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Tag Archives: boy doll

Introducing Jason [Guest Post]

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Time to meet a new doll! Here’s a guest post by my good friend Rick, with some help from his friend Jason:

Jason: Hi. I’m a Kidz’n’Cats “Alister”, but I answer to Jason. Sometimes I also answer to “Trouble”. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that?

Rick: It’s just over two years since Jason arrived. Alex and Jamie had no small part to play in setting off the train of events. Like Alex, Jason is a Kidz’n’Cats “Alister”. He came to me from KR Bears and Dolls. I’d been warned about the pink box. The intense scent released when I opened the box was a bit of a surprise. It clung to Jason for quite a while.

Jason: Coming out of my box was quite an experience. I’d been well tied in, but eventually I was free. Then, it seemed, I needed a check-up, so my clothes had to come off, too. I was a bit shy about that, but I got dressed again as soon as I’d been given a full bill of health. It was too warm for my full outfit, so I left my coat and cap behind when I went off to explore my new home.

Jason Exploring

Here I am in looking at some flowers in the rock garden, and by a fireplace on a chilly day.

One set of clothes, even when it’s as good a set as I came in, only goes so far. I needed some other clothes.

Rick: I spent a while searching the Net, and saw a pair of overalls on Wren*Feathers that looked good. I bought the pattern, and some sewing spread over a few days turned an old shirt into a pair of overalls. They’re not quite as well-made as the ones shown on Wren*Feathers site, but that’s down to my sewing ability. Jason looks good in them. I also visited Nellie Rose’s site.

Jason: A few days later a nicely wrapped present arrived.

Jason's First From NellieRose

Rick: Here he is, sitting in a favourite spot modelling some of them.

Jason's New Clothes

Jason: When the weather turned colder I got another present. The hoodie was just what I needed for some more outdoors exploring. Take a look at this huge toadstool!

Jason's Second From Nellie Rose

Rick: Then, for a while, he seemed to have enough clothing to cover most occasions, and things settled down.

Jason: Some days I spend in the bedroom where I sleep, and other days I spend sitting in my favourite place. Sometimes I go out and about a bit. I’ve even been away at conventions on a couple of occasions. There I met others a bit like myself, but I didn’t manage to get any pictures of me with them, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Rick: Recently, I’ve been back to Nellie Rose again, and he now has a couple more outfits. He tends to mix and match things, and in this photo he was wearing one item from each of the three packages.

Jason' s Third From Nellie Rose

Jason: As you can see, I like my new clothes. I wonder whether I’ll have to wait another two years for some more.

Rick: I still have some un-finished sewing projects that may expand his wardrobe if I ever manage to complete them, but he seems happy enough with the clothes he has, for now…

Big thanks to Rick & Jason for that!

All images © Rick Hewett

Josh – Design a Friend

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Portrait of Josh

Meet Josh, the first boy doll to be added to the Chad Valley Design a Friend range from Argos.  According to the blurb in his box:

“DesignaFriend Boyfriend has been specially created to complement your stylish Designafriend doll. This very cool and trendy guy makes your two friends the perfect pair.”

Design a Friend boy box in blue

He comes in a blue cardboard box, which is quite classy and means any boys wanting a doll won’t have to worry about pink packaging.

Josh box opened

Josh box opened, close-up

And here’s Josh half unwrapped from his tissue paper, and a close-up of him still in the box.

Josh Posing

Josh arrives wearing a blue and yellow plaid cotton shirt, jeans and brown boots, he also comes with a more masculine bracelet with cord instead of chain for the owner to wear. He has brown plastic eyes, and brown wavy hair which needs a bit of ruffling to look modern and “trendy” instead of something in 1950s stylee (thinking cardi and pipe not Rebel Without A Cause here..)

Josh showing his well-defined chest

The most surprising thing on removing him from the box for the first time was that unlike the Design a Friend girl dolls, which are soft bodied with vinyl arms and legs, he is all-vinyl. To begin with I wasn’t sure about this change, but then I half-undressed him and he’s got a decent set of abs on him for sure! Not sure whether the target audience is going to care about defined muscles but he stands up tall and firm where the soft-body dolls do not. He’s less posable however, his arms quite stiff because of this build factor.

Josh unclothed

It took a couple of days for me to be sure I actually liked this doll, his face is more mature than the other boy dolls I have and his outfit isn’t the best quality compared to the usual Design a Friend clothing. I did suspect part of the problem was the outfit so I re-dressed him and wow, what a difference.

