Enchantimals

Ok, confession time; I sort of have a wee bit of an obsession with animal shaped dolls at the moment, after seeing a vintage Peteena Poodle doll on a doll group and how well she mixed in with the other dolls.  I’ve wanted a Peteena for ages, as I had my real little poodle for many years, however, I’ve never come across one at a price that was right (hopefully one will eventually come my way).  The other day I even bought one of those weird looking My Little Pony Equestrian Girl dolls when I found her at the op shop for $1.  So, in an effort to purge myself of this obsession, I’m writing about Enchantimals by Mattel.

Now, Enchantimals aren’t really my usual taste in dolls, but I found them quite cheap at a toy clearance centre a few months ago, so bought Bree Bunny and Twist and Danessa Deer and Spirit as I thought they’d be a cute edition to Easter and Christmas displays.  Later, I bought Hixby Hedgehog and Pointer, just because it was unusual to see a male character in the line.  I then put them away in the doll room, and didn’t get around to de-boxing them until today.

I really don’t know why I photographed Danessa with one arm out to her side. Ooops!

I don’t know a lot about these dolls except that they seemed to appear on toy shelves just as Monster High dolls were disappearing, and to me they seem like a weird hybrid of Monster/Ever After High and the old ‘Lemon-head’ versions of Barbie’s little sister, Kelly doll.  They stand 15cm high – their bodies are roughly Kelly sized – but with slightly over-sized heads.  Each one is painted to represent an animal, and they come with a cute little animal pal.  I love a doll with brightly coloured hair, and these little girls have lovely coloured locks.  A quick look at the website listed on the back of the pack reveals lots of little videos, some nicely animated and some featuring the actual dolls but with really annoying soundtracks comprised mostly of ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ and inane giggling.  I have to say that the faces of the animated characters are much more appealing than the expressions of the actual dolls, and I wish more effort had been made to make the dolls look more like their cartoon counterparts (with the exception of Bree Bunny who looks slightly psychotic in the picture on her pack).  Hixby doesn’t look at all like the cartoon character pictured on his pack, who is much cuter and well, animated.

Twist the bunny, Spirit the deer and Pointer the hedgehog all have little clips in their backs so they can be attached to the doll’s arm.

With the exception of Bree Bunny, the faces of the cartoon versions of the characters are much more appealing than the doll’s expressions.

All the dolls have moulded/painted on fashions as well as one or two fabric pieces.  My girls each wear a skirt and a strip of fur fabric made into a shrug.  Hixby wears a fur trimmed vest.  Their shoes are removable and they all have cute, well detailed little feet.  The girls have slightly arched feet allowing them to wear flats or heeled shoes but it means that unfortunately, the shoes aren’t interchangeable with Kelly dolls.  The girls all seem to have the same head mould, their ears or antlers or whatever click into their heads.  Hixby’s entire hair pate seems to be removable, making me wonder if there is or will be other male dolls in the line.  Bree has a little bunny tail in her back too, and there seems to be at least four different arm moulds for the girls.  The little critter companions are cute, their expressions are closer to the animations, and they all have a little clip in their backs allowing them to be attached to the arms of the dolls.  The dolls were really easy to release from their packaging, held in only by a moulded plastic shell.  I noticed this kind of packaging on a recent Barbie doll too.  It’s great that Mattel has done away with all the ties and fasteners we’re used to, but it would be even better if they would do away with all the plastic.

Look carefully and you can see the gap between Hixby’s hair and head. His hair looks to be interchangeable.  Bree has a cute little cotton-tail and the animal pals clip to the doll’s arm. Bree has one very strangely bent arm, there seems to be four different arm moulds.

It’s a shame these dolls aren’t poseable, you know how I love an articulated doll, but Bree Bunny will look great displayed with Ever After High’s Bunny Blanc at Easter and Danessa will keep Monster High’s Isi Dawndancer company at Christmas.  And Hixby? Well, he’ll just have to curl up in a ball and try not to get prickly.

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(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

Canadian Tammy

The first standard (straight leg) Tammy dolls in my collection were Canadian Tammies, but they weren’t your run of the mill Canadian Tammies.  The world of Canadian Tammy is complicated and a bit of mystery, there are a lot of unknowns.  And one of my dolls is one of those (largely) unknowns.

