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Monday, September 17, 2012

Featherageous Jade review, plus a few other things

Remember the last post where I said I had a second doll to present to you?  Well, I only have one entry for the month of September and things have calmed down quite a bit (the past two weeks have been nuts!), so I may as well show her to y'all now, before she gets too dusty.

My doll is Featherageous Jade, a member of the Bratz Featherageous line (the one at right is not my doll, but a promo pic).  The Featherageous series is/was a set of play line Bratz dolls; instead of the focus being on a fashion theme (as is common for Bratz dolls), the emphasis is on hair play.  The idea is to cash in on the ongoing fad of braiding or clipping feathers into one's hair (you may have seen the human-sized extensions in stores, or on the heads of fashionable tweens, teens, and young girls).  The line consists of your four usual characters, Cloe, Sasha, Yasmin, and Jade, but my local Wal-Mart only carried Cloe and Jade.  I got my Jade on sale for thirteen bucks (she had been what I perceived as overpriced at twenty-two).  The drop in price on these dolls leads me to think that they are already old-hat, being phased out for the next lines of Bratz dolls; when I bought Jade the rack where she had once been were already stocked with this year's Christmas-themed Bratz and the Bratzillaz, plus a couple of new lines that I haven't learned the names of yet.  Check out the Christmas dolls...they remind me of how the Bratz USED to be!  Jade is my favorite from this series too; I'm a sucker for green.

Alrighty, back to the review.  I'm not a huge fan of opening boxes; I want to just rip the S.O.B. open and extract the doll PDQ.  So you won't see my Jade in her box; she has been opened and somewhat played-with.  But she's still good enough to review.  And I still have the box.  Here's what the back of the box looks like:
Anyone notice anything???  If you need a clue, scroll back up to the top and look at the doll's promo pic.  Now compare that to the box art.  In the artwork, Jade is wearing BLUE JEANS!!!  However, in the promo pic the doll is wearing what appears to be a one-piece dress.  And that is how the final product came out.  No denim in sight!!!  One can only wonder why MGA did that.  Perhaps the original plan was to produce these dolls in blue jeans?  I'll never know, but it certainly would've been more handy for me if Jade had been wearing jeans.  I'll reveal why a little later on...

Anyway, here is my Jade:
She has your typical Bratz features, with heavy blue eye shadow that matches her hair streaks and frosty pink lips.  I'm not a huge fan of the lip color; it looks good on camera, but it's a bit too bright for Jade's fair skin.  I much prefer the pale, icy pink that MGA used on my Bratz Catz Jade, or the bright red used on the Christmas Jade doll.

Like all of the Featherageous dolls, Jade's main feature and main selling point is her hair.  It's rooted, long, and black with blue streaks.  It's also made of the hideous nylon fibers that MGA seems so obsessed with.  It's course and wiry, not soft like Barbie's hair, or like the hair that MGA used on the earlier Bratz dolls.  It's also thinly rooted on all parts of the scalp except the hairline and the part.  So based on that I'm already not in love with the hair, and I really wasn't surprised that it would be of such poor quality.  With the exception of my Lalaloopsy doll, all of the MGA dolls that I've bought in the past year have had this stiff nylon crap.  However, most of the ones I own have mercifully short hair like Shania's:
Or hair that's been pre-styled and thus is not a huge problem, like Maci's:
OR they can wear a wig, like my Moxie Teenz Tristen does.
Jade has rooted, long hair!!!  Perfect for kinks, tangles, and knots.  I can only imagine what this will look like after some time in the hands of a child!

Okay, enough about the hair.  Let's move on to the body.  Jade has the body common to most modern-day Bratz, with ball-and-socket shoulders:
She's got painted-on drawers (which I always appreciate), click-joint knees, and hips that have front-back movement:
The legs don't move sideways much, but enough for that stand to go in.  Jade also has your classic neck joint, but the mobility of said joint is horrid.  She can pivot her head, but not much else.

Now for Jade's outfit.  As I noted, she's not wearing what her box art self has on.  She has on a one-piece blue and black striped dress made out of stretchy knit fabric.
The top of the dress has a pleather corset-looking piece with two shoulder straps, and the corset has painted-on circles that I guess are supposed to be buttons or rivets or some-such like that.
Those pleather straps feel extremely flimsy, by the way.  I had to be extra careful with those when dressing or undressing this doll.  Most of the seams on Jade's dress were well-finished and well-hemmed; the Velcro is on there securely, not just half-sewn on the dress like some doll clothes I've seen.  The bottom hem is another story:
There is a thread holding the bottom together, but it's not folded over and hemmed properly.  There are already a lot of loose ends hanging out.  I wonder how well this will hold up after being repeatedly put on and taken off the doll.  I don't plan on finding out; this doll is not going to be undressed too often.

