Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Inner Monsters!

I've been excited for the Monster High Inner Monsters since they were announced. I think it was at Toy Fair last year. I wasn't really a fan of the Create a Monster dolls at first. Especially since the first ones didn't give you enough parts to build the dolls I liked! Picking up a couple of the "two torso" sets on clearance last year made a fan out of me, though.

Here are the dolls that I've bought:
Oops, didn't manage to get the boxes put down in the right spots, but you can still tell which is which. Each of the standard dolls, as you can see, comes with two decorative backpieces (one with a little articulation - the legs can twist on the tentacles, the peacock tail can fan out- and one that is more static), two pairs of shoes(!), a set of emotion pegs, a brushable wig, outfit, a little skullette purse that actually opens, a small headgear accessory (peacock headband or leafy sunglasses), stand, brush, and a faceplate. Each standard doll is $20, so there's a LOT in these boxes!

I also found this huge deluxe set:
This huge set is $30, and has the ONLY doll of this series so far who can have an opaque torso, an additional "spine" piece, an extra "tranparent" front torso piece, a big set of butterfly-like wings, a brushable wig, a plastic wig, a genie lower body, two two-piece outfits, a plastic overskirt, three faceplates, a pair of arm decorating bracers, stand, brush, skullette purse, and a pair of shoes. Please note: there is ONLY one torso back part in this set. The packaging makes it look like two, but it's just one. 

I'm sure the majority of you have seen reviews of these dolls already, so I'll just be hitting the high points, here. The Inner Monster dolls are Create a Monsters that you can customize with three important additions beyond the traditional CAM dolls: Changeable eyes, and "emotions" you can plug into their guts. The faceplates allow you to change your doll's expression, as well. The back of the boxes show previews of all three different eye sets that doll has.

Each doll has unique eye sets. It looks like all three designs are printed on one oversize set of eyes, which cycle when you press the button atop the doll's head, which is designed to look like an exposed brain. Bravo for keeping the creepy factor, Mattel!

These dolls are *mostly* compatible with the existing Create a Monster dolls. I'll get to why I say mostly in a minute. Here's Princess Unikitty, who'll be helping us with today's demonstrations.

She looks worried, as she should. I've already been customizing and mix and matching my dolls, so you'll have to check out the box pics above to get an idea of how they were supposed to be originally. Now, ready set nude!
From the front, these two dolls look pretty similar, save for the fact that one has a bright orange brain.

The back tells a slightly different story. The IM (Inner Monster) doll has a pair of plugs for her wig on the back of her head, but lacks the wing and tail holes in the torso.

Here's where that pesky "mostly compatible" thing comes in. Not only can you not share plug-in wingpieces and tails, you can't really share all wigs between these different styles of doll. The arms and legs are fine, however.

The wigs attach in different places. Center-top for the traditional wigs, and at the back for the IM dolls. Cut the peg off of an older wig with a lot of hair, and it's going to slide right off.The IM wig's soft rubber pegs will fold down against the wig, so you can use them on other dolls. As a note, sometimes the wigs can interfere with the eye mechanism fully rotating to a new eye set. a gentle squeeze of the sides of the wig usually fixes this, though.

Another issue: heads. These dolls use different neck attachments, and the IM doll heads are solid, not squishy soft vinyl like the old dolls.

If you're careful, you can get the old CAM heads on the new doll bodies, but they're not very secure. The IM heads will not go on the old bodies.

 The IM dolls also can only turn their heads side to side, and doing so gives them a pronounced tilt.

Each of the IM dolls has a spine piece that fits inside the torso. The dolls come with a contrasting color spine, and it has spots to put the emotion pegs. Let's take a look.

For everyone who wondered "what kind of skeleton could support those weird stylized bodies!?" when MH came out... there's your answer. The front of the torso can be pulled off by giving a gentle squeeze to the little clip on the doll's right side. (Not your right. The doll's right.)

With the clear front on the torso, you can see the little emotion charms you have attached.. until you cover the doll up with clothing, at least. The is actually my least favorite part of the doll. I am not a delicate person, and I'm constantly terrified I'm going to break the torso fronts or loose these tiny tiny emotion pegs.

You think losing an earring back is a pain? Wait until you've lost these things in your carpet. I'm not a fan of this. A note about the emotion charms: Notice that some are much bigger than the others. The largest ones will ONLY fit in the pelvis area of the doll's skeleton and allow you to close up the torso. I'm passing all of these on to another collector, as I don't want my cats eating them.

