faltering Liv dolls, it is hard for me to evaluate these new dolls without directly comparing them to Liv...and Liv dolls are the sole reason I became interested in play dolls as an adult.  So.  I will try very hard to step away from my disappointment about Liv's discontinuation and cast a fair eye on these new kids, but you should keep in mind that I probably have a pretty big chip on my shoulder.  Anyway, meet Cyanne from the "Runway Vacay" line, who I bought for $19.99 online at Toys R Us:

La-Dee-Da-Cyanne
La Dee Da "Runway Vacay Cyanne."

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Review of Hayden's House...as the Last of the Liv Dolls Leave the Shelves.

For a few months now, there have been whispers that Spin Master is shutting down production of the Liv doll.  A friend on Flickr warned me about this a while ago, and it was confirmed on Dana's blog last week.  Now, even Wikipedia reports the sad news (although I read Wikipedia with a skeptical eye).

This decision is surely based on low profits, so my question is--why weren't Liv dolls more successful?  Well, I want to hear your thoughts on this, but here are mine for starters.  First of all, the beauty of Liv dolls is that they are highly customizable.  In theory, you could buy just one Liv doll and then change her wig and outfit every day for endless new looks.  At most, it seems like you might want one of each character, and then you could focus your spending on accessories and new wigs.  Two problems with this from a marketing standpoint--first, people don't feel the need to buy very many dolls, which is good for buyers but bad for business.  Second, Spin Master didn't make enough outfits, wigs and accessories for these smaller items to carry people's enthusiasm or turn a profit on their own.

My second thought is related to the first.  The earlier waves of Liv dolls were all very similar.  Except for different outfits and wigs (and some small changes in face shape and eye color) the dolls were almost identical.  This contributed to consumers feeling that they didn't need every single doll that came out.  In addition, I can imagine some resentment in people who felt like they had to buy a whole new duplicate doll just to get a cute outfit or wig.  Spin Master seems to have tried to remedy the sameness in their dolls by making some drastic changes to the most recent doll's bodies.  In my opinion, these changes were a big mistake.  The Twist and Dance dolls' gimmicky bodies are virtually impossible to play with, and the Liv for Color and Brites dolls, while not awful, have definitely lost the Liv magic.

My last hypothesis is much simpler--Monster High dolls came out right after Liv and these creative and seemingly rare creatures stole everyone's attention and allowance.

So.  Whatever the reasons, the news is sad.  The silver lining is that Liv merchandise is on clearance everywhere and I am taking advantage.  I have always wanted the Toys R Us exclusive Hayden's house:

Hayden's house playset