Three Doll Kickstarters

First time trying to type since the thing with my shoulder started.  And it lasted barely more than a sentence before I had to stop, clutching my arm as it surged with pins and needles. 😦

So now I’m composing the draft text on my phone (dammit, the thing’s becoming a part of me, despite how I didn’t want to get it!) because I can do that without pain. (Okay, technically the pins and needles thing doesn’t hurt as such, but…) Then once I’ve written all the text, I’ll add the pics.

So, there are three doll Kickstarter campaigns going on right now. I’m only actually backing two of them, but I’ll get to that later.

So, we’re starting with this one, with the campaign title “IT’S TIME TO MAKE LOTS OF DOLLS”

Image copyright Fam Bam Toys. Click for link,

Their company name is Fam Bam Toys, but I’m not clear on the name of the doll line itself. There aren’t a lot of details yet, but here’s what I do know:

The line features African-American dolls who come with wigs, allowing them a wide range of hairstyles and looks. Based on the price point, I think they’re probably 1/6 scale.

Image copyright Fam Bam Toys. Click for link.

This is their prototype doll, Symone. I think she’s quite pretty, and certainly a promising start for the line, if they can meet their funding goal.

Speaking of which, to get the money, they’ll need backers to pledge $5,000 in the next 17 days (so, by July 1st), and they are currently at $621. Certainly possible, but I think the creator may not be pushing it on social media and such as strongly as she needs to. That, and the lack of details is probably scaring off potential backers. But it does sound like they’ve researched the production side of things enough to know what they’re doing; it’s just the Kickstarter side of things they didn’t research enough.

There have been other lines of play dolls to come with wigs (Moxie Teenz, some Brats, Imani), but for the most part they were one-time experiments (Fashion Queen Barbie, for example) or the wigs got abandoned later on for cheaper, simpler rooted dolls (Moxie Teenz) so it’s been a while since wigged dolls were out there for kids. (Us grown-ups get to have all the wigging fun we want with our BJDs and custom Pullips and Blythes, after all!)

Okay, moving on.

Image copyright…um…there’s no company name…well, click for link, anyway.

As the logo shows you, this one is called My CityDoll. The campaign page says she’s 14″ tall, which is a slightly odd scale; it’s smaller than American Girl dolls, but maybe that’s about the size of the AG offshoot line Wellie Wishers? It’s not really my preferred type of doll, so I don’t have much info to draw on here.

Again, this is a copyrighted image that came from the Kickstarter page. Click for link.

What I do know is that that is one adorable face! That little half-smile really gets me. 🙂 the eyes are really nice, too.

She’s all vinyl (no cloth torso here) but only has the basic shoulder and hip joints, no knees and elbows, sadly. (I have no idea if kids get as annoyed by dolls who sit with their legs just stretched out from the chair as I do…)

I’d be happier if the launch doll wasn’t a blue-eyed blonde, but the line was inspired by the campaign runner’s granddaughter, so I’m presuming said granddaughter is herself a blonde. Besides, those gorgeous eye chips make up for a lot. 😉 (And there are always wigs and reroots…)

The price point on this one is a bit steeper: $125 (plus shipping) for the non-limited edition of the doll. But as they need to get $10,000 in the next 22 days (July 5), the doll’s high price tag is necessary. (And, really, American Girl and other dolls of that type cost a ridiculous amount, so…) At the moment, they’ve been pledged $2,851, so while they’re in a stronger place than the other, their Kickstarter success is by no means certain. (As with the other, I think the dolls should be successfully manufactured, if they can just get the funds.)

All right, last one, the one I’m not backing.

No company name again, but it’s still a copyrighted image. Click for link.

This one is called “El-Lynn, a Doll With A Message of Love” and the doll is very much an American Girl-type, being 18″ tall and having a cloth torso.

And is that why I’m not backing her?

Well, no. Not really.

Is it the relatively lifeless face? (Which, of course, still makes it very AG-like.)

