Imaginarium City Studio Dollhouse

Today’s post is about something near and dear to my heart: a dollhouse. I love dollhouses. Ever since I began collecting dolls I’ve been buying plastic house play sets, which are great. I can set them up, do some photo shoots, and put them away. I never thought of buying a large dollhouse for my fashion dolls–until I saw the house of my dreams. The Imaginarium City Studio dollhouse, from Toys R Us, was beckoning to me. It was on display in the dollhouse section, furnished, and placed behind glass to protect it from grabby hands. When Ghouliette and I first saw it, Ghouliette said to me, “Monster High dolls would fit in that!”  I stood there and admired it for a while, but decided buying it would  be impractical. But from time to time I would walk past the display so I could stare at it.

 

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Finally, I broke down. Because it was so cool. And because my sister was right, Monster high dolls could fit in it. Unlike the often flimsy plastic play sets, this was a large, sturdy house. Barbie could also fit in it.  With fancy photo shoots in mind, I gave in to temptation and bought the house. And I love it!

The City Studio dollhouse is a heavy wooden dollhouse that has four rooms and an outdoor patio. It comes with 11 pieces of 1/6 scale furniture. (the fridge in the kitchen did not come with the house.) An elevator runs along the left side of the house. The high ceilings make it perfect for 11.5″ – 12″ fashion dolls such as Barbie and Momoko. Even Blythe and her big head can fit in here comfortably!

The design is clean and bright, with lots of color, clever details, and some neat “views” of the cityscape out of the windows.  My favorite detail is the hardwood flooring and area rugs in the living room and bedroom.

The house comes unassembled, with clear step-by-step diagrams. I had no trouble understanding the diagrams, but it did take me three hours to put this house together, mostly because the pieces are very heavy. One side of the house has heavy wooden walls, while the other side of the house is supported by thin wood and plastic poles for the elevator. Because of the uneven weight distribution, shifting the house from side to side during assembly a little difficult. The one complaint I have about this house is that two of the three drill holes on the elevator side do not line up with the corresponding drill holes on the wall side. I had to leave them undrilled because lifting the floor up to the holes put the floor at quite an angle. I left them undrilled, and I have to say the house is still very strong and sturdy.

Are you ready for the house tour? Let’s start on the first floor. The furniture you see in each room comes with the house.

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The Kitchen    The City Studio kitchen takes up most of the first floor. It contains this asymmetrical dining room table and two diner stools.  The table has a built-in (i.e., painted on) cooktop that’s flush with the table surface. Like Penny has in the Bg Bang Theory! As you can see, glaring pink is the main theme here. I love doll kitchens, and the counter. refrigerator, oven and sink that are painted on are adorable. Nicely done, with highlighting “shine” on the chrome sink and fridge. But I like doll kitchen furniture more than anything. The nice thing about this house is there is plenty of room to add other pieces of 1/6 scale furniture, such as the Barbie refrigerator seen in the first picture of the house. Personally I don’t like the table in here; it’s weird. I’m going to put my Re-Ment dining table and china hutch in here. Because what’s more fun than decorating a house? Redecorating a house until it suits your tastes! Next up:

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The Bathroom   There’s more bright pink in the bathroom, which is just off the kitchen. What can I say about the bathroom? The tub is cool… I don’t see myself using the toilet in photo shoots. Personally I’d rather have a separate dining room or a den in the house than a bathroom.  The lime green floor mat is a nice touch. Now let’s move on to the second floor.

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The Living Room   This is my favorite room in the house. The living room takes up the entire second floor. It comes with the retro-inspired furniture here. The couch comes with one long cushion and two throw pillows.I have to admit the furniture in this room is what caught my eye when I saw the house displayed in Toys R Us. I’m a fool for retro stuff!

In the left hand corner of the photo is a ballet bar. It’s perfect for all the Made To Move Barbies out there! Flex and stretch! Reach!

The wall details include two floor-to-ceiling picture windows, a cozy fireplace, and built-in bookshelves. There’s a cut-out window behind the sofa.

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This room will be excellent for staging photos of parties and special events. There’s plenty of room to add more furniture in here.  Now let’s move to the top floor.

