Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thrift Store find: Barbie foldaway dollhouse, with extras

The local thrift store is trying mightily to upgrade themselves beyond "junk shop" status. While they have finally gotten rid of most of the broken/torn up/stained/etc. junk that has been cluttering up the toy section bins, that means they've also done away with the "Everything you can cram into a Wal-Mart bag is $1" policy. Moving forward, things will have values assigned to them. This really stinks for things like small toys and stuff. That policy was why I got the contents of the "MegaHaul" post for such an insanely cheap price.

Well, I managed at least to send the old policy out with a slightly muted bang, considering that I found a foldaway Barbie dollhouse on my last trip of the "dollar bag" deal days.

"I'm telling you, the last house that got brought home for dolls was claimed by the CATS! How does that happen?"
"Just turn around and you'll see."
 Finn wanted to be in this review. The little house folds up into a decently small case, and the whole thing is covered in stickers to give the appearance of a fully-appointed home. The bicycle is a nice touch, I think.
"Even I question if this is too much pink!"
Let's take the tour! Opening up the little home gives the impression of a really luxurious college dorm room. Nearly everything is (of course) Barbie hot pink, or at least accented with it. Cupid seems like she could be the owner of this place, doesn't she? Just to your left of the door, the living room!
Carnival games? In my living room? It's more likely than you think!
Much like the inquisitive giant cat monster, not everything seems to actually belong to this set.
How do you keep the toilet paper from getting wet?
To the right of the door is the tiniest and most convenient bathroom you'll ever see. You can shower AND use the toilet at the same time. Not even the guys who design RV's are this creative with saving space! The lid to the toilet opens and shuts.
I'm jealous. MY dorm room didn't have a kitchenette!
On the other side of the bathroom wall is an efficiency kitchen with a mini fridge. A single blue plate and pink lid were in the fridge. You'll note that they've completely overwhelmed the tiny sink.
A chair but no table? Do we just eat at the stove?
Beyond the kitchen is a cleverly designed foldaway staircase, which tucks up under itself when you put the house away. Also, a tall pink chair!
Scratchy-scratchy!
A snap-on lantern is decorative AND a great kitty head-scratcher!

See that bed? Olympic gymnasts practice for the balance beam by sleeping there.
That brings us to the second floor, which seems to balance precariously on the ledge formed by the staircase wall. (is there a missing part that is supposed to hold that up?) This room has a large window, a balcony railing, a chandelier, and a really skinny bed. Hope you don't toss and turn in your sleep, Cupid.

But let's head back to the first floor for a moment. You see, there was a bag of miscellaneous stuff that I also grabbed when I picked up this house.
And all Barbie-size or smaller. A shame.
It had this surfboard-topped cabinet, and all of these shoes that had pairs!
As well as all of these shoes, which did not. (That silver Skipper shoe is so lonely...)
Random bags and accessories.
And a couple of pets. I'm liking that lizard!
Now my dollies can have dollies! Dolly-ception!
LOTS of Polly Pocket dolls, and clothes. And a dresser for them.
Rarity has nightmares about this hairdo happening to her.
And even a few ponies. The fella on the end is pretty interesting.

"That's all, folks!"
"Now excuse us while we evict this darned cat!"
All in all, not bad for the buck fifty I gave. With a little sprucing up, it could make a nifty little house for some lucky dolls. Not like the last one. Which the cats still sleep in and on.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thrift store find: Our Generation doll

The gal in red is a new thrift store find, an Our Generation doll. This 18" American Girl knockoff is from a line that (I think) is a Target exclusive, made by Battat.


I found her wearing this battered red dress and (random) riding helmet at the local shop. She came home with me for $2.

She has a wire armature inside her limbs, which gives her freakish cartoon-character bendy arms. My Madame Alexander (still nameless) doll was horrified.
Her dress does not fit well. In fact, it gapes open in the back. I thought this meant her dress was another off-brand.
But to my surprise, the dress is by the same company. Maybe this dress was from an earlier (or later?) version of the line?

Comparing blondie here with M. Alex, you can see that M.A. is rather hippy. O.G. has slightly longer legs, an all-cloth torso, and a slightly older looking face.
M. Alex fits in O.Gen's dress much better, and her vinyl shoulders mean that the neck of the dress actually looks nicer on her, too. A little cleanup on the hem of the skirt and it might look pretty nice.
It even closes in the back for her!

I've noticed that the display for the Wal-Mart 18" dolls is gone, and today I saw that Toys R Us brand Journey Girls seemed like they weren't being restocked either. Is the American Girl knockoff market drying up? 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Taeyang Willy Wonka

After much deliberation, I bought this swanky gentleman for myself as part of my birthday/post Christmas spending spree.
Photo credit: Amazon.com listing
I'm one of the weirdos who preferred Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka to Gene Wilder's. (It's the tunnel recitation, mostly. That scared the crap out of me as a kid and I never forgave Wilder's Wonka for it.) Oddly enough, this is the only Johnny Depp who does anything for me.
Photo credit: Tim Burton productions, I think?
Anyway, here he is in the box. You can see all his little accessories are tacked up on the sides and back.
And thanks to Monster High, I can't see that window as anything but a coffin.

