Looking for something?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throwback Thursday review: 23-inch My Twinn

I've reviewed the 18-inch My Twinn dolls...or one of them because I only have Xenia, so here's the 23-inch version.  I was VERY hesitant to review Rael because A, she was a gift, and B, Miss Emily has provided some extremely thorough descriptions of what My Twinn used to be (first post is here).  But I'm starting to run out of ideas for reviews, so Rael gets a review.
According to friends online, Rael is from the Denver era.  Like Kissy before her, Rael is a tall doll.  For a person who might be used to dolls like American Girl or Barbie, Rael's size might be a little bit of a shock.  This is how she compares to Kissy in height.
One of the first things I noticed about Rael when I first saw her is her hair.  She doesn't have anywhere near as much hair as Xenia does.
While Xenia's hair is thick, long, coarse, and difficult to contain, Rael's is more manageable.  It's medium brown like mine, and it's a little frizzy at scalp level.
The wig cap is a little conspicuous in places too.
I could easily brush that frizz out if Rael's hair were straight, but it's very obviously curly!
Rael came with her hair styled in two little pigtails, and most of the curls were separated.  I did have to rearrange her hairstyle once to accommodate a hat, and when I did that I combed the curls all together so they'd make one fat sausage curl.  Topping each pigtail is a pink satin ribbon.
These don't match everything she wears, but I can always switch them to match if need be.

Like Xenia, Rael has my favorite head sculpt, the Ariel.
There are a lot of variations of the Ariel head, with nicknames like "Rose," "Melissa," "Peanut Head," and rarely "Judy," which is My Twinn's name for all variants of the sculpt.  But according to my Facebook friends this one is a straight Ariel.  There's something more appealing about this larger head, by the way.  It's not as narrow as the smaller head, and it's not as angular.  I like Xenia, but her head shape just doesn't look as appealing as Rael's does.
I promise I'll update this post when I repair Xenia's eyes.  The current picture makes her look far more unattractive than she truly is.  Anywho, note the difference in eyebrows.
Xenia has off-kilter eyebrows that could pass for wooly worms, though they do have a lot of nice detail AND they match the rest of her hair.  Rael's eyebrows are lighter brown, of a nicer shape, and are properly centered.  They also have nice detail and match her hair well, but they're not as nice as eyebrows I've seen on other Denver dolls.  Miss Emily's reworked Audrey doll provides a good look at what Denver-era eyebrows can look like.  Rael's eyebrows don't measure up to Audrey's, but they're still better than Xenia's. 

Another awesome thing about Denver dolls is their eyes.  Not only are they usually rendered in lovely colors, but they don't seem to cloud over with the ease that the later dolls' eyes do.  Rael's eyes are a lovely shade of light brown, with wispy eyelashes added.
Notice how bright and clear they are, especially when compared to poor Xenia's eyes.  Denver-era dolls don't usually have the eye problems that the more recent My Twinn dolls of both sizes have, but it's not unheard of for these older dolls to undergo color changes and thus look a little (or a lot) freaky.  Indeed, I once saw an older doll with RED eyes!  Red eyes look good on ball-jointed dolls and on Greg Gutfield, but they don't look the best on My Twinn dolls.  This problem is fairly easy to remedy, but hopefully I won't have to do it to Rael anytime soon.  Xenia on the other hand...I've got new eyes for her right now.
These are 16mm Eyeco "Green Gaze" eyes.  I won't be putting them in today, but this is what they look like.

Okay, that's enough about eyes!  The rest of Rael's paint is pretty light.  She has a light layer of peachy blush on her cheeks, plus dusty rose lips that are molded into that smirk that I love so much.
Like Xenia, Rael's ears are unaltered.  Ear-piercing was an option for these larger dolls just like it was for the small ones, but Rael wears no earrings.
Now to the body.  Rael's body is...different-looking. 
Miss Emily refers to the larger My Twinn body as "awkward."  I'm not sure if that's what I'd call this body, but it does have some hinky areas that make someone familiar with anatomy scratch their heads.  It's a well-constructed body, that much is certain, made of stockinette fabric and vinyl half-limbs, with a plastic armature inside that allows her to pose.  This type of body can sometimes get pulls or runs like a Cabbage Patch body can, but Rael has avoided this problem for the most part.
Key words are "for the most part."  Rael does have some minor pulls on the back of her right shoulder, likely from where the Velcro on her clothes caught her.  I advise caution when dressing these larger dolls for that reason.
Honestly the only awkward part I can see on this body are the arms.  They're too long.
Well...the vinyl part is too long.  I think that if My Twinn had shortened the vinyl part to about elbow length it would've made a lot of difference.  See how the vinyl part ends above the elbow?
This is a problem, not only because it makes the arms too long, but because Rael's internal jointing would have allowed for very natural elbow movement had the vinyl arm ended at her elbow.  As it is Rael can bend her upper arm in all directions...
...but she can't flex her lower arms at all.  The sculpting is nice, though; Rael's face is well-done, and so are her arms.  Look at these fingers!
Okay, these hands are a little clawlike from certain angles, and they're not as expressive as Kissy's hands or Crissy's, but they're still nicely done.  Rael has little creases on her palms and knuckles, plus molded fingernails.  They're not bad arms at all, but I do wish the top part of the vinyl was shorter.