While that’s part of it, it’s not the main reason.

And no, it’s not that I think the campaign creator will be unable to get the doll successfully made; she seems to be pretty much on top of that situation.

So why is it?

Honestly, it’s the doll’s “message of love.” Because it’s not (just) “love of mankind” or “love in general”, but specifically “love of God.” Which is great for a lot of people, but it makes me uncomfortable. I do believe that a sentient higher power set the Big Bang in motion and engineered the laws of physics, but my personal belief is that there’s no way we puny humans could actually comprehend a being on that level, so organized religion always feels to me like it’s more about the human than the divine. Plus lately a lot of people have used religion (especially Christianity) as an excuse to do really horrible things to other people, which just leaves me squirming in discomfort whenever I see or hear someone loudly proclaiming their faith. And yes, I know that’s completely unreasonable, because the people doing the awful things are all doing things that Christianity specifically teaches that a person shouldn’t do, but…knowing that doesn’t change my discomfort.

Anyway, since my reason for not backing the campaign had nothing to do with the doll herself, I thought it would be deeply unfair if I didn’t share the campaign along with the other two. This one has the highest goal of the three, $20,000, has until the 3rd of July, and so far gas only been pledged $871. (Maybe I’m not the only one on Kickstarter who’s put off by the religious angle. Or maybe it’s the face.)

Ooookay, stopping abruptly here, because it turns out that trying to type on my phone is mind-bogglingly more time consuming, due to all the freakin’ typos caused by the teeny-tiny on-screen keyboard keys.

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Wear Orange Weekend

Today and the next two days make up Wear Orange Weekend, where the idea is to wear orange (the color of visibility) for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.  In light of all the recent mass shootings, this is more important than ever this year.  But I have no desire to turn this blog political, so I’m not going any further with that.

Instead, I’m going to explain that my blog is going on a brief hiatus.  Probably not more than a week, but…it’s hard to say for sure.  And the hiatus is going to include Blind Box Mondays.

The reason for the hiatus is that I hurt my shoulder.  It’s just a strained muscle, but in order to let it heal, I need to stop doing…well, pretty much everything I usually do.  (I have no idea how I’m going to survive!)  Not supposed to type or otherwise use computers (no idea how I’ll do my job, considering it’s entirely computer-based!) and I have to go to insane lengths to be able to play any video games (my lifeline!), and even reading is going to be near impossible.  About all I can do is try and find a position that doesn’t strain my shoulder and watch TV.  Ugh.  I mean, I do have a considerable backlog of anime to watch (about five seasons’s worth of various shows purchased on DVD, not to mention countless seasons of other shows available on Crunchyroll, Netflix and Hulu), but I crave interactivity, you know?

Anyway, once I’m better, I’ll be back.  I was told to wear a sling for a week, but I can’t particularly wear it, because just wearing it hurts, and it’s too long and covers up my hand, so I can’t do anything.  (Doesn’t help that it’s my dominant hand.)

In the meantime, I’ve made an album of all my orange-wearing (and sometimes orange-haired) dolls for this weekend.  They’re just old photos that were already uploaded to my Google drive.  The whole album is here, and here are a few highlights:

(Actually, a different shot of Pyrrha in this outfit and a similar pose is in the album. Only apparently I’ve never uploaded that photo onto the blog. Go fig.)

(Actually, this one’s not on the Google drive for some reason…)

(Hmm, I didn’t see this one on the Google drive, either. Maybe I didn’t upload my pictures as fully as I thought…)

(I’m going to be wearing that Orange Blossom pin to work today, btw.)

 

Poor Pitiful Pearl

See, I promised my next post would be on an actual doll, and here I am, actually delivering!  (For once.)

