Saturday, May 27, 2017

Afro Barbie Fashionista #59 Tropi-Cutie

Barbie Fashionista #59 Tropi-Cutie
Tropi-Cutie is shown still attached to the box liner with cello removed.  She arrived wearing her pink halter dress, which has a floral-print skirt.  She wears a gold tone bracelet and lavender sneakers on her flat feet.

Afro hairstyle has a side part.

Her dark eyebrows accentuate her light brown eye color.  The pale pink lip color is not at all flattering and I wish Mattel would discontinue using it on dolls with this complexion.  Her hair is soft and the texture creates a perfect Afro.  I wasn't feeling the side part initially, but I can live with it.  The next three photos illustrate her Afro from different views.

Working with what she arrived wearing, she added a pair of Barbie sunglasses and Barbie knee-high Roman sandals.  We took both inside and outside pictures (shown next) of this look.

Striking poses outside

Pierced ears, earrings, fashion change
After trying on a Sparkle Girlz fashion with the Barbie Roman sandals and sunglasses, her ears were pierced and a pair of gold dangle earrings, made from a pair of human earrings, were inserted.  She looks super fly!

She shows off her temporary nude lips after the original color was removed with fingernail polish remover.

From acrylic paint on hand, she chose pueblo (which is not as bright as it appears in this photo, but it is a brighter color than I would have chosen for her).  Even though she likes it, I might tone it down later.

Another fashion change:

This Sparkle Girlz fashion includes a cold-shoulder top with denim shorts.  The Barbie Roman sandals work well with this, too.
The colors in the blouse better complement her new lip color, which is an improvement over the original light pink.  See the before and after lip color image next.

Light pink versus pueblo (apricot).

Overall assessment: I like her! With the pink lip color replaced, redressed, and Afro shaped appropriately, I love her!

Images taken of the back of the box illustrate several other new Fashionistas (some of which are Kens).  Click or stretch to enlarge for a better view.

The new African American guy, Fashionista #10, appears to have cornrows (braided hair).


Blue Brocade, Fashionista #25, a petite Barbie released in 2016 (box date 2015) jumped in the Amazon dot com cart with Fashionista #59.  She looks like a mini So In Style Chandra.  Because of her petite height, I plan to restyle her hair to give her a more youthful, teen look and remove those hideous light blue plastic earrings.  Redressing will probably be done as well.  With her size, Sparkle Girlz clothing should easily fit, but for now, she remains in her box.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Barbie Fashionista #59 with Afro

2017 Barbie Fashionista #59 - box name:  Tropi-Cutie

After seeing the 2017 Toy Fair images of Barbie Fashionista #59, I put her on my mental wish list. Word of her availability on Amazon was shared Tuesday, May 23, 2017, through a screen snapshot posted to one of my Facebook doll groups.  Unfortunately, without the direct link I could not locate her by searching the site. By the time the direct link was shared, she had sold out, attesting to the doll's popularity or the limited quantities Amazon had available. Restocking took place Wednesday evening, May 24, 2017, literally seconds after I checked for availability, which initially indicated the doll was still currently unavailable.  Just as I was about to sign off Facebook, I received a tag to the doll's original post from Reese Velez indicating she was available.  (Thank you, Reese!)  I snatched her up quickly, taking advantage of free Prime shipping.  A 2016 Barbie Fashionista, that I just recently warmed up to, jumped in the cart as well. More about the second doll when both arrive.

Here is the direct link to the buy page.  Unfortunately, by the time I completed this post, the doll's status was "currently unavailable" again.  If you're interested in purchasing, save the link or add the doll to your Amazon shopping list (which is what I did so I could quickly check for availability).

I will reserve my overall commentary about her until after the actual doll arrives, but I know I will be making some changes to her overall look, with the pink lip color being the first immediate change.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Gabriela McBride has a Mini Version

Stock photo of 6-inch Mini Gabriela McBride, American Girl's 2017 Girl of the Year doll

Last week one of my doll group members mentioned she was on the lookout for the mini version of American Girl's 2017 Girl of the Year Doll, Gabriela McBride. I commented that I did not realize a mini had been released and immediately conducted a Google search for the doll. Interestingly, none were offered on the American Girl website, but I found one on eBay and one at Barnes and Noble's website.

The B and N final price on the date of my purchase was $17.99 (after a $3 Wikibuy) discount was applied.  Shipping was $3.99 for a total price of $21.  The doll usually retails for $24.99.  The eBay seller's price was $22, I believe, and that did not include shipping.