The standard dolls have a transparent back on their torso. As you can see, this makes seeing the color skeleton much easier from all angles. Let's do some swapping though...

Teal spine on the teal doll! Much better! I've also put the orange doll's wig on this gal, because frankly I think it suits green here much better. Especially with orange's stock outfit!

You can't help but notice that orange's leafy accessories look fantastic on green here. This doll, as you may have noticed from the box back, has an eye set that looks like flowers. Mixing and matching the doll's accessories and parts has always been part of the CAM experience, but this series pulls it off much better than ones in the past. So where does that leave the orange doll?

Considering that this left her with the blue wig, I couldn't help but wonder if the pink doll's accessory pack would look good on her. The accessory packs each come with a dress, a face plate, a smaller set of charms (sometimes with less paint on them), a pair of shoes, and some extra bits for the arms and legs.. in this case, that means flaming bracers and *snicker* legwarmers.

She came with the teal spine we just used, so let's swap that for the yellow one that came with the teal doll. As an aside, you don't *have* to use the torso front and back pieces. You can put the dolls together without them just fine. I like the solid torso though. These gals are thin enough, lol!

And it looks amazing on her! And so does the yellow spine! I'm not a fan of the arm and leg pieces, as they obstruct your view of her gorgeous gradient tint on her arms and legs.

See what I mean?

You have to sort of twist them to get them off, too.

I'm not crazy about the plastic wigs, for that matter. The flame wings from the pink doll's set look amazing on her, though. Pink doll..? Oh yeah, we'll get to that in a minute.

I really love this combination of parts on her, though!

Oddly enough, all the dolls except the pink standard doll come with two piece outfits. Incidentally, this pencil skirt is NOT your friend when you're trying to get a doll wearing it on a saddle stand. Now, about that pink doll..

She says "Rock on!" She's actually going to a new home, but I thought I'd show you how she looks in her wig.

And without it.

And as I mentioned, her dress is a one piece.

Here she is with everything she came with. Her spider legs backpiece has a little bit of articulation. You can raise and lower the legs. The straps for it, incidentally, are worms! You also have to admire how the "fake wig" that sits in front of the doll's head in the packaging allows you to get an idea of how she looks, while still letting you press the "try me" button to change her eyes atop her head. I do miss the CAM packaging that you could seal your doll parts back up in, though.

Let's finish up by talking about face plates and the genie bits from the deluxe set. Each of these dolls has a small set of grooves on the sides of her head.

The face plates snap into place right on top of these. This lets you change your doll's whole expression!

Like this...

Or this.

Or this. Unfortunately it also looks, to me, kind of weird. The eyes look all sunken, and the extra layer of plastic over the face is a bit odd from the side. I like the idea here, but the execution is a little wonky.

Last but not least, this is the genie tail and plastic wig from the deluxe set. The ponytail on the wig can be turned 360*, and the tail clips on the doll torso's hips. This tail is a little unstable though, at least mine is. The green piece is actually separate, and functions as a belt.

It also hides unsightly torso-gap.

Personally, even with the misgivings I have about small parts and delicate plastic torso bits, I'm in love with these dolls. Every new incarnation of the Create a Monster sets after the first one has had a gimmick. First it was dolls whose faces could be applied with what amounted to temporary tattoos, then color-changing plastic, and now this. I do think they're putting too many ideas into one package, but for kids (and collectors) who like the little mood pegs, this will be a ton of fun to customize with. Highly recommended, as long as you don't have little kids or pets who could eat those tiny parts.

Pink hair and this outfit? No.


  1. thanks so much for the awesome review! you've moved these sets from a definite no, to a maybe buy for me. I really do like the accessories and things, the heads are a little weird though.

    I think it's interesting that Mattel decided to get rid of the tail and wing holes on the torso. maybe it wouldn't have worked with the thin plastic back piece. hopefully they'll appear in stores soon. I'd like to be able to see them up close.

    1. Glad it was helpful! The heads do seem a little strange at first, but overall they work very well.

      Yeah, the tiny-thin skeleton probably wouldn't hold up to much play with the holes for the tails and peg-based wings, too. It's a little disappointing, but understandable. They're a lot of fun to play with, even in the store. I don't think you can pick one up without giving the eye-changing mechanism a try! XD

  2. I have not seen or heard of these dolls before at all and I am fascinated! "Press brain to change eyes." Oh my goodness, lol!

    1. They're WAY too much fun, Muff! I wish that the eyes could be swapped out, but I'm not quite brave enough to try prying the heads of my dolls open.


    *singing INXS songs*