Taking stock & changing focus

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.

Does Aristocratic Agnes need a Tweak or Two?

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)


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:


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.

Voltage Erin: a bunch of possibilities?

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. πŸ˜‰

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…

Anyway, we’ll see what she actually looks like once she hits the market. πŸ˜‰

Top 10 Toys of 2014: numbers 4, 3 & 2

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

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


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


Why did he make my list?
Do you even have to ask!?? πŸ˜‰
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!

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)


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:

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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? πŸ˜‰


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.


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!


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


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.


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! πŸ™‚

Giselle breaking through: outside shots

Yesterday I finally made time to go out after work and shoot some (non cat) photos with the nifty 50. I hesitated going to the local park/bike trail and my honey basically said wasn’t that the whole point of cobbling the old body & lens together? I said “yeah. something like that.” and after some hemming and hawing I got Giselle, redressed her in something appropriate and tossed her in a tupperware container and off we went down the road.

We got there and of course the place was teeming with kids and dogs. Neither of which I really want to have to deal with while I’m kneeling, or in some cases lying on my ample stomach to try to shoot photos. So Mark and I walked down the path a-ways until the noises subsided and the dogs and small people (and their keepers) went home. Out came Giselle from her tupperware prison and I looked for someplace likely to pose her.

I love the creek/brook that runs through the trail area.


I only found the whole park last month when Mark came home and our friend came to visit. It seemed like a good time to explore our area, you know? πŸ˜‰

Anyway…Here are some of the photos I took to begin with: (my favorite photos are at the end of this post)


Hmm, did I mention a new guy showed up in town…? We’ll have another post about him later!


You can tell by looking when the light was stronger and when I changed photo locations. For the photo below I really should have gotten down to eye-level but I didn’t want to lay on my belly in the mud. πŸ˜› I know…it would have made a better shot. I have to think about bringing things to lie on, maybe?


This next one is possibly my all time favorite of Giselle.


giselle-on-the rocks


For some of these photos I had to get wet. I was standing in the creek to get them: but that’s part of trying to break through my camera/damage fear of shooting outdoors, right?


Anyway, I think overall the photos came out pretty well. I was shooting without a tripod or other means of stabilization and that says a lot since I have incredibly shaky hands (and poor balance)! I did almost slip on the slimy/ moss/covered rocks under the water ,but I saved myself and did not go >SPLOOOOOOSH!<

So there you have it. The first batch of photos on my road to breaking through that mental roadblock! πŸ˜€

Something I WISH Integrity Toys would do with their doll bodies…

I thought I’d blogged about this already but apparently not! No wonder no-one had anything to say about my thoughts on the subject!

giselle Giselle however…Is concerned about what the future holds for her.

As I said in my last post, I joined IT’s W-Club and had a good look-see at the new FR line and Poppy Parker dolls that they will be releasing later this summer/early fall. Of course I ordered some, of course! I went nuts. LOL. πŸ˜€ Despite my euphoria at getting an Agnes, and Integrity Toys re-releasing the Ayumi 1.0 mold (as Tina Tanaka in the poppy Universe) I’m still bothered and a bit disgruntled that with all the “re-vamping” and “changes” that IT is/has supposedly made/is making to their lines of dolls that they seem more hype than actual changes. Ok, so the FR/ FR2 lines merged and now there’s just FR 2.0.

IMO one thing that really sucks is that they just keep getting taller and taller and taller! My other big gripe is that the articulation/ pose-ability isn’t improving in any marked way.

This is what I mean:
Remember back in 2009 Integrity Toys came out with the Handspeak System?

Wow. Removable hands. They made life a lot easier for those of us who re-dress their dolls, and gave us pose-options with a few different hand types.

The handspeak system is a very simple one. Hand with a jointed section with a long pin to insert into the forearm/wrist area. It’s mostly a friction fit. NOT rocket science.

(As an aside:Sadly, Integrity Toys didn’t bother to release any packs of hands with alternative or different poses. I’d have happily plunked down money on that. And even bought duplicates so I could put different colored paint on the nails as polish for them!)

Well, what have they done since then?

1) “Quick Switch” headswapping feature (on limited dolls-1st Joan Crawford doll, now some of the Poppy Parker & Jem dolls that were newly announced will have it.)

2) ERR…? Anything else I forgot about? I mean aside from adding the FR2 line and then discontinuing it and melding it with the FR main line? Does anyone know if the new FR 2.0 line still has the waist joint the original FR2 dolls had or if that’s been nixed?

As you can see they haven’t done a whole lot of world shaking upgrades or changes. Maybe, if I didn’t know about the wide array of female action figure bodies (which are constantly changing & evolving into more aesthetically pleasing AND articulated pieces) I’d be ok about it. For example, if all I’d ever collected or played with were barbies—I’d probably still be over the moon about ITs handspeak system. Maybe. I doubt it though–I’m a demanding collector/player. πŸ˜‰

So back to that earth-shaking Handspeak System: Why couldn’t Integrity use the same thing for FR or Poppy Feet/ Legs? (again, because I’m a cross genre figure collector I know that 2/3 of the female action figures on the market not only have feet that are removable–interchangeable for flat feet or High heel feet)

Some people might say that it’s because adding those joints at the ankle (like Poppy Parker has) are unsightly and ugly. Some might say that they’d be fragile and unable to hold the weight of the dolls or the poses most fashionista doll owners want them to hold.

