Doll Review: MH Wydowna Spider – TRU exclusive

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This review is super late, but I’m so stoked about I ❤ Fashion Wydowna Spider that I don’t even care that she’s not newsworthy anymore.

To give a brief history of this character, in 2011 Wydowna was a contender in the SDCC doll election under the name “Daughter of Arachne”; she didn’t win the contest, but later ended up becoming the SDCC exclusive doll for 2013, and then this year she was given her first playline release as part of the TRU-exclusive ” I ❤ Fashion” line.

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The fact that Wydowna became a playline doll is honestly pretty amazing, and totally awesome.  Truly dark-skinned characters seem to be sadly few and far between when it comes to doll lines, and added to that Wydowna is an arguably creepy monster, being a six-armed poisonous spider and all – not exactly something you’d think a big corporation would market to girls.

She is so freaking cool.

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I was super-sad last year about not being able to get Wydowna’s SDCC doll; she’s so monstery plus the extra outfit was comic-book print! ..But this playline release is even better and more deliciously pop-arty.  ^_^  I even like the faceup better on ILF Wydowna; the blue/yellow is way more interesting and edgy than just red lipstick + silver eyeshadow.  (Here‘s the only decent comparison photo I could find.)

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Wydowna has pitch black skin, candy apple red hair (with a widow’s peak.. get it?), and 6 red eyes (2 normal human eyes + 4 arachnid eyes on her forehead).  Her lips are the same light blue as her eyeshadow, with black printed fangs.  The doll has six arms, each with a different hand mold.

wydowna buttonThis I<3F doll could really be considered Wydowna’s signature doll, imo, because not only is it her first playline release, but the default outfit is stylistically almost identical to her prototype outfit from the 2011 SDCC vote.  The comic-print dress is the same cowgirl-inspired style as her “signature” prototype dress, and the silver boots are recasts of her prototype boots as well.  I love love love the changes they made to her signature outfit for this release – the original was a little too country for my taste and the colors were clashy.

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It’s like she got a designer makeover..

20141109_160722I love the bold color scheme and while not necessarily fashionable, the geekified cowgirl style totally works somehow.  The dress is printed with actual art from the Webarella comic that came with the SDCC Wydowna doll; you can see the Webarella character at the bottom of the skirt.  ^^

20141119_134650It was a very pleasant surprise to find that the silver waist cincher is a separate piece from the dress.  I was so sure it was going to be sewn on, and am very happy that it is not; so much more mix and match potential!

There are spiderweb-shaped spurs on the heels that actually spin!

There are spiderweb-shaped spurs on the heels that actually spin!

The other outfits that come with this doll are equally as fabulous, and they’re all wonderfully color coordinated and continue the pop-art/comic theme.

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The yellow shoes are recasts of her SDCC alternate shoes; they are desperately in need of some paint to highlight the web detail, but otherwise everything about this outfit is totally on point.

The leggings are so damn awesome and I seriously want a pair in human size; the image on them is a comic-style cityscape, presumably also taken from the Webarella comic.

PicMonkey CollageSomehow I didn’t get any photos of the actual Wydowna doll in the third outfit, which is a striped mini skirt and wide-armed t-shirt with a pop-arty (and delightfully morbid) “splat” design on the chest, and coordinating white go-go boots that match the accompanying purse.  Fakie-wydowna didn’t quite fit in the other outfits, so the “splat” one seems to have become hers.

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Coordinating boots & purse (which actually opens up).

Coordinating boots & purse (which actually opens up).

Let’s talk about Fakie-wydowna for a minute, actually.  Back before ILF Wydowna was on store shelves and owning a version of her seemed an impossible dream, one of the mods on the MHArena was nice enough to place a group order on Taobao and through her I procured what is really a fantastic knockoff.

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She is very nearly identical to a real MH doll and actually came with recasts of SDCC Webarella’s boots which is a cool bonus.  The fake doll’s body is a slightly shiny recast of an actual MH doll with all the same articulation (and even all the same hand molds as the real Wydowna), and her head seems to be a modified recast of the real Wydowna’s; the fakie does not have sculpted eyeballs but otherwise looks identical to me.

The fakie’s hair is not nearly as nice a texture as the real deal, but the rooting is surprisingly good.   As a matter of fact, my husband could not tell the difference between the fake doll and the real one, and even stated a preference for the face on the fake one.  I was planning to reroot and repaint the fakie in different colors, but it’s kind of a shame to mess with her since she’s already quite nice. The only weird thing about Fakie-wydowna is that even though her body looks identical to real-Wydowna, her arms do not fit Wydowna’s clothes as well, they seem to take up more space somehow.

