Monday, September 30, 2013

My customized Tonner Patsy

I know this customization looks difficult, but it was SO EASY.  The only change I made to this Effanbee/Tonner "Pretty Party" Patsy was to change the eyes.  That's it.  But wow, what a difference!

I knew this pretty sculpt would look better with different eyes, so I took the plunge and switched them out.  I got out an exacto knife and some full-round glass eyes, and basically did this tutorial. 

It involved peeling off Patsy's glued-on wig, then cutting a round hole in the back of her head with the exacto so I could access her eyes.  Wrap the head in a heating pad for a little while to soften the wig glue.  It makes it easy to peel the wig off.

The default eyes are not glued in.  In fact, you could probably just take the old eyes out and put new eyes in without ever having to cut her head open (although cutting open her head makes it easier).  I suspect you could just heat up her head with a heating pad and pop the old eyes out, then pop the new eyes in again from the outside of the head like I did in this Bratzillaz tutorial.  However, you'd be risking scratching her face paint near her eyes if you did that, which is why I chose to open her head and attack the problem from the inside.

The lady who did the Patsy tutorial uses 16mm eyes, but I like 14mms better.  The 14s are also easier to put in, because the 16s are overall larger in addition to having a larger iris, which makes them really difficult to shove into those eyewells.  (I tried. ... Boy, how I tried!)  The tutorial lady had used half-round eyes, but with the 14mms I was able to use full rounds and they still worked nicely. 

Right now, Patsy's new eyes are being held in quite well without any glue or putty or any extra effort on my part.  They're stuck pretty firmly in the eyewells and won't budge unless I make them.  Technically, I could just leave them unglued so I could change her eyes out again for another color any time I want.  I'm undecided about gluing them, because the idea of being able to change her eyes any time I want to is just too tempting.  I LOVE them like this!  The new eyes have really brought this doll to life. 

Omigosh, I love her! 

By the way, the whole process of changing out her eyes was really quick and easy.  My only tools were the exacto knife and a heating pad (or hair dryer) to warm up the vinyl.  I didn't alter her face paint at all ... the face paint you see in the pics is all her original factory paint.  Nice, isn't it?  She's really beautifully painted.  The only other thing I did was to get rid of her spidery-looking default applied eyelashes, as you can see in the comparison photos.  The eyelashes just didn't work on her, and she already had nicely-painted eyelashes on the corners of each eye.   

Really, her original eyes probably would look fine if only the factory had positioned them up a bit higher so you could see a little white under them.  The quality of the factory eyes was good; I just wasn't crazy about how the factory workers had set the eyes.

In these pics I was playing with her eye position.  I'm not sure whether I prefer side-glancing or forward-facing, but so long as the eyes stay unglued, I'll be able to change them at whim.

Please click on the pictures to see them larger.

My find from the Huntsville, Alabama doll show

There is only one doll show within a 3 hour drive from my house, and it's only held once a year.  It just happens to be held in the same city my mother lives in, so I conveniently get to stay at my mom's house overnight whenever I attend the show.  Yay!  Mom's awesome cooking, and a doll show all in the same weekend. 

Anyway, I went this past weekend and saw that Brookes Dolls And More had a roomy display there with Ellowyne Wildes, Patsy dolls and ... OK, I didn't really notice what else their tables had, because I was too enchanted by the Ellowynes and Patsys.  I was never sold on buying Patsy before from just looking at pictures, but in person she was very charming!  They had a neat display of five different Patsys and (I think) five separate outfits for sale.  I was drawn to this girlie in purple, but hesitated about buying her.  I went back to their table THREE TIMES during the show trying to make up my mind to spend the money, and finally bought her on my third go-round.

This version is called "Pretty Party" Patsy.  Tonner really missed an opportunity to name her "Violets" Patsy or something.  (Vivacious Violets Patsy?  Very Violet Patsy?)  I love the outfit on this one!  It's a perfectly lovely dress that snaps in back and is really beautifully put together.    She didn't come with a stand, but doesn't need one because she can stand on her own unsupported. 

My one gripe with these dolls is that every time I see one, I think their eyes could be positioned better.  I really want to make this one a custom and give her new eyes that are either side-glancing, or positioned with a sliver of white underneath them like this amazing custom Patsy. 

Their default eyes can sometimes come across as a bit stare-y, like a school kid at the exact moment she realizes she forgot to do her homework.  Their faces are already lovely: Their eyes just need a slight nudge to evoke more expression. 

In fact, I am now 100% sure I am going to give her custom eyes.  I'll be back in my next post with her new look.

Friday, September 20, 2013

More about the Zelfs

I've come to the conclusion that part of the reason I like Zelfs is they look like something that would come from the pen of Brian Froud.  He not only produced some amazing fanciful art books on fairies and goblins, but also did the concept art for the movies "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth."  I'm probably the only person in the world who thinks of Brian Froud art when I look at the Zelfs.  LOL. 

