14 Jan 2015

Tonner Sindy - Just Sindy

What's this? A mysterious white box.... with Sindy on it? Yes, dear old Sindy celebrated her 50th birthday in September 2013 and as part of the celebrations, Tonner annouced they were working on a line of collectable Sindy dolls based on the ever popular 1971 Trendy Girl. (one of the most collectable of the Sindy dolls, for some reason)

Of course the Sindy community were excited. We haven't seen a new Sindy since the ill fated 2006 New Moon/Chad Valley ones who were... let's say... not particularly pretty or exciting. Nor did they look anything like the Sindy doll we all knew and loved.
So one based on the originals was almost too much to believe, and the fact our British icon was going to be made in the US was a bit of a wrench for some.
Sindy never had much success in the USA, so it seemed a bit odd to have her produced there when the majority of her fans were UK or Australasia based.

Having her made as a high end collectable rather than a playline doll was also a shame, but it made sense for Pedigree to want to avoid the competition of the toy aisle. I'm not convinced Sindy could compete against Barbie even today, she would sell on nostalgia more than anything else which isn't a great way to sell toys. That's not to say I wouldn't LOVE to see Sindy back on toy shelves alongside Barbie, but I get why Pedigree decided to outsource to a company who made collectables instead.

Sadly Tonner couldn't get Sindy ready for her 50th. We waited well over a year after the annoucement but finally, finally she was ready!

They made 3 different ones available to the general public. A special "gala sindy" specially for the sindy convention in the UK and a black haired "Halloween" sindy for the Wilde convention in the US.
I admit, I kinda... wanted that halloween one, she's adorable.

Of the ones that were available to preorder from Tonner though, there was a blonde (yaaawn), a brunette bride (bleh) and an auburn haired girl in a swimsuit. She was the cheapest but also the one I felt was cutest, so I preordered her.
She was $69 + shipping, which was a bit .... ouch. I hadn't spent so much on a single doll before so it was a little bit of a shock to the system. All in she worked out about £80. OUCH.

Because she used a body based on the original Sindy body, I knew she'd be able to fit vintage Sindy and Barbie clothes. So her coming in a swimsuit wasn't such a big issue when I already have a huge box of clothes for her to try on.

After preordering again we waited... and waited... it took a very long time from taking preorders to actually shipping the dolls, there was some sort of delay.
Finally the shipping notice came, and once more the wait... and wait... for her to cross the atlantic and clear customs.
naturally customs also stamped their own "handling fee" ransom on as well. Another £20, bah.

But finally after over a year of eager anticipation, Sindy was here! The first brand new Sindy since 2006! The first to use this body shape since 1971!

Like all Tonner dolls, Sindy came packaged in an outer box. Plain white with just the name of the doll on.

It made me smile to see "Pedigree dolls and toys" on a box again. It's been too long guys.. way too long.

Inside the shipping box is another box, and let me tell you, I think I teared up a little seeing the Sindy logo.

Was this doll going to live up to the anticipation? Was she going to be worth the horrendous price and anxiety inducing wait?

Weeeell.... we'll get to that.


Opening the box I caught my first glimpse of Sindy. A flash of wonderfully wine coloured hair, big expressive eyes and chubby hamster cheeks.

like other Tonner dolls, the packaging is wonderfully easy to deal with. The lid of the box lifts off, then under the acid free paper there's the inner card with the doll held in with white ribbons. I LOVE the ribbons ok? they leave no marks, they're super easy to undo and you get the doll out within seconds.

She has a hairnet over her entire head, a ribbon around her neck and another around her ankles. Her glasses and towel are in little baggies that are stapled into the box and there's a little bag of silica gel at the bottom to keep everything fresh and dry.

First impressions, she's a very pretty doll. Her cheeks have a soft blush and her hair is a gorgeous reddish colour. It's saran so super soft and super brushable. Her hair is a glued on wig as opposed to being rooted but you don't really notice, it's very solidly attached and it's very thickly rooted anyway.

Her head is super hard and her body is made of quite heavy feeling plastic. She hasn't got the shine a lot of playline dolls have, her body actually feels really solid and high quality.

Her outfit is well made as well. It's super simple but it's cute. The fabric is some sort of cotton (I think) with ruffles. The panties have satiny inner panels and both pants and top have metal poppers instead of velcro. They actually look and feel like something from the 70s, old Sindy clothes were VERY well made and very neatly tailored and these feel very in keeping with that.
I can't speak for the other outfits on the other dolls, nor the fashion packs which I didn't order (they were the same price as this whole doll for goodness sake!) but i'm fairly impressed with this swimsuit.
Not that she'll be wearing it for long.

