I pre-ordered her way back in early (well, early mid-) August, and she finally arrived yesterday afternoon; the first doll from the new “My Ballerina Dolls” line, Clara Marie.
Before I move on further, here’s another shot in the box, to give you a sense of scale. (Please pretend I’m capable of holding the camera straight when you look at the photos, okay? The realization that I apparently sit at an angle is somewhat disturbing…)
And that’s not normal Frankie: that’s the new super-sized Frankie. (The one who’s the same size as Gooliope Jellington. That one.) So what we have in Clara Marie here is my very first 1/3 scale doll. 😀 (And much, much cheaper than a Dollfie Dream! Clara Marie’s list price is $100, versus standard price of around $1,000 for a Dollfie Dream. Of course, there are 1/3 scale BJDs much cheaper than that (JunkySpot has a number for around $200) but I still rather dream about the Dollfie…which is probably the reason for the name. 😛 )
Getting her out of the package was pretty easy, though the twisty-ties around her waist also went around the arm with the nutcracker in it, which made that particular part a bit more complicated than the rest, which was just a matter of snipping through some fairly hefty plastic straps.
If you pose her right, she can stand on her own, as you can see. In this case, her pose had to be pretty awkward, because the surface I was using for photography wasn’t completely flat. (But my better location didn’t have as much space for such a big doll!) Her joints move very well, and hold their poses fairly reliably. My only complaint about the jointing is that her wrists don’t swivel; they bend, but with no swiveling it makes it very hard for her to seem to hold things. (You’ll see examples of that later.)
She can sit in a very dainty manner, unlike some other dolls I’ve gotten lately, but actually getting her to sit is a little more complex than I’m used to. (I think it’s more or less standard for BJDs, though.)
Her face-up is very subdued and naturalistic, giving the impression that she’s not wearing any make-up at all, or maybe only a little lipstick. Being the no-make-up type myself, I find that appealing, personally. The lack of make-up would probably also mean that those wishing to change her face-up might not even need to erase the old face-up first. (Or maybe they would…I try to avoid having to give my dolls face-ups personally, because I’m no good at it.) She has no eyelashes whatsoever, neither rooted ones nor painted ones, apart from a hint of eyelashes at the corners of the eyes. A slightly odd choice, but I think it looks fine on her; again, it’s a subdued look, giving her a child-like innocence.
Her eyes, as you can see, have a deep greenish-blue pupil, rather than a black one. This is an unusual choice, I would think, but it gives her eyes some individuality, and I think it has a very pretty effect. Which is a good thing, since you can’t change her eyes. (Unless, I suppose, one wanted to saw her head open. But even then I don’t know if you could actually change them, and the idea is somewhat terrifying in any case.) The eyes also have a strong dome to them, giving the optical illusion that she’s not simply staring blankly ahead of her. I’m a big fan of domed eyes like that in a doll whose eyes can’t move, because the blank straight-ahead-stare is just not a good, lively look.
In looking at pictures of her before getting her, my one concern was that I didn’t think I liked her nose. It’s thin and pointed, rather like what I picture as a “Roman nose.” I do, definitely, consider it to be my least favorite part of her facial sculpt. However, I do like it better in person than I did in the photos, so I think it’ll continue to grow on me; we’ll see how I react to it six months to a year from now.
While we’re dealing with close-ups on her head, let’s talk about her wig. The hair is nice and long, and has some nice, mild curls to it. It’s not the softest doll hair I’ve ever felt, but it’s not bad, either, though there is a slight tendency for it to get knotted towards the ends. (That’s probably going to be the case with almost any wig of this length, though.) However, I do have one complaint about it:
There are places where the wig is thin enough that you can see right through it to her scalp. A number of such places, in fact. (There’s one in the previous photo as well.) Now, for this doll’s expressly stated purpose — for children (over the age of 6) to play with and pose in ballet poses — this is probably not a big deal. For an adult collector like me — and given the doll’s price point, I think they were definitely making her with a strong adult market in mind as well as the child market — this is more of an issue, because it’s hard to take good photos of her without the netting of the wig, and the scalp below it, showing somewhere. However…
It’s very easy to remove the wig and turn her into Ilia from Star Trek the Motion Picture. (Even though I’m not a Star Trek fan, I do kind of want to make her a Starfleet uniform now…and if I could sew, I probably would.) She even comes with a wig cap to protect her head from any staining caused by wigs. As an experiment, I tried a swap with the only other easily removed doll wig in my collection:
Both wigs were a pretty tight fit on the other head….which doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever. (How can they both be slightly too small when they fit their original heads just fine?)