Anyway, my 5-year-old decided to ... um ... "reappropriate" my Zelfs.  As in, they now live in her room.  Permanently.  I'm just lucky I was able to get pictures before they were wisked away.  Here she is holding them up in triumph, after the Great Zelf Migration of 2013. 

At her urging (and via a $4.99 sale at Toys R Us), we've managed to buy a few more of them.  I've stashed several more in my closet for her birthday in a couple of months, so it will be a while before I can photograph them.  The ones up above are the ones we've opened so far.

Also ...  Am I the only person who finds this just a TEENY bit creepy?  I went to the Toys R Us website to look at the Zelf listings, and now suddenly every site I visit has Zelf toys on it in conjunction with a Toys R Us ad.  I'm being STALKED BY TOYS R US!!!  I'M IN THE BEAST!!! 

This happens whenever I look at anything on the Toys R Us site, though.  For a whole week, there were nothing but TRU ads everywhere with pictures of Monster High dolls on them.  THEY KNOW WHERE I LIVE!

And now for more random Zelf pics.  :)  Because they're cute, and why not.

You can find my review of the Zelfs here (or just scroll down).


The grin on this one makes me laugh.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review of The Zelfs

When you first see the Zelfs in the store, your mind immediately goes back to the troll dolls from the '60s and '70s because of the fake fur hair and general body shape.  But that's where the similarities end.  The faces and ears are completely different.  They have movable arms, legs and head.  They have wings, and puppy dog eyes.  They're about 10 times cuter.

These are the medium-sized Zelfs, about 3" tall (7.5cm) to the tops of their heads, not counting the hair.  They're made by an Australian company called Moose Toys.  They have both a larger and a smaller version.  The tiny ones don't have the detail and articulation of the other sizes, and I didn't find them quite as appealing. 

The medium and large Zelfs, though, have a lot of nice-quality details. They have wonderful shading in their paint (notice the shading in the blue one's feet and ears).  The limbs move easily, but stay in place once you move them and aren't too loose.  I tried to gently pry off the wings on one to see if they'd come off, but the wing piece wouldn't budge.  It seemed to be attached pretty securely to the body. 

The bodies are made of a type of semi-soft vinyl that is slightly squishy to the touch.  You can press their bellies in slightly.  The wings are an even softer vinyl/plastic.  They have a nice feel to them and don't feel cheap. 

The stencils seem to be applied to the bodies quite nicely.  I'm guessing they might come off with a LOT of scratching, but they don't feel like they're going anywhere anytime soon. 

The two I have here are called "Lunanne" (blue) and "Garny" (purple).  They actually have slightly different head sculpts!  Garny's ears are droopier, and her mouth looks a little different.  I love that one has perkier ears than the other!  Not sure if you can see it in the photos, but Garny has green eyes and Lunanne has yellow.  Garny also has a cute fang painted on one side of her mouth that adds a lot to her expression. 

These two now have an honored spot right on top of my computer monitor. 


As always, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.  :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

My foray into Monster High dolls

I love the wings!
OK ... I PROMISED myself I wouldn't start buying these.  Yet, here they are.  Two of them jumped into my shopping cart yesterday.  What could I do?  They enthralled me with their monster powers and I was helpless.  (It didn't hurt I had $18 left on a Walmart gift card.)  They are Rochelle the gargoyle and Howleen the 14-year-old werewolf.  I thought they'd look cute together.  I've always secretly wanted Rochelle, and hey, I needed a second one so I can photograph them together, right?

I've never covered Monster High on this blog before.  Shuga-Shug's blog and Confessions of a Doll Collector's Daughter cover Monster High, plus you can sometimes get nicely-detailed reviews of MH dolls from the Toy Box Philosopher.  I never felt the need to keep up with Monster High myself. 

But these two were so personable.

There are a few things I don't like about Monster High.  The ultra-skinny bodies turned me off of the series initially.  I don't like some of the faces.  (I STILL don't see what people see in Spectra. ...)  There are a lot of good things to say about them too, though.  They have great articulation at the elbows, wrists and knees.  They can touch their own foreheads.  Plus, I love that they aren't grinning blonde Stepford Wives, like most dolls in the toy aisle.  They're fun. 

She comes with the hedgehog.
Since I've always been a classic monster movie fan, it was destiny I'd succumb eventually.

Anyway, these two are specifically 13 Wishes Howleen Wolf, and Ghouls Night Out Rochelle Goyle.  Other versions of Rochelle have better outfits, but I loved the hair on this one.  Howleen just looked friendly and cute. 

You know, looking at these two, I was thinking, "dang, that's a lot of pink considering they're supposed to be monsters!"  Then I remembered ... oh, yeah: Mattel.  LOL.  I like pink hair on dolls, though, so cutesy candy floss hair suits me just fine. 

Anyway, I guess these two are living at my house now. 


By the way, in case you're wondering:  That long black-and-white striped thing on Rochelle is supposed to be a scarf.  I'm not totally convinced it actually works with her outfit.  In most photos it just looks like a necktie gone wrong.