It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a contemporary doll here on the blog. Today, though, I’m going to talk about not one, but two dolls I know you’ll want to hear about! Introducing The Prince/Nutcracker and The Snow Queen from My Ballerina Dolls. A year ago or so, I reviewed the first doll in the My Ballerina Dolls series, Clara Marie. I expected we’d see the Prince this year, but the Snow Queen was a happy surprise.
Let’s start off with The Snow Queen. The Snow Queen is 22″ tall and made of a vinyl/hard plastic mix. She has a unique face mold when compared to Clara. The Snow Queen has a more regal, adult expression with expressive dark brown eyes and thin pink lips on her heart shaped face.
Unlike Clara, whose expression and face mold gave off a very anime like appearance, The Snow Queen’s look is more realistic. The face paint is delicately placed with dark brows and painted lashes. Her cheeks have a light blushing of pink on them and, as I mentioned, she has thin pearly pink lips.
The Snow Queen wears a light blue tutu with a velcro back. Her ballet shoes are identical to Clara Marie’s, pink and knee high. The Snow Queen’s sleeves are a little loose, as is the outfits fit around her torso. It’s not a deal breaker for me, though, because the loose nature of it allows her many points of articulation to work well. Speaking of which, like the original doll in the line, The Snow Queen is ball jointed. Her neck moves fluidly in all directions. Her shoulders do, as well. Under her shoulder is twist and turn sort of joint, a double jointed elbow and a wrist joint.
Her hips allow for great extension forward and sideways. Her leg doesn’t extend back unless you move her torso forward. Like her arms, she has a twist and turn joint right below her hip for turn out, double jointed knees and an ankle joint.
Now, onto the most interesting part of this review and something that I think will make many of you quite happy! As expected, The Snow Queen is wigged. Under her wig are five pieces of velcro that surround her (get ready) head cap! Yep. She has a removable head cap. (Clara Marie did not.)
Now, going back to the wig for a moment. The quality is fine, but you may want to consider re-wigging her with a softer wig one day. Also, you probably don’t need five pieces of velcro to hold her wig on. It stays on fine with one well placed piece.
The picture above and below are of the Prince’s head, but The Snow Queen has a very similar design. It’s just missing the writing under the heart.
So, her head cap. I was surprised to see one, knowing that Clara Marie did not have one. To remove her head cap, you will have to align the heart and lift up. Before you get too excited, if you want to be adventurous and customize your doll’s eyes, you’ll still need to do a bit of jury rigging. The Snow Queen’s eyes are glued in. (If you do customize her eyes, I’d love to know how they turned out!)
Changing topics a bit, it’s time to talk about the Prince/Nutcracker! The Prince’s face is very anime inspired. I like it a lot! He has wide blue eyes, painted brown lashes and thick eyebrows.
My Prince’s face arrived a little scuffed due to him being packaged with his Nutcracker helmet on in the box. Speaking of the box, both of these boxes are worth saving. They’re packaged in a soft cardboard box with artistic renderings of ballerina’s. The color scheme and design are great and I definitely see them being useful for storing outfits, accessories or whatever else you might think up! (You can see the box in the video reviews.)
The Prince is packaged with his Nutcracker helmet on. Because of this, there is a heavy vinyl scent when you release him from his cardboard prison. He seems more vinyl’y than the girls. The helmet itself is pretty cool. I wouldn’t keep it on him all the time, but for active play or photos, it’s neat and surprisingly well made.
Like the girls, the Prince is wigged. His wig is fine for the price point. It’s not the softest wig, but it doesn’t have any bald spots, so for me, it is okay for now. The Prince’s wig was also held on with multiple pieces of velcro.
For ease of use, I decided to just keep one on the top of his head. Also like The Snow Queen, The prince has a removable head cap. You can’t do much with the inside of his head since the eyes are glued in, but it’s a start. As I mentioned, there is writing on the back of his head mold (and not The Snow Queen’s) that says ‘Fairy Lily’. I tried to dig up more information on that, but couldn’t find anything.
The Prince has a very velour like outfit. It doesn’t exactly make it easy to move his heavily articulated body. What I noticed immediately was that the blue used in the outfit had already started staining (lightly) his wrist joint. Keep an eye on the outfit.
It’s heavy with reds and blues, which are prone to leaving their mark unintentionally on dolls. The outfit is well thought out, though, with details that they definitely didn’t need to include. I like the idea of it, but just wish it was a different fabric. The Prince’s faux leather boots, though, I love! They’re simple, but chic.
