Saturday, January 9, 2016

First Doll of 2016

The ITBE Santa Grab Bag group of 8 dolls was a lot of fun for many collectors - myself included.   I loved the concept, the frenzy, the excitement, the trading, the buying, the selling … all of it!   I was fortunate to get the four dolls I really wanted.   They were all paid for and arrived in 2015.  I hope to do deboxing entries for each of my ITBE over the next few weeks.

This new ITBE line, coupled with my Best of 2015 list, got me looking more carefully at my ITBE dolls.  Some of my very favorite dolls in my collection have come from the ITBE line:  Hard Metal Lilith, Gold Glam Adele, Second Skin Vanessa 1.0, Shimmering Copper Isha, Rare Jewel Rayna, and Love Roulette Vanessa 2.0.  I was surprised to find that many of the ITBE dolls have found homes here!

The one ITBE that has continued to elude me is In Sequins Anja.  I missed the purchase of her from the 2013 Convention (there were just too many beautiful dolls offered at that convention), and I have refused to pay her secondary market prices on e-bay.  Recently, a doll friend named Rhonda offered her NRFB at an very nice price.  I couldn't pass her up.

As with all ITBE girls, she is produced with the barest of accessories.  Here is a photo of her NRFB.
As you can see, she comes with one pair of shoes and the ensemble she is wearing (although she is wearing panties underneath the dress).  That is one drawback of the ITBE line - no jewelry, purse, extra hands, etc.  But what a beautiful face!
I'm not sure why Integrity Toys (IT) produces this line with a special stand, but I completely dislike this stand.  To me, it's worthless.  I've never been able to get the straddle part to work correctly with any doll, and I don't care for the underarm part.
Many collectors love this dress!  It fits the FR2/NF2 body.  It's almost a metallic cocoa color.  I'm not sure how else to describe it.  It's like brushed pink gold.    There is nothing basic about these great shoes  though!
There was so much gunk in her hair, I had to wash it out.  I don't really care for the long center-part bangs.  They are messy and hard to manage.

Before December 31 was up, I had to use my $20 Barbie Collector Club coupon.  I purchased the new Barbie Look blonde.  I don't care for the face up, but I wanted her articulated body for another doll and was hoping the ensemble could be added to my dolls' wardrobe.
I was ecstatic to find the ensemble consisted of a skirt and camisole teddy!  Which fits the old NuFace body like a glove!
The rest of the ensemble looks better on Anja than it did on its original Barbie.  The skirt is a perfect length and fit.  Even the sleeves on the jacket are a correct length!
So, let's see how I did with my New Year's Resolutions?

A.  She was added immediately to my list of dolls purchased in 2016!

B.  All Guidelines were met!  (That feels great to write.)
  1. I already collect ITBE and NuFace lines - CHECK
  2. She is from the 2013 Convention, so she wasn't an impulse purchase - CHECK
  3. I managed to get my courage up and list 3 dolls on e-bay, hoping one would sell; they all three sold and have been listed on my blog (I am ahead for the year!) - CHECK
  4. It hasn't been two weeks since she arrived and she is deboxed - CHECK 
  5. She was a Convention Exclusive, but I still got her for almost retail price - CHECK
C.  See Number 3 above.  I listed a handful of dolls and ensembles on e-bay.  Three dolls sold!

It feels nice to know that I have started out on the right foot with my 2016 collecting habits.  Now to stay on the path without wandering off - that's the trick!  At least I can feel good about my first doll of 2016 - In Sequins Anja.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

So … What's All The Fuss About?

I finally got my hands on the Made To Move Barbie produced by Mattel Corporation.  There's been a great deal of discussion already on the boards about these dolls.  Some collectors were able to find them in November and started taking photos.  Toys R Us stores got them in stock over the holiday season, and I was able to grab a couple.  Here is what the packaging looks like.
And the back that shows three dolls in different skin tones:  Theresa dark Caucasian, Barbie regular Caucasian, and Lea with a paler skin tone which is used with the Asian dolls.  It has been reported that the black skin tone Target exclusive is beginning to show up in stores this weekend.   These are the first four in the line and two more have already been rumored for 2016.  Hopefully this shows Mattel's dedication to the new line.
Let's take one out for a test drive, shall we?  Can she dance like a ballerina?  Yep!
How about Pilates?  Very nice.
She is advertised as being able to do Yoga poses (explains the workout attire).  A yoga mat included in the package would've been a very nice touch!  It's amazing how her hands can gracefully touch her face.
Maybe a comfortable sitting position on the floor.  Alright!
Is she easy to redress?  Not only does she come apart at the biceps and upper thighs,  she has handspeak and footspeak! Similar to her expensive counterparts over at … cough … cough … Integrity Toys.
How does she look nude?  The joint seams don't bother me too much.  It's little to compromise for the realistic posing.  I don't think I would choose to put her in a bikini.  As you can see the thigh and bicep joints actually rotate completely (which allows the added mobility for posing).
Look at her sitting in this chair!  How cool is that?
So, how does the body compare to other Mattel bodies?  Her waist is a little thicker but her torso mold is more defined.  Her upper arms and thighs are a little more muscular.  Her height is about the same (looks shorter because she is flat-footed in the photo) as are the length of her legs, arms, and torso.  I like the breast plate better.  It doesn't set up so high (not pointing at the sky!).  
The body has a very nice weight to it.  It is not as light or flimsy feeling as you would expect.   It wouldn't be fair to compare her to those expensive cousins Momoko, Misaki, or Poppy Parker.  After all, she only costs $14.99.  (I actually prefer her body to Momoko - her proportions are a little better and she's a bit taller.  She is shorter than Misaki/Poppy and not as thin, but her proportions a little more realistic.)

