6 Oct 2017

Monster High retrospective - Part 3

This is getting a bit emotional for me, damnit.

I just, I keep remembering how happy the whole toy hunt was. Sure it was frustrating at times, but the excitement when new stuff was revealed, the anticipation and then the joy when you finally found the doll you'd been searching for.
These were happy times, and I miss them.
I really do miss them.

I miss enjoying the hunt, before it became just a chore.
I miss being excited to get my hands on new stuff and feeling like it would be worth the money.
I miss how special it was. Not just Monster High but toys/dolls in general.

I used to walk into toys r us and be able to spend hours browsing, come out with a huge pile of stuff and I wouldn't feel guilty, i'd feel HAPPY.

Now? I'm lucky to even come away with a single item and if I do, I usually feel horribly guilty about it because I feel like i've spent too much on crap.

The products aren't worth the money any more, nothing leaps out and screams "Buy me" and i'm left feeling rather underwhelmed and honestly pretty bummed out by it all.

I miss getting excited about dolls.
I really do.

I miss Argos' new catalogue day being this event you looked forward to, more than christmas even (to be fair I absolutely hate christmas but that's a whoooole other story), it was the day they got all the new toys. Pages upon pages of new toys to browse and buy. Now? now they barely have a page of dolls and seldom have anything actually in stock on new catalogue day. There's no point going in. the magic is gone. One of the parts of the year I most looked forward to is gone.
and has been for a few years now.

It's sad. it's depressing. And i'm not sure if i've just outgrown dolls, or if it's just that the market is SO freaking boring now.
I don't know, but I still remember getting so many of these dolls like it was yesterday.

Was it really 6 years ago? Where did the time go?

I also got this far and remembered I totally took actual photos of my collection during my purge. *headdesk* they're all saved on my harddrive!

So yeah, I may actually be able to include proper photos in this one.

So here we go!

Year 3.  It's 2012!

This year we saw the last of the fashion packs for generation 1 (prereboot), apparently stores didn't like them, they preferred to have a budget doll in a fashion pack outfit because they could charge more.
*sigh* lame.


So new catalogue day for Argos had lots of goodies, including the new Wolf sibling HOWLEEN, the first of the "little sister" bodied characters.
Prior to this all the new ghouls had come on the standard Monster High body regardless of their stature in the animations (animated draculaura is super short, animated Abbey is really tall) so a new body was pretty exciting.

The set came as a two pack, Howleen with her sister Clawdeen.

Interesting tidbit, apparently Howleen was going to be Clawdeen's name originally.
Dunno why they changed it.

This set wasn't actually available on new catalogue day (Jan 22ndish) but was released a few weeks later in early February when stock finally hit.  I went into town especially to get this set heh.

This set did NOT come with stands, one of the earliest examples of Mattel starting to cheap the hell out.
We also got the "EU" version of this set which meant no diaries. BOO hissssss.

Howleen was however awesome, with bright orange hair streaked with yellow and tied up into this sort of fro hawk thing. She has one folded ear and paler skin than her sister, she's closer in shade to Cleo in fact but has a whole new body sculpt. Shorter, stockier, smaller busted and with smaller feet too.

Her outfit was so detailed, lots of individual pieces of mix and matchiness.

She was a wonderful little doll.

For some reason (*cough cough laziness cough*) Mattel never again would produce Howleen with orange hair. I found this a real shame because though her diary (which I had to read online, grrr) mentions she likes to change her hair colour and style a lot (like her sister), I thought the orange made her quite unique. MH has SO MANY pink haired characters, orange was something new and unique.

This is also the week I joined MH dolls.com, as one of the earliest to get this set I wanted to share share omg share that excitement. The Uk got this set before the US and naturally, the US fans were maaaaaad (they were always mad when they didn't get something first, yet had the audacity to moan when we overseas complained about the 3 month waits we had for some lines. Jerks)
So I admit it, when we DID get something first, I took somewhat perverse enjoyment out of rubbing it in those people's faces HAH.
Hey, the US gets like 95% of everything first, it's nice to be special for once.

 The Clawdeen in this set was also pretty dang nice. Purple curly hair with neon green and black streaks, gold lips and unusual green and purple makeup.

Her dress was quite simple and she only had one sock for... some reason (weird).
I gave her some of the accessories from the Day at the Maul fashion set for this photo but they were such thick unwieldy pieces they were really quite difficult to use (the belt especially)

I didn't actually end up keeping this Clawdeen, something I kinda regretted eventually. SO I bought a new one many years later. (I can't resist purple hair okay?)

