20 May 2017

Blind bags - Twozies and L.O.L


Blind bags aren't a new thing, in fact, growing up I remember collecting rather a few of them. I loved Oodles and Lil' Babies and later there were Magic Diaper Babies who's diapers/nappys changed colour depending on their gender.
It was fun finding out if it was a boy or a girl and I had rather a lot of them.
they were cheap and thus a really easy pocket money purchase. I think a bag containing 1 or more was only a couple of bucks and were often in a 342 deal anyway.
We had Monster in my pocket and all the various other "in my pocket" toys as well, many of which were either given away in your cereal or sold in blind packs. Surprise toys in general were huge in the early 90s so it's not without a massive amount of nostelgia that I approach the newer blind bags.

Lego sort of forged the way with the latest lot I think, with their minifigures which sold like candy.
From there it's become a bit of a fad, with just about every company out there producing some sort of blind bag surprise figure.

Spinmaster have gotten in on the act with their Hatchanimals Eggs, we have little genies in bottles, Mattel have a few different sorts and there's still a lot of lego ones.
But today we're looking at MGA's breakthrough blind balls (lol balls) and Moose toys' Twozies.

Moose actually has a number of different blind and collectable toys including Shopkins, but i've always preferred humanoid or animal little toys so i've no paid much attention to those.

Twozies however remind me way too much of the little babies I collected as a child. Particularly the Lil' Babies/Oodles

Sadly I don't have my childhood toys any longer, and it turns out these little toys are not exactly cheap on ebay.
I did want to get a few for this review but I couldn't justify the cost some people wanted, especially for them still packaged.
So instead you'll have to make do with photos I stole off google.

powerpuffruth2000 on Flickr

The L'il Babies came in candy coloured blind bags and contained a single baby each. They were cheap as anything and I remember buying big ol' handfuls at a time growing up.

Each baby was about an 2-3 inches tall and came with a neon coloured nappy/diaper made of fabric.
They were reused molds from a previous line called Oodles, who had little hooks on their heads so you could string them like charms? I dunno, it was weird. But the l'il babies didn't have the hooks and got fabric nappies instead. Yay the 90s?

jadestoys on Flickr

I'm gonna have to buy a few of these, I just know it. For nostalgic reasons.

Twozies really reminded me of these when I saw them, small baby figures but this time with silly animal hats? Sign me up!

I grabbed a few on a trip to the supermarket, they're only £2:50 so it's a pretty reasonable "just because" addition to the shopping basket.





Twozies come in little cubes which is actually a really quite brilliant way to get around the "people sitting and fondling the bags to try to get the rare ones" problem.
the plastic cubes also double as a display which I quite like.
I like reusable packaging.

Series 1 has pink lined cubes in two shades of pink. A very vivid barbie pink and a paler pink. They seem to be random.
The whole thing is wrapped in a clear cling film plastic which just tears off.



The back of the cube informs me that this contains 1 baby, 1 pet and 1 box with a pattern card.

The gimmick with these is that each baby has a matching pet but you might not get a matching pair in the box, encouraging you to keep buying to find that pairing and finish the sets.

I'd have totally loved this as a kid. I loved small animal toys and I loved blind bagged babies so this is exactly the sort of thing 7 year old me would be buying in quantity.



Removing the plastic film there's two sections to the box. The front where the actual toys are, hidden behind a little card sheath and the back where the pattern card, instructions and collector pamphlet slot into a little gap.

In this case my card has bananas on and says "two cheeky"

All of the characters come in a little "set" with a name that starts with "two" and then something like "wild" "cheeky" "cool" and so on.
This narrows down which baby is in this box. It must be one from the "two cheeky" section.


The little card slots into the cube to create a little backdrop and there's a little peg for the baby to clip into (yet none for the pet, hmm)

The instructions also tell me the boxes themselves clip together to create a large shelf display. That's cool.



The "two cheeky" set seems to include a lot of rarer characters.
The little hearts indicate rarity, the dark pink ones are harder to find than the light pink hearts and the circles indicate gender. Seems all the pets match the gender of their baby partner and pretty much every animal has a male and female version. The male one almost always is the more realistically coloured one, hmmm.

