This is a bit of a long, meandering but also somewhat different post.
It should probably be several posts, but I already named all the files and loaded them to a single gallery so…just one long, meandering post. In which I am going to show you some stuff I’ve seen in three recent shopping trips that I didn’t buy, and a few things I did buy, too.
Starting with that last antique mall trip looking for actual wooden shelves. I went to an absolutely ginormous antique mall (my first thought on seeing it was that it was once a grocery store, but no grocery store is that big, so it was probably a Venture or a K-mart or maybe a furniture outlet store) and although I was just there looking for shelves, of course I had to look at every single part of the store (even the cases where I was obviously not going to find any (human-sized) furniture), and I took pictures of some really cool stuff that I didn’t end up getting. Some of which I will absolutely not get even if it’s still there next time I go (whenever that might be) because it was too expensive or bulky. I also got some cool stuff other than the shelves, but I don’t have any pictures of that stuff ready. I need to research one of the toy cars before I could even think of posting about it, and some of it while cool, isn’t really something that needs to be posted about, not on a doll blog. (I mean, yeah, a(n allegedly) first-pressing copy of “Abbey Road” is awesome, but it doesn’t have much to do with dolls, and everyone knows what the cover of “Abbey Road” looks like, even if they don’t even like the Beatles, so there’s no need to take a picture of it.)
So, here’s some of the cool stuff I saw at the antique mall, starting with a couple of cool tin dollhouses.
This is a very early Marx tin dollhouse, and it was quite reasonably priced given its rarity. The only reason I didn’t snap it up is that I have no room for a second tin dollhouse! (Ooh, I still haven’t posted the pictures of the one I’ve already got, have I? Mental note: need to do that.)
You may be wondering what’s so rare about it. Well, you can kind of see it in that photo, but here’s a closer shot:
This is the Disney version, which was only made for one year. The standard version has generic decor on the nursery walls. Like I said, I really wanted to get this, because it’s so freaking cool. But I had enough trouble trying to figure out where to put the one I’ve already got. To have room for this one, I’d have to get rid of the one I have, and how would I do that? (Not to mention, I haven’t even had it all that long!)
I don’t know off-hand who made this other tin dollhouse, but isn’t it cool? The ones that are unusual shapes like this are also pretty rare, from what I recall of my earlier research into tin dollhouses. (We had one of the Disney ones on loan at work until recently, and when it came in I had to research it to see when it was from, etc. Learned a fair bit about tin dollhouses all around. Probably saw stuff about this one at that time, but that was years ago and I don’t remember.) If I had infinite space, I would have so gotten both of these tin dollhouses…
It would be the coolest job ever to be in charge of a dedicated toy museum that was just starting up and had unlimited funds to go out and buy toys to add to the collection. (Not that such a job could exist. Toy Story 2? Lies, all lies. Toy museums don’t buy toys. There’s never money in the budget, and besides people are always trying to give you toys. Even if their toys are too beat up to display. Or if you stopped being a toy museum years ago and barely get to display the oodles of toys you already had.)
I found out about these when I was looking up some other Marx plastic figures (Disney again), and thought they looked pretty nifty. And unlike the Disney, Marvel and Universal Monsters, these are unlikely to have ever been pirated after the fact. Honestly, the only reason I didn’t get one of these is that I was dead tired by this point (this was in the very last section of the store that I went to) and I would have had to go find an employee, bring them back to open the case, and so on, and I just didn’t have the strength for it. If these are still there whenever I might next go back, I’ll totally get one. (They’re probably already long gone, of course, but…hey, at least I have the picture.)
Now, this one, I was absolutely not going to get. Not because I dislike the doll, but because no way was I paying $179 for her, no matter how rare she is. Although, honestly, she’s so rare (from what I’ve heard) that I’m actually kind of surprised she wasn’t more expensive. I believe that Hasbro only made her for one year. Because, you know, even in the ’60s, how many little girls want a doll that’s literally a dog?
Like with those Marx ladies, this was more “I’m too tired” than anything else. Although this spaceman was also a bit more expensive, and I was already committed to a pretty hefty total up front with the two shelves and various other things I got.