This is her now. Hair relaxed a little to bring out the black. Lips painted black, new outfit.
I really love both versions to be honest but I always preferred darker lips to gold.

Roller Maze I believe was also released about now, but it's a line I never owned any dolls of. Till I found Clawdeen randomly in a charity shop in 2016

She was like £2 and complete, she got repainted because her accessories were a bit blank without the details painted and then I got a bit carried away lol.
But yeah, it's a wave I didn't much care about when it was released. Roller Derby isn't something we really do over here, least, i've never seen it, so I think there's less of a connection there. But also it was just yet another budget line and by this point I was trying to only buy dolls I LOVED or didn't own an example of yet.

This was another Ghoulia excessive line. She got a single release AND was released in a 2 pack with Abbey, who later got a single release as well, rendering the two pack redundant.


the new signature characters for this season were Operetta and Nefera.

Operetta I bought online, the other I found on a trip into town but upon coming home the online one had already dispatched so I couldn't cancel the order.
I figured i'd just wait for her to arrive and sell her on but she arrived in such a state.
The courier first of all hurled the box over our 7 foot gate, but the doll herself seemed to have been rammed into the box incorrectly so her box was mangled and the doll herself was rammed up against the plastic, her very very complicated hair style totally crushed and ruined.

I had to free her from the destroyed box and check her over for any other damage, so I decided to attempt to fix her hair to look more like her webisode version.

Her hair, being so full of gel to get it into this style is really not very pleasant to touch. It's sticky, it's coarse, it's kinda... thin.

Interestingly, these two Operetta's despite being released simultaniously represent two variants. I think one is china and the other is indonesia. Their eye paint is slightly different, their lips are painted differently as well. The crushed up one had brighter eye makeup (much more noticable in real life than on camera) and larger lips and darker more angled eyebrows.
Curious huh?

I ended up selling mangled one on many years later in a bundle. I just could never get her hair how I liked it, it was always so coarse and unpleasant to touch.

Operetta was an interesting character though in that she was mentioned very early on in Holt's diary but had never been shown in any visual media. Her appearance I remember surprised people who expected her to be a lot more well, chubby and not so rockabilly.

As the daughter of the Phantom of the Opera,  she was designed to wear a half mask and had these incredible decorative scars that ran down her face, down her neck and shoulder and became tattoos on her arm.
I notice the reboot version has lost the scars and tatts, I can't say i'm surprised though, heaven forbid we market tattoos to children omg! *eyeroll*

I also bought a Nefera at this point but didn't open her, because husband convinced me she wasn't "special enough."
I don't know why I listened to him. MY dolls, not his.
I regretted it so later in the year I purchased a replacement.

She was the first doll to be released on the new "big sister" body. As Cleo's older sister she had similar bronzed skin, amazing eye makup and this gorgeous teal hair.
Her knees were a bit iffy and prone to being a bit loose, this seems to have been a problem with all the Nefera dolls, a fault with the brand new body mold probably.

We'd get 2 more Nefera dolls many years later, both of which would be substantially paler. *sigh*


The release of the Werecat twins. Toralei's minions on the webisode who never spoke.

This was a toys r us exclusive, and goodness was it a trainwreck of a release. EVERY single set it looked like the dolls had been put into the boxes wet, so their paint was smeared across the plastic and almost every set had at least one doll with paint errors as a result.

I was sent on a quest by a friend to find an acceptable Purrsephony... or is it Meowlody? the white haired one anyway. I wanted the one with the black hair because I couldn't quite see the point of two such identical dolls. I was never much into the whole semi identical twin trope.

Anyway, toys r us had a deal on at the time so I grabbed 2 acceptable sets, one with a good Meowlody but errored Purrsephony and one with the opposite. Yes, I had to open TWO SETS to get an acceptable version of each.

The white haired one I sent to my friend and I sold loose the other two after fixing the worst of their issues.

I did not like the way the original dolls were painted. Their white markings were like a weird T shape instead of the teardrop of their artwork and it bothered me... a lot. It looked so artificial.

And my doll had a rubbed nose and slightly smeary mask anyway. So I decided i'd fix it and paint the white properly, in a teardrop shape.

Nose was pretty easy to fix but getting the white marking was a lot harder. Still, I was fairly pleased with the end result, it looked to my eye a lot more natural and less harsh extending the white to her eyeline.