In Canada, Tammy was produced by both The Reliable Toy Company under licence by Ideal, and by Ideal itself.  Standard dolls were made by Reliable and are usually marked ‘Reliable’ in an oval cartouche on the doll’s back with ‘Canada’ underneath. They have the same head markings as the American Ideal Tammy – ‘© Ideal Toy Corp’.  According to the Collector’s Guide to Tammy book by Cindy Sabulis and Susan Weglewski, boxes are usually marked ‘Made in Canada by Reliable Toy Co. Limited Under license from Ideal Toy Corporation U.S.A.’ and the dolls come with a heart shaped stand marked ‘Reliable Made in Canada’.  Her blue romper suit usually has a different type of snap closure too.  The snaps are large and round with a hollow centre, like a doughnut shape.    I’ve noticed that there may be some variation in boxes and some are in both English and French.  According to the book Tammy and her Family of Dolls by John Axe, some of the same fashions sold for American Tammy were issued by Ideal in Canada, but there are some variations and the boxes are written in both English and French.  And to further complicate things, according to Tammy Rarities from around the World by Cindy Sabulis and Rebecca Wingler, Ideal released Pos’n Tammy and Pepper in Canada but these dolls were marked Made in Japan.

Canadian Tammy, as found at the op shop.  I think her dress may be a Premier fashion. Her face paint isn’t perfect, but she’s still gorgeous. 

I found one of my Canadian Tammy dolls in the local op shop.  When I spotted her in the window, I assumed she’d be the US version that was issued here in Australia in about 1965 at a discount department store.  I was so excited when I checked her back and found the Reliable mark. How she came to be in Australia, I don’t know.  Was she brought from overseas, or did some of these Canadian Tammies make it to store shelves here?  What makes her extra special to me though, is that she also has her original owner’s name – ‘Joan Ball’ – scratched into her back.  I love that someone loved her so much they put their name on her.

US issue Tammy next to Canadian Tammy; the markings on Canadian Tammy’s back and the previous owner’s name scratched into my doll; Tammy’s leg showing flaws in the vinyl; and for some reason she has holes in her feet, perhaps from the moulding process.

There are some slight differences between the US and Canadian produced dolls.  They look to use the same moulds, but the vinyl of my Canadian doll is slightly lighter or pinker in colour than the US version.  My Canadian doll also has more pronounced seams on her legs and many more flaws – swirls and lines – in her vinyl.  Her head also seems to be ever so slightly wider than the US doll too.  Her face paint is different, her lip colour is slightly darker, as are her eye lashes and brows, which are also wider than the US doll’s.  The biggest difference is in the hair.  The Canadian doll’s is a coarser fibre, is longer and curlier.  My doll was wearing a clone fashion (possibly a Premier dress) and pearls when I found her.  There is no clasp on the pearls, so I haven’t removed them.  I’m guessing they were somehow squeezed on over the doll’s head, which is no mean feat. I usually dress this doll in clone outfits, so I just make sure that whatever she wears, the pearls match it.

My mystery Canadian Tammy. Unfortunately, her hair is very dry and brittle and she has some baldy bits.  I have seen a mint doll like this and her hair is quite long, way past her shoulders with a slight flip. Her fashions have the large doughnut shaped snap fasteners.

The first Canadian doll I got is a mystery girl.  I’m assuming she’s Tammy, but I’ve never seen one in a box to confirm it.  She came in a box of dolls from a friend living in Canada who found her at a yard sale.  I guessed she was Tammy from her back markings, but she’s very different to other Tammy dolls.  She has no head markings, long pale blonde hair and a fringe (that unfortunately is very damaged), pale coral pink lips and blue eyeshadow.  She came with a couple of fashions, one was a long peasant style dress, the other is a pink striped short dress.  I wasn’t sure if they belonged to her or not, although both have big, doughnut shaped snaps, like Canadian Tammy’s romper.  I foolishly gave the peasant dress away.  I really wish I had kept it, as I have since seen another doll like mine wearing this dress.  My doll was a mystery until I got the Tammy rarities book mentioned above, and there on the cover was a doll like mine.  Unfortunately, the book doesn’t shine much light on this doll.  I still don’t know if she’s Tammy or another doll by Reliable or if the fashions were made for her.

My final Canadian doll is the Reliable Mary Poppins doll.  I had seen this doll in an article in Haute Doll magazine and fell in love with her black hair, so when that same friend living in Canada found one, I just had to buy her.  There are several versions of this doll and mine is wearing what seems to be the more common red dress and blue coat combination.  She has her original boots, hat and bag.  I have seen a boxed version that includes a red plastic umbrella, which is the same as the one issued for a doll called Little Tuppence, and Mary Poppins has borrowed it for this photo shoot.  This Tammy’s head is not marked, but she has the same body markings as Canadian Tammy.  Her clothing also has the doughnut shaped snaps.  Sadly, my doll’s hair has been chopped, but there’s enough of it to give the impression of a bun hairstyle, and she’s gorgeous nonetheless.

