Friday, February 14, 2014

First Doll of 2014 - Gold Glam Adele

First things first … Rich was correct with his guess that I pre-ordered Hot Blooded Elsa Linn.  I wasn't going to pre-order any dolls, but I love this Asian screening.  I disliked all of the original Elsa mold editions; however, this one definitely spoke to me.  I waited 24 hours and placed my pre-order the morning following the reveal.  I got confirmed that afternoon.

I was torn about adding Cymbidium to my 2014 List of Dolls.  Since she was not purchased by me but was a gift from a friend, I am not including her.  However, when I was looking on e-bay for her a friend, I realized that I would have to add the other AI to my list.  Making a list with a 34 doll allowance is really keeping me on task!  I immediately signed off e-bay.

Adding the doll that is the subject of today's blog to the list was also complicated.  A doll retailer accidentally listed the ITBE dolls on their website over the Thanksgiving holidays.  I immediately purchased all three and paid for them on the spot.  Since they were purchased in 2013, I figured I wouldn't have to count them in 2014.  (Isn't it amazing how I can talk myself around things?)

When the lottery was announced, I got a message from the owner of the shop that she was refunding everyone's money because she could NOT sell these dolls at the prices for which she had listed them.  (She only had our money for 2.5 months!)  She said that she would have to pay shipping on them, so she couldn't honor the price.  I understand that everyone makes mistakes.  I asked what she would have to charge for them; she said $99.   I told her I thought that was more than fair and that I would purchase for the new price.  She agreed.  When the ITBE dolls exploded on the secondary market at triple their retail, I got another e-mail that "Integrity canceled all my dolls, so I am refunding your full amount."  I have purchased from this dealer before, but I will never purchase from her again.  

Fortunately, I had entered the lottery for two of the dolls that I liked best.  I won Gold Glam Adele.  If I had to choose my most favorite IT molds, Adele 2.0 would definitely be in the top five.   I was thrilled to win her for retail.

And a closeup of the face.
Her hair was "greasy" feeling from product.  It was a hot mess.  If you look at photos on the secondary market of this doll, you will see what I am talking about.   It immediately required a thorough shampoo.  Since it has a razor cut, layered style (not my favorite), I also included a boil perm in her spa treatment.
Unfortunately, no jewelry was included.   The dress is quite nice.  She came with very nice and very well made shoes.
I really like the face-up and hair color.  She actually adds a new element to my collection of Adele girls.   Do you see Beyonce?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Integrity Toys Reveal #1 - 2014

I don't usually do a review of the W Club Reveals, but I have cabin fever.  Today is Day 3 of our Atlanta Snow/Ice storm.  Maybe we'll play a little game just for fun.  I only pre-ordered ONE doll from this reveal.  (This does not include entering the lottery for Victoire.)   Let's see if anyone can guess which doll I ordered.

Members of the W Club got a great treat yesterday.  Starting a little after 10:00 a.m., Integrity Toys started sending their e-mails previewing the first dolls issued to the public in 2014.  I'm sure other blog sites will be copying the e-mails in their entirety to share.  I will keep this post brief.

The first e-mail was for the Dynamite Girls (and Boys).   This year's theme is "Love Revolution".   It's sort of a "shopping at the thrift store in an artsy college town" sort of vibe.  The dolls are expected to arrive at dealers in May.  Their price point was $70 each, which is still a super price for a quality doll with so many accessories.
The first doll shown was Free Spirit Jett.  She's wearing a white eyelet jumper and denim vest.  She had an edition release of 400.
The second doll is Own the Moment Aria.  She is wearing the most wonderful Boho Chic maxi dress. with an awesome hat.  Her edition size was 400 also.
She reminds me a great deal of Aqua Bella.  My husband, Craig, won this doll for me on stage at the Orlando Convention.  (BTW - Aqua Bella is from the 2011 Check Mate Collection and is no longer available.  She is shown for comparison purposes only.)
IT is famous for taking one mold, changing it's ethnicity, and giving it a new character name.  This time around it was Sooki.  Sooki is now African American and is called Tooka.  She is Natural Beauty Tooka.   Her outfit is really cute - love the bird print of the dress.  The denim crop jacket is a nice addition.  Her edition size is 300.
Next up is All American Auden.  LOVE the tattoo!! IT did collectors a favor by releasing the boys in an edition size of 750!
The last boy, also in edition of 750, was Take It Easy Cruz.
He is reminiscent of one of the Color Infusion buys from 2012.  (Photo for comparison only - this doll was a 2012 Convention Exclusive and can only be purchased via secondary market.)
Take It Easy Cruz also reminds me a great deal of Phil from the last cycle of America's Next Top Model.  (Unfortunately, Phil's photo is just shown for comparison as well.  Sadly, he is not available for purchase!)