Anyway, we can probably discount all the darker pink hearts because I seriously doubt i'm lucky enough to get a rarer one. Which means this box is probably one of the 6 common ones. Racoon, chipmunk? and dalmation.

Some of the names are a bit uh... lazy. Calfy the calf? Chimps the chimp? COME ON.


Anyway, inside the cube are two bright yellow bags. One with the pet, one with the baby.

Let's rip these suckers open and see what we got!

I have no patience for suspense, so I totally tore these open without taking photos. Sorry!


But this was what I got. A matching pair!

Dale and Dashie the uh.. i think they're racoons. I'm not totally sure.

I'm also not convinced brown nappies are a fashion statement lol.
Practical maybe though.

I don't know how common it is to get a matching pair, but given the whole premise seems to be them being mixed up I assume matching ones aren't so common. So yay?

There's a little hole in the bottom of Dale's foot that clips into the peg in the box so he stands up securely, but Dashie hasn't got anything so falls over a lot.
It's a shame, I wonder if it's just a case that some of the pets are in laying down poses so a peg insert wouldn't have worked or looked so good? Not sure, but it's a shame. Being able to make them both stand securely would have been nice.

Anyway, Dale has big black eyes and surprised eyebrows. He looks startled lol. There's a bit of fuzzy paintwork around his nappies and he has pigeon toes lol.

Dashie is posed standing on one leg and his tail, which is cute but not overly stable a position. He has a painted mask and some streaky white markings. He's absolutely tiny. The babies themselves are only about 2 inches tall and the pets are about an inch and a half at most. They're soooo tiny and very easily lost.
especially as they don't clip into the dang shadow box display.

As well as single cubes, you can also buy various multipacks with some of the pets or babies already revealed.
Not as exciting of course, but useful if you're looking for a specific one.

There are packs of three, six and a huuuuge multipack of twelve pairs even. Along with some playsets where there's no secret element.

Tesco had a 342 deal on so I picked up a big set as well as two series 2 cubes as well (and a few more series 1 cubes because i'm weak ahem)


I got this pack SPECIFICALLY for the little green octopus kid.
I love octopus and the hat cracks me up.

In this set you have a confirmed matched pair (in this case a purple cat pair) and then four revealed babies, one secret one with a revealed pet and four secret pets.
Not bad, there's still the surprise element.

From researching online it appears these multipacks aren't totally random. The secret pets are, but the on display pets seem to come in particular variations. There's several variations though, each with different ones (i've seen two different combos with the bee baby for instance, but only seen this one with the octopus)


It looks like the selection is a bit more limited in these sets too. They only have 6 pairs per collection rather than 12.
I don't know if that's just a space thing or if they genuinely only have this assortment, I mean, the purple octopus is shown but not the green one we KNOW is in this box so... yeah... that's weird right?
It says at the top ALL the series 1 pairs are available, just not pictured but it's still a bit weird to only have half of them pictured.

There's also a big advert for the "ultra rare neon" characters. No mention of the even rarer "two precious" set though, weird.

Anyway...


Again I was impatient and just ripped everything out the box.

Mystery baby turned out to be a frog kid (lol, he's adorable) and the mystery pets were a dalmation, a rhino, a pony and *gasp* one of those ultra rare neons! an OWL! (I love owls)
Kinda a bummer I didn't get his baby partner but eeee neon owl!


I opened my 2nd season single packs while waiting for the bus.
Impulse control? what's that? lol

I got a brown dog with weird yellow lips (ew) and a fuzzy flocked white kangaroo.
Pets were a hedgehog that reminds me of Monster High Howleen's pet (lol) and a white cat.

My first wave boxes contained a lamb and pet pair and an octopus (the purple one!) with an elephant pet.

The series 2 boxes have purple surrounds. bright purple and a paler purple. they fit the pink rimmed boxes fine though I have found all the shadow boxes can be a bit difficult to pull apart again.

I do like this display concept though, being able to slot the boxes together into various shapes and sizes is clever and cute. I just wish the pets themselves had a little peg to keep them standing as several of them, especially the bipedal ones fall over an awful lot.
Also I wish the multipacks came with more boxes, they're cheaper because they don't have them but it means you end up cramming multiple babies and pets into each box.
That said, two babies and two pets fit pretty nicely into each compartment.