The umbrella as seen with an NRFB version is the same as the borrowed Little Tuppence’s;  Mary Poppins’ fashion has large doughnut shaped snaps too, and cute little ankle boots.

I’d love to learn more about these Canadian dolls, especially the mystery blonde.  If you can shed some light on these beauties, have any information, Canadian catalogues or a boxed doll, I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment or use the contact form on the first post of this blog.

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(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

Happy Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a loved one, spending it alone with your houseplants or ignoring it altogether, I hope you enjoy your day.  

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Fashionista Polkadot Fun head on Liv Doll body.  I bought this head recently and just love it, it’s so beautifully painted.  And by her expression, I’m guessing she’s without a Valentine this year, she looks a little sad.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

Not What I Normally Collect But…Cutie Pop

Have you ever come across a doll and thought, well, it’s not what I normally collect, but I like it?  I have quite a few things that fall into this category, so this year, I’ll try and write about them.

The doll that inspired this (and hopefully future posts) was found only recently at an op shop that I visit each week.  They usually have very few toys, let alone dolls, but they do tend to have great books and DVDs.  Just before Christmas as I walked through the shop, I glanced at the toy shelves and there was a doll whose colour and style just jumped out at me.  I had no idea what doll she was, and she wasn’t what I normally collect but for $3, I grabbed her anyway.  A bit of research on the interwebs when I got home revealed her to be a Swirly Brights Magenta Cutie Pop doll by Jada Group Inc. from 2013.  Yeah, I’ve never heard of them either.  I don’t even recall seeing them in the shops, but that’s not surprising, at is seems every five minutes there is a new doll line being released, and unless it’s a fashion doll, I only ever give them a cursory glance.

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Cutie Pops were apparently aimed at younger children, and that explains Magneta’s moulded hot pink hair.  However, the really fun thing about them is that they have extra hair pieces and eyes that can be ‘popped’ on and off.  Magenta even has little buttons on her dress that can be popped and swapped.  Unfortunately, she’s missing some buttons, and bows for her hair, but seeing as she’s in her original dress, earrings and boots I’m not going to quibble about that.  These Swirly Bright issues didn’t come with extra hair pieces or eyes, but previous editions did.  I imagine finding these dolls minus their eyes would be very creepy indeed.

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Cutie Pops have a very over-sized heads, a la Blythe, Pullip, et al, and while they are roughly the same height as the Barbie doll, their body is much smaller, closer in size to Monster High or Ever After High, with straight arms and bending knees. Magenta is marked © 2012 JADA GROUP INC on the head and © 2012 JADA TOYS INC MADE IN CHINA on the back.  My doll has hot pink hair and lime green Mod styled dress – a colour combination that I just couldn’t walk away from.  She has purple boots with pink, green and orange swirl motifs and green and orange earrings.  I love that her face blush is screened as a heart shape, and the heart theme is continued in the highlight of her eye and purple heart shaped eye lashes.  I’d love to come across some extra eye and hair pieces to have a play with, but even without, she makes a nice addition to my ‘big headed’ doll shelf, although she’s not what I normally collect.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

Meng F

Just before Christmas I spotted a doll in a photo of an interstate doll club meeting and it was so gorgeous, I had to know what it was.  I thought it might be the Mattel Fan Bing Bing doll head on a Made to Move body, but when I asked the friend who owned it, she revealed that it was a doll called Meng F and sent me the eBay link to buy one.  And as the doll wasn’t expensive, how could I resist.

I found two versions of the doll on eBay, but looking at the website listed on the back of the doll’s box – Mengfandoll.taobao.com – there are a couple of variations, one of which may have a different face mould.  I’m not game to even try and buy from Taobao, so the ones from eBay will have to do me.  They are basically the same the doll, except one has a fringe (bangs) with pale lip paint and the other has a centre part with red lips.  I chose the doll with a fringe.

Meng F next to a Made to Move Barbie doll.

Meng F is shorter and slightly smaller than Barbie, but her body is comparable to the Made to Move Barbie body.  In fact, I think that in design, it’s a bit better than the Made to Move body.  Shhhh, don’t tell Mattel!  Meng F’s torso is beautifully sculpted with realistic modelling around the throat, collarbones and breasts, and she even has nipples.  She is jointed similarly to the Made to Move body, with a few differences: the upper arm twist joint is slightly lower, the elbow joint is smaller and less intrusive; she has a twist waist and is missing the under-bust joint; the upper leg twist joint is located just above the knee and the knee has a wider angle bend, her feet are bigger and more realistically sculpted.  Regardless of these differences, the range of movement between the two bodies is very similar, except Meng F can twist at the waist.  I had a little bit of trouble getting the elbow joint to bend properly.  In fact, to begin with I didn’t think it had a double bend, as I couldn’t get the lower elbow joint to move at all. After checking with a friend that it should move, I heated the joint carefully with a hair dryer and got it moving.  My friend said she had the same problem with one doll, but the second was fine.  I’ve since had the same problem with a Made to Move body, so it must just be the type of joint.

