23 Dec 2012

Scarah Screams

In honour of the Yuletide/Christmas season/non specific winter solstice time celebration (lol) I decided it was a good time to finally open Scarah's box.

So first things first, the box. It's an attractive box. Nestled inside a black and white outer box which i'm sure you've ALL seen pictures of by now, is your standard binder shaped box with a flap over one side of the coffin shaped window to hide Hoodude. Not totally sure why he was hidden but go figure.
Inside the flap is a little blurb about where backgrounders go when they aren't on screen. It's adorably meta. 

Both characters come with diaries in the usual style, packaged loose inside the outer box which struck me as odd. I can only assume they would ruin the presentation/display effect of the pair in box if included the usual way or something? That or they were an afterthought. The diaries are always something I love to read though, so it's nice to be able to take them out and read them without actually deboxing the entire set. 

The box is typically annoying to open without causing a small amount of tearing damage to the tabs. But i'd rather have these card tabs than the plastic prisons MGA seems intent on using. Flip a few tabs, slide the backing card out and voilĂ , dolls. Other companies could learn a lot from the way MH is packaged.

Anyway, Hoodude is a regular plushy. No articulation, no movement. He doesn't even really fit into the stand that comes with him. He is however freaking adorable so we can forgive his simplicity. I do wish his jacket was an actual piece of clothing though, rather than simply printed on. 

I'd have loved for him to have had some sort of wire armature so he actually could pose, but given this set sold at the con for only $25 I really can't complain. 

He's cute and chubby and floppy lol. 

Now Scarah wasn't too difficult to free from her backing card. Held in with a few elastic bands and the usual plastic ties around the waist and ankles, I was pleased to see her head wasn't stapled into the box too hard so snipping those tabs was easy to do with my blunt scissors. 

However, once free, a big issue with her hair becomes painfully apparent. 

From the front you can already see her hair is split into two sections, both rock hard with gel which has spread across her face leaving it tacky to touch and shiny. Ewww. 

From the back it's even worse.

 Solid, sticky, mess. Poor girl deserves better than this damnit! So a damp cloth to her face to remove the goop and a quick rinse under a tap to soften up the gel so it can be combed back together. I'm not even sure WHY her hair is in two chunks like this.

It's not very thickly rooted but it doesn't have to be for the style. Her bangs have gel as well but it feels minimal and keeps them looking even, so I didn't touch the front of her hair in my rinse.
I had to brush through her hair (No shedding, that's gotta be a first! it's also very very soft, despite the stickiness.) and spent a fair while trying to get the curl back into it. While it was happy to fall in soft curls, getting it back into a flip curl took a bit more effort. A sausage of tin foil and a few hours to sit and she's looking fabulous again!

Once dry, her hair goes back to being hard and gel filled but it holds the style so I don't mind. I don't intend to comb her hair again so i'm quite happy with it being nicely set. 

Scarah's face mould seems unique to my eye, and she's quite striking. Those huge white eyes and pointed ears are fabulous and I love her vintage style. Her outfit may be simple, but it works. Sometimes less is more and certain I feel that's the case with Scarah. Of course, that's not to say I would have objected to her having a little letterman jacket of her own like the promos, but her outfit works without it. She has no jewellery, no earrings, no necklace, no bracelets. Just a headband and a belt as accessories but again, I feel this works for her. She's rocking a vintage 60s vibe and i'm loving it!

Skin tone wise, Frankie and Scarah are almost the same colour. Frankie seems, to my eye, slightly more saturated in tone but that could just be an optical illusion or this individual doll's colouration (there's some variation from batch to batch). I think it's pretty safe to say they're the same skin tone. A gorgeous mint green, which both pull off equally well.

They do however have totally different face moulds, which is lovely.

The same can't be said for Scarah's shoes, which are a recolouring of shoes we've already seen. The black shoes are from the Create a Monster Bee, the green ones are Scarah's. They're exactly the same down to the stitching detail and both are too big for MH feet. I've elastic banded them onto Scarah's feet to stop them falling off.
It's a bit of a cheat, but given the simplicity of Scarah's outfit I can't see a more complex shoe design really working for her.

Overall I think Scarah and Hoodude are awesome and i'm very pleased to have them in my collection. Scarah is striking and gorgeous and while her outfit is simple and understated, she pulls it off well. Hoodude feels like he could have been MORE, a wire armature for pose-ability perhaps, and a separate jacket, but he is adorable and his fabric face just makes me smile.

Given the price point ($25), these are totally worth it for me. Would I pay the price these are now selling for online though? Probably not. These two aren't nearly as detailed as the previous year's Ghoulia, and Hoodude, while a cute addition, is hardly a "doll". As a collector piece, given the limited run, I totally understand why these are so expensive now, but as a doll to play with? Scarah holds up against the more basic lines, but isn't quite as detailed as the other "core line". She doesn't have a handbag or a pet even, unless you count Hoodude hahahah.