Side view of the box. (Sorry for the bad lighting!)

Back of the box.
Everything's attached inside the tray, and it's a little surprising to realize how much is in there with him. (Instruction sheet not shown)
Does he look frightened to you? I feel like he's looking a little freaked out.
And here he is, out of the box, with all his accessories and things!
Ah. Freedom. How sweet it is.
The attention to detail is amazing, which made it all the more surprising that his cane wasn't made to look like it was full of Nerds candy like in the film.
100% Nerds-free?
His hat is quite dapper looking, even though it does attract every speck of dust in the room like a magnet.
A big head calls for a big hat!
The band of the hat is actually a little off-center from the back of the hat. I'm not sure if this was accidental or on purpose.
He also comes with his gloves, which look rather mitteny. I think I'll be leaving these in the package so they don't take to wandering off one at a time like Anna's.
Mittens. For your protection.
There is also a pair of goggles, as in the film.
Let's beam away some bratty kids!
They have thick white elastic to hold them on. I'll be leaving them in the package for now, as well. 
He also comes with a metal and plastic stand. The molded plastic is chocolate brown in color. 


 If you believed hard enough, it might actually be real chocolate! The raised filligrie is a nice decorative touch.



Lastly, Willy has a collector card. Note that they even got his stylized "W" monogram right!

Willy's coat is a sturdy corduroy material, and holds it's shape well. It has a tag that says "Taeyang" on the inside lining.
Details include nicely-applied buttons on the sleeves.
One thing I don't like about this coat is that it sheds everywhere! Will's hands (and feet) are a softer vinyl instead of the hard plastic that the rest of his body is made of, and his hands are excellent at picking up bits of shed fluff.
Fuzz?
 Here's Will minus his coat. He has long black pants and a double-breasted looking long sleeved shirt which has metallic gold cuffs and collar instead of the paisley pattern he sported in the film. He also has silvery socks on under his shiny black shoes. Under THAT, he was encased in almost skin-tight plastic, which was a pain to safely remove without cutting him.
Black is very slimming.
His soft plastic shoes look pretty much identical to the ones in the film. The socks make getting the shoes on and off even easier. Notice that the pattern on them makes a large "W"!
Will's got beautiful violet eyechips, and with the mechanism included, can change move his eyes, wink or blink. His wig has nicely silky-feeling hair.
"Ohai."
Look left.
"Where are my Oompa Loompas?"
Look right.
"I'm sure they must be here somewhere."
Wink left.
"Looks like it's just you and me!"
Wink right.
"You know what THAT means...!"
And full blink. His eyelids have a cocoa-brown color to them.
"It means I'm going to close my eyes and hope you go away."
Under all that black, Willy Wonka is very, very pale! And the back side of his body is absolutely full of screws.
"Oh great, the dream where I'm in a doll review naked."
And I'm not sure if it was like this to start with or not, but mine has a slightly loose-feeling right shoulder joint. It just feels kind of... wiggly. His right leg also shows a distinct tendency to want to slide out at the knee, but this is quickly remedied by just pushing it back in gently. His neck also has an extra point of articulation at the collar, which adds just a little bit more movement to him.
Wiggly loose shoulder.

So what fits Will? Well, so far I've discovered that 1D doll pants are a slightly loose fit, where Disney Store Prince pants (and classic Ken pants) are even more loose. Mattel's Flynn Rider shirt fits okay with a little cinching, and Monster High boy shoes fit him fantastically.
"I assure you that I really AM Flynn Rider!"
Current Ken clothes (or at least Eugene's pinstripe suit) are just a little tight, but look pretty nice!
From the back..
Just a little tight.
Yep, pretty nice.
Okay, this is getting out of hand.
One thing to note, I discovered during this that his wrists will only bend perpendicular to the faint seam on his wrist.
There it is. Don't loose track of it!
Also, his feet can and WILL come off if you put shoes that don't have sufficient give on him, then try to take them off. I have no pics of that because I was freaking out that I'd broken him. Luckily, they pop right back on.


All in all, I'm happy to have him in my collection since I love the character, but I'm a bit put off by how delicate he is. I want to try posing him more, but I'm afraid something will snap and break! For $50 on Amazon.com, his fragile frame is a little disappointing. Maybe after he's hung around a little longer, I'll feel more daring with displaying and posing him. For now though, I'll be storing him in his box. Will was a bargain, but that doesn't mean he was cheap.