Blind Box Monday

Yup, the “standard” version now.

There are still two more of these waiting in the wings, but I wonder if I shouldn’t do some other type of blind box figure next week?

The gallery for these posts can be found here.  I went ahead and added in photos of other blind box figures that have been posted here in the past.  (Even though that meant uploading them to the new photo storage site.  But eventually I need to get around to uploading everything, so…that’s a good thing, right?)

Blind Box Monday

Yup, decided to do a weekly feature.  Because it’s better than massive inactivity, right?  I’ve made some purchases I shouldn’t have lately, though, and I’m hoping one or more of those might motivate me to start taking photos again when they arrive.  (Though when July ends there’ll be more chance of that, naturally.)

Today’s entry only kind of counts as “Blind Box” though.  Because while she was sold as a blind box figure, I got her at the local used store in a clear plastic baggie, because some crazy sold back oodles of these, all of them really great.  (I did leave one behind…because I already had her. 😛 )

I’ll never have the ultra-limited edition full size Barbie version of this (I saw one on Mandarake going for the price of a Dollfie Dream!) but at least now I have the SD mini-figure of her. 🙂

That holo-foil backdrop makes nice bokeh in the background, doesn’t it?  It lets me see a bit of the back of whatever’s on the shelf, too.  I’m really glad I went with that one. 😀

(With next week’s entry into this series, I’ll start posting a link to a gallery of these, but there didn’t seem any point with just one in the gallery. 😛  I have taken a lot more than just one photo, naturally.  Went ahead and got several months’ worth while I was at it.)

AZIAM Yoga Doll Niyama – Comparison and (sort of) Review

I have literally been planning this post since December.  I bought this doll as part of a Black Friday sale.  That’s how long I’ve been having trouble motivating myself to take pictures.  (Although the lack of good photography space around here is a large part of it.  To the extent that I literally took all these dolls over to my brother’s (much cleaner) house to take the photos.)

Anyway, AZIAM Yoga Dolls is a new(ish) line of dolls with a mission.  And I’m feeling too lazy to try to paraphrase it, so I’m going to quote their website instead:

The AZIAM Girlz brand is dedicated to teaching girlz to love who they are, as they are. Using the basics of Yoga to teach positive self- and social- awareness, we have designed clothing, accessories, bags, yoga products, jewelry, headwear, games, programs and books to make the Yoga experience more colorful for our Goddess in Progress™.

And so on.  So this is an independent doll line attempting to bolster girls’ self-image and helping them build up a positive outlook on life, et cetera.  A noble goal, well worth supporting.  (And OMG, when I was on the site to get that quote, I noticed they have a plush meditating cat.  I think I may need that.)  I’ve been keeping tabs on the prices since reading about their Toy Fair 2016 appearance at Confessions of a Doll Collector’s Daughter.

So, way back in late November when I bought this doll, there were two dolls on the site that got the maximum sale.  One was a Californian blonde, and the other was a Brazilian brunette.  Obviously, I went with the brunette.  (I mean, okay, yeah, I have lots of brunette dolls, too, but…I’m pretty sure blondes still outnumber everything else.  (I’m looking at you, Mattel.)  It would have been cooler if the redhead or the African-American had been on the sale, but they weren’t.  I’m not even sure they were in stock.  I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen that website list them as being in stock, in fact.)

So here’s Niyama in her box…in a really lousy photo. 😦

And here she is out of her box, in a much less lousy photo. 😛  In person, the first thing that always strikes me when I look at her is how odd her skin tone is.  It doesn’t really feel like a shade found in human beings, though I lack the appropriate terminology to explain why.  (I think the brown needs a touch more red in it?  Maybe?  I don’t know…it’s more of a gut reaction than anything logically definable, and the color doesn’t come through totally accurately in the photos.)  Probably the first thing you noticed in looking at the picture is that her knee joints are really ugly. 😉  Nothing to be done about that; the design is necessary to give her the full range of motion required.