The twins use a different face sculpt to Toralei, and didn't have the bendy tail. Their tails were hard plastic and molded into a shape so when they were together their tails became a heart shape. So cute.

These two sculpts have been reused for every werecat since.

I warmed to Purrsephony though (yes I looked up which was which lol) and felt a bit bad about separating her from her sister so I eventually ended up buying a THIRD 2 pack on special offer from tru, after they got a better batch in with less smeared up faces.

I painted her face too.

The twins had a second release not long after this with Toralei, these identical three dolls, just redressed into fearleading outfits probably left over from that previous fearleader 3 pack lol.
It always struck me as a pointless 3 pack, a way to use up leftover bits and pieces. But for some people it was the best way to get a hold of Toralei who's distribution was apparently a bit borked.

The last few bits of Skull Shores also hit around now, including the special exclusive Skull Shores Frankie in black and white.
She was a tesco exclusive and wow they overstocked her, for months and months there were piles of these dolls everywhere in tescos.

This Frankie was no doubt a call back to the first SDCC exclusive, who was signature Frankie in greyscale. She was a curious little thing but extremely beautiful. I especially love that even in black and white her eyes are different shades.

The USA got a 5 pack for Skull Shores at this point as well, featuring 3 exclusive dolls. A new record for a multipack! This Frankie, but in colour. A Cleo and a Clawdeen.
Draculaura and Ghoulia were also included (hey, gotta get rid of all those spare Ghoulias)

Unfortunately the Cleo at least was a victim of the dreaded "sticky hair" syndrome, a problem that began to be talked about at about this point as well. Mattel had started to put... something... into the doll hair. Glue? detangler? who the heck knows, but in some cases it was leeching out of the heads and wicking into the hair, making the hair look wet and feel tacky to touch.
Nobody's really ever been able to agree as to the cause. While yes, the dolls have glue inside the head to double anchor the hair (not necessary but whatever Mattel) it's rock hard and somewhat cement-like. Other dolls had gel that held styles in place, especially short styles but this rinsed out with hot water and if you scrubbed enough, didn't leave much residue. This was effecting dolls with long hair, dolls with straight hair or curly hair, no rhyme or reason, no real indication of WHY.
I sold this Clawdeen because I couldn't deal with her hair being so yick.


 May brought a glut of new dolls. By mid season Mattel were really throwing things out at quite a pace. Throughout May, June and July there was a lot of new stuff including a large wad of new characters.

Dot Dead Gorgeous was the deluxe dance themed line for the season. It was a nice line featuring several of the newer characters.

Operetta, Abbey and Spectra all got dolls.

Spectra's doll was quite different to her original release (now wearing a fashion pack outfit). She had bangs for a start, pink around her eyes and a lovely layered outfit with ball and chains.

for some reason the whole line was polka dot themed (hence the name)
I have no idea WHY.

Spectra had a key and lock earring pair lol. Amused me.

We actually GOT this three pack later in the year (September). It was £25 at Asda (bargain)

Draculaura was disappointingly plain, but Abbey and Ghoulia were quite cool. Clearly more budget than the single pack releases, but still detailed enough to be dance dolls. None of these three got a single box release so the 3 pack was totally new and exclusive and extra special.

Lagoona and Operetta also got single releases but I never owned either.

DDG Abbey was way sparklier than her other releases and had quite a different face.
her dress was also awesome.

Sadly I no longer own ANY of the DDG dolls. Over the years they've all been sold on for various reasons. A shame though, this was one of the few super fancy Abbeys we ever got.

New characters too

FINALLY Jackson got a signature release and a new girl to join him, Rochelle Goyle.

I travelled all the way out to toys r us in Hayes for these. They only had Rochelle sadly, and I was kinda bummed out because it's an hour's journey which is a long way for one doll.
But there's a Tesco supermarket opposite and lo and behold, they'd JUST put out a case as well. So I got Jackson too.
I also got to paw through several Rochelles. See, her speckled skin means that every single one is slightly different and in her original dolls that speckling was substantially less uniform than later releases, resulting in some having quite a lot of very large spots on their faces that people found a bit unattractive. Finding one with an aesthetically pleasing assortment of speckles was something some collectors spent a while with lol.

The one I got from tru was the only one they had and she had very few face speckles, she has a cute little dark one on her chin that's like a mole which I like.

I may not be a huge fan of pink, but I loved Rochelle right from the start. She has such a sweet endearing face and her worried brows just make me want to hug her.

