I totally shouldn’t have, but….ahem…okay, let’s start over.
Following Olive’s advice, I was checking out AliExpress, and found that some of the “factory girls” had already been given BJD-style fully jointed bodies. As I was looking at those dolls, one of them basically just talked to me right through the computer screen.
Yeah, that’s pretty much what she said. When they’re that demanding, what can you do? (Besides, uh, people named Pyrrha can be scary when you make ’em mad…really scary…) Not really my usual favorite hair coloration–I tend to prefer cool colors like purples and blues–but…this was clearly meant to be somehow. I guess I’ll find out exactly how when she gets here. Which’ll be sometime next month, since she’s coming from China.
She’s not coming alone, though. I noticed that the seller also had this line of dolls called Tangkou (or Tang kou, I’m not sure if it’s one word or two) which seems to be China’s answer to Pullip. The design is similar, but not quite similar enough to be called a clone or even an imitator as such, and apparently the dolls also have the Blythe-like 4-color eyes. Plus they’re pretty cheap. (Considering what they are.) So I had to get one of those, too, to see what they’re like in person. (Despite that I shouldn’t be spending more money.)
Anyway, it got me to thinking about clones, imitators and other similar-tos already in my collection, and I thought I’d share some of them. I was kind of surprised; I have more of them than I thought! (Though I actually have at least one more type that I couldn’t find…)
This one I got at some point in the 1990s, in part for her very nice dress, which was in two pieces, and is currently being worn by two different Teen Skippers. (The one wearing the top half over a pair of tights is being Viola from Twelfth Night, btw.) Her arms are a bit rubbery feeling, but she’s mostly fairly well made, with plenty of hair and although her face looks a lot like Barbie’s, it doesn’t seem to have been molded directly off of a Barbie.
Okay, so if we’re going to go in chronological order, then we’ll switch over now to some dolls that are neither clone nor truly even imitators, but alternatives:
This doll–and the next two–came out in the late 1990s, when cultural, ethnic and gender awareness was really starting to wake up and hit the toy industry, but Mattel hadn’t started to respond yet, so other toy companies were doing their best to fill the gap. But then MGA came along with the ethnically diverse(ish) Bratz, and Mattel finally started to diversify a bit, and the other companies never managed to get past a toe in the door. Integrity is still around, though.
All kinds of weirdness about that doll there. I think I actually bought her for the wig she came with, which I wanted to use for the Cat doll for a Red Dwarf set I was trying to make (never ended up working too well), but I didn’t like the clothes she came in or something. I had hated this outfit on the repro Francie (who was to be the original Kochanski in said Red Dwarf set, btw) but it turned out to look great on this doll, for whatever reason. I’m not sure what happened to her other shoe…
He was supposed to be the Lister for the Red Dwarf set, after I’d glued some dreadlocks (courtesy the Disney Tarzan doll) to a baseball cap for him. But that never ended up happening. Besides, he’s way too tall for Lister anyway. That jacket of his is starting to do that horrible fake leather sticky thing, though. Ugh; I hate that. No idea what to do about it, though.
I found this little cutie at the local zoo, of all places! Back then, Mattel was still making Kelly dolls, which made seeing such an exact Kelly clone even more surprising. (Though I don’t think Mattel ever did a mermaid version of Kelly…) I recall feeling that she was much too expensive for a cheap Kelly knock-off, but I bought her anyway, ’cause she was cute, and besides it’s important to support the zoo. 😉
I saw these at Tuesday Mornings, and I had to buy them because…I mean…Bratz clones who are also cat-girls? How could I not buy them? That being said, I never actually liked them quite enough to take them out of their packages…
I had a shock when I took this one down off the shelf to photograph her: she’s developed some kind of weird, sweating-like condition on her face. None of the others have developed it, just her. No idea why.
If I had opened one of them, it probably would have been this last one. Although that first one was kinda cool, too. But there’s another reason on this last one…
They tried again one more time, and this was what they came up with. As you can see, the clothes were vastly improved, and the face, too, was a big improvement. Still a bit generic, but no longer simply “Bratz-clone.” This face is its own thing, and the dress is really nice. In fact, it’s so nice that she’s the Duchess for my mad tea party! And she came with a spare, which is currently on the super-long legged MGA doll. She’s still not a great doll, but no longer simply a Bratz-clone with a cat-ear gimmick. (In fact, she doesn’t even have cat-ears.)