Well, I guess that’s about it for Wydowna and her bootleg counterpart..

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If I had to get rid of every Monster High doll but one – this Wydowna would be the one I’d keep.  She’s so wonderfully monstery and unexpected, and has such a strong, edgy, pop-art aesthetic (with her own actual comic book print on her clothes!).. she’s really everything I could ever have wanted in a doll!

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Doll Review: Monster High “Mansters” 2-pack

The “Manster” 2-pack is the first all-boy set of Monster High dolls, featuring Deuce Gorgon and Gil Webber all set for a night of table top roleplaying in classic D&D style (sort of).

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Review: Legacy Day Raven Queen – EAH doll

Legacy Day Raven Queen is one doll that I’ve been waiting for a long time to buy; the LD dolls are priced quite high (~$35 in Canada) and I could never find one that had both good facial screening and a good outfit.  The initial releases of LD Raven all had bodices that were sewn so tight that the fabric was cracked and I thought it looked really bad, especially for such a pricey doll.  So when I finally stumbled across one that had a perfect dress, I snapped her up as quick as I could despite the doll being full price and having a bit of eye wonk (big thanks to Mr. Nerd for buying her for me! ^^).

(Of course, now that I’ve opened the doll, all the new ones on the shelves have un-stretched dresses, so I acted much too quickly and missed out on some great sales that would have got me this doll for almost half of what my husband paid.  These are the difficult lessons of a collector. XD)

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As I mentioned in my initial Ever After High post (and if you’re somehow not familiar with EAH, go read that one first), Raven Queen is the daughter of the Evil Queen from the Snow White fairy tale, and on Legacy Day at Ever After High, Raven’s supposed to pledge herself to her destiny and commit to being the next evil queen. More

Review: Curl ‘n Coil Tily Vizon – Novi Stars doll (+ Novi bodies comparison)

Tily Vizon is one of two “Curl ‘N Coil” Novi Stars dolls.  The CnC dolls are different from the other Novis in a couple of respects, namely that they are robots/cyborgs and have cyber dreads with a curling gimmick, but the CnC’s are also differently sized than the other Novi dolls (being bigger than the basics and smaller than the Stellar Skinz).

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The Curl n’ Coil dolls were one of the more recent waves of Novi Stars, which means that they did not make it into many stores, as far as I’m aware – they definitely were not on shelves here in Canada.  (She and Roe Botik are still for sale on Amazon, and are currently listed for less than the retail price that I paid.)  I bought Tily from Amazon about a year ago when I had an online credit, and I was super excited – I mean, c’mon, she’s a super cute cyberpunk cyborg alien doll with fantastic shoes and electrical plugs as hair! More

Review: Black Carpet Clawdeen Wolf – Monster High doll

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Black Carpet is the slim box line that goes along with the Frights, Camera, Action! dolls and movie, and it consists of four of the main characters dressed for walking down the redblack carpet for a movie premier.  The characters in this budget line are Cleo DeNile, Draculaura, Lagoona Blue, and Clawdeen Wolf; they’re all pretty fabulous except for Lagoona.  Clawdeen caught my eye right off the bat though, when we first saw photos of the line from NY ComiCon; her spiky earring and ornate neckpiece are just so fabulously bad-ass. More

Review: Hello Kitty Baking Fun – mini doll play kit

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I’ve got something a little different to review today – the Hello Kitty “Baking Fun” mini doll play kit, a set of themed miniatures made to go with the HK mini dolls.  It’s hard to find any listings or information for these sets online, and the only store I’ve seen them at is Target.  The dolls are not listed for sale on sanrio.com but they are featured in a blog post on hellokitty.com that’s dated from mid-February so maybe they are new products that just haven’t seen full distribution yet.

From what I remember at Target, there are three different types of these HK mini doll sets: small sets with the doll and a few accessories, larger sets with a doll + a small playset + some accessories, and the sets that are all accessories.  As far as the dolls themselves go, I’m not a fan of most of them – they’ve made Kitty’s body weirdly slender and I find that both creepy-looking and insulting from a body-positive feminist point of view.

The one I like to think of as Breakfast Princess Hello Kitty is pretty cute though; she looks a little chubbier than the others and that outfit is amazing, with the waffle and eggs hair bow and the bacon skirt and all.

The price on the doll/playset pack was a little much for me, so I’ll just be sticking to the accessory sets since I can use those with pretty much all my dolls.  This baking themed set is just so cute that I couldn’t resist getting it… the kid in me was just squeeing over the whole thing.  I mean, just look at the package.. those little cupcakes!  So much Hello Kitty adorableness!  Make a pie!

