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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Unidentified doll #1: "Maria"

A lot of the blogs I follow participate in the trend known as Throwback Thursday.  They get their old dolls and either wrap them around a theme or embark on a bull session.  I would've done this myself, but the vast majority of my dolls are too young to be considered throwbacks and y'all have seen the old ones already!  Therefore, every Thursday from now until the foreseeable future I'll post a doll that I have not been able to identify, with the hopes that maybe someone can help me.  In the process I'll brag about some of my finds, and you can either drool or yawn and click the "close" button (LOL).  This week I present to you a porcelain doll, whom I call "Maria."
I found Maria during one of my family's many visits to the local antique malls; Dexter, Missouri just opened a new one up and it's very nice, ESPECIALLY considering that it's only been open a few weeks.  There's lots to see there, and one of the things I found was Maria.  She's about 17 inches tall with a cloth body and porcelain arms, legs, chest, and head.  There are no markings anywhere on her body.  She has brown glass eyes and inset eyelashes.
Her raven hair is long, smooth, and soft, not coarse-feeling like a lot of porcelain dolls I run into.  She has two sections of hair pulled back from her face and two slim tendrils that hang in front of each ear.
Maria's dress is a mermaid-style dress made out of cranberry satin.  The fabric has rhinestones and some glitter added on.
The rhinestones were glued on and some have fallen off along the way.

Accenting the dress is this sheer wrap, which is banded to Maria's upper arms.  I really love that wrap; it can be draped around Maria's dress in different ways, making her look like she's got something really elaborate on.
In addition to the dress Maria has a few pieces of jewelry.  She wears a beaded necklace:
And inset earrings.  Someone went to the effort of making these earrings actually little posts instead of just gluing something on, which suggests to me that this doll is (maybe???) just a little higher end.
Maria's body is unusual, not in build but in construction.  Most of the porcelain dolls I own are not jointed in any way, but Maria is.  Her arms are jointed at the shoulder and can move up and down:
Her head is also articulated.

Maria's legs are also porcelain from about the knee down, but they don't move.  Her feet have white painted shoes.  Notice that her legs are set at different angles.
On top of all that Maria "wears" a plastic and metal kaiser stand.
The stand is tan, but I got the wrong flash so there you have it.  It's hard to get her to stand up straight in this, by the way.  The unusual placement of her feet on the stand means that she's constantly slipping to one side.  She is well-balanced in that stand, though!

Yeah, I know I'm supposed to be reviewing the newer dolls that I've got and I'll get to that; I just don't know when.  I have a dog-sitting gig all next week and the week after that I get one of my eyes redone.  Yes, the doctor told me that the left eye will need an adjustment.  No cutting will be involved, thank God, but the overall experience has me a bit apprehensive.  In the meantime I hope one of you can help me identify my Maria.  She's a very nice little doll and I'd love to see who her maker is.  She may even have a different name!

God bless y'all,
RagingMoon1987

Friday, November 15, 2013

Novi Stars Malie Tasker review

At the end of my recent review of Sila Clops I promised a follow-up.  Well, this is it...sort of!  It's not a Mimi Merize review...nope, still haven't found her yet.  But my search for Mimi has yielded fruit of another sort.  During my regular searches of the local Wal-Marts (and finding nothing but the same old first, second, and third-wave Novi Stars) I fell in love with one of Sila's shelfmates, Malie Tasker.
If you read the Sila Clops review then you may recall that during the good news/bad news segment the "bad" list was fairly long.  Oh sure, Sila's a nice little doll, but she's got some pitfalls that a twenty-dollar doll shouldn't have.  Well!  Almost everything that I DIDN'T like about Sila has been remedied in Malie.  Almost, that is; she still has nylon hair.  It's straight like Sila's, but it's still nylon hair.  Blah.
And she was held to the box by those hateful little plastic tacks, causing her hair to be squashed.
I never will understand why MGA tacks their dolls in so tightly; it seems just a tad unnecessary.  Oh yes, you may have noticed one crucial difference between Sila and Malie already:  Malie has rooted hair.  The rows are widely spaced, but the plugs are nice and thick so Malie's hair looks decent.  Of course, this does mean that Sila STILL doesn't have anyone to swap wigs with, but I'm working on that.