Okay, so that’s all the pictures from the antique mall (I should take more pictures next time I go there, because there was a lot of cool stuff.) Now I have pictures from two trips to Target, one a while back, and the other today. But actually the only pictures I have from the first one are stuff I actually got, so I’m gonna skip to today’s and show some more “walking the aisles” photos. Because.
So Hasbro’s putting out a high fashion sub-line of Disney Princess dolls. And at least they’ve fixed the hideous, too-large heads that their Disney dolls usually have. Facially, these are a lot closer to Mattel’s old Princess dolls, except that the super-long eyelashes make them look cheap. (And I don’t mean they make the dolls look inexpensive, if you get my drift.) That combined with the $25 price tag, and I was like “yeah, pass.” I might pick one up on clearance eventually. Or maybe one of the other dolls in the line will strike my fancy better. If there are other dolls in the line. The boxes did not make that clear.
These are totally trying to tap into the Monster High market. Not sure how well they’ll actually do the job. I plan on getting one when I happen to find them on sale.
As in “OMG, BBAON!” (Bratz By Any Other Name) Once I find them on sale, I have to get one of these out of sheer curiosity.
And now we get to the sad portion of this post. Mattel, why do you do this?! You had a really nice line, and then you go and utterly destroy it! I mean, I’m hoping that it’s the angle that makes it look like Batgirl’s eyes aren’t quite the same size or at the same level or pointing in the same direction, but even if they’re not…argh. Just argh…
They haven’t butchered Wonder Woman quite as much as everyone else, but I think they butchered Katana enough for five or six characters. (Oh, and if I recall correctly from glancing at the backs of the packages last time I was there, they’ve removed Harley Quinn (since she’s not a hero, I guess?) and replaced her with Zatanna, just as badly mutilated as everyone else, of course.)
I think someone put that Captain Marvel doll in the wrong place right next to these two to drive the point home about how bad the new look of the DC Super Hero Girls is. (And no, I’m not the one who put it there.)
And in a completely different direction, Mattel has also produced these. I don’t know why they decided to make dolls of a K-Pop band, but…there you have it.
Honestly, I kind of want to get one, even though I know zilch about the band (other than that it’s evidently very popular at the moment), as the face molds are neat, the bodies appear to be articulated, and the clothes are almost ’70s-worthy in their wildness.
On the other hand, those skin tones seem awfully Caucasian to represent Koreans. I mean, maybe these kids are really that pale, but…I find it unlikely. If Mattel is misrepresenting real people in order to sell more units, I don’t want to support that.
Okay, so now we get to move on to things I actually got.
Of course I had to get a She-Ra doll! 😀 I absolutely love the new show (though I was a little annoyed with the ending of Series 3, as I think there were better ways a certain event could have been handled) and I want to encourage as many dolls in connection with it as I can, so of course I bought this the first time I saw it. Even though I was disappointed that she’s 1/6 scale instead of 1/12 scale like the original dolls.
So, according to the back of the box, there’s going to be a Catra doll (there better be!), but I’ve yet to see any pictures of her. I’m sorry to say I have seen pictures of Bow and Glimmer. I wish I hadn’t. 😦 They’re absolutely awful. It’s like “Bow if he happened to have been portrayed by Will Smith in the Fresh Prince days” and I don’t even know what they were thinking with Glimmer. She’s too…argh. Too “not Glimmer” is what she is. (I mean, at least I have my own 1/6 scale version of Glimmer, but…she’s not exactly the same Glimmer…)
Who I really want a doll of is Scorpia. (Even if you don’t know the show, you can probably guess which one is Scorpia, what with there only being one with scorpion claws.) In the first season, she was already creeping up on “favorite character” status, but by the end of season three, she’s pretty much cemented “favorite character” status with me, stealing it away from her (and my) beloved Catra. This is an amazing accomplishment. (Especially when you consider that Catra was always my favorite doll back in the ’80s. (Thankfully, I did not watch the Filmation show at the time. Since watching season 1 of the Netflix show, I’ve seen bits and pieces of the first season of the Filmation show…and it was awful.))
Of course, I’m sure Mattel would louse it up if they tried making a doll of her, given what they’ve done with the others in this line…fortunately, there’s the Curvy Girls Dolls, and when those finally get made, I am so going to use one to make a Scorpia doll. 😀
Anyway, on to the doll within the package…
First off, this is She-Ra in her battle armor, which she has so far only worn once. Which is probably why they packaged this particular doll with Swiftwind, because otherwise why would anyone bother buying it?