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Not only is that totes adorable, but it’s really nice to see some of the actual pieces, to get an idea of the scale.

Ooh, and there’s a surprise for me, from Hello Kitty herself!

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OMG, what could it be?! A little HK figure? More tiny food? The possibilities are endless!

And a pouch to put everything in – neat.

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How handy!  And Hello Kitty’s bow has sprinkles on it to go with the baking theme.  XD

Before going on with this review, I should probably mention that I freaking love Hello Kitty and I have for years; even back when I was a macho tomboy who hated the color pink, I still had a soft spot for that kawaii cat.  I’m not really sure what it is about her, but the whole concept and aesthetic of Hello Kitty is just super adorable and fun to me.

Let’s just say the mini doll packs are not the first HK product that I’ve squeeed out loud in a store over.

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There are 37 tiny little bakery bits in this particular set, including cupcakes with detachable frosting, a layered pie, and a stand mixer shaped like Kitty’s head.  I’m pretty sure that every single tiny piece has either the iconic bow or Hello Kitty’s visage stamped into it somewhere.  For example, the egg carton not only has a red bow sculpted on the outside, but Kitty’s face is carved into the underside of the lid and each egg has a Hello Kitty bow stamped into it.  Sanrio is serious about their branding, man.

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But I’m getting ahead of myself again…  Here’s what was inside the box when I opened it:

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Not the most elegant packaging, but ok.

I’ve gotten so used to annoying plastic tabs and having to use scissors for deboxing everything, so this was surprisingly simple to me.

And here’s what we got:

20140309_152054That’s everything that was in the box; just the stacked pie bits that were displayed in the box window and then everything else is in the baggie, including the “surprise gift.”  Apparently the clear plastic bag is the advertised “carrying pouch”; that’s a little disappointing in itself, but mine also happens to be split down one side which makes it totally useless.  The bag was hardly a factor in my purchase though, so oh well.

Here is everything (except the “surprise gift”) that came with the Hello Kitty Bakery Fun set:

20140310_102539That’s a lot of little bits!  I’m really impressed – this set retails for $8CAD at Target, which sounded like a lot to me at first, but comparing it to the miWorld accessory packs where you get 5-9 pieces for $4 – the Hello Kitty ones start to look very reasonably priced.

The cost is totally justified when you look closely at all the pieces, too.  There is so much detail in this set, I am truly astounded.

PicMonkey CollageFirst off, the pie!  I love that you get to “make” the pie yourself.  The pie pieces actually fit into either the blue kitty-shaped pan or the silver one that was displayed in the box window, but the fit is best in the blue one.

The latticed top crust is not only shaped like Hello Kitty’s head, but it also has a sculpted bow, whiskers, and dots for her eyes and mouth.  The bottom pie crust has an authentically lumpy texture in the bottom, and the pie filling appears to be strawberries.

Let’s look at the cake stand next:

PicMonkey Collage3 The base of the stand has decorative scalloped edges and a single bow at the bottom; the cover is shaped like Hello Kitty’s head, complete with ears, bow, and even sculpted facial features.  The cake itself is red and pink with a big red bow on top, and it has a single slice cut out of it.  The cake slice also has a red bow; the insides of the cake have sculpted texture and are painted yellow.

20140310_103701_resizedThe cookie and dough are probably my least favorite items in the set, and they’re still really cute.  The cookie fits perfectly into the cut-out in the dough, as well as fitting perfectly in the cookie cutter.  My only beef is that I wish they’d done two or three cookies out of the one piece of dough instead of just one.

PicMonkey Collage6The cupcakes are probably my favorite of the baked goods, because they’re so detailed and versatile.  Each cupcake has a uniquely sculpted wrapper and the top of each one is textured, with a 3-D bow in the middle.  There are four different interchangeable frostings/toppers that fit over the bows on the cupcakes, and each one is fantastically detailed; the waffle cone bow one is probably my favorite, but the supertiny bows on the yellow one are pretty amazing too just by virtue of how very small they are.

These cupcakes with their whimsical, swappable frostings are just too cute for words.

The cakes themselves fit into the pink cupcake pan which, of course, has Hello Kitty’s face stamped into it:

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The rest of the items in the Baking Fun accessory set are the implements and kitchen tools for Kitty to use to bake all those tasty treats; there’s the aforementioned stand mixer (a must-have for any serious baker) that comes with a removable bowl (with HK’s face on it of course), a bow-adorned measuring cup, two adorable canisters with removable lids, a rolling pin stamped with the words “Hello Kitty”, and the silver Kittyface-shaped baking pan that was displayed with the pie.

