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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday review: Tyco Quints

This post (and the purchase of the items that will be reviewed here) were once again inspired by a post that Tam made.  Last September she discussed the Quints for one of her doll-a-day posts, and I happily remembered owning a set when I was little.  As with the majority of my playthings from early childhood, my original set of Quints is long gone, and I look back on that with a certain amount of sadness because Mama and Daddy went all out for me that Christmas.  I received a set of Quints, a set of matching kittens, a bed that came with little teddy bears, and a set of wagons that came with little visors, toys, and lollipops for each doll.  I assume that either my dolls got sent to the homeless shelter, or my sister got a hold of them and lost all the pieces (indeed, I do remember having to spend an afternoon picking up pieces after she knocked over their box), but either way I spent twenty-five years Quint-less...until now!  This is the "Bottle and Bunting" set that I owned as a child, as I remember using the bunting as an extra mattress pad among other things.  The conjoined crib proved to be too wide for the bunting to make a suitable mattress, but I used it that way anyway.  Anywho, here's what the dolls themselves look like.  My set is very different from Tam's set; hers bear a passing resemblance to Barbie's sister Kelly, while mine...don't.
One of my Facebook friends suggested that these dolls were based on the Dionne quintuplets.  If this is indeed the case they must be based very loosely, for the Dionne babies were all brunette girls, as opposed to the blonde mixed group that I have here.  One day very soon I will own a set of dolls that truly are based on the Dionne sisters; they belong to my great aunt and are not the Madame Alexander dolls, but are very cute nonetheless.  But that's for another post.  Regardless of the basis, Quints come from former toy giant Tyco, a company best known for toy trains, my much-loved Matchbox cars, and the ever-popular Tickle Me Elmo that sent parents and kids silly one Christmas.  Tyco products were big when I was a little girl, so it's nice to once again have something that they made.  My childhood set was blonde like these are, but they also came in brunette, redhead, and African American versions, all equally cute.  The girls' hairstyles also varied, with some sporting pigtails rather than ponytails.  Various waves had different themes and gimmicks but the family unit was the same, as were the colors and numbers.  The family unit always consists of three girls, numbered 1 (rose pink), 3 (sunshine yellow), and 5 (lavender)...
...and two boys, numbered 2 (robin's egg blue) and 4 (mint green).
These dolls didn't come with names, so I chose color-themed names for them: Rosie (1), Robin (2), Daisy (3), Forrest (4), and Violet (5).  Number 3 was always my favorite because she wore such a happy shade of yellow.  My doll appears to have faded a bit...or my memory is flawed and the yellow wasn't as bright as I remember. 

Alrighty, enough stalling!  These dolls are about two inches long from head to toe and thus are of comparable size to Mattel's Liddle Kiddles and to Sweets Sunshine, the Sunshine family's little girl.
The female Quints sport a hairstyle similar to that of Greta Griddle, my tallest Kiddle.
Sweets and the Kiddles are in the slush pile, by the way, and they have been since last October.  I had to round up the Sunshine family's dad before I could start putting a review together, but I should have that ready in a fortnight or so.  Anyway, Quints are of similar size to Mattel's tiny poppets, but they're also very different.  Their bodies are hard vinyl and are jointed at the shoulders and hips, and as a result of this jointing the Quints can strike some basic poses.  They can sit...
...stand if positioned correctly...
...and wave their arms and legs while lying on their backs, like real babies do.
Their arms are molded with elbows slightly bent and fingers curled, like they're meant to hold something.
Indeed, these dolls could hold small items like cat toys or their lollipops.  The legs are also molded with the knees straight.  No bowlegs for these baby dolls, unlike those goofy Heart Family babies!  These feet are fairly well detailed for such small feet.  They have five little toes and a molded arch.
The clothes are molded and painted on, and consist of nothing but a diaper with a molded waistband and a safety pin up front.
Some Quints were tiny drink-and-wet dolls with cloth diapers that changed color when they got wet, and some had solid-colored diapers that were painted to coordinate with each baby's color.  My dolls have plain white diapers, and each baby has their designated number and color stamped on their tushie.  Daisy and Violet's painted numbers have faded somewhat and have a few scratches.  So did the numbers on my old dolls when I saw them last.
I've learned that these dolls had little outfits that were available separately, so these relatively flat diapers are a blessing in disguise.  They're not naked all the time, but the diapers are flat enough to fit under the clothes (I hope).  The long-term goal is to find some of these outfits and find out!

