Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Movable Joint African Doll from China

They came in ordinary plastic bags with no labels aside from randomly placed stickers, one for warning against choking and another for something like a product code that made no sense to a common person. 

Simple packaging

They came from China but the dolls exhibited African features. While the body is noticeably a copy of an older (but better) playline doll from Mattel (except for the neck peg), the face is unfamiliar. Both dolls I got have the same skin tone and face mold. The perceived difference in color is due to the different lighting conditions.

Faces and body

If you try to search for "movable joint African doll", you'll find out that there are a lot of variants. The opened-mouth variant (another copy of a Mattel doll) seemed to have a lighter skin tone than the closed-mouth variant. The former is similar to Momppy Mpoppy dolls from South Africa. An IG user commented that the doll had the same skin tone as Nikki from the earlier Barbie Fashionista line.

Closed-mouth variants

Sporty variants

Opened-mouth variants

I am not a fan of the face sculpt so one doll has become a body donor to my Asha doll, below. I'm still thinking of keeping the one with the Afro. The curls on the Afro doesn't easily become loose like some dolls from Mattel.

Before repaint

After repaint

The skin tone is different compared to most dolls I have, so I have little intention to buy again.

Left to right: Fashionista body (Nikki), I Can Be Tennis Player, 
Barbie Basics (yellow swimsuit), Dynamite girl head, movable joint African doll

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fake Wonder Woman Doll

I have been struggling on whether or not I should post a review of a fake Wonder Woman doll. On one side, a review is a publicity for the product. Whether it is a good or bad publicity, it still is publicity. I have personal reasons not to promote this product. On the other hand, this might be useful to underprivileged people who have limited resources to access the original doll. Also, this can inform buyers on how to spot a fake, especially if it has been turned to something irresistible by an OOAK artist. But then again, everything we do is both good and bad.

I decided to go ahead and publish this. With this I can reflect on how big companies like Mattel seem to be complicit with what's happening to the world. Big companies brought their businesses to China, a major source of counterfeit items, a country who takes over territories of other countries, and a country with questionable data privacy (even for Apple tech). Big companies go to China because it is cheaper even if they risk their trademarked products to be counterfeited. If big companies use the low price as an excuse to patronize a dangerous country, what more can regular people like us do? Only the privileged would feel entitled to blame the consumers of cheap counterfeits.

We bought Chinese made products (fake or not). We contributed to the income of the Chinese government and indirectly supported their endeavors. That's the reality. We took part in making China that way.

Back to the doll...

From the first look, one can tell the difference from the original Mattel Wonder Woman doll. For starters, the doll is loosely packed inside the box, making the doll inside have a different pose with each box. The harness is missing along with the lasso. The hair is messy. The elbow joints are different and there is no shoulder cut. There is also a "3+" printed on the upper right corner of the box.

One of the first thing to be noticed after taking the doll out of the box is the smell. It smells like burnt rubber or wiring. It mostly comes from the body. I have washed the doll and it has been days since I washed it but the smell is still there. For this reason, I will not let a child handle this toy. We don't know the danger it could bring.

The doll has a beautiful face and seems to look like the original. I can't be sure as I don't have the original. The body looks like a fashionista clone with molded underwear. The neck peg is also different. All the gear can be removed with some force. The bustier/armor is attached to the body using hot glue. It is a little difficult to remove the glue as it is sticky even if it has partially hardened.

The hair is only partially rooted like most clone dolls. The hair is not locked on the head and can be easily pulled out. The headband/tiara is a attached to the head using hot glue so some hair will be pulled out by removing the headband. 

The head has no marking. If the doll has been repainted and rerooted, one can try looking for the Mattel marking on the head to see if the doll is authentic. 

Gold colored plastic is used for the armor and weapons. In the original version, silver colored plastic is used for the arm bands and sword. The back of the armor is not painted. The design on the shield is a dragon instead of an eagle (or some other bird) in the original.

The shoes can be split apart in the middle and snapped back together. There is no elastic band that attaches behind the knee. The doll cannot bend at the knee while wearing the boots. The skirt uses velcro for closure. The hands has to be removed before removing the arm bands.

I first learned about the doll from an online seller. It was being sold for PhP250 (roughly US$5). It can be bought for cheaper in the usual places where fake products are being sold.

It would be nice if toys like the Wonder Woman doll is easily accessible to kids to help remind them of her story and what she stands for even if the movie is no longer being shown. It would be nice if the Wonder Woman doll is sold in local toy stores at a reasonable price (a price low enough that you wouldn't mind handing the doll to a child despite the chance of being destroyed) but it's not.

Because Mattel.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Like everything is normal

Just like on the verge of getting old, you try doing things you used to do when you were younger. This time, it's not about getting old. It's your world changing into something more challenging, a world that may have changed your privileges without you knowing it, because who checks their privileges anyways? You pick a dress to relive your golden dream and put on a smile like everything is normal. For now, everyone is fooled, including you.