Dolly Review: Siena, my Makie from MakieLabs
Back in January, I ordered a Makie, the brainchild of MakieLab‘s. Makies are the first 3D printed dolls that you can customize. When my Makie arrived, I posted a box opening video and post, promising a real review when I had enough time to really play with her. Here’s the promised review!
Let’s talk a bit about Makies in general, before jumping into details about my Makie. When ordering a Makie, you’re ordering a few things. First, you’re ordering a custom made head (eyes included) that you create in a special web based app (or on your Apple device) on a jointed stock body. Because no doll wants to arrive naked, you have the option of a handful of outfits (chosen in the app). Last, but not least, you choose a wig. Wigs are non-removable unless you write the company after you order and request the wig be removable. I did that for my Makie, because I wanted to add that extra level of customization to her. (We all like changing our hair every now and then, right?)
Creating my Makie, who I eventually named Siena after my favorite Italian city, was really easy. The website application worked fine and it was relatively easy to see how you were manipulating the head mold. It didn’t take long at all to create something I loved.
Communication after ordering was fantastic. I e-mailed them with a question and got a response very quickly. They kept me informed as to what part of the process my Makie was at, too, via e-mail. As promised, about two weeks later, a package from MakieLab’s arrived from London! (Apparently, it made a stop in Germany, too! Siena’s already been to more countries than myself!)
I’ll be honest– there are some Makies out there that I just don’t like. But their owners? They seem to love them! I guess that’s the nice thing about Makies– since you are the ‘designer’, there’s a good chance you’ll create something you think is aesthetically pleasing.
That’s what happened with Siena. There were things I knew I didn’t want. I didn’t want a block-like, square face. I, also, didn’t want very squinty eyes and I definitely didn’t want my Makie to be stark white or a light peach. I’d seen images of Makies that were light skinned and I wasn’t won over by them. Plus, I figured my collection needed a bit more diversity to it.
Let’s talk about Siena. I’m sure the burning question on your mind is this: is she a good representation of the graphic I created when I ordered her? Yes. I believe Siena looks a lot like her virtual self. The skin color is a slightly different shade than expected, but as these are hand dyed, I expected so much.
Siena came with a light face up on her cocoa skin. I chose to give Siena large eyes (angled down slightly), round cheeks, a large mouth with defined lips and a button nose. One of my favorite aspects of her design are her pointy ears! There was no way she was going to have normal human ears!
Her eye brows are shaded in with a dark brown. I made my dolls eye brows pretty thick, so I’m happy the face up included those. Directly above the eye is a thin line of black eyeliner, topped with an equally thin line of light pink.
It looks like they used a watercolor pencil or something similar to that for the face up. She doesn’t have drawn on eye lashes or ‘real’ eyelashes, though I have seen some Makie’s leaving London with what look like ‘real’ lashes. (Don’t quote me on that, though!)
The eye make up is very simple. If you’re looking for something more elaborate, you have to e-mail the company to see what options they might offer you or order the girl without a face up and do it yourself. I don’t believe there is any blush on Siena’s cheeks, but she does have rosy lips, also done in what looks like some sort of watercolor pencil.
I chose to give Siena bright green eyes. They are roughly 16″ eyes.
The look inside Siena’s head is kind of interesting. The head cap is super simple to take off. (Just pinch the top and bottom of it and it’s off.) Once open, you’ll expose a unique eye mechanism. You’ll also notice the thing that draws this apart from most 1/6 bjd’s– the eyes. Makies don’t use full round eyes, like you see in other dolls. They use strange half eyes. You can remove these eyes and put in eyes of your own, but know that the perfect balance these have might be compromised if you do that! Also, the eye mech might not work very well, so you’ll probably need putty. I don’t plan on changing Siena’s eyes because they look great as is, but you can change them if you’d like.
Siena has a hollow sort of feeling to her body that makes her feel lighter than the similarly sized ABS plastic Hujoo. I don’t feel there’s a great difference between Siena and a Hujoo, but of the two, Siena is a little lighter.
She has a number of joints. Her head moves as you’d expect, up, down, left and right. It takes more force to move it into position than you’d think.
She has joints in her shoulders, elbows and wrists, as well. There is no joint in her torso. Of course, she has joints at her thighs, knees and ankles. Her limbs move more fluidly than her head does.
As far as posing, I think she holds her own to other 1/6 bjd’s. There are some limitations to her joints. Her elbow joint is the most limited when compared to other bjd’s. It doesn’t rotate left or right, just moves up and down. The knees are similar. They don’t rotate left or right, either.
Because this doll was made with customizing in mind, most (not all) of the joints were made to be removable. Her head, shoulder, wrist, thigh and ankle joints can be removed from the ball joint and then placed right back on. The shoulder was a little tough for me to take off, but the other parts were easy.
