Monday, November 3, 2014

Madame Alexander Travel Friends Kenya

Madame Alexander Travel Friends Kenya

I caved in and purchased Madame Alexander Travel Friends Kenya from Amazon.com.  The doll arrived last week and I immediately noticed the production doll's head sculpt differs from the prototype doll's, as illustrated in the next side-by-side comparison photo.


The prototype's head and body appear more proportionate.  The production doll's head is over-sized and looks quite similar to one of the higher end 18-inch dolls by Madame Alexander as seen here.

What I previously described as "decal" eyes, based on online photos of the prototype doll, led to my initial reservation about purchasing.  In reality, the eyes are better than expected, but from a collector's standpoint, inset would have been better.  A proportionate head would have been, too.


Kenya is a 7-inch tall, all-vinyl doll with black rooted hair that extends almost to her waist.  For authenticity, one would expect a doll, whose native country is Kenya, to have natural textured hair, but sometimes as adult collectors our expectations far exceed the manufacturers'.  This is particularly true when dolls are made for child's play.  Kenya is for ages 3+.  Even though this places me within the intended age group, my collector's desires are ever present.

Kenya is articulated at the elbows and knees.  The arms, which appear to be only rotational, have inserted disks that allow inward and outward movement as illustrated in the next three photos.   (Note: I had to rotate the arm to the correct position before discovering the additional movement the somewhat stiff disks allow, but the movement is there.)


Kenya illustrates her arm movement.
Kenya's inward arm movement, knee articulation in the seated position, and her clothing are illustrated above.

Kenya's colorful, removable clothing consists of a red jersey-knit top with sun-and-giraffe motif; blue and orange skirt of Afrocentric print, pink and yellow striped leggings, and red vinyl flats, which are removable as well.  She wears white molded-on panties.

Illustrated box (back)

Travel Doll Friends Kenya is illustrated on the back of her box along with a map of Kenya and text that reads as follows:

Habari!
That means hello
in Swahili!  Kenya is an
exciting place to visit.  You
can go on a safari to see
the lions and elephants!
We also export coffee,
tea, and beautiful flowers 
to other countries.
What does your country export?

So clearly this doll is made for children, but adults like me, who have not been able to establish a black-doll collecting focus, will love her, too.

Kenya took several size comparison photos with other smaller dolls:

Kenya poses with 5-1/2-inch So In Style Little Sister Kianna
Kenya is joined by 4-1/2-inch Ty Li'l Ones Marvelous Mariah and 5-inch Petite Playhouse Kaiya by Madame Alexander.

Amorie, who is a little shorter than her in-the-box height illustrates, takes a quick photo with Kenya.

5-inch Ginny and Kenya look like family members.

Finally, 4-1/2-inch Kelly and 9-inch Only Hearts Club Briana Joy join Kenya. 

For those who create doll families, it is evident to me now that Kenya's over-sized head will prohibit her inclusion as a playscale family member.  Otherwise, I think most doll lovers will enjoy her and any of the other travel friends in this collection.  Because over-sized heads do not seem to pose a problem with the younger set, children will like Kenya and friends, too. 



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18 comments:

  1. Thank you for this review and all of the comparison pics! I think that the production Kenya is cuter than the prototype. She does have a very large head, though. If she were here, she likely would not have her head for long (some other doll would have her articulated body). Thanks for showing the articulation of her elbows and knees!

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    1. I had to chuckle at your comment, "If she were here, she likely would not have her head for long..." She would make a nice body donor. Glad you enjoyed the post, Roxanne.

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  2. I agree with Roxanne -- too bad the head is so big. She would have to donate her body in the interest of inclusion in the 1:6 scale families here too.

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    1. Head exclusion seems to be the consensus for this child, Phyllis.

      (When compared to the others, her head is huge.)

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  3. "sometimes as adult collectors our expectations far exceed the manufacturers'"

    Put this on a coffee mug, and I'd buy it. I do like the Mme A has made a stab at representing other countries in a contemporary way, rather than exclusively with "folk" attire.

    I'm not anti-large-head, so I'd keep the head (she's cute)... but I wouldn't mind if the factory happened to have additional headless bodies fall off a truck.

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    1. That is a catchy phrase, isn't Smaller Places?

      I am cracking up at your comment, "but I wouldn't mind if the factory happened to have additional headless bodies fall off a truck."

      It would be wonderful if articulated bodies were sold separately in a variety of sizes.

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  4. This was a great review. Thank you. She has just made my list to buy.

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    1. Thank you, MDW! I am glad you found the review helpful.

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  5. You got her! And yours has working elbow joints - that's great to see!

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    1. Yes, I did, jSarie, and I immediately deboxed her for this post. Have you tried to gingerly manipulate India's arms any more? Rotate the lower arms to align the edges of the disks with the inner and outer areas of her arms and see if your doll's arms will move.

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  6. Your Kenya is very cute. I like the actual doll better than the prototype but I'm not a fan of oversized heads. Thanks for all the photos.

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  7. Even with the larger head, I like her over the prototype. Motion wise (and size wise) she's a bit awkward, but still darn cute.

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    1. I actually like them both, Muff. I do wish Madame Alexander had given her a normal head size. It is what it is, however.

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    1. Thank you, jacquieshambles! I hope you will continue to enjoy this blog!

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  9. I really like her and her outfit is just adorable. If they were compatible with 1/6 scale, I would probably buy 3 or 4 of them. Really happy she is too big. lol.

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    1. I really wish doll makers would ax over-sized heads and create dolls with proportionate heads and bodies. Little girls appreciate realism (and collectors prefer it).

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!