Monday, March 31, 2014

Elsa vs. Elsa (plus color change dress photos!)

I previously mentioned how disappointed I was in the Mattel Color Magic Elsa doll, but I don't think I really demonstrated how sad her little dolly body really is.
Let's rectify that. First, there's the difference in coloration. DisneyStore!Elsa is a pale, pale almost lilac color, which means that unfortunately, she'd be a hard doll to bodyswap onto a new body. Mattel!Elsa is a more natural color, albeit a really really pale one. Mattel!Elsa also lacks the whimsical bangs that DisneyStore!Elsa sports.

Speaking of hair, Mattel!Elsa's hair is both shorter, and a paler color. this length and color is more movie accurate than DisneyStore!Elsa's, but DS!Elsa's hair is also much more attractively styled.

Mattel!Elsa has no articulation in her wrists, elbows, knees or ankles, so she's not going to be doing any crazy dance numbers.

However, she DOES have a nice range of motion for her head. She has trouble staying on the doll stand, but I'm sure you can tell that she can tilt her head further to the side than DisneyStore!Elsa. Her stiff body means that Mattel!Elsa looks like a quizzical, slightly tipsy robot, though.

Mattel!Elsa can also look further up than DisneyStore!Elsa.

But DisneyStore!Elsa is the winner on looking down. Aw, are you depressed, DisneyStore Elsa?

The biggest thing that Mattel!Elsa does impressively is sit. She doesn't have a fantastic range of motion in her hips, but she can sit flat on her rear at a championship level. This is how wide Mattel!Elsa's legs will splay when sitting (or standing).

And this is how she sits with them together. DisneyStore!Elsa meanwhile, can only sit like a clumsy toddler.

However, if you're not expecting her to sit around, DisneyStore!Elsa is fantastically graceful. Ballet class is not going to be happening for Mattel!Elsa.

Of course, the whole reason for buying Color Change Elsa was to rob her of anything she owned of value, though. Here's DisneyStore!Elsa in the Color Change Elsa coronation gown, along with the instruction manual and "magic wand".

Having had at least one Barbie with a similar gimmick as a kid, I must say that this applicator is much better than the lipstick tube-sized device I remember Barbie having. If you remember not to stand the applicator on the sponge end, it doesn't leak at all.

The instructions don't point-blank say you're supposed to use cold water, but it's easy to pick that up from context. Okay, moment of truth...

The first swipe reveals that the color change function actually works very well! The pattern shows up in a vivid twilight-purple color.

 Filling in the rest of the inset took only about a minute. If you're really lazy, you could just pop the whole doll into the freezer for this. It's not like Elsa will mind.

With just tap water, the color begins to fade after just a few minutes, though.

At about the five minute mark, the pattern is looking pretty blotchy and faded.

It took about seven minutes for it to be pretty much gone. Still, even if I never use the color change function again, it's a pretty good dress! Even with the collar unfinished, I'm happy to have it.At least until Disney Store puts out an afforable playline version of coronation Elsa!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Quest for Elsa's Coronation Dress

They've had a simply GORGEOUS set of Anna and Elsa dolls on the site a couple of times now. For $70, you get Anna and Elsa in their coronation day outfits (and hairstyles!), plus two dress forms, their costumes from the later portion of the film, a trunk and a lovely patterned screen. I stared longingly at it on the trip where I bought my Anna and Elsa last year, and if it had been more reasonably priced (say, $50-55), it would definitely have come home with me.

I am not made of money, though. $70 is rather steep, and I feel confident that or some other retailer WILL, in fact, put out coronation day versions of the dolls for something resembling a sane price at some point.

I'm not made of money, but I'm also not patient. So obviously, I needed that coronation day dress.
I found "Color Magic" Elsa at Wal-Mart today (the ONLY Elsa doll they had, I might point out), and decided that I'd waited long enough. Rather steep for $20 just for a cheap "knockoff" version of the coronation day dress, but I told myself that I'd find some use for the Elsa from this package. I've seen some amazing customs done with the Mattel dolls, like these, and maybe I could practice on her, at least.

The back of the package shows a photoshopped version of the doll, a demonstration of how the gimmick works, and a tiny, tiny picture of the Anna from this line. There's also a version of that Anna where she comes with a Kristoff, should you be inclined to want both of them.