One surprising aspect of Siena’s body is her back. There’s a huge battery compartment like square in her back. Apparently, this is so you can ‘mod’ or ‘hack’ your Makie. To be honest, adding wires to my dolls has never occurred to me, but I guess I can see how this could be a fun for the engineering types. Older style Makies had a hollow neck, so you could literally move wires from the ‘battery compartment’ into the head. It looks like they have modified the neck mold to no longer allow wires to move up and into the head.
For those, like me, who have no interest in modding in any way that would need a battery compartment, note that you might want to limit the number of ‘low back’ tops or back photography you do with your Makie because the compartment goes relatively high on her back.
Besides the large rectangle on her back, I have to talk a bit about the shape of her torso. It’s not as feminine as you’d expect. It’s kind of blocky and her bust looks a little strange to me. This probably has a lot to do with the hidden compartment on her back, though.
While proportionate to her limbs, her hands do have a bit of a fork like look. The fingers are very straight and pointy. I hope they improve on those one of these days. I should have ordered an extra set of hands.
I really like her feet, though! They’re not too large or too small and they even have toe-nail imprints on them.
Now that we’ve gone over a bit about the body’s look, how does it feel? And, because many of you asked, how does it compare to the ABS of a Hujoo? Siena’s body feels different, that’s for sure, from a resin or ABS plastic bjd.
It’s textured, like wood grain. You’ll see on the 3D printed limbs circular patterns that are reminiscent of the top of a tree stump.
If you’re a Hujoo collector, you’ll notice a difference right away between the smooth, shiny plastic of the Hujoo and the wood grain like plastic of a Makie.
Siena balances beautifully!!! Seriously, I never have to worry about her. MakieLab’s did a wonderful job on creating a doll that stands in various position on both legs or even one leg! (Disclaimer- it did take me a few tries to get her to stand on one leg, but any doll that can do that at least once, earns a gold star in my book!) Because of the tight ball joints, she holds poses super well, too.
As I mentioned in the beginning, Makies come with an outfit and a wig of your choosing. This is where the company really needs to improve, I think. I have a few different Makie outfits and they all look like hard work was put into them. For that, they get kudo’s. I’m not a huge fan of the construction of the outfits, though.
The outfit my Makie came in was a pretty purple dress. The fabric was nice and the color worked really well on Siena, but, sadly, the fit was off in the torso. It was just too big for her.
Most of the separates I received as part of a special they were running were decent, but nothing to write home about.
I do love the little pink apron. That has a lot of personality. And the jeans are great!
My favorite dress is actually the long, blue polka dotted dress. It fits much better than the purple dress. The fabric used on the top portion sticks a bit to the textured plastic, but it looks super cute on Siena! Add the awesome 3D printed glasses and Siena is ready to go out!
What else can Siena wear? You’re probably safe with most outfits that fit 1/6 scale dolls.
I tried Siena in a handful of Mattel My Scene outfits and they fit well enough.
For Siena, I chose a long blonde wig with a side part. I chose the long wig because after seeing owner images of some of the shorter ones, I wasn’t sure about them. I feel like some of the wigs look much better in the creation app than they do in real life, especially the short wigs.
Long was the safest choice, I thought. (Again, this is such a subjective point– you guys might love the short wigs.) I see now they have many more wigs to choose from when ordering. The purple, blue and red wigs look pretty nice, actually.
I’m pretty sure, if I were ordering now, my Makie would have a fantasy hair color! The wig cap itself is a little loosely rooted, but it fits Siena’s head well enough and, with a little bit of styling, looks pretty cute on her!
I requested my wig be removable for Seina. She seems to fit the same wigs my MSD bjd’s do. Most of those are a size 6-7.
The fact that Makies are created with 3D printer technology still amazes me. I think it’s so neat that this kind of tech is being introduced in the doll world. The staff at MakieLabs really do deserve a pat on the back for making so many strides and improvements upon their product. Some of the early Makies are, let’s be honest, not the most adorable things around. But with any product, there’s a learning curve and these guys aren’t afraid to make the necessary changes to improve on their designs, seen most recently with the introduction of the ‘Cutie’ style faces.
I don’t think you can make a Makie and dislike it. In the end, the doll was designed by you. My Siena may look like some of the other dolls on the Makie site, but somewhere in the specs, there is a key difference, even if it’s something as subtle as the bridge of the nose or the angle of the ears.
Makies aren’t the cheapest dolls around, but from what I can tell, a lot of time and effort is put into making the whole experience (from ordering to receiving) enjoyable. The quality is there. Makies are a solid doll from head to toe. I’m very happy with my Makie. Siena turned out just as adorable as I hoped she would. I would highly consider adding a Makie to your personal collection!
As usual, I’ve put together a video review. It’s super long, but I wanted to get as much in as possible!!!
Questions? Comments? Share them below!
UPDATE 10/2016: The Makies brand seems to be dead right now. The site never re-opened and social media hasn’t been updated. As of this update, I am considering Makies out of business. Brands have been known to surprise us before and come out of oblivion, so you never know what will happen. But, for the time being, I would try to find a Makie second hand if you’re looking to add one to your collection.