The Hobbit was one of my favorite books when I was little, my dad even gave me a special 50th anniversary edition of the book that has a gold hardcover and matching book sleeve. However I waited to see the movie until it left the theaters, but once I saw it I absolutely loved it (even with the changes to the story line)! I can’t wait for the next movie, but I can wait for the inevitable fate of the cutest Dwarf characters (I predict I’ll be balling my eyes out if that plot line stays the same as the book)! And being a lover of action figures from my favorite movies/books/tv shows, I really wanted a hobbit figure.
Name: Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Company: The Bridge Direct
Back Story: Bilbo is a Hobbit (a type of being living in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth) and the main character of The Hobbit, one of my childhood favorites. In The Hobbit, Bilbo leaves his comfortable home (very strange for a hobbit since they like to keep to themselves and enjoy the little things in life) and travels across Middle Earth with a group of Dwarves to help them reclaim their lost treasure from a dragon. The Hobbit is also the prequel to the Lord of the Rings series.
Packaging: Bilbo comes in a bubble package on a cardboard back. Usually I don’t care much about keeping collectibles in their packaging, but this time I think I’ll keep Bilbo sealed up. I’m not really sure why, but it’s probably because I like the cardboard designs a lot. I can’t say if I’ll leave him in there forever (I just might, especially if I can get my hands on that sweet 5 pack that includes Bilbo, Thorin [swoon!], Fili, Kili [also swoon to both of them!], and Dwalin [not so much swoon...]).
Number of Joints: 12, since I haven’t opened the package I don’t know how well his joints move but that’s a lot of joints for such a small guy.
Hair and Face: I held off getting this figure for a while because I didn’t think the face looked much like Martin Freeman, but the overall design of the figure is a good representation of what I think Bilbo could look like. I’d have rather had Martin Freeman, but that’s ok.
Clothing: Bilbo’s clothes are great, just like a hobbit would wear and just like the movie, though I don’t remember the scarf.
Accessories: Bilbo comes with a lot of accessories: a pack, a water bottle (think), and his “sword” Sting. There is also a sheath for Sting attached to his waist. It’s great that he can wear all his accessories so none of them would get lost, theoretically.
Overall: I love the Hobbit, so of course it’s fun to have a figure from both the book and movie. I really want to get a Thorin and Gandalf figure too.
Cutie Pop dolls have been out for a while now, and they are really cute but just not quite for me. Their heads are so big! But the mix and match quality of these dolls is an interesting idea. I’m just not much of a pastel girl. At the beginning of this year a new group of slightly cheaper (because they have less extra pops and only one pair of hair extensions) Cutie Pops were released that were super brightly colored and kind of mod inspired. I loved Magenta, but never saw her in stores.
Then Emily, the Toy Box Philosopher, reviewed Magenta and mentioned that she liked Tangerine better – some how in the comments after I mentioned I really wanted a Magenta but hadn’t seen one yet, she offered to send her Magenta to me for free! Emily is such cool person, I’m convinced. So THANK YOU Emily, Magenta is really awesome!!
Name: Swirly Brights Magenta
Company: Jada Toys
Back Story: None
Packaging: Unknown, but from the looks of it, lots of plastic.
Height: 11″ if you’re not including her hair
Number of Joints: 7, they all move very well except her knees are really stiff and the seam on her thighs looks like it opens up a little when you bend the knees. I don’t really know what is typical for these doll since this is my first one.
She has a very small body and large head (3″ wide!). Her torso has defined collar bones and ribs, which is interesting for a children’s play doll. She also has flat feet that seem to be permanently pointed inward.
Hair and Face: With such a big head, Magenta’s hair and face are obviously the focus of design and I think she’s really cute. I love the pink hair of course, but her two fluffy puffs of curly hair are the best! They’re light and fluffy and stand straight up, and don’t look like they’re about to loose their bounce anytime soon.