My Gabby McBride
As illustrated in the one photograph I took, the mini doll wears a replica of the 18-inch doll's fashion, which includes a mock-cropped, long-sleeved purple top with the word Dream written on front.  The extended hemline of the top is turquoise.  She wears denim jeggings and purple sneakers.  A pink ribbon accents her long brown hair.  She has light brown painted eyes and two upper teeth, which are painted.  A 46-page abridged book, Gabriela, by African American author, Teresa E. Harris, is also included with the mini doll.

I am considering this second-doll purchase for May a birthday present from me to me.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Faithful Friends by Heidi Ott

Target-exclusive 18-inch Faithful Friends, Ellie and Will, by Heidi Ott

In the late 1990s, Target stores partnered with Swiss-artist Heidi Ott, who created a line of 18-inch dolls that were sold only at Target.  Made along the style of American Girl dolls, they were dressed in nineteenth century clothing and had a historical fiction book series.  Meet the Friends by Sharla Shannell Whalen, is the first book in the Faithful Friends book series.  Unlike American Girl offerings during the 1990s, the Faithful Friends line included both girl and boy 18-inch dolls.  The above two, Ellie and Will, have been part of my personal collection since the late-1990s.  I purchased Ellie deeply discounted at Target for $6.99.  Will was a gift from a "faithful friend," who knew I needed the boy or that Ellie needed her brother.

Ellie wears a blue plaid dress with white pinafore.  Her curly hair is accessorized by a bow that matches the dress fabric.

I added Ellie's glasses. 

Made in 1996, the dolls have artist-type vinyl heads, arms and legs, and stuffed cloth bodies. Heidi Ott's signature is incised in the back of their necks.  They both have Kanekalon wigs, brown sleep eyes, and smiling mouths with two upper painted-on teeth.  Made in China, the dolls were distributed by Dayton Hudson Corporation.

Will is decked out in a white shirt, brown tweed jacket with brown corduroy collar and pockets, brown corduroy pants and hat, white socks, and brown lace-up shoes.

While he shares the same head sculpt as his sister, Ellie, he does look like a boy.

The back of the box describes the Faithful Friends dolls as follows:

Faithful Friends
By Heidi Ott

From head to toe, you can be assured that your Heidi Ott doll is 100% handcrafted of the finest materials.  We invite you to look closely and admire each feature of your new friend.  You will see that her beautiful eyes, arching brows, rosy lips and blushing cheeks are all handpainted with loving care.  Examine her clothing and find double-stitched, double-layered fabrics for lasting quality, plus beautiful extras like hand-knitted lace and fine finishing on hems, seams and edging.  Note the leather shoes and sparkling glass eyes.  And appreciate that each doll is made with child-friendly, DOP free vinyl.

Will and Ellie's certificates of authenticity are shown above.

Your new faithful friend from Heidi Ott comes with her very own Certificate of Authenticity. We recommend that you keep this certificate in a safe place for lasting verification of her one-of-a-kind hand-crafted quality.

Congratulations on meeting your newest faithful friend, and for gaining a treasured family heirloom that will last for generations.

The left side box panel reads:

Faithful Friends Collection
Welcomes you—With Open Arms

We are pleased to introduce you to your new faithful friends, created exclusively for Target by the famous Swiss dollmaker, Heidi Ott.

Each friend has her own personality—just like you—and her own stories and adventures to share.

With your new faithful friends at your side, and your own imagination, you can share exciting adventures, plan quiet tea parties or anything in between.  Collect them all, and you will surely treasure them as faithful friends forever.

The right side box panel reads:

The artful Swiss Dollmaker

 All over the world, Heidi Ott and her dolls are treasured for their quality and craftsmanship.  To doll collectors, her dolls are some of the finest examples of hand painting done today.

 To Heidi herself, they are a reminder of simpler times when loving and caring for a doll was a little girl’s pleasure.

 “When I create my dolls,” says Heidi Ott, “it brings back memories of my childhood.  I lived in the world of my dolls together with my brothers and neighborhood friends.  Life passes by so fast today that I like to preserve those precious memories with my work.”

 The dolls’ resemblance to real children makes them even more endearing—and charmingly collectible—for wherever they go, these beautifully dressed dolls are capturing the hearts of children everywhere.

