Friday, January 28, 2011

You're No Body Til Some Body Loves You

Some collectors have coined the phrase "Frankendolly" to refer to dolls that have been "body-switched".   I guess that makes me Dr. Frankenstein.   I've always been someone who can't leave well-enough alone.   Even as a kid I was taking things apart and putting them back together ... thinking I had improved the original design.

When I started collecting dolls as an adult, the most I could expect from a fashion doll was a twisting waist, turning head, twirling arms and clicking knees.   Now we have girls with pivotal ankles, wrists, rib cages, etc.  It's amazing the poses a doll can make!

Recently, my sister became interested in fashion dolls.  (Ashamedly, I must take some of the blame because she started reading my blog and is now headed toward Fashion Doll Financial Ruin.)  Shout out to my sister, Debbie!   This blog is dedicated to you because I was trying to find dolls to send to you  to keep you out of retail establishments.  This is a doll I created for her.

When I was doing this, I found it interesting to look at the different versions of the bodies that worked with 11 1/2 inch dolls and allowed them to still wear most of the same clothes (namely the smaller bust).  Here is a group picture of four dolls.  The girls kindly offered to wear bikinis to show the body types.

The doll on the far left is the new Barbie Basics 2.0 Denim Steffie doll.  I changed her to a fashionista body.  The pros/cons.  To quote Hannibal Lecter, she's "a little roomy in the hips."  This means some of the clothing is a tighter fit there, but it is not usually a problem.  Big PRO is the price.  They cost about $10 at most retail stores like Walmart, Target, K-Mart, Big Lots, etc.  (Unfortunately, they are becoming more difficult to find as Mattel puts its full weight behind "Swappin' Styles".)   But you need to remember that you get what you pay for.  They are not the best quality.  I didn't use a pivotal Barbie body like Jazz Divas or Pop Life because they are all similar.  You just add some more skin tones.  This is the biggest CON.  The fashionistas come in only two skin tones right now.  You have the light AA and the light tan Caucasian.
The next doll is the actual Model Muse body that is used for the Barbie Basics currently.  It is a very stylized body and is quite attractive to the eye. I like my girls to be able to get around, so the obvious drawback is the lack of articulation.  These dolls are a little thicker in the waist and may be hard to dress (especially when you have to get things over the arms and hands).  They are very attractive however, and many collectors prefer them.  BTW, the head on this body is a FR Dominique head.  More to come on this subject later.

 The third body is the Liv doll body.  I'm not sure which Barbie head this is.   I had purchased some Liv dolls when they were on sale for half price last week at TRU.  My girls wanted to steal their cool casual wear.  Since I had a body, I thought I would see what results I could get.  The cool thing is that the doll is a light skin tone which is hard to find in Mattel or FR dolls of this size.  One bonus is that you get the pivotal ankles, but the feet are BIG.  It's hard to find shoes for them.  They are a little shorter than the other dolls and not quite as curvy.  They come across as a teenage sister, but they do pose very nicely.  The torso pivot is at the waist instead of the rib cage.  They are well-balanced in their design if you can get past the less mature body structure.

The last body type is my personal favorite for many reasons.  And the doll head is one of my personal favorites as well.  It is the Louboutin mold Denim Basics doll.    She has a Dynamite Girls body by Integrity Toys.  There are several things I prefer about this body.  First, the shape is very nice.  The best feature, though, is that the hands come out so it is extremely easy to dress them.   They come in several skin tones and are heavier and better molded.  The problem is the price.  The DG girls are usually $40 - $55.  However, Integrity has had them on sale for $20 each.  I bought several of them at that time for body donors.  I believe many of them are still available on their site.

Here is another group photo of the girls ... all wearing the new basic jeans.  I wanted you to see how they looked wearing clothing.

Even though I usually change Mattel Barbie Basic heads to articulated bodies, I began to wonder if I could do this in reverse.  Put Integrity heads on Model Muse bodies.  Sometimes I had to change the neck knob for it to work.  Here are two of my school girls.  A DG Dayle and a NuFace Erin:

I thought these looked pretty good!  I got into a body switching frenzy by this time.  How about switching a Mattel head to a NuFace body.  Well here is one of my very favorites.  Model of the Moment Urban Hipster Nichelle.  I LOVE this doll and wanted her to have articulation.  As it turns out she fits beautifully on an Integrity Toys NuFace Nadja body.

Okay, it appeared that I was cooking with gas by this time (which, by the way, when you boil water to change the heads and you have a gas stove top, make sure you don't allow the doll's hair to touch the side of the pan.  TOTAL MESS!)  Now, it was time to see if I could make the transfer to the tall, more ample, girls.  Top Model Nikki made a wonderful transition to a Fashion Royalty Josephine Baker body.

When I asked my favorite girl how she felt about all of this, this is what she had to say ... this is Chaundra's quote.  "As someone who has benefited from the transplant process, I can say that I appreciate the doll who gave this body for my use.  Without your generous donation, I wouldn't be able to move and be so animated.  I would also like to thank all of my fellow housemates for the wonderful photo shoot ...."

"Oh, did someone say 'photoshoot'?   I wasn't aware we were having our picture made.  I hope my hair looks alright,"  Carli enters the scene with faux innocence.

"Some dolls just cannot leave well enough alone.  This girl is really beginning to get on my nerves. Where is that box to your sister?"