Magenta’s face is pretty exaggerated but very well done I think. The hair painted on her head and her lips are nearly the same color, and she has some light, heart shaped blush spots on her cheeks. Her eyes are the biggest feature though since they’re large, sparkly, ridiculously over designed, and removable. Since Magenta is a cheaper doll than the normal Cutie Pops she doesn’t come with any extra eyes or hair which would have made her even more fun, but that’s ok I’ll probably just look out for an add on set that looks good with her bright pink. When you take Magenta’s eyes off though she becomes super creepy. I might paint the insides of the sockets black so it’s not so weird…
Clothing: Magenta wears a simple sleeveless dress made of stiff polyester and rubber boots. The dress is really well made and I like the collar a lot. There are three pop holes on the front to decorate the dress.
Accessories: Magenta comes with 8 pop decorations, 2 bows, a pick comb and 2 eyes. She is also wearing earrings but those aren’t removable. I like how the comb can hold the extra 3 pops that don’t fit on the doll (3 fit on the dress and two on her hair bows). The pops are all swirly (hence the “Swirly Bright” title) and have nice color combinations, mostly I think I like how these pops aren’t crazy glittery or made to look like candy like most of the other dolls seem to have. In fact the only glitter on her is on her eyelashes and the center strip on her dress (probably supposed to represent a zipper).
Overall: She is very fun and definitely unique among my other dolls, but I love her pink curly hair!
Name: Minty Zaki
Back Story: Minty Zaki is one of the many racers in the Sugar Land game, from the movie Wreck-It Ralph, that bully and exclude the glitch racer Vanellope Von Schweetz. We know already how much I love this movie, seriously, it makes me cry every time I see the ending. Anyways, Minty Zaki isn’t a very big character in the movie so it’s nice that she’s getting an action figure, but weird at the same time because many other characters didn’t get figures in this size (I would totally get a Calhoun action figure if they made any).
Sweet-styled racers compete for victory on the Taffy Track that weaves around Sugar Rush island.
Packaging: Minty comes in a simple bubble package, I like the graphic design of the cardboard backing.
Height: 4″ (4.5″ if you include her bow)
Number of Joints: 5, while there aren’t many joints on this figure, Minty actually has really good range of motion. Her arms rotate in all directions and her head can tilt (if only a little bit). The legs are jointed similarly to lalaloopsies’ “rag doll” legs so they can move independently but they’re much more stable. She holds her poses pretty well, even if she doesn’t always balance well with that big head.
Hair and Face: Minty’s face is a great representation of the animated character and for the most part her paint is all really well done. Except for one bit of missing paint right on the top of her head that I somehow missed in the store. I think in the movie Minty’s hair bow was clear so that would have been a nice to include, but it’s not a big deal.
Clothing: Again, Minty’s clothes are just like in the movie and are very cute.
Accessories: This series of figures doesn’t come with any accessories.
Overall: Minty is a very fun little figure, for not coming with any accessories though she’s a little over priced at $11, but she’s also very sold and heavy for her size. I am really tempted by the other two girls in the line, Vanellope and Jubileena (why did they only make three? and no Taffyta?!).
I have been so excited for Maudlynne ever since she was first revealed at NY Toy Fair back in February 2012. But then she wasn’t released until late 2012, she was only for sale through the Tonner website (so you had to pay shipping), and she was crazy expensive (for what you got in the doll, not compared to other Tonner dolls of course!). So I waited. I knew either a) she would go on sale some day or b) I would save up enough for her (both mentally and financially, can’t go buying every single doll that catches my fancy after all).
Then, the first day of NY Toy Fair 2013 back in February, she goes on sale! So I grabbed the chance and I think I picked a great moment to bring Maudlynne home. I will be comparing Maud to my Little Miss Matched (LMM) doll Leone a lot in this review because they share the same body mold and yet have a much different price point.
(WARNING: Naked dolls ahead!)
Name: Maudlynne Macabre. I think at one point her name was Maudlynne McCobb because that name is (still) on her bio picture at Tonner Toys (how did they miss that glaring mistake?). I kindof like Maudlynne McCobb better. Either way she’ll be Maud to me.
