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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday review: Make it Mine

Several years back, during the early days of my search for the perfect ball-jointed doll, I blogged about Paulette Goodreau and her lovely work.  Not only did she produce ball-jointed dolls in several sizes, but she also made Make it Mine dolls.  MiM dolls are like BJDs but are made out of plastic and aren't strung.  However, they're close enough in scale and concept to BJDs that I list my doll as an "honorary BJD" and display her with my resin crew.  The website had several options that allowed the buyer to customize their MiM doll and have it just so.  Both Goodreau and MiM appear to be closed now (the former had a very good reason for closing) so I didn't get to customize a doll of my own.  However, I did find someone else's doll on eBay for a reasonable price, and I'm happy to share her with y'all now.  The listing said this doll's name was Hailey, and I'm content to leave that as her name. 
Well okay, I'll admit that "Hailey" may be a bit problematic as a first name, since I use the same name as a surname for one of my ball-jointed dolls.  But it's a cute first name, and it's what she was listed as on eBay, so the name stays.  Hailey and her MiM siblings (Jordyn, Jasmine, and Taylor) are very close to MSD-sized ball-jointed dolls in size and build, but they're not ball-jointed dolls themselves.  They are made out of high-quality, heavy-duty plastic instead of resin, and they are jointed rather than strung.  These dolls came in two face molds (smiling and serious) and two skin tones (peach and bronze).  I was sorely tempted by Jasmine's bouncy curls, but Hailey's peachy cheeks and solemn expression won me over.  Here's how she compares in size to Johnny, who happens to be the doll that shares a name with Hailey here.  Johnny is 17.7 inches tall, a little shorter than an American Girl, and Hailey is quite a bit shorter than he is.
Despite her shorter stature, Hailey has a bigger head than Johnny does.  Based on this I assumed that she'd have larger measurements than him.
My assumption that Hailey would be bigger than Johnny all over fell a little flat, though.  She does have a wider chest than my rather skinny resin boy, but their arms are the same length and their hands are of similar size.
Hmmm...maybe I should've chosen Alistair instead.  His body is thick like Hailey's is, and notice that he is closer to Hailey's size (about sixteen inches).
Alistair looks like he has a large head, and indeed his noggin is bigger than Johnny's is, but he too is quite a bit smaller than Hailey in the head department.  Hailey's body appears to be leaner than Alistair's as well (except in the torso, where they're roughly equal), so while Hailey is similar in height to a resin MSD, she has different measurements.  I'll talk more about the nitty-gritties of Hailey's body later, but first, the head.  Like my ball-jointed dolls, MiM dolls wear wigs; Hailey's default wig is styled in a black center-part bob with bangs.
The fibers are smooth and shiny.  It's easy to get this wig missed up, but it's also easy to set it straight again; just use a light touch with clean fingers or a wig brush.  The wig cap is a light tan shade that matches Hailey's pale plastic closely.
Not that the color of the wig cap really matters in aesthetic terms, as it doesnt't show when the wig is on Hailey.  Having a wig cap of a certain color IS problematic if your doll is a doll that can stain (like Alistair and Johnny are), but I don't think Hailey can stain.  Now watch me be wrong, LOL!  Anyway, Hailey's wig cap is elasticized and slips onto her head with little fuss, but it also slides off with equal ease.  This problem is a tremendous pain in the posterior, but it can be remedied with a rubber band.  It doesn't even have to be a big rubber band, either; I used one of those clear bands that people use at the ends of mini-braids.
I'm not sure what size this wig is, but I have a way of finding out.  Of my eight ball-jointed dolls, five wear 7-8 wigs.  Ju-hwang is one, my floating Juri 2013 heads are two others, and the last two happen to be my two boys.  Johnny is NEVER going to forgive me for this...
...and I think Alistair may be plotting my death.
 Guinevere looks okay though; this wig gives her a bit of a Snow White vibe.
 And Ju-hwang looks okay.
All four of these dolls can all wear this wig fairly well, though Alistair and Johnny never want to again and have threatened me with all sorts of nasty things if I make them do it.  Rest easy, boys, as Hailey's wig is actually a size too big anyway; the only one who could wear this wig solidly, without any slipping, was Ju-hwang.  I find it odd that my smallest BJD has the biggest head!  Anyway, if any of y'all are BJD lovers and you want to try some MiM wigs on your resin kids, wig caps are a must.  Indeed, a wig cap wouldn't be a bad idea for Hailey either; I'd estimate that she'd take a 9-10 wig cap, something bigger than my other dolls wear.  While all of my ball-jointed dolls can wear Hailey's wig, she can't wear any of theirs.  She almost could wear Ju-hwang's, but it proved to be too small.  Hailey's wig did stand up to a lot of folding and tugging, though.  This one loose bunch of fibers came loose at one point, but that's all.
Okay, back to Hailey.  She shares a couple of other features with her resin friends, the first feature being that the top of her head can come off.
This is what the inside of her head looks like.  The capsule-shaped bit holds her eyes in place.
Compare that to the putty that Ju-hwang has.  To get Hailey's eyes out, simply turn this little wingnut until it lines up with the slot...
...and out pops the eye mech!
Hailey's default eyes are dark brown and don't have much depth or shine to them.  There were options for "metallic" eyes when Make it Mine was open, and these metallic eyes had more depth to them.  These defaults are fine if one doesn't have anything else, but they can make Hailey look a little possessed if I don't get the flash right.  They do match Hailey's hair quite well though, and when I do get the flash right they look stunning.  Unfortunately, this is the best picture I could get of the color.
In the doll community and ESPECIALLY in the ball-jointed doll community there are many different shapes of eyes.  Some are round (left) and some (like Hailey's on the right) are a shape called "half-round."
Hailey's eyes are hollow in the back (some half-round eyes are solid) with little posts inside...
...and the posts fit into little holes in the eye mech.
In this picture one can faintly see that the left and right sides are marked on the back.
This is a nifty little eye mech, one that avoids the slightly messy putty that the ball-jointed dolls use.  The downside is that I can't play with the position of Hailey's eyes much; they always stare straight ahead.  Fortunately, if I want to change her eye position I can still use putty.
It's hard to tell with those dark default eyes, but Hailey IS looking, ever so slightly, off to her left in that picture.  I didn't get them perfectly aligned, but putty can be used with this doll.  Pretty convenient, actually!  If I want to change Hailey's expression or eye color, I can still use putty, but if I just want to leave her be I can use her eye mech.  I think Hailey takes 20-millimeter eyes, by the way, the same size that Ju-hwang wears.  I happen to have an extra pair of 20mm eyes in a lovely shade of lavender, so let's see how Hailey looks with those.
I had a devil of a time getting those eyes placed, but they're in now and they liven Hailey's face up quite a bit.  It was immediately after I got these eyes placed (a task that took thirty minutes and a few muttered obscenities) that I remembered having to delete the introductory picture for being too dark.  I was not about to go through placing another set of eyes, so I just snapped a picture of her with these violet ones and used it as Hailey's debut photo.  Sigh...are y'all with me so far?