She came with a new feature too. WINGS! Original Rochelle's wings were squishy and rubbery, later dolls would get hard plastic wings. The squishy wings were much nicer.

Jackson came with really really gelled to heck hair and wierdly, he lost his blonde streaks, now he has yellow streaks. Odd.

You might notice the articulated wrists. This was a change made to boy bodies in 2011, with sweet 1600 Clawd I think being the first to have them. It allowed for far more expressive posing in the boys and made them a lot easier to dress. I don't know why they didn't have wrist joints in the first dang place! they had articulated ankles so they could wear tight pants after all!

Jackson has a recolour of Holt's pet, or rather, it's the same pet that they share.

And of course they still share a face sculpt. Now they share a shoe shape too heh.

And now Jackson has glasses, something his gloom beach doll lacked. But I guess you don't wear glasses on the beach? I dunno.
I mean I do... But eh.

And yes, he still has his back yin/yang tattoo heh. awesome.

Such a cute boy.

Now wierdly, his diary actually mentions a dad. And because at this point he and Holt had been finally introduced in the webisodes, an awful lot of the 2010/11 continuity was hastily rewritten to fill in the gaping plot holes the webisode writers had dug.

For some reason nobody could keep anything straight, which resulted in a LOT of problems, especially for this character.

See, they released a cutesy little video game where you could learn stuff about the characters, including the fun fact that Heath, Jackson and Holt are cousins. This they kept for the webisodes, but Heath, a backgrounder from fairly early on in the animation, also went on to explain they were related on "their mother's sides"
Suggesting that Jackson/Holt's mother is a fire elemental.

This is outright contradicted by Jackson's diary, which states that his mother is the one who goes all "hulk" (IE Jeckyll/Hyde) and implies she is the one from whom he inherited the condition (so his maternal grandfather is the original Dr Jekyll) but this doesn't explain 1: why his father took their mother's surname or 2: where Heath fits into all this. It also doesn't explain why Holt doesn't mention his father at all in his diary, obsesses over everyone else's fathers and seems to have like zero relationship with his own dad. What's up there? Does his dad work nights or something?

Jackson's diary also outright contradicts Holt's which specifically states that his "trigger" for becoming Holt is sunset. He tries to stay up to see dawn but "passes out", he attends night school, he's never seen the sun. Now the trigger is "loud music." because presumably that made for easier drama writing in the webisodes. So the diary writers hastily scrambled to explain it as "oh the trigger for the change will alter several times before setting for good!"

I'm not sure why Mattel had such trouble keeping Jackson's story straight. The webisodes also decided to completely ignore his relationship with Draculaura as established through her diary (He's her next door neighbour, they are friends), his bff status with Deuce (they list one another as bffs, Deuce even mentions Jackson in his diary) and Jackson's sports prowess (Deuce describes him as being an amazing Casketball player).
Now ALL the characters in the animation suffered what's called "Flanderisation", where their personalities are stripped back to the shallowest of stereotypes, but this was more to do with the pacing of the webisodes. They were only a few minutes long, describing anything with much depth was going to be hard. But still, I do wish they hadn't turned Jackson from this slightly smart assed, sporty but also kinda geeky guy into "cliche nerd who kisses calculators" (I wish I was kidding)
They also threw in a rather random relationship arc with Frankie which would have been fine, had they actually bothered to address the aborted diary arc he had going on with Draculaura which was hastily shoved aside when they decided to pair her with Clawd instead.

I could ramble for ages about the way Mattel screwed up their own continuity, Jackson is just the absolute best example of this because of HOW MUCH they kept forgetting. All the characters suffered a bit of "oops, we forgot that thing." contradictions, but he really did get it the worst.

(for the record, I like to believe Jackson's mother and Heath's mother are half or step sisters lol)

We also got a new cgi special Ghouls Rule (we'd had a few animated specials). This line featured absolutely outrageous outfits and was fairly expensive.

But I decided I really wanted Clawdeen because despite the hideous jumpsuit she came in:

She has amazing makeup and hair.

I NEEDED this madness in my life.

So I took a trip to the Toys R Us.

They had a special deal on at the time, I think it was BOGOF or 20% off or... something. So I sat in the tesco cafe (one of the few tesco cafes still operating btw) with my husband and discussed whether to get the Frankie as well, who I thought was kinda awesome.

In the end I decided to go for it and get both.

Neither ended up keeping their outfits, they were just a bit to OTT for me.