Upwards now, since I'm going backwards with this review.  LOL, didn't intend for that.  Anywho, the heads are semi-soft vinyl with rooted hair.  The shade is baby blonde, not terribly unlike Suzy Cute's hair, but not quite as pale.
I wish I could've found redheads, but the only redheads I saw for sale were crazy expensive, so I settled for the blondes.  Like Suzy Cute, I had to give these babies a bath before their hair came to life again, not uncommon for dolls over the age of ten.  After the hairwash I was able to get these dolls back into their original styles; the little girls all wear Pebbles Flintstone-style ponytails with very short bangs in the front and little coordinating ribbons...
...while the little boys have simple bowl cuts.
Notice that their scalps are painted to match their hair.  I can't say that I'm a huge fan of that, but it doesn't show terribly, and it's better than a vinyl-colored head showing through.
Once again I believe that I've run into a child-mangled doll, as Forrest's hair appears to have been cut.  Notice that it's shorter than Robin's hair and sticks up more.
This looked terrible before I washed his hair, but I gave these dolls baths right after I got them and now Forrest looks adorable.  Indeed, I quite like his shorter hair, as it helps me to tell him and his brother apart.  Okay, I admit that even without the haircut I could've told Robin and Forrest apart, because some of Robin's hair has this strange orange cast to it.
It didn't wash out, either!  Surely someone didn't try to give Robin a dye job with Magic Marker or something like that!  But then again I've seen stranger things done to dolls; once I even saw a Ken doll that had armpit hair.  Yep, some little brat had gotten hold of a Sharpie and drawn black circles under Ken's arms!  Luckily, the stains came off with...I think that blogger used Oxy-Clean to get it off?  I can't remember, and unfortunately that post (and the blogger) appear to have vanished so I can't verify the above story.  But I swear to the good Lord above that I saw it, and I got a hearty haw-haw at Ken with pit hair.

Now to the faces.  These dolls appear to have square heads with square faces, which makes me giggle a little.  My father, being of German decent, had a skull that was mostly flat in back, a trait that I inherited (my sister got Mama's more rounded Celtic skull).  As a result, he often referred to himself (and me) as a "squarehead."  Nowadays the term "squarehead" is largely a synonym for a "blockhead" (meaning an idiot, popularized by Peanuts), and back during the turn of the century it was a racial slur.  In fact, it still IS a slur in some circles!  My father always used the term in a loving way, so I had no idea that it was once supposed to be highly insulting.  LOL, slur or no, my dolls have box-shaped heads, at least from the front.  Their cheeks are wide and their jaws are short.
The back and sides are a little more rounded, at least from what I can see.  These dolls have so much hair that it's hard to tell.
All five of these dolls have the same head mold and thus truly are almost identical; Tyco used subtle differences in paint jobs to differentiate boys from girls.  All of these dolls have...well, quite frankly these faces are fairly minimalist.  All of them have round, upcast blue eyes with brown borders, single-stroke light brown eyebrows, low-set button noses, and pale pink lips that tend to disappear against the pale vinyl of their heads.  The girls have painted eyelashes and the boys do not.
I wish their lips were painted a little pinker; pale lips just don't look good on pale dolls.  This same shade of pink was used to blush the dolls' cheeks, and it makes them look pallid rather than rosy.

With the dolls reviewed, let's look now at the "Bottle and Bunting" bit, which refers to the add-ons that this particular set of Quints came with.  The "bottle" part is pretty straightforward, just five little interlocked plastic bottles with painted details.  Some Quints' bottles held fake "milk" or were tiny functioning bottles, but these are just plastic bottles with nothing in them.

The "bunting" bit is where things get interesting.  Buntings are commonly now known as "sleep sacks" and can be store-bought, hand sewn, knitted, or crocheted.  Sometimes they come with hats or hoods and some have sleeves built in, but this bunting is the only one I know of that's built for five.
Yes, five.  In keeping with the Quint theme this bunting has five pockets, one for each doll.