It'll be interesting to see if we ever see another Scarah doll. I hope we do, because she's beautiful and rather unique with those huge white eyes of hers. I love her skin tone against her dark hair, I love her 60s style, just be aware of gel and sticky goop. I have to wonder if the gel might cause an issue with the backing card over time in those kept MIB...

5 Dec 2012

Monster High Scaris - Skelita Calaveras

So i've been a little poorly the past few weeks/months and recently found myself fairly housebound as a result. It was starting to make me a bit craaaazy. So I decided "sod this, i'm going to toys r us". And thus, I made the hour long trek to my nearest TRU. 

Thankfully the trip wasn't in vain, there shoved randomly on top of the piles upon piles of Robeccas and Lagoonas was an entire case of Scaris! Huzzah! I picked out Skelita and Rochelle. I also couldn't pass on Ghoulia and her scooter for £14:99 but we'll get back to those last two in later posts. 

Today is all about Skelita.

She certainly is a striking doll, quite different to anything we've seen before. Her face is crazy detailed with swirls, spots and spirals, her entire body is skeletal and she's just plain fabulous. Who can resist this unique body sculpt? Look at those bones!

My girl, i'm afraid to say, does have some eye wonk issue. I didn't really notice till I got to the till and felt odd asking them to go fetch me the only other one in the store so I could compare lol. Awkward! With her head slightly tilted you don't notice it so much, and her eyes are painted in such a way she looks a little wall eyed anyway. Poor girl seems to be staring off in two different directions if you point a camera right at her. Add that to her freaky flaws.

The back of her box has her bio, but I didn't snap a picture. I figure enough people have done this already damnit. 
All we really learn is that she likes the colour yellow, she's 15 and she can't sing. Oh, and she's an artist with some sort of prophetic "senses things" ability.

I was eager to get her free of her box.

Her box was really tight, very difficult to open without tearing anything. Upon opening one side I found I couldn't slide her backing card out because it was wedged in with the plastic inner tabs holding it in place. So I had to open up the entire back of the box. Something I usually try to avoid. The bright pink caught my eye so I had to take a picture.

Do all the dolls have their names printed on the inner folded card of their box? Its been a while since i've disassembled a box like this. Here we have a bright pink box with Skelita's name, printed at the top and bottom (upside down).

She also comes with her very own assembly guide showing how her knees pop out like the CAM dolls. I love that they bother to do this with their different body types and features.

 Slightly off topic, but speaking of random details... what the heck is Deuce up to out alone on a cool Scarisian night? The image of him on this stupidly small scooter just cracked me up, so I had to take a picture. He's on all the back cards, hidden behind the doll's arm most often from what I saw in store.

Also on the backing card but not pictured is Ghoulia's scooter in yellow to the left of the "eyefull tower" (Miscolouring?, it's quite obviously Ghoulia's scooter. It has the rib cage on the front and the cherries) and Frankie returning from a shopping trip in silhouette. There's also two other shadowy figures and a male gargoyle being stalked by a cat. Random.


The next stage of deboxing is relatively painless. A snip here, unravel elastic here. Until I get to her left hand. Here the elastic is wound around her body AND the hand, keeping it in position in the box (one may ask, why bother?). The elastic was wound so tight around her fingers they're crushed as you can make out in my terribly overexposed image here. I've reshaped them now but they're still distorted. *sigh* Wth Mattel? It wasn't even a needed elastic band! It did nothing! Except damage the doll. 

Her fingertips on this hand are faintly dyed pink from her skirt, suggesting it isn't colourfast. Be warned!


Free at last, Skelita's legs were as I was warned by others, very stiff. But upon the advice of another collector I simply popped em loose as you would a cam doll, popped em back in and hey presto, now they bend. Go figure?

Her shoulders are a little awkward, they don't quite sit against her body and her upper arms are bent which means she always looks like she has her arms spread a little outward. It looks a little awkward to me, but eh. 

Hair is gorgeously soft. I was expecting a rock hard helmet of glue going by her rolls at the front but only the highlighted parts are gelled. Sweet! The back of her hair is tied up into a high ponytail giving her a "puff" hairstyle. it means her rooting pattern is rather odd, being side part till it gets to the crown, then rooted for a ponytail at the back there. The hair itself mostly conceals this but on the right hand side there's a noticeable "rooting seam". No bald patches, just a seam. I can live with this but i'm sure some people would be annoyed by it. 
It also suggests her hair just won't work if taken out of this style.

Her face is very detailed. She has a flat little nose but it's definitely a nose. Very high cheekbones and of course, huge eyes and a slightly raised brow-line to further give the look of "sockets". She only has top lashes and a layer of pink, then blue eye shadow. Her brown eyes unfortunately are rather prone to looking in two different directions and she has a bit of a wall eyed gaze to her when you look at her straight on. it's especially bad in photographs. I believe her irises are simply painted too far apart. Her rbows are dark and arched and "painted on". They have a distinct airbrush quality to them and continue down the sides of her face in scrawls and swirls. Around her eyes are little dots and starbursts. 