The legs are done better than the arms, with the vinyl extending to just above the knee.
Due to this Rael's leg motion is a bit more natural.  She can sit on my box without looking too wooden...
...and I can pose her like she's climbing or stepping up, though all I have for her to climb on is this box of crackers.
In addition to the mobile legs, Rael has jointed ankles that rotate and move back and forth.  Ankle joints but no wrist joints?  Mmmkay...
Look at these feet!  They are just as well-molded as her hands, and I love the sculpting on her soles.
Notice also that her big toes are separated a bit from the rest of her toes, allowing for the wearing of sandals...that is, if I had any!
The internal skeleton that allows Rael to pose her limbs also allows her to move her "spine" and contort her body into shapes that Xenia and the American Girls cannot.  She can even tilt her head, which none of my other soft-bodied dolls can do.
Okay, I take that back.  Alissa, my Madame Alexander My Life doll, has a soft body and can tip her head, but she cheats.  Her upper body is made of vinyl and can thus accommodate a ball-and-socket neck joint that few soft bodied dolls have..

These larger My Twinn dolls are a unique size, being taller and chunkier than American Girl dolls, but slimmer than dolls their height like Kissy and Saucy Walker.  As a result, American Girl clothes are OUT for Rael.  Kissy's romper fits, but it looks childish on her and it shows her cloth parts a little.
Saucy Walker's blue dress also fits, but it's a little short and the fabric is very fragile.
Notice that in both of the above pictures Rael is wearing her own shoes.  She couldn't get her big feet into either Saucy's shoes or Kissy's (yes, I finally found Kissy's shoes).  All is not lost, though!  Due to some quick thinking on my part, I was able to get some extra outfits for Rael before My Twinn closed for good, and each of those outfits came with shoes.  Well...take that back, the pajama set didn't come with shoes, but shoes aren't commonly worn with pajamas anyway, so no biggie.
There's this hooded robe that Mama got.  Since it IS hooded I sometimes use it as a coat.  This came from apriljunebug on Etsy, and it sure is nice.  It's made out of thick tie-dyed fleece and is very soft.  I wish it came in my size.
Here's the hood.  It and the rest of the robe are lined in green fleece.
It's even got big pockets on the front!
apriljunebug currently has nothing available for sale, but the store appears to still be open.  Since the store is empty I can't offer any commentary on whether they still carry clothes for the larger My Twinn dolls (some stores have dropped that size).

Oh yes, Rael also was wearing a nice outfit when she came.  How could I forget?
Okay, that isn't the most stylish thing, but it fits her and it's got nice sleeves, so it's perfect for winter...which unfortunately isn't too far off.

Lastly, I'm unsure if too much sunlight can cause Rael's eyes to fade or turn colors, so I got her some baby-sized sunglasses.  They match two of her outfits pretty well, one of which is perfect for late summer.
I should've done this during the eclipse!  In truth these glasses are way too big for Rael's head; in order to get them to stay put I had to stick them into her wig and hold my breath.  The lenses are too big too.  I've been an Elton John fan for a long time, but that is NOT the look I was trying to emulate here!  Oh well, Kissy can have them!

I think that settles it.

*This first problem isn't as bad with these larger dolls as it was with the smaller ones, but be wary of curly-haired dolls.  Those curls have the potential to get tangled.
*The arms are sculpted in an odd manner.  If the vinyl had ended at the elbow instead of above it, things would've gone better.
*Eyes can change color, though not anywhere as often as the smaller dolls' eyes did!
*Body can snag if caught on Velcro or cat claws, so be careful there.
*Semi-hard to dress.  22-inch Saucy Walker dresses can fit, but they're usually a little short.

*Facial shape is more appealing than the smaller one.  Rael has fewer bad angles than Xenia does, so she's easier to photograph.  I'm not sure why that is since they both have Ariel heads.
*Vinyl is in great shape, is a lovely color, and took to the molds very well.  Rael's hands and feet are very nicely detailed.
*Body is soft but poseable, not something we get too often in the doll world.
*Hair is soft, not wiry like poor Xenia's.
*Eyes are a beautiful color and probably won't change color, though I'm not going to take any chances.
*Came with a dress that is of great quality.
*Semi-easy to dress.  There are still a handful of Etsy stores that have things for this size of doll.