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The Bedroom   I like how the house carries the pink/blue/lime green color scheme from room to room. The modern platform bed comes with fabric and pillows that match the ones on the living room couch. It came unassembled but the pieces slot together easily. In this photo the “wicker” chair in the back almost looks three-dimensional, but it’s painted on the wall. Beyond the doorway on the right is the outdoor patio.

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The Patio   The patio is pretty simple, a little small, with a chunky wooden fence. The outside wall detail continues up the entire side of the house from bottom to top. I added the Barbie Grill. Because it’s summer time, and Barbie and her friends can grill some hot dogs and burgers out here.

Like I said earlier, redecorating a dollhouse is more fun than setting it up. I’ve added some Barbie furniture in here, so Barbie and her friends can relax.

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One sister is doing homework, and one sister is playing games. Guess which is which?

 

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Mandy loves to gossip. Francesca is stunned!

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Ronnie and Francesca catch up over a cup of coffee.

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I love when a dollhouse comes alive. I give the Imaginarium City Studio Dollhouse two thumbs up for being a chic yet cozy place where friends can get together.

Do you have any dollhouses you’re fond of? What is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

LOL Surprise by MGA Entertainment

Image courtesy of MGA Entertainment


I was at Toys R Us today, buying some Tokidoki stuff, when I saw the LOL Surprise display at the checkout counter. I’ll admit I’m a little late to the ball regarding the LOL Surprise dolls. I’ve been seeing the displays at my local Target for several weeks now among all the other blind box displays, but the LOL Surprise display boxes were always empty. Apart from seeing the empty displays, I didn’t know anything about them, but my curiosity about these little blind boxes was further peaked one day at Target when a little girl went up to the boxes, saw they were empty, and said “Nobody has them!” So when I saw that there were a few left in the display box at Toys R Us today, I bought one – but only one, because Toys R Us limits LOL Surprises to one per customer. That’s how popular they are.

LOL Surprise promises seven layers of Surprise inside. I got a Series 2 LOL Surprise doll. The dolls come in a large round orb wrapped in plastic…

…and more plastic. So many layers of plastic. You have to unwrap each one, and are greeted with little hints and messages with each layer. Unwrapping the first layer reveals a hint as to which LOL Surprise you receive, along with layer 2.

Tea Party?

Layer 3 gives you stickers.

Layer 4:

Layer 4, opposite side. Angel and devil, get it?!

Layer 5. I see hard plastic. It finally looks like we’re getting somewhere!

After five outer layers of plastic, the inner orb is finally revealed. But the unwrapping still isn’t done.

Looks like the Death Star

The top of the orb hides the first piece of the toy, which, wait for it, you also have to unwrap.

Yay!

Two more surprises in the top half of the orb, and more surprises in the bottom half.


Finally, the package containing the doll:

The LOL Surprise dolls are broken down into “clubs,” such as the Glam Club, the Hip Hop Club, and the Athletic Club. After I dressed my doll, I checked the pamphlet that came tucked inside the orb to see which one she is. She is Heartbreaker, from the Storybook Club. All the Storybook Club dolls are characters from Alice in Wonderland. Heartbreaker is the Queen of Hearts. So the “tea party” hint makes sense now.

The orb comes with a handle so after you put it back together, it becomes a convenient carrying case for your LOL Surprise doll. 

Still looks like the Death Star

It also has holes at the top to accommodate the doll’s feet, so the orb is also a stand.

I’m on top of the world!


When it’s open, the orb serves as a little playpen for the doll. It has a space for her bottle, and you can turn the top piece of the orb over to serve as a food tray. It even has a slice of pizza on it.

The instruction pamphlet shows how you can fill her bottle with water and then pour it into her mouth.

 Then you can make her cry, 

and spit out water,


and urinate. (Yes, you read right).

Oops!


I didn’t put water into the doll to try it myself, so I’ll just take their word for it. The pamphlet also explains that you can dip the doll in ice water to make her hair color change. The water has to be about 32 degrees Fahrenheit for the color to change. When I dipped Heartbreaker into ice water, the white side of her hair turned red and a heart-shaped birthmark appeared over her right eye.

