Friday, September 26, 2014

FR16 Obsidian Culture Hanne Erikson

I didn't get this doll when she first came out.  It took seeing owner photos of her with her hair down before I realized what a stunning beauty she is.  The first time I saw the original promotional pictures of Obsidian Culture Hanne, I was in awe of how detailed the suit is, with the embroidered pink leaf design all down the sleeves and collar.  The jacket has working pockets!  The veil is on a headband that's adjustable, so it fits perfectly and doesn't need pins to hold it on.  The purse is detailed, and really looks like a minature of some haute couture purse.  The whole ensemble is amazing.  But I wasn't ready to jump into buying this newly-revamped FR16 line. 

The thing is, I'd bought three of the original FR16 dolls (one of Integrity Toys' 16" doll lines).  I kept waiting for them to release more like the original Freya, Anais and Elsa (the three I had), but instead, they decided to change the way they painted the eyes.  So there were new FR16 dolls this year, but they didn't match the ones I already had.  Sigh.  The new dolls had a more realistic look, as opposed to the slightly more doll-like look of the older FR16s.  

So, because they didn't quite match the dolls already in my collection, I resisted buying them.

But then I saw some pictures of Hanne redressed, with her hair down.  Suddenly she seemed amazing to me, and I had to have her.  It's astounding what one little change can do for the look of a doll. 

So when she arrived, that hair didn't stay up any longer than it took to snap a couple of pictures.  She went from eccentric fashionista to goddess in 30 seconds.  Taking the hair down was very easy.  It involved snipping two rubber bands, and unwinding one lock of hair that'd been wound around the base of the ponytail.  Then I just gently pulled the hair down with my fingers to give it its current look.  There was no bald spot in the back of the head.

Left:  How she looked right out of the box, before I took that down that giant mass of curls.

The set came with fur-trimmed gloves.  I made one half-hearted attempt at putting them on, but putting gloves on Integrity Toys dolls is like vacationing in the 10th Circle of Hell, so I left them in the box.  She couldn't wear her awesome ring at the same time she had the gloves on, anyway, and I wanted to show off the ring.  It's such a charming little accent, with a black stone in it to reflect her name, Obsidian.  The earrings are wonderful, too.  It's interesting they have pink stones to match the embroidery on the jacket, rather than a black stone like the ring.  It's an intriguing design detail that I find quite natural-looking.  How many people have rings that perfectly match their earrings, anyway?

 The one negative thing I have to say about Obsidian is not about the doll itself.  It's about her stand.  The stand was useless with my doll, because her skirt was so tight that I couldn't fit the stand underneath it.  If her skirt had been looser, the stand would have worked.  I'm going to have to get a waist-grip stand for her, because there's no way the average Integrity stand is going up that tight skirt.  (That sounds rude, but you know what I mean.  LOL!)

You'll notice I don't have any pictures of Hanne on her stand. 

Obsidian Culture is an exclusive at Couture Dolls.  There is one other version of Hanne, a blue-eyed blonde in a really incredible white dress ("Platinum Society" Hanne).   I had a hard time choosing between the two, and I *might* cave and buy the blonde for myself for Christmas. 

And now for a few more random pics.
Click on the pictures to see them larger.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Toys R Us Strawberry Shortcake doll set, deboxed

My two favorites.

OK, last post on these, before I go back to talking about fashion dolls.  (I think.)  I had to show you the Toys R Us exclusive Strawberry Shortcake 5-doll set, deboxed.  This set was called the "Berry Best Adventure Collection," and runs about $39.  I showed you a picture of the unboxed set in my last post, here.  The clothing seems to be exclusive to this set (at the moment), so it might be worth getting for the clothing if you or your kids like these dolls.  Unlike the Berry Best Friends dolls I mentioned in a previous post, the clothing on these have separate tops and bottoms, so you could mix-and-match the clothes.  The shoes are cute, too.  I love the little sneakers!  They're the best.

Right now, this is the only set in which you can get the character Orange Blossom in her newest, Bridge Direct incarnation.  I'm sure the company will release Blossom again at some later date, but right now, this is it.  I adore her.  She's my second-favorite, after Raspberry Torte (pink hair).  Raspberry is just awesome.  I love her high-set ponytail and pink eyes.  Although it's kind of funny that she has strawberries on her shirt instead of raspberries.  LOL.

When I got these dolls, I was only dimly aware there was a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon out there somewhere, and that the dolls' clothing reflected the clothing on the cartoon characters.  I still haven't seen the cartoon.  I have about as much interest in watching a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon as I have in twisting my ankle. 

And yet I love toys.  LOL.  Go figure.  I guess I'm a kid at heart, but not THAT much of a kid. 

Anyway, I love the strawberry-covered shirt on Strawberry Shortcake.  Except for the clothing, she looks identical to the Berry Best Friends Shortcake.  The hair is in a different style, but is the exact same color (red hairs mixed with pink, which looks solid red from a foot away).  I wish they'd varied the hair or eye color for this version so she wasn't exactly the same, but that's all right.  Speaking of which, the original Strawberry Shortcake doll that debuted in 1980 had blue eyes!  Since then, the character has had either brown or green eyes, depending on which company had the license to produce the toys.  I absolutely love green eyes, so I'm totally OK with the current eye color. 

The Strawberry Shortcake twins.

I also suspect that The Bridge Direct, who has the current license to produce the dolls, doesn't have a choice in her eye color or look.  Since they work with American Greetings, who own the copyright, they have to work from artwork American Greetings provides.  At least I believe that's how it works.  And right now they're trying to keep with the look the characters have on the cartoon series.  This is also why the current Bridge Direct dolls have a lot of similarities to the previous Hasbro-produced ones.

