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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday review: All-Star Cami Basic

Hey all you lucky people, it's RagingMoon1987 with Throwback Thursday.  This one is a post that I've had in Draft Limbo for God knows how long, and this post is comically out of date now because the Cami and Jon line appears to be no more.  But I'm going to complete it anyway because my blog post, my rules.  Anywho, if you are an avid reader of Toy Box Philosopher's blog (and I am; love ya, Miss Emily!), then you're no doubt familiar with Mr. Tonner's fabulous dolly creations...and with Miss Emily's love for the Cami/Cinderella head!  I'd been admiring Tonner's dolls from afar since my early teenage years, but this is the first one I've ever owned.  I'd seen the All-Star line, consisting of Cami, Jon, and Liu Liu, in a magazine spread back in July of 2013, and I fell in love with Cami's striking color palette.  Fast-forward to January of 2014, and a sale on the Tonner website.  Liu Liu was gone, but Jon and Cami were still available and were part of the sale.  I thought it would be pretty straightforward.  Pick my doll, fill out my info, place my order, wait and pray that she gets here in one piece.  Simple, right?  Wrong answer.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to jail.  It was ALMOST that simple...except that Cami apparently sold out on the very day I tried to order her!  So much for saving some money on a swell doll.  Luckily, Toni's Collectibles (now out of business) DID have her in stock, so I placed my order and waited.  One month, two snowstorms, and a few e-mails later, I finally had Cami in my hot little mitts.
"It's about time, human."

Cami arrived before I entered the ball-jointed doll hobby, so her size shocked me.  She is closer in height to an 18-inch doll like Alissa (left), but her proportions are more like Midge's.
Here's how Cami looks next to Johnny, who doesn't look too thrilled to be standing next to another wigged doll.
"I'm NOT trying on her syrup!!!"

No, Johnny, you definitely won't be.  Cami's "syrup" as you put it is way too small for your big head.  Ahem...where was I?  Oh yeah...these two are of similar height (Cami is 16 inches, and Johnny is 17.7 inches), but their proportions differ quite a bit.  Johnny is thicker all over, with bigger hands, bigger feet, and as I mentioned above, a much bigger head.

For grins, here's how Cami compares to Hailey, my recently reviewed Make it Mine doll.  Hailey doesn't look too excited to be standing next to Cami either.
Hailey is also out of proportion with Cami, even more so than Johnny is.  Wig sharing will not be a possibility here either.

When I was a little kid, dolls came in three sizes.  They were either Alissa's scale (or similar), Midge's scale, or toddler-sized like My Size Barbie was.  Yeah, I know the website said Cami was sixteen inches tall, but it still surprised me to see a doll almost the height of an American Girl doll, but with proportions and features similar to a Barbie doll's.  I mean, I'd seen the similarly-sized Madame Alexander Alex once, but that was over a decade ago and I'd since forgotten what sixteen inches looked like on a modern-day fashion doll.  And now that I think about it, I remember that I was surprised when I saw how big Alex and her friends were!  I'll never forget that simply but colorfully dressed Alex line, by the way.  I wanted Jadde Lee then and I still like her today; she and Liu Liu would've made a fine pair.

Right then, let's take a closer look at Cami.  Some of Tonner's dolls are wigged and some have rooted hair.  As I noted above, All-Star Cami has a wig.  Not all doll wigs detach, but this one does.
I'm not going to take it all the way off because it's hard to put back on, but trust me, it comes off.  When this doll was new I didn't recall this being advertised on the website, but I scanned the archive and the description specifically said "removable saran wigged hair."  Tonner fans, forgive me, but I really am that naive about these dolls.  Anyway, Cami's wig is attached with two round Velcro tabs and the fit is very snug.  It doesn't slide on like Johnny's and Hailey's wigs do, nor does it pop on with a peg like a LIV wig.  If I want it off I have to gently peel it off like a banana skin, and if I want it back on again I have to turn the wig cap inside out, line up the Velcro tabs, and roll the wig back into place.  It's a tedious process, and I have to be careful with the fibers lest I bend them too much and make them kink, but the wig makes up for it by being extremely nice.  The fiber is soft, smooth platinum blonde with a center part and bangs.  The length is...oh, I'd say it's down to her rear.
The cap is thinly rooted in places, so a restyle is out of the question.
Not that Cami's hair would ever need a restyle as nice as it is.  According to Facets Cami can wear a 5-6 wig, though I doubt I'll ever need a replacement unless I just want one.  This particular Cami has a color scheme similar to Knave of Hearts Cami so a black bob may be in my doll's future, but for now I'm content to leave her as a blonde.  The fibers on this wig are very soft, more so than the hair of any of my other dolls.  Cami's closest rivals in the hair department may be my handful of dolls with kanekalon hair (LIV, La Dee Da, and a couple of Monster High dolls), and Life in the Dreamhouse Midge, all of whom have soft, manageable hair.  But even their hair is not as nice as Cami's.  She's in a league of her own in the hair department. 