The articulation on this male doll is the same as it is on the female dolls. All his points of articulation move fluidly. His torso joint is a little troublesome. My doll leans forward on the joint, so without clothing, it looks a little weird. However, it does seem to move decently enough for play. It just doesn’t like holding poses as well as the other joints.
Overall, I’m impressed with these two dolls from My Ballerina Dolls. Both the Snow Queen and the Prince are quality dolls for their price. Their size, face molds, points of articulation and the ease of customization (to an extent) make them definitely worth looking into!
What do you think of The Snow Queen and the Prince? Share your thoughts in the comment area!
Just a quick note to alert all My Ballerina Dolls fans that both the Prince and the Snow Queen are available for pre-order on their website. Here are pictures of the two 22″ Nutcracker themed dolls taken at New York Toy Fair.
I love the Snow Queen’s eye sculpt. Her wig also seems more manageable than Clara’s.
I still think the Prince would look great dressed as Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. This line may not be perfect, but honestly, I really, really like the look of My Ballerina Dolls. (The price doesn’t hurt, either!)
You can follow My Ballerina Dolls on Facebook here. Do you plan on pre-ordering one or both of these dolls? Share your thoughts in the comment area!
This year, the start-up came back to Toy Fair. While they didn’t have many new items with them, they did have one that I really, really want. Alongside Clara Marie and the Prince, who is due out this holiday season, was a new doll- the Snow Queen.
The Snow Queen isn’t due out until 2017. I seriously cannot wait! The sculpt for the Snow Queen is so pretty! I love the serious, thoughtful expression she has.
Also in the works is a new jacket for Clara Marie. This is an early sample, so it may change. I think the blue looks really good on her.
If you recall, my only issue with Clara was that her wig was super thin and because of the styling, there were patches where you could see the wig cap. I asked them about that and it turns out they were as surprised as we all were. They’re working on a solution to that problem. (Though, in the meantime, it’s super easy just to buy a wig if it bothers you.)
See the Snow Queen in this Toy Fair video!
What do you think of the Snow Queen? Will you be ordering the Prince when he is released? Share your thoughts in the comment area!
Remember those posts I did about a new doll line called My Ballerina Dolls? Well, I finally have one in my hands! It’s time to give her a proper review. As we learned in the interview I did with creator Tiffany Koepke, this line has deep roots in the Ballet world. Inspired to create a doll that could pose like a real ballerina, My Ballerina Dolls currently features one doll, Clara, with others to follow.
At 22″ tall, Clara is a big doll. To put this into perspective, your typical MSD ball jointed doll is 17″ tall and American Girl and Madame Alexander Play dolls are around 18″ tall. So, Clara is at least 4″ larger than you’re probably expecting. Her jointed body has an athletic build to it, with thick thighs and a defined waist. If I had to compare Clara’s proportions to anything, it would be asian ball jointed dolls. The one place where she differs from them is in her jointing. She’s not strung. Her joints are more like what you’d expect on an obitsu body.
Let’s dive in deeper to the review, shall we? What originally attracted me to this doll line in February was the anime aesthetic of the face molds. Clara looks like she could have just stepped out of a ballet themed anime with her big eyes, defined nose and chin and round cheeks. Her inset eyes are blue with an element of purple mixed in and, as opposed to being flat (like a pullip eye) have more of a cone shape to them. Originally, I thought you may be able to change the eye’s through the use of a head cap, but that seems to have not made the cut.
Clara wears very little makeup, which means she can play a number of different characters. She has a few painted lashes above her eye and pink lips. I love the fact that she doesn’t have a ton of ‘stage’ makeup on her face. She has a very clean, fresh look to her. Perfect for the role of Clara, as well as many others.
Clara wears a three-tiered lace and chiffon nightgown. It fits her really well and looks great. I love the most outer layer of the skirt, which is a lace material. The main problem I have with the outfit is that as I’ve played with her and photographed her, I’ve noticed a lot of strings hanging loose or catching on her joints. The creators will probably want to look into that. I also find the short skirt (bottom most layer of the skirt) a bit distracting. Why is it so short? Wouldn’t that hinder her movement if dancing in real life? I just don’t quite like how it cuts the outfit underneath the really pretty lace.
Moving along, let’s talk about Clara’s hair. Good news! She’s wigged with a removable wig and silicone wig cap. The thing the company needs to re-work the most for me is this stock wig. I love the direction they were going with the styling, but there are a few problems.
