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.