I liked Frankie's whole doll though, she was pretty awesome:

Her jumpsuit and jacket however, were intended for another doll.

My Create a Monster Skeleton girl. Oo yeah.

I ended up relaxing Frankie's crazy updo which in actual production was a bit messy. I love the lightening crackles across her face and that her hair is almost entirely black.

She's a really quite awesome looking doll and i'm glad I talked myself into buying her.

Clawdeen needed a bit of work to really be incredible. Her hair was ridiculously long and VERY frizzy at the bottom so I ended up cutting a good 3 inches of it off as soon as I deboxed her. It was just unsalvagable frizz, the problem with ultra long hair I often find.

Her head is shaved on both sides but I liked this half do look better than having the long part swept back like her production doll. I felt the hair framing her face a little softened her slightly, and looked pretty.

Her makeup is still one of my favourite Clawdeen makeups. I mean, this faceup is nuts. Big ol' leopard spots but only on one side, gold stripe, pale purple lips, really orange eyes... she's brilliant.

And redressed out of that horrible jumpsuit she's a really dang pretty punky looking doll.

And then SDCC happened.

Ooo eee.

So, in 2011 at comic con Mattel had a display, it looked like this:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/atamaii/6012645835/in/album-72157624067115791/ (link to Stu from MHD's flickr)

Now the idea was that everyone at the con would vote for which of the 3 dolls on display they wanted to be made into a doll next.

then after the con the contest was opened up to kids across the world via the Monster High website.
It invited fans to vote for their favourite to be made into a doll, making absolutely no mention of HOW the winner would be released. Just "vote and the winner will get a doll!"

So of course, everyone voted.

I voted for Wydowna the spider girl because she's awesome.

The options were Wydowna, Headless Headmistress Bloodgood or Scarah Screams, a background character from the webisodes.

Scarah won.

So imagine everyone's anger when the SDCC exclusive was revealed.

Scarah... fricken... Screams.

the doll thousands of CHILDREN had voted to have made into a doll, created in limited quantity, exclusively at a con only adults would attend and at a resale price only adults or rich parents could afford.

Super... shitty... decision Mattel.

SO shitty.

Scarah was inexplicably packaged in a two pack with a plush doll of another character, Hoodude, a random gag character from the webisodes.
He was made by Frankie as a boyfriend (ew, squicky implications) but came to life and yeaaah.. it was a mess.

but yeah, being a voodoo doll his entire doll is plush.

People were NOT happy. Releasing Scarah, a doll they'd encouraged fans to vote for in such an exclusive way felt like a punch in the face. It was cruel, because it made her out of reach for the majority of MH's target market, 8-12 year old girls.

Now I was fortunate to be an adult, which meant expendable income. I also had the time as a stay at home mother to sit and wait for these to pop up for sale in Matty Collector's after con sale.
but even buying them at con prices, I still had to pay for postage so they cost me a good £70 anyway after customs and all that got their grubby mitts on em.

Now, the vote thing was interesting in other ways too. Wydowna won the vote at the con, she was popular with adult collectors but the kid vote swung the win to Scarah, who was a familiar face in the background of the cartoons and a lot less "scary" than the jet black spider girl.
Bloodgood got the least votes, by quite a large margin. She was the only one to get a regular store release for several years after this vote. Scarah would get a I heart fashion doll eventually in 2013 but Wydowna was the comic con exclusive for 2013 and didn't get a main store release till late 2014! I mean ffs.


still in August we continued to get a constant barrage of new stuff to distract us.

Venus Mcflytrap and Robecca Steam started to appear on shelves.

Of course, I was having NO luck finding them. I'd taken to ringing around stores asking if they had them in stock, and bless them, toys r us and argos kept on checking.

Eventually I ended up on the phone to Argos head office, who informed me that they had tracked down a case. The lady on the phone told me to get to my local Argos, she'd sent one of each doll there especially for me, they'd have my name on them.

So I excitedly popped over to Argos and was stopped by the manager, who was a coooow. I'd dealt with this biatch before, but I had head office on my side this time lady. So I calmly told her that head office sent me, that there was a box out back with my name on.
She snorted and told me they didn't "do that sort of thing"
I asked her to please check because I didn't believe head office would lie to me.
While she was arguing with me another member of staff went to check and came back with, lo and behold, a Venus and a Robecca with MY NAME ON THEM
take that manager bitch.

The manager was not happy but hey, screw her, I purchased my dollies and went home delighted.