Meng F’s body is beautifully sculpted.  The twist joint in the leg is just above the knee, not the upper thigh like a Made to Move Barbie body.  The feet are also a better size and beautifully sculpted.

Meng F’s knees bend at a wider angle than a Made to Move Barbie doll meaning she can kneel more realistically.

Meng F has the same range of movement as a Made to Move Barbie doll, except she can twist at the waist.

Meng F has a lovely face, her face paint is simple but eye catching, and she has rooted eyelashes.  She has long black hair and it’s a nice fibre that’s easy to comb.  Her fashion is also simple but striking, a black stretch crop top with two sunflower motifs, a stretch skirt with black and white stripe and sunflower print and yellow ankle boots.  The boots don’t have a split in the back as most boots for other dolls do, so it was a bit nerve-wracking trying to take them off.  I was worried they may break her ankle joint.  I resorted to heating them gently with the hair dryer and haven’t put them back on.  I’m debating whether to put a split in the back of them or just find her alternative foot wear.

The box is simple, mostly cardboard, with the doll held in with fabric ribbon and only one plastic/wire tie and a couple of plastic tabs.  The trouble is, my doll was posted from China in only a plastic post bag and by the time it arrived the box was very crushed.  Thankfully the doll was fine and I’m not an NRFB collector.  Overall, I love Meng F, and I wish there were a few more dolls in the range, that were easier to access.  For now, I’m more than happy to have her in my collection.

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I prefer the hair pulled back from Meng F’s face.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

 

Lunar New Year and Australia Day

Happy New Year and Gong Hei Fat Choy!  Happy 2020 and Lunar New Year.

This weekend is a big holiday weekend here in Australia, with celebrations for Lunar New Year today and Australia Day tomorrow, so I’m back with my dolls to commemorate both.  It’s been a tough couple of months here in Australia, with the worst weather and bushfires on record.  We have had record heat waves and because most of the country has been in drought for so long and the land is so dry, it made for horror fire conditions with millions of hectares burnt and many lives and homes lost over several states.  Smoke haze has enveloped cities and suburbs causing health issues, and smoke has even reached other countries, with parts of New Zealand blanketed.  Fires are still burning as I type, and the bushfire season has only just started.  We have also recently had floods and severe hail storms that have caused serious damage. So, there are many people who have been and are marking holidays without much to celebrate.   My heart goes out to those who have been affected.

Today marks the Lunar New Year and welcomes the year of the rat.  My dolls have gathered to watch the lion dance.  I found the lion marionette at a second hand shop last year, and thought it may work in a diorama for dolls, but it was rather more than I wanted to spend.  For a few weeks, I umed and ahed over it when I went into the shop, before finally working up the courage to be cheeky and tell them I love the puppet but not the price tag.  They happily brought the price down to what I was willing to pay.  I have yet to make the boys appropriate outfits and this (and the following) diorama was thrown together in haste this arvo, but you get the idea.  And if you look very closely, you’ll see rat himself makes an appearance.

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Unfortunately, Australia Day has become a very divisive holiday.  It commemorates the landing of the First Fleet of British convict ships in 1788 and is now supposed to celebrate all things Australian.  But many indigenous – and non-indigenous people – see it as an invasion day, when land, freedom and in many cases lives were stolen.  And fair enough too.  There is much debate about changing the date, and many people celebrate it as a day of mourning, remembering all of our history – good and bad.  My dolls learnt a bit more about indigenous art before kicking back in the most Aussie way they know, a barbecue.

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Happy Australia Day and welcome, the year of the rat.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

For the last couple of  months I’ve really been struggling with my health (and everything else), and with Christmas fast approaching, and after working hard towards an exhibition for my art group, it’s time for me to take a break and try to pull myself back together.  So, this will be my last post for at least a few weeks.

A huge thank you to everyone who has read this blog, commented and contributed from all around the world.  I never thought it would be read by more than a couple of people a month, let alone so many daily.

Merry Christmas, and may you all have a safe, happy and healthy holiday period and New Year.  I hope I’ll see you all again in 2020!

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(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission