Jun 252016
 

For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a long while you’ll recognize my Isha.  She was a prize that I won in 2007 from the Doll Diva’s board when they held a raffle.

I got around to repainting and re-rooting the front of her head in 2009.


Not the best repaint I’d ever done but somehow it still seems “right” for her so she never ended up with a second repaint.

She did however end up with a swapped body… She started out on the 2nd or 3rd generation Fashion Royalty body and it was floppy and annoying as all hell. Could barely hold a pose long enough for me to shoot it with the camera! I hated taking photos of her because of it–so it was important for me to find her a body donor. Finding another body to match her was difficult (especially since she wasn’t even a great match with her original body). My good friend Will gave me a hot toys hispanic female body for her to use.

The plus side was it was definitely more articulated than her original but it was hard to find clothes to fit in a way  I liked and at that time I didn’t much feel like sewing for her…so she got relegated to a box and that was it. Every time I went to re-dress my dolls my eyes would stick on her and I’d feel guilty that such a pretty doll wasn’t getting fair treatment and being photographed and really cast with a good role in the Quinlan Chronicles.

What to do? What could I do?

Funnily enough, I was going through my collection this morning with an eye to plan some repaints and sell off some dolls I don’t play with—when I realized that Isha’s body was a really good match for Moonlight and Kisses Darla Daley’s! Oh I am happy about that! 🙂 and then I figured that I might as well do body mods on he since  want to use her a lot in the future and being able to pop her head off for dressing and jewelry application is a good thing! And an expanded range of motion at the chest join is super helpful too in posing.

You know….I just couldn’t leave her eyes (or eyebrows) alone. I felt this compulsion to repaint them…I don’t think she came out too badly considering how very long it’s been since I did any repainting.

So here she is now:

rare-find-isha-2

and two more pics just because! 🙂

rare-find-isha-1

rare-find-isha-3

Next I need to find a new name that suits her….

Jun 172016
 

Some thoughts on my collecting…

Let’s be clear, I’m not one of those doll collectors who have a closet full of dolls, dolls on shelves, boxed dolls on display and only a very few that ever escape from the box. Nope. not me. I don’t keep any doll BNIB unless I have bought it for someone else as a gift, and then I know it’s gotta go.

That’s not to say that I don’t have a great deal of dolls. I do (in my opinion). I consider it a case of I have 2 distinctly separate collections. One consists of my Volks and Japanese 1/6 dolls. I know all of them and they are all kept stored in a large sterilite box to keep them from getting damaged, etc. They’re “old friends” and except for a few culls that is now a static collection (since Volks no longer produces 27cm dolls and parts). The number is about 45 dolls in total.

I have about 10 male action figures on either Hot Toys bodies or on the various clone bodies that are out there. In the future I’d like to add a few more since my collection is skewed heavily toward being femme-centric.

So let me talk about the fashion dolls.
When I first got started in the hobby of collecting/customizing dolls I started with Barbies. Because they were easy to get, easy to customize and easy to sell on ebay. I really hated the fact that they had such poor articulation — the bend and click knees, no wrist joints, etc. When someone introduced me to Volks dolls it was a revelation for me that there could be dolls with great range of motion. The difficult thing with them at the time was seeing past all the joints, the bodies looked so strange compared to the Barbies I was used to. But I got used to it and they became my faves. Then Volks stopped making them and I started to flounder.

My friend Will told me about Takara Cool girls action figures. They offered a better ROM than barbies but they were beefy bodies with a weird joint at the crotch that made them appear to have a *package*. Nice if you put them in skirts, or anything that didn’t hug it. But not the ideal (for me).

Fashion royalty came along and at first IMO they were glorified Barbies with a much higher price tag. I didn’t see the point since they were like silkstone barbies–pretty but too limited for my tastes. Then they started to improve. And improve some more. And even more.
Nowadays Fashion Royalty are the dolls that I collect the most of.