Argos head office are awesome and I love them.

MH was getting more and more ambitious with their sculpts now. Robecca featured full body detailing with rivets and plates all over her. What an extraordinary doll.

So damn beautiful.

This is one of my favourite MH stories. The time Argos diverted a shipment because I asked nicely.
I mean how is that to make a girl feel like royalty?
at the time these were REALLY difficult to find, the cases had only just hit the uk and it'd be weeks till i saw these two in actual stores.

Thank you Argos!

Scarily Ever After was another awesome line released in this year. Three dolls all themed around fairy tales. They couldn't use "Scary tales" like they wanted to because Mezco's Living Dead dolls already have that trademarked, so they're "Scarily Ever After" instead.

This is Little Dead Riding Wolf lol.

they also did Frankie as "Threaderella" and Draculaura as "Snow Bite"

Each came with a little story booklet, a similar size to the diary that told their story with pictures and rhyming text.

Annoyingly, the Uk again got EU versions which meant no damn story book! I complained to Mattel about this because the story book was a major part of this line ffs, and they actually sent me all three full english versions. YAY.
About the only time Mattel has been helpful.

This was a deluxe line, so they did have stands and little accessories (Clawdeen has a picnic basket) and this is the only Clawdeen to date to have red streaks in her hair.

She's absolutely freaking beautiful.

I'm not much into princesses so I didn't get the other two, but Little Dead was too awesome not to own.

How awesome is she!?

This season also saw the first release of I Heart Fashion, a deluxe set including doll and 3 mix and match fashions.

A toys r us exclusive, these were about £25 each but super cool sets.

First release was Abbey and Frankie.

I regret not picking up Abbey. I waaaant heeer.

Frankie I got when she first came out though. Her outfits were great and her very segregated black/white hair with these dark blue lips was just so striking.

She came with a lot of pieces.

A dress with a separate waistcoat thing, two shirts, a skirt, a pair of pants, three pairs of shoes, bracelets, a necklace, earrings, a bag and a belt.

A lot of stuff for your £25 really.

And all so colourful.

Everything could be mixed together creating a load of possibilities and a lot of fun. And of course the doll herself is freaking gorgeous so it's just yes yes yes.

It was a really great line, one that sadly has kinda... ended on a bum note with the release of I Heart Fashion Whisp in 2016.

Her fashions are... well honestly, extremely bland and uninteresting.

She comes with a fourth outfit sure, but only 2 pairs of shoes and honestly the extra outfits are pretty crazy uninspiring.

Frankie's set contains around 14 pieces (counting the bracelets as one piece). Djini/Whisp has maybe 12? I don't know if those tops are sewn to the pants or not.

And the price of this set? £35.


this is a good example of why i've stopped buying MH. You simply aren't getting value for money now.
It's just not worth it.

I do still want those long shoes of Whisp's though, they're awesome. ahem.

In the US Khols got a second wave of their exclusive "killer style" line. Two dolls redressed into fashion pack outfits available elsewhere.
Interestingly, unlike the first wave which was literally just a budget doll in a slight variant of the outfit, this particular wave took things a bit further by producing two unique dolls to put into variant fashions.

Clawdeen here comes wearing a dress version of this fashion pack:

The pants from this set were so ugly omg. They were super poofy around the butt, I don't know what the heck that was about. Fashion confuses me.

But Killer Style Clawdeen's dress is made from the same fabric, she has the exact same shoes, glasses and jacket too.

The doll herself is amazing

Purple lips and neon green streaks in her hair!

A great look and one we'd only see one more time when Power Ghouls Clawdeen was released.

This line also had an Operetta wearing pretty much her exact fashion pack outfit, just with some minor changes, more like the previous wave's variant outfits.
But she also has a unique doll with dark purple lips, very dark eyes and very tightly pulled back hair.

We didn't get this set over here, I imported Clawdeen only a year or so ago when I could finally justify the cost.

We also got a second wave of Dead Tired. Mattel have never been ashamed to flog the heck out of a dead horse.
Wave 2 featured yet more pjs, in a few cases for dolls who ALREADY HAD a PJ doll eugh.

Abbey (new), Draculaura (why?) and Clawdeen (her w1 dead tired doll was a playset doll)

Clawdeen had bangs which made a nice change.

But as I seriously have no desire for pjs for dolls, I haven't ended up with many dead tired dolls.


By the end of the year, the massive tide of new dolls hadn't abated.I wonder if we in the UK were starting to regret complaining about those long droughts the year before.

