13 Jun 2017

Star Darlings, Hatchimals Colleggtables and thrift store fun!

Yeah I didn't have enough for one full review so this is an info dump/photo spam post.
Deal with it lol.

We're at that point in the year where very little new hits, stores for some reason can't be bothered marking old stuff down and the store shelves are basically bare and barren and boring as all heck.

Fewer and fewer stores seem to be stocking dolls, not even barbies which is concerning.

But blind bag toys seem to be going well.

Last time I looked at LOL and Twozies, well recently Spin Master's attempt to break into this same market hit the UK. Hatchimals Colleggtables.

Hatchimals were last year's "must have" toy, some kind of furby-like virtual pet that you hatched, taught and then forgot about, much.. like a furby really.

The colleggtables aren't interactive, but they do have the hatching gimmick which is fun.

They come in several varieties. Single packs with one egg, double packs, 3 packs and 5 packs.
the "4 pack with bonus" (four eggs and one hatched already critter) are £9:99 and Argos  had two in stock.

Supposedly there's 70+ to collect but as with all these packs I bet most of them are just recolours.

The kids were keen to get into those eggs, so as soon as we got  home they were handed one each to hatch.

Their impatience made it hard to get the photos I needed for the blog, they were hovering waiting eagerly so I suppose Spin Master should be commended for creating a toy that excited three young children who previously have shown zero interest in my blind bags.

The back of the box has some examples of the sorts of critters inside the eggs as well as instructions for how to open the eggs. For some reason you are supposed to rub or hold the heart shape on each egg, I don't really understand what this does.

The side of the box has an egg shaped barcode (also the argos code for anyone interested as these aren't in their catalogue yet)

It's a relatively easy pack to open and out slide the four eggs and little uh.. I think it's a hippo. I assume each of these sets has a different one in the hatched segment but I don't know as I hven't seen them anywhere except Argos.

The eggs are a bit tricky to pop out the plastic but they're a lot harder and sturdier than I expected. I thought they're break popping them out but nope, they are pretty tough.

There's a whole load of critters and as I expected, a lot are just recolours of the same basic thing. That said, there's a few who look similar but are actually slightly differently posed. Still, i'd argue there's more like about 30 different ones and then a lot of recolours to collect.
Pretty typical for a blind bag collection.

Like the Moose toys Zelfs, and their Shopkins, the Hatchimals have a little map with regions for each collection. They're all pretty generically cutely named. "Friendship Farm" makes me gag a little.

The actual eggs are about half the size of a regular hen egg, they fit nicely into the palm of the hand. They have ventilation holes at the top and bottom but you can't see anything through them. There's also a sort of wave shape around the bottom half where the two sections connect suggesting they should split there.

The big purple heart the instructions say to rub/warm. Doing this turns it pink. Once it's pink you're meant to stick your finger into the heart and "hatch the egg"
Now, this works really well, the egg cracks into little fragments and you can pull the little critter out but I couldn't help but wonder if you HAD to warm the heart.

Well, I shoved the heart when it wasn't warmed and found it to be pretty tough so I think there must be some sort of thermoplastic there that softens with warmth. I also tried to crack the egg on other bits but the shell is quite thick and while a lot of force could break it, it's a lot more difficult than using the warmed heart part.

Now, none of the eggs actually broke around that molded break line. In fact, they almost all just splintered around the heart section . The plastic the eggs are made of is strange feeling, it doesn't feel like eggshell and it sort of peels and disintergrates. Opening these created a bit of a mess of teeny fragments of shell.

Once open the instructions tell you you should throw out the shells but who the heck is gonna do that!?? The shells look cool. I understand why, I mean they're fragile and break into small easy to inhale chunks which probably isn't so good for little kids but from a display perspective? the shells are part of the appeal surely?
We ignored the instructions and kept the shells because HAH.

Inside we got a monkey, a.. hedgehog?, a cat and a whale. Uh... quite an assortment.
Each of them has little silver wings.

They're a similar size to Shopkins or Twozies, made of similar slightly rubbery plastic as Shopkins. Their paint on all of them was clear and bright, so points for quality control there Spin Master.

Overall they're pretty cute but i'm not sure i'll buy any more. There isn't quite enough variation in them for me but the kids really enjoyed opening the eggs. The novelty wore off fairly quick once they'd cracked them open, identified which animal they had and then put the eggs back together so hmmm.

Still, kudos to Spin Master for a really creative and interesting opening. You can't tell what you'll get till you hatch the egg and that's really exciting for kids.

I think it's quite a good review when 3 young boys are excited by your product. Especially eldest who's totally hipster preteen and hard to please.
His only gripe was they didn't "do" anything after you hatched them. So yeah, no pleasing that one.