They don't stay in very well, at least not like this.  If I tucked their arms in they might fit better, but I think that would be a tight squeeze for all five of them so I'm just going to leave them as is.  The front panel of this bunting is made up of pink fabric with multicolored hearts, mint-colored ribbons, and white numbers, and the back panel has the pink and white bits reversed.  The hem is trimmed with white lace.
The top hem is decked out with this pink woven cord, which I assume is for hanging or carrying the bunting.
Don't try to hang or carry this thing with the dolls in it, though!  I tried that when I was a little kid and the dolls spilled out.  That wouldn't have been such a big deal except that my dolls were carrying their lollipops...and one of the lollipops came loose from the doll's hand...AND our dolt of a dog tried to eat it.  Yeah, good times.  As a bonus, this bunting can be used for other small dolls, dolls like the smaller Liddle Kiddles and Sweets Sunshine.
Often when I revisit a toy that I owned during childhood I learn about some of the accessories that accompanied said toy, and the Quints are no exception.  I had no idea that there were little strollers available.
Each stroller is big enough to accommodate two dolls, like so.
Of course this leaves one doll to travel by foot, not unlike Chuckie on Rugrats.  Daisy volunteered to be my Chuckie in this case.
These strollers have functioning wheels and can fold up for easy storage.
Unfortunately, these little buggies aren't heavy enough to counterbalance the weight of two dolls' heads.  As a result, when I try to pose the dolls in there the strollers tip backwards like so.
It's also tricky to get the dolls positioned in the strollers, and once they're in I have a hard time getting them to stay there.  Some form of harness or seat belt would've come in handy here.  As for the ease with which these strollers tip over, all I can say is that maybe these were meant to be pushed by the Quints Cousins.  Yep, the Quints had triplet cousins who also served as babysitters.  They wore matching hairstyles and outfits, and like their baby cousins they had playsets and extra outfits available.  And that's only part of what was available for these pint-sized babies!  There were little outfits available, and other pieces of furniture besides the bed.  A couple of these Quints sets even came in baby form rather than toddler form; these were referred to as Newborn Quints and they came in a "So Soft" variety and (what a surprise) a drink-and-wet variety.  I had thought that these dolls were cute little one-offs like I did with Cherry Merry Muffin, and again I turned out to be mistaken.

So what's hot about these dolls?  What's not?

*Forrest got a chop job; not Tyco's fault
*Paint is wearing off the diapers some, probably age-related rather than a design flaw
*Strollers are a disappointment, as they tip back when loaded
*The dolls themselves have no small pieces, but the accessory sets do.  Keep away from pets and small children.

*Very cute
*Sturdy, with nothing to break and relatively little to destroy; some little brat can cut the hair (and did in Forrest's case) but otherwise these dolls are pretty tough.
*Simple and traditional, perfect for kids or adults that still like to play "House"
*I don't know why I'm putting this here, but these dolls can hold stuff.  I don't run into too many dolls that can hold their own toys; even my ball-jointed dolls can't do that.
*Make good props for larger dolls.

I can't say that these Quints are collector's items or anything of that stripe, but they certainly are cute and would make superb playthings even now, provided that the child in question is old enough to know better than to put stuff in their mouths.  Since the Quints ARE small they make good props for larger dolls and good companions for other small dolls like Kelly and Liddle Kiddles.  I'd advise against storing them all in the same box though, since Liddle Kiddles can melt other plastic.  I'd also advise against certain accessories, like those strollers.  They suck, to be blunt and crude.  I also remember the wagons being a little problematic, at least for my child's hands.  The wagons came with a handle, as all good wagons should, but this handle was supposed to attach to the front end of the first wagon and I never could get it to snap into place.  I'd probably have better luck now that I'm an adult, but I've yet to see the wagons for sale.  Patience is a virtue, I guess; I already have seen several sets of cats, which bodes well for my long-term goal of rebuilding my childhood collection.  But I'm rambling, of course.  Do I recommend these?  No if they didn't catch your eye, and yes if you happen to love small dolls or if you're looking to recapture a childhood memory of your own.  As for me, I'm thrilled to have this fragment of my past back.

Hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Poor little Tammy-clone!

A bit late for Valentine's Day posts, methinks, but this popped up at the library yesterday so I'm sharing her.
She is a pillow doll, quite obviously.  One of our younger patrons gave her to Coworker B, but Coworker B has no use for her so I'm taking her.  And truthfully, I only want her for her head.
She was once a full doll, and I can feel underneath the heart fabric where her legs once would have attached.  If she still had legs I'd just cut the pillow open and take her, and that would be that, but her legs are gone.  This upsets me because this doll is very clearly an old doll, old enough that she favors Tammy greatly.  She's probably NOT Tammy since she's not marked "Ideal" anywhere, but they do look alike.

Obviously my poor little girl is going to need a new body, and I think I'll add some paint too so that her cheeks won't have that horrid blanched look.  She'll be a work in progress, but I think I can turn this would-have-been-trash into a little treasure.  While I'm at it, I may try to find Katya, Kate Kite, and Elly-chan bodies as well.  It'll be easy for them, but this young lady of color may prove problematic.  It's difficult to find nice doll bodies of color, so wish me luck!  As a last little bit, this girl's name shall be "Florence" after Florence Ballard, one of the Supremes.

Much love,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Licca-chan gets an upgrade

This has been a La Nina winter if I ever saw one.  Sure, we had two weeks of bitterly cold temperatures, but it never really got thunderously cold and stayed that way.  Right now it's 74 degrees Fahrenheit here in Malden and I have the fan running.  The last time it was that warm this early...well, I call that one "the year we had tornadoes."  All year long the weather was bad, even in July when tornado season is supposed to be over in this neck of the woods.  It was a rough year.  Hopefully this year won't be that rough, but the signs are not looking good.  Indeed, thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon and evening.

I suppose that I could do something productive like picking up loose items from the yard or fetching Mama's weather radio and firing it up.  But what am I doing instead???  Playing with dolls, of course!  Licca-chan got her new body today, after a three-week wait.
Y'all can probably see the wind whiping Licca's skirt around; that'll give you a further idea of what it's like here right now.  Anyway, I don't think Licca is the "fighting evil by moonlight" type, but I put her in a Sailor Moon-esque pose anyway, largely because I can now.  The Azone body that I got for Licca is very different from the Obitsu body that I reviewed in January, and I promise that y'all will be getting a review of this body, but I'm sticking to my claim that it'll have to wait until May.  I have posts backlogged until late April, so early May is probably the soonest I can get Licca's review done...but it WILL be done!

In other news, I'm out of Facebook Jail again...for now.  We'll see what else I can do to upset the admin's delicate little sensibilities.  I'll leave y all with some random pictures that I took this afternoon.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dolly Dress Discussion: Spring duds for Barbie, part 2