Scan from The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls (Hobby House Press, 2003)

I took updated photographs of Ellie and Will to share with my doll group for our May theme of 18-inch American Girl-type dolls and competitors.  Prior to these recent photos, the only ones I thought I had were the above scan from my first book and the original hard copy photograph used in the book.  The hard copy is filed along with the other photos from the book.  But then I remembered writing the post, "Black Dolls From Around the World—Switzerland," which includes a photograph of Will and Ellie taken at the time that post was published.  I did not have close-up photos of their faces, so "fishing them out" from behind other doll boxes to rephotograph, share the pictures with group members, and to use in this post was worth the trouble.

Their original retail was around $35 in 1996.  The assessed book value of $75 was appropriate for the 2003 doll market as the dolls had been discontinued by then.  On the secondary market today, depending on condition, they usually sell for around $30 outside the box.  All original dolls with boxes will command a slightly higher price, but this will vary.

Known for her high-end artist dolls made for collectors, very few dolls by Ott, such as Faithful Friends, were made for the play market.  Her last known dolls and doll accessories were 1:12 miniatures.  On the secondary market, the minis command as much as Ellie and Will and often sell for much more.

Read more about Faithful Friends here.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ZiZi's Redress

ZiZi's new dress accentuates her curves.

First seen here, ZiZi (Zig and Zag Fashionista) was redressed in a stretch knit fashion that was actually made to fit ModelMuse and regular bodied Barbies. ZiZi borrowed the dress and coordinated jacket from Hakeem's mother.  I purchased this ensemble a few years ago from eBay seller barbie-couture, who typically uses knit fabrics, which are hot glued instead of sewn.

ZiZi was happy to discard her Mattel-issued dress and took several photos to model the new one:

Her gold lamé shoulder bag is from Barbie Basics Look No. 002 Collection 001 accessory pack.

"Baby got back."
ZiZi models the dress without the jacket.

With or without the jacket, I love this dress on her!

ZiZi and Hakeem's mom pose in this final photo to share that Hakeem's mom was not left undressed.  She wears a one-shouldered jumper that I won by participating in one of Shasha's blog contests several years ago.

ZiZi hopes to soon go shoe shopping for a pair of more flattering shoes to better complement her new dress.  Until then, she wears her original black shoes.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Made to Move Barbie and Gabby

Made to Move Barbie has been here nearly a year, remaining confined to her packaging.  Gabby urged her to come on out now; so she did.
In a comment to my initial post about my Gabby Douglas Barbie, Ms. Leo asked:

Does the MTM body she is on have a longer neck or is it just a different style head than the MTM? She looks a little darker than the yellow top MTM. Is she?
The two dolls do share the Made to Move Barbie body; however, there are subtle differences.  In answer to Ms. Leo's two questions, the neck lengths are the same, approximately 1/2 inches long each. Gabby is, in fact, slightly darker than Made to Move Barbie.  See the complexion and other differences between the two bodies in the photos shared below:

Gabby's complexion is slightly darker than MTM Barbie's with Barbie's having more yellow undertones to her caramel complexion and Gabby having more red undertones.

Even though the flash interferes with this head-shot comparison of their complexion, Gabby's slightly darker complexion is apparent.

An arm-in-arm comparison photo illustrates the subtle differences in complexions, particularly when their free arms are compared.

Their joints are all the same as I described in Gabby's original post; however, their body markings differ.

MTM Barbie's back is stamped:
©2015 MATTEL
1186 MJ, 1, NL
(below this in silver letters -- the circled area in the photo -- is:)

The circled area on Gabby's right upper back in gold letters reads:
(The lower back reads:)
©2016 MATTEL
1186 MJ, 1, NL

They have different shaped feet with MTM Barbie's foot having a higher arch.  Foot Markings:   MTM Barbie, R2 on right and L1 on left; Gabby, R1 on right and L4 on left.

MTM Barbie is 11-1/2 inches tall.  Gabby is 11-1/4 inches tall.  MTM Barbie's over-sized head adds to her height.  Their bodies are the same size.

The height difference is more apparent in this back-to-back photo.