I also bought some secondhand dollies. Snow White and Amber came from the charity shop. Snow's body was really badly chewed so I put her on a Bratzilla body which I think suits her young face better anyway.

Amber was in the 25p bargain bin and her impy smirky little face made me laugh so I had to have her.
She's wearing Pinkie Cooper's dress because her original one is horrible and barely stays on her.

I also had this old 88 Hasbro Sindy who i'd painted at some point as an experiment but never done much with. We had some dye left over from husband's dying of a resin doll so I thought she'd make a good victim... I mean, experiment.

As it was, I was quite surprised by how well the dye held to her hard plastic parts. We used Idye Poly which seems to dye soft and hard plastic equally well.
Her face unfortunately came out streaky but a little blushing helped that.
She ended up a little mottled in places, no doubt some paint residue I hadn't quite gotten off and the worst part, her hip disks melted and distorted in the heat of the dye bath so they don't actually screw into her legs any more arghhh.
Lesson learned there. Next time, don't disassemble the doll, just shove the whole doll into the bath and take it from there. It should stop the disks distorting as badly.

And finally I found a Metti doll. I kinda wanted one for ages after seeing them looking at vintage dolls. They were made in the 70s as "purse dolls" or something. They're totally flat and fold up and it's bizarre.
This one came nude and with a bit of damage to her face but she fits into Skipper clothing really well. The fact she's totally flat cracks me up, she's like a plastic paper doll.
Unlike the more commonly known flat doll Flatsy, Metti has plastic hair which I actually prefer. It seems more in keeping with her being a "paper doll"

Finally I have been eying up Star Darlings since they hit, but their £20+ price tag was a bit steep imo, especially for a new line.
By the time they came down in price the ones I liked best were becoming harder and harder to find, so I took to searching Ebay in the hope some secondhand ones would crop up cheap.
Well finally some did.
Specifically a bundle of 7 of them for £18. 7 for less than it cost for one brand new!? heck yeah.
Especially when the cheapest i'd seen them was £10 + P&P (so about £13 all in for just ONE doll)

This is the auction photo.

Now, I really mostly wanted Scarlet (in the pink and black striped stockings) or Sage (purple) and maybe Cassie (blonde in the pink dress) but I figured I could sell or regift any I didn't bond with.

For the price, it was well worth the plunge I felt.
Even if I only ended up keeping 2 of them.

Anyway, they came very promptly and I got them out to play with and get a feel for the line. A line which sadly seems to have failed (they had 12 characters but only like half got dolls. Dang.)

It was a cool idea too, a franchise that coupled dolls, books and a web series to tell a story. Sadly I never saw them advertised here in the UK and their original releases via the Disney Store were hugely overpriced (they were like £30! wth?)
And it's a shame because apparently the books aren't that bad and the whole zodiac related characters was quite fun, I mean, who wouldn't want a doll that shared their star sign? And they were so colourful too.

They released 4 different sets that I know of. The "Star land?" line who are the girls in their signature outfits with tinselly hair and sparkles and stuff. There were three different versions. Disney store came with a light up stand and a necklace thing. A set packaged with a book was released in the US too and then the standard store release which is I believe what these three are.

They also released these dolls with instruments (I dunno they're in a band, because there's ALWAYS a band in these sorts of franchises)

Then they released two characters with "pets" and slightly different outfits.

And finally the "wishworld" dolls who were the same characters but in their "human" disguises.

Who for some reason still half look like they're wearing costumes not real human outfits... hmm.

Both versions are articulated at the knees, elbows and wrists and both versions have these cool inset eyes. The only real difference aside from outfits I can see is that the star dolls have opalescent shimmery skin while the wishworld ones are more normal human skin tones and matte, and the star ones have tinsel in their crazy colourful hair.

You can't really see the tinsel but trust me, their hair is absolutely dripping with the stuff.
Meanwhile the Wishworld dolls just have a simple streak of their signature colour.

Each doll's hand comes off to make dressing them easier (I love this feature and how common it's become, it's a great idea)

And they each come with their outfit, a pair of shoes and in many cases a pair of tights.

The wishworld dolls have slightly simpler outfits but they're still pretty dang well made, even if they are a bit... not really something a teen girl would wear in a few cases ahem.

In terms of size the Star Darlings are a little taller than EAH and a lot wider in shape. they're closer to Descendants but still shorter.
They have quite long feet.

Sage and Mal swapped clothing for a bit. While Descendent's shoes will fit the star darling they are too big. As is Mal's top. Sage's dress almost fits Mal.

it just doesn't quiiite do up at the back.

I didn't much like this dress on Sage though, it was too formal, too frumpy, not at all what i'd expect a teen girl to wear and not much of a disguise imo.

So I gave Sage a makeover.

I don't know anything about her character, but I don't really care. No floofy dresses for her hah.