Here are some reasons why:
The various headsculpts are the biggest draw for me. There is a lot of variety.
They tie in first place with the hot toys female headsculpts, but because I dislike their (HT) current bodies and haven’t yet had the $$ to lay out for some of the steel skeleton’d phicen dolls (which have some interesting face sculpts too)to try out as a character.

The next reason is because although their bodies started out crappy they have been steadily evolving into a better body for my purposes in shooting photostories. They still need me to make modifications on them, but I can cope with that especially when I see them creating bodies that are completely modular and prime for body part swapping.

So how many FR dolls do I have in my collection?
(I’m clumping poppy parker dolls & Color Infusion in with it since they’re made by the same co.)
It would be embarrasing to say I don’t know. Wouldn’t it? ;P
Seriously though, I need to start taking headshots of them so that I have a visual roster of them and what characters I have (or am) casting them as. I often buy my dolls 2nd hand or just their heads. When it comes to Fashion Royalty & Poppy dolls I have more heads than bodies.
I am going to finally admit it now that I have completely given up on Volks reviving their 1/6 line and am now a confirmed collector of Fashion Royalty, Nu Face and Poppy Parker dolls. I make them into my own characters, but yea, for now they are my go to dolls (and I make allowances for their limitations).

Anyway, just thought I’d share that.

Dec 262015
 

emerson 6

Lovely, isn’t she?

Emerson Appleton
I feel very lucky to have her in my collection. She has (in my opinion) a completely different vibe than Giselle (customized Old is New Giselle). She seems softer and dreamier to me.

So what do I know about Emerson?
Let’s see….

Emerson Appleton is in her early 20’s. Her personality is moody and creative with highs and lows. Her fashion sense is “I’m gonna wear what I want and anyone who doesn’t like it can sit and spin!” (This is tempered at times by her Aunts’ strongly worded recommendations 😉

em-9

Emerson (or Em as she is often nicknamed by friends and family) is single and looking but she’s had her fair share (and more) of jerks and wonders why she bothers looking. She is looking for someone who’ll love her no matter where she ends up in life, and she wants someone who is sensitive and willing to understand her artistic nature…Really, she isn’t very good at the whole dating thing and usually ends up waiting by the phone for the text/im/call that never comes for a second date.

Emerson Appleton

She has a small family consisting of her two aunts: Arabella Appleton and Agnes Appleton-Weld, and an Uncle: Theo Appleton & his wife and their children (her cousins). Emerson’s parents are deceased and losing them as well as her sister has left a mark on her psyche. She dislikes her Uncle Theo’s wife, but tolerates her at holidays when necessary.

Sometimes Emerson is looking for a place to hide away from the world.

em-11

She is struggling as an artist and although she has had her work shown in a number of galleries and juried art shows she isn’t “there” yet and wonders if she will ever be truly successful in the way that Warhol or Pollock were. Emerson is a trust fund-baby and as such doesn’t have to worry much about where her rent money is coming from as long as she stays in line with the budget her Aunt Agnes (known as Aunt Ness) made for her.

Quick facts:
Emerson’s favorite colors: black,  blue, dark purple and crimson/mulberry colors.
Favorite clothing: Emerson likes to wear everything from raggy T & Jeans to formal wear.
Emerson’s background: Born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. To: Joseph and Sarah (nee Black) Appleton. She had a twin sister who went missing as an infant. Emerson completed a BA in fine arts at Yale and decided that getting an MFA would be a waste of her time when all she wants to do is make art. She spent a year after graduation traveling and then moved to Seattle for two years before she settled in NY, NY. where she has connections with some galleries and restaurants to hang and show her work.

She goes out evenings to see bands play, and spends a lot of time in the libraries and museums around town.

Sep 102015
 

Modifying Fashion Royalty with Magnets? Really?

Yes! 😀

Ok, so unlike a lot of people out there, I never bought one of IT’s dolls that came with the “quick switch” body. Initially it sounded like a good idea but apparently it wasn’t executed the best and I guess a bunch of folks ended up with bobble headed dolls. That was a shame IMO since that could have had some great applications. Oh well.

I mentioned to my friend Will that I’d collect more dolls if I had the option to swap their heads out–meaning that instead of buying multiples of the same doll (to have one character who could have dark hair, one with blonde, different hair styles etc.) I could get the heads only and allow each doll to have one or two main bodies and as many heads as that character would need.

Will mentioned that he did something like that for his action figure girl, Gillian. He has something like 10 different heads for her and each looks different for different roles (she’s an actress).

I asked him if he thought it would work for the Fashion Royalty girls and he said it should. So I gave it a go. It was a bit of trial and error but it worked.

And the verdict is I love it!
It is exactly what I wanted and will allow my characters to have different looks while using only one body! 😀

If anyone is interested I can post a tutorial about it this weekend…

Sep 082015
 

There are times when in the course of collecting–be it dolls, books, antiques or anything else–that you find your focus or interest is changing. You notice that it’s trained on a different area than it was when you first started.

I am dealing with this now. And I have been struggling to accept it.

When I first started really collecting dolls (I don’t count my forays into making OOAK barbies as part of my collecting since I never kept any of them.) I was introduced to Volks 27cm Dollfies and Volks Super Dollfies (the original japanese ball jointed resin dolls). I owned both and then sold my SDs to concentrate on the 27cm/ 1:6 scale Volks. Volks appealed to me because they were fantastically poseable. They looked kind of weird to my eyes at the time because of the multitude of joints that they had. But I grew to love them and they became the main focus of my collection from 2000 to 2015.

For the record I’m not a big “collector” type.

My dolls & action figures get a lot of use. They aren’t shelf-sitters, or display models.
I play with them. I re-dress them. I photograph them. I write scripts for them…
I don’t have any display cases filled with 1/6 figures.
I don’t have a single figure that is BNIB or NRFB.

In time my collection expanded to include Takara Cool Girls, Integrity’s Fashion Royalty dolls as well as Takara Blythe. Each had pros & cons about them and none of them could knock the Volks out of #1 spot. Those others I would buy and sell according to how my interests waxed and waned. But never the Volks. I always kept them and kept an eye out for more of them. I started adding more CG & female action figures and Fashion Royalty dolls to my collection. It was interesting to see how they changed through the years almost all of them for the better.

One of the big things to realize about my collecting is that I collect the dolls and action figures because I want them to be characters in photostories. This matters because I want to be able to use _all_ of my dolls in my photostories–without any of them (except the Blythes) looking strange or out of place. My compromise with that was to think of the Volks as mostly younger/students for the University and everyone else fell under Non-University people. Not the ideal solution but I was willing to go with it, you know?

When Volks discontinued their 1/6 dollfie line I was gutted. I couldn’t see where that left me. None of the others could compare to their range of motion or articulation. But if there weren’t any more of them being made then I could no longer create new characters using them. Which made me feel lost.

What was I going to do?

I remained in denial for a long time. I kept hearing rumors that Volks was re-tooling their 27cm/1:6 line and that they would be releasing more dolls. I held onto that like a lifesaver. Because if they stopped making them then I had to deal with another issue: my Volks collection was anime style and was at odds with my action figures and fashion dolls–both of which were considerably less stylized.

So over the last year or so I have slowly started coming to terms with the fact that I need to put the Volks to rest. I am thinning out the majority of my collection and plan on keeping about 18-20 of them. The rest will go up for sale and find new homes and maybe collectors who don’t feel the same way I do about the fact that they are no longer available.

My newer focus is on action figures (both male and female) and fashion royalty dolls. At least with a bit of tweaking they can all work together as a cast–and that’s important for me.

I feel melancholy as I write this, knowing that I am admitting that I have to step up and embrace the change even though I don’t particularly want to.

I’ll blog again soon–and I promise it will be more upbeat.

