Dolly Review: Skipper Doll and Tiki Hut Playset

I should preface this review with this— I love that Mattel is still releasing Skipper dolls.  To be honest, after her initial re-release in 2010, I didn’t expect Mattel to run with her very long.  I am thrilled to still be ‘on the hunt’ for new Skipper dolls, even if they’re always paired with Chelsea (or, to purists like me, Kelly).

Skipper and her Tiki Hut

Skipper and her Tiki Hut

Tiki Hut (back)

Tiki Hut (back)

That being said, this Skipper and Tiki Hut playset is disappointing.  First, let’s talk about what you get in this set.  You get one Skipper doll and a partially put together Tiki Hut, that consists of a volleyball net and a snack stand.  Also included are accessories  like a cash register, pineapple drink dispenser and scuba equipment, amongst other things.  For the most part, this play set is together in the box.  You have to connect the volleyball net to the drink stand, but that’s about it.

Tiki Hut

Tiki Hut

The playset itself is average.  Designwise, it’s aesthetically pleasing.  The colors are nice and the design is cute and somewhat different than what Mattel has put together for the Barbie and her Sisters line in the past.  The accessories included are a pineapple drink dispenser, two fun drinks, a camera, headphones attached to an MP3 player, four pairs of glasses (ready for Barbie and her sisters), a cash register, sunscreen, scuba fins and a scuba mask.

Accessories

Accessories

Accessories

Accessories

Accessories

Accessories

Accessories

Accessories

The volleyball is attached to the volleyball net with a rope.  It could easily be untied.  The actual play set stays together well and is a nice size for those playing in rooms that may not be large enough for a dreamhouse.

chairs

chairs

You also get two chairs with this set, which would be much better utilized if this set came with a jointed doll.

Front Cardboard

Front Cardboard

The front decoration of this Tiki Hut is made of cardboard.  It has a tendency to fall out.  I wish they’d just made the front plastic, like the rest, and given us a sticker to decorate it.

Skipper

Skipper

For me, the most exciting part of this set is the Skipper doll.  This particular Skipper has a side part in her bang-less brown hair.  She has a pink highlight in her hair.  Mattel seems to be using the pink a lot recently.

Skipper

Skipper

Her face paint is pretty much as you would expect.  The main downfall of the Skipper line so far is the lack of variety all round, which has resulted in Skipper looking nearly identical in every release.  I believe Mattel is doing something different with the face make up, though I can’t really put my finger on what that difference is.  Skipper has purple eyes, pink eye shadow and brown lashes and brows.  She has very light blushing on her cheeks and a muted pink lip color.

Skipper

Skipper

This Tiki Hut Skipper’s face looks slightly inflated, which I think has something to do with her body type and the slight color difference between her head and her body.  Skippers head is slightly (and I mean slightly) lighter in skin tone than her body.

Skipper

Skipper

The body is where this doll really lets me down.  I won’t sugar coat this– her body feels cheap and hollow.  Mattel should know better by this point.  Going back through the past Skipper releases we’ve seen over the years, Skipper has had many different body types.  Some were jointed at helpful spots, like the elbows and knees.  Others were very heavy and vinyl’y.  Some were much better than others, to say the least.

Skipper (no joints)

Skipper (no joints)

Tiki Hut Skipper’s body is lacking a lot when compared to other releases.  She has jointed shoulders that will allow her arms to move up and down and tilt in other directions.  Thankfully, she wasn’t given the annoying ‘forever bent’ arms Mattel love’s to give Skipper.  She does not, however, have any elbow joints.  Her arms aren’t as light or hollow as her other limbs, but the hard plastic feel to them is disappointing.  Skipper’s torso is just as hollow as her arms.

Skipper, weird wide stance

Skipper, weird wide stance

By far the most disappointing thing about Skipper has to be her very, very hollow legs.  While her hip joints allow her to tilt into wider stances, they are extremely hollow.  If these hollow limbs allowed her to stand on her own, I would get it. But, as it stands (pun intended), she can’t stand on her own.  The cheap, hollow limbs do nothing but make this Skipper, who is otherwise a pretty example of Barbie’s little sister, feel cheap and generic.  If you spread Skipper’s legs too wide, you can see gaps between her hip joint and torso.