Company: Tonner Toys
Back Story: From the Tonner website:
Our favorite 10 year old resides in a Victorian mansion in Upstate New York and favors dark chocolate, black cats, moonlight walks on lonely beaches, all nocturnal creatures and musty attics-particularly those frequented by her best friend (and ghost) Victoria and her side kick Edgar Allen, the talking Raven. Although generally shy, she aspires to have a career as a TV or internet clairvoyant, a role in which her modern Victorian Chic style will prevail. Come, enter Maudlynne’s truly macabre world and prepare for some other-worldly adventures.
Honestly I think they could have come up with a slightly more compelling back story but that doesn’t matter too much. Adult collectors don’t care about the story I think, but children do and you would think Tonner Toys, being a children’s toy company (even if it is an off shoot of the adult doll collector company), should get up to speed with that. As a side note, I saw pictures from Toy Fair 2013 of Victoria and I was not very impressed, she’s just a blonde version of Maudlynne. I was hoping she would have white skin to be more ghostly.
Packaging: Maud came in a simple cardboard sleeve box with a window. It was pretty easy to get her out and I am so happy they didn’t sew her hair down onto plastic like a lot of play dolls are. The only annoying thing was the plastic ties shot into her head to hold the headband in place, those were really hard to cut.
Height: 15.5″ because her head is bigger than the LMM dolls
Number of Joints: 10. As I said above, Maud shares the same body mold as the LMM dolls, same type of plastic and everything (reason #1 why she shouldn’t be more expensive than the LMM dolls, if your keeping track). Her limbs might be made of a slightly different plastic because there is some color differences. I was surprised when I took off her dress to inspect her that her arms and legs seemed to be poorly made. It’s like they had trouble at the factory pulling her limbs out of the molds. She has some staining too from her red dress, though there is a red stain on her left arm that isn’t covered by the dress so I don’t know how that one got there.
Hair and Face: Maud has a completely new head mold by Robert Tonner that is bigger than LMM dolls’ already large, cartoonish head. Maud is very pretty, but not exactly what I was expecting – I think her promotional photos are a little deceiving. In all the pictures of her on the Tonner sites, you never see how pointy her chin is. I tried to take pictures of her and get one that looked like that thinking maybe it’s just the angle, but I couldn’t.
The second difference is her face paint, the pictures online (and on her box) really look hand painted because you can see color variations and brush strokes, but the real dolls have screened on face paint just like the LMM dolls. If she had been hand painted like other Tonner collectable dolls I would completely understand the price jump, but she’s not.
Maud’s hair seems very nice and long though, I think it might be a better quality fiber than my LMM doll Leone has (who’s hair is practically unmanageable by me) but it’s hard to compare because Leone has curly hair.
Clothing: I love Maud’s little victorian inspired dress, it’s a great style and the fabric is a very nice quality synthetic (I refuse to believe it can be anything other than synthetic unless Tonner proves me wrong). It’s sewn fairly well, not the most amazing piece of doll clothing I’ve seen, but it doesn’t need to be. The only sewing aspect that bothers me a little is that the waist of her tights isn’t finished. The edges of the fingerless gloves aren’t finished either but I don’t think they’ll ravel because of the type of netting material. Maud’s shoes are a black version of the LMM mary-jane shoes except in a softer rubber.
One thing to mention about clothing for Maud and LMM dolls, I found a site selling really cute sewing patterns for this body here. I have not tried these patterns yet but I’ll let you know how they are when I do. I have also made a few free patterns.
Accessories: Other than her clothes, none. It would have been awesome if they had included a little pet raven for her.
Overall: I totally love Maud, she is an awesome doll. BUT I do not think she is worth the prices Tonner was trying to sell her for. When she first went on sale her price was a steep $60, a few months later I noticed that she had dropped to $50, then after the Toy Fair sale she dropped again to $45. I can understand $45 better than $60 because she’s a Tonner site exclusive and therefore won’t have nearly as large circulation and sales as the LMM dolls, but she isn’t much better quality than the LMM dolls either. I’m glad I got her on sale because $36 is much more realistic. I bet that’s why Tonner’s price dropped so much, because she wasn’t worth that much (I’m skeptical that the City Girls are worth that much either, but they’re more popular I guess. I have no interest in them).