Like the CAM Skeleton Skelita has no ears, so that means no earrings. She does however get a copper coloured bracelet (with a floral pattern engraved) and a bright orange necklace with a swirl, flower motif again. I assume they're marigolds. 

Her dress is in two parts. The outer skirt is made up of three layers of different colours with different patterns. There are flowers on some, spiderweb on others, heart and stars on yet another. I'm not sure if each piece is unique, I think it does duplicate but there's a great deal of variety. I counted at least 8, there could be more. 

The under dress is a simple little black slip with a leaf, swirl, flower pattern. Her belt is embossed with flowers and tiny skulls, spaced widely apart. You really have to look to see them as anything more than just random texture. The soles of her shoes have the same effect. Her shoes themselves look like leaves or reeds or something, all wound around her feet. (And now I want a tamale, thanks Mattel. -_-)

But of course, what everyone is talking about is what's UNDER that outfit right? 

Underneath Skelita has a full skeletal body, stylised of course, but crazy detailed. I didn't snap pictures because I know flickr is flooded with naked images of this girl, so it seemed redundant taking more.

There's a plastic sheath, much like the body forms used in the fashion packs, which keeps her clothing in shape. It's just a simple bit of clear plastic, you can remove it but I found that left the dress gaping and looking odd. It also makes the stand a bit useless as she's too thin without her "body form" to fit into the clip.

She comes with a journal/sketch book which has a few pages of fashion designs and 3 or 4 pages of text. It's nothing hugely enlightening, just talking about her time presumably just before the start of City of Frights begins. She talks about how "something great" is going to happen, but doesn't know what it'll be.

The most interesting bit for me was the photo on the front of the booklet, which shows her mother, father, brother, grandmother (I assume) and her dog. The dog amuses me for some reason ok?
We also learn that she has a pet butterfly named Nati. I wonder what sort of butterfly, and I wonder if we'll ever see it in toy form.

She also has a wheelie bag in vivid pink. I find it odd that Skelita's colour seems to be this bright fushia when her favourite colour is supposed to be marigold. Did Cleo put her foot down and demand a monopoly on yellow or something? The bag is cool, and a nice scale to the dolls but a bit too bulky for my display atm. It has a sugar skull on front and a spine handle that extends and contracts, just like a real wheelie bag. Only thing that would have made it extra awesome would be if the internal compartments had been well... a compartment. There's moulded on "pockets" but they're just etched images. A shame.

Overall, i'm pleased with this new ghoul. She's unique and I don't think she'll be everyone's cup of tea, but I can't help but respect the design team for taking such a huge risk with a fully skeletal character. She's a doll I expect will polarise people, the marmite if you like of the MH universe. Some, especially younger fans, may find her too macabre while others jump up and down screaming "OMG DETAIL and creepiness yes!"

She is however, a doll I think is more attractive in person than in photos. Her eyes throw her look off in pictures, and even in person you have to get her at the right angle for her not to look like she's a little vacant.

Well worth the trip to Toys R Us and the £17:99 paid.

18 Oct 2012

Monster High - Dot Dead Gorgeous 3 pack

Asda are really pulling out all the stops to try to encourage people to buy buy buy right now, not least with their fantastic deals on their Monster High exclusives.
The Dot Dead Gorgeous exclusive 3 pack was reduced by almost almost £20 to a measly £25! Bargain! Of course, I had to take advantage of such a deal even if only one of the dolls really interested me.

So of course, here's my totally biased and totally rambling review.

So here they are in their box. The box unfortunately was a bit damaged upon arrival. From what others have said, this isn't uncommon. It is a really large box and wasn't exactly packaged very carefully. Mine was actually thrown over my fence (yes, it really was) because the courier thought "hey, if I knock really quietly, they'll totally hear me!" (Seriously, I heard her second time and rushed to the door but she'd already decided upon fence chucking. Bah. KNOCK PROPERLY!)

Anyway, first impressions. The box is nothing spectacular from the front. Abbey takes centre stage and well she should, she's the most complete of the trio. Her dress is spectacular and she's the only one who actually gets full accessories (necklace etc) but we'll get to that. That hand looks uncomfortable though, owww.
Draculaura's skirt is rather unfortunately hitched up, she's almost presenting her panties. Tisk tisk. Poor show.  She's also all "hey look, I have an Icoffin!"
Ghoulia looks like she's trying to hail a cab. What is up with that pose? Is she supposed to be doing a kinda "tadah!" thing?
First thing that strikes me is Ghoulia's hair. Is that gonna be just utter frizz when I get her out?