My response to that is this: many ball jointed dolls have those joints (and more) such as Sybarites, Dollfie Dreams, Soom dolls etc which are IMO “fashion dolls” not really doll-dolls. And of course action figure females, and also too, volks 27 cm beauty dollfies too. They all seem to function perfectly fine with that joint there.
Actually, thinking about it, didn’t Tonner’s Tyler Wentworth doll have removable feet at some point? Allowing her to have flatter feet or high heels??

Oh yes: they do!

24 bucks for a pack of feet?Β Β  I’d pay it just to have the options for poses! Why can’t Integrity manage to do something similar? WHY, Integrity? Why? *cries*
I’m not saying that FR/ Nu Face or even Poppy need to have ballerina feet (I have no ballerina dolls) but I do have dolls that I want to have more options for foot wear and poses!Β  It would be a great improvement on the lines to be able to swap out their feet. It would allow for more ranges in height (hello, notice that everyone in FR land is the same height as everyone else? Ugh.)

I’m not going all out here on articulating the Integrity Toys doll lines (for instance, I think they could also make the knee joint like the Syb’s but I don’t see them ever doing that they’d consider it too ugly, although the Jamieshow knees look ok).

Just talking about the next reasonable step from the Handspeak system. Shouldn’t it be the Footspeak?

My thoughts are this:

#1) They could either make the lower leg removable from the knee joint and sell a packet of flat or high heel (or uber high heel) feet separately. The pink line shows the post application.

footspeak-system-idea-1Β  footspeak-system-idea-2

#2 they could make the joint at the ankle (Hey, Poppy’s body already HAS a joint there! Score! If they wanted to test the feasibility they could release a Poppy with “foot speak” and see how that sells. I know a lot of people who dislike Poppy dislike her solely because IT made such a craptastic joint there. It flips back and forth when it SHOULD be a ball joint. unless they make it removable. Like the hands.)

Seriously, IT what were you thinking?Β  When you put her feet flipped back in high heels the line of the foot looks misshapen.Β  I deal with it because I love the fact that she can be shorter than other dolls but a lot of people avoid the line and or/ rebody their Poppy Parkers onto FR bodies because of it.Β  IMO they should re-do it and do it right.

So what to do?

1) I’m waiting for the Nu Face reveal later this year. Do I think they’ll have adjusted or added or done anything with the ankle? No. I doubt it. In fact, I’d bet good money that they won’t. I think the Nu Face girls will be taller, with slightly resculpted torso/ chest areas. That, and a new face sculpt or two. that I think is going to be the extent of the massively touted re-vamp.

2) A while ago I bought the Monogram Echelon on the doll page. I bought her specifically because she is the same skintone and chest size as the Poppy Parker body that I re-bodied Giselle onto. My original thought at the time was to tweak my other Old is New Giselle head and pop that on the Echelon body thus allowing me to have Giselle wearing High Heels when appropriate or having her in flats/ sneakers or whatever whenever I wanted. But you know, the more I think about that, the more I don’t want to have to have 2 versions of her head and body just for her to be able to wear some of the great high heeled shoes out there.

I’ll wait until the reveal, but if it reveals what I expect, then I will be doing some surgical re-modeling of the echelon and poppy bodies to give Giselle the interchangeable feet /legs she so needs and deserves! I have a saw and I’m not at all afraid to use it! πŸ˜›

But my point is: as a doll collector, and someone who enjoys playing with them: I shouldn’t have to play chop shop with my doll bodies to get them to be as good as what other doll manufacturers are putting out there.


Things to do: making over london calling Kyu

Let’s see… This is what Kyu looks like now that I have boiled his hair…


He needs a haircut/style but I’m a bit stumped on what to do with it. Do I cut it short? Just cut the bangs area and try to level the rest out? I’m so clueless…. :S

Aside from Kyu needing his hair restyled he needs more doing to him.

1) He needs to have a joint-fix applied so he has a better range of motion.

2) Repaint or partially repaint his face. As it is now it’s pretty bland. It needs some life being given to it!

3) Make some clothes. Poor guy only has the threads he came in and IMO they don’t do it.


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Kyu… Kyu… Kyu… What were they thinking?

Tell me, what was Integrity Toys thinking when they gave London Calling Kyu his hair style?


Can you really call that a hair style? I don’t know! I don’t think so.
It’s so helmet-head-ly. And…. What is this?


Flocking? Uhm…o-kay… So we have massive side-helmet hair, flocking…..and…..


Underneath that side-flip-helmet hair thing — MORE flocking?!

Ugh. What am I supposed to do with that? Ugh, Ugh UGH!

The way I see it, I have the following options:

1) thin out the side-flip so that it lays a lot flatter and closer to the head.

2) Cut the whole side flip thing off short enough to make the center look like a brush-cut. I suspect this may work because of the flocking on both sides.

3) thin the hair out, boil perm it so it will lay smoother and more flat over the flocked sides. This is the one I think I’m going to go this route and if it fails then I’ll go route #2. Of course there is the chance that the flocking will come off when I do the boil perm…

Right now he looks like this (which I find much better) LOL


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