Her long brown hair is styled in a braid. The braid itself is done really, really well– much better than I could ever do on a doll wig. But here lies the problem. It’s really hard to style a doll wig and not see the netting under the hair. Because of her well-crafted braid, you can see the black netting used for the wig.
The wig also comes off as thin, due to the amount of hair that is styled in the braid and side bun. The bun is covered with a wire beaded bun cover. Speaking of the side bun, I had to laugh at the bobby pins used in the hair styling. They’re practically human sized hair pins.
For all the work on the wig, though, the styling isn’t bad. I just think they need to work on covering the wig netting and finding smaller, loss obnoxious bobby pins. However, because the wig is removable, you can easily switch it out with one your prefer. Her head seems to fit Pullip sized wigs (8-9) rather well, some with and some without the silicone wig cap. (If you can think of other good sizes for her, let me know in the comment area!)
Jointing; The fun part and probably the most important part of this review. How is she jointed? Well, here’s a quick run down. First off, it’s important to note that she’s made of a mixture of vinyl and hard plastic. This mixture gives her a uniqueness to her skin not seen in a lot of play dolls.
As I mentioned earlier, Clara isn’t strung. She has more of an obitu’ish body. Clara has a head that will move fluidly in all directions. This is super important, as a ballerina would have to move her head in specific directions for different ballet positions. Her head stays in those positions really well.
Her torso has two important joints– her waist joint and a bust joint. My doll’s bust seems to sit forward on the body, leaving a weird gap when she stands. That being said, most likely clothing will cover this, so it’s not a huge deal. These joints allow Clara to bend forward and backward, as well as twist slightly.
Her arms have a number of joints, as well. She has a shoulder joint that moves freely in all directions, then a joint in her upper arm that turns. Her elbows are double jointed and will bend up and down. Clara’s wrist is jointed, as well, but in a slightly different way than her shoulder. Her wrist will tilt up and down, but can’t swivel in any direction. In order to have her palm face in a different direction, for example, you have to turn the joint in her upper arm, so you can then manipulate the wrist joint and get it in the position you need it in. It sounds confusing and I can’t even tell you the number of times I tried to swivel the wrist joint while posing her, but you eventually get used to it. Ideally, I think the company should look into making the wrist joint a little easier to adjust, without having to move the upper arm joint.
While Clara’s hip joint seems to hinder her doing an arabesque, her hip joint allows her leg to go very high up when in the forward and sideways positions. I had trouble getting Clara’s leg to go back farther than a tendu. I tried her in various ‘split’ positions and ‘warm up’ poses, to see what Clara could do and I was pleasantly surprised. She can’t do a complete split in either direction, but she gets so close!
Clara has a hip joint that turns, located in her upper thigh, double jointed knees and an ankle joint. Her knee and ankle joints move up and down, but don’t tilt. The joint in her upper thigh is super important in posing Clara in fun poses. It takes a while to figure out how to manipulate it, but eventually you’ll get the gist. For example, for Clara to bring her toes to her knee (like she’s ready to pirouette), you have to first make sure she’s in a ‘turn out’ position by using the thigh joint. I am probably making this out to be super complicated, but really, it’s not. Like the wrist joint, I do think it would have been nice to be able to turn her toes out just through the ankle joint, but it works as is, too.
Here are some images of Clara in first, second and fifth position. She balanced in all of them, even fifth.
One of my favorite things about Clara are her ballet slippers. I love the nearly knee high pink satin ‘ballet boots’. They look super cool. (I want a pair!) There’s a lot of ribbon used to lace these at the moment, which means they’re easy to lace up and tie.
Since Clara is a character in the Nutcracker, it would be wrong for her not to come with her own little Nutcracker. This set comes with a wooden Nutcracker. He’s put together well. While he doesn’t have a nutcracker mouth (that moves), he looks great with Clara!
Overall, I’m impressed with My Ballerina Dolls. Their ability to pose is great, especially in regards to ballet poses. I can tell a lot of thought was put into that aspect of this line.
I am also impressed with the face mold. I love the anime aesthetic. It’s not something you see every day on American play dolls. It’s an inviting change. Another huge perk for me is that I can change Clara’s wig. It’s always fun when you can easily customize a doll.
Watch the video review here. It’s a little long, but I wanted to cover everything.