LOL Surprises are cute, but I bought mine more out of curiosity than with the intent to collect them. At $10.99 each, they’re a little expensive for such a tiny doll, especially when you can’t choose which one you get. But it was fun unwrapping five layers of plastic and opening five packets to reveal the Surprise. LOL Surprises are made by MGA Entertainment, the company best known for creating Bratz and Lalaloopsy dolls. Here’s a link to the official LOL Surprise page, where you can watch their commercial (I hope The Ramones don’t sue for copyright infringement 😂). LOL Surprise Lil Sister dolls are also available, featuring infant versions of the original dolls.

Have you been able to find LOL Surprise dolls? What do you think of them? Let us know.

My Excellent Barbie Haul. At Walmart.

Do you love to live vicariously through other people’s blogs about when they go shopping? I know I sure do. Hopefully you won’t mind a post about items I haven’t de-boxed yet. if you love reading what strangers on the internet have purchased, read on!

Today Ghouliette and I made our usual Walmart run to see if there was anything new in the doll aisles. We haven’t been in a while, so there were a lot of cool items we haven’t seen before.  I picked up a Barbie doll that was calling my name, debated whether or not I really needed it, then put it back on the shelf and walked out of the store. KIDDING!! I really did debate whether or not I needed it, decided that I did, and picked it up.

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I really need Musician Barbie and her keyboard in my life. The pink guitar is cute, but it’s pink. Call me a snob, but I prefer a natural wood grain on my doll acoustic guitars. But I love the keyboard. If  only I could find a set of Barbie-sized drums, the band will be complete!

I’m also a sucker for dolls that come with audio headphones.

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Eat your heart out Lady Gaga.

This Barbie is on a made-to-move body. Mattel seems to be bringing out more dolls on the MTM body, and I hope this trend will continue, and move away from Barbies with cheap, hollow plastic bodies that don’t bend (*cough*Fashionistas*cough*)

I’ll post a detailed review of Musician Barbie when I open it.

Next, I spied something on the bottom shelf. This was really cool and I knew I had to add it to my collection.

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OMG it’s Barbie Camping Fun! I can’t resist dollhouses and domestic playlets. This isn’t a fully enclosed house, but this will be fun to photograph and play with.

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Dolls are not included. I love those chairs and that bench. And my love of tiny tea sets is well-documented here. This will be so much fun. I’ll post a review of Barbie Camping Fun after I open it.

I intended to stop there, but it turns out I wasn’t done yet.

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This is the Barbie TV Time mini furniture set. I like how Mattel pays attention to the small details, such as the VCR and the media cabinet it rests in. The beanbag chair and the orange pouff pulled at my 1970s nostalgia-loving heartstrings.

I had to dig through the Barbie clothes and accessories because they had been tossed around a little bit. (Why do they let kids in the toy aisles? lol) Eventually I found a couple of neat sets: one fashion pack, and one accessory pack. First, the fashion:

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I’ll start with the outfit on the left. I love the dress. I love the leopard print coat. I just don’t love them together. That coat is definitely going to make its way into a lot of pictures, particularly when paired with vintage Barbie clothes.  It’s divine!! The dress is cute and summary, with a red, white and blue heart. Very patriotic, although it also looks very similar to the Pepsi logo. Oh well! 🙂

The shorts and tee shirt set on the right are cute, too. My Barbies now have a fun new outfit to wear while relaxing in their Barbie hammock. I love separates because the mixing and matching options are endless.

Personally, I wouldn’t pair those shoes with either outfit. So I fixed the problem of what to match with these outfits.

Mattel’s tiny, inexpensive dress and shoe sets are brilliant. This set includes a pair of tall black boots, black high-heeled sandals, white hightop, orange high-heeled sandals, and–my favorite–a pair of gold flat sandals. You had me at tiny gold sandals…

I thought I was finally done once and for all at this point, but as i walked toward the checkout aisle, I spotted something else on the very bottom shelf. It was hidden behind something else, but I could see enough of it to stop and check it out.

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I can be a Fashionista? Cool.

I didn’t know Mattel was making new carrying cases! Lately I’ve been obsessed with finding vintage cases from the ’50s through the ’70s. Do kids these days even carry their Barbie cases to the beach, pool, friends house, etc. anymore? We did, and that was good times! Or are today’s kids too cool?! Is playing Barbies not cool?! Well I remember these from back in the day and I was overjoyed to see a new one. Maybe a $9.99 Barbie case shouldn’t make me this happy, but it does!