So okay, I might have gotten slightly carried away buying twozies...
but they're such a blast from the past hahah.
Moose seem to be good at taking stuff from the 80s and 90s and giving it a modern spin while still kindling those nostalgic feelings in adults. Zelfs captured Trolls while being their own thing. These remind me so much of l'il babies and similar lines of the time, even their Shopkins remind me in a way of Cherry Merry Muffin (especially the playsets Cherry had, the anthropomorphic groceries lol)


But of course Moose aren't the only company getting creative with the blind bag toy fad.

MGA have taken it to new extremes with their L.O.L balls.
These things aren't small like the usual blind bags, no, they're big ol' balls of fun.
AND they have a pretty hefty price tag to boot.
While almost every other blind toy is under £3, the L.O.L balls are £7:99 and that's quite a chunk of cash to drop on a complete surprise.

Still, I was curious.

The biggest draw for me personally was the creative packaging of these things.
they're marketed like commercialised pass the parcel where you remove a layer at a time to reveal a new little prize till you get to the middle.


The graphics are very MGA, sort of Bratz babiez with those big eyes, skimpy outfits and pouty lips.
Here the girl yells to unbox her. Or rather, unwrap right?

the little ball logo thing also says there's more than 45 to collect? ouch, that's quite the investment at £7:99 a pop.

Honestly when I first saw these I thought "mmm here we go again with MGA pricing themselves out the market" but interestingly, despite the hefty price tag these are selling like hotcakes.
As a parent though, i'm not sure how happy i'd be letting my kid dish out that sort of cash on something with a high chance of duplicates.
It's just a bit too much for the gamble.

Anyway, enough of that, let's look at this ball!



The back of the ball talks about the "layers of surprise"
1: a scrap of paper with a rebus puzzle. You know those things where a symbol or picture indicates a word? (Side note: I once wrote a whole letter to my teacher in rebus, I was such a nerd lol.)

2: stickers

3: a bottle, they are baby dolls after all.

4: some shoes

5: the outfit

6: accessories

7 the doll.

It also tells me to add water for a surprise.
Uh oh. I have children, I don't want water based surprises! I know what that means!


The ball has a printed little zipper and a helpful "pull here" arrow.


So here we go!


Layer one reveals a little slip of paper as promised with a rebus. Party and... dog? Party dog? Party pup?
Well the answer is also printed ON the paper. It's party "animal" which i'd have never got, sure a dog is an animal but it's a bit obtuse there.

Couldn't they have at least put the answer on the back of the slip?

Let's peel another layer


This layer reveals the stickers. Feed or bathe her to reveal that water based surprise.... eep.

Apparently some change colour, some spit (nice), some uh.. pee themselves and some cry?
I dunno about you but I kinda associate three of these things with BAD things. Kids aren't meant to spit, it's a gross habit you get in trouble for. Crying means bad things have happened and peeing yourself is a humiliating accident surely? which obviously would then lead to crying.

I never understood peeing dolls, I just couldn't even as a kid fathom the appeal of an incontinent dolly.

I really hope I don't get a peeing doll. We're thankfully past the potty training stage here, I hope to not have to deal with urine related accidents for quite some time thank you.

The graphics are adorable on these balls. The little girl says we're "getting closer"


On the other side another baby asks if i'm excited yet.
No baby, i'm filled with trepidation that this baby will either spit in my face or pee all over me.

NEXT LAYER!


Another baby tells me we're almost there! whoo.


And our first taste of something that's not just a slip of paper!
Inside this little alcove is a pink plastic baggie which according to the list, should be the bottle.


Well it definitely looks like a bottle.

I love how the bag says "let me out of here!", that made me smile.


The other side has the LOL logo. I admit "lil outrageous littles" is a bit of a contrived name to get that acronym. But eh.


Here's the bottle. It really doesn't look like a baby bottle. In fact, that brown thing around the middle looks like those things they put around coffee mugs. Yes, this looks like a coffee mug merged with a sippy cup!

Caffeinated babies... Isn't caffeine a diuretic? *gulp*


We're nearly there!

This girl claims she's making her entrance, but she'll have to wait.


Because on the other side of the ball is another alcove!


This baggie contained some shoes.

they're teeny tiny skates. This should give away who's in the ball, but we'll prolong the anticipation shall we?