Jul 272015
 

Agnes is a gorgeous doll. I feel very lucky to have her. I asked myself, “How can you see this and not want to have her in your collection?” So she was a no-brainer. It was difficult to scrape up the $$ for her but I managed it (selling parts of my collection) and I am glad I did!
This is her default appearance:(photos property of Integrity Toys)

aristocratic-agnes-1

She’s lovely, right? Yes.
I love her color combinations (I’m not usually a huge fan of blonde dolls) but this one works for me. And for the personality I think she will have in my photostories. That said, IMO she needs a little tweaking. Look at her eyes:

agnes-face

She is suffering from Upward Eyes Syndrome — that thing that makes the doll look like she is either rolling her eyes or getting ready to pass out. It is a personal pet peeve of mine and it is something I compulsively fix on my dolls.

So her eyes need tweaking. Check.
What about her lip color? Her eyelashes/eyeliner?
I’m not sure about those yet. The lips are a much starker, brighter red than in the promo pics. It’s not a horrible red…just not my particular favorite. Part of me would like to do her lips in a soft rose/nude because I think it would look great with her coloring and also lend itself to being more casual. I’m not sure though…

Anyway, just wanted to share.

Jul 052015
 

There is something about me that doesn’t usually allow me to leave my dolls untouched or un-customized in some way. I don’t know if it is because I like them to have something different about them than the other hundreds or thousands of them out there. Or maybe it’s an effort on my part to find and define their personalities. But whatever it is—it is. 😉

Now I want to talk about Voltage Erin.
Yes, I know she isn’t even in production yet and she isn’t due out until late fall or early winter 2015. But I look at her and I see possibilities. I thought I’d share a few of them here.
This is her default factory appearance:

voltage erin

I think she’s quite pretty as she is. It’s the newer headsculpt for Erin (with the open mouth). But she didn’t wow me, exactly. I kept looking back at the photos of her and thinking she was “nice” but off track from my color tastes. Which lead me to wonder if that was down to the simple fact she was wearing a yellow based red (I dislike those tones but love blue based reds). So…I wondered what she might look like with different coloring options. Please note that these are quick edits done in PS so I could get a vague idea…

voltage-erin-options
Anyway, we’ll see what she actually looks like once she hits the market. 😉

Jan 112015
 

Ah ha! We’re closing in on the final stretch of the top 10! Yay! 😀 Woo woo woo!!!

There are 2 toys that fell into slot #4 (I couldn’t choose between them! so there’s a & b)

#4a

Description of Toy/Toyline:  Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece The Wolverine

wolvie

Why did he make my list?
Do you even have to ask!?? 😉
I am a long-time fan of the Uncanny X-men comics (back before they split into like a billion different X-titles) and Wolvie has always been my all time favorite. Unlike a lot of people I really enjoyed the Marvel release of The Wolverine and as soon as I knew Hot Toys was going to make one I was starting to save my pennies!

His sculpt is ace and captures the Wolverine of the movie! Yay!
martin-1

He came with 2 complete sets of clothing, extra hands and accessories. His clothing was all incredibly detailed and well made and thankfully, Hot Toys (knowing like most action figure & doll manufacturers that black fabrics tend to bleed dye into the vinyl and abs plastic) gave him a long sleeved under-shirt to wear with his black dress shirt. I applaud a company that can think ahead and head off quality control issues!!

So here’s a photo of him next to Giselle (on a Poppy Parker body instead of her default Nu Face body)

giselle-martin-wolvie-body

Downside to it: (aka why he isn’t the #1 toy on the list!)
The biggest (actually, the only) gripe I have about Hot Toys Wolverine is that his body is lacking the usual range of motion that Hot Toys True Type bodies have. That means that he’s missing the double-jointed elbows which make a big impact on posing and flexibility. I temporarily switched him onto the Hot Toys True Type Muscle body to see if he would look ok on that:

martin-and-giselle-1
And I think it works although I am not sure that he will get to keep it (He and Giselle look really nice together with the Muscle body) I’m still debating since none of his clothes will fit that body…

Overall: He was great value for money, a great sculpt and even though he bears a striking resemblance to Wolverine / Hugh Jackman, He’s going to be Martin and a character in the Quinlan Chronicles.

