Tuesday, March 31, 2015


March is when new toys get released locally both from Hasbro and Mattel. In the Mattel lineup, I only wanted resort Grace. The rest can wait until sale season.  With Hasbro, I want a number of Marvel Infinite Series figures both from last year and this year.

Local Hasbro distributors are doing the same gimmick once again of creating an illusion that there is a low supply. They did this with the Avengers movie figures back in 2012. They did this last year with the later waves of Marvel Infinite Series figures. And now they are doing it again with the 1st wave for 2015.

They just display a few pieces on the shelves to create an illusion that they ran out of stock, that a lot of collectors are panic buying. In a lot of toys stores I went, I asked for the Beast action figure and the sales clerks are trained to say that it was the first to ran out and that I should just get the other figures left. That was two weekends ago. Although I wanted what was left on the shelf, I don't want it that bad. I can wait for the sale so I left without buying. Luckily I was able to get one, and at a discounted price to boot.

In the collecting scene, the word "rare" is often misused. A lot of times, the rarity is controlled by the distributor and not the manufacturer. Just because it was made scarce in one location, Marvel Infinite Series figures are rarely rare. It just means that some other location got more shipment. And sometimes buying from that location is cheaper than buying locally. That is how I got my Sandman figure, from a secondary market at a discounted price.

I am not falling to the local distributor's trick once again. They created an illusion that the Ares, Valkyrie and Red She-hulk figures were rare. I was forced to get them at a secondary market. Although I got them at a price lower than the local distributor's original price, the distributor lately offered it at a much lower price. I should have waited but no, I became emotional about the low supply and the illusion of rarity.

Lessons learned.

Monday, March 30, 2015


This ensemble was specifically made for Aubrey. It's the second outfit I've made inspired by Audrey's gown from the movie Sabrina. The first was in 2011.

Of the dolls who have modeled my clothes this year, Aubrey is the first to model a second ensemble. (The first ensemble is here.) I really like this doll and to think she's a clone (head and body from two clone dolls). I have been playing with her since 2011. Who does that? These days, it's always about the new doll.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barbie Style Glam Vacation (a.k.a. Barbie Style Resort) Grace

From the promo pictures, I have decided that this doll is a must-have for me. We'll go to the why's later but like most things, let's start with the name. Others call this wave as the Barbie Style Resort but the box clearly says it is Barbie Style Glam Vacation. The price tag at the back of the box agrees with the former. To keep it simple, let's just call her Grace.

Of the three dolls, I just wanted Grace. I initially like the hat on Barbie and Summer's outfit but the hat seemed very heavy and shiny in person while the pants are shiny, too.

Style can be timeless but timing factors in fashion and demand. Dolls should be made available while they are hot (or "trending" in today's words). I'm glad that it was the case for this doll. Usually, the dolls are released locally 6 months to over a year after it was popular in social media. They are passé by that time.

A proper and timely distribution means that the manufacturer and distributor know how to listen and cater to their client. And clients like me will continue to support them because of that. I'm done with jumping through hoops (like buying online) just to get a doll. If a toy company doesn't know how to make their toys reach me on time, my money won't reach them either. This doll passed the distribution criteria and that is one of the reasons why I'm glad to talk about this doll.

Another reason is the price. These are being sold at the same price as the stiff Fashionista dolls (which have become peg warmers and are now being sold at 30% off the original price in some stores). The fully articulated Barbie Style dolls are being sold over twice as much as this doll so they will be peg warmers as well, rightfully. These Glam Vacation dolls are reasonably priced and that is why they get my support unlike other Barbie dolls.

I also like Grace's style. It's a good idea that she can mix and match outfits later on. Blue is my favorite color but the main reason why I must have this doll is the strappy gladiator sandals.  Since I'm too lazy to create something like those, I opt to buy them. Not only is this doll freed from the high heels which most feminist see as a some sort of binding (like fashion doll collectors really care about that), dolls can now wear fashionable flat foot wear. Mattel should recreate them in different natural colors.

Grace compared to a clone Teresa head on a Nikki body

Speaking of colors, this Grace doll comes in a new (relative to the last year's Fashionista, Life in the dream house and Barbie style dolls) skin tone. Grace is slightly darker than Nikki. New skin tones will be added to the playline lineup as well but most of them come in stiff bodies.

As expected, flat footed Grace is shorter than the dolls with arched feet. The new foot design prevents her from wearing a lot of Barbie shoes. It also makes her shorter than other dolls.

There are some little details that I don't like about the doll. The lack of articulation (on the bust, ankle and knees) is one. The head is also little wobbly on mine. There's a little paint splatter on the bag. All of these I can take as long as there's a lot of saving grace.

Grace  typically uses the Mbili face mold. This Grace doll looks like she is still using the Mbili mold but inspecting the nape reveals that it is a new mold patented in 2011. The Mbili mold was patented in 2001.

Personally, I don't see any difference between the two, even in the size. I initially thought that Grace's head is bloated like the rest of the playline dolls but it is really nice to find out that I don't have to shrink her head. Her eyes needs to be smaller so she will be repainted later.