The three Fashionista dolls on the front are very pretty, with killer outfits. The bright colors are a great contrast against the black. Nice one, Mattel. This case can fit up to 6 dolls, or fewer dolls and their clothes.  The case is constructed in the exact classic style of all previous carrying cases. inside is a slim partition on the left for a doll, and a large area on the right for clothes or more dolls.  It has a pink handle, and the classic latch on top.

Have you purchased any of the new play line Barbies or sets lately? Which ones? Which doll or set is your favorite? Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

 

 

WellieWishers by American Girl

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As much as I love dolls, I thought I would never get into American Girl dolls. I mostly collect 1:6 scale fashion dolls. There have been a few exceptions to my rule in the past, such as Makies, but mostly I prefer dolls that look like adults. American Girl dolls look like little girls because they’re intended for little girls, but their child-like appearance is too exaggerated.  Their faces are too chubby, their eyes are too round, and they have an overbite. I’m also not a fan of their stuffed bodies with vinyl limbs. They remind me too much of the baby dolls that I had as a child. But on a recent trip to Toys R Us, I casually browsed the American Girl section, mainly to see if they made any redheaded dolls. They do – one. Number 61, to be exact. But I still wasn’t enamored enough of them to buy one, especially with their $114 price tags. But when I saw the WellieWisher dolls, I was smitten. They instantly appealed to me for many reasons: their smaller size (14.5″ versus the 18″ American Girls), their lower price tag ($60), and their all-vinyl bodies. Their facial features are more realistic and well-proportioned than the American Girl line. But what I loved most about them was how outdoors-oriented the line is. With their cheery wardrobe and adorable rain boots (the name Welliewishers is a nod to their Wellington boots), these dolls look like they’re ready to go outside and jump over puddles or climb trees, and do other fun things that kids like me did back in the day before the invention of the Internet and smartphones.

1The WellieWishers debuted in June of 2016, and the line serves as an extremely well-edited version of American Girl dolls. It manages to sum up ethnic diversity in just five dolls. Camille has blonde hair and Willa has red hair. Kendall is African-American. Ashlyn is a brunette with tan skin who could appeal to Hispanic little girls, and Emerson is Asian. Of course I gravitated to Willa, who has red hair and freckles just like me. Where was she when I was eight years old? When the dolls debuted, they came in a box with only a flower-shaped window revealing the doll’s face, leaving the body hidden. Now the boxes have windows revealing the entire doll, so you can see the doll’s outfit as well as its face. The back of the box features appealing illustrations reminiscent of children’s books (the Welliewishers also includes a line of children’s books based on the characters).

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The doll came with two pieces of literature. I love doll literature! The first is a brochure that goes into more detail about the dolls.

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The second brochure contains tips for caring for your American Girls dolls, with information inside on how to join the American Girls club.

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Willa has red hair styled in large sausage-curled pigtails, with green eyes and freckles. She came out of the box with one curl intact and one that had lost much of its curl. As the back of her box tells us, she’s a nature-loving adventurer who loves animals. If the box didn’t tell us that, you could tell she loves animals just by her outfit. She wears bunny ears lined in the same fabric as her skirt, which features a mid-century-modern-esque print of stylized hedgehogs. Her shirt has an animal face with whiskers and ears. Is it a cat? Is it a bear? I can’t tell, but it’s adorable.

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skirt detail

What really appealed to me about Willa’s outfit were her ladybug boots. I couldn’t get a clear shot of them so I apologize for the blurry closeup photo.

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The quality of the clothing is good. It’s not cheap or flimsy, but like most dolls these days, uses Velcro fasteners. The only thing that annoys me a little is the giant tag at the back of the bunny ears, which wouldn’t stay down no matter how many times  I tried to tuck it under.

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Since Welliewishers love to play outside, I took Willa outside to photograph her. She can stand on her own but needs some adjustment to her feet because the weight of her body makes her fall forward. And when I tried to get her to bend over or sit, her legs would splay out – just like first-wave Tressy dolls.

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Next, I took Willa into the yard to play. She played on the rocks.

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She also climbed trees.

