Saturday, May 4, 2019

Thrift Shop Find: The Jem Rockin' Roadster

We all remember the 80's most over the top hair band doll line, right? Jem was a bit short-lived, but it is hard to find someone who grew up in the early 1980s who hasn't heard of it. Personally, the only Jem doll I had (other than my sad little homemade Stormer) was Jem/Jerrica herself. I absolutely loved the dolls box art but since they couldn't share clothes with Barbie, it wasn't as attractive (to me, at least) to collect them. Sorry Jem, but redressing and restyling has always been my number one love when it comes to doll lines.

Anyway, like any self-respecting doll line of the era, Jem had a car. And like most of Jem's stuff, it came in eye-peeling clashing neon colors. Go ahead and take a moment to appreciate the amazing atrociousness of the original colors at the Jem Wikia for a moment. It is an experience you have to have lived through the 80s to fully appreciate.

At any rate, on a recent thrift store crawl, I noticed the telltale curves of this car sticking out of a donation box.

Instead of a rave, this color combo looks straight out of Rose Petal Place.
This, as you may have deduced from the wikia up there, is the second release of the car from the Glitter n' Gold toy line. More subdued colors did not, unfortunately, mean that they were ready to step down from having the windshield be hot pink. The radio in the trunk still seems to be in working order. The only things missing (other than some paint) are the roof piece and what might be a gear shift. The car's main problem is just being dirty from sitting around in someone's storage unit for a few years.

HOW are all these stickers still hanging in there?
The interior stickers look like they're probably all there (if peeling a bit), which is frankly shocking to me. The steering wheel being present is also something of an anomaly. Isn't that usually the first piece to go?

Vroom! Vroom!
The Jem dolls were larger than Barbie, so this car is a bit out-scale for Barbie-sized dolls. Or... is it maybe actually in *better* scale? This is supposed to be a big ol' touring car, after all!

So- the problem is this: I have no idea what to do with this thing. I absolutely could NOT leave it behind at the shop at the price they gave me (and believe me, I pulled it up on ebay and tried to convince them to rethink that price), so here I am with this car. The "chrome" finish is coming off in a few places, and the plastic is scratched in some others. The idea of repainting it is somewhat appealing, but that hot pink windshield is really cramping the style of my preferred color combinations. (Some hot rod red, black and gold would look amazing on this body style, wouldn't it?)

Apologies for the messy hair, open-air car testing is windy work!
So what do you think? Should I try my hand at repainting the car or just attempt to restore it to it's weird color combination glory? What colors would look better, in your opinion?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Blooming views

Hey again, all. Long time, no blog!

I've been finding some crazy stuff at the thrift shop lately, including a car I desperately need to clean up and photograph. One of my most favorite recent-ish finds was a Barbie Fairytopia doll whose body was.. let's say it was rough. REAL rough. I'm not familiar with the Fairytopia movies, but Amazon leads me to believe this character's name is Lumina. I put her on a spare Made to Move body.

I love her big, anime-style eyes! Her blue hair is something else, too. It sheds like crazy, but thankfully it's so thickly rooted that there's no appreciable loss of thickness yet. The roses are blooming, so let's see her there.

Unfortunately, those big gorgeous eyes are printed a little off-center, as you can see here. Lumina's pointy elf ears are another feature I really like. There was a sun-themed doll I also got at the store when I picked Lumina up, but her ears aren't as pronounced as Lumina's are. The other doll's hair is a huge mess, and I don't have a new body for her yet.

Madame Alexander's Marvel Fan Girl Gwen Stacy here is a doll I picked up during the big Toys R Us clearance last year. I don't especially care for the character, and I honestly got her because she was super-cheap, I was curious if I could re-root her, and I had already decided the Iron Man doll I got was probably never coming out of her box after finding out her beautiful golden skintone was painted on.

So why hasn't Gwen here had anything done besides a redress? Well, several reasons. Her hair is amazing. Really. It's a soft, silky fiber and I really hate to chop it off. Except her bangs, that is. Her bangs are terrible and should be ashamed of themselves. That V-cut makes her forehead look enormous. Another reason is that the doll I've currently been working on has me stymied and I both refuse to accept defeat and also keep getting really frustrated with him.

The last reason? Look I'll be honest. It's lazyness.

One last thing- I saw Toy Story 4 Bo Peep at Walmart today. She's got pretty good articulation! And it's nice to see that she's got rooted hair when they could definitely have gotten away with just molding it on there. The extra outfit is another nice touch. I didn't pick her up, but I really hope some owner pictures surface of her soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Battle of the Tiny Cars!