Jade also has silver two-piece earrings which come out:
...and black high-heeled ankle boots.  You can see those in another pic, but here they are anyway:
That is already a lot of stuff, but there's more stuff in that box.  I've got the doll, obviously, but she came with quite a few accessories.  The Featherageous dolls come with a three-piece stand:
A large hairbrush:
Two silver hair barrettes for the doll (my doll is wearing those), and two blue barrettes "for YOU," as the box puts it:
Since this doll is supposed to be a toy I'm assuming the barrettes are meant to be worn by a child.  I'm almost 25, certainly not a child, so I'm probably not going to be using those.

In addition, there are two hair extensions included; mine are currently braided into Jade's hair, so I can't show you a picture of them by themselves.  Basically they are two foot-long pieces of pink hair (more of that nylon garbage) bunched together at the top with a plastic bit, and topped off with a plastic thread that allows one to hook the extension onto the child-sized barrettes.  I did try this; the connection was loose and the hair fell off easily, so I abandoned that idea and wove the extensions into Jade's hair instead (remember I did say I don't plan on using those barrettes).  Oddly enough, the theme here is "Featherageous," and the trend among us humans involves feathers as well, but no feather extensions come with the doll.  None at all.  Just crappy pieces of nylon.  But now that I think of it, feathers can be fragile, especially when they get old and dried up.  And they don't hold up well in the hands of a child.  Believe me, I know from personal experience!  LOL
This is what the extensions look like when braided in.  They are the pink strands.  The extensions are supposed to be striped, by the way.  They had black bands down the entire length of the piece, much like the hair of Monster High dolls Torelei Stripe and her two friends Meowlody and Purrsephone.  In case you are unaware of this, the stripes are painted onto the hair of all three of these Monster High dolls, and if the hair is brushed or washed the stripes will come off, like they did here.  As you can tell, the stripes on Jade's extensions have rubbed off as well.  I am aware that a Sharpie can fix this problem, but I'm not a huge fan of marking on my dolls (or parts of them) with permanent markers.

Lastly, the doll comes with instructions for how to style her hair, a packet of clear rubber bands, and this tool that is supposed to aid in the styling.  It's very thick and very, VERY stiff:
The instructions have three relatively simple styles; small buns (referred to as a rosette in the instructions), braids, and twists.  I have never been able to style my own hair in buns and thus was eager to try it out on Jade.  This is how it came out:
The pink extensions are woven in to the style, but don't show in the pic.  All I had to do was hook the plastic loop over one bun, and then treat the extension like the rest of the hair. My main problem was that huge tool that MGA included as a styling aid.  It was a great help, no doubt about that, but the loop definitely could've been a little smaller!  It was a real chore to pull that big stiff loop through such a small section of hair.  Also, the plastic bit at the top of the extension is very stiff and large, and thus difficult to incorporate into a hairstyle.  In this case I was able to conceal the plastic pieces under the buns, but if you buy this doll keep that little tip in mind.

After about three weeks of her looking like a punk version of Lady Liberty, I decided to give Jade a new 'do.  I took down those buns and this is the result I got:
Gotta love nylon hair...NOT!!!  It took some serious brushing to get this hair in some semblance of straight.  And that's where I'll give MGA credit...there wasn't much breakage or shedding.  I did have to wrestle with it quite a bit to get it untangled, though.  Not cool.

After battling to get the hair detangled, I settled on another style that I've never been able to do with my own hair:  two small braids pulled back to make a ponytail.  Again I wove the pink extensions in; this time the result wasn't so great.  It's very hard to conceal the plastic tip inside a braid, unless the braid is very thick, like the instructions suggest.  So keep that in mind too.  Other than that the style came out okay.  Here's what she looks like from the back (note the faint but still-visible stripes on the pink strands):
And here she is from the front:
There's still some wave left in the hair from those buns, and no doubt there will be more after I let those braids down.  I'm hoping that in the long run the hair will fall back into place; sometimes it does that.