Alrighty, that's quite enough about eyes!  There's more to discuss inside that head, believe it or not.  MiM dolls are not strung like ball-jointed dolls are, but Hailey's head can still detach from her body.  To do this, turn this little lever until it lines up with the hole at the base of her head.
Voila!  Off with her head!  Much easier than having to tug on an S-hook with a shoelace.
I've been told that FairyLand's MiniFee bodies use a similar mechanism, which is good to know because both of my floating heads take a MiniFee body.  They don't fit on Hailey's body though, nor would they look right.  Guinevere's resin matches Hailey's plastic nicely, but the proportions are entirely off.
Can't say I didn't try!  Now...NOW let's discuss Hailey's face.  Again, another picture taken before I swapped eyes.  It's possible to see the true colors of the doll's default eyes here.
Being a little girl, Hailey doesn't wear (or need) a lot of makeup, so her face-up is pretty sparse.  She's got peachy cheek blush and matte rose lips, delicately painted eyebrows and eyelashes with individual little hairs, and a tiny bit of blushing along the edges of the eyelids.  Her philtrum is even blushed; NONE of my other dolls have that kind of detail.  The eyebrows are light brown, which don't really either match or clash with any of the MiM wigs that were available, so I guess that was a smart move.

I don't always talk about sculpting since I'm in no position to determine what good doll sculpts and bad ones are, but let's look briefly at Hailey's "bone structure."  Her nose is both fairly wide and realistically long, her upper lip is charmingly asymmetrical, and her chin is pointed rather than rounded like that of her smiling counterparts.
I think that's more than anyone ever wanted to know about this doll's head, so let's move down to her body now.  Make it Mine dolls have a body that's very average at first glance.
Hailey has a slender but not skinny body that appears to be in the earliest stages of puberty, that stage that my mother always called the "gawky" stage.  There are two types of body shape during this gawky stage; Hailey is shaped like the tall, skinny type while I was one of the (un)lucky ones to grow chunky while remaining short for a spell.  Seriously, I look back on photographs from that period in my life and cringe; if only we all looked as nice as Hailey does during that stage!  LOL, anyway, Hailey is slender, but as I tried to point out above she's not a twig.  She has a little bit of muscle on her belly.
She's also got nicely sculpted clavicles.  Not all dolls have those.
Hailey has a respectable number of joints, being able to bend her hips, knees, ankles, wrists, shoulders, waist, chest, and neck.  The knees have some rotational motion in addition to bending...
...as do the elbows.
Hailey's wrists are not impressive.  This is the extent of their motion.
Her wrists also rotate, but it's tough to do and I can't say that I recommend it.