She has a cute face, it feels very "sindy" to me without being a carbon copy. Apparently they sculpted these faces using a Trendy Girl as reference but they aren't a direct recast of the original. I think she's quite beautiful.

Her lashes though... for some reason Tonner decided instead of rooting the lashes like the original Sindy dolls, they would just mould a little indent and glue the lashes.
That's all very well and good, but for reasons known only to them they decided lashes across the whole upper lid was just too much effort, so she gets these bizarre clumpy lashes that only sit across half the eye.
they look stupid.

Also for reasons known only to Tonner, they seem to have taken the "reproduction" thing a little too seriously and much like the old Pedigree dolls, Tonner Sindy has one leg longer than the other.
This actually made me laugh, because I have a lot of Sindy dolls from the 60s and 70s and they really DO have mismatched legs. It's typical British manufacturing there, "it'll do, it's close enough" and it always makes me chuckle. Seeing it here, I have to believe it was intentional because unlike Pedigree in the 70s, Tonner DO know what the hell they're doing and aren't just using up whatever parts they have laying about.
Perhaps they took direct casts from the original Trendy Girl body and that's why the limbs are different lengths, I really don't know, but it's hilarious to me.
It does mean she can't stand though, she keeps toppling over and it's a bit annoying.

At this point I had to stop taking photos. Because while trying to brush her hair out her face and carefully splay her lashes (see her left eye?) her right lashes pinged out of their slot and flew across the room.
I scrambled about and found them, but alas, they wouldn't go back into the shallow slot and started to just fall apart in my hand.
They aren't glued very securely and they're not very robust lashes, they fall apart very easily and fall off if you breathe on them it seems.
I'm not the only one to have my Sindy drop her lashes either, many Sindy collectors reported the exact same problem.
I am NOT impressed.
This is a doll that cost a lot of money, I expect things like her lashes to actually STAY attached to her damn eye.

So while I contacted Tonner customer support (AGAIN) and had a bit of a sulk, back into her box she went... for a couple of months.

Having finally come to an arrangement with Tonner (they're aware of this problem, apparently the next lot will have rooted lashes instead. Thank goodness) I felt I could go back to reviewing this girl without feeling upset and angry.

It took a while to get an answer though, and though the girl I spoke to was very nice I can't say my first purchase from Tonner has left me much inclined to order from them again. Both my dolls were faulty and it reflects badly.

that said, getting her out of the box once more, i'm yet again struck with what a pretty doll Sindy is.

I mean WOAH she's beautiful.

I found her some clothes to wear as well. A 70s Barbie coat, a little scarf, some sindy boots and a liv hat.

I was surprised to discover her head is actually on a ball like the original Sindy dolls. I expected a T shaped attachment like all modern playline dolls, but nope, Sindy's head is held on with the traditional ball which gives her a lot more head movement.
It takes a fair bit of force to pop her head back on though, her head is very very hard.

Then I dug out some Sindy dolls.

The Blonde is a funtime Sindy from the 70s, the brunette an 80s reroot of mine who's hairstyle made me think of Tonner's.
Tonner's hair is really more a sort of burgundy than a brown though, in fact i'm pretty sure my hair used to be dyed that colour. I really love the colour of her hair, it's so unusual for a doll and really suits her.

Now the 70s dolls should theoretically all use the same mould, but this is Pedigree we're talking about... so there's a lot of variation in the dolls.
Still, I think the Tonner fits in fairly well here.

Tonner's body is based on the Trendy girl (who at this point I was still searching through boxes trying to locate, she'd gone awol)
It's nothing like the 80s body most collectors would recognise (the girl in the hat) and while similar to the funtime, has much chunkier legs.

I finally found my Trendy Girl.
It took me a good half hour of digging though.

The Tonner is the paler body here, and you can see on the vintage doll the leg length difference. That's pretty normal for Pedigree Sindy dolls, I don't think they really cared much when they put these dolls together lol.

The bodies are very similar, though not identical.

Firstly, the Tonner doll's arms are quite different at the shoulders. They stick out weirdly like she's trying to keep her balance (actually, maybe that IS what she's doing considering her wonky legs).
Also the Tonner doll seems slightly taller. I'm not sure if her legs are slightly longer, or her neck or quite what it is but she's a bit taller than every single one of my vintage Sindy dolls. Odd.

The plastic she's made from is also VERY different. Unlike the vintage doll who's made with whatever was cheapest, the Tonner is made with high quality stuff that's smooth to touch and heavy to hold. She weighs more than the vintage doll and feels a lot more solidly constructed. Vintage girl sadly has rather floppy legs and a tendency to go a bit ragdoll. But then she is getting on a bit.