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As you can see, the outdoors really suits Willa. There are other outfits and accessories sold separately for WellieWishers, including a playhouse and an awesome-looking garden tent. Welliewishers are sold wherever American Girl dolls are sold, including Toys R Us and American Girl online. They’re also sold in the American Girl stores. I went to an American Girl store once. It was the one in the Natick Mall in Massachusetts, where I stopped out of curiosity during a road trip. I was amazed that it had a salon and a cafe.

An episode of Bob’s Burgers parodied the experience perfectly when Linda took Tina and Louise to the “Special Girl” store. Of course, the dolls freaked Tina out.  😂

Despite my previous reluctance to buy into the American Girl hype, I find myself smitten with WellieWishers. They’re adorable! Their faces, while emulating the same toothy grin as American Girls, seem better-proportioned. WellieWishers are everything American Girl dolls should be – more manageable, less creepy. At half the price of the larger dolls, maybe more little girls can own and love an American Girl doll with WellieWishers. I don’t see myself buying another WellieWisher doll, but I do plan on buying clothes and accessories for my Willa doll.

Do you own any WellieWisher dolls? Which one(s) do you have? What about them appealed to you?

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!. It’s time to celebrate Independence Day with a cookout and some chill time out on the deck. Barbie and Ken, everyone’s favorite all-American couple, are celebrating.

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Barbie’s got a sweet new grill and hammock, so she invited Ken over for a cookout. Barbie’s taking it easy, while Ken’s got grill duty.

Seriously, though, I love these little mini Barbie playsets. They cost $8.99 each.

Yep, all Barbie has to do is relax while Ken does all the work.

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Yep. Relax…

Happy Fourth of July from Ghouliette and me! Enjoy your cookouts and parades, fireworks and beach time! And have fun with your family and friends.

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Wonder Woman Dolls by Mattel

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Ghoulia13 and I saw the Wonder Woman movie yesterday, so now I’m on a Wonder Woman jag. Never mind I’ve been annoying the heck out of Ghoulia13 by singing the theme to the Wonder Woman 1970s television show all week in anticipation of seeing the movie. So after we saw the movie, we headed to Walmart and bought the dolls. Like, all the dolls. Well, almost all the dolls.

I bought Battle Ready Wonder Woman, Diana Prince in Evening Gown with Hidden Sword, and the Walmart-exclusive Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor 2-pack (I love how the Walmart website’s URL calls it the “WW-Steve-Trevor-Chris-Pine-2-Pack”), all by Mattel. To clarify any confusion about these dolls, the playline Wonder Woman dolls are not Barbie-as-Wonder-Woman dolls. The adult collector Barbie Wonder Woman Paradise Island Gift Set dolls offered on the Barbie Collector website (yes, I ordered them!) are on Barbie and Ken bodies.The playline dolls are on beefier bodies. They are fully articulated, but in a clumsier way than the adult collector bodies which, judging from the photos, use the Barbie Made to Move bodies. But the sturdier bodies would hold up better for play, and I hope little girls all across the country are reenacting battle scenes with their Wonder Woman dolls.

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Battle Ready Wonder Woman comes in her superhero outfit, complete with diadem, bullet-deflecting armbands, and trademark long boots.

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She also comes with her golden lasso that compels people to tell the truth. It would have been nice if she came with her sword and shield, but those accessories come with the Wonder Woman Shield Block doll. The outfit is kind of cheap. It’s just a thin one-piece dress with printed details, right down to the folds of her skirt.

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Wonder Woman is articulated at the knees and elbows but not at the wrists. The articulation is good but could be better. I tried to put Wonder Woman in her bullet-deflecting pose but I couldn’t cross her forearms high enough. This is as close as I could get:

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The Diana Prince in Evening Gown recreates the beautiful dress Wonder Woman wore when she went undercover to the Imperialist German officers’ gala, against Steve’s orders (because Wonder Woman doesn’t take orders from any man, see?!).

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It even comes with her superhero boots, which she wore to the gala under her gown – you know, just in case she needed to kick some enemy a**.

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The Wonder Woman dolls are pretty, but I think they only slightly capture the likeness of Gal Gadot. The adult collector doll, of better quality, looks more like Ms. Gadot. And just look at all the glue in the playline Diana’s hair!

