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.