Cami's face is advertised as being hand-painted, and it...well, it definitely does NOT look mass-produced!  She has centered blue-gray eyes with thick painted eyelashes and smoky eye shadow.  This is the third doll I've received that pleasantly surprised me with gray eyes, by the way; Johnny and Raya were the other two.  I credit these three dolls for my growing fondness for gray eyes.
Cami's eye shadow makes her eyes look a little sunken up close, but from a normal distance the effect looks fine.  Check out the detail of these eyes, though!  They even have little painted tear ducts!  The left eye has a slight flaw where the eyeliner bled into the white of Cami's eye, but it's impossible to see in pictures so no biggie.  Cami's eyebrows are light brown and slightly skewed; notice that her right one is higher up than her left.  She's giving me the stink-eye just a bit!  See?
I don't think that was done deliberately, but such a variation adds a little spunk to Cami's expression so I'm happy.  The rest of Cami's face is fine.  Her cheeks have a lovely peachy blush, and her lips are...oh, I'd call that shade candy apple red.  They have a pinkish tone that prevents that shade from being fire engine red.  The pink is obvious in the following picture, but trust me!  These lips are rosy in real life!
There's a fine black line painted between her lips, I assume to add some shadow or depth.  This effect occasionally goes a tad awry (like here), but my Cami's lips are flawless.  I'm a bit at a loss regarding her expression, however.  She shares a face with Tonner's Cinderella dolls and with the rest of the Cami dolls, but for some reason she doesn't look like either one.  She's not as calm and innocent as the original Cinderella, nor is she as fierce as Delight, the first Cami (Miss Emily has a much better comparison of the two; here's the link again), nor is she slightly sad like Flamingo.  All-Star falls somewhere in between Cinderella and Delight, but I've yet to determine where.

Just for the heck of it, here's what Cami looks like in profile.
I can see why Miss Emily is so smitten with this face.  There's nothing stylized about it, just a very pretty face that can portray a number of emotions.

Moving downwards, clothes.  Tonner's basic dolls were called "basic" for a reason; their outfits are just that, basic!  Some basic dolls come dressed in simple but complete little outfits, some are wearing full lingerie sets (bodysuit, hose, and shoes), and some come with just a bra and panties.  The dolls from the All-Star Basic line fall towards the fully-clad end of the spectrum.  Cami is wearing a stretchy black tank top with a striped star printed on the front.
The back closes with snaps, which are thankfully not as tight as some of the snaps I've encountered.  The star is either painted on or a decal.  Since it's so smooth I think it's a decal, and if so, the person applying it did a superb job.  Decals are sometimes landmines for wrinkles and rips, but not here!  The top is lined with white fabric, which makes it feel more substantial.  There will also be less chance of the top staining Cami's body in the long run...IF Cami bodies can stain, that is! 
In addition, the white layer peeps out at the hems, making it look like Cami is wearing two shirts.
The layers are sewn together with bright red thread, but none of the edges are honest-to-God hemmed.  Given the fact that this material is knit, I'll have to be careful with those edges lest they ravel.