This is Poor Pitiful Pearl, a Horsman doll from 1963.  I’d seen photos of her, but hadn’t been terribly interested until I saw one in person at the Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s traveling exhibit at the history museum back in January of 2017.  Unfortunately, for some reason I didn’t get any photos of her at the time, possibly because she was still in her box, so I figured she wasn’t going to photograph very well.  You can see a (rather distant) photo of what her box looked like on DollReference.com’s Horsman 1960s-1970s page.  (Which also starts with a close-up of her face.)  Like many of the other unusual ’60s dolls of this sort I’ve been interested in getting — Little Miss No Name and Susie Sad Eyes (though she’s actually early ’70s), primarily — I’d found her price tag a bit off-putting.  But eventually I found this one on a Red Tag sale at Ruby Lane. 🙂

As you can see, she has one serious flaw:  her eyes have paled to a blue far more pale than they originally were, making it look a bit as though she’s gone blind.  (As if she didn’t have enough problems already!)  However, her hair is in good shape for a doll this old (there are a few snarls in the back, as you’ll see, and a bit of a musty smell, but nothing major), and look how crisp her face paint is!  She did lose her kerchief at some point, but I can replace that when I get a chance with just any old bit of red cloth. ;P

Ah, but I’ve skipped over the details about just who Pearl is.  She was designed by William Steig, a cartoonist (who often published in the New Yorker) and author, whose children’s book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was one I had as a child, and whose much later children’s book, Shrek!, was the basis of the Dreamworks movie.  (Fortunately for him, he passed away long before Shrek 3.  Didn’t quite see release of the second one either, which is sad, but maybe he’d already seen it as a work in progress.)  As far as I can tell (which is not, I admit, very far), Steig created Pearl specifically for the original 1958 doll by Brookglad; both versions of her were released with a little booklet illustrated by him.  I found a series of photos (scans?) of the 1958 booklet in this blog post from 2009, along with some lovely photos of the Brookglad doll, which appears essentially identical to the Horsman doll (I read somewhere that Horsman bought out Brookglad, so that’s not surprising) except for having a less colorful face-up and longer hair.  There was also a 1976 doll released by Tristar, which (from the DollReference.com photo) seems to have a very much identical face, but a rather different body.

Right, so now that I’ve dispensed with the history, on with the rest of the doll photos! 🙂

She has the pudgiest legs I have ever seen on a doll.  Ever. 🙂  I think they’re absolutely adorable.  The nylons help, of course.

As you can see, her hair’s a bit frizzled in the back, but not bad.  Nowhere near as bad as the average 1980s doll’s hair.

I love that her dress is fastened with a button.  I wish doll manufacturers still used buttons (or at least snaps) instead of crummy velcro.

I should have gotten a side-by-side photo of her with some other doll for scale.  She’s about 12″ tall (most of the ones I see online seem to be the 17″ version), so putting her side-by-side with a Barbie would be quite the jarring contrast!  Another child-like doll would probably be a better comparison.  Not quite sure what doll, though.  Most of the others are too tall or too short.  Maybe go a bit older/newer and use the red-headed Patsy replica.  In terms of body-type, Patsy and other dolls of that type would be the best match.  (Maybe when the doll exhibit comes down in July, I can bring in Pearl and a few other dolls to photograph side-by-side with that Scootles on loan for the exhibit.  A slight abuse of power(?), maybe, but what an incredible chance!)

It’s a weird and awesome feeling, though, adding dolls like Pearl to my collection, considering that they’re older than I am.  My collection of dolls older than I am is really growing lately.  (I’ve gotten two others that, like Pearl, I first saw in person at that traveling museum exhibit.  But I haven’t photographed either of the other two yet.)  I should make a gallery in my Google Photos drive to show them all.  (Of course, Pearl has her own album already, and all these photos link there.)  Oooh, now that I think about it, I still haven’t photographed the one that’s probably oldest…I need to remedy that situation…

Two (non-doll) Toy Kickstarters (and info about Kickstarter in general)

Since the responses to my earlier post were to go ahead with Kickstarter-related posts within reason, I wanted to share two Kickstarters I’m currently backing, one which still hasn’t hit its funding goal.  But I thought maybe I should also go into a little more detail about how Kickstarter works (on the consumer end) first.