#4b

Description of Toy/Toyline: Kimiko Gunn/Tina Tanaka from Integrity Toys Poppy Parker line.

tanaka-1

Why did she make my list?
Tanaka made my list because she has the original Ayumi 1.0 headsculpt–something that I didn’t think Integrity would be using or issuing again. So for that alone I am thankful! Add to that the fact that she is on a Poppy Parker body (which is easy to modify for increased range of motion and posability) and I couldn’t resist. That Poppy Parker body even looks good with the shorter Slim Shoulder Hot Toys True Type Body! She is going to be one of the actresses who arre in the Wrenwood Hall drama.

jeremy-and-tanaka

Downside to it: (aka why she isn’t the #1 toy on the list!)
As nice as she is, I am not thrilled with her default factory paint. I am planning on repainting her in the future. Again, I’ll end up modding her body for better range of motion.

Overall: She’s a nice figure to have and I’m looking forward to customizing her in the future. I know that her sculpt isn’t a favorite among IT collectors so having a chance to add another version of her to my collection is great.

#3

Description of Toy/Toyline: Nightscape Giselle from Integrity Toys Nu Face Fashion Royalty line. Nightscape Giselle was released as a W Club exclusive in 2011.

emerson-3

Why did she make my list?
I pretty much wanted this version of Giselle as soon as I saw her back in 2011…but the secondary market prices for her were super crazy (and they still are!) so she was a no. I managed to find someone selling one nude on the DollPage and I got her for the same amount I would pay for any other nude doll from IT. So I feel like I got a great deal and that doesn’t hurt, does it? 😉

emerson-3

Some of the things I like best about her is the combination of her hair colors – there’s a wine color mixed in with dark brown and it looks great. Her make up palette is really mellow and I don’t think I will be repainting her except to possibly tweak her irises a bit. Maybe.

emerson

She’s already got a role in the Quinlan Chronicles as Emerson Appleton, a relative of Giselle’s. I can’t wait to start using her in the scripts! Woo!

Downside to it: (aka why she isn’t the #1 toy on the list!) There is no downside to her. She’s excellent and I am truly pleased to have her! The only thing is that I will need to re-body her onto a Poppy Parker body because of the articulation and the height (my issue with FR doll heights *sigh*)

Overall: I am still stoked to have gotten her into my collection! I understand why so few people have her for sale on the secondary market. She’s quite possibly one of the nicest Giselles out there. I bought her this year as my birthday present and I am so glad I did!

#2

Description of Toy/Toyline: High Visibility Agnes from Integrity Toys Fashion Royalty line.

hv-agnes-2

Why did she make my list?
Ok, I have been wanting an Agnes in my collection since I first saw her all those years ago…But she was always either a club exclusive or a convention exclusive which put her prices way waaaay out of my range. This year however I got a membership in the W club and she was one of the club exclusives! YAY! I was going Wooo! Wooo! Wooooooo! when I’d found that out. And for what it’s worth she’s also who I traded my Escapism Elise for so that I have a 2nd Agnes to customize without ruining (or more accurately–losing the spirit of her).

Remember how I mentioned that I was disappointed that On the Rise Elise didn’t have the newest version of the FR2 body? Well Agnes does! And it IS awesome! That is such a major improvement IMO that I hope they’ll apply it to all their bodies in the future.

hv-agnes-1

Downside to it: (aka why she isn’t the #1 toy on the list!)
As thrilled as I am to have her in my collection I am disappointed to have seen and heard that IT did not fully root her head with hair. Which is a bummer and means I will have to re-root her or choose to leave one with the hair in its permanent style. I dunno. The spare I got I am looking forward to giving a more natural color palette and lip color.

Overall: She’s great. I was in shock when I got her through the club and that she was so much less money than I’d ever seen her for before. I’m still thrilled! I love the sculpt and I’m going to be including her in the Chronicles too.

Tomorrow I’ll be updating with the #1 toy of 2014~don’t forget to check back then! 🙂


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