I'll grant you that the print is pretty, but I doubt we'll ever be seeing it here.
This version of Elsa looks rather wall-eyed.
It's definitely a contrast with the elegant-looking Snow Queen on the packaging. The color of the hair and the length of the same is a much closer match, though.
Pulling off the back panel of cardboard reveals plastic tabs holding the backing in, and instructions (once again) for how to use the water applicator. I'm not sure that this level of instruction is really necessary.
Here's Elsa, still attached to the cardboard backing, along with her "magic" color-changing wand, plus her instruction sheet.
Elsa also comes with a really funky looking pair of purple shoes with a heel so sensible, my grandmother would probably have worn them. They look... kind of frumpy.
I was disappointed to note that the collar on Elsa's dress was unfinished! Maybe some fray-check would help delay the inevitable unraveling?
The doll also comes with a tiara, which is cast in gold plastic instead of being silver like in the movie.
The water applicator wand is impressively sculpted. If you check out the instruction sheet above, you'll notice that Anna and Elsa each have a different wand, which is a nice touch of individuality.
Those are some odd looking shoes.
Elsa's braid is secured to her arm with a rubber band. The ends of her hair are stuck together with styling product. If anyone's interested in an in-depth look at this doll's body and hair, I can take some more pics.
I felt really smart after realizing that I could snip those plastic things off the tiara with fingernail clippers.
Free of the tiara! The sculpt on this doll's face is actually rather nice. Her eyes look sort of blank and googly, though.
The doll body, on the other hand, isn't all that great. The whole body is hard plastic, and it has five points of articulation. Her shoulders swivel, and her legs pretty much have forwards and backwards motion only. Her head has a decent range of motion, but nothing outstanding. The only thing this body does better than Disney Store Elsa? Sit up.
The shoes were obviously sculpted to take into account the doll's arched foot, but still look rather tippy-toe when put on. They look weird.
Disney Store Elsa, of course, makes this cheaply-made thing look fantastic. It fits her as well as it did the original doll, which is nice.
I tried to recreate Elsa's coronation hairstyle by wrapping her braid around her head and securing it with a clear band.
It definitely only works from one side, though. Yikes!
Elsa decided she'd rather let her hair back down.
The Mattel crown doesn't fit very well, on account of the copious amounts of styling gel in her hair. I'd rather have her hair looking nice than the crown on her.
Surprisingly, the Mattel shoes fit Disney Store Elsa! They still look weird and kind of frumpy, but they actually aren't as bad on her.
Mattel Elsa can wear Barbie clothing. You know, if you actually want to keep her existing body. Personally, I'm thinking no.
Barbie shoes fit okay, too. These slip right off, due to the open-top construction.
Closed-top shoes are fine, however.

I'll probably be kicking myself for this purchase when Coronation Elsa is available solo for $20, but for now I'm pretty happy with having a coronation day dress for my Elsa.

Friday, March 21, 2014


My Knight Rider collection has... grown in the past year. A lot. 

(I love Knight Rider, omg!)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Disney Fairies: A little about articulation (+ bonus Raquelle!)

So here's a little about the articulation on Disney deluxe Fairies dolls. This is Periwinkle, a Pirate Fairies doll. She's going to be our guinea pig today! As a bonus bit of info, it looks like some Bratz dresses will fit the Fairies dolls pretty well! The Bratzillaz shoes, btw, fit VERY loosely.

L to R: Power Rangers, Moxie Girlz, Disney Fairies (deluxe), Articulated Bratz, Equestria Girls (1st edition)
Compared to similarly-sized dolls, Peri comes out pretty well. She has articulation at the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and of course, her neck. The only doll in my collection at her size who measures up to that is the articulated Bratz doll body that my custom Stormer is on. I did realize after taking these pics that I have a ballerina Moxie Girlz doll who would have been good to include. (darnit) Due to how hard it is to find those dolls, I'm not sure if I should worry about the absence or not, though.

L to R: Bratzillaz, Ever After High, Disney Fairies (deluxe), Articulated Bratz, Liv
Let's make things interesting and put in some comparisons to other, slightly older/larger-styled dolls! Sorry gals, but your identities will not be protected for this experiment. Stormer, you're hanging around for this, too.

"Look what I can do!"

Peri was feeling pretty confident about her articulation, even showing off for Blonde!Rapunzel and Raven that she could rotate her lower legs all the way around and do... whatever that thing is she's doing with her arms. Raven looks justifiably concerned that she's up against a miniature contortionist. As I mentioned, for her size, Peri appears to be pretty good in terms of articulation. That said, she does have some shortcomings. Namely, her hips and knees.

The sitting up competition: Round one! Peri can only manage a decent attempt at sitting up by splaying her legs. Even at that, her attempt at sitting up is barely more upright than the articulated Bratz doll body. I'm not sure why Raven's looking splay-legged in this pic. She CAN sit with her legs together.

Sitting up: Round two! Peri is rather embarrassed by a Liv body and the standard Bratzillaz body. Poor Peri!

Peri was also thoroughly humiliated in the can-can competition, where her barely-bending knees made her only marginally better than a doll with no knee articulation at all. She can't sit in a chair very prettily, obviously.

All things considered, Peri's articulation is most similar to a Monster High or Ever After High doll, but with poorer knees.

A new challenger appears! Raquelle wants to battle! (Uh oh, Peri!)

Raquelle can kneel nicely. Peri... appears to be flopping about like a fish out of water. A for effort, Peri.

As long as she has something to lean against, Raquelle can kneel on one knee like a ridiculously photogenic champ. Peri can only come this close to replicating her pose, though.

However, Peri does have Raquelle beat in the "try to do sideways splits" department, though. Raven is similarly humiliated, only managing to barely beat out Raquelle's effort!

Another interesting question: How are these dolls for head-swapping? I found a Stardoll whose head was pretty decently matched in terms of skin tone for Peri to test with. The Stardoll heads are just a little smaller than Barbie heads, and I thought that they'd be a pretty close match to the scale of the Disney Fairies body.

Okay, you know what? get rid of the adult-looking makeup, and I think this could be passable. The head fits a little loose, but that may be because I was a little rough getting it off the original body. A little modification and some time to get used to seeing her like this, and I think this could be a pretty cute idea for a teenage doll!

That said, I put Peri's head back on. I'm sort of playing with the idea of rehairing her and making her a teenage Elsa... Hmm....