Basically, it’s a lot like pre-ordering a product, except that the product might not even exist if enough people don’t pre-order it, as the money is only collected at the end of the funding period (usually 30 days, but sometimes only a week or two, and some go for 60 days) and only if a set goal is reached.  (For example, someone wanting to make a run of resin BJDs would have to contact a manufacturer, find out the cost of making the molds and how much it would cost to do a minimum run of the dolls, and then find out all the associated shipping costs and other fees, and would make that their starting goal.)  There is also always the risk that even if the money is collected, there still won’t be a product.  Sometimes things go awry, and the intended end result never emerges.  (The highest risk of this seems to be in the making of video games, as sometimes the game is being made by a single individual, who basically wants the money to live on until they can finish the game.  Only then life can interfere.  A lot.)  The product could also be delayed, or not as good as expected/promised.  (Delays happen pretty much across the board, though the physical publication of web comics seem to be the safest against delay, likely because usually about 90% of the work was already finished before the campaign started.  Not as good as expected/promised can happen just about anywhere, but it also especially rears its head in video games.  Google “Mighty Number 9” if you need to see what can go wrong with video game production.)   Simpler products (like enamel pins) tend to be much safer bets, because it’s just that much harder for anything insurmountable to go wrong.  Generally speaking, products are slightly cheaper via Kickstarter than if you wait for them to be released to the public.  How much cheaper depending on the product, its eventual mark-up, and how marketing-savvy the person designing the campaign is.

I don’t know a lot about other crowdfunding sites, but I think that ones like gofundme and indiegogo collect money right away, unlike Kickstarter.  (I’m basing that solely on inferences from things people have said in Kickstarter comments, so I could be totally wrong.)  Patreon works totally differently, in that you pledge a certain amount of money and then pay it every single month until you tell it to stop charging you, and the person/group/whatever you’re giving money to does something for you to be worth that money, whether it’s giving you access to additional online content, or thanking you in their YouTube videos, or drawing sketches at your request, or what-have-you.  So far, I don’t have a Patreon account, thank goodness, as I’m bleeding money quite fast enough already. ;(

*ahem*

So, these two Kickstarters I’m writing about today are what I consider to be extremely low risk.  One of them is from a company (though via a different partner in the business) that has already run four successful campaigns, two of which I backed, one of which I’ve already received the rewards from.  (They also run a website, and I’ve ordered from them once, and got that order at the same time as the first Kickstarter reward.)  And the other one is a collaboration involving one of the founders (the founder?) of Kidrobot, so there’s someone with professional experience in exactly this type of manufacturing.  (As opposed to if it was some random dude who’s only ever worked operating the deep frying machine at a fast food joint.  Which by no means indicates that they’re incapable of running a toy company, just provides no reassurance of their capability to potential investors.)

We’ll start the the former, called DIY Miss Cupcake XL – Vinyl Art Toy Platform.  Which is admittedly a bit of a mouthful. 😛

Copyright Discordia Merchandising and Olive47. Image acquired via Kickstarter. Click for link.

So, the smaller one there is the original Miss Cupcake, which was released in a blind box, with four color variations, and the larger one is a prototype of the blank they’re going to produce for this Kickstarter.  They still have a few of the blind box originals, and I’ve backed to get one from the Kickstarter. 😉  Also an enamel pin version, and a glow-in-the-dark blank, because if your cupcakes aren’t glowing, what’s the point?  (Yeah, that made more sense in my head.)  The previous Kickstarter from Discordia Merchandising that I backed was called Boxcat, another customizing blank, which I got in white, glow-in-the-dark, blue and black.  No idea when I’ll actually customize any of them proper (need to clean my house first!), but I plan on doing a temporary custom on one of them with stickers. 😛  (I have to find the stickers I want first, but once I’ve done that, I’ll share photos with you.)