Skipper

Skipper

Moving to a positive, I love that Mattel stepped out of the box in terms of Skipper’s bathing suit.  She’s usually in very sporty fashions.  This time around, she’s in a cute bikini top with boy short bottoms.  The color scheme strikes me as different than the norm, too, decorated with fun flowers and stripes in teal and pink.  I love this teal color on Skipper.  She wears purple flip flops with stars on her feet.

Skipper

Skipper

Overall, I am disappointed in this release and it saddens me because I’m a Skipper collector.  I should love any and all Skipper releases!  But, really, most releases have been hindered by one or two small things.  Whether it’s the body or the lack of imagination in the overall design, many of the recent releases have been ‘okay’.  This Tiki Hut Skipper, while pretty, has one of the most disappointing bodies I’ve seen on a Barbie and Her Sisters release.  It’s a far cry from the heavy, vinyl bodies of the past.  I honestly don’t think this release would convince people to continue buying Skipper, which makes the Skipper collector in me sad.

Skipper

Skipper

Skipper

Skipper

What are your thoughts on Tiki Hut Skipper?  Do the hollow limbs on recent releases bother you? Share your thoughts below!

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November 9, 2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

5 Comments

  1. Holly replied:

    I am so glad you shared this review with us! I was just thinking about this set today. Sadly, I will admit that I’m more interested in it for the snack stand than for Skipper–I just feel like this Skipper is nothing to write home about. Generally I think Mattel is just phoning it in with her–almost all Skippers in all the new sets just look the same to me. It’s too bad.

    • The_L replied:

      I have one of the new Skippers for one and only one reason: sizing clothes for my Pullip without scratching her up with pins! I have the hula version from a couple years ago (came with Kelly/Chelsea), which has elbow joints and click-knees. She’s cute, and I like the fact that some of the new Skippers have better articulation than the ones from my childhood, but she still feels very cheap.

      I’m also liking the molded underwear on these girls. Barbie didn’t have underwear when I was a kid, so her lower area just looked really weird. It was like somebody said, “Well, we can’t have naughty parts on a kid’s toy, but let’s still give her a super-realistic butt.” The pretend panties give an extra layer of realism, while still being just enough to remind you that yes, this is just a doll for kids. But that’s just me.

  2. cainadoption replied:

    Mattel has been cheaping out on many of their fashion dolls. When I purchased their Disney princess collection for my daughter, the dolls had the same cheap hollow legs, lousy hair molded into place with styling product, and poor quality dresses. I returned them and got her the Disney store dolls for a comparable price and far superior quality. The reason Mattel has seen double digit sales decline in the Barbie line is lack on interesting/appealing design and horrible quality on many of these dolls. I am not paying $20+ for something that feels like it came from a dollar store. I don’t understand why their people can’t understand this!

    • The_L replied:

      It’s doubly weird when you consider that Mattel is also the company behind the impressively-detailed-for-the-price Monster High and Ever After High dolls. So…we can have nice playsets, good articulation, and a variety of nice faceups in the monster girls, but not in Mattel’s flagship brand?

  3. Troy replied:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the review. Other than the doll, the playset itself looks fun!

    One of my pet peeves with Mattel’s Barbie line is that so many of the dolls aren’t articulated at the elbows, wrists, and knees. After the release of the 2013 Fashionista line where the dolls had the straight or permanently bent arms, I decided not to buy them in the future. They just aren’t as fun. The only ones I will pick up now are like the Style line with the articulated joints. From what I saw on barbiecollector.com, Mattel appears to have released new un-articulated Fashionistas. (Okay, they included Lea for the first time in a long time, so I may make an exception for her.) Why they do this when the Monster High and Ever After are articulated is beyond me. Are they trying to keep Barbie more “old fashioned”? Is that a deliberate marketing decision?

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