While I have criticized Tonner for the price of Maud compared to what you get in the doll, I do really love this doll and I hope they keep making more of this size because they’re super cute. It wouldn’t hurt to put more effort into the back story though… and please make Victoria super pale!!! She’s a ghost after all!
I’ve never been much into comics, but I like fairy tails a lot and if you think about it, superheros are just modern versions of fairy tails! I also love female heroines and villanesses, because everyone knows women are the smartest and most cunning. So when I saw She-Hulk in the store, and read her story on the back of her card, I just couldn’t resist her awesome green muscles!
Name: She-Hulk from the Marvel universe
Back Story: Wikipedia goes into a little more depth, if you’re interested, but here’s what the back of her packages says:
After being shot by two crime syndicate thugs, attorney Jennifer Walters received a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner (The Hulk), giving her nearly identical HULK power. Walters has the same savage strength but, unlike the green goliath, her intelligence carries over into her SHE-HULK form. That unique combination of super strength and sharpened smarts made her one of the few heroes invited to become an official member of THE FANTASTIC FOUR.
Packaging: Like most action figures, She-Hulk comes in a simple plastic bubble on a cardboard backing. I do like the artwork of She-Hulk on the card, she looks really cool and scary.
Number of Joints: 24!! Crazy right? Most of her joints are pretty normal, she has lots of hidden pivot points on her arms and legs. Her ankles do some funny moves and look like she’s going to get a sprain if you rotate them. Also her knees have weird points on them that don’t seem to serve any purpose as far as I can tell. Unfortunately she can’t stand very well on her own unless she’s standing up right or leaning against something. I really need to find some stands for my girls.
Hair and Face: She-Hulk has a really great face: well sculpted, well painted, and looks fierce. Her hair is pretty nice too, it’s made of a different material than the rest of her body (more rubbery) so it can move a little, but mostly it just inhibits her head movement. The long hair on superheroines looks really cool, but who
fights the forces of evil does physical exercise with their hair down? That would just get annoying.
Clothing: She-Hulk wears a simple blue and purple leotard and matching boots and gloves. Everything is painted really well. The outfit is probably great for movement and way more practical (and less revealing) than other comic book women.
Accessories: None, other than a little cardboard “collectible comic shot” which is pretty useless.
Overall: This girl is tons of fun and very affordable at around $10 in stores (almost too affordable, these 3″ in figures are soo easy to accumulate if you’re not paying attention!)
I’ve shown my American Girl Molly doll on this blog before (of course Molly was always my favorite AG character when I was little, she has the same name as me!), but never really talked about her much (I’ve mentioned her more on my sewing blog where I’ve made clothing for her). I got Molly from my grandparents and aunt in the 90s for my birthday. I can’t remember exactly what year but it was around the time Josefina was introduced so maybe 1997-ish, around the time the Pleasant Company was sold to Mattel. My doll still has the Pleasant Company stamp on the back of her neck so I’m assuming she was made before they started making changes to the dolls (not that they made a ton of changes). I have mixed feelings about Mattel’s vision for AG, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Anyways, back then American Girl dolls were only sold through the catalog (I think, not totally sure) but in 1999 the first “American Girl Place” store was opened in Chicago. I’ve always thought it would be neat to visit one.
Just so happens I was in Minneapolis for a conference and had some extra time, so my companion and I took the light rail to the Mall of America. I actually didn’t know there was an AG store in the mall because it wasn’t there the last time I visited MoA in highschool. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time there because I had a friend with me (and she isn’t into dolls…) but it was a little overwhelming anyways because there is so much stuff and tons dolls staring blankly at you from out of their boxes.