Cami's shorts are VERY short, about the length of workout shorts.  They are a shade of red that coordinates with the red parts of the top.
The shorts are also lined in white; this white layer peeps out at the legs and at the waist.  These areas have black thread holding them together, but are not hemmed.  Notice how the unhemmed white layer looks a little raggy.

Not all basic Tonner dolls come with shoes, but my Cami got lucky.
The sole is made of black fabric, and the bottom part is red plastic.  The straps are elastic and stretch to go around Cami's rather sizable feet.  Elastic tends to get brittle as it ages so I'll be going easy on those straps.  I only have three pairs of shoes for Cami (two black and one gold), but that's okay because I've learned that she can share shoes with Ellowyne Wilde and the Deja Vu dolls.

Regarding the body, Cami's head is very, VERY hard vinyl and the rest of the doll is made of high-quality plastic.  The Cami/Antoinette body has fourteen points of articulation:  neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, hips, knees, ankles.  She has hinged and rotational motion in all of her joints except for her ankles, and here is where the story gets complicated.  In spring of 2014 I received another Cami.
This is Perfect Morning, the Cami I wanted all along.  Unlike All-Star, Perfect Morning came in all three hair colors, and of course I loved the redhead the best.  Lo and behold, Talolili happened to have the redhead.  She offered the doll to me for a reasonable price, and I took her up on the offer.  So to my great pleasure, I now have two Cami dolls...and they couldn't be more different.  Well okay, I guess they could; some Cami dolls have buggy-looking inset eyes, something neither of my doll has.  But remember when I said that some Cami dolls had rooted hair?  Perfect Morning is one of them.  No wig swapping for my girls!
Like All-Star, I'll never want to change Perfect Morning's hair.  Not only is it red, but it's a lovely flame red, my favorite shade.  Most of Tonner's redheads have hair that is extremely dark or extremely light, so it pleased me to see a doll with this blazing red shade.

Now to the reason why I unveiled Perfect Morning at this point in the review.  Unlike Barbie, Cami's body has changed very little over the years.  Thus both my girls are going to help with the body review, even though one doll is a little older than the other.  It's hard to tell since the two dolls sport different hair and makeup, but both have the same skin tone, which Tonner calls "cameo."  It's a fair tone, but not the absolute fairest of Tonner's dolls (Basic Goth Antoinette may take that award).  Here's an idea of what the cameo tone looks like.
Despite both dolls being of the same tone, Perfect Morning has a bit of a yellowish cast to her.  Maybe it's because she's older, or maybe it's just poor lighting, but these two do not look exactly the same in the plastic department.  Perfect Morning is not shorter than All-Star, by the way; she just doesn't have shoes on in the above picture.

Now, back to joints.  Cami has hinged ankles, but I think she could've done without them.  The ankle motion is very...well, it's bad!  Perfect Morning's ankles are bent to the full degree of their motion in this next picture.  The right ankle is bent forward as far as it will go, and the left ankle is bent back.  The right ankle has more backwards motion than the left ankle does, but I didn't show that.  LOL
All-Star has stiffer ankles than Perfect Morning does!  Since these feet can't extend far enough forward to accommodate flat shoes, I'm left wondering why Tonner bothered with ankle joints at all.  If you're going to put in a joint, either go big or go home!  There's got to be some sort of reason for it...maybe that reason is me.  Maybe that joint is so stiff that I haven't yet figured out how far forward it will bend.  That's happened to me once in the very recent past, me underestimating the flexibility of a joint.

The hips are also worthy of note.  They have no side-to-side movement at all when in a standing position.  Here Perfect Morning's legs are splayed as far as they'll go (the left leg has more give):
Again, All-Star has even less side-to-side motion, probably because her joints are tighter (keep in mind that she's the younger doll).
In all fairness, my splits are no better.  When the two dolls are sitting, the story changes!
I had to play around with these dolls' joints a bit before I could get them to sit like ladies.  Luckily, the knees rotate, which makes a world of difference!
Cami's neck has reasonably good motion, but she can't look down.  She has to bend her torso in order to look down.  Not that this is a huge deal, because the chest joint has nice side-to-side movement...
...and good forward and back motion as well.
Since we're in the vicinity of the torso, check out Cami's sculpted clavicles.
I love how Tonner sculpted this doll's body.  She's got a few bones showing like real people often do, but she's got some meat on her too, enough so that she doesn't look anorexic.  Striking that balance can be tricky, with some dolls looking either too skeletal or unnaturally soft, but Tonner pulled it off.