What else is there to say?  I think it's extremely unfortunate that My Twinn made the shift from 23-inch dolls to 18-inch dolls, because Rael is superior to Xenia in every way possible.  Xenia is cute, no question about that, and I have no plans to give her up, but...well, Rael is just a better doll.  She feels nicer, she poses well, her hair is softer, her eyes are WAY better, and she's...oh Lordy, she's just a better doll.  She's not perfect, and the worst thing about her would probably be those arms.  The vinyl part is too long, and thus that makes posing of the arms stilted.  It would've been delightful to take Rael out during the eclipse and have her standing with one arm shielding her eyes, but with her arms molded the way they are I could not get that done.  Most of the other gripes are minor and can be avoided if I treat Rael with care.  She's not fragile by any means, but she can't take quite the beating that a Barbie could, so I just treat her gently and thus have managed to avoid any mishaps.  So if any of y'all are still wanting a My Twinn doll, I'd skip the eighteen-inch models unless someone fancies an eye swap, and shell out a little more for a 23-inch Twinn.  Sometimes those too are fixer-uppers, but not always.

Happy last day of August,

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dolly Dress Discussion: Mattel Magic Nursery outfit

I'm going good to step away from fashion dolls for this review and revisit another Mattel doll that I not-so-recently discussed.  Last August I reviewed this My Child doll, whom I named Morgan.  A couple of months after I reviewed Morgan, Miss Emily began a series of posts about a similar Mattel line called Magic Nursery.  I love the concept behind the Magic Nursery dolls, which involves a lot of surprises, but since they're so much like Morgan I've chosen to hold off on buying one for now.  I did briefly browse eBay to get an idea about prices for these dolls, and during said browsing session I found my favorite Magic Nursery dress.
I don't think one could get this dress without buying a doll, so I was particularly pleased to find it running loose.  I have good reason to think that Morgan can wear this, because she is wearing the exact same shoes as several of Miss Emily's Magic Nursery dolls.  But first...what else but a review?  There's no package to open since this dress was running loose, but it's still good enough to review.  This will be one of my more simple reviews, as there is naught but the dress.  It IS a dress, but it looks like a top and jumper set.  The "top" is buttercup yellow and sewn in the shape of a T-shirt.
This top feels like it may be a different material than the skirt.  It feels slightly softer than the skirt, and it drapes better.  The top is where the whole shebang closes, with two little tabs of Velcro.
The front of the bodice is trimmed with a little black ribbon that hangs like a necktie.
The bodice also has these straps, faux suspenders that are made out of hot pink and black checkered fabric.  They extend all the way to the back.
These are separate little pieces, not printed on, but they're also sewn to the shoulders so they won't slide out of place.
The front ends of the straps are sewn into cute little points and are decorated with yellow velour "buttons."
Now the waistband.  The waistband doesn't match either the top or the skirt, being sea green and black checks.
Unlike the suspenders, the waistband doesn't extend all the way around. 
Interestingly, this waistband is not attached to the bodice all the way; it's held flat by the suspenders.  So this is supposed to be a bib-top rather than a waistband. 
The skirt is a simple panel of checkered fabric.
The waist is gathered, and notice how evenly spaced the gathers are.
Attached to the left front of the skirt is a patch with the Magic Nursery logo.  This is attached with yellow thread and is firmly sewn on for now, but notice that one of the cut ends has worked loose.
The interior looks pretty good.  There are a few loose threads here and there, but nothing super-glaring.
I got this outfit with the hope that it would fit my little Morgan, and it does.
I suspect very strongly that there is a loose link between My Child and Magic Nursery since both are Mattel dolls, and the latter came right on the heels of the former, so it doesn't surprise me much that the two dolls can share clothes.  I don't think Morgan can wear ALL of the Magic Nursery's available clothes since those dolls did come in several different sizes, but this one works just fine.  It's not too tight or too loose anywhere, and the buttery top matches Morgan's faded yellow hair ribbons.  I love Morgan's white duck dress, but as with my other dolls it's nice to have some other options.  If I had any critiques about the way this looks on Morgan, I'd say that it's dated.  That print is definitely like something a little kid would've worn in the late eighties or early nineties.  But that's a minor gripe and I'm not going to fault the dress for that, because that was just the style back then.  Colors and goofy prints were IN!!!

Just for grins, here's Morgan with Denise.
They make a cute pair, as my dolls often do.  Since Mattel took over production of American Girl dolls I guess one could say that these two are cousins-in-law!

Unless I get doll clothes for my birthday, this should be my last Dolly Dress Discussion for awhile.  I want to wait until after Christmas and see if American Girl puts anything on sale before buying anything from there, and with Denise's new things and Morgan's new dress I should be set for awhile.  Now to work on Thursday's post; I'm running a bit behind with it.