Okay, the title promises a (sort of) review, so let me get that out of the way before I get to the comparisons, which will make up the bulk of the post.  (And will contain large amounts of nude dolly yoga, so be forewarned!)  Her range of motion — as you’ll see in a moment — in the legs is impressive, and well worth the unattractive joints required.  The clothes are nicely made, and her accessories, while nothing special, are quite acceptable.  The box proclaims that her yoga mat can turn into a “Girl Power Cuff”, AKA a slap bracelet, which is true…and also means that her yoga mat is really, really narrow.  You’ll see it in one of the photos below.  As to her clothes, I don’t know if she can really share clothes with any other dolls.  Maybe Barbie.  I forgot to check that, unfortunately.  (Although as I was dressing her again after the yoga photos, I started putting Barbie’s pants back on her by mistake, and they were fitting, so I think she probably can wear at least some Barbie clothing.)

One of the main selling points on any doll is, of course, the doll’s face.  And that’s where it all gets largely subjective.  Unfortunately, I look at the faces of this doll line, and I’m not impressed.  Something about them just doesn’t speak to me.  They’re a little like Winx faces, but not quite as charismatic, or something.  But, as I said, it’s subjective.  I don’t much care for the faces, but I can only speak for me:  I’m sure there are others who like them, and I haven’t the foggiest where the majority opinion lies on the subject.  (Actually, the majority probably lies with “never heard of it/don’t care.”)

Okay, so moving on to the comparisons!  The main comparison, of course, will be a Made-to-Move Barbie.  Specifically, the African-American one from the first wave:

But there will also be cameo comparisons with other dolls, two of them new.  (One, in fact, literally arrived the day I took these photos!)  So before I get on with the comparisons, let me introduce the new dollies.

Continue reading

Tiny Frock Shop Black Friday Order

Good grief, it’s taken me a long time to get any Black Friday stuff posted!  Anyway, before I get to the Tiny Frock Shop order, I want to briefly show you my Zeenie dolls Small Business Saturday order.  They were having a “2 for $20” sale, with free shipping, and I couldn’t pass that up!  But the dolls evidently got a good shaking on their way here. 😦

tinyfrockbf-1 tinyfrockbf-2

The one on the left — Zennia — doesn’t look particularly shaken in the photo, but that’s because her headband had already slithered down out of sight.  She’s supposed to look like this:

tinyfrockbf-16

Continue reading

Unfair Comparisons: Dream Date Barbie

So, remember a while back I got the collector reproduction of Dream Date Barbie?  Y’know, this one:

Silky 26

Well, I not long ago got the real thing:

uc1

Now, at first glance, you’re probably thinking that there’s no comparison, because the original looks awful.  But keep in mind, she’s a doll who was obviously well loved, and she’s more than thirty years old.  So we have to look past the thinning, messy hair, and the fact that I never could figure out the “right” way to arrange her dress over her shoulders.  (It’s more of an attached shawl than a dress, per se.)

uc2

The bald spot is definitely a problem.  No question about that.  And the rest of her hair is rather fly-away and messy.  But if I have a chance to calm her hair down, I can probably get it to hide the bald spot.  More important, look at her face.  Isn’t it delicate and sweet?  I really like how subtle the Superstar-era face-ups often were.  (Before the late ’80s when the Rockers aesthetic overpowered them.  Though I’m fond of the Rockers-era stuff, too.  One of my two favorites as a kid was one of the Rockers…)

uc4

By contrast, here’s the face on the reproduction.  Cleaner, and the hair’s obviously still perfect, but the face looks soulless to me.  Trading the purple eyes for blue ones was definitely not a good idea.  (I apologize for the pictures of the reproduction in this post.  I forgot I could remove the plastic screen in front of her…but I think they still show my point well enough despite the glare.)

The photo also shows you that her earring is a plain silver stud…or it kind of does, anyway.  This one from the earlier post might make that a little more clear.  Anyway, look at the earrings (and ring!) on the original:

uc3

Superstar-era jewelry was the best! 😀  I don’t know what these are supposed to look like (a diamond set in glass?) but I love them regardless.

uc7

The contrast that stands out the most, to me, is the difference in fabric.  The original Dream Date has a richer color scheme, and a shimmery fabric, while the reproduction is a matte color that utterly fails when placed side by side with the original.  (I loved it before I saw the two together and realized how pathetic the new one is in comparison.)  I’ll give the reproduction lots of points for its sequins, though:  they’re much better done than the original’s.

uc8

So, there you have it, the reproduction Dream Date and the original Dream Date.

