Sunday, September 28, 2014

We're Not Playing Horseshoes

There's an old saying, "Close only counts in horseshoes."  I will elaborate for those of you reading this who are too young to know about this saying.  When you play horseshoes, you get points if the horseshoe is close to the stake.  In most games (as well as most aspects of life), you don't get points from just coming close.

I believe Integrity thinks it's playing horseshoes when it comes to producing dolls lately.   I'm just not sure about many of the decisions and the ball dropping along the way.   I still refuse to believe that collectors are happy about City Prowl Eugenia's unlined skirt.  I was excited about this ensemble because of the anticipated mix n match possibilities.  Since the FR2 bodies cannot wear any of the fitted/tailored clothing from the previous lines, I was hopeful for a quality black skirt.  It's useless to me in redress.

I'm not sure about the fabric choices being made for the Urban Safari line.  The leopard print fabric is just not to scale.   It's quite bulky and thick.  The pink/peach mermaid skirt on High Visibility Agnes isn't the exact shade as the mauve-like colors in the bustier and the shorter skirt.   It took me a while, but I finally found something a little closer.  Here is October Issue Agnes (a favorite from the 2013 Convention) wearing the MOTM Marissa bustier.  I think the color looks better.
A closeup, so you can see the color better.
Last week, Faded Desert Kyori arrived.   Here is a photo of her in her box.
I very much like this ensemble and the attention to details.   However, the fabric choices are more weighted for winter wear and the design is definitely summer.   It's just off enough to aggravate this particular collector.

When I was photographing Faded Desert, I realized her eyelashes were all over the place.  I used my dental brush to fix them and wondered what caused the problem.  Then I discovered some sticky tape on the top of the box.

Apparently, in an effort to avoid further issues with mold, IT has brought back those pesky silica gel packets.  But not just any silica gel packets - oh, no, now we have the mack daddy of all silica gel packets.  Look at this thing!  No wonder it broke free of the double-sided sticky tape and bounced around inside the box messing up eyelashes.  I found mine in the bottom of the box behind the accessory area.
I hate these packets. They are the greatest danger to dolls' applied eyelashes.  And speaking of eyes.  Here is a closeup of Faded Desert.   So close … but yet so far.
A friend of mine explained that during production, IT appears to be using a gloss sealer over the eyes instead of a matte one.  This gloss sealer makes the eyes shiny when you try to photograph the dolls.   It also delays drying of the glue on the eyelashes, allowing the eyelashes to move around a little, either slipping into the eye area, above the line, or even coming loose at the ends.  This makes a lot of sense.  This gloss sealer can also run into the shadow areas.

Here is a Photoshop enhancement showing the difference of a very minor adjustment - in horseshoes, we would call this a "ringer" (a perfect shot).   I may have to send her off to an artist to get this result.  She is a lovely doll and I hate spending an extra $30 to fix something that should've been corrected during production.




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Getting Discouraged ...

2014 has not been a good year for Integrity Toys at my house.   More Integrity dolls have left than have arrived.  Those that have arrived have been more a let down.

I have really enjoyed the dolls I have gotten from the ITBE line - Shimmering Copper Luchia/Isha, Second Skin Vanessa, Night Strike Monogram, and Gold Glam Adele.  For the price, they are a joy to redress.

The mainline FR2 dolls this year, with the exception of Montaigne Market Elise, have been a big disappointment.   Touch of Frost Eugenia had to take a trip to the spa to have her eyes corrected.  Although I received one of the better Fashion Explorer Vanessa dolls, her hair line is a little high on her "five head" and her screening makes her look like she is scowling.

When my City Prowl Eugenia arrived, you can't imagine how I felt when I opened her box to find that she had escaped her ribbon ties and was all messed up - one lash was barely hanging on.  Here is a photo.
I contacted the dealer and Integrity sent me a replacement immediately.  It arrived recently and was quite an improvement … until closer inspection.

Here is a photo of the doll in the the box.
And a close up.  (EDIT:  In response to comments:  You can see that the eyeliner on the right eye is missing from the corner of the eye up to the tip of the eyeliner which is magically there.  There is actually a gap in the eyeliner.  Patient Care has been contacted.  I guess we are on to City Prowl #3.)
Here are the accessories:
I'm not sure what Integrity is doing with these dolls' eyes now, but I am finding it more and more difficult to get good closeup photos.  The eyes are too shiny.   I usually have to do some photoshop magic to get a clear photo.

In the case of City Prowl Engenia, I actually had to take her outside.
This doll has a reputation for having mold under her corset (which is a knock off of an earlier Dania ensemble).  I took the corset off and there was some white on the underside.  There was also white powder on her skirt and legs.  Speaking of skirt … what's up with this???  There is no lining.  It just looks wrong.  Who's minding the store at Integrity Toys?
Her eyelashes weren't applied correctly, so one eye is more closed than the other.   The hair was messy.  The skirt looks unfinished.  The white accented jewelry doesn't seem to go with the ensemble unless you include the white powder all over the skirt, corset, and legs.  I'm just not so sure about this doll.  For my money, Diamond Society (with whom City Prowl is being compared by collectors) is a much nicer doll.

I guess I'm being so picky because this was the "replacement" doll.  If I owned a business and someone received a damaged item, I would make sure the replacement was excellent.  I don't like messy hair or eyes that are off.   I'm torn between putting her in the box and selling her or trying to fix her hair and redressing her.

Today, "Exploding Agnes" arrived.  This is the nickname given High Visibility Agnes.  Without informing collectors, Agnes and all future FR2 dolls have a body where all the limbs are removable.  Supposedly this is to help with redressing our dolls.  Had I known this was going to happen, I don't believe I would've purchased these dolls.  I still prefer the tall FR body, so the enhancement just makes me even more reluctant to continue collecting Integrity dolls.

Here is High Visibility Agnes still in her box.
Again, the eyelashes are all cattywompus.  The only good photo I could get was a profile shot.  That hair is just wrong!   You can see her white painted scalp in several places.  The lipstick isn't even on the mold lines.
I'm just not happy with the direction Integrity Toys is headed.  I have been fortunate to secure most of my favorite dolls from the earlier years of Integrity for my collection.  They won't be going anywhere soon.   I have enough of them to enjoy.  Unfortunately, the shoes and clothing from the FR2 won't fit these dolls, so there may be no need for me to purchase future dolls released on this body.  So sad!  I really loved Fashion Royalty.  It's seeming more and more a fading memory.

(Please know this post reflects my personal opinions and reviews of the dolls shown.  The photos are property of this blog and are original.  I do not mean to offend anyone, but I am just becoming very discouraged by a manufacturer whom I gave very strong support for many years.  I have been able to capture wonderful photos of dolls in my collection but something is just off with the current production of Integrity dolls; I apologize that the photos are not very good.)