I don’t think Tangkou’s wig particularly flatters Clara Marie (yes, she’ll get a new name eventually, once I figure out her personality and have an idea what her new look will be) and the thinness of Tangkou’s wig in the bangs region is painfully apparent, but it does serve to show how great the impact of a different wig is on her general appearance. This wig might actually look pretty good on her — apart from the thinness — if she was wearing a very different outfit. Something sort of modern, and with darker colors, I’d think.
Oddly, one of the reasons I’d bought this Tangkou rather than one of the others available was because of her pretty blue hair. And yet look how gorgeous she looks in Clara Marie’s wig! I think it may look better on Tangkou than it does on Clara Marie, in fact. (And when I get Clara Marie a new wig, I will totally be giving this one to Tangkou.) Before I go back to Clara Marie, though, I feel obliged to point out one thing about Tangkou that I didn’t mention when I first got her. Warning, the following image may haunt your nightmares. (Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but I certainly find it creepy!)
Her eye mechanism has a tendency to get stuck half-way through a swap. Creeps me right out. *shudder*
Here’s a sweet picture of Clara Marie and Freya to wash Tangkou’s freaky eye issues away. 😛 This picture also illustrates what I was talking about regarding Clara Marie’s wrists: in this pose, her hand ought to be more palm down than palm up, so she’d be holding Freya more naturally, but it can’t rotate, so it’s just sort of sitting there, looking awkward. Obviously, that’s only an issue if one wants to take pictures of her in poses like this, but…I hope they fix that issue before they release the prince doll next year! (Because he’s so gorgeous, I would like him to be a perfect doll, you know?)
Anyway, let’s move on to Clara Marie’s joints. (I’m trying to give a nice, full review, since I don’t know how many people have gotten — or even heard of — these dolls yet.)
As you can see, the usual number of points of articulation, and when she’s not wearing that puffy dress (the skirt has four layers to it!) it’s much easier to find a naturalistic pose in which she can stand up unaided, even on my uneven surface.
Maybe I should call her “Lady Godiva.” 😛
Her joints are all of the same hard plastic as she herself is, rather than being strung like BJD Ai or Pang-ju. (Okay, technically, she may well be strung within the torso. I have no idea how to tell that.)
Ack. I should have re-taken that photo. Well, you can at least mostly make out the fact that her toes are well sculpted, despite that they were initially hidden in her massive pink boots. (Okay, yeah, they’re supposed to be ballet slippers of some sort, but…they’re boots.)
The weird thing is that those wrist joints really look like they should swivel. It’s like someone glued them by mistake. (Maybe my doll is actually defective?) Even though it’s actually a fairly typical design, that shoulder joint just makes me think Barbie. Despite that most doll shoulders look that way. That’s actually kind of odd, that I have that reaction…
The swivel joint at the upper arm (or whatever that type of joint is properly called) is very handy for trying to get her into different poses, but it doesn’t take the place of a swiveling wrist, since it also turns the elbow. Technically, they probably need a swivel joint like that on the forearm, rather than letting the wrist swivel, since the swiveling on a human body is more at the elbow than at the wrist. (And yes, I just swiveled my arm around to check that. And since I’m currently at school, that must have looked really weird if anyone happened to glance over at me while I was doing that.)
The joint at the mid-torso was not designed to be seen and turned at the same time. It looks like she’s breaking herself.