Speaking of Swiftwind…if you compare this face to the one on the side of the box, you’ll see that he really doesn’t look much like his animated counterpart. This is, of course, for the very obvious reason that Mattel wanted to use the standard Barbie horse. Which, I mean, I get it and all, but…well, I imagine that the kids who are the actual target audience for this product probably don’t mind that particular problem.
So, She-Ra herself…well…for starters, check out her lower arm. They just made it out of gold plastic. How lazy can you get? And then there’s those crazy-ass shoulderpads on the armor. She can’t really lift her arm higher than where it is in this photo, because those shoulderpads are in the way. And the armor is not designed to come off. (You have to buy a different doll to get regular She-Ra.) As to the face…I don’t like the smile. It’s just not right, somehow. For one thing, she shouldn’t be smiling while wearing her battle armor. (I know, I know, they’d never spring for multiple molds of the same character’s face.) Also, it’s not a very good smile. It’s like a “have you taken the picture so I can stop smiling now puh-lease” kind of a smile. And the eyebrows are all wrong. They remind me of the eyebrows on that late Ever After High doll, the daughter of the Little Mermaid. (Don’t recall her name, specifically, it was some pathetic attempt at a pun on Michelle, like Mee’shell or something…) Those little extra lines towards the center of her face are what makes it worst, somehow; they imply a hairiness edging towards a unibrow or…something. I can’t put it in words, but I don’t like it. And the fact that they went with brown instead of black says that they weren’t confident in the designs from the show and wanted to make them more “acceptable” in transforming them into dolls. Probably why they gave her a visible bosom even through her armor when neither She-Ra nor Adora has any visible bosom on the show.
At least they got the sword right. Not that you can tell in this out-of-focus shot, but you can take my word for it that it’s good.
The cloth wings have pretty patterns only on the outside…which you can’t really see most of the time because they hang downwards like in the shot above. The box talks about “wing-flapping action” by which they mean that you can manually use your hands to make the cloth wings flutter about. There is no function of the toy that in any way moves the wings. At least back in the ’80s the wings were made of plastic and had molded feathers.
So, this is probably the part that bugs me the most. No, not probably. It is. They don’t trust their articulated doll to stay in place on the horse’s back, so they have this clunky plastic doll holder just emerging from the horse’s back. There are two humongous problems with this, beyond the fact that it looks asinine. First, it’s almost impossible to get the doll into position when the wings are already on, and even if the wings weren’t in place, it would still be hard because of her legs and the horse’s neck. Second, that doll stand was designed to hold the doll without her armor. Even though you can’t take the armor off. Seriously, it would have worked better all around to just let the doll sit on the horse’s back with nothing to hold her there but the grip of her legs. Kids don’t play that rough. And they do tend to, you know, learn. I mean, look at the end of Toy Story 2: Andy holds Woody in place on Bullseye’s back, with no complaints about the fact that the horse has no method of holding the doll in place on its own. Do they really think that’s so hard to figure out? Or that there’s any kid out there who hasn’t seen that movie?
I wouldn’t bitch about it so much if it wasn’t for the fact that the original line was so important to me back in the day. It bothers me to see Mattel applying such half-assed techniques to a precious piece of my childhood.
Anyway, moving on…
I probably wouldn’t have picked this up right off the bat if it hadn’t been that the face reminded me of Liv, and I wanted to see how similar the dolls really were.
(Not very, actually.)
So, that’s the drawing on the side of the box. I want that doll! *sigh*
Anyway, the gimmick here is that they come with a green screen (and a green stand) and you can download an app to your phone and put different backgrounds and hairstyles and face-ups and whatnot on them. (The hair is a wig, but it’s much harder to deal with than Liv wigs were.)
So, the green screen was folded in the worst possible way in the box, with every single fold going backwards to how it needs to, so putting it together was a chore, and it kept trying to flop down outwards the whole time.
This is a camera photo (rather than a cell phone photo) and I’ve tried replacing the background in GIMP, and it was not going easily. Not as hard to get rid of, perhaps, as if it had been, say, the background to the She-Ra photos above, but…no, actually not any easier at all, in the long run.