The back of the box (euro version) doesn't have much text, just pictures. The compiled image looks awkward to me, Operetta's kinda.. waving her butt in Abbey's face, Ghoulia's being weird, why is Spectra like, off to the side like a reject? Why is Ula sitting down? Very oddly composed picture, but we are talking about something that's a cut and paste of the individual artwork. It wasn't designed to have them all shoved together and it looks it.

The individual portraits are cute, just zoomed in from the larger image but still cute. Nothing spectacular here. Moving on.

Free from their plastic and cardboard prison. It was actually surprisingly easy to debox these girls. The usual leg, waist plastic ties, two ties in the head, some elastic holding hair and hands in place. Not too bad at all. It didn't take me long to get all three out.

I'm pleased to report that despite my concerns, Ghoulia's hair was NOT a frizzy matted mess out the box. Also, none of the girls have any of that glue gel stuff in their hair, meaning their styles are smooth and soft, ready for brushing. I approve, that gel stuff irritates me, I always have to rinse it out. Ew. 

Oddly, though the box has a little alcove for stands, the set doesn't come with any. None of the exclusives this year have come with stands, boooo. They did get a brush though, because wow.. . we sooo need more of those! *eyeroll* 
It's white and pearlescent. Nothing hugely interesting, especially given Ghoulia's hair is curly so you don't want to brush it and Abbey has that tinsel stuff which clings to the bristles and tears out if you try to comb her hair. So Ula's the only one who really gets any use of it, bah. 

As a group, this trio just don't work for me. Abbey's outfit looks complete, it's a full look. Ghoulia's is missing a few details (like a necklace and some socks or something) and Ula just feels like a hastily cobbled together afterthought. Really this pack is more 1 full doll, 1 3/4  doll and one budget doll. I understand they had to cut corners, but when you consider the RRP of this set is £45!!  that makes each doll £15 each, which will get you a regular core doll in most places. So really there's no excuse for such corner cutting, especially not with Draculaura who honestly looks like a £10 budget line. 

Let's have a closer look at each ghoul. 

 First up, Draculaura. Even in her box I could tell she had a paint issue. One eye is printed closer and higher than the other. Like her head was tilted at an angle when they painted her eyes on. Oh well, at least the most boring of the dolls got the error. I'd have been royally peeved had Abbey or Ghoulia been errored like this.

The face: Draculaura is sporting some vivid pink eye shadow which is quite cute, it's certainly very eyecatching. Her lipstick is pearlescent and pale pink, which makes it a bit frustrating to photograph as it shimmers. It also means her fangs are a bit harder to see, they kinda blend into the shine. It's an interesting look for her. 

The hair: Her hair is wavy and tied back into a high ponytail. It's pretty dull but eh, it works. 

Accessories: But here's where the cost cutting starts to become really obvious. Her earrings are quite obviously recoloured versions of her Gloom Beach ones. They are cute, but it's a little annoying to see these being reused here. 

Her only accessories are those earrings, a little pink bracelet and an Icoffin. no purse!? A strange choice there given the other two both got bags. Nice to have an Icoffin for her given the only other release with one was I think DOTD and she was a US only exclusive, but in the grand sceme of things, it feels like a bit of a copout.  

Outfit: Her dress is a halter neck thing with rouched up skirt. It's made of very thin fabric and feels very cheap. I'm not impressed at all by it. The rouching while a cute idea, just doesn't work and makes it sit funny. An underskirt or something to provide fullness would have really helped here. As it is, it just kinda looks like they randomly stitched bits of skirt to other bits. Her arm is actually stitched to the skirt as well. I haven't removed it because I just KNOW it'll leave a hole in the cheapo fabric. 
The pattern is hearts, bows and skullettes. Cute, but nothing special here.

You can better see her eye wonk here. It really bothers me lol. With her head tilted you wouldn't really notice, but face on it's painfully obvious.

Draculaura's only saving grace is these shoes. OH MY RA, they are amazing. They have a bat wing heel and a large heart on the front with drippy pink.. .blood? Icing? Goodness knows.. all over. They're so insanely detailed and just plain fabulous. But they clash with her outfit. They're a darker pink than the rest of her clothing (A similar tone to her earrings) and they're just so much more detailed and well executed than anything else she has on. They steal the show and make her dress even more of a disappointment. 

These shoes are the only bit I feel is at all worth the price. And even then, Draculaura really does feel like a last minute addition to this pack. She's sorely lacking in attention to detail, her outfit is overall uninspired and cheaply put together. I'd be inclined to put Sweet 1600 Ula's outfit on her, at least that looks the part. 

Final thoughts: Overall I grade this doll 4/10. Boring, basic. Her face is nice, but there are prettier Draculaura's out there and far better outfits. She only really gets any points because Icoffin and Shoes. I'm in love with those shoes.