Lucky she’s not a gymnast doll. That’s almost as bad as my splits. I guess ballet doesn’t require many side kicks. (Uh, yeah, now that I think about it, it wouldn’t…)
This one is actually kind of surprising. I’m pretty sure some ballet routines do involve forward splits. She’s got a good forward kick, as it were, but the back…nope. And there’s not really anything they could do to give her one without redesigning her entire pelvis. (But how many doll buyers actually feel the intense need to make their dolls do splits? Probably not many. I’d never have thought of it if I hadn’t seen that the ToyBoxPhilosopher always does that in doll reviews…)
She’s switching ballets, from “The Nutcracker” to “Romeo and Juliet”…
No, sorry, that was obnoxious. 😛 (Although I bet she would look really great in an Elizabethan costume…)
Really, I just wanted to do a picture of her holding my Sting letter opener, ’cause I just got it, and this was the first excuse I could find to take a picture with it. (Well, it’d be a massive broadsword if I tried to have Pyrrha hold it!) I had a lot of trouble finding a way for her to actually hold it up, though. Her arms hold their poses beautifully so long as there’s no weight on them, but if she’s holding anything, they start to droop quickly.
And I do mean anything. That shot where she was holding up her wig? It was a lot higher when I initially posed her. But given what her hands are like, she obviously wasn’t meant to hold anything, except perhaps that nutcracker she comes with, and that doesn’t weigh much.
Anyway, while I had her undressed, I also took her measurements, so I could determine if she could share clothes with any of the 1/3 scale BJDs out there. Because I don’t want to have to learn how to sew and make her clothes myself. That would not likely end well. (Also I don’t have time.)
I’m going to share the measurements I took, in case anyone happens to see this who has any of the 1/3 scale dolls, and can let me know how similar or dissimilar her measurements are to their dolls. I did look around at JunkySpot, and found that her measurements seem similar — but not identical — to those of the 1/3 scale Bobobie dolls. (And, actually, her facial sculpt is of a very similar type to the Bobobie dolls, too, so if I ever get one of those — and I certainly would like to — then she could probably pose with them without looking terribly out of place, which is nice.) I’m not sure if I did the measurements all “correctly,” as this is the first time I’ve tried to take a doll’s measurements, but this is what I got:
Shoulder width: 5″ or 13 cm
Arm length: 6″ or 15 cm
Torso length: 4″ or 10 cm
Breast circumference: 9.5″ or 24 cm
Waist circumference: 6.5″ or 16 cm
Hip circumference: 9.25″ or 23.5 cm
Leg length: 11.5″ or 29 cm
Foot length: 2.75″ or 6.5 cm
I’m thinking finding her clothes won’t be too hard, as long as the clothes aren’t too precisely fitted to the doll they’re originally designed for. But I’m worried about finding her shoes. It seems like a lot of BJDs have high-heeled feet, and hers are flat. Though I suppose I could get her shoes for a male doll, if need be. 😛
Part of me wants to hop right over to Etsy and start ordering her new clothes and at least one wig, if not several, but…I need to stop spending money on anything other than groceries. I really overspent this summer, and now it’s catching up to me. 😦 At least I know her wig size, thanks to the experiment with Tangkou: any wig that fits Pullip will fit Clara Marie. (I’m hoping that Blythe wigs will also fit her, ’cause there are some gorgeous Blythe wigs on Etsy. Since Tangkou’s wig was a bit tight on her, maybe Blythe wigs would be okay?)
But on the plus side, I have dolly projects to work on now: the mold for Pyrrha’s eye chips finally came, and I’ve in fact made a full set of eye chips, so now I just have to have the time to open her up and sand the shine off her face and paint her a new face, and…ugh. I have no idea when I’m going to have time for that. (Especially since I don’t want to leave her disassembled for any longer than I have to!) I’d say “I can do it this weekend,” except that I have another paper to write for Thursday, so this weekend is probably not a good time for that. I also still have to paint the details on my TARDIS and K-9 charms, glaze them, make molds from them and see if I can cast them in resin. And I want to try fixing up the resin casting I made of the Key of Time charm prototype to see if it worked, or if I need to make a new mold.
In any case, now that it’s October, I want to start focusing on Halloween-appropriate toys from my collection, as Halloween is pretty much the only holiday I really like. And that’ll start tomorrow (assuming I have time to write the post) when I give my report on my first (probably only ever) Pang-ju: Black Russian Pang, the vampire doggy. He arrived first, and I did his photo shoot first, but I thought it was more important to get this post out first.
(The gallery link for this post is here.)