Red Ruffles Fashionista and MTM Barbie

Red Ruffles, who has been here much longer than MTM Barbie, has been desiring freedom and a new body for quite some time.   Since I do not care for the over-sized Asha head on MTM Barbie, Red Ruffles' wish will probably be granted very soon.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Gabby Douglas Barbie Photo Review

Scan from back of Gabby Douglas Barbie box illustrates Douglas in one of her signature gymnastics poses.
Text from back of Gabby Douglas Barbie box reads:

"I love a challenge.  I love to push limits and I love that my very own Barbie doll celebrates me for being a role model to girls." Gabby Douglas

Additional text from the back of the box:

When Gabby Douglas was just four years-old, her older sister showed her how to do a cartwheel.  The little girl tumbling around her house would later become the first woman of color to win the individual all-around competition for gymnastics.  Her confidence, work ethic and belief in herself make her an extraordinary role model to girls.  The Gabby Douglas Barbie doll celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments of this inspiring athlete who breaks boundaries and expands possibilities for women everywhere.  Whether she is training at the gym or dazzling the crowd during competition, Gabby has earned her spot as a true Barbie "Shero"!

Other than the text on the back of the box, the box is quite nondescript.

Initially created as a one-of-a-kind (OOAK) doll in 2016, part of Mattel's Sheroes campaign, the production doll has a box date of 2016 as well.  It was released to the market in May 2017.  Whether or not Mattel already had plans to release the doll, or if the Internet petition for the doll that was created in July 2016 influenced their decision to produce it, remains unknown.  As a collector, I am excited to now own two.

The production doll on the right, poses beside a screen-captured image of the OOAK Gabby Douglas Barbie.

The doll's head sculpt is a very good likeness of Douglas (Mattel always produces the best portrait dolls).  With the exception of the eyes appearing somewhat lighter brown and the lip color being slightly different, the production doll actually looks quite like the OOAK doll.

The doll capture's Douglas' adorable face and bright smile.

Unlike the OOAK doll, the production doll does not include a gymnastics beam or other gymnastics paraphernalia.  A faux cardboard beam is what is seen in the box.  

Gabby Douglas Barbie has black rooted hair styled in a ponytail with crimped ends.  She has light brown painted eyes.  Dressed in a white gymnastics leotard with red, white, blue, and stars design on front, the back of the leotard is white with a Velcro closure.  Her two-piece warm-up suit has a pink jacket with black sleeves and faux zippered front.  The black pants have a pink stripe on the sides.  The Nike swoosh is on the front of the jacket and top-left pant leg.  She wears white high-top sneakers.

A doll stand and certificate of authenticity are included with the doll.

I deboxed one of my two dolls to display.  The freed doll readily posed as illustrated below:

The doll stand can be useful, but when positioned on a flat surface, wearing her original shoes, Gabby can stand on her own.
 With the Made to Move Barbie body, the doll has multiple points of articulation:
  • The usual five places (head, arm and leg sockets) are articulated.  Additionally articulation extends to:
  • Upper arms below the biceps area, which is rotational
  • Elbows, which are double jointed
  • Wrists,which are rotational
  • Upper legs, which are rotational
  • Knees, which are double jointed
  • Ankles, which are rotational and can move up and down, allowing her to wear flat shoes or high heels, are articulated.
In her leotard, her multiple points of articulation can be seen.

Gabby can easily sit in the cross-legged position.

These Sparkle Girlz fashions were purchased last weekend.

We both wanted to see her in non-gymnastics clothing and selected two of the above three newly-acquired Sparkle Girlz fashions for her to try on.  Gabby also tried on one additional Sparkle Girlz fashion that was purchased at a different time.

Gabby looks quite fashionable in this one-piece dress with multicolored, geometrical print bodice.  The skirt is made of a denim-type material with yellow fringe at the hemline.  Barbie's black Roman sandals, yellow bracelet, and round sunglasses, from different accessory packs, complete this look.

Keeping the yellow theme going, Gabby tried on this one-piece short set.  The yellow bracelet and black Roman sandals work well with this as well.

Finally, this lacy-front, too-short aqua dress with floral appliqués at neckline was tried on.  With this she wears white high-heels from a Barbie accessory pack. 
We had many more Sparkle Girlz fashions to try, but we decided to stop with these three and return Gabby to her original clothes.  After doing so, Gabby found a temporary place of display in the collection.  (I imagine she will be doing aerial walkovers, somersaults, and cartwheels from location to location until she finds the perfect place.)

Another blog post on the Gabby Douglas Barbie by Roxanne's Dolls includes a video review that better illustrates the doll's articulation and other features.

To purchase (while quantities last), here is link to the BarbieCollection . com buy page.

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