She can be a little bit of a challenge to redress.  Many pants/skirts won't close in the back.  But when you get her redressed, she looks great!  She's got an athletic appearance to her body.  I really like it.  (Notice how she can really cross her arms!)
So what could the release of the Made To Move line mean?  When you pause to consider the implications, I think Mattel has just produced a true "game changer".   Collectors who like articulation should be very impressed by these dolls.  No one can buy a better posing doll for $15 anywhere.  I did not use a stand for this doll or photoshop out strings.  She actually stands well on her own.  The engineers did a fantastic job balancing her body.
I bet this line is causing a number of headaches for those high-end doll production companies.   (Yes her hands are actually touching her head!)
For one collector … I am, frankly, quite impressed.  This is one well-deserved fuss being thrown about a doll line!  A doll who stands up to the claim that she is the "ultimate posable Barbie".  She may be the ultimate posable 12" doll period.
EDIT:  I have really enjoyed this new Mattel body.  Since I am a teacher, my winter break is now over.  I decided to put this doll in some "back to school" college attire.  I really love how she looks.  The cap is from a Color Infusion Style Lab ensemble, the black bodysuit and earrings are Randall Craig, the fingerless gloves belonged to a Dynamite Girl, the boots Mattel, and the skirt and vest are Clear Lan.

The Year In Review ...

First, I must apologize for this lengthy narrative.  

I have not been very good at keeping my statistics updated this year.   2015 was a very complicated year for me, so I am hoping 2016 calms down a little.  There were some career and hobby changes that took place in 2015 that were beyond my control which contributed to my frustration as a collector.

Collectors lost "The Doll Page Show and Sell Site" in 2015.   It was probably the best way for fashion doll collectors to purchase or sell dolls.  The individuals who ran this site did a fantastic job and provided a great service to the community.  Collectors could donate to site maintenance through Paypal.  Unfortunately, technology just got the best of the site as it was unable to keep up without substantial expense to the owners.  There have been other sites that have tried to fill the void, but so far those sites have not reached the success of "The Doll Page Show and Sell Site".  

I do NOT like selling through e-bay.  The Doll Page had developed a sense of a community and most collectors who bought and sold there knew each other.   People seemed kinder, more responsive, and easier to work with.  I've had some horrible experiences on e-bay, but I have already started listing there in 2016.  In 2015, I was only able to sell 18 dolls from my collection.  Which leads me to the fact that I completely missed my mark on "Guideline 3:  If a new doll comes in the house, one doll must leave the house."   When I did my final tallies for 2015, I was distraught to find that 51 dolls had come to live here (that's almost exactly 1 each week!!!) which means I have 33 extra residents here.  No wonder I feel overwhelmed!  It was my original intent to add 35 dolls and sell 35 dolls, essentially breaking even in my collection.  Didn't happen.

I did not completely follow "Guideline 1:  Focus My Collecting.  If I don't already have some, I don't need one."  In my blog entry of January 28, I noted that I added a Deja Vu Ready to Wear Judy Watson to my collection.  I was curious about these dolls and this line.   Fortunately, one was enough to satisfy my interest.

I am proud to write that "Guideline 2: No Impulse Buying" was a resounding success this year.  I have tried to show restraint and avoided secondary market prices as much as possible.  With patience, I was able to add all dolls I missed in lottery drawings at original prices.  

This leads me to "Guideline 5:  Excluding convention dolls or Exclusives, I will not pay more than retail for any doll."   Fortunately for collectors, the edition sizes for the Integrity Convention were so high that most of those dolls were easily picked up at retail.  I lucked out by getting the most sought after dolls before prices increased.  I had to pay secondary market prices for one doll from my grail list this year, Quiet Storm Annik.  I believe my efforts on Guideline 5 were successful!
Unfortunately, I was not able to follow "Guideline 6:  Never buy a doll without seeing a photo of it."  For the first time in 2015, Integrity Toys allowed its W Club members to purchase a convention exclusive.  The preview only included a sketch of the doll.  The doll was called Reigning Grace Eugenia Frost.  Even without a photo, this purchase was a no-brainer.  I still believe I met the intent of Guideline 6 and Reigning Grace Eugenia Frost made my Best of 2015 Top 10 list easily.

Finally, I need to write about "Guideline 4:  No doll stays in its box for more than two weeks, it either comes out of the box or is sold.  If a doll stays in its box, another NRFB must come out."  This guideline was a complete bust.   From the 51 dolls added, 22 were actually released from the box.  An additional 5 dolls that were still NRFB were taken out for a total of 27 dolls.   That's still one doll added to my display every two weeks.   Just the thought of 29 boxed dolls added to my closet makes me shudder!

I am a teacher and this academic year has been a total mess for me.  The program that I usually teach was completely upended due to budget cuts and curriculum changes.  I now teach Advanced Content Math for grades 2, 3, 4, and 5.   With the "Common Core" program, I have parents and students at their wits end.  It is very frustrating and I have been unable to devote the time necessary to keep my blog interesting, timely, and productive.   This contributes to the dolls that arrive and go directly into the closet.  If I am busy with school work, I put my collecting on "the back burner".     I apologize to my followers for this shortcoming.

So now to "moving forward".  

1.  When a doll comes in the house, it must be immediately added to the "New Dolls 2016" list.   If it is sold, it can be removed from the list.  Next to the doll, I will put NRFB if the dolls is not taken out and displayed.  No doll box goes into the closet, until the doll is logged in!  This will keep me honest in 2016.  "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" is not a good doll collecting habit!

2.  I will continue my goal of following my "Guidelines for Collecting".  They do help.

3.  I will be less fearful of E-bay and begin listing dolls for sale there.