The ball for her head is a bit smaller than the Trendy Girl's, I checked it against a few other Sindy dolls and all of them used a larger ball than Tonner. A shame, it would have been fun to pop her head on a vintage body for a bit. Or vice versa.
That said, Pedigree were hardly consistent with the size of the ball they used, some use really large ones, some use smaller ones. There may be some in my collection that could possibly fit, but there's a good 70 of them to test and i'm not that bored. 

Face wise, you can see the shape of the face is very similar, if not identical. There's that same squared jaw and hamster cheeks, the same big round eyes and little turned up nose. However the Tonner's eyebrows are a lot lower down and the way her eyes are painted also adds to this illusion of a giant forehead and cheeks that look like she has the mumps.
Still, it's a better attempt than the last Sindy repros.

Funny spindly things they were.

Tonner's hands are very much like Trendy Girl's, though they feel somehow cruder. While both have fingernails and details, the soft plastic of the 70s doll brings those details out more than the hard plastic does. If anything, the hard plastic sort of blurs all the detail and makes her hands look strange and stumpy.

Tonner Sindy's ears are actually pierced, though she has no earrings. Like her hands, her ears feel a little blurred and not quite as detailed.

She wears original Sindy shoes very well. I tested out slip ons which fit fine and the boots were a little easier to get on than they are to put on an original Sindy. The hard unbending legs Tonner's doll has mean you can use a lot more force, though you still need talcum powder to get the things to even start to slip on.
Sindy boots... a nightmare to actually get onto a doll.

Overall, new Sindy is beautiful. She has lovely hair, a cute face and it's nice to see the chunky legged Trendy body again. I always liked those chunky legs of hers. Sadly her arms stick out strangely and she has next to no articulation. Her hips can only move forward and back, not out to the sides and her arms are the same. It's very crude and very much like the original 71 body sure, but it's a bit of a shame she's so static.
She can move her head really well though, thanks to the ball joint but she can't stand very well thanks to her slightly longer leg.

She wears vintage clothes very very well and I think she honestly looks better with her stupid clumpy lashes removed. if you're going to do lashes like that, they HAVE to go across the whole upper lid or they just look ridiculous. Her lashes looked ridiculous and amateur and I expected better from Tonner.
I also expected they wouldn't come off so easy.

Her hair is beautiful, and while it is a wig, it's thick and soft and just so brushable. Sindy looks amazing with bangs anyway, i've always loved her with bangs because her cute little girly face just really suits it.
Her face is adorable, sure she looks like she has mumps or stuffed her cheeks with acorns like a squirrel, but it's cute damnit.

to me, as a Sindy collector, she LOOKS like a Sindy. She doesn't look like some imposter, she looks like Sindy and this makes me delighted.

Though I was hugely upset by her lashes, getting her out of the box and playing with her again let me fall in love all over. She really is beautiful to me, she is a very solidly made doll and she's Sindy for goodness sake! At long last, Sindy is BACK and it's been way way too long. Not only is she back, she's back looking mostly like herself and not a pound store knockoff.
Tonner did a great job at the sculpting here, so kudos Tonner.

Was she worth the hefty price tag though? I really don't think so. I understand why collector dolls are as expensive as they are, but it doesn't mean i've ever been able to justify it. Her outfit though well made was super simple and not something i'd ever display a doll in. She came with no shoes, no stand, not even a bag. Just some sunglasses with solid plastic lenses (they aren't even semi-opaque) and a towel... wow... a towel.. be still my beating heart.
I feel the outfits themselves are massively overpriced as well. yes they're nice, but are they really $60 of nice? I don't think so.
I'm glad I have her, but i'm not totally convinced she should have been as much as she was. at the end of the day, she isn't a unique custom made doll, she isn't super limited edition and she doesn't really come with anything that feels particularly "deluxe". She's pretty, she's a big heaping slice of nostalgia, but she's not really a high end collectable to me.
I can't help but wish Pedigree had decided to go more playline with Sindy instead of making her such a expensive piece, that they'd kept her production British, but at the end of the day, she's a Sindy doll and a fitting tribute to a doll now celebrating her 52nd year.
Tonner made a lovely doll and despite a few gripes, I am proud to have her in my collection.

Hopefully the second wave (if they make a second wave) will have better lashes and more interesting outfits. Though i'm not sure my bank balance can stretch to another one. 

Overall, I give Tonner Sindy 7 different length limbs out of 10. She would have been incredible had they done those damn lashes correctly and given her better arms. What the heck is going on with those sticky out arms?
I can't even consider the longer leg thing a fault, I honestly feel like it's intentional and even if it isn't, it's SO in keeping with vintage Sindy that it's just perfect to me. What is Sindy without her dodgy QC?
But even ignoring the fact her lashes came off so easy, they looked terrible to begin with. Half lashes clumping at the middle at the eye? Come ON Tonner.

