Saturday, August 30, 2014


I don't trust doll people who post nothing but raves on collector dolls. They sound like paid advertisers or doll resellers.

Generally, I don't trust people who don't express any dislike. It's in the expression of dislike that shows deeper character.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hurray For Competition

I finally got myself one of the pioneer members of the Avengers, Ant-man. No thanks to the local distributor of Hasbro. As can be seen in the photos, this was sourced from another country. English is an official language in my country so there is no need to add what seems like Chinese labels on the packaging.

Based on another toy blog, these toys are already out in Singapore. A lot of online sellers have this posted on eBay. What is interesting is the price. Despite additional shipping charges and profit margin for the local reseller, some are being offered at competitive prices compared to those in major toy stores. I got my Ant-man at SRP. Other characters are below SRP while "rarer" characters are being sold at a higher price.

Pricing is so unlike the local distributor and major toy stores. All characters are priced equally, villain or hero, popular or not. Other sellers' prices are based on assumed demand. I'm glad that the demand for this figure is not that high. If the demand was high, the stocks should have run out weeks ago but I was able to buy one.

This figure is from the 3rd wave. There are still a lot of peg warmers from the 1st wave and some from the 2nd wave. I don't know if the major local distributor is still interested in distributing the rest of the series. It is the distributor's fault if they don't sell well. They increased the price just because of the re-branding. It's the same old marvel universe figure. I hope they learn from competition.

I also noticed that collectors of these figures are no longer as active in a local toy forum. A lot has stopped collecting these figures for two main reason--first, the increase in price; second, others decided to focus on the better articulated line, the Marvel Legends. This is good for me (less competition in buying). In case the demand eventually died down, and Hasbro decided to stop this line, I can just buy from those who quit collecting and customize the figures to the characters I want.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Character Considerations

We usually impose a certain character on our doll. Our dolls, our rules. That's easy. Whenever I get a celebrity doll or a doll with a predefined character like those from the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse line, I usually don't dress them with whatever. I always consider their character.

Midge likes retro fashion. I made a yellow high waist swimsuit with a bandeau top for her. Yellow is a sweet color which also matches her sweet personality. I wanted her to have a wide-brimmed hat but I don't have one. It's a good thing that it wasn't very sunny at the beach.

Raquelle stikes me as sassy. I made this one-piece asymmetrical swimsuit with a cut-out on one side for her. I know she likes animal prints so she will enjoy this snakeskin motif. The silver bib necklace and silver shoes adds an exclamation point to Raquelle's fashion statement.

Sporty girl Summer gets a two piece bikini in fun colors from me. The stripe is also reminiscent of her original dress. The top provides support for her active lifestyle. She gets a visor so she can have fun under the sun and a pair of rubber shoes for running around.

I made all those swimwear in one weekend. I was really inspired by the characters Mattel have given to these girls. Unfortunately, they now go to storage and I don't know when I will play with them again. Maybe when I have made or bought fitting clothes for them.

Friday, August 22, 2014

To Wait or Not To Wait

If you wait for the items to be discounted at the popular toy stores, you can save a lot, but there is a chance that the stock will run out before they offer a discount. Prices on the secondary market may end up higher than the toy stores'. Smart buyers always have this (and more) to consider when buying something frivolous as a toy. There are no hard and fast rules.

Sometimes, you have clues to help you make a decision. When I saw the Falcon figure, I instantly knew that I have to wait. First, it costs more than the regular Marvel Universe figure. Second, Falcon is not as popular compared to the other Avengers, specially those that have been featured in the movie. Third, there are relatively more units being sold compared to other characters (Black Widow). And lastly, I had the older version which I turned into another character, so I don't want him that bad. I do like the articulation in the new version. I waited and got 50% discount.

It was almost the same case for Whirlwind. The price is higher. Booo! The character is a villain and not a popular one at that, but I do know the character. He seems like a "good" foe for Wasp and I have been wanting to do a fight scene for Wasp. The reason I bought him right away is because I only found one Whirlwind figure in all 8 toy stores I visited. I have been seeing eBay sellers offering him for a lower price but I find the seller(s) too cocky with their fussy requirements.

Although I consider the supply when deciding to buy right away, experience told me that this is not always a reliable guide. Sometimes, they just display a few. Sometimes, there are more shipments later. This was what happened when I bought Wasp. Since she's a female figure, there was a smaller supply. She was even bundled with other figures (which I didn't want) and buying the set was the only way to get her.  Now, there are individual units for Wasp becoming peg warmers. I felt cheated. When I feel cheated, it discourages me to buy in the future.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


What I like most about the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse dolls are not the eyelashes. I sometimes find them too obstructive, casting unwanted shadows on the eyes. I like most are new head molds used. There is Raquelle with her contemptuous smile, Teresa with her dorky face (which I will not buy) and Summer with her reserved smile. Initially, I thought that an enlarged version of the Goddess or Tango was used for Summer but the back of her head is marked "2012". Having similarities with those two, Summer can also be a versatile ethnic-bending doll mold.
I also like the playful colors of her outfit. It reminds me of the vintage Barbie dress called Fun N Games. Summer do likes games.
I also like her character in the series. Like Raquelle, Summer also can be competitive with Barbie, unlike her other friends. And like Raquelle, Summer has a brother (Blaine) who is ready to steal Barbie's heart from Ken.
The Summer shown here has been customized. Her head was shrunken and was repainted. Her eyelashes were also trimmed.

Blaine and Summer

Goddess and Summer comparison

Vintage Fun N Games dress

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

True Doll

In episode09 season 07 of True Blood, Jason Stackhouse was seen holding a doll while on the phone. He handed this over to Bridget (below) after the phone call.