This hair is cute.

This hair is cute, too.

I just think it's fascinating to get an insight into how toy companies and licensing work.  I would have been perfectly at home working at a toy company. 

Anyway, enjoy the pictures.  My next post with either be about Tonner or Integrity Toys, or maybe both.  LOL. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

More on the new Strawberry Shortcake dolls

The Toys R Us exclusive Strawberry Shortcake set.
Well, after writing the last post, I was curious to learn more about these new Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  Apparently, the copyright to the characters is owned by American Greetings, who are known for making greeting cards.  As some of you know, the Strawberry Shortcake characters began as drawings for greeting cards in 1977, which then got licensed out to various toy companies over the years to make dolls.  The first company to get the license to make the dolls was Kenner in 1979, and it was Kenner who made all the original Strawberry Shortcake dolls from the early '80s we know and love. 

The last of the Kenner dolls were produced in 1985.  After that, several other companies licensed the name and characters and produced their own versions.  The Bridge Direct, which produced the dolls shown in my last post, are new to the license this year.  Hasbro had the license last year (from 2009-2013) and for whatever reason, didn't renew the license agreement for 2014.  (Sidenote: Hasbro bought Kenner in 1991, so Kenner ended up becoming a division of Hasbro.)

Right now, at my Toys R Us they have some of the older Hasbro Shortcake dolls still on the shelves, right next to these newer Bridge Direct dolls.  I never liked the Hasbro version.  They never caught my eye like the newer dolls do.  (If they had, you'd probably have seen them on this blog before now.) 

Anyway, in researching these dolls, I found an absolutely excellent run-down of the history of the dolls, complete with great photos that show you how the dolls' look has changed over the years.  You can find it at the "Never Grow Up" blog, here.  I have to give kudos to the lady who writes that blog.  Apparently she's a big Strawberry Shortcake fan, and her post on their history is absolutely wonderful.  You should definitely check it out.  I didn't see it until after I did my post on The Bridge Direct dolls, so I was tickled to see that she'd also bought a Bridge Direct Strawberry Shortcake doll.

Back of the box.

Guess what?!  Toy R Us has an exclusive 5-pack of the newer dolls.  I had to get it this morning.  The outfits are VERY cute, but have a modern look.  I miss the prairie dresses of the original Kenner dolls, but the new clothes are adorable anyway.  And I noticed that with these, the tops and shorts are separate pieces, so you can mix-and-match them.  (Unlike the dolls of my last post, which had clothing that was sewn together.)  So I guess I'll have to do one more post on these girlies, when I debox them. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Review of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls by The Bridge Direct

When I was a kid, my cousin Janelle had an enviable collection of Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  She had freaking every doll they made, plus playsets and separate outfits and the little pets that went with them, and I WANTED IT ALL. 

My mom never bought me any Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  Ever.  Sniff. 

So as an adult, my eyes are still drawn to these cute little dolls.    The newest incarnations look different from the originals, but they're still SO CUTE.  The new ones have big, pretty eyes and sweet expressions.  And they still smell so very good. 

After coveting Strawberry Shortcake dolls for 30 freaking years, I've finally, at long last, bought myself two dolls.  Yay! 

These two are from the "Berry Best Friends" set of four dolls, which also include the characters Lemon Meringue and Cherry Jam, made by The Bridge Direct, Inc.  They were $9.99 apiece and came with little toy dogs and combs.  I had to get this incarnation of Strawberry Shortcake because she came with the hat.  I mean, without the hat, she's just not Miss Shortcake, ya know?  The blue-haired one is Blueberry Muffin.  I love blue hair, so I wanted her even more than Miss Shortcake.  She comes with a cute plastic headband that fits her head nicely, and the blue dog.

They're 6" (15cm) tall.  I was pleasantly surprised by their body jointing.  They can either sit or stand, and they can actually stand on their own unsupported.  They can move their heads left and right.  Their arms are on a rotational joint so they can not only lift their arms, they can also swing them outward as well.  Their legs don't swing outward, but do have a nice sturdy hinge so they can sit straight-legged.  (The knees don't bend.)  They feel and bend like a nice-quality play doll.

Their face screening is wonderful!  To me, eyes mean everything for a doll, and these have great eyes.  Their hair quality is nice, too, and the rooting is pretty decent for a play doll.  They don't have big bald spots in the back when you part the hair.

The clothes are fairly simplistic, but cute.  They have a Velcro tab on the back so you can dress them in each other's clothes.  Each outfit is basically a single dress.  Blueberry's outfit looks at first like a top, skirt and jacket, but it's really all sewn together as a single garment.  Strawberry's top and skirt are sewn together.  It makes it easy for little hands to dress and undress them.  I'm not oohing and aaaahing over the quality of the clothes, but they're all right.  Their shoes fit nicely and are removable, too, so they can also exchange shoes. 

Here's the only weird thing about the dolls:  Their feet are crazy!  The stripes are painted on the legs, so it looks like they're wearing tights.  But when you take off their shoes, you can see toes!  LOL.  I guess this is so they can use the same mold for dolls who aren't wearing tights.  Looks funny to me, like they're wearing toe socks. 

There was another (nice) surprise with their pet dogs.  I didn't realize this at first, but the heads on the dogs can swivel around.  I love that.  It adds a bit more playability to what would otherwise be a cute little figurine. 

So, at long last I have the Strawberry Shortcake dolls I coveted as a child.  (Well, new versions, anyway.  LOL!)  They're sitting on my desk in front of me as I type this, oozing happy all over it. 

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.