Josh dressed smartly

Here he’s wearing rather formal trousers from Nellie Rose, over a Kidz n Cats shirt and an olive military jacket I just got from mydollboutique with boots from Nellie Rose and it adds a whole new dimension to this doll. He looks more sophisticated and certainly more expensive – and though I’ve kept the name Josh for him he looks rather posh to my eyes (mater wanted to name him Tarquin, don’t you know…). The outfit actually costs more than the doll so its not surprising it makes a difference, mind.

Josh and Lindy

As for being the perfect boyfriend, here he is posing with Lindy, from the Design a Friend range and they look ok together, but he and Bree are a match made in heaven, I reckon.

Josh and Bree

I can definitely recommend the Design a Friend “ideal boyfriend” but would suggest a wardrobe upgrade to make the most of him.  I’m constantly impressed with this range, and look forward to seeing what else they come up with to expand the “lives” of the dolls.

Lindy’s outfit: long-sleeved t-shirt from The Dolls House, twill shorts from My Doll Best Friend, shoes & tights by Frilly Lily.

Bree’s outfit: lacy tee and shorts outfit from The Dolls House.

Make Me a Makie!

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The modern world is full of wonders and delights thanks to leaps in technology. I was already aware of the rather nifty concept of 3D printing – producing three-dimensional objects in plastic by “printing” layer upon fine layer of plastic to build up a solid shape rather than a flat ink-on-paper image, but other than its use in prototype design and medicine it seemed a gimmick more than anything.

I was wrong – a firm in London has come up with the genius concept that is the world’s first 3D printed doll.  Makies. Wow.

Makie 3D printed dolls

I became aware of this via Maxine over on her My Doll Best Friend blog, who was lucky enough to see the range of limited edition pre-made dolls currently being sold in Selfridges London. I think the boy doll, Tesla is my favourite of this range. Be sure and visit her post with many fab photos of the dolls to see the limited editions up close.

What caught my attention more is the fact that the non-iimited edition Makies are “designer” dolls, in that you get to be the designer. Using the software on their website, or the iPhone app (nothing for Android users yet, alas), you use sliders to customise your own doll. You can choose between male and female, and currently four skin tones, the basic white plus a pale-ish pink (strawberry milk), a pale green (pistachio)  and a brown-ish hue (cocoa bean), each achieved by adding coloured dye to the white base plastic used – the company hope to offer a wider range of skin tones in the future.

Makie online design - body

Designing the doll to your own specifications should be familiar to anyone who has customised an avatar on game sites and some social media apps.  You pick an eye colour and use sliders to control eye shape, tilt, whether it has wide eyes or more narrowed eyelids, the height and tilt of the eyebrows, whether they are heavy or light… Then there’s the ears, you can have sticky-out ones, or make them pointy – your own green-skinned elf doll, perhaps? And choose the shape of the jaw, the fullness of the cheeks, the way the mouth looks, the amount of variation is amazing.

Makie online design - face

Once you have the face sorted, its on to wig choice, and then selecting an outfit, with the “doll” appearing in each fashion choice with you able to rotate them a full 360º to check how they look from all angles. You can make as many avatar dolls as you like and save them, or just go straight on to ordering the doll to be made to exactly match your design.

Makie design page - hair

Makie design page - outfit

A custom-printed doll with wig and outfit costs £99 including UK delivery and will turn up in a black cardboard tube which looks very smart. It all seems a very slick and well thought-out process, and judging by posts and images on the members board on the site, everyone has been having great fun coming up with new and unique designs. There are vampires, elves,  even anime-style characters by virtue of the bright hair colour options on the wigs, the only limit is your imagination.

The dolls themselves are 10″ high and ball-jointed, at knees and elbows, shoulders and hips, even wrists and ankles, making them incredibly poseable. The whole thing snaps together, and the face is snapped onto the head section, with removable eyes. The wig also snaps on, and the online shop sells wigs so you can change the doll’s look as often as you changes its clothes – a wide range of outfits is also available.

Makie joints close-up

The dolls remind me most of the Japanese ball-jointed dolls I’ve been admiring for years, the very expensive Japanese ball-jointed dolls, so this is another level of temptation for me. Makie owners have been posting photos of their dolls on the MakieLab Facebook page if you want to see more examples of what’s possible.