The year ended with the release of another budget line, Dance Class, a gimmick line called Ghoul's Alive, a new signature wave called Picture Day to replace the signature cases and a new special, Scaris: city of frights.

 Dance Class had some nice dolls. It saw another release of Robecca, which was nice, another Howleen, also nice, as well as Lagoona and Operetta.

Howleen's dance outfit was pretty bleh, but pink curly pigtails was just too cute!

this was her first pink haired doll and at the time, oh.. oh naive us, we assumed it was just a one off. *sigh*

I still think the pink pigtails are cute though.

Her dance style was Hip Hop I think.

Lagoona was ballet.

I have no idea what Robecca was, she looked more like she was wearing a swimsuit and Operetta's outfit was distinctly tutuish as well.

Ghouls Alive was a flat out bizarre line that came outta nowhere. It was full of gimmicks. The first wave, yes, it got 2 waves somehow, the first wave featured a Spectra who lit up and made "whooo" noises (yes.. really), a Frankie who lit up and made sparking noises and a Clawdeen who when you pushed a level on her back drew her head back, raised her arms, closed her eyes and HOWLED.

Now, they were ugly dolls, the gimmicks really interfered with their aesthetic of the doll but the engineering of Clawdeen was just so dang complicated that I could never help being facinated by her.

She's an ugly as all heck doll sure, but she does so much with a single level flip and the engineering has to be quite complex.
With the other two it's really simple, there's a light inside and a speaker. Pressing the button turns both on. Big whoop, we've had light up talking dolls for decades.

Clawdeen though? When you press that lever her arms rise up (one mechanism), her head tilts back (a second), her eyes close (a third) and she howls (a fourth)
That's a surprising amount of stuff for one doll to do man.

I found one for £1 recently in a charity shop, but i've not gotten any photos of her yet (sorry, i'm a bum)

But believe me, she is NOT a pretty doll.

Still, her gimmick facinates me and I can't help but be impressed by the ambition. Oh sure they failed hard on making a doll that doesn't look horrendous, but A for effort guys. She was certainly an ambitious set of gimmicks.

 Picture Day is another line I don't really own many of any more.

See,  with PD I LOVED so many of the outfits, but the actual dolls just weren't quite special enough to remain in the collection.

Spectra for instance, pictured here with Signature and Dot Dead Gorgeous.

She's really rather eerily similar to Signature in hair style, colour nad indeed even her faceup, which has pink instead of blue but really that's about it.

She does however use a different sculpt.

See, for some reason the Spectras made in one factory use the gaunt sculpt like Signature and DDG, while the Spectras made in the other factory have this chubbier less gaunt face which makes her look a lot younger.

Some people prefer the gaunt sculpt, I like both but for different reasons. Certainly I don't think the gaunt sculpt looks much like a 16 year old girl, she looks more like a grown woman.

But with Picture Day Spectra, the main reason I bought her was this incredible outfit she has.

It's not a dress, it's actually a top and leatherette skirt as separate pieces. And it's GORGEOUS.

When I got Ghoul's Night Out Spectra (she's a later release, we'll get to her) I knew this dark outfit was just perfect for her.

I mean, look at her! She's stunning!

Likewise Picture Day Cleo drew me in with her lovely outfit.

Scaris, Picture Day, School's Out, Dawn of the dance redressed.

Picture Day Cleo had some great aspects. Beautiful blue lips, large teal streaks in her hair and a really pretty top in blue with a bandage effect.

However, her hair was wretchedly frazzled, the tinsel unravelled rapidly leaving white threads everywhere and it was just impossible to get to look nice.

Also she had a new hand sculpt, these tiny shrivelled up baby hands that were totally disproportionate and just looked freaky and weird.

But gosh that top was pretty. As was the scarab belt cinch.

I kept that outfit in my collection for a very long time.

Cleo looks awesome with blue lips too.

Also released in this wave was Draculaura (yawn, yet another draculaura. She had a really cute skirt though) and Abbey who's outfit didn't wow me enough to justify.

Picture day was, for me, a line made up of somewhat disappointing dolls, but incredible clothing.

And finally we ended the year with Scaris, City of Frights.

Scaris was a big line, based around the new animated special this one produced a LOT of sub lines.

