Saturday, January 24, 2015

Team Caryl (part one)

I searched and searched before Christmas, but Carol Peletier's figure in the McFarlane Walking Dead line was not to be found. I really wanted to pick out this figure myself, since painting quality seems to vary wildly on these figures. At least, on the ones I've seen in person.

Finally though, I had to admit defeat. I'd made a three hour round trip drive looking for her by this time. Clearly, I wasn't going to find her. So I swallowed my pride and headed to eBay. There, for a surprisingly affordable price (I think it was $15), I found an auction I was willing to take a chance on.

Carol arrived just a few days after Christmas, and other than a small spot or two of paint on her chest, she looks AMAZING. I was worried to death that her face would look bad, but it's almost flawless.

Carol comes with a knife that has a brass knuckles-style grip, a small pistol, and a gas can. Her articulation is pretty much identical to Daryl's, but her shoulder joints are a little bit limited by the surrounding sculpting from her coat.

They also are a little hard to find props in scale for. Tiny crate or giant kitty? YOU decide!

Clearly, I had to have a Carol once I had a Daryl. I love how close these two characters have grown since season 2 of the show, and the figures are gorgeous.

I've made a little campsite diorama on the side table in my room, and after he shook down those little World Peacekeepers figures for their tent and supplies awhile back, Daryl's been hanging out there. Sometimes KITT comes by and sits with him. Sometimes Rocket sneaks in and vandalizes things. But today we're talking about Carol's arrival.

Carol: Don't move! I... Daryl?
Daryl: Can I move yet? I ain't got a dang hot pad fer this blasted kettle!

Daryl: If'n you ain't a sight fer sore eyes!
Carol: I can't..! I can't believe you're here! You've been here this whole time!?

Daryl: I been movin' 'round. Cain't stay in one spot too long. Th' dang r'coons ain't too friendly 'round these parts.
Carol: I hope you know how that sounds.
Daryl: I reckon it sounds plumb crazy 'til you done seen 'em. Big thangs. W' ray guns an' th' like.
Carol: I hope you know how THAT sounds.
Daryl: An' that dang thang done stoled m' bow!
Carol: Let's just agree that we'll watch out for them. 

So since then, things have settled down a bit. So far Rocket hasn't brought back Daryl's bow from whatever nefarious purpose he has in mind for it. Seating's been a bit hard to come by, but the intrepid duo have been making do.

"I bet we could bludgeon walkers with these things!"
That is, until today! I was in Dollar Tree and saw some wrestler figures that came with various props. As you can see, they may not be perfect but they work. And they work VERY well! I was tempted to grab a couple more just in case the ladder or the fencing could work out for these two. But hey, at least the problem of campsite seating is solved for now!

So now the question remains... just how far will Daryl and carol go to recover Daryl's crossbow from Rocket Raccoon? What is Rocket doing with it? When will I start reviewing the Funko Pop! figures that I've started accumulating? We shall see! (Dun dun duuuuuun!)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Disney Store Deluxe Singing Elsa 11" Doll Set

So if you know anything about me and Frozen, you know I've been salivating for a playline version of Elsa's Coronation dress. I like that dress (for some reason) more than her sparkle-sparkle Snow Queen get up, and short of spending huge money on the ginormous deluxe doll set that the Disney Store has released (twice now), there really hasn't been a good version of it available short of sewing one yourself with the officially licensed doll clothes patterns. The closest I had been able to find was a color change dress from a Mattel doll.

Last week I was in a Disney Store, bemoaning that I had my Christmas money with me and was finding nothing to buy, when I spotted a lone doll box in the Frozen section. Ladies and gents, I give you:

11" Singing Elsa!

Elsa comes with her coronation dress, a noseless Olaf figure, some swirly magic snowflake accessories, her Snow Queen dress and matching flats, and what I first thought was a really amazing stand. 

Actually this big snowflake thing is NOT a stand. It does light up in three LED colors when pressed, though.
How amazing would this thing have been as a stand? You blew it, Disney. Blew. It.

The back of the box shows everything that comes with the doll, and encourages you to sing along and recreate Elsa's big movie moment.

Give her hand a little tweak through the hole in the front of the box, and you can listen to her belt out part of "Let It Go" at a volume plainly audible to everyone in the room. 

Like the rest of the new 11" accessory-rife singing dolls, Elsa is a whopping $30 new. And may I just say OUCH to this? Considering that the Classic Elsa is just $16, you are really getting gouged for one additional dress and some plastic accessories. You could buy Anna AND Elsa in the non-singing Classics line for just a buck or two more.
The front of the box reveals movie scenes when opened, while one side is decorated to look like a book spine. (The other side looks like pages)

The interior sleeve of the box slides out of the "book" effortlessly, giving you a look at the goods.

Olaf looks surprisingly cute, even without his nose.

Elsa's hair is cemented down flat against her head with styling product. This would have been less weird if she'd come in the coronation dress, since Elsa musses up her hair into the style we're all more familiar with before creating her ice dress. It comes off looking like this was an accident rather than being done on purpose as a callback to the movie. 

Image from Disney Wikia
Elsa, letting her hair down before going full Snow Queen.

One of the "magic snow whirls" is fastened to her hand. 

Her cyan flats are held onto her "Barbie legs" with clear rubber bands. 

Let's move into another room where the lighting is better and compare THIS Elsa with the one I've already got (Classic Disney Store doll in a Mattel dress). 