Stripping the ball completely naked reveals another curious little alcove, this time with a round little lid on it.
oooo.


This is the back where the shoes were.


Under the lid is another little bag.


This contains the outfit. It's made of rubbery plastic like the shoes and reminds me of those clip on clothes the Bratz Kidz came with at one point. Only squishy.


I didn't get a good pic of the lid but underneath it has a slice of pizza and some random letters.


Finally we get to crack open the ball. It opens in two halves with a gentle tug.

Inside there's a whole load of stuff.

the top section looks to have little moulded pillows and stuff, there's what looks like a handle, two baggies, some instructions and FINALLY the collector sheet.

I think it's clever they saved that till this point, it kept the suspense a little longer for my first one.


Looking at it we can very quickly identify that the doll in my ball  must be Roller Sk8er.

But what is her water based surprise?


Here's everything that was inside the ball.

the other half of the ball has little bubbles inside it. The instruction booklet shows that this is a little playset. the top half is a bathtub and the other side is a little lounge area that that pizza slice lid slots into to make a feeding tray.

Cute.

It also claims the whole ball can be a "purse" with the addition of the handle. That I dispute, but it makes a decent if not bulky carry case for the doll.

Anyway, let's open these bags.



The bigger bag is double bagged, i'm not sure why though as the shoes and outfit have already given away which doll it is.

the smaller bag contains the accessory which in this case is a teeny tiny pacifier/dummy that fell down under my desk and disappeared. Oops.


TADAH, naked baby!

I'm actually surprised these don't have molded or painted panties but I suppose that would make their peeing extra weird.

She's a cute doll, very MGA, very Bratz-like. Her head is squishy and her body is hard plastic.

She has an open mouth, huge round eyes and molded pink hair in little buns.

Her body is chubby and cute but I was worried to see she has a little hole between her legs. nooo don't be a peeing doll! PLease!


Her head actually comes off quite easily and this reassured me, there's no hole in the neck so she's not a peeing doll.

The body itself is totally hollow in the body cavity suggesting they all use the peeing body even if they don't have the peeing head. (nice)

so she must be a spitter, colour changer or a crier.

I rammed her in some water aaaand...

she's a spitter. Nice. 


I got her dressed up in her shoes and outfit which was very easy. The pacifier/dummy doesn't really stay in her mouth that well though (which is precisely why it's not lost)

Dressed they also can no longer pose. The dolls themselves have jointed hips and shoulders and a neck on a sort of ball so their motion isn't bad for something so small (they're about 4 inches tall) but once dressed they can't really move.

This is a shame.

the paint is very nice though. It's bright and colourful especially on the doll herself. Her eyes and hair are very clearly defined and very nicely applied.


They remind me very much of the Bratz Babiez, but I only own one of the boys. Still, MGA have this very unique style to most of their doll lines that mean they all sort of work with one another and that's kinda fun.

these are like a modern interpretation of the Bratz Babiez, babiez for the new generation if you will heh. It's fun.


Because of her outfit she can't really SIT in her lounge area. I managed to get the cup to sit in the cup holder clip and the tray to balance on her lap but she's sort of laying down more than sitting.
Bummer.

Also the outfit doesn't actually close all the way at the back, it attaches sort of like a paper doll outfit would with these flaps at the back so she shows her butt off from the back.
I don't think I like that. I mean, I want to be able to play with a doll and not have her flashing me every time she turns around.
it's a 3d object, it seems weird it's only displayable from the front.
This was the same issue with the clip on Kidz clothes.
I don't really understand the logic of 2d clothing on a 3d body.


Far too much buttcheek for comfort.


This is another thing the ball can do, it's also a stand or stage. There's two little indents at the top for the doll's feet. Problem is, they aren't that deep so the doll is a bit precarious and will fall off rather easily.


And all put together there's a problem with those two big cavities where the shoes and drink were. They make it look a bit odd to me.

but you can shove the doll inside the ball and carry her around if you want to.


The back of the collector sheet shows all these various playset things. Purse, hangout, stand, tub. I think it's a really cute idea to turn the packaging into a mini playset but the balls do take up an awful lot of space. After one or two what do you do with all the extras? they're big and awkward to store, with supposedly 45 of them to collect that's gonna get space consuming fast.