My first try using their app, I hit the button wrong and couldn’t replace the greenscreen. You have to tell it you want to change the background before you take the picture. No idea why they did it that way. Anyway, you can see that I changed her eye make-up and her lipstick in this picture. That function actually works pretty well. Also added that rainbow “border” just because I could and I like rainbows.
The second time, I hit the background button, and the app crashed as I was trying to select a background. Same thing happened the third time, too. So I tried downloading a free app that had the same greenscreen functionality, with the bonus that it doesn’t require you to have that particular doll in the image. (Seriously, it won’t work if you don’t have one of the Snapstar dolls in the shot. So no using it to, say, put my Figmas on the beach…)
Uh, yeah. It’s more a “free trial” than a free app; if you pay to get the full version (which is not all that much, actually) then you unlock functions like focusing. (Seriously, there is no auto-focus, and manual focus is locked behind the pay wall.)
Anyway, I tried again a few days later, and this time the Snapstar app didn’t crash when I tried to replace the background.
I find it mildly hilarious that the socks the doll came with have enough green in them to partially disappear in their own app.
For this one, I had taken her wig off and tried to use the app’s “wig” function…which is basically a sticker you have to resize and position on top of her head. Same with the glasses. Probably would have worked out okay if I hadn’t been rushing because I was afraid it was going to crash again.
Then I went back to the free app for another go…
I think this one actually worked out pretty nicely. I moved the position of the phone until the doll was basically in focus…
On these two, I was changing the strength of the removal of the background color, and made it a tiny bit too strong. The cartoony sea scene behind her is actually a three second animated loop, btw. This program is much more geared towards video than still images. (To the extent that it keeps giving me error messages because I won’t give it access to my camera’s microphone. Even though it doesn’t need that for still images! And I am not giving that permission to anything that doesn’t need it, y’know?) I’m definitely going to play around with this some more with some less problematic toys (Figma, Nendoroids, maybe toy cars), and if it meets with my approval enough, I might buy the full version.
And moving on to stuff I picked up today…
I honestly bought this because it had been put in the wrong place and I thought it was $5.99 instead of $9.99. I suck.
What doesn’t suck is that everything about that packaging (except a couple of universal annoyances) is made of paperboard. No plastic bags, no plastic wrap, none of that. Just nice, recyclable paper. That is truly awesome. I wish more toy companies would do that. (Though I realize some other versions of these dolls do have plastic windows in their packaging…)
Anyway, so this is the doll who was in the box. Interestingly, she’s not pictured on the back. I guess that means she’s one of the secret dolls? That’s kind of cool. I love that she’s wearing a pastel rainbow dress. (Ooh, and with pink hair, that ties her in to my Animal Crossing character…lol! What perfect timing!) Anyway, I’m not totally sold on the rather square-ish head, though as with many things, it looks better in my hand where I can see it from all angles than it does inside its box. However, I like the dress and the shoes, and the colors of her hair and eyes. She has articulated knees and wrists, and her arms sort of bend a little, but then they go right back to how they were, which strikes me as odd.
I’ve noticed a couple of the World’s Smallest Hot Wheels sets at Target before, and been like “hmm, gee, I dunno…how does the scale measure up to my dolls/figures…dither, dither…” And then I saw this and was like “oh, hey!” because I thought this was a fun way to answer all my questions.
I was confused when this other box came out of the box, but didn’t stop to think about it until I had opened it, too…
…and found something 100% not Hot Wheels. Some creep must have peeled up the sticker holding the box shut, taken out the mini Hot Wheels, and put this other blind box inside so it wouldn’t be obvious that they’d stolen the toy, and then put the sticker back in place. Why would anyone do that?! By stealing it, they’re hurting the toy company and/or Target. By doing what they did, they’re hurting two toy companies, Target, and the innocent consumer (in this case, me) who bought the product of their nefarious handiwork.
What kind of mind thinks that’s okay? Did they think they were being clever? Did they think it was “cool” to get away with doing this? Pisses me off…
I’m going to take it back to Target tomorrow and hope they’ll believe me and give me my money back. I don’t think I paid much for it, but it’s the principle of the thing.
Anyway, I picked up something else at Target…
A lamp, to help light my shots. 🙂 It’s very soft light (a bit too soft), and it was super-cheap, on clearance for $2.5o. 😛 Hopefully it will make my photography problems less problematic.