Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kader Inspiration, Before and After

Seven of 10 sets of Kader Dolls from the Collection of Leeanne Simpson

Fellow doll enthusiast, Leeanne Simpson of Australia, frequently shares photos of her dolls with me.  The above photograph of Leeanne's Kader collection, shared in June of this year, inspired me to add "at least one" Kader doll to my collection.

Kader dolls usually have hard plastic heads and vinyl bodies.  They vary in size from 7-1/2 inches to a rare, 25-inch version.  Leeanne's smallest dolls are 10-1/2 inches.  These dolls were made in Hong Kong during the 1950s and 1960s, distributed chiefly in Australia and New Zealand by Kader Industrial Company Ltd.   Both black and white versions were made with blue and brown eyes used for both.  The blue-eyed black dolls are the rarest.

Recently, I found a 20-inch, blue-eyed version offered on eBay by Dollysisters14.  I immediately went into "eBay watch mode" and named and claimed the doll as my own.  After checking the current bid amount daily to determine whether or not I would, in fact, bid to win, I did just that. 

His back is marked:
OK (within a globe)
B 3520

The above, "before" photographs are courtesy of eBay seller, Dollysisters14, whose website is a work in progress.

As illustrated in the images provided by the seller, the doll arrived in preloved condition (which is what probably kept competing bidders at bay).  Throughout the years he has suffered multiple scratches to his body and extremities as well as exposed glue on his head. Discounting all this, I still wanted him.

After winning the auction and awaiting his arrival from Australia, I contemplated what I would do to mask the scratches and remove the glue.  I entered "vinyl scratch cover" into Google's search engine and found a couple of products that might possibly work.  Instead of ordering any of these, after viewing an online video demonstrating the use of a household product to remove scratches from eyeglass lenses*, I decided to try this less expensive, on-hand product first.

What I used: 
As suggested in the online video, I used furniture polish (generic Lemon Pledge) on his body to cover the scratches. Some still show, but they are not as visible as before, especially on his inner thigh where the vinyl was almost rubbed raw. His back looks a lot better now, too. I repainted his molded hair black using acrylic paint.  At first I used brown paint to the brown molded hair that frames his face, but I decided to paint it all black.  The paint was sealed with water-based varnish.  I used a makeup sponge to apply the paint and  varnish. 

As illustrated by his "after" photographs, he looks so much better now.

Will I add a smaller version?  Probably not, particularly not one with "brown" eyes which are really amber in color.  But if I find a blue-eyed, smaller black one, I might!  (By the way, the blue eyes are very dark, almost navy blue in color). 

*I have not tried using furniture polish to cover scratches on eyeglasses.  While this might work, I question the clarity of vision through furniture-polished lenses!


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