The last doll is Exclusive with R & D Toys.  It can only be purchased through this retailer.  It is a return of the Susie doll and is called Sweet Freedom Susie.  She is in edition size of 300.
The next group of dolls revealed was from the Jem and Holograms line.   These dolls are on the same body as the Color Infusion Lab dolls.   They are expected to arrive at retailers in mid March and all retail for $119.

First up was Raya Alonso.  She was the drummer and is known as the the "fifth Hologram".  I wonder if that is anything like a "third wheel"?  She was in an edition size of 750.
Next is Jetta Burns who was the Saxophonist for The Misfits and will be released in an edition size of 750.
The final doll in this collection was Astral Eldrich.  She is a magician and friend of Jem, but must not have been as popular at concerts since she will be released in an edition size of only 500.  It's the yoke all opening acts must bare.
I only have two FR16 dolls currently in my collection.   I purchased the W Club Attention Please Saskia Tate because she was an exclusive to W Club members.  Everyone knows that you can't have a single in a line because they get lonely, so I purchased a Fit To Print Anais on clearance to keep her company.  All of these dolls are in an edition size of 300 are expected to arrive in May.  All dolls in this line represent a "re-imagined" version of a very popular 12" IT character.

First up is a new character Hanne Erikson.  This version is called Platinum Society.
She was based on Silver Society Veronique of 2002. (A doll that can only be purchased on the secondary market - I own this ensemble and it is one of my very favorites!)
Which was also the basis of Diamond Society Eugenia from the 2009 Integrity Convention.  (This doll can only be purchased on the secondary market and fetches quite a price!)
Next up is Amethyst Factor Anais McKnight.
She is based on Purple Factor Adele Makeda from 2003.  (Again, this doll is only shown for reference. She can only be purchased on the secondary market.)
Then we got Cosmetic Surrender Elsa Linn.
She was based on one of my favorite Integrity Dolls ever - Cosmetic Takeover Natalia Fatale.  Although this photo was taken from the "Jason Wu Dolls Reference List" website (, it was published on the site with the permission of the photographer identified as Topaze aka LittleBlackButterfly.
Elsa Linn made a second appearance as Hot Blooded.
Kyori Sato originally wore the ensemble Red Blooded Woman in 2004.  (Again, another beautiful doll that can only be purchased on the secondary market.)
The last doll is an exclusive with Couture Dolls, which is a recent off-shoot from Angelic Dreamz that was created to sell only IT products.  It is another Hanne Erikson doll - this time wearing Obsidian Culture.
This represents one of the most popular Vanessa dolls - Obsidian Society who was released in 2006.
These dolls make a beautiful collection together.  I am not fond of their face-ups this time around, but I hope to get all the clothing pieces on secondary market.

The only other doll shown was the "event doll" which could not be purchased.   W Club members had to enter a lottery to purchase this doll.  She is one of the most eagerly anticipated dolls because she was previewed at the 2013 Integrity Convention.   She is Evening in Montreal Victoire Roux.  I love the chocolate color of the dress!
Since FR has switched everything over to the FR2 body, Victoire quickly became my "go to" girl.  She can wear almost all of the FR clothing pieces (tall and short!), as well as a lot of the Monogram and NuFace clothing.  If you follow my blog, you know how much I love dressing her in Vintage Barbie items.   I entered the lottery with both my memberships and hope to win her.  Fortunately for collectors, her edition size was 600!

Now, can you guess which doll I pre-ordered?   I am proud of self-restraint.   If you are planning to order, you better hurry over to a dealer.  We all know how quickly IT dolls sellout, and no one wants to pay secondary market prices for their dolls.

All photos in this blog are owned by Integrity Toys, excluding the photo of Cosmetic Takeover for which credit was mentioned within the blog.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Language of Flowers

Although, like so many other collectors, I try to be private about my hobby around colleagues, I do have some close friends who know that I collect dolls.  One of my teacher friends got a contract to teach overseas this past year.  She found a doll there that was dressed like a student and sent it to me as a Christmas gift.  It just arrived recently.