Now Abbey, who really is the star of the show.
It's obvious this three pack was centred around her. She's the one who's had the most detail put into her outfit. She gets the most accessories and the most little details. BUT...
Again with the reused jewellery. We'll get to that.

The Face: Abbey's features here are printed broader than my other two Abbey dolls. her eyes are spaced wider apart, which makes her face look quite fat. It gives her quite a different look, but I think I prefer the closer set eyes. 
Her makeup is nothing spectacular. Abbey is yet again stuck in the "purple eyeshadow" rut she's been in since release. Her lips are a bright pink, matching her dress and the pink in her hair. 
Her glitter is chunky, like Skull Shores Abbey (My original Abbey has much smoother skin on her face, but subsequent releases seem to favour this rough texture.) 
She's very sparkly but overall, her face paint is nothing to write home about. She looks like Abbey always looks. Nothing really unique or special here.

The Hair: Abbey's hair is tied in a high ponytail. It's a good look for her as it makes the coloured streaks a lot more obvious, but it's a style she's worn several times before. 
The texture is, as i've come to expect from Abbey, chunky and difficult to tame. The tinsel parts are thick and bobbled, and prone to static flyaways. Brushing her hair means pulling out several tinsel strands so I mostly left her be. The texture reminds me more of the frustration I had with first wave Abbey, thought my Skull Shores girl has terrible flyaways as well. her hair just seemed a bit easier to get a brush through. 
If you just intend to leave her hair as is, she should be fine. Out of the box mine had some loose bits which irritated me, so i redid the entire ponytail. I hate loose bits. 

Overall her hair is well... Abbey hair. Again there's not that much variation in Abbey dolls, and this is no exception.

Accessories: Here's where things get frustrating. While Abbey may be the most complete of the dolls in terms of her outfit, she also reuses the most bits.

Earrings and necklace look familiar? Well they should. The necklace is a direct reuse, not even a recolour, of original Abbey's one. The earrings are a recolour of that same Abbey's earrings, only instead of one pink snowflake and one blue icicle, she now has both blue. Kinda boring really. 

Her belt is chunky as anything and made to look like ice. It's a nice touch but it doesn't sit right. Like a lot of MH belts, it's too rigid and rides up. Still, her outfit doesn't look complete without it. 

She has little fur cuffs, which are adorable and a chunky ice purse. 

The accessories are nice, but i'd have preferred some different earrings and a necklace we hadn't seen before. Just seems lazy to me. Of course i'm nitpicky, but we've been so spoiled with MH and the unique accessories for each line, it feels like a bit of a back step now. 

 Outfit: Abbey's outfit is awesome. Her dress is multi-tiered in a jagged pattern, with layers of snowflakes and plain pink. It fits her nicely and it looks appropriately over the top and ball gown-like. At the shoulder there's a little icy brooch.

the quality feels good, the fabric is nice to touch and all the layers really make this feel like effort and thought went into this. It's a huge change from Draculaura's lacklustre effort.Unlike her dress this material feels silky and decent, not cheap and thin. The skirt has some nice fullness and the design feels refined and complete. I'm quite pleased.

Again we get some interesting shoes. These are see through ice boots with big icicles jutting out of them as a sort of "bow" effect. They are very over the top, but they work with the rest of her ice accessories and tie the whole look together nicely.
Unlike Draculaura's shoes, these aren't a pair i'd buy a doll just to own, but they work with the overall look so thumbs up!

Final thoughts: Abbey feels like a complete doll, one you'd happily pay full price for. While she isn't anything spectacular or different in terms of her face paint and she does reuse accessories, she's a doll i'm sure a lot of fans would love to have. She's no disappointment, she's actually quite lovely. I'd probably keep her if I wasn't so strict regarding duplicate characters.
Overall, I give her an 8/10. She loses marks for those reused earrings and necklace. 

Ghoulia was, for me, the main draw. While i'm a little tired of Ghoulia releases, she's still one of my favourite characters. This particular girl attracted my attention with her crazy curls,

The face: So first of all, this Ghoulia is the first Ghoulia i've ever owned who's glasses haven't left a huge dent in her face! I got lucky I think. It makes a nice change.

Under those glasses, her eye makeup is deep red and smoky silver. It's quite similar to DOTD Ghoulia in fact, without the gold bits. It's a good look for her, subtle but striking, really makes her eyes "pop"
Likewise, her lipstick is vivid red. It's a bold colour and works wonderfully with her outfit, contrasting nicely with her dulled, cool colourings.

overall, her makeup is nothing spectacular but it works well here and ties into her outfit well. Ghoulia always makes some bold choices with her lip colour, and red works well on her.

The hair: Ghoulia's hair is very tightly curled and tied back in a ponytail. The curls actually survived deboxing remarkably well, but I don't think they'll hold up to a comb. Thankfully, a little bit of running your fingers through it seems to poof any flatness back up, so no need for a brush. She has no gel in her bangs which is a huge relief. Means they're soft and already perfect. I'm glad Mattel are starting to cut back on the crazy glue gel everywhere. I hate helmet hair and bulletproof bangs.