In the same episode, Jason admitted to Bridget that he likes pink. Earlier in the season, Jason had a sex dream with another man.

I don't know what the doll is for or why they included it in the scene but this episode is one of the least violent and had one of the most anti-climatic sex/not-sex scene. With a makeover scene and all, it almost feels like an episode in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse.

Friday, August 15, 2014

On Making a Difference

I have been buying Babs again at SRP. Before, I only buy when they offer discounts. This has been very effective in communicating may sentiments to the sole distributor about their pricing scheme.

Before I start being grateful for the changes, it is important to note that only one company is authorized by Mattel to distribute Barbie products in our country. It sounds like monopoly to me as they are not affected by competition. This set up is not really beneficial to the consumer.

Since competition is not at play (at least not blatantly since there are other sources like buying online), a consumer like me could only rely on other market forces like supply and demand, specifically controlling the demand. That is when I decided not to buy Barbies at their suggested retail price. I also decided not to promote the product.

It is also important to note that a lot of dolls here cost about twice as much due to the shipping cost and other taxes and of course, the monopoly. The Spotlight Fashionista, for example, originally sold at $17 at the They used to sell at $34 locally. They are now discounted at $13.75 at the online Mattel shop. Locally, the discounted price is $23. That's still higher that the original price at the online store!

Even at the discounted price, I am still not buying any of the Spotlight Fashionista. They look like fashion victims with those gaudy gowns. The only thing desirable are the articulated bodies and the blings. I am not paying $23 for those.

The model-muse-wannabe Fashionista sells at the Mattel shop for about $11. They sell here for $23. Although they have fashionable clothes, the lack of articulation is a major disappointment. They became peg warmers here. They eventually reduced the price to $16 locally, although some variants are still at $23. I'm still not buying since I only want the clothes.

I felt that all the consumers who decided to send a message to the distributor by not buying are finally being heard. The local distributor recently released the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse dolls (at least, the 4 of them). I was surprised that they are now selling them locally after they were introduced over a year ago. I was expecting them to be priced at $34 but it was an added surprise to see them selling it at $23.

This is Midge, not to be mistaken with the redhead 
Top Model Summer using the same face sculpt.
Her head has been shrunken, the eyelashes 
trimmed and the eyes repainted.

Imagine, a non-poseable (based on today's standards) dressed doll cost the same as a dressed articulated doll with an extra outfit! The latter is obviously a better deal. I believe that this kind of change won't be possible if the consumers like me didn't unite to make a statement about how the dolls are being sold here. I'm very grateful to my fellow consumers who have made this possible.

I thought that Raquelle and Midge would sell out earlier than Teresa and Summer. It was a surprise to see the Summer doll out of stock within a week. (I checked 5 toy stores.) I realized that a local online seller offered the dolls and a lot of people ordered Raquelle and Midge. Maybe that is why less people are buying the two since the collectors already have them, thanks to the online seller.

I didn't buy from the online seller. Not buying from online sellers is a form of protest for Mattel to improve their distribution system. It is also a form of protest to the online scalpers. Imagine if Mattel allows other companies to distribute Barbies locally. The prices will be more competitive. Maybe Mattel's sales will even increase. Who knows? It was a good decision not to buy from the online seller since the local toy store price is cheaper than the online seller price (although this is not always the case because of the monopoly I've mentioned).

After buying Raquelle, I decided to buy Midge. I thought it was brilliant to introduce an old character to the series to attract older fans to the show and eventually the doll line. Yes, I have a number of dolls with the Steffie mold but this is my first redhead for that mold. I also like her sense of style. Her's is very classic which is a good contrast to Raquelle's offbeat fashion sense. I like her in the Barbie Style doll line, too but I only need one of this doll so I'm not sure if I will still but it. Heck, I'm not even sure if it will be made available here.

These are just small changes and it can easily revert to the old price scheme as they please. We should realize that these companies (Mattel and their distributors) earn huge profits from us. (If they don't earn that much, I guess they wouldn't be in this business but they are here and they do earn that much.) It is the consumers who eventually pay their wages. It is important that we make them serve us the way we want them to.

The new Allan and Midge

Spread the word. You're the boss.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Girl Takes After Me

She cannot be the opposite of Barbie. She wants to be Barbie and thinks she can be better at it. It's like those collector-turned-doll-critics (like me) who think they can do a better job than those who work at Mattel. More than the love-hate relationship with Barbie, Raquelle takes a lot more after me.

That is why of all the cast of Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, I relate best with Rrrraquelle. I like her even before the series, as a Fashionista. She wears less pink, for starters.

I may react the same way if I lived in a world where people blindly follow Barbie just because she is Barbie. Remember that "trashy" fashion people there starting copying? I will do my darnest to expose why Barbie shouldn't have that authority. Just look at how she can't hold a job for too long, 136 jobs in 55 years!

Enough about trash talking Barbie. A lot of people have written books on it, anyways. Let's talk about Raquelle.

She's pretty. Usually, she's the prettiest in the doll line she belongs to. I like her character. She is no goody two shoe. I like her style. I like that although she is not specified to be of Asian descent, she can be made to look like one. I was wondering how she would look with a close mouth. I was surprise that they released her with one and an uneven smile for added character.

That smile perfectly conveys how I feel about a lot of things.

As much as I like Raquelle, I cannot take her big head and big eyes. I have to shrink her head and repaint her eyes to enjoy her. The series Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse may not be "The MostPopular Girls in School", but it is funny in their own way. It gave the doll I love more character than what I usually come up with and now I love her more.