This has been the first Unfair Comparison.  The Unfair Comparison gallery is here.

(At least one more is currently planned.  Though there I can only compare dresses, but…of course, first I have to take the freakin’ pictures…)


Aaaaanyway, having just done two Barbie posts in a row, I really need to do something non-Barbie next. 😛  I’ll see if I can get those Figma photos taken at my brother’s place on Monday, maybe.  Or I could try my hand at changing Gen’s eyes to the new ones, or maybe giving him one of each and see how that looks.  But overall it’s probably going to be a slow summer on this blog, ’cause it’s so freakin’ hot in my house that I really can’t get up the energy to take pictures.  😦

(Oh, speaking of Figma, I got charged by Good Smile recently, so one of the Figmas I pre-ordered is on the way from Japan now.  I’d need to check the release dates to see which one, but I think it’s Tomoyo-chan, as I think Link’s a later release.)

Angel Face Barbie

Before I get to my post, let me first apologize for how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything.  As I said in my last post (admittedly a re-blog from my other blog) a mouse died in the wall, and I was temporarily spending a long time out of the house due to the smell.  Problem is, a heat wave started before the smell went away.  And I have a problem with my air conditioner, so I can only run it for short bursts.  (I know what the problem is, and it could be fixed pretty easily, I suspect, if my house wasn’t such a sty.  But it is a sty, so I can’t let repair people in to fix anything.  I’m working on cleaning it up, but it’s a slow process, I’m sorry to say.)  Anyway, that means the house is horribly hot, so I don’t like being in it, and using my laptop is awkward, to say the least.  That’s made for no posts, no new photos (I should take some dolls or figures to my brother’s new house and photograph them there) and no work on dolly projects.  (Tomoyo-chan is waiting for a face-up, Pyrrha’s new eye mechanism has a problem (I think one of her pairs of eye chips is too thick), I need to make a mold for a Jem hand, lots of newly acquired vintage dolls need a good cleaning, and I got two new Obitsus (and a bodyless head) that need face-ups and clothes…and there are probably a lot of other projects that are simply slipping my mind.)

Eventually, I’ll get back to my normal pattern.  (Like, when the weather cools off again.)

In the mean time, I’ve got a few posts’ worth of photos already taken, so I’m trying to get them posted.  And that leads into today’s post.

Among the various vintage dolls I’ve been getting lately (Oh God, why did I allow myself to open the “buying vintage dolls online” door?!) have been a number of purchases that are me attempting to get back my childhood, literally.  One of those was this Angel Face Barbie.

Angel Face 1

She’s missing her shoes, but…actually, I probably have some shoes around here somewhere that would be correct.  I don’t know what’s with the bright pink variant on a late Victorian and/or Edwardian dress, but I’ve always been charmed by it.

Angel Face 2

Like many other Superstar-era, pre-Rockers Barbies, she has a very sedate face-up, and flat, two-tone eyes that send waves of nostalgia over me, but probably leave many non-’80s folks cold.  (Or late ’70s folks.)

Angel Face 4

Her two-tone hair was something that I remembered very vividly.

Angel Face 6

You may have noticed in the first close-up — and even more in this shot — a certain “muddled” aspect where her facial coloring is concerned.  This accessory in her lap is the reason for that…

Angel Face 7

She came with a little compact filled with make-up to put on her!  (Or possibly to put on yourself.  Who knows?)  BTW, this compact didn’t come with this doll:  the doll is a new acquisition, but the compact I’ve had since I was a girl.  I’m guessing that my Angel Face was in much worse condition than this one when I gave her away.  But the important thing is that now I have one again:  a piece of my childhood regained.

(Speaking of which, I recently realized that I still have my Great Shape Barbie after all.  She’s just in a different outfit.  I’ll take a picture of her with the Tokidoki version next time I have a chance.)

So, I’ll hopefully get more posts up sometime soon, but right now if you want to see the gallery for this post, it’s here.  I’ll be putting other shots of Barbies from the 1980s in there later on.