Moving on, hands.  Cami has reasonably large hands that can detach, like so.
I may be a little TOO used to the dinky hands of Barbie and the Monster High crew, because in my eyes those are some BIG hands!  Here's how they look in comparison to Midge's hand and to that of Scarah Screams.
For grins, here's what they look like next to the hands of my other MSD boy, Alistair.  Kindly ignore Alistair's broken fingers; I'll be getting some baubles to cover those cracks soon.
Cami's hands are dainty when compared to Alistair's, but they're still larger doll hands than I'm used to seeing.  Not that they're ugly hands, of course!  Contrariwise, they're quite graceful, as you'll soon see.  Before owning these dolls I didn't know that Tonner hands could detach, but I'm certainly glad that they can, as dressing and undressing Cami would be a virtual impossibility without that feature.  As another aside, check out these ladies' manicures!  Both dolls have nails that match their lips; All-Star has pink-red nails and Perfect Morning has rose nails.
Their toenails also match, in case you didn't notice during the demo on ankle joints.

Regarding arms, Cami has ball-jointed shoulders (hinged, not strung like my BJD boys), plus elbows and wrists that have both rotational and hinge movement.  She cannot touch her face, but she can shield her eyes like so:
With the right pose and a little camera trickery, she can look like she's whispering.
"Psst...wanna know a secret?"

Or she can look like she's trying to dodge the camera.
"Go away."

She can even interact with the smaller dolls in a fairly believable way (please forgive Midge's hideous kaiser stand)...
"Thank you, dear.  A snack will do me good."

The rest of Cami's physique is typical of a fashion doll's body, with long legs, a comparatively short body, and a slender frame.  If she were Barbie-sized, she'd likely have a body that's similar to the bellybutton bodies.  Due to her height and overall body proportions, virtually all of the doll clothes I have are out of the question for Cami.  Oh sure, Tonner had nice outfits available for Cami and Antoinette-sized dolls, but they were insanely pricey.  I have two sets sized for Cami and they're very nice, but a new get-up could've cost anywhere from sixty to a hundred bucks, money that this pretty little raven didn't have and still doesn't have.  Moxie Teenz clothes didn't work, and Etsy, my usual go-to for doll clothes, doesn't have much for Cami either.  Looks like I'll have to start drafting my own knitting patterns...or maybe she can wear some of my ball-jointed doll things.  Though I have no complete MSD girls (yet), I do have a fair amount of clothing for female ball-jointed dolls, and one of my favorite pieces is this unusual hoodie.
I also have a nice pair of jeggings, one of the lovely trends that my generation coughed up.  They can look hideous on humans, but they are not at all bad for dolls.
The sleeves on that hoodie are a bit narrow, so thank goodness for Cami's removable hands!  Here's how Perfect Morning looks in it.
Mmmm...meh.  The jeggings fit fine; Cami may have to fight Johanna and Guinevere for those one day, in fact.   I'm not feeling it with the hood all the way down though; it looks too cumbersome.  The Etsy images show that hood gathered up around the doll's head, so maybe that will do better.
Sometimes my "maybes" don't go over so well, but this doesn't look half bad.  Sort of like one of those huge scarves that some women wear in the winter.  Overall this hoodie fits Cami fairly well, but the sleeves are too long and have to be worn bunched up.  That's not a huge deal, but if anyone wants to try out their MSD clothes on Tonner dolls, keep that in mind.  I'll definitely put this on Cami again though, provided I have an extra pair of jeggings!  Now to remember what Etsy store I got those from...

I also have this hoodie, which will look delightful with Perfect Morning's hair.
The color does look good with Cami's red hair, and indeed I intend to put this hoodie on a redheaded ball-jointed doll one day.  I don't like how this looks on Cami though; it doesn't fit as closely as the red hoodie does, and the larger scale drowns Cami's slim figure a bit.  Still, it's nice to know that Cami has some options in my boxes of BJD clothes, and hoodies aren't supposed to cling to figures anyway.