I really hope this company succeeds and lasts for a long, long time. I’m a fan and will definitely be keeping an eye out for The Prince. You can order your own Clara on the companies website. Visit my Flickr for more images. What do you think of My Ballerina Dolls Clara? Do you have any other questions? Share your thoughts below.
*This product was received for a fair and honest review. All opinions stated are my own.
Back in February, I stumbled upon a Toy Fair booth that featured some very pretty Nutcracker themed dolls, aptly named My Ballerina Dolls. I’ve been following the line ever since. Recently, I reached out to Tiffany Koepke, one of the people behind this new line. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. (For those that need a reminder of what was on display at Toy Fair, check out my post on My Ballerina Dolls and/or the video below.)
Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired My Ballerina Dolls?
A: I am a professional ballerina and principal dancer with the San Diego Ballet Company. I’ve been dancing since I could walk, so it has always been a huge part of my life. From my ballet experience came the inspiration to create ballerina dolls. I wanted to share my world with children everywhere and also educate them on the stories I know from the stage.
Q: How long has this line, My Ballerina Dolls, been in the works? Are you excited that they are about to debut?
A: We have had the idea for some time and honestly never thought My Ballerina Dolls would ever come to existence! We have worked for two years perfecting the Clara Marie and Nutcracker doll. We strived to master the true look of a ballerina and create dolls that were quite ethereal. We are thrilled to have them on the market and to share them with children. And adults too!
Q: What are My Ballerina Dolls?
A: These gorgeous dolls stand tall at 22 inches. They are ball jointed and able to be posed in all the classical ballet positions. The facial features are more whimsical and fairy like than any doll I have seen. Their clothes were designed with such detail and quality that they take after a true ballet costume.
Q: What makes My Ballerina Dolls different from other dolls currently on the market?
A: They are a unique size, therefore they’re very eye catching. It is special that they can move in all the ballet positions and can be an educational tool, as well. Introducing children to french ballet terms and spelling of words is a definite bonus! Also, an illustrated book of our version of The Nutcracker is offered. Kids can listen to the storybook while holding their very own ballerina doll.
Q: I’m assuming My Ballerina Dolls are wigged. Is the wig removable or glued on? Do these dolls have a removable head cap underneath the wig to allow you to change their eyes?
A: Yes, the dolls are wigged. They are attached with a velcro piece and can easily be changed out. They do have a head cap if someone did so choose to change the eye color. EDITORS NOTE: The doll I received has a silicone wig cap (not velcro) under the wig. Also, there is no head cap that I see, so you’d probably have to really mess with the head if you want to change the eyes. This interview was posted before the line was released, so they must have changed their minds since answering the Q/A.
Q: I don’t see the Prince on your website yet. When should we expect to see him?
A: Not yet! We will be debuting the handsome Prince/Nutcracker in the beginning of 2016!! The anticipation will be something for us all to look forward to.
Q: Do you see these as ‘playline’ dolls or ‘collector’ dolls? What is the suggested age range on these dolls?
A: These are created as a play toy doll for children of all ages. They are so lovely in their package that they would also make wonderful collectors items; Great for all!!!
Q: You are currently focusing on the Nutcracker. Do you think you’ll be releasing dolls based on other ballets in the future? What drew you to releasing Nutcracker themed dolls as your first line?
A: Yes! We intend to go through all the classic ballet stories, so there is much more to look forward to in the future. Everybody is familiar with the Nutcracker, especially at Christmas time. We wanted to start with a story that warms the hearts of children and would be a cherished series to keep for a lifetime.
Q: What can we look forward to in the future?
A: A Party Dress with hairpiece and the book are currently available. We will be introducing two new characters from The Nutcracker every season. The costumes will only get more extravagant. In the near future, it will be possible to own every doll in the Nutcracker book. It’s very exciting!
Q: Where can collectors purchase My Ballerina Dolls and/or find out more information on the line?
A: They can be purchased on our website, www.MyBallerinaDolls.com
Now that you know a little about the line, here’s some amazing news! Use coupon code ‘Clara30’ between August 11-31, 2015 and you’ll receive 30% off and free shipping. You only have three weeks to take advantage of this, so I suggest checking out the website if you’re interested in saving a few dollars on Clara.
I’d like to thank Tiffany for taking the time to answer my questions. Now, it’s your turn to comment. What do you think of this line? Are you excited about My Ballerina Dolls? Do you plan on taking advantage of the discount code? Share your thoughts in the comment area.