Previously a special had produced one line to go with it. Ghouls Rule had the fancy costume dolls for instance, Roller Maze had the one budget wave of skate dolls, Why Do Ghouls fall in love had Sweet 1600 and Cupid, Escape from Skull Shores had of course, the Skull Shores budget line and exclusive Frankie.  But then along came Scaris...

Scaris contained 1 signature line, 1 budget line, 2 playsets, 1 exclusive doll and 1 two pack.

It was one of the biggest lines we'd seen from Monster High.

It also introduced THREE new characters in doll form and another new character who appeared only in the special, to finally get a doll a few years later due to popular demand.

Scaris was HUGE.

Now I should mention that by the time Scaris hit the UK, I was about 7 months pregnant with my third child. This was a very difficult pregnancy and one that toward the end meant I was being hospitalized on an almost fortnightly basis. It was really depressing, but it also meant of course I couldn't do dolly hunting.

At the time husband was working near a few toy stores, so during his lunch breaks he'd pop in to have a look.

When Scaris hit I was yet again in hospital.
Husband showed up that day with a bag from the local Toy Barn, containing Jinafire and a So In Style doll.

She was £16:99, which was a very good price. Toys r us had begun their price gouging, hiking the prices up to £19:99 because they're greedy jerks but thankfully most places were sticking to the £16:99 of signature releases.

I've never been totally sure how I feel about Jinafire. She's a pretty doll sure, but her eyebrows make her look SO angry and her breathing fire makes literally no sense from a mythological perspective (chinese dragons don't breathe fire right?) but hey, she's lovely and was a sweet get well soon gift.

Also introduced in this line was Skelita, the skeleton girl who's body sculpt is nothing short of impressive.

This marked the point Mattel designers just went a bit mad with body details and it was glorious.

Okay she had rib cage titties which is bizarre, and she required a plastic mold to make her clothing fit correctly, but gosh who'd have thought we'd see a doll with a skeleton body marketed to little girls!??

Such a bizarre doll.

Scaris all came with stands and a little diary thing. No pets though, we'd stopped getting pets. Alas.

Rochelle got a lovely doll as well, all Scarisian style with a little plastic beret and everything.

Also Catrine, who was an Asda exclusive and a character who wasn't a character at all in the special, she was a scene transition.
Seriously, watch Scaris City of Frights, she's used to transition scenes, she literally has no purpose other than to act as a cross fade!

Her hair was gelled to hell and never looked very good.

Ghoulia FINALLY got another doll as well. We'd seen a few dolls at the start of the year in multipacks but she'd really been kinda excluded in great dolls for a while.

Her Scaris doll was gorgeous with a cool sweater dress and a beautiful faceup.

She was a simple doll, a really solid budget release, but she had pockets man! Actual freaking pockets!???

We also got a nice Deuce, A Draculaura (she's in every damn line, seriously) and Abbey (who Mattel seemed to get a bit obsessed with, shoving into everything they could as well)

Frankie and Clawdeen also got big box releases.

And several months into 2013 we got a surprise out of nowhere 2 pack exclusive to Toys R Us.

There was no fanfare, no promo, this two pack just appeared on shelves.

It was bizarre.

A gorgeous Cleo with NO TINSEL (yay) and a kinda bland Lagoona. Weird pairing right?

really weird.

I do not like that hairstyle on Lagoona, it makes her forehead look massive.

But she has an octoput on her head!
and her outfit is a dress with an overshirt separate.

I kept Cleo for quite some time, she really was a very pretty doll. In fact, I can't remember now WHY I sold her. Hmm.

Lagoona had great accessories but ultimately her doll just didn't do it for me.

Her hair was hugely thick but ultimately just awkward to restyle and the blue dress washed her out terribly.

Cleo though... oh Cleo...

I love a Cleo without tinsel.

Also this year we got a few playset with dolls.

the Coffin Bean with Clawdeen and a second version with Clawdeen AND Draculaura.
Ghoulia with a scooter
Draculaura with a car
and Draculaura with a bath

Way too many Draculaura's man.

Till next time! 2013!


  1. Fun fact, Clawdeen was already a registered trademark of Mattel's (She Ra had a pink lion cat thing called Clawdeen), so it's probably they went with that and eventually wrangled the Howleen trademark later on since I feel like Mattel needed to pump out a new doll line right after the MGA lawsuit and loss of My Scene.

    I love these retrospectives cuz I remember the excitement and joy too and nowadays you either buy shitty dolls or you gotta stiffen up and buy a bjd or integrity toys doll to get a decent doll again.

  2. I've enjoyed these immensely.