Time to sum it up!

*Joints are stiff, though that may be because I don't move these dolls' joints much
*Hand-painted faces may have paint foibles
*Wigs are hard to get on and off
*Not a problem with my particular dolls, but the Cami dolls with inset eyes don't look great.
*Can't wear many of the clothes I've got on hand

*Hair is gorgeous, both on the wigged doll and the one with rooted hair
*My particular dolls are well-painted
*Clothing, while simple, is well-executed
*Joints are nice and tight, unlike those of certain other fashion dolls
*Can share clothes with some other high-end fashion dolls
*Can wear some BJD stuff

I always hate this wrap-up part at the end, because I always feel like I'm delivering a commercial.  Most of the dolls I bring home I end up liking, and Cami is no exception.  However, I'm unsure which one I like better.  All-Star has a striking color palette with her pale blonde hair, gray eyes, and candy apple red lips, while Perfect Morning has that gorgeous red hair and softer makeup that keeps her from looking too garish.  I like All-Star's outfit better, but Perfect Morning has better posing.  Neither doll has the inset eyes that tended to make Cami look stoned; I think it's very odd that when Cami has inset eyes she looks not-so-great, but when Ellowyne Wilde has inset eyes she looks fabulous.  Maybe it's because Ellowyne has bigger eyes than Cami does.  Anyway, my two dolls break about even until we get to hair.  I've made it clear that I love Perfect Morning's flaming tresses, but I also love how All-Star can switch wigs if I so choose, thus making it easier to wear certain fashions like the hoodies I showed above.  It's a tough call, and I don't guess it matters much which one I like better.  These are both nice dolls, and I think it's a shame that Tonner dropped the line.  But...if I know Tonner like I think I do, then I think the crew will produce something equally great in the future, maybe even better.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that the versatile Cami face will be popping up from time to time...or at least I hope it will!

Happy days,


  1. I had a Tonner Sydney doll that stained because of her boots. Just about every one of that particular release ended up with stained calves. This is when I first tried benzoyl peroxide, which completely got rid of it, over time. I have two Cinderella dolls, and would think about trying to get more except I'm not sure how I feel about my 16" group at the moment, with the Tonner line dead and buried. And yeah, I've seen his new stuff for this year; it's all resin dolls which frankly don't look as nice or have as nice outfits as most of his older stuff. Plus, he's entering an already full resin market, with resin prices. Meh.

    This might be a mistake to say, but I could probably sew up some pieces of clothing for your Cami girls, if you found a simple pattern that you liked. Actually, I was previously in the middle of typing the above sentence when the power blipped here and my computer turned off, so I hope that wasn't God trying to tell me something! Seriously, I have done some nice work for Tonner's 16" dolls, but don't have a pattern for Cami's slimmer figure. I can send you some pics if you would like. :)

    1. I'd love to see your work! I always love seeing what other folks can do for their dolls.

      Yeah, that wasn't very smart of ol' Rob to go all-resin, especially when it yellows and breaks if it's not treated just so. I like resin dolls, as the presence of my two MSD boys will attest, but I don't want a whole passle of resin dolls. Plus, won't that drive prices up? My memory may be flawed, but I could've sworn I recalled the Syberites being pricey.

  2. I love the Cinderella scuplt in general so much! I currently have 4 with this scuplt, but a Cami is definitely on my wish list. I got hooked on these from Emily's blog as well. It was love at first sight, lol. I'm disappointed Tonner dropped the line as well as I never got to get a Tonner/Cami at regular resale price (instead, I have to rely on eBay). I think with your two, I like the redhead a tiny bit better. Only because of the red hair, though! :)

    1. Sometimes eBay will haul off and surprise you. You'll find something special for way less than what it was going for. LOL, I'd say Miss Emily's blog is almost as addictive as these dolls themselves! I'm surprised though that she didn't have much to say about Tonner producing only resin now, though. She usually is the first one out there with any breaking news about Tonner.