The only caveat to all this wonder is that the dolls come unpainted. I think this is the allure behind the limited edition ones from Selfridges, they have a full “face-up” as it seems to be called, including eyelashes and the like. The base doll you will get, having designed and printed your own, has no detailing on the features, just the plain plastic of the face. They are still very attractive but, well, you rather expect the main features to be accented somewhat.. Given the customising design method this isn’t surprising, I realised after some thought, and reading the forums reveals that new doll owners seem to be having just as much fun doing their own face-ups on the dolls as they did in coming up with its unique look.

The BJD collectors have been doing this face-up stuff for years and so there are plenty of tutorials and products out there, and clever use of quite ordinary art supplies such as watercolour pencil and pastel chalk seem to be the most popular choices. I suspect its a little more challenging than it looks to get a really good result, but a simple bit of colour on lips and brows should be achievable, at least I hope so once I end up ordering my own.

Check out this video to see a full face-up, including the way the Makie doll comes apart so the face section is more like a mask, allowing the paint job to be done without getting colours onto the eyes or wig, or the rest of the doll.

Its good to know all the Makies are produced in the UK and Europe, another bonus when so many companies are out-sourcing manufacture to China these days. All in all I’m lost in wonder and admiration at Makie dolls, just can’t seem to decide on exactly how mine should look. Half the fun is fiddling with those sliders and seeing the result mind, oh and being inspired by other folks’ creations.

 

UPDATE: June 2017 – it seems Makies are no longer in existence, according to an announcement on their facebook page they have been bought by a US firm, so we’ll just have to wait and see what develops. Read about that here:

Makies Offical Facebook page

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All images and screenshots of the design software © MakieLab

Maru and the Boys

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Maru in a pink t-shirt with roses

Hello Maru, you look very pretty today

“Yes, its my new outfit, I love these pink roses!” Maru replies

Going somewhere special?

“Just babysitting…”

Alice & Maru in b&w

“Hey, its my turn to babysit,” complains Alice.

“She’s taking photos of us all, and I got here first!” comes the response.

Now, girls, there’ll be plenty of other chances – Alice, do you really want to keep those two rascals under control?

“Hmm, you might be right…” Alice agrees

Alex with Jamie in his pjs

“We’re not rascals!!” saysAlex, indignantly. “Look, Jamie’s in his pjs already!”

That’s very good Jamie. Maru, what story will you be telling them tonight?

“Its a secret! I’ll whisper it to him though..”

Maru whispering to Jamie

::much whispered discussion::

Something wrong?

“He doesn’t want to hear about the rainbow elephant, can you read us the story about Fei Li and the pandas please?” explains Maru

That’s a bit exciting for bedtime… oh, go on then. Where did we get to last time?

Karito KIds Ling book

Um, Alex?

“Huh? I mean, yes?”

You don’t look ready for bed yet..

Alex in a red check shirt

“Er.. I was helping Jamie? And I can’t undo these laces myself… Maru, can you help me?”

You do the innocent look very well there! I’ll believe you, thousands wouldn’t.

Wait a sec, why don’t you all pose for a photo and then you can get changed and have your story.

Maru and the boys

There we go. So cute!

“We’re not cute!! We’re boys, we don’t do cute!” grumbles Alex

“You can say I’m cute, I don’t mind” Jamie mumbles, blushing.

Jamie blushing

Maru giggles.

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Jamie’s pyjamas, Alex’s shirt and Maru’s jeans all made by Nellie Rose

Alex’s jeans and boots part of a Kidz n Cats original outfit

Pink roses t-shirt from My Doll Best Friend

Design a (boy)friend

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The new Argos catalogue this season revealed new dolls and outfits in the Design a Friend range, including for the first time a boy doll. Named Josh, the 49cm doll has short brown hair and brown eyes, and is dressed in jeans and a check shirt with boots. It looks like the various doll brands are beginning to realise there’s a market for boy dolls, and its great to see Chad Valley expanding their range like this.

Josh looks like he’d make a great boyfriend or big brother for any doll, and would make a good friend for any small boy wanting something other than Action Man or a baby doll to play with.

image

Design a Friend Josh doll at Argos

Harry Potter – Gotz

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Portrait of Harry

I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan since pretty  much the first book, so I was excited to discover via another doll blog that Gotz had made doll versions of Harry, Hermione and Ron, with faces designed by reknowned doll artist Hildegard Günzel. They’re hard to come by however: Gotz gained the European license to make dolls based on the characters back in 2001 and they were limited editions, so its really a matter of luck and watching Ebay and elsewhere in the hope that a doll will pop up. You hardly ever see Hermione or Ron, unfortunately, though as they are based on the book descriptions rather than the films (the first film only came out in 2001) all three dolls are rather different from the now familiar faces of Daniel Radclliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. This is no bad thing in the case of Harry Potter as he retains the vivid green eyes of J K Rowling’s imagination, rather than Daniel’s blue ones.