This also illustrates that there's different coloured balls.

I opened 2 and husband opened 1, we got 2 light pink and 1 darker pink ball.
Apparently the rare ones come in gold balls but I can't figure out any rhyme or reason to the pink and blue ones. Initially I thought they were a clue on rarity but i've seen the same character come in blue or pink balls so... I haven't a clue.


I traded for the rocker one, she seems to be impossible to find in the UK.

You can see here the variety of the bottles. Some look more like bottles (the pink one) and others are the coffee cup style with different coloured lids. I'm not sure if every single character has a unique bottle but the four here all have different ones so hmm.

Of this set i've ended up with two spitters and two criers (well the princessy one is actually husband's).
The criers are hilarious, they have holes in their eyes and spit water out them like acid. It cracks me up.
I was actually hoping the superhero one would get the crying function because I love the idea of "acid from the eyeballs" as a superpower.

There's some colour changing gimmick on some as well. Either the clothing or the hair can change but only specific characters have this, it's not like the other three gimmicks where it's totally interchangeable.  I think that's a shame, including it as a possibility for all of them like the packaging implies would have been cool but I suppose more difficult.


Way too much booty on display from their bizarrely constructed clothes.


They are a nice size though. Small enough to be collectable, but big enough to feel like something you could actually properly play with.

I will gripe that this girl's tiara doesn't stay on her dang head though, and the bottles are ridiculously oversized.


The other thing i'll point out is the wastage. While the packaging is really cute and extremely fun to open, it's VERY wasteful. This is a very large pile of plastic for such a small toy and doesn't really seem particularly eco friendly.
Added to that, the novelty of the deboxing process i'm sure wears off after a couple of dolls. Once you've opened a few you can immediately identify the doll inside by the shoe layer, or in several cases by the bottle layer (there's multiple different bottle designs)
It means I really can't see much longevity to this brand. the price point for a blind toy is too high and while the product is well made £7:99 when you can't even pick which one you want is a big gamble. With so many to collect it's also an enormous investment to get them all and will involve a lot of duplicates as you try to find the rarer ones.
The waste of the packaging is worrying, even if it is really fun to tear open all that plastic makes me feel guilty throwing it all into the trash. The core ball is reusable sure, but there's also a whole pile of plastic wrapping and bags which are just trash.
and the balls are big and space consuming. After opening a few those extra balls are likely to get trashed too, adding to the wastage.

They are a fun idea, but there are a few things that I think really should have been better thought out. Less plastic maybe? making the layers out of something more biodegradable? (paper?) or that could be kept by scrapbookers? More variation in the balls perhaps so there's more reason to keep more than a couple?
And a lower price point. If they weren't blind bagged I can see these being about £5 and i'd be happy to pay that, but paying a couple of quid extra just for the gimmick kinda sucks. It puts me off buying many because I might get doubles or one I don't much like, and £7:99 is just too much to gamble with. the regular blind bag toys succeed because they're so cheap, doubles don't much matter when it's £2, but LOL are 4x the price!
right now they're selling really well though, people can't get enough of blind bags and the multiple layers I suppose really are appealing to those doing deboxing videos as it prolongs the suspense but long term and for the target market? I think the novelty will wear off fast.

Fun to get one or two, but you're probably better off buying the ones you want opened already on ebay. Especially the more common ones.
Get a couple for the fun of deboxing though, it'll keep the kids quiet and entertained for about 10 minutes and the actual dolls are cute, but their clothing needs improvement.

They're fun little things, but I definitely think I prefer clothing that covered my dolls front AND back and would allow them to actually sit down.
Still, I think kids will get a lot of enjoyment out of them. Though parents will probably tear their hair out at the massive amount of plastic in their trash and the cost. I suppose you'd have to put any doubles on ebay, but that's a lot of effort to have to go to.
Still, an interesting line and some super novel packaging. Good to see MGA still pushing the innovation buttons hard. I've always liked that about MGA, some of their designs might be absolutely batshit crazy but at least you know there was creativity involved in every stage.

Now I gotta find me some of Spinmaster's new blind eggs, those look fun too. Interesting packaging looks to be the current trend, and it certainly adds a new element.