The second Kickstarter is both similar and different at the same time.  It’s also a vinyl toy, but it’s not a blank (though I guess you could paint over it anyhow 😛 ) and unlike Miss Cupcake, it’s already met and far exceeded its original funding goal.  (Like by 1500%!)  It’s called Janky, and it’s for a set of blind box figures.  They’ve posted a large number of them on the campaign page, but I’ve pared that down to some of my favorites:

My four favorite Janky models. Copyright Superplastic and the credited designers. Image from Kickstarter. Click for link.

There’s also an eight inch cyclopean version that’s really cute, but he’s $65, which feels a teeny tiny bit like a heck of a lot of money for an 8 inch figure with minimal articulation.  (I barely blink at that price on, say, a Figma, which is more like 5-6 inches, but they’ve got articulation out the wazoo, and lots of spare parts.)  There’s also a non-Janky figure that’s pretty cool (if a bit weird), and a 4 foot tall Janky for those with a lot of space and even more money.

I’m not 100% sure how well Janky aligns with everyone’s tastes (there’s a few of the designs I really don’t like, to be honest) and unlike Miss Cupcake, Janky doesn’t need the help in getting funded, but I wanted to pass it along anyway, in part just because, and in part because they’ve got this referral thing where they give you a special link and if someone clicks it and then pledges to the campaign, they give you an extra Janky when they’re shipping out the Kickstarter rewards.  (Yup, I am here motivated in part by my own selfish hope of getting more than I’m paying for.  Because I suck.  But at least I’m honest about it!)  So, in summation, the link on the picture and name above, this link, is actually that referral link.  I have no idea if you’ll have to click through anything different on the way to the campaign page, or if it just acts like a normal link and simply ticks off a data box at Kickstarter HQ or what.  (I’ve never used one of these referral things before.  One previous campaign I pledged to had one, but I didn’t use it, partially because I was ticked at the people running the campaign at the time.  Which is a pity, because as plushies those would probably have jived with my blog as a whole better.)

Okay, so I think that’s about everything I had to say, so I’ll probably stop here.  Also it’s gotten late and I still had other stuff I wanted to do tonight.

I promise I’ll post about an actual, honest-to-goodness doll next week.

So, what do you think about Kickstarter posts?

This is a modification of a post I just made on my other blog, but the situation is different enough that I didn’t want to just reblog it.

I’ve several times posted here to spread the word about a Kickstarter that I was worried wouldn’t make its funding, but what do people think about more frequent posts about Kickstarters I’m backing?  (Or even ones that I’m not backing but which I thought other people might be interested in?)

I’m not talking about a weekly thing, naturally.  Just a “when it seems appropriate” thing.  When it’s a doll campaign, or a non-doll toy where the campaign looks like it’s struggling to hit funding.  Or maybe an enamel pin campaign that seems apropos to the regular contents of the blog.  (Though I want to be careful about that in the future; I back a lot of fanart pin campaigns, and they seem to be getting hit with intellectual property disputes more often than they used to.  Including that one of the ones I shared on here got hit with one of those disputes pretty soon after I posted.  That’s made me paranoid about sharing fanart pin campaigns…)  Possibly also a game (board or video) if it seems more appropriate here than on my main blog.  (Like the one for a tabletop arcade cabinet with a Rainbow Brite game in it…)

See, Kickstarter campaigns are always asking their backers to spread the word on social media, but I’m not on any social media other than WordPress, so there’s not a lot I can do about it.  (Frustratingly, some of them have contests and/or special stretch goals that require their link be liked or re-thingied or whatever.  (Hey, I’ve never even used these things, I don’t know how they work!)  And I really can’t do anything about that.)  Posting about the campaigns on my blog(s) is about all I can do, but I don’t want to annoy anyone with unrelated posts that will just come off as asking for money (even though I’m not the one getting the money).

I won’t start posting about Kickstarter campaigns (outside of exceptional circumstances) without direct confirmation that people actually want to read those kind of posts.  So please, if you have an opinion one way or the other, voice it.  (Preferably within a week.)