One thing Malie DOES have in common with Sila is two-toned hair.  
Malie's base hair is black like Moxie Teenz Tristen's, and the highlights are a pale greenish-yellow.  They are much brighter on the actual doll than they are on the doll in the promo pics.  Regarding style Malie's hair is similar to Sila's, but there are some slight differences.  She wears her hair long like Sila does, but it is the same length all the way around (Sila's is cut at an angle).
Malie's bangs also are cut differently.  Sila's are cut straight across and are (in my opinion) too long.  Malie's are cut in a rounded shape; they are long in the center and short at the sides.  I prefer Malie's bangs to Sila's because one can see more of Malie's face that way.
Sprouting out of Malie's head are the silver antennae common to Novi Stars.
They are a different shape but are otherwise similar to Sila's antennae.  They fit into holes on Malie's head and don't come out easily.  In fact, I don't think they come out at all!  I've pulled and they don't budge, so I just leave them alone.  Malie's antennae are plain on the back, by the way.  They don't look as good when twisted around like Sila's do, so I won't be twisting them around much.
Now...underneath those shapely bangs is...well, this is strictly my opinion, but this is one of the most lovely color schemes I've ever seen on a doll.  I like how Sila's dark, bold coloring makes her stand out from the other Novis, but I also like Malie's sparkly skin and soft makeup.  So...let's break this down.  Malie has inset eyes like the majority of all Novi Stars.
Her eyes are bright blue and pink, and the pupils have cute little spirals in them.  They're not as spacey as the ambiguous supernova-explosion-looking thing in Sila's eyes, but the color combination makes up for that; they look eerily like the colors of the Rosette Nebula.  As an aside, if you are in the mood to look at something beautiful, go to Google Images and type in "nebula."  God has the art of tie-dying down pat.

LOL, where are we?  Oh yes, we're still on eyes.  The eyelids are fringed with long eyelashes, which are a mainstay in the Novi Star world.  
Malie's eyelashes are bare for the most part, but at the very base the lashes are painted silver.
Above the eyelashes are molded upper eyelids with light pink and pale lavender eyeshadow.
And above that are the polka-dot cyberpunky-looking eyebrows, rendered in two shades of light greenish-blue.
Malie's mouth is the same shade of green as her eyebrows.  It's wider than Sila's mouth and has a bit of a smile to it.  It's also rubbed off a smidge in the center.  Bummer.
The cheeks are subtly blushed.  This didn't photograph well, but trust me:  it's there.  The rest of Malie's head is rendered in hard white vinyl with a pearly sheen on it.  Note that she has cute little pointed ears like Sila's...and most of the other Novi Stars.
When Miss Emily reviewed her first-wave Alie Lectric she reported that Alie's head had a similar pearly coating, and that it appeared to be painted on.  I wondered if the same was true with Malie and attempted to scratch the back of her head.  Nothing came off, so I assume that the color is molded into Malie's vinyl.  Either that or the paint that MGA Entertainment used is made out of Teflon.  

Moving right along, Malie's body.  Her body is white hard plastic with subtle, molded-in sparkles.  Her build is identical to Sila's.
Well...almost identical.  There are these to be seen.
This is Malie's gimmick, and it also explains her name (a play on the term "multi-tasker").  Her arms are made of flexible rubber and according to the package, they're supposed to stretch.  When I read that on the package I was thinking of something like this.
You've probably seen those in vending machines, and you may have even driven your mother bats with one, like I did (LOL).  They are made of this soft, almost snot-like rubber, stretch to insane lengths...and are VERY sticky.  I was expecting Malie's arms to be like this, only without the stickiness, but SURPRISE!!!  The arms aren't sticky, but they're also not stretchy.  They are also do not come off like Sila's arms, and they are not poseable.  No joints at the shoulder, no internal wires, nothing.  They do glow in the dark as advertised, and I'm a sap for anything that glows or lights up so I love this little attribute.  It does make me wonder, though:  why not just make the whole doll glow in the dark?  Malie looks a little peculiar with just her arms glowing like that, almost like she had some sort of mishap with glow-in-the-dark paint...or nuclear waste.  Ewww...anyway, one arm is decked out with this green bracelet.  It's easier to remove than Sila's but it doesn't match her outfit as well.
Before I move on to the rest of the clothes I want to show you one other way that Malie is different from Sila.  Remember Sila's hips and how awkward the joint mobility was?  Well, Mallie doesn't have that problem.  Here's what her hip joints look like:
No elastic anywhere!!!  Selah!  These are constructed similarly to Skelita Calaveras's hip joints and have a great range of movement, much better than Sila's.  Malie can sit without her legs spreading apart like a bimbo on Quaaludes.
And she can do the splits WAY better than Sila can.
Malie's clothing is a fusion of spacey and earthly.  She's got a green kimono-style dress with a pleather belt and a huge yellow bow in the back.  The bottom has a tulle ruffle which adds to the length of the skirt and makes Malie look slightly less bimbo-ized.
The sleeves are unhemmed, which makes me concerned for their longevity.  If I don't pull on it it'll probably be fine, but if you're a parent keep this little tidbit in mind.

Malie's shoes are fairly simple.  They're black high heels with round toes and yellow bands around the soles.  The heel has a notch molded into it.
The soles have holes in them, for a reason that I'll reveal shortly.
As I predicted, dressing and undressing Malie is more of an undertaking.  I have to thread her arms through the holes one...at...a...time.  The armholes in her dress are bigger so they can accommodate both arms, but it's still a dodgy little task.  Her shoes pop off more easily though.  They don't fall off but they do come off with a reasonable amount of force.  As a bonus I don't have to worry about chipping the finish off Malie's heels.