Now...let's talk a little more about that stand.  First of all, I think it's great that this doll comes with a stand; she's the first Bratz doll I've ever owned that has that feature, which is regrettable, because Bratz Catz Jade would've benefited from a stand.  Said stand fits Jade in three places, in the crotch, and around both knees:
That's where the problem lies.  That blue dress that she wears is stretchy, but it is also very tight-fitting.  It's extremely difficult to get the stand on without it catching on the outfit like this:
This problem is easily remedied by simply pulling the dress down, but the fabric is both thin and knitted.  One wouldn't have to pull too hard to bust a thread, and voila!!!  Instant hole!  This is why I think the blue jeans would've been a better idea.  Check out Willow, one of my Barbie Basics dolls:
Roger Daltrey hair!!!

Willow has a stand not unlike Jade's and she fits on there with relative ease.  No dress to bunch up and pull down, no having to pull a tight dress down around a bulky stand either.  Yes, the jeans would definitely have been a plus for Jade.  Plus, they would have fit the Bratz' overall reputation for being casual and hip.  Jeans are definitely hip.  Jade's dress is more...well, more dressy!

Overall, I feel very...well, very "meh" about my purchase.  If I were giving out grades I'd give Jade a C, maybe a C+ for that stand.  Her hair is easy to style, but is of lousy quality.  Keep in mind that I'm an adult and thus can find a way to worm the styling tool through the doll's hair, so I WOULD find it easy to style.  But a kid would likely have trouble with this.  Mom or Dad will probably have to step in and help there, and they could very easily run into trouble as well.  As a display doll, Jade's fine.  But as a toy, she's not so great.  The clothes are cute.  The hair is cute.  The stand is an excellent addition, and the child-sized barrettes are cute.  The whole idea is cute!  But unless you're an adult collector or a very dexterous child, I can't see this being a beloved plaything.  Maybe if her hair were made up of something--anything--besides nylon, my verdict would be different.  Plus, there isn't really anything different about this doll; the hair play idea is cute, but it's been done and done and redone for countless lines of dolls.  If your kid wants a Bratz doll, I'd skip this one and go with one of the new Christmas dolls, or with these, the Bratz Midnight Mystique series.  The Mystique dolls come with wings and switch-around outfits, perfect for playtime.  Of course, I'm no expert, and I recommend reading the reviews on Amazon.com before purchasing ANY of these dolls.  Some of the reviews are stupid, but some are quite helpful.

In other news, the stores in my general area, the Wal-Marts and the Super Wal-Marts, the Targets and the sole K-Mart, are getting the fall's latest dolls in stock.  At last!  When I last went to a Super Wal-Mart (two days ago) they had Cutie Pops and La Dee Da dolls in stock, including Candi and Tylie, the two that I want. The Novi Stars are also there, and they got good marks from the Toy Box Philosopher (Miss Emily's superb review of Alie Lectric can be found here).  However, Miss Emily pointed out that the Novi Stars are overpriced; she paid twenty bucks for the doll, the same price that the average LIV doll cost.  Keep in mind that when one bought a LIV doll (especially one of the earlier ones), one paid for a doll that had fourteen joints, glass eyes, switchable wigs, and mix-and-match clothes.  That's a lot for a doll that only retailed for twenty bucks.  The Novi Stars, while cute, have very few of those attributes; all of them have stunningly beautiful eyes, but only one of them (Ari Roma) is wigged.  Their posability is limited (Alie Lectric and Una Verse can't even bend their legs), and they only have a few clothes.  Plus, the Novi Stars are small...maybe about seven inches tall or so.  Cute? Yes.  An interesting concept worth expanding?  Yes, if Mattel doesn't get their panties in a bind again (see my blog entry "Dolly Wars" for my reasoning on that).  Worth twenty bucks?  No.  Miss Emily says that the price should be reduced to maybe ten bucks, and I agree with her.  I just can't justify spending twenty dollars on a seven inch doll that only bends at the arms and neck (the one I want is Una Verse, who has fused legs, as I pointed out above).  I plan on waiting until these dolls are either marked down or discontinued before I buy one of them.  It always seems that the newest dolls, the ones that the makers plan on making a financial killing with, seem to be the most expensive.  I've noticed this with the Monster High dolls; the ones that are the newest tend to be in the highest demand, and thus the retailers jack up the prices.  Perhaps they are expecting Novi Stars to be a huge success.  We'll see, I guess.  I sincerely doubt they'll be MGA's new Bratz dolls, but we'll see.

As a final word, if any of y'all reading this are Jewish, I wish you a happy, somewhat belated, Rosh Hashanah.

Love to all,

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