Regarding hips, Hailey can't do either type of split, though in her defense lots of my dolls can't.  This is as close as she gets to either one.
Hailey CAN sit, but until one learns the nitty-gritties of her body it's not a very graceful sit.  I have to play with her hips a little to get them to bend, and even then her legs want to splay outwards a bit.  She doesn't sit like a bimbo on Quaaludes though, so that's good.
I have Hailey braced against the box and the wall for those two pictures, but if I bend her hips sharp enough she can sit without being propped up.  She has no support here on this bed, and she sits like a champ.
To top it all off, Hailey can't tip her head due to the internal neckpiece holding it in place.  She can turn it, though.
I love the torso joints.  The top one allows Hailey to lean from side to side.
The bottom joint pivots.
Sometimes it's a battle to get Hailey to stand up straight, but only because I'm a danged perfectionist about my dolls' appearances!  She sits better than my resin boys, both of whom (Alistair in particular) need a good suading.  Hailey, being not strung and hard plastic, avoids the need for suading unless I want a more permanent solution to her slipping wig...and I may in the future.

But wait, we're still not done with these bodies!  Hailey may not be strung, but she can still come apart in multiple places. 
Hailey can pop apart at the neck, ankles, and at both torso joints.  It's NOT easy to get those torso joints apart, but it can be done.  Here's what the interior of the joints look like.
And here's a glimpse of Hailey's disembodied feet.  The tips of her toes are square, for some reason.
I'm unsure why Hailey's feet can come off, but her torso pops apart to allow her to attach to the two extra bodies that Make it Mine had available.  MiM had a centaur and a mermaid, the latter of which I couldn't find an image for.  Miss Emily wasn't too impressed with the centaur body, but it was still nice to have an option like that.  Centaur dolls aren't items that pop up too often, and usually when they do...they're ball-jointed dolls and they cost a pretty penny.

Regarding accessories, Hailey is fairly well off.  She came with a simple but full little outfit...
...a sleeping bag...
...and a nice little pair of drawers, which were labeled a "surprise."
I particularly like the sleeping bag, as it zips and has a little pillow built in.
It's very soft to the touch and is strikingly similar in construction (but not appearance) to the bags that some ball-jointed dolls come in.

Hailey and her MiM sisters came dressed in a loose-fitting pajama top, capri-length pants, and slip-on sandals.  These came in the pink and purple getup that Hailey has, or in a green and blue set; I'm unsure if a specific color accompanied a specific head mold or a specific skin tone, but I've seen more pink and purple sets running around than I have green and blue.  The top looks like it's layered...
...but it's not!  The top is cut loosely enough that it would probably fit over Hailey's head without much fuss, but to make that "probably" a "certainly," Make it Mine added a Velcro opening in the back.
The pants and the drawers are elasticized at the waistband.  No Velcro there!
All pieces are made of this nice, stretchy material that feels like a combo of cotton and spandex.  The pants fit fairly tightly, sort of like yoga pants, but they do not restrict Hailey's motion in any way.
If I had any gripes about this outfit, it would be these shoes; they slip off a little too easily and provide an unexpected source of entertainment for my cats.
These shoes are your typical sandals, the type that I often use as house shoes during the warmer months.  The bottoms are foam.
That would be where I'd end it, but believe it or not, I've got another outfit for Hailey.  
I forget how many outfits MiM originally had for these dolls, but they had quite a few.  Some of them are available on eBay now, and I managed to score the pajama set.  Top, shorts, socks, booties, and a jacket.  The jacket has a hood, and the hood has...wait for it...BUNNY EARS!!!
So cute!  It's not a bad little outfit at all, one that would've made good fodder for a Dolly Dress Discussion...and may still one day.

That's largely the end of my items for Hailey now, as none of my ball-jointed doll clothes will fit her, so let's wrap this up.

*Wig won't stay in place without some sort of help
*Default eyes are dark and don't show a lot of life
*Some of the joints are stiff, and mobility of the wrists and neck is poor
*Shoes fall off (can be remedied)
*Getting hard to find!  I got Hailey off of eBay and there were plenty of other MiM dolls to choose from, but now there are none at all.  There are lots of accessories and a few outfits, but no dolls.

*Sturdy.  That plastic won't be breaking or chipping unless I do something very, VERY ham-handed.
*Versatile.  This doll can wear other dolls' eyes and wigs if the size is right.
*Attractive.  I took this doll out to the nursing home on Tuesday and several of the residents commented on what a pretty little doll I had.
*Clothes are age-appropriate, well-made, easy to use, and cute.
*Joints hold a pose; not all of my dolls hold poses well.
*Not overly sexualized.  Not all of the blog's readers related well with my last doll Raya, so this doll would be a fabulous alternative...if you can find one!

Having looked Hailey over thoroughly, I wish more than ever now that I could've afforded one of Paulette Goodreau's lovely resin dolls.  They weren't stupidly expensive; the one I wanted wasn't much worse than my MSD boys were.  As well constructed as Hailey is, I believe that the resin dolls were likely nice as well.  On the other hand, it's nice to have a hard plastic doll that has many of the same features that are resin ball-jointed doll has.  I don't have to worry about Hailey shattering if she does a swan dive like I fear my resin dolls will, and I can also get her in positions that they can't.  Granted, Hailey does have some stiff joints, and her default eyes also are dull, and she's getting very tricky to find on the secondary market, but I'm absolutely smitten with this doll and I recommend her if she caught your eye.


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