Arms and lashes need fixing, then she'll be absolutely stunning.


  1. I also got this doll, and the blonde because she IS so Sindy to me, at least, having rooted hair. I appreciate the good quality vinyl. I did not grow up with Sindy, of course, being in the US, but I have a good-sized collection of her nonetheless. I didn't notice the lashes...your detailed description, they remind me of Fleur's. I have a couple of them, and some were missing lashes. I found one inside each of two of my Fleur's heads, so cut them in half to give them SOME lashes at least. As for the different leg lengths, with many American '50s vinyl fashion dolls, that leg difference WAS intentional, to give the doll a little pose-ability...one leg slightly forward. It was marginally successful, I admit. Some of the lesser-quality dolls have nearly 1/2" difference! I have actually heated and reshaped few to get them a little closer. Tammy here in the USA was unable to stand up to Barbie, and I appreciate that Sindy did not suffer that and was able to continue for many years...so that I was able to acquire most eras of her now that eBay makes her more accessible! I even have a few of the Hasbro version, although she is too similar to Barbie to say 'Sindy'.

    1. Interesting theory about the leg lengths. I've only ever noticed it with sindy dolls from the 60s and 70s, though I admit I don't collect vintage Barbie at all.

      I collect Sindys from all eras but I agree, Hasbro's second attempt was just TOO Barbie (in fact mattel won when they sued over it) and the 3rd mould they used just looked like poor man's barbie. Vivid's too, were just too "Barbie wannabe" and that's a shame. I do quite like the first Hasbros though, they used bodies more like the 80s Sindy dolls and I think it worked much better, set them apart. I have a soft spot for them.

      So the blonde has rooted hair does she? I presumed they all used wigs because it was easier/cheaper/faster. Interesting.
      and yes! those lashes are very Fleur! You're right! odd and clumpy and just... a bit bizarre.

  2. I'm so glad you finally got to spend some quality time with this doll and bond with her. After such a bad experience, I'd have a hard time getting the nasty taste of the "don't care about the fans" out of my mouth.
    If the next batch of repros come out, I hope they give detailed descriptions of the product or allow select fans to give honest advance reviews...that way you can choose to spend the almost £100 on the vintage Sindys of your dreams. =p

    1. It was pretty stressful yeah. They did though, to their credit, eventually make amends. But it did take a lot of me being cranky at them. I was refunded in full for the City Girl, I would have sent the robe back to them to test but it's a bit far sending it all the way back to the US. I will never know what was spilled on her.
      And supposedly they're sending me a replacement Sindy but we'll see how that goes. I opted to wait till they got a batch of newer ones in with rooted lashes so fingers crossed those happen.
      It'll be interesting to compare rooted lashes to the glued.

  3. Hi there all, I found your blog because I got my childhood toys from my dad. And have a question.
    Does anyone know about Gayle, the black Sindy doll from 1978? I have mine still in the box but don't know the value... Someone is asking to buy it.

    1. she was pretty rare and very sought after, check ebay past listings for an idea of current value, but i've never seen one for a price I could afford/justify heh.

  4. https://flic.kr/p/H5fKJQ
    Here's a picture

  5. Love your review of Tonner Sindy. i have a few if them and Tonner sent me a replacement head for one whose eyelashes came off.

    Gayle commands a high price. i recently paid £157 for mine. Good condition but no box.

  6. Sorry to comment on an ancient post, but I'm sitting here trying to figure out the Sindy timeline. I knew New Moons took over the brand in 2003, but when does Chad Valley enter the picture? Google tells me they're a toy brand, but that's all I know.

    1. Chad Valley I believe distributed FOR New Moons or.. vice versa? so the new moons are marked Chad Valley on boxes and are one and the same. I think. Kinda like how uh.. Giochi Prezozi used to distribute MGA products so old Bratz in the EU have their logo on boxes too.

      Least I think that's the situation. The timeline basically goes Pedigree, Hasbro, reverts to pedigree who license out to Vivid Imaginations, New Moons/Chad Valley under liscense, Tonner under license and then the company doing the newest ones who's the same people who make the "my Life as a" dolls. (I don't know what they're called) in collaberation with/with license from Pedigree as well.

      Least that's my understanding of it. There's some curious little kinda.. side things like the greek sindy dolls (who use tanya molds) and the turkish New Moon Sindy dolls and stuff like that but yeah.. also the US dolls who were made under license by someone else too. It's all kinda confusing.