It is made by the same manufacturer of Pullips.  Here is a photo of the box.  The doll's name is Cymbidium.
When you open the box, it is packaged on a satin pillow.  The entire presentation is just lovely.
The label states, "Welcome to the AI world!  Cymbidium - the code for flowers: Gorgeous love." It seems all of these dolls are named after flowers!
A cymbidium is type of orchid.  It comes in different colors.  Because of how the doll is dressed, I chose a picture of a yellow one.  Although she was a late Christmas present gift, she is arriving just in time for Valentine's Day which one of the best days to receive flowers!
I was surprised to find that this was a ball jointed doll!  It is plastic, but is really quite well made.  It is strung together just like the higher quality resin dolls.   Just look at the detail!  Her "skull cap" attaches with a magnet.  You can actually change the angles of the eyes or even switch them out - but I love green eyed dolls.
Here is Cymbidium dressed for school.  She came with a stock blonde wig.  (At first I thought she was a little boy and was quite giddy, but she is a cute little tomboy!)
There is even a lot of detail on the back of the clothing.  Just look at those darling little cat faces!
"May I please have my book bag?"
"And I need my composition book for writing down my homework."
So … as everyone is asking … how tall is this doll?  How does she proportion to other dolls?  Here, she meets her kindergarten teacher, Ms. Paris.
And she makes a new friend, (I believe this is a Stacey or Kelly doll)
She is quite a bit larger than the Mattel little ones, but she looks pretty good with Misaki as a child doll.

The quality of this doll is outstanding.  I was beginning to worry about the gift that I sent my friend - that I may have considerably underspent.  I looked the AI dolls up on e-bay, and, although some sellers are asking $130+ for them, they can actually be found for less than $35 shipped.   Now that's a good deal for a dolly fix.  I may need another to keep Cymbidium company.  Maybe my husband could send me a "new flower" as his Valentine's Day gift this year!

After all, she really doesn't take up much room.   And she IS cute as heck!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Someone Always Loses

I guess this blog's title is appropriate since the W Club held its first lottery of 2014.  There were three ITBE dolls and some W Club members won all three while some didn't win anything.  I guess doll collecting isn't fair.

If you have been collecting Vintage Barbie you probably feel the sting of that statement more so than others.  A couple posts back, I mentioned that Mattel's "Re-issue/Reproduction" of Vintage Barbie has been quite hard on some of the older collectors - causing prices to really plummet.  A doll collection that was worth tens of thousands of dollars in the 1980's is bringing a fraction of that now.  Those collectors have lost quite an investment in their collections.

But exactly how is that possible?  I decided to take a photo of two color variants of Barbie's Knitting Pretty, both worn by Vintage Bubble Head Barbies.  One is a reproduction and the other was actually produced in the early 1960's.
In this case the blue set is the original.  Can you get over how close the reproduction set is?  The vintage pink set is actually more difficult to find and is quite expensive.  I picked the reproduction pink set up for $25 on e-bay.   Whenever I see the original pink one come up, I don't even think about purchasing it since the pink one was such a good copy.  When dealing with vintage, you have to worry about fading, moth holes, dirt, etc.  I have been fortunate to find many of the pieces I own.  I am very particular and it is very difficult to locate items in really good condition.  After all, these were children's playthings.

Although Mattel has re-issued many wonderful pieces in almost perfect duplication, there are still many favorites that you have to pick up vintage.  Recently I was able to grab "Studio Tour" with Buy-It-Now on e-bay for $30.  This is one of my favorite mod outfits.  I was lucky to find one that still had the inspection tag inside.  E-bay has also been a blessing for newer collectors - but it, too, has lowered the overall prices of desirable pieces since so many are selling these items there now.  Unfortunately, the "old guard" is losing money again.   As the supply is steady, the rarity and value decreases.   (I added the yellow shoes because the red ones usually stain the feet.)  
While waiting for new FR dolls to become available, I tend to troll the vintage areas.  I recently got a great version of the Belle dress for Victoire for less than $20.
"You really aren't serious?  Even in the south, it is too cold to wear this dress out.  Can't I at least have a coat?"

How about a nice vintage looking tweed jacket, compliments of the Dynamite Girls?
"It's really quite nice, but surely you must have something warmer?"

Well … there is this faux tiger fur from the Monogram dolls.
"You're getting closer.  What else do you have?"

I was beginning to feel like Victoire was enjoying trying on coats.  We do have this Asian leopard.
"Even better.  But, surely you have what I'm looking for."

I guess you could wear this Funny Face Mink.
"Ding!  Ding!   Ding!  You finally got it!"
I hope that those who have collected for any length of time are getting incredible buys on those elusive NRFB items - it may help take the sting out of Mattel's Reproduction line and the plethora of items becoming available on e-bay daily.

Regardless of the market place, no price tag an be put on the amount of joy we get from redressing our dolls and playing with what we have.  That's priceless and no can lose.

I guess the biggest loser today was my Funny Face doll.  I don't think she's going to get her coat back anytime soon.