Sage got three different dolls, this is two of them. Her wishworld (human) version and her OTT starling version.
Her star version has sparkly kinda.. pink shimmery skin and bright purple hair with darker purple streaks. her eyes are purple and she wears a layered gown with lots of sparkly semi opaque fabric and ruffles and stuff.
The necklace she's wearing is from the Wishworld version, same mold as the one she would have come with, just a paler colour.

Her Wishworld doll has brown hair with a purple streak which I tied back because it's HUGE and puffy and a bit frizzy.
Her eyes are actually brown and her skin tone a really pretty rich tan (similar to tanned barbie or EAH's Briar and Rosabella)

I found that these dolls fit into Moxie Girlz stuff quite well, Barbie stuff is a little too big and MC2 stuff while a bit overlarge can be cinched in just enough to be workable.
I also learned that Sindy shoes fit. While Sindy has a lesser heel than the Star Darlings, they can share shoes so that's nice to know. Also means Liv shoes will just about fit (heels probably more than flats because of the heeled foot of the Star Darlings) and so will Twilight Teenz and Bratzillaz.

Scarlet's wishworld outfit is more fitting and "teenaged" though from what I can tell of her character she's supposed to be a bit of a rebel so i'm not sure the skirt is... really that character appropriate but eh.
She keeps her belt, only it's less shimmery and a slightly different shade of silver.

Scarlet, despite her name, has the colour fushia pink as her primary colour. Her star doll has a big sort of tutu skirt and striped stockings which is very dark fairy to me.
Her top is actually a hoodie but the hood won't fit over her big thick hair so... yeah.

Her hair has tinsel but it's cut short at the front so it sticks up with static madness and it's quite infuriating. It's purple with fushia streaks.

Her eyes are fushia pink/purple

Her wishworld doll has the exact same boots (kinda lazy don't you think?) and a two piece outfit made up of a denim effect silvery skirt and a stretchy top with stars on.
Her hair is dark plum coloured with a fushia streak.

Her eyes are green.

They both use the unique "scarlet" head sculpt with features a little sort of smirky smile. I love this smile, it's so characterful.

Then we have Cassie. She did get a star doll but she was only released with a pet... bunny... thing and doesn't actually look that different to the wishworld version here.

She would have had star shaped sunglasses but they've been lost.

I added a belt and a headband just to finish off her look.

She wears a pink dress with asymetric hem and puffy sleeves and these shiny pink ankle boots.
her hair is in short little bunches, blonde with a bright pink streak.

Her eyes are green.

She's actually adorable. I think it's the pigtails.

Then finally there's Piper and Libby.
Piper never got a starling doll which is a shame because her design featured sea green hair and that's so dang pretty.
here she's wearing Sage's wishworld outfit just to see if any of the girls could pull it off. (answer? No, no they cannot. It's frumpy and sack like damnit!)

Anyway, Piper has blue eyes, freckles and blonde hair in a high ponytail with a green streak.
I kinda wish she'd gotten a fantasy doll because green hair is pretty! But none of the green themed characters got made, booo.

Next to her is Libby, who's pink pink omg so pink.
She's just... way too pink.

Her dress is a sort of scratchy fabric at the top and then netting and stars and frills. She has thick sparkly tights, little pink heels and bright pink hair with pink tinsel in and even pink eyes! eeek, reign it in guys, too much pink!

I'm not a big fan of pink, especially not this vivid "girl toy" barbie sort of pink, it just sorta.. makes me cringe. it's too bright, it's too overused and it's just a bit ugly to me.
I'd much rather see something more like Cassie who has just a splash of pink or Scarlet who has fushia mixed with black for a more edgy look.
This girl is just... absolutely by the numbers "girl toy". She's the main character apparently (which is odd that she only got a star doll and no wishworld one too. Hmm) and gosh you can see they really wanted her to have appeal huh?

She has freckles which are quite cute and a sort of friendly open mouth smile that's made a little creepy by those bright pink eyes and her kinda shimmery skin.
I dunno, she's doing nothing for me and believe me I tried to dress her in something less ballerina princess to reduce the pink overload but nothing really helped.

All three star dolls have quite gelled hair, it's got something in it to keep the ringlets in place and i'm certain it'll become utter frizz if you try to brush it so yeah, not gonna try it.
They also have REALLY complicated hairstyles that pull out of place super easily. They look really cool but as soon as you play with them the hair starts to come loose and then getting it all neat again is going to be a pain because the styles aren't something easily replicated. There's all these braids and loops and pieces everything and arghhh. 

The wishworld dolls have slightly more tamed hair but it's still I am pretty sure nylon so can be a bit poofy. Especially with the curly haired characters. And waaay simpler hairstyles. So I think they're a bit more play ready honestly.

The wishworld ones feel like the dolls you're meant to play with, dress, comb the hair of etc while the others are more a figurine to never touch and just to look pretty on a shelf.