Ghoulia's hair is two toned light blue and darker, which most versions of her seem to sport. Here it's particularly obvious though, with the colour being layered. The lighter tone makes up the bulk of the hair while the darker provides a little contrast toward the front.

The curls are crazy, and my only gripe is that some are tigher than others, which gives her ponytail a bit of a lopsided look.
As I deboxed her she also shed a lot, while the other two didn't lose a single hair. I always get uneasy when a doll sheds huge plugs of hair, but I suspect it's the side effect of her hair not being able to be combed out prior to boxing. You get left with loose bits that haven't actually been rooted into the scalp. I had a similar issue with DOTD Cleo, when rinsing the gel out she started to shed very badly. Loose unrooted hair got glued in with the rest of her helmet.

overall Ghoulia's hair is nice and soft, though it is a bit frizzy. Still, it's a lot less of a nightmare than I thought it would be and it's a nice change of pace from her usual soft curls or pin straight look.  

Accessories: Ghoulia really feels let down on the accessory department. While what she has is fabulous, she's sorely missing a few details that would just make her seem complete. As it stands, she just feels a bit unfinished to me. A necklace is an obvious addition, her neck seems to bare without one. something on her feet, like socks or something would also really help here I feel. Something to balance her look a little more.

So what does she come with?

Well, obviously her usual glasses. In white which we've seen a few times already. The shape is pretty typical, they're nothing special, just Ghoulia glasses.

Her earrings are familiar. I'm pretty sure they're recoloured Gloom Beach Ghoulia's earrings. Those ones were white crossed bones, these are red. They're cute and it's a reuse I can accept given how rare Gloom Beach Ghoulia is, but it's yet another reuse. Not one of these girls has had unique earrings. 

Ghoulia has a strange little arm cuff thing on. I'm not sure what it IS, it's grey and clear and kinda drippy. It's a nice addition to balance out her look, but it does seem a bit random. it also interferes with that arm's poseability.

Her purse is fabulous. it's very fragile but it's just plain awesome. It's a ribcage and it actually opens, The spine part is hinged and one side comes open, though I can't figure out how it's suppose to "latch" closed again. It just sorta, sits closed.
It's a piece I can see breaking very easily, but I love it anyway. It's crazy and it's macabre and it's just awesome.
It's a little too small for her DOTD Icoffin, but you can just about shove it in there.

The outfit: Ghoulia's dress is cute. It's a little puff ball dress with one sleeve. 
The top part is drippy eyeballs, while the skirt pattern is cherries (you have to look really close, it's very subtle) and skullettes. I love that detail. Someone actually had to point out they were cherries and even then, it took me a while to see it myself. 

The fabric is satiny and soft, the quality good. The skirt part has an inner elasticated part to keep the puff shape, though this does mean she really can't wear any tights. The dress fits very snug around her legs. 

Not much more to say on her dress really. It's cute and quite different to anything else we've seen this girl in before. 

her shoes are also fabulous. They have a bone lattice effect and then brain matter for the sole and heel. All the shoes for this set have been awesome, so kudos to Mattel for that. 
Final thoughts: Ghoulia is a cute doll, but she feels incomplete. The addition of a necklace and maybe some little black socks would have really tied her outfit together. As it is, she just feels unfinished. She needs a little work to really be as amazing as she deserves to be. 
I give her 7/10. With a few little touches, she'll be fantastic. Now I just gotta find some little fishnet socks for her. 

In conclusion: This set is a nice addition, but at full price I don't think it's worth it. For the price charged, you really don't get your money's worth in my opinion. But at £25, this is well worth a buy. Ghoulia and Abbey together are worth that price, Draculaura is just such a non event that really, i can't even consider her when factoring in fair price. She's just too dull. She is the biggest disappointment here. Ghoulia and Abbey deliver, and while there are a few gripes, they're a worthy addition to a collection. Draculaura is a huge "pass" for me, if she didn't come bundled in with the other two, I wouldn't have even given her a second thought.

So if you find this set on sale, pick it up! Abbey and Ghoulia don't disappoint (much) and you can always throw Draculaura in the "spares" bucket lol. If nothing else, at least she has those shoes. Those shoes are her only saving grace.

£25 was a bargain and i'm glad I picked these ghouls up.

7 Aug 2012

Monster High - Skull Shores Abbey

Argos are clearancing their old stock to make way for new, so that means Skull Shores is now half price. Sweet.
I picked up the last one I didn't have, Abbey Bominable because how could I resist for £6:99?
Well, she sat in her box for several days while I got distracted by other things (most notably, Ghoul's Rule Frankie and Clawdeen lol) until last night when I could take it no longer! Abbey demanded I free her from her cardboard prison and I faithfully obliged.