Skooter

So yesterday’s mail brought my first Skooter to my house.

[(c) Henson/Disney.  Image from Wikipedia.  Click for source.]
[(c) Henson/Disney. Image from Wikipedia. Click for source.]
No, no, not Scooter!  Skooter!  This girl:

Skooter 2

Skooter is (was?) Skipper’s friend, with an even sillier name than “Skipper.” 😛  (Maybe they sounded more normal back in the ’60s.)  Skooter was a short-lived doll, only made from 1965 to 1968, unlike Skipper, who’s been pretty much omnipresent since her introduction.

Skooter 1

The swimsuit she’s wearing is actually Skipper’s.  (Naturally, just like Barbie and her friends, Skipper and Skooter share the same body, and can thus share their wardrobes.)  Skooter originally came in a red and white two-piece swimsuit, according to the photos on DollReference.com.  (And yes, that is the primary source of my knowledge on Skooter.  I knew her face instantly on seeing it because I’d seen pictures in a Mattel fashion doll book, but I hadn’t done more than glance at those pages of the book, and the shelf the book is on is currently blocked by stuff I’m storing for my brother prior to his move, so I can’t look at it right now.)

Anyway, Skooter here came from shopgoodwill.com, and…well, I’m going to have a lot to say on that subject towards the end of the post, so for right now I’ll just talk about the lot Skooter came in.  Naturally, she was listed as a Skipper, not a Skooter, and she came with a case and some clothes.

Skooter 4

Probably the most common vintage Skipper case on the planet. 😛  The hinge is a little rusty, and the lids cave in a bit, and it’s generally not in the greatest shape, which is probably why the bidding never got too high…in which case the other bidders were not looking at the real treasure of the lot:

Skooter 3

Look at her!  She’s practically perfect!  Her hair isn’t even mussed up!  Clearly, this is a doll that was not played with, but simply sat/stood on a shelf, being admired.  So she’ll already be used to her life here. 😛

Skooter 5

So, moving back to the case, here’s the interior, with some of the clothes inside.  (Please ignore the doll stands I had to use to get it to stay open for the photo. 😛 )  See that black line across the one side of the case?  That’s the string that was holding Skooter in place in transit.  Anyway, there’s a detail I want you to notice here:

Skooter 6

It’s a little dolly closet!  You can hang up all her clothes on hangers inside!  That is completely cool.  Why don’t modern Barbie carrying cases do that?  (Oh, wait, modern playline Barbies want you to buy whole new dolls, rather than new clothes…)

Skooter 7

This is a cute outfit, but the tights ensure it has to be put on the original Skipper/Skooter body only, and can’t be shared with, say, a Blythe or a Licca or a Pullip.

Yeah, you heard me.  See, I was looking at Etsy for new clothes for my girls, and in searching for clothes to put on that late 80s Skipper I got at the local used place (who still kind of smells funny, even after being washed, I’m sorry to say), I saw that some of my search results were showing vintage Skipper clothes on Blythes.  And one of the sellers mentioned how nicely they fit.  That should have just made me irritated that the vintage Skipper collectors were going to have to compete with the Blythe crowd as well as their fellow vintage Skipper collectors to get the vintage clothes…but it actually made me go “ooh, then surely Skippers can wear Blythe clothes!” which meant I had a whole new avenue to look in for clothes to put on the 80s Skipper.  (I’ve decided on a nice outfit for her, but I haven’t actually bought it yet for reasons.)

Anyway, since Blythe and Pullip can swap wardrobes decently, I thought I’d have Barbara and Selina model two of the outfits from this lot.

Skooter 9

This actually looks pretty cute on Barbara, doesn’t it?  She’s going to keep wearing it for a while.

Skooter 10

This one’s actually a Barbie dress, not a Skipper dress, and it seems to be homemade.  Anyway, I thought it matched Selina’s current wig pretty well (though the yellows look more similar in the shot where I didn’t use the flash, but then Selina’s eyes looked all dark and creepy) so I had her wear it for the photo.  Then I put her back in the articulated Silkstone’s little black dress, ’cause this one looks rather awful on her. 😛

Skooter 12

Her hand was hiding this little stain in the previous shot.  Looks like pen, doesn’t it?