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But the main attraction with this doll is that, unlike Battle Ready Wonder Woman, the Diana Prince doll does come with her God-killer sword. The dress has a loop inside to accommodate the sword. I know everyone who’s seen the movie and bought this doll has taken this same picture, but here you go:

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Because this doll didn’t come with armbands, it was on this doll that I realized something funny about the Wonder Woman playline dolls. Her arms are muscular, in that sinewy, Madonna kind of way. But it occurred to me that the Wonder Woman dolls use the same arms as the Monster High boy dolls! They look like they’re taken from the same mold as the first-wave boys such as Deuce Gorgon that didn’t have articulated wrists, and feature the same peg-in-joint construction at the elbows. It reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry dated the woman with man hands.

The Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor 2-pack features Diana dressed in her warrior training outfit that she wore on the island of Themyscira, or as Steve Trevor called it, Paradise Island. Again, it’s a cheap dress with a printed design. Diana’s hair is pulled back into a long braid. Like Evening Gown Diana Prince, she also comes with a sword.

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It was on Themyscira that Diana met Steve when his plane crashed. But the Steve doll isn’t wearing the outfit Steve wore when he landed on the island. Rather, it’s wearing the outfit he wore when he and Diana went to Belgium later in the movie.

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The Steve Trevor doll comes with a revolver and a holster. He also has articulated arms and legs, but no wrist articulation. His hand isn’t shaped in a position to adequately hold his gun, unlike Wonder Woman, who has one hand shaped so that her fingers can close around the sword’s handle. The gun looks fine in this photo, but it was loose in Steve’s hand and is really just resting in it. His hand can’t grasp the gun if a child were playing with it and making the doll run around shooting at bad guys.

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For those who want the outfit Steve wore on Themyscira, the pricier adult collector Paradise Island set features it. I was a bit disappointed with the painted-on pants and boots on the Steve Trevor doll, which means options for redressing him are limited.

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And the hair color on the doll is too dark. The doll has black hair, (he could almost pass for Benedict Cumberbatch), whereas Chris Pine has brown hair. The marketing photo on the Walmart website shows the prototype with a more accurate hair color.

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photo courtesy of Walmart

The adult collector Paradise Island Steve Trevor doll has rooted brown hair and looks more like Chris Pine than the playline Steve Trevor doll does. However, the playline doll got the most important feature right – recreating Chris Pine’s piercing baby blue eyes.

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I had fun photographing my Wonder Woman dolls. As I was posing them in various action poses and reenacting scenes from the movie, I had flashbacks of myself as a child playing with my dolls outside on the walkway to my house. If I had these dolls when I was nine years old I would make Wonder Woman fight and kick butt! Since the playline Wonder Woman dolls don’t use Barbie bodies, I can’t dress them in Barbie fashions, but I wonder if some of the Mego fashions of the 70s, made for dolls like Cher and Farrah Fawcett, might.

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I hope the Wonder Woman movie is inspiring the imaginations of girls, big and small, everywhere. Judging from posts on Facebook and Instagram, I think it is.

 

And I think I have a thing for Chris Pine now. 😍😍😍

Smart Doll by Danny Choo

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Smart Doll is a Japanese doll created by a company called Culture Japan. She is constructed like a ball-jointed doll but is made of more durable vinyl rather than the resin that is typically used for bjds. Smart Doll is 60 cm tall, and is in the 1/3 doll scale. She comes in a variety of characters. I ordered the Smart Doll called Mirai Suenaga. Smart Dolls are the brainchild of Danny Choo, British by birth but who became so enamored of Japanese culture that he taught himself Japanese and moved to Japan. He started Culture Japan as a way to promote Japanese culture. Mirai Suenaga started out as an ambassador of sorts, the physical face of Culture Japan. Like other BJD dolls from Japan, Smart Dolls resemble anime and manga characters, but I find them more appealing than some of the more highly stylized faces of other bjds such as Super Dollfies.