Now, i'm sure I don't have to go through a step by step of what this doll looks like, she's been out long enough i'm pretty sure everyone's seen about a billion photos, so I won't waste time with tedious box shots.
All I will say is this, i've become far too used to the newer MH boxes.

Abbey's box was taped shut, something I haven't had to deal with in a while with Monster High. But this didn't take long to get through. The Skull Shores boxes are very easy to open, just undo one side and slide the inner card out. Fantastic.
Clipping all the plastic tags was a breeze as it always is, i'll say one thing for this line, they really do have very good packaging in terms of ease of removal.
However, now we get to my first annoyance. Abbey has not one, not your standard two, but FOUR, yes, FOUR plastic tags holding her head into place. The first two clip out easy enough, I have to fight with the final two to get any kind of purchase on the stupid things. I HATE plastic tags like this. Unless you cut them on the side where the card is, you risk hacking a huge chunk of hair off the doll. They're sharp once you do get them cut and then you have to go searching in the hair to snip them shorter! I hate them and i wish companies would find a better less likely to gouge my hand way of securing the head damnit.

So with Abbey finally free I could take a look at her.
Her first error leaps out at me.

This little "scar" looks like melting, or a big ol' dollop of hot glue. It doesn't come off, believe me I tried.  
Undressing her I notice another of these marks on her belly. Poor girl's been in some sort of hideous acid accident! Thankfully her glitter helps to disguise these blemishes. 

Speaking of glitter.. oh my god the glitter. My original Abbey has a sparkly face but her body is pretty much glitter free. Not so for this girl, She's caked in the stuff and it's unevenly distributed. It makes her body quite rough and makes dressing her a little more of a hassle. Tight clothing snags on the rough glitter, it's annoying. 

Her face is very sparkly but her hair.. oh wow her hair. 
Original Abbey's hair annoyed me because it had these strands of glitter which though pretty, had little blobs along their length which would catch any kind of brush you ran through it. Her hair is impossible to brush without unravelling a few of her glitter strands in the process, which always annoys me. This Abbey still has glitter but it's not got those same nodules. It's smoother and there's a lot less of it. Most of her hair is in fact a slightly darker blonde/white than original Abbey and it's quite good to brush. The only gripe I have is that the tinsel in this doll doesn't always sit with the rest of the hair. It likes to stick out in random directions. Ahh well, can't win them all right?

Poor Sparkly Abbey, her hair's a mess from deboxing and her leg is burned.

I love some of the little details on this girl. Her shoes are very pretty, little purple icicles which I like. Her swim suit has snowflakes but isn't tacky as it could be. Even her little wrap is pretty cute with the fur trim.
What's the deal with the key bracelet though? It's very random and the positioning as it was straight out the box has it being worn half way up her arm not on her wrist. If you put it on her wrist she can't then move her wrist because it gets in the way. Hmmmm. Cute piece but not very practical i'm afraid.

Not that it matters as I have no intention of leaving this girl in her swimsuit. I know it's supposedly summer here in the UK but it's still cold and rainy as always.
Like my other Skull Shores ghouls, Abbey is straight out of that beach wear and straight into something more interesting.

Also her hair got redone. I wasn't feeling the side ponytail, it felt kinda lazy. Like what I do when I can't get a doll's hair to cooperate.

I always feel it's a shame with Abbey's default hair styles that her beautiful coloured streaks are pretty much hidden under all that white. As a result, both of mine have had restyles to bring some of that colour forward.

It's worth mentioning that despite my thoughts that this girl was very similar to the original release of Abbey, there are quite a few differences not only in hair and sparkle but also in their faces.

First wave abbey has larger, rounder eyes and her eyeshadow is all pink. Her eyes also seem to be a brighter shade. Her skin tone is more saturated, the glitter less rough and her brows are thicker. She also oddly looks like her chin and jaw is wider but that must be her lips creating an optical illusion.

Skull Shores has somewhat washed out eyes, not helped by her upper shadow being pretty much the exact same purpley pink shade. The glitter is very thickly applied and gives her face, as well as her body, a very rough texture. After handling this girl I found I was coated in sparkles, so she does shed this stuff but not nearly as badly or as thickly as some glittery dolls i've seen.

The pink in her hair seems more orange toned than first wave and her skin tone is slightly different.

I think she kinda looks like a sister here, rather than the same ghoul. I do like that in my dolls, I can't stand having an army of identical clones.

So Skull Shores Abbey gets to stay. She's already made herself at home. 

6 Aug 2012

Catwalk kitties

I was digging through my box'o'dolls last night and came across my Catwalk Kitties.
They were an odd line that appeared sometime in the early 2000s and never seem to have really taken off.
I don't know much about them, I came to the line late and all three of mine were bought second hand so i've never had the fun of deboxing a brand new one. You don't see them for sale very often on Ebay and places like that so I don't think there are that many of these girls around, but they're unique and very very odd.
I love odd, so of course I love the Catwalk kitties.