This was one of many Barbie clones I saw on the shelves in the one store I regularly visited during my time in Peru. (I was there for a month, for archaeological study.) It was part grocery store, part department store, so they had a small toy department, which I would browse in depression, going through toy withdrawal. Most of their dolls were Barbie clones, most of them very badly made. What few real Barbies they had were prohibitively expensive by local standards. (But not actually that different from our prices when you converted back to dollars.) This one, being quite high quality–having been molded off an actual Barbie, or perhaps made with a stolen/discarded actual factory mold–was much more expensive than the other clones, but still much less than the real Barbies. I kind of wish I had gotten one particular one of the terrible clones, though; it was especially badly made, looked nothing like a real Barbie, but on the back of the box it pictured some particular Barbies from the mid-1990s. (I remember those Barbies; I got a number of them; they were popular with adult collectors for their potential for customization, due to their perfect straight hair. Though I’ve forgotten now what they were called…)
I don’t know how well you can see it in the picture, but the color of the hair on top of her head is changing due to exposure to the light, despite that she’s never been exposed to heavy sunlight, or in fact any at all. The new color is still pretty, but…man, that’s some cheap material!
I’ve got a bunch of these, because they’re Monster High…well, it’s not really fair to call them Monster High “clones” so let’s call them Monster High band-wagoners. Though their bodies were definitely molded off the Monster High bodies, so maybe “imitators” would be a fair term. Anyway, since their clothes fit Monster High so well, and Monster High dolls are notoriously hard to find clothes for, I’ve gotten a number of them over the years. Only photographed this one, ’cause…uh, yeah, that’s a lot of pictures. (BTW, these Mystixx Vampires are made by Playhut, the same people that made the MystiKats earlier. So they’re definitely making strides.)
Okay, this one can more accurately be called a “clone” though the head is more like Winx than Monster High, though the body is definitely copied right off Monster High. I’ve got several of these, too (they were something like 2 for $6 at Walgreens), but again didn’t bother to photograph more than one.
I actually bought this one specifically because of what it said about the cloning industry.
Uh, let me rephrase that so it doesn’t sound like something out of a sci-fi movie. I bought it for the same reason that I wish I’d bought that one particular doll in Peru. Because of the inherent crazy of it. You see the doll in the box there, right? Now look at the back of the box:
Notice how the dolls on the back are not the doll in the box. They are in fact, Barbies, like this one:
(Let me now qualify the “Like this one” statement above. You may have noticed that while this Stardoll’s outfit was exactly represented in the photo on the back of the clone’s box, her face was not. In manufacturing that box, they either Photoshopped regular Barbie faces onto Stardoll bodies, or they re-dressed regular Barbies in Stardoll fashions. The Stardoll line had entirely new face molds, part of Mattel’s ongoing attempt to rescue Barbie from her current hell of being viewed as being exclusively a busty blonde bimbo stuck in the 1950s. Okay, on with my point, which was simply that the photo was of Mattel dolls, not the doll in the package.)
Who are they selling to? It’s one thing to imitate Barbie, to imitate her packaging and all that, but to put photographs of her on the back of the box? Just what consumers do they expect are so stupid that they can’t tell that the doll visible through the plastic on the front of the package is not the same one pictured on the back of the box? Or are they just counting on students of human nature like myself to buy them all out of morbid curiosity? ‘Cause I only bought the one, and I’m not gonna buy another just to be doing. Not unless they give me a danged good reason. (Like, you know, if the product is actually worth buying as well as being ironically/stupidly packaged.)
Okay, well, I’ve run out of things to say now. And run out of clones, too. (Apart from that one Barbie look-alike I don’t know where it is. I think it’s probably down in the basement. Yikes. Can stay down there.)
I still have to order some clothes for Pyrrha, but there’s no rush, since the estimated delivery time was 40 days. 😦 I’m not sure what size clothes she’ll take, either. What size clothes do Blythes take? About Pullip-size, right? If she’s been fitted up with a BJD-style body, does she still take the same size clothes, I wonder? It looks like maybe she’d take slightly larger clothes now, based on the photo. Hmm. I hope she can wear Bratzilla-size clothes; I want her to be able to wear the battle mermaid armor! Though I guess I ought to make her something a little more appropriately Myceneaean…like I have that kind of skill…