Part Two of my Spring-themed dolly dress haul!  This post sort of picks up where the other left off, with retro dolls wearing some new old stuff.
OUTFIT #7:  Best Buy #1354 in sizes for Barbie and Skipper, 1978
MODELS:  Twist 'n' Turn Stacey, Val (early Malibu Barbie), another TNT Stacey, and Living Fluff
DESCRIPTION:  Like Fashion Avenue I'm quite fond of these old Best Buy dresses, as they appear to have been a good way for some little seventies girl to flesh out her doll's wardrobe without spending a ton of money.  Regarding these particular dresses, I usually put one of these on P.J. so that she and Fluff match, but P.J. is wearing that Fashion Avenue getup so Flip Stacey volunteered to wear one.  And whatever one Stacey does, the others like to do too.  These are simple slip-on dresses with strappy sleeves and ties at the waist.
Fluff's dress is constructed a bit differently, with a bodice that's not terribly unlike the bib part of a pair of overalls.  This dress also has a tie, but it doesn't wrap around the waist like the bigger dolls' dresses do.
One of the interesting things I've noticed is that this dress appears to come in at least two variations.  Val's dress is brightly colored (not unlike a package of Fruit Stripe gum), while Ponytail Stacey's dress is more muted in shades of lavender, salmon pink, magenta, and lemon yellow.
Adding to the confusion is Flip Stacey's dress, which is the same color scheme as Ponytail Stacey's but in a lighter shade and with wider white stripes in between the colors.
Normally I'd just chalk this up to fading and go on with my life, but A, the colors on Flip's dress are very even for a fade job, and B, Fluff's dress matches perfectly.
So I'm not sure if there are three color variations here or if two of these dresses just faded very evenly.  I don't guess it matters much, but I'm still curious.  It was not uncommon for vintage Barbie outfits to have a number of variations (check out Best Bow for a good example), and indeed another version of this dress appears to exist, one that's even paler than Flip's dress!
PROS:  These are simple, retro, and brightly colored, perfect for my Mod Squad here.  The material is also soft and stretchy, perfect for these old, curvy TNT bodies.  Lastly, I like that the fit can be adjusted by virtue of those sashes.
CONS:  The back seam of Val's dress is coming undone.  I suspect that this may be age-related.
I can mend Val's seam, but I can't fit the bizarre fit of Fluff's dress.  This is hard to describe in words and hard to photograph, but I'll try.
Doesn't something look off to y'all?  I can certainly testify that it's hard to adjust the fit of this dress.  No matter what I do to it, it's baggy.  Maybe it was meant to be worn over a peasant top?
RATING:  9 out of 10.  Minus one half-point for that seam coming undone (just a half because I can fix it), minus one half for Fluff's ill-fitting bodice.  None of these outfits came with shoes, but I don't think any Best Buy dresses did so I won't dock points in that category.
OUTFIT #8:  Swirly Cue, 1968-69
MODEL:  Farrah (another Malibu Barbie)
DESCRIPTION:  This is one of my all-time favorite vintage Barbie outfits.  I'm a big fan of the Mod era, and this outfit is as Mod as they come.  Unfortunately all my other Mod dolls have been shown already, so the not-so-Mod Farrah ended up with it.  Maybe I'm weird, but I see Barbie's Mod era as having ended with the debut of the Superstar head, thus why I consider Val a Mod doll and Farrah a not-so-Mod doll.  But then again, just about any doll is capable of looking decent in these older outfits.  Anywho, Swirly Cue is a very typical fashion for the late sixties, being a Pucci-style minidress with little pleats at the hem.  The bodice has darts, something that few doll dresses have nowadays, and the back...THE BACK ZIPS!!!
I own exactly one other doll dress that zips, and that dress belongs to Infinity A. Byss.  All my other doll dresses (including my handful of vintage Barbie items) snap, Velcro, or hook closed, and some just slip or tie on.  This dress also came with its own shoes; I think the proper shoes for Swirly Cue were pink closed-toe pumps, but mine has era-appropriate "pilgrim" shoes like what my P.J. usually wears.
This dress also once came with earrings, but mine are MIA.  No biggie, since most of my Mod-era dolls don't have pierced ears anyway, AND since Twist 'n' Turn dolls are apparently some of the worst about getting green ear (according to Barbie Bazaar, anyway).  Reproductions are available if I ever want any.
PROS:  When new this dress came with accessories, and though mine is missing its earrings it's good to know they existed.  The fabric is very sturdy, which is good because that factors into the main problem with this outfit.
CONS:  There are a few age-related pulls and thin spots, with the worst one being these tiny holes on Farrah's left breast.
I'll be attacking that with some Fray-Stop so it won't get worse.