I ordered my Smart Doll from Danny Choo’s website. Ordering is easy. You pick which character you would like. Other options are available, such as larger or smaller busts, separate hand packs, torsos, and wigs. Smart Dolls come in a standard camisole and undies set. I love how the panties are called pantsu – since I’m one of those people that have trouble saying the word “panties” in polite conversation. Yeah, I’m going to start referring to panties as pantsu from now on. For an extra $100 USD, you can order an ensemble consisting of jeans, a t-shirt, shoes, and socks. Smart Doll clothes look very realistic and are very fashionable. Do they make them in my size?! Smart Doll shoes are also fab, and Danny designed them with the help of his father, renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo. These might be the only pair of Jimmy Choos I could ever afford.

Danny Choo offers an unboxing video for Smart Dolls. They are packed in a special way and for a Smart Doll newbie such as myself, it was very beneficial to watch it before I received my doll. While I didn’t make an unboxing video, I did take pictures of the unboxing step by step. So this review is going to look a little different, more informal, than our usual posts.

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This is the box that Smart Dolls come in. My Smart Doll arrived from Tokyo to New England in only 4 days! Which was great because I was chomping at the bit to receive her.

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This is what greets you when you first open the box.

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The Smart Doll and all of the accessories fit neatly into this adorable and reusable tote bag. And Danny Choo has a message for you:

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The accessories come packed in a box. Danny doesn’t tape the box shut so that it will be easier to open. The box is held shut by the tote bag. The Smart Doll is wrapped in bubble wrap, and placed in a bag in a kneeling position. This is such a clever way to pack such a tall doll, otherwise Smart Doll would arrive in huge boxes.

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The inside of my accessories box looks rather sparse because I didn’t order any extra clothes or accessories, but if I did, they would all be in here.  What I received was the wig, which you have to place on the doll yourself, and a telescoping doll stand.

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The bag with the doll stand also contained two business cards for Smart Doll, as well as a piece of vinyl. I wasn’t sure what this was until someone in a Smart Doll collector group on Facebook informed me that its used to test dark clothing before putting it on your Smart Doll, in case it stains the vinyl. That Danny Choo thinks of everything!

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As I mentioned previously, Smart Dolls arrive packed in bubble wrap, in a kneeling position to save space.

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Thankfully, both the outer bubble wrap and the inner plastic wrap are taped into tubes, so I was able to simply slip them off. I hate having to battle the excessive amount of tape some people use with bubble wrap when wrapping dolls. Don’t you?

Here’s my first look at Mirai Suenaga unwrapped. She sure is a tall drink of water.

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I love her anime face.

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Now for her wig. Danny’s unboxing video had tips on how to place her wig correctly, which I found helpful. The wig is of very good quality. I’m not sure if it’s Saran, but it feels very silky and luxurious.

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Much better! Isn’t she sweet?

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Now for the coolest thing about Smart Dolls. They come with that telescoping stand I mentioned earlier. Smart Dolls have a hole in their lower backs to accommodate the stands:

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The telescoping stand allows Smart Dolls to stand without a bulky stand gripping them around the waist, or with an obvious base. The telescoping stand can be positioned behind their legs so Smart Dolls look like they’re standing on their own.

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Smart Dolls come apart easily, which is necessary for dressing them, or for changing out their busts. You will need to take their arms and head off to put clothes on them. When removing the head and the mid-sized bust that is included with each Smart Doll, you can see the innovative inner skeleton of Smart Dolls.

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Smart Dolls are larger (and more expensive) than most of the fashion dolls I collect, but I like that their larger size means their clothing is more detailed and realistic  – closer to what people actually wear. While the clothing on the Smart Doll website may be expensive, they are hand-made by seamstresses who work for Smart Doll. But if Smart Doll clothes aren’t in your budget, places like eBay, Etsy, and Ali Express have plenty of fashions available for 1/3 BJD dolls. I have quite a few pieces of clothing coming my way from China as we speak!

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All in all, I really love my Smart Doll. I like her cute anime face. She’s really sweet. I also like that her size will allow me to have a lot of fun dressing her up in different outfits. Now I just need to figure out where I can put her to do some proper doll photography. I might have to take her outside and hope that the neighbors don’t see me playing with dolls!

What do you think of Smart Dolls? Would you collect a doll this size?

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 The Smart Doll boy’s t-shirt that I won from eBay arrived the same day as Mirai but I didn’t open it until after I wrote this post, so I’m adding this photo to show that at least she has one article of clothing. She still needs some pants, though.