I had to see if the Star Darling outfits could fit any other dolls too of course. They kiiiinda fit the Makies but don't do up fully at the back (same for Barbie and other larger dolls) so mmm.
I'd say the Star Darlings are definitely more Bratzilla/Moxie Girl sort of size, there's no way they'll fit Bratz/MH/EAH stuff but they're also too small for Barbie/Sindy clothing putting them into that awkward middle size category.
I don't think that helped sales either, because what's the point of a fashion doll with no fashions?

So at the end of all that I decided to keep 5 of the 7. Sage, Sage, Scarlet and Scarlet and Cassie (who's birthday is only a day different to mine! WHOO). I like Piper, she's got a bit of a peter pan/tinkerbelle sort of vibe to me but i'd have rather she got a star land version with the green hair and sparkles. that would have been so dang pretty like omg.

It's a shame the others never got made, they had some really interesting designs.

Of the dolls they only made two others, Vega (whos' blue) and Leona (who's gold, literally gold. It's a bit weird).

Look at them all" Astra and Gemma look cute. Piper's green hair is gorgeous and Clover has a trilby on! ahahaha, a trilby! Come on, it's fun.

Each of them share a first letter of their name with whatever zodiac sign they are too, which is a cute touch.

  • Astra - Aries
  • Tessa - Taurus
  • Gemma - Gemini
  • Cassie - Cancer
  • Leona - Leo
  • Vega - Virgo
  • Libby - Libra
  • Scarlet - Scorpio
  • Sage - Sagittarius
  • Clover - Capricorn
  • Adora - Aquarius
  • Piper - Pisces 
Air - Gemma, Libby, Adora

Fire - Astra, Leona, Sage

Earth- Tessa, Vega, Clover

Water - Cassie, Scarlet, Piper

Which is odd because I kinda had assumed their colour block indicated their element somehow (like blue/greens for water and oranges/yellows for fire) but that doesn't seem to be the case.
So i'm not totally sure HOW the colour schemes were decided. They seem pretty arbitrary. Anyone got any insight there?
Are they linked to certain zodiac colours?
Only list I could find was this:

  • Aries – Red (well Astra IS a redhead)
  • Taurus- Pastel shades of pink, pale blue and green… (Tessa's pale green?)
  • Gemini- Yellow (Gemma's orange and yellow?)
  • Cancer- Silvery Blue/Smokey Grey (uh.. nope. Cassie's pink)
  • Leo – Orange/Yellow (color of sun) (yep Leona is indeed yellow/gold)
  • Virgo – Green and Dark Brown (nope, Vega's blue)
  • Libra – Pink, Pale Green and various shades of blue (Libby is pink, oh so pink)
  • Scorpio – Deep Red and Maroon (Fushia's almost like Maroon I suppose? maybe? if you squint)
  • Sagittarius – Rich Purples and Dark Blues (yep she's purple)
  • Capricorn – Subdued dark green, gray, black and brown (uh nope, she's also purple)
  • Aquarius – Electric Blue and Turquoise (she's kinda... blue/green so yeah.. sure, turquoise)
  • Pisces- Soft Sea Green (yes, that's a sea green)
So... some of them match but then Tessa, Vega, Cassie and Clover just.. don't.
So.. uh.. i'm going with pulled out of a hat. Yep.
 They pulled colour schemes out a hat.

I kinda wish there were more colours represented too. SO many pinks and purples it's kinda a bit... lame. Especially with three of your 6 opening characters being shades of pink and another one being purple. Feels a bit... lazy. Like you had a whole rainbow spectrum, where was the green? Or the red?
They had characters who were kinda those colours, but they didn't release them as dolls and I don't quite get why. Why pick four who were so similar? Just seems a bit.. odd to me not to go with the most different bunch you could to encourage this "gotta have them all" sort of mentality.
Plus they stand out better if they're all quite different.

Anyway, rambling aside, the star darlings are an interesting line and it's sad to see them gone so soon. But I will say their articulation is pretty crap (they can't bend their arms or knees like they seem they SHOULD, they only move slightly rather than at 90 degrees which is really annoying) but gosh their eyes are pretty and I do love colourful dollies.


  1. The highlight for me was Green Sindy! She's very striking in that color.

  2. That Metty doll really puzzle me, I didn't even know flat doll existed ! Do you know if they were released only un uk or elsewhere? I have never seen one !! I would have love more pic for that one, especially back and without clothes^^
    Your Star Darlings are very cute and what a bargain !!

  3. I think she's Italian actually. There were also Flatsy dolls made in the same sort of era, they have rooted hair but are also flat. it's so weird.

  4. I think with Sage's dress, they were trying for a boho theme that just didn't get carried out well. That's what I see when I look at it, anyway.

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