Singing Elsa does have her good points. For one yes - she sings. For two, she comes with some physical representations of "snow magic" and has her coronation dress. (Which is what this whole thing is about, let's be honest.)

Let's compare! (Please note, the articulated Classic doll is actually a little shorter than the singing doll. The stand she is on makes her look taller, though.)

Snow Queen Dresses

It was a little hard to be sure I wasn't imagining it at first when the dolls were dressed, but placing their Snow Queen dresses flat on the table reveals that there are some differences between them. The bodice on the classic doll dress (right) is glittery), whereas the singing doll's dress is plain.

Additionally, the classic dress has a much larger, grander train. Would it be silly to call this a wingspan? Well, I'm going to do it anyway. 

Construction on the backs of the dresses is pretty much identical. 

I'll be honest, I prefer the singing doll dress. Less glitter is always good.

Coronation Dresses

Image from Disney Wikia
This is less a "doll vs. doll" comparison, since we're comparing dresses from two different manufacturers. Instead, it becomes a question of "whose matches better"?

I'm not sure this is even a contest. 

The singing doll's dress doesn't even attempt to recreate the beautiful rosemaling on the movie dress at all, or the gold trim, OR the proper shape of the waist seam where the bodice and skirt meet. The Mattel dress has an inset panel with a color change gimmick, but it's easily apparent that they did try to make a good representation of the movie dress. The construction of the pattern also figures in. The Mattel dress fits beautifully and was well worth the cost of the doll JUST for the dress. It looks elegant. The Disney Store dress fits like a a lumpy bed sheet.

I'm also a bit let down that after putting this dress on her a grand total of twice, the singing doll dress is spouting loose threads like tree roots in the spring.

The shoulderblades of the singing doll dress include two spots of velcro for attaching the cape that came with the doll. 

Not a finished edge to be had on the whole thing, sadly. But this is something that can be fixed with a sewing machine and a little time if it bothers you or if your kiddo is likely to want to get a lot of play out of the cape.

On the doll stands I'm using, the cape tends to stick up and out a little bit. It does have a nice length to it, and the color is very nice. 

The Dolls

There may, and I say may because I'm not completely sure, be a slight difference in color between the singing Elsa and the classic Elsa. As you can see, Singing Elsa has the old rubber clicky legs, and only one articulated arm. This is due to the fragility of the wires that run from her wrist to her voice box, I'm sure. Still, can't help but wonder if a button wouldn't have been better. That one stiff arm is really a downer to me. 

Like the old-style giant singing dolls, Elsa's back-speaker is in the shape of a heart.

On her left side, below that stiff arm, she has an on/off switch that allegedly controls her singing. My doll still sings, no matter what position the thing is in, though. 

Something to watch for: staining. My doll has a very faint mark on her right thigh that I think must have come from her dress. 
While I was checking out this stain, I tried bending the doll's legs to see if she could sit in a more dignified manner than classic Elsa. This is when I discovered that they only seem to have one position they click into. Well, ONE of them will click into position. The left one feels "off" and will gradually straighten.

It also gets this weird dimpling when you try to bend it into position like the other leg. I think it's broken? I've never actually bought anything from the Disney Store that's broken before. I'm completely at a loss as to what I should do about it.

Anyway, let's keep moving.

If the Elsas tried out for Swan Lake or the gymnastic team, singing Elsa has it over classic Elsa in spades. Here's a comparison of the gals in the side to side spits. 

And front to back.


Since Classic Elsa doesn't have any accessories to speak of, let's just take a quick look at all the stuff Singing Elsa came with. Olaf here is pretty cute if you're down on his level. Olaf is, of course, noseless when Elsa initially re-creates him in the film. He doesn't get his carrot nose until Anna shows up and "completes" him.

He does have a very concave profile, though. Add that to the fact that he leans forward, and sadly you miss seeing how sweet his face is unless you're holding him up. 

He can use the snowflake thing as a stand, though.The snowflake thing is.. I mean it's okay. It's obviously meant as a stand in for the big glowing flake that appeared when Elsa stomped her foot and started creating the ice castle in the movie, and it does alright as that. 
Image from Disney Wikia
As a movie moment recreation piece it's fine. I'm still just terribly let down that no one thought to make it a doll stand. 

It could have been such a cool doll stand!

I'll be honest, I didn't think much of these blue sparkly things at first. However, I have realized that I was completely wrong about them. 

They really are a fun accessory and make for a very dramatic presentation on a posed doll!

Image from Disney Wikia
Movie moment representation: Snow magic!
I'm going to lay it on the line, here. For $30, I feel like this is a vastly overpriced set. Sure, the doll sings a bit, and sure she comes with some nice props that do a decent job of calling back the big iconic song of the film, but I shouldn't be able to buy two dolls for that same price tag. For $22-25, I'd be more impressed. Additionally, the fact that the doll came with a broken leg is a tremendous disappointment. 
I can honestly say that even though I was let down that Honey Lemon's long spidery limbs were wonky out of the package, I have never been as disappointed with a Disney Store purchase as I am with this one.  She's cute, that's true. But the big draw for me was the fact that she came with a coronation dress. Frankly, the dress leaves a lot to be desired and is not at all up to the quality I tend to expect from the Disney Store.

Would I recommend this doll to someone else? Only if they didn't already have a Classic Elsa laying around. The character likeness is still stunning, but the extra outfit is clearly an afterthought that is poorly executed and will probably not bear up to lots of play. The extra accessories are nice, but probably not worth the extra cash.

Fits like a lumpy, used bed sheet. *sigh*