My Molly doll and my little sister’s Samantha doll are the only AG products I own because, even though they make some really cool stuff, it’s all really expensive and seems to keep getting more expensive every year. I did ,however, buy something despite the overpricing of it, mostly because it’s slightly more special buying in person than online. And I’m weak when it comes to dolls…
This is Molly’s schoolbag set, the only accessory set I’ve always wanted. My childhood best friend and neighbor had tons of AG stuff, Molly’s schoolbag included, and I was always a little jealous. Plenty of awesome accessory sets for Molly have been retired so you never really know when this one will go away (or Molly in general either, she’s the only original character still being sold as a doll).
The whole set is very well made and includes quite a few pieces: schoolbag, “Gaining Skill with Words” book, three ring binder that actually opens, lined paper, pencil keeper, two fake pencils, rubber eraser, grade card, and math flash cards. The binder and bag are my favorite parts, they both feel really sturdy. The plastic parts of the binder that open and close could probably break easy over time, but it’s such a nice detail to add. And I love that everything can be securely kept inside the bagso nothing gets lost.
Molly’s original school outfit that she is pictured wearing on the cover of the book Molly Learns a Lesson is retired now, but you can find the sewing pattern for it on AG Playthings. I made the jumper and blouse a couple years ago.
Now, I love the AG historical characters (at least the older ones, I haven’t read any of the newer books) because their stories were always set at pivotal times in american history, even taking on tough subjects like war, child labor and slavery. But Mattel has been “retiring” the original character dolls and putting more emphasis on the modern dolls with surface-deep story lines like saving art class and being a gymnast. Sure, those are things that little girls are probably more concerned with nowadays, but I always though the point of AG was to teach history and try to understand more important subjects like social justice. To try and get girls to know they can help change history too. Not anymore I guess. At least all the books are still sold and available in libraries. This article from the Atlantic hits the nail on the head.
I’ll always have a special place for my doll because I loved the books and have good memories playing with her when I was little, but I doubt I’ll buy more AG dolls or accessories now that I have the only one I coveted.
Princess Leia will always be one of my favorite characters from Star Wars, so I had to pick up this Leia figure from the movie The Empire Strikes Back. Leia is dressed in the outfit she wore while visiting Lando Calrissian in Cloud City on the planet Bespin. I’m pretty convinced that my sisters and I used to play with an original vintage version of this figure when we were little, originally owned by our mom, aunts and/or uncles when the movie first came out. Here is what the figure looked like.
Name: Princess Leia (Bespin outfit)
Company: Hasbro using Kenner’s vintage designs I believe.
This awesome Princess Leia figure is rendered in careful detail to look just like the character in the Star Wars epic! Send her on her quest to protect the galaxy, armed with her blaster. Re-enact your favorite Star Wars battles or create brand new ones with this cool Princess Leia figure!
Back Story: Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (born Leia Skywalker Amidala; later Leia Organa Solo), often referred to as simply Princess Leia, is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. She is portrayed by actress Carrie Fisher in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Packaging: This series of vintage reproduction figures all come on a simple cardboard back and plastic encasing, just like the original figures did, even the artwork is the same.
Height: 3.25″, much shorter than most Star Wars figures I have, even other Princess Leia’s, but she’s more in scale with male figures because of it.
Number of Joints: 14, other than the quantity of joints the only thing special is Leia’s neck joint, which is a ball joint so it can rotate and tilt in all directions. Some of the exposed skin joints aren’t painted very well though.
Hair and Face: It seems that Carrie Fisher is difficult to capture well in miniature because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a really great sculpt of her face on an action figure, but this one isn’t bad (at least she doesn’t look like a man like my 1990s Leia in her iconic white dress). Her hair is awesome, I love all the braided hair styles Leia and Padme use.
Clothing: Being from the 1970s, Leia’s outfit is pretty dated looking, but it is accurate to the movie and even includes fabric instead of just plastic. None of the fabric is finished around the edges so they may not hold up well to play, but that’s not a concern with my figures. The vest and vest collar are removable, the skirt is not but I would worry about the skirt coming loose because you’ll never get it back on again.
Accessories: Other than her removable clothes, Leia come with a blaster gun like nearly all Star Wars figures do.
Overall: Leia is a great addition to my Star Wars collection and I’m glad to have her! I hope I can continue to find more versions of Leia.