Monday, October 29, 2012

Vanellope Von Schweetz racer toy review

So Wreck-It-Ralph opens in theaters this Friday, and I'm psyched! I found this little cutie at Wal-Mart today, oddly enough on the Bratz/Monster High aisle instead of on the display with the other WIR toys. Come to think of it, those other toys (Ralph and Felix figures, Ralph "Smashing" hands) had a different color scheme on their packaging. So.. we're making a distinction between 'Boys' and 'Girls' toys for the same line? Nice one Thinkway/Disney. Not.
So here we have a mini figure and kart based on female main character Vanellope Von Schweetz from the Sugar Rush game/world. The packaging notes that Vanellope fits in the kart.
Here's the back of the package, which notes various design elements of the kart and shows you a tiny preview of the other two figures in the series.

Let's play The Price is Right for a moment. What would you expect to pay for this mini figure and her kart? Vanellope stands about two and a half inches high. I was anticipating this being a $7.99 set, maybe $10 tops. My cash register receipt shows that they rang up as $13.95, though! Holy crackers, why so expensive? You can buy a very basic Monster High doll for that!

Here's Vanellope.She features three points of very basic articulation. I'm counting both her arms as a single point because they're joined together. You can sort of pull one side up higher than the other... sort of but not really.

Vanellope is very cute, with her Twizzler hair tie, candy sprinkled hair and mis-matched leggings. She sort of looks like a precocious little Candy Land orphan or something.

The drawbacks? Besides the disappointing articulation on her arms, her hip joint just *barely* moves. This means getting the hole in her feet to line up with the peg in her kart can be challenging. Additionally, Vanellope is so top-heavy that it's only with lots of trial and error and pure luck that will allow her to stand unassisted. Finally, her paint is rather rough in places.

Here's the kart, which seems to be a a chocolate-coated, sprinkle-bedazzled conglomeration. It's worth noting that unlike the other two karts shown on the back of the package, none of of the wheels on Vanellope's kart match up. The back wheels are oreo-lookalikes in vanilla and chocolate, and the fronts are.. well I'm not sure what they are. The left front looks like a lemon slice, and the right looks like a peppermint with an oddly-detailed picture of a strawberry on it. Christmas candy, maybe? The tires are gummy worms, according to the package, and the spoiler is a strawberry wafer. (Holy crap, I want to eat this car!)

"oof! I should nibble myself a door!"
The only thing I can think of to justify the crazy-high price tag on this set is the incredibly detailed go-kart. For the price tag, there's not a lot here. The kart is very nicely detail and looks utterly edible. (Make those oreo lookalikes matte-finished, and I would not be above considering licking this thing) It rolls very easily, too! The driver figure is very well sculpted, and has a nice level of detail, but the poor paint control and she leans forward like she's eagerly anticipating something when you can actually get her to stand.

Let's have a look at her in the kart, and and see how the full effect works out.

Okay, I've got to admit that's adorable.

Still, the peg and socket don't really line up, resulting in a rather loose fit. It doesn't take much of a jog to knock her clean out of the kart!

To sum up, I wouldn't really recommend this toy, even though the character is cute and the car toy looks utterly edible. It does a nice job of depicting the character and vehicle, if the commercials are anything to go by, but it's not really a $13.95 toy.

 Edit: Just to make this more puzzling, the Disney Store version of this toy that features additional sculpting on the car and a LOT of extra paint detail... plus a key-activated motion feature. 

It retails for $9.50. What the heck?

Bonus update:
I'm rerooting Giant Rapunzel using a tool and some saran I got on ebay. The color is a bit lighter than I was anticipating, so I've been supplementing the saran with the extremely nice hair from my extremely easily broken Midnight Magic (Monster High clone) doll. I'm sure the hair isn't the same type, but I'm hoping that gradually blending more and more of the saran in will result in something that looks okay. If not... well I guess I can yank it and start over with a hank of additional saran.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rapunzel vs. Rapunzel!

So I have claimed a new Disney Store brunette Rapunzel! I honestly thought I'd feel a lot more divided about keeping my custom Rapunzel as my fave, but honestly it's no contest. Tangled Ever After brunette Rapunzel comes with a wedding dress, but it's not the same exact dress as the blonde Ever After version that was out just a few months ago. This is a plainer, and I'd almost say cheaper-looking version of the dress.

Since I only have one wedding dress, I've got my Punzie in the best bridesmaid dress I could find, a Stardoll dress. Like the other Stardoll tops/dresses, this one doesn't close completely in the back on Liv-bodied custom Rapunzel.

DS (Disney Store) Rapunzel can't stand unassisted, so I used some Stardoll stands to introduce the girls properly.

It looks like this dress has a big petticoat under her skirt in the box, but in reality there is no petticoat, it's just a mass of paper under her skirt. The skirt of the dress is so long that it really needs the extra support, without it the hem of the dress buckles underfoot.

I was expecting the new fully-jointed body that the newest blonde Rapunzel has, so finding the barbie-legged older body was a bit of a disappointment. DS Rapunzel has pointed feet and weird little flat shoes that are obviously going to go from zero to lost the instant the clear rubber bands holding them on are taken off.
Here are the girls, undressed. And nope, I don't warn for doll nudity, because I find the notion of doing so to be pretty darned goofy. (it's a plastic DOLL, ffs!)

DS Rapunzel is actually a little taller than my Rapunzel (unless she's in heels!), and has no articulation at the waist or ankles. Her knees have the standard Barbie-type click to bend joints. I'm not sure why she looks so pale in this pic, the color difference doesn't seem nearly as pronounced irl!

Let's take a look at the girls' faces. DS Rapunzel's hair is much redder than my custom's, and it's cut a bit shorter. It comes with a goodly amount of gel in the front, probably to keep her hairstyle intact. The face mold appears to be identical, as best as I can tell (they both have that cute little half-smirk going on) but they're painted quite differently. Even if I swap their outfits, you can still tell very easily which is which, even by just looking at the faces.

DS Rapunzel's eyebrows are, for some reason, orange. This would make some kind of sense if they were trying to reach a happy middle ground that would work for both blond Rapunzel and brunette. Maybe that's what's going on? DS Rapunzel's lips are tinted with a striking magenta lipstick as opposed to the earlier model's more natural light pink. DS's freckles are also more pronounced, but the biggest difference is the eyes. DS's eyes are painted to be smaller, with demure lashes and a more blue-green iris. The shade line below the eye is a light brown, which stands out better than the earlier light green. Over all, I like my earlier Rapunzel's eyes better, but I admit I like that shade line and those lashes. Maybe a little custom paint is in order?

Progress on giant Rapunzel is going slooooow. It took a lot of effort to get her head off without breaking her neck completely, but I finally managed it! I'm now pulling out her old hair plugs and looking for new hair. I did buy her a pair of shoes, though. (I know, I know... but those arch-molded feet being shoeless just.... BUGS me. A pair of La Sioux heels look great on her! Lorifina shoes, btw, are WAY too big! The heels I wanted were white, but since these were really cheap, I took black ones as a substitute. If Giant Rapunzel comes out good, I'll look for more.

Incidentally, this doll will NOT hold her severed head. I tried to get her to do so as a Halloween-type gag, and she just refused to comply. I'm looking for a reddish-brown hair to use on her, similar in color to the new DS Rapunzel. Anyone have any suggestions?

"Dance with meeee!" 
"T-that's okay, I'll just watch."