Regarding accessories, Malie has the same stuff that Sila does.  She has a pet, a stand, a brush, and a card that has her info.  The stand is particularly noteworthy.
At first glance it appears to be the same as Sila's; it glows in the dark and has holes that accommodate the shoes.  However, look closer.
The holes that hold the shoes have pegs inside.  Each of these pegs fits a shoe, and these help Malie stay on the stand better.  This is head and shoulders above Sila's stand, which will only hold her if she's positioned just so.

Malie's brush is teal plastic.  I won't be using it on her because plastic brushes do a number on doll hair.
Then there's the pet.  Malie's pet is named 4.0.  She is very grouchy looking and reminds me a little of Tardar Sauce.  Her head swivels just like 1-Eye's head does.
I like 4.0 better than 1-Eye because her face has more character, but for the most part she's another unnecessary little add-on.

Lastly, the info card.
According to the card, Malie is an uber-organized multitasker who wants to hug everyone who needs it.  That little burst of positive energy again made me again think of Sila.  Remember when Sila said she wanted to be a source of light for earth people and extraterrestrials?  Maybe she and Malie are sort of a tag team.
Malie:  "You offer your words of wisdom and I'll provide moral support."
Sila:  "Done deal."

The Novi Stars Wiki offers some extra info which was no doubt on the back of the box.  According to them Malie loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (like me), is good at gymnastics, doesn't understand why mittens only come in pairs, and wants to learn how to juggle.  With four arms, juggling would be a breeze!

Of course, part of the card gives an age.  We went through this little ring-around-the-rosie with Sila, so let's take a look at Malie's age.
Uh-oh.  What on God's green earth is a zettasecond???  Again I turned to Google for help, and I learned that a zettasecond is a real unit of time, with one zettasecond being equivalent about 32 trillion years.  Malie is 11.3 million zettaseconds old, which equals this amount of normal years:  3.5808304 x 1023.  1023 is in the sextillion range and contains at least twenty-three zeros...I think.  Math has never been my strong point.  Basically the card says that Malie is extremely old, older even than Sila.

Okay, so far I've loved almost everything about Malie.  Unfortunately, the party ends with the extra outfits.  I did complain about Sila's stand being unable to accommodate certain styles of shoe, and Malie's stand is the same way.  Oh, if only that were the end of the story!  But no, the problem goes further than that.  Sila may not be able to fit into her stand when wearing the extra outfits, but she can at least wear them!  Malie cannot.
The blue gown looks like it works, but in truth I couldn't get it to fasten in back.  The nightie and the coat won't even fit over Malie's arms, so those options are out.  Basically Malie is unable to wear anything but her stock outfit...and maybe something that someone customizes for her!  That takes us to the good news and the bad news.

BAD
*Nylon hair.  That's almost always a negative.
*Stretchy arms don't do much stretching.  They glow as advertised, but they don't stretch, nor do they hold a pose.
*Arms don't come off, either.  Because the arms are stiff and don't come off, Malie can't wear any of the extra outfits available for Novi Stars.
*4.0 has more character than 1-Eye does, but I still don't see the necessity of these pets.  Why not just give Malie an extra outfit, one that she can actually wear?
*Face paint is rubbed off a bit.

GOOD
*Not wigged.  As much as I'd love for Sila to have someone to share wigs with, I'm thankful for Malie's rooted hair.  It's not constantly falling off or slipping down in her face.
*Lovely colors, especially in the eyes.  The sparkles in Malie's skin don't have the risk of flaking off like Sila's do.
*Hip joint is improved.
*I didn't touch on this in the review, but Malie's head does not come off as easily as Sila's.  It twists, tilts, and turns, but will only come off if you pull hard.
*The stand fits much better.
*Antennae don't come off as easily, so there is less of a risk that they may be lost or swallowed.
*She has the same potential versatility as Sila.  She can be repainted, rebodied, and get some new hair for a completely customized look, like the folks in this blog did.

In short, I think Malie is a much better doll than Sila.  I still wouldn't subject her to my throw-her-across-the-yard-and-see-what-happens test, but she feels more sturdy.  Her hair is rooted and thus I can brush it and just let it go.  She's not constantly falling out of her stand.  She has a lovely color palate and glorious eyes.  As far as I can see, Malie's only major shortcoming is her arms...which unfortunately are her main gimmick.  Yes, they do glow, but they don't stretch much and they can't accommodate any of the other outfits without a battle.  In fact, she can't wear two of those three extra outfits at all because of those arms!  If they came off like Sila's that probably would not be much of a problem, but they don't come off at all and that's a disappointment.  Not much, but if you or your child likes changing a doll's clothes, keep this tidbit in mind.  That said, I still recommend Malie, and I recommend her above Sila and any of the other dolls with frozen legs.  If you have your heart set on a Novi Star and can't find any of the new Super Novas yet, Malie can tide you over.  She may satisfy you enough that you won't want to bother searching for another Novi.  Or, if you're a glutton like me, she'll tide you over until you can find one more to review...yes, I am seeking out yet another Novi Star to review.  I want to see if one with frozen legs can still make a satisfying plaything.  Tula Toned may be the one I choose, just so I can round out the second wave.

Cheers!
RagingMoon1987