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.