The question came up recently over at Planet of the Dolls: Are the World's Smallest Hot Wheels cars 1/6 scale? I was pretty sure that they were just a little big, about the size of a Micro Machines car. I have several Micro Machines lurking around, and I got a World's Smallest Hot Wheels car from a World's Smallest blind box last year (or was it the year before?), so I thought I'd dig them out and compare!

Actually, the World's Smallest IS smaller! Color me shocked! They're a bit better proportioned than the Micro Machines cars, as well. The Micro Machines always seem to have that adorable chibi sort of look to them. Sadly, when I removed my tiny Hot Wheels from its packaging, I discovered that the front wheels do not roll that well. It may just be an issue with the particular car I have, as the fenders nearly sit on the tires.

I think the World's Smallest cars may still be a little too big to really call 1/6, but they're a really good prop for dolls. Incidentally, the local Walmart has started up their annual toy purge (which now takes place AFTER Christmas instead of in August, and you're seeing my two purchases from it: a Barbie Fashionista ($2), and Barbie Made to Move Laurie Hernandez ($7). They were a perfect match skintone-wise, and now I have this headswap marvel for less than $10!

Friday, January 11, 2019

More about #Snapstar Dolls

Today I'm revisiting/expanding on my previous post about the #Snapstar doll I found just the other day. As you may recall, there was an app which has since been published. Additionally, I've got a few photos of some clothing options. And shoe options! Because we all love some shoe options!

The app screen
First, let's take a quick look at the app. #Snapstar Studio is still a work in progress, but it's functional and very easy to use. I previously had some misgivings about how well that the green screen would work when it had some obvious creases in it from being folded up in the box. Let's put it to the test.

Looking a bit green.
Here's a screencapture of Yuki as seen in the app, without a background chosen. As you can see, she's been digging in the doll closet already. But let's tap that background button in the lower left and pick a background.

Load holodeck program: Scenic Waterfall!
There's a slider on the screen to adjust how much of the green screen is filtered out, but you know what? This is surprisingly good in my opinion. Keep in mind that this is also photographed with a single awful light source in my cave of a house at night, and yeah- that's not the greatest but with more even light? It might look even better, yet. There's a bit of color bounce from the GS that is hitting the doll and causing some issues, but for what it is? This is impressive, IMO.

Eat your heart out, Gravity!
Ouch, the focus failed on this one. But at least it demonstrates that thanks to the nifty Figma-style stand, you can pull off some gravity-defying poses! The app is still being worked on, so it's bound to only get better. Can you take a previously-shot GS photo and alter it?

What has science done?
Well, not really, no. You can't filter in a new background to an existing picture, but you can add a photo background from your phone's camera roll, and add stickers and such to an existing photo. I'm really kind of excited about how this app is going to develop. It would be really interesting if eventually you could make stop-motion videos with it someday. Being able to key in a background like this would be great for that!

Alright, so let's look again at the doll, and see some clothes and shoes.

That is a TON of articulation for $15.
So as I mentioned before, Yuki has an impressive number of joints. She's jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, knees and ankles. Her elbows even feature a cut in that allows her to fold her arms impressively, even letting her touch her own face. As you can see, Yuki's top and fishnets have given her a little bit of staining. That's unfortunate, but hopefully it will fade a bit with light exposure. Her torso and limbs are not a perfect color match, but it's not that bad.

Yuki goes preppy
Sleeveless or short-sleeved Bratz tops work really well for #Snapstar dolls, and I think these leggings came from a Skipper doll. Interestingly, the Tall/Curvy Barbie shoes are a perfect fit!

Slightly oversized looks sweet
Some Bratz dresses work pretty well on them, also. Their torsos are a pretty similar length, so these clothes seem to fit pretty well with only a little bit of cinching in the back, if any. Their arms are not as long as Bratz, though. As you can see, it works okay on this dress, but on long sleeved tops it can look a bit off.

Those are some monster sleeves
Case in point. On the subject of pants, *some* pants work okay, like the ones in this pic. Most of the Bratz pants I have were way too long, though. These are a bit long, but the heels on the shoes make it passable. An additional note on Bratz tops: ones with higher necks are going to work best. Ones with a lower neck line are going to be indecent fast.

Ready to rock!
A Bratz tank and a pair of Equestria Girls leggings, with another pair of Barbie Tall/Curvy shoes. The leggings are a little bit tight and a little bit see-through, but not terrible. This has, oddly enough, become one of my favorite looks on her. Yuki is a rock and roll girl, after all!

I'm going to keep searching through my doll closet and see if I can find additional items that she can wear. She really is a ton of fun to photograph, and despite my initial misgivings about her giant Liv head, she has a ton of personality. I've also been finding more of my Liv wig collection as I search through my more obscure clothes and accessories, so she's getting quite a variety of looks.

I have seen a few fashion packs for these dolls on eBay, but none in my local stores. Honestly, I have not been that impressed with the ones I have seen online so far. In the meanwhile, it looks like I have a lot more options for Yuki than I originally thought!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

#Snapstar Dolls!

Happy New Year, guys! I don't know about you, but I usually treat myself to a random toy, doll, model or other indulgence after the holidays. This time I happened across some really interesting dolls with an intriguing gimmick that I haven't been able to check out yet.

$15.00 at Walmart

The #Snapstar dolls (the hashtag is important, I guess?) are a line of what looks like Bratz-size bodies, Liv-style heads, and a cool-sounding AR/green screen twist.

Here’s the box my doll came in, minus the doll. As you might have noticed, the box is very much like what an iPhone comes in. Inside you have the doll plus outfit, some accessories, a wig(!), and a green screen and stand (double !!s).

Note the classic #BugEyedSurprise Liv head/face
Here's the back of the box, that features some info about the app, along with images of the other dolls in the line, including one that is exclusive to

Here's a view of the side/inside of the box, which tells you how you can customize your doll. I love the illustration of the character on the side. The character illustrations are all absolutely adorable.

The green screen is all folded up so I wonder how that's going to work. The creases may make it more challenging to use. Since I cannot find the #Snapstar Style app in the App Store, I haven’t been able to test this out yet. The stand (also green) connects to a small hole on the back of the dolls shoulders. Check our all the joints to it! It reminds me of a Figma stand!

Yuki, wearing her accessories: a headband, a phone, and a star-shaped purse)

The doll herself is cute, even with the odd Liv-type head. The faces were always the weakest point of the Liv dolls to me. The position of the eyes really makes or breaks the doll. I swear I dug through all of the Yuki dolls to find this one. Since her eyes look slightly upwards, she seems like she has more personality to me.

Short hair don't care
 And like Liv, without the wig the doll has a lightly-sculpted, painted on head of short hair. Now how about replacement wigs?

The only thing I am less-than-enthused with on her faceup is the big ol' lips they painted on her.

Liv wigs fit these dolls perfectly! Here are a few more that I have tried on Yuki.

Your roots are showing, Yuki.

Do blondes have more fun? Will we ever know for sure? The only thing I can tell you is that this last wig makes her look super-sweet.

This one is my favorite so far!

I haven’t undressed this doll yet, but I can tell you she is articulated at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso(!), hip, knee and ankles. That is a LOT of joints for a doll this size! Her jacket and shirt are separate pieces, and I'm pretty impressed with what all they have done with this doll for just $15, even before taking the app into consideration.

I think I need another one, and I haven't even redressed this one yet.

Monday, November 5, 2018

GIANT Articulated Rapunzel Doll!

I had to share this. Remember that Rapunzel vanity I spotted awhile back that appeared to show an enormous, articulated Rapunzel doll?

Look what just showed up!

Priced at $54 at the local Walmart, these HUGE 32 inch tall dolls are astonishing to me. I mean look at that! Is that a ball joint on the head? Are those *articulated knees* on that photo? Can she actually stand unassisted?!

Move over, 28" Barbie, there's a new Sheriff in town, and she's wearing purple.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Wandering Walmart

Just a few interesting items I spotted at Arkansas' world-conquering retail wasteland recently. Take a look.
 The 18 inch My Life dolls have a ton of new playsets out. This sushi dinner set is really nice. I apparently didn't manage to get a pic of the adorable hamster/hedgehog pet set that was also available, though. 

 This bio lab set looks amazing for just under $8, though. Check out that microscope!

 I'm not big into the squishy toys, but I actually did consider this Smooshy Mushy Bento set. You know I love red pandas. Also, am I crazy or is this package missing some squishies? I didn't even notice that in the store.

I didn't think anything of this Disney Princess vanity set at first, and then I noticed that the giant doll has articulation at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hip, and KNEES. That's a huge amount of joints for such a large doll! We don't seem to have the doll (yet?), but it will be interesting to look at her when/if she appears.

SparkleGirlz is apparently getting into the "collectable mini surprise doll" market.

A surprise pooping unicorn. Well, I guess it was only a matter of time. This sparkle-tastic barrel of WTF was marked $49.94 and promises both that it "magically poops slime" and that it has 20+ magic surprises. Pooping slime sounds like a medical condition, not something "magical".

 The back of the package shows super-sparkle artwork of the four characters in... oddly... kinda... okay, I am at a loss, here. Would you call those "sexy poses"? Because the whole notion of marrying the concepts of "sexy" and "incontinence" is just... I'm not sure I was ready to have that idea introduced to my brain today. Let's move on to the last and also poop-themed thing I took a picture of.

I have to admit; in a way, it amuses the hell out of me that someone's making poop-centric toys specifically for the girly market. Look how happy that toilet is!