(The gallery for this post is here.)

Anyway, so that’s what came yesterday in my first package from the Goodwill auction site.    Emphasis, unfortunately, on “first.”  I got excited looking at all that was available, and made a lot of bids on things that were quite inexpensive, never bidding all that much.  (I think the highest maximum bid I placed was about $40.)

But I forgot to look at the shipping costs.

Some of them are very reasonable.  And some of them are very much not so.  For example, this Tonner doll with a real weight of 1.9 pounds, and a “shipping weight” of 16 pounds.  Which means they charge you for the shipping as if it weighed 16 pounds, instead of 1.9.  Fortunately, on that one, I noticed the shipping cost before placing a bid on her.

Then there’s this Barbie, with a shipping weight of 8 times her actual weight, and a fixed shipping cost of $11.75, despite that she’s in a box that’s already had the crap beaten out of it!  And no, on this one I did not notice the shipping cost in time…and the only other person to bid on it bid just the tiniest amount too little to outbid me. 😦  So, yes, I just paid more in shipping than I did for the doll.  And that’s not the only time that’s happened.

The thing is, the first couple of bids I made were for things that were about to close, and I still got outbid at the last minute.  So I had gone on the assumption that most of the things I bid on would go the same way, that I’d lose in the last half hour.  And so I made a lot of stupid little bids, figuring that the chances of my winning any of the auctions were very slim.  (Especially since in most cases I was bidding less than I felt it was worth on the open market.)  But then on a lot of them I didn’t get outbid.  (The annoying one is the Barbie where I put in a max bid $10.00, and ended up paying $9.20.  If the other person had also bid $10.00, that’d be one thing, but they must have bid $8.20.  Who bids a weird amount like that?)

While I’m definitely annoyed at Goodwill for the crazy shipping costs, I’m mostly just pissed at myself for not noticing them until it was too late.  (Though that Barbie with the $11.75 shipping cost is decidedly the worst offender.  There’s no contest, in fact.  That’s way too much shipping for what’s essentially a loose (modern) doll in mint condition.)

The good thing is that I learned quickly, and I’m not making any more bids except in cases of things I feel like “ooh, I gotta have that or I’m gonna expire of longing!”.  Or for any Blythe or She-ra items.  (Blythe, of course, being unlikely apart from the LPS variety.  But She-ra is much more likely.  In fact, one of the few things I did get outbid on was She-ra’s Crystal Palace.)  Or at least on things with either very reasonable shipping or which are being sold by my local Goodwill, so I can pick ’em up in person.

The bad thing is that despite that it seemed like such a great bargain (and, actually, shipping costs notwithstanding, in most cases it still was) I ended up spending a great deal without meaning to, so many of the Etsy purchases I lined up in my cart are going to have to stay there for a while.  (Especially since I already made some of the purchases…)  That means most of my girls don’t get their new clothes after all. 😦  (I only got Romana’s and Hayley’s ordered.  And if I use the $22 that got added to my Paypal after I made all the Goodwill payments (ugh, timing!) it’s probably going to be to get the outfit for the ’80s Skipper, ’cause that outfit’s sold out before, and I don’t want to miss it again.  So Pyrrha and Rena may have to make do with clothes I already have around here.)

Anyway, going back to the very first line of the post, you may have noticed I said “my first Skooter.”  That’s ’cause one of the other items was also a Skooter — this time a blonde one (who was also listed as a Skipper).  But I only just had to pay for her this morning, so she won’t be here for a while, and I thought it was better to get this up now, instead of waiting for her.  (She’s coming nude, though, so she’ll be getting the red and white outfit with the tights from the case here.)

I’m going to have to go on a serious dolly diet now — especially since I desperately need to go clothes shopping for myself! — but with all those packages headed this way, there should be lots to post about.  :/  And hopefully starting next week I’ll be able to clean up enough around here to let me do more stuff.  I have a project in mind that’s going to require lots of space, but should be awesome if I can get it accomplished.  But I’ll give that its own post. 😉