So I decided to use Topaz as my model for this ramble. She was one I recieved minus her original clothing unfortunately, though my other two (Annika and Toffee) both have their original clothes. Their outfits are nice, decent quality and Barbie sized with holes to accommodate their tails.

Anyway, this is Topaz (Warning, dolly nudity!)

The catwalk kitties are a similar size to your standard Barbie, though stand a little taller thanks to their giant heads. 

Overall Topaz is very heavy, her body is dense and well built, her head is made from quite thick plastic and doesn't have a lot of give to it. Her only downside is her hair which is coarse nylon and prone to frizzing. it also hides her moulded kitty ears which is such a shame.  Her face is very flat and very very cat-like. I appreciate how feline she is, rather than the lazy cat ears/human face combo you often see.

She has a cute little pink nose, a slightly open mouth and huge blue eyes with silver shadow. Her cheeks are lightly blushed and like several of the kitties, she has white stripe tabby markings. I feel it's a shame these tabby markings didn't carry over to her body though, some stripes on her arms and legs would have been awesome. 

They have very limited articulation, their shoulders, chest, head and hips are the only movement you'll get. Their tail however is totally bendy, it has a wire inside so you can twist it into just about any shape or position you want. 

The arms are all the same on these dolls. One straight, one bent as if to rest on the hip. 
The legs are your typical soft rubbery affair but they don't move much.

The chest joint allows for some very unnatural poses. It only twists around rather than pivoting like the Barbie Fashionistas, so while poor kitty won't be bending down any time soon, she can pull off some pretty freaky spineless positions. 
It's not a very practical joint. Even twisted to the side like this it sticks out from her slender waist and is very obviously boxy.

That lovely tail. It's soft and so bendy but it does make redressing a bit of a pain. 
The outfits these dolls came packaged in had velcro flaps which left a little hole for the tail, a great idea but it does limit their fashion choices. Regular Barbie clothing does fit, but pants and skirts can't be fully done up because of the tail. 
I like that they have a tail though, it's a cute touch and makes them far more than just a Barbie with a kitty head tacked on. 

Speaking of cute touches, OMG PAWS! The catwalk kitty hands are fantastic. They're tiny detailed little paws. My only gripe is that they're a little disproportionately small for the doll. They have little claws and moulded paw pads, sooo cute!

Another unusual feature of the Catwalk kitties was the choice to go a bit Bratz with the feet pegs. The shoes clip on and off just like a Bratz doll, though the feet are much more in proportion and don't provide a heavy base that allows the doll to stand (I always kinda liked that about Bratz)
Unfortunately this again, limits your redressing ability. Each pair of shoes is matched to the kitty skin tone, and not many of them share a skin colour. Annika and Topaz are both grey but Toffee is yellow! No way can she wear either of her friend's shoes without looking ridiculous.

Bratz shoes have an ever so slightly bigger peg hole, but the shoes I tried did stay on, they just swivelled around quite freely. A pair of Bratz Boots would probably be fine.
Likewise, there's no reason you can't jam a pair of Barbie boots on over her stumps, her legs are a similar size and shape. So there are options.

Overall the Kitties have some awesome aspects. I love their faces, I love their little paw hands and I like their tails but their bodies are frustratingly static. Kitties should be agile and flexible! So let's experiment...

Here she is on a Monster High body. Her head is massive on this body, it's bigger than the MH girl heads!
Pros: Articulation
cons: No more cute paw hands or fluffy tail!

By comparison, her old body is seriously chunky. If only I could remove that tail without damaging anything but alas. Maybe a pipe cleaner would do the trick...

While her head is a similar height to the Monster High ghouls, it's a lot wider. She doesn't quite fit on poor thing.

Final thoughts:

The Catwalk Kitties line was, from what I understand of it, short lived and unsuccessful and I can see why. The dolls themselves are very strange and their appeal understandably limited. While little girls like cats, do they like freaky cat/human hybrids?
Personally I love them, though more articulation would have made them perfect in my eyes. However, I can see why they never took off. The concept of a bunch of kitty models was a cute one, but I feel they may have just been too inhuman looking for the regular kid.

There were a lot of characters in the range though, I only own three and i'd love more. particularly Cali who, being a calico cat, has two toned hair! EEE. This line is full of gorgeous little details like that which make me smile, I only wish they weren't so hard to find or so crazy expensive when they DO show up.

Also... they came with pet cats.... that freaks me out a bit.

Hello world

So i've decided to go back to blogging about dolls. I'm clogging my flickr stream with this stuff, and that really limits the number of pictures I can spam people with (lol)

So here I go! I'll be posting up one or two pictures on Flickr and then redirecting to here for the full reviews/rambles.

Hope you enjoy my rants.