How do I know this? Because I was lucky enough to grab myself a Harry doll from Ebay, and at rather amazing price! The original dolls came with a broom and Harry’s trademark glasses held together with tape, and a limited edition tag, all in a HP themed box. The doll I got was pre-loved, so no box, no broom, no glasses and no limited edition number. Not good for a true collector for whom such things matter, but fine by me – the numbered tag would get put in a drawer, the broom would end up on a shelf, ignored and as for the glasses, they’re easily replaced by a pair without the tape (poor Harry, nobody ever took him to an optician…).

Harry Potter in Hogwarts uniform

So here he is! He comes dressed in a red and white stripey jumper, jeans, trainers and a rather lush black velvet Hogwarts robe held together with two gold buttons and a twist of gold braid, with the Hogwarts crest embroidered on the left hand side.  As well as the afore-mentioned green eyes he has the trademark messy dark hair and the scar on his forehead. He’d clearly been on a shelf gathering dust for a while, and the velvet had picked up a lot of pet hairs. He also has a bit of damage, a ding to his nose which is less noticeable than I expected – deductive reasoning suspects that the pet hairs and ding add up to a cat knocking the poor doll off a shelf to bounce face first off the floor!

Harry Potter's face

The doll and clothing smelled a little stale and dusty, so his clothes ended up in the wash (except for the robe) and Harry himself was destined for a bath. Well, a good sponge down with baby soap and a wash cloth as per the advice given by Gotz themselves. I also went over his hair to freshen it up – here he is wrapped in a towel drying off:

Harry Potter after a bath

In terms of body shape Harry is about an inch taller than the other Gotz dolls I have and rather more slender. He’s jointed at the arms and legs and neck, with quite expressive (and large!) hands . The body style is older than the standing child dolls, because of course Harry in the books starts out at school age, 11 years old. Some of the pairs of jeans I have were therefore too generous in the waist (shades of Dudley’s cast-offs!) but he fit this pair of Kidz n Cats jeans nicely. The t-shirt and shirt are by Nellie Rose. A different pair of shoes and he’s as good as new.

Harry Potter posing

I may try and find a pair of glasses to replace the ones he should have had but personally I think he looks more handsome without, love the shade of green on his eyes. And he could be any young man rather than a certain wizard, after all, as the scar isn’t too prominent thanks to that messy hair (which really adds character). Some of the online images I’ve seen of this doll and the other two have made it seem as though the heads are too long, the forehead an odd ratio to the rest of the face but that’s just poor photography, methinks.

Overall I’m extremely pleased with the doll, makes a nice addition to the “gang” here – I may consider looking out for the Ron and Hermione dolls to join him, though I’m not sure the faces are as attractive. Harry though is just a wee darling!

Harry Potter in b&w

 

The gang’s (almost) all here

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Having done introductory posts for nearly all the dolls in my “gang” I thought I’d share this cool group photo I took the other day – absent are Héléne and Jamie as they were too busy giggling together in the other room to take part.

Gang of Dolls

From left to right standing:

Grace (Gotz Hannah at the Ballet)

Katy (Gotz Hannah and her Dog 2010)

Maru (Maru & Friends)

Jessie (Zwergnase Junior Dorte)

Alex (Kidz n Cats Alister)

Seated:

Alice (Gotz Happy Kidz Emily 2012)

Ariane (Kidz n Cats)

Some of the clothes were made by Nellie Rose, exceptions being Ariane’s blue petal dress, Katy’s white broderie dress and the pink t-shirt that Maru is wearing which are all from My Doll Best Friend. Jessie’s outfit is from the Argos Design a Friend range, Alice’s dress was made by an Ebay designer and Alex is wearing the jeans, legwarmers and boots from his original outfit.

I think they look pretty good together, despite the varying looks of each brand they make a fun bunch of friends (and of course there was the usual argument about who got to wear what, all the girls reckon Ariane has hogged that lovely blue dress way too long by now!)

The gane in b&w