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!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

She doesn't have a name! Or does she?

I've searched for the appropriate fake fur to no avail, so I went ahead and tried something else. I forget who I saw do the "tie yarn around a wire and brush it out" method. It might have been Dollightful on YouTube? At any rate, I may redo this tail later, as it's not *quite* what I had in mind. Anyway, I now present: The Nameless Red Panda doll!

Um, hi?

She doesn't *technically have a name, but I'm really, *really* tempted to call her Ninghong.

She's a bit shy.

I'm definitely going to have to tidy up that tail a bit. I was lucky enough to find a skein of Red Heart in an ombre called Latte Stripe. A little glue and some very haphazard trimming later, and Ning's got herself a fluffy butt appendage!

She actually started out as a naked, beddraggled Sophia the First doll I found at the thrift shop. I wish I could have saved her original hair, the color was just about *perfect*, but it was also full of glue. So very, very full of glue. I happened to find a lady selling doll wigs at the flea market for a dollar each (!), and this wig was the best fit and color match of the couple I bought. (On that note, where did you go, wig lady? I have gone back twice desperate to give you more of my money!)

Ning's ears are more of my Crayola Model Magic clay, shaped into half-cones and then blushed on the back with chalk pastels, then fluffed with some white craft fur to give them that fuzzy look. I actually did her whole head in layers of watercolor pencil, and had given her original body a similar treatment. Sadly, no matter what I tried with her body, the color always chipped off. Pencil, chalk pastel, it all was useless against friction. I've seen actual doll artists on YouTube have some success with the pastel blushing, but I think they must use a much better sealant than I have (Krylon model sealant), or they just have a better idea what they're doing.

The body I ended up putting her on is a Madame Alexander Play doll of the 6.5" variety, who I felt terrible about beheading until I actually got Ninghong's head on the doll. The extra little bit of articulation at the knees and elbows gives her more posing options, and even though the head is a *little* wobbly on the doll, it means that now she can tip her head endearingly to the front and back. All together, I think I spent about $12-14 on this doll.

I'm still digging around looking for outfit options for her since I don't have a lot of clothes that seem to fit her. This Dora the Explorer dress is pretty cute on her, though! The leggings she's wearing came on the doll, and the shoes came on Madame Alexander Play 6.5" Snow White.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Coming soon: A new custom!

Wow, I haven't posted since May! A lot of stuff has happened since then, and I'm still needing to post about what all I bought during the last dying days of Toys R Us (RIP), but for now I wanted to share a quick peek at the custom I've been working on.

No prizes for guessing the theme.

I just have her tail and maybe a better wig for her to go before she's done! And figuring out a name, of course.