RATING:  9.75 out of 10.  Minus one quarter of a point for age-related wear, which I knew existed when I bought this dress.  Y'all really can't beat these old Barbie clothes.
OUTFIT #9:  boxed fashion, 2018
MODEL:  China (petite Fashionista #25 "Blue Brocade")
DESCRIPTION:  Green has always been my favorite color, but I nurse a special fondness for blue as well.  In fact, I've been actively seeking out blue doll clothes lately.  I prefer the darker shades but I'm not picky, and I'm particularly pleased to see other colors besides hot pink being used. The bodice has sparkly polka dots on the front AND the back.
PROS:  Uh...it's BLUE!!!  I also love the elegance of this, and the full skirt that makes China look a little bigger than she really is.  Oh, and did I mention that the bodice has polka dots???  It's very hard to go wrong with polka dots.
CONS:  China is petite, and "petite" means petite all over, including the bust.  China's chest doesn't quite fill out this bodice.
It's not that bad, but I thought I'd mention it.  No, the worst thing about this outfit is that it didn't come with shoes. 
RATING:  8.5 out of 10.  One point docked for a lack of shoes (this is slowly becoming a theme) and half for the loose bodice, which I have to keep pulling into place.  That's not THAT bad, but it does get frustrating after awhile.
OUTFIT #10:  Still another boxed getup, 2017-18.  I call this one "the one with the saxophone."
MODEL:  So In Style Baby Phat Chandra, who coincidentally looks a lot like China
DESCRIPTION:  It's the saxophone outfit that I got so excited about!  I've seen Barbie play the piano, the guitar, and the violin on plenty of occasions, but I don't remember EVER seeing a saxophone included with an outfit.  The dress itself is a blush-colored empire-waist with gold glitter on the bodice.  The skirt is ever so lightly ribbed.
I find it ironic that in China's entry I spoke of being glad that less pink was being used for Barbie, and yet here's Chandra modeling something pink!  But as I said above it's one of my favorite shades of pink, and it's NOT hot pink like so much of Barbie's nineties wardrobe was.
PROS:  The color of this dress is stunning.  I gripe often about the overuse of pink in Barbie's wardrobe, but this is a shade I absolutely love.  And then there's that saxophone, which I'm delighted to have in my collection.
CONS:  Once again, this outfit didn't have to come with shoes.  I got these shoes from Yesteryear Finds USA, an Etsy shop.  They're the perfect mix of pink and gold, a color that I don't ever remember Barbie shoes coming in.
The proprietor of Yesteryear Finds requests that those looking for Barbie shoes kindly send her a message and she'll try to find the shoes in question.  Her shop can be found HERE.
RATING:  9 out of 10.  Minus one point for no shoes...again.  Good thing I was able to find a decent pair of shoes elsewhere, or Chandra would be like Natalie was yesterday.
OUTFIT SET #11:  I call this one the "rockin' red" set.  Dates from 2017 or 2018
MODELS:  Minnie (left, petite Fashionista #81 "Cheerful Check") and Norelle (right, original Fashionista #82 "Chic in Chambray")
DESCRIPTION:  Last ones, I promise!  I originally wanted Norelle to wear the saxophone dress for a rather convoluted reason, but she couldn't hold the saxophone as well as Chandra can so I put her in one of these instead.  Anywho, Minnie is wearing a red and black plaid dress that comes to her knees, a black faux leather jacket, and her own stock shoes.  Norelle is wearing a gray graphic T-shirt with red trim and a matching pleather skirt (I hate pleather), plus a pair of black heels from one of the add-on packs.
PROS:  These are mildly edgy for Barbie clothes, taking on a slightly punk or rocker flavor rather than the glamorous or earthy styles that have been prevalent.  It's always nice to see Mattel going off in this direction.
CONS:  No shoes, dammit.
RATING:  9 out of 10.  Minus one point for a lack of shoes...again.  At least that purse looks like a convincing purse; so many of Barbie's purses don't look like purses, or they're omitted altogether.

I had plans to include Licca-chan in this as well.  Yeah, I know the title says "Barbie," but Licca has a nice new dress that I'm dying to show off.  Unfortunately for Licca, I'm in the process of rebodying her...and the blankety-blank body STILL hasn't made an appearance!  It shipped three weeks ago...not one, not two, but three, and it's not here.  I'm getting her an Azone body, and I wanted to unveil it here, but how can I unveil a body if it's not here yet???  The late, great Tom Petty wasn't lying when he said the waiting was the hardest part, though I doubt he was waiting for a parcel to come in the mail.

So I've whiled away one day and seventeen hours of my three-day Facebook block with these two posts...now to come up with something else.  LOL, whatever it is y'all will be the first to know.  If the admins at Facebook don't chill out I may tell them to sod themselves and find some other social media site to terrorize.