20140310_103916_resizedThere’s also a little pink oven mitt for a Kitty doll to wear, but I forgot to include it in the photo.

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The very last item in the set that I looked at is the surprise gift; I was honestly a little bit excited and wanted to draw out the anticipation:

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But I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up:

20140310_103836_resizedYes my friends, that there is the “surprise gift” – a tiny disembodied pink Kitty head; not even the whole Kitty, just her head.  WTF, man?  Hello Kitty sucks at picking out gifts. The thing would barely stop rolling around long enough for me to photograph it.

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Aside from the two failed gimmicks, the Hello Kitty Baking Fun play kit is really quite impressive and I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes tiny cute things.  There are a ton of interactive little pieces, an overload of Hello Kitty adorableness, and an unexpectedly high level of detail on every single item.  The best part is that almost all the pieces are the perfect size for use with fashion dolls and pretty much every doll/toy that’s between 4″ and 14″ tall.  Even at Canadian prices, this set is totally worth picking up ’cause it’s totally fun.

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Doll Review: Slo Mo

S20140227_114451loman “Slo Mo” Mortavitch is the latest Monster High male doll; he’s part of the slim box Ghoul Spirit line, and is currently quite hard to find.

This doll has had a weird history already – Mandy85’s Monster High release list on the MHArena tells us:

Earlier Slo Mo dolls have been erroneously found with clawed fingers, like Clawd Wolf, while more recent finds have been corrected to feature more “basic” male hands, as seen in his promo picture.  As only a small number of Slo Mo dolls have been found since the release of the Ghoul Spirit line, it’s rumored that the delay in distribution may have to do with the correction of his hand mold, though no official statement has been made to explain his initial scarcity.

I’m lucky in that once Slo Mo started showing up in stores again after he apparently got pulled from the cases and then put back in, he came to Canada before the US.  He’s still very hard to find here though, and has barely made it to the States yet.  Even here, I’ve only seen him the one time – I must have been at the store right after they stocked the shelves the day I found him. More

Doll Review: Swim Class Frankie Stein

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Next up on my long, long list of dolls to review is Swim Class Frankie Stein.  This is a doll I wasn’t planning on getting at all, despite the awesome hair – I’m just not in love with her stock (or any of the Swim dolls’), but when I saw her on clearance at Justice for only $6… who could resist?  [side note: it’s amazing how many $6 Monster High dolls I found in the States!] More

Let’s talk Novi Stars! + Nita Light w/ Energy Pod review

novi22Let’s talk about Novi Stars – it’s an American line of  “fashion” dolls released by MGA Entertainment in 2012, and it’s one that I really like.  The dolls are all adorable little alien girls!

There are currently 9 basic Novi Stars dolls, a budget “Orbit Beach” line with the first 4 characters in swimsuits, 2 “Stellar Skins” dolls that are taller and have rubber “skins”/clothes, 2 “Super Novas” that are a little larger and just generally more awesome, 2 “Curl n’ Coil” dolls that are taller and have a robot/hair gimmick, an “Energy Pod” playset that comes with a basic doll, and there are four fashion packs and a line of blind-bag pets as well.

Each doll has a special feature, such as lighting up or glowing in the dark, that is promoted on their box, and has a bio which gives (generally rather insipid) details about the character. Every Novi Star comes with a pet and a glow-in-the-dark doll stand, excluding Nita Light, who comes with the energy pod.

Unfortunately the whole doll line seems to either be discontinued or on some kind of hiatus;  the most recent wave of Novis, despite the dolls being like 20% cooler, was very sparsely distributed in the United States and never made it to Canada at all.  The Novi Stars website used to have all the toys and character bios, and some kind of blogs or something, but now there’s only a small handful of Novi Stars themed games and nothing else.  Hopefully this isn’t the end of the line – it’s a great concept and the products are solid, with interesting designs and good sculpting on the dolls themselves (their little faces are so goddamned adorable). More

Slo Mo!

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Holy crapola, I found a Slo Mo!  Apparently he is showing up in Canada before the United States – pretty unusual, and lucky for us!  This particular Slo Mo was at Wal-Mart a few days ago, in amongst like, 15 other Ghoul Spirit dolls.  It was my first excursion to search for him, and there he was!

Of course this is the one doll where I actually want eye wonk, and he has the most perfect facial screening I’ve ever seen on Monster High. XD

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