Collection Close Up: POG Fun Barbie (1995)

A few weekends ago, we stopped by an antique mall. In one of the small rental booths, there were some pink box Barbie’s. One of those Barbie’s was the officially licensed POG Fun Barbie, released in 1995. For the readers who grew up in the 90’s, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say POG. The younger crowd, however, may be scratching their heads. Here’s a quick rundown on the game that took over the nation (and the world) in the early 90’s.

POGs Barbie

The name POGs originated from a fruit beverage sold in Hawaii that contained three fruits: Passion Fruit, Orange and Guava. Keep the first letter of each fruit and you get POG. The drinks had bottle caps that people would use to play Milk Caps, a popular game that originated in Maui, Hawaii sometime in the 1920’s. The game was popular enough that it spawned milk cap collectors, but wasn’t a huge game outside of the island state.

POGs Barbie

Fast forward to 1991, when a school teacher in Oahu, Hawaii decided to use POGs to help her kids grasp math, as well as give them a non-violent recess activity. The game caught on quickly and gained popularity again in Hawaii, eventually spreading to the pacific coast of North America. From there, it took over the entire nation. Companies used POGs to advertise their businesses, movies and television shows made POGs for their characters, even events like the OJ Simpson trial warranted POGs with key phrases from the case and/or the murder weapons! You name it, there’s probably a POG for it.

Game play is simple. You stack POGs face down in a pile. From there, you take a slammer, a thicker, heavier POG shaped circle, and ‘slam’ it into the pile. Whatever POGs land face up are yours. The winner has the most POGs at the end of the game. And that’s it! That’s the game that swept the nation from 1992 to the late 90’s. It was, essentially, the Pokemon Go of the 90’s, though Pokemon Go’s popularity died down much quicker than the POG craze.

POGs Barbie

So, moving to Mattel, in 1995, they released the officially licensed POG Fun Barbie, under the approval of the World POG Federation. A pink box Barbie, she has all the markings of a doll made in the 90’s. Meaning, she has a nice quality body with solid (not hollow feeling) limbs, a soft head of nicely rooted (and crimped) blonde hair and a pretty, non-inflated face. I love pink box Barbie faces. They look animated, with large, round eyes. I like the make up choices they made here with POG Fun Barbie, too. It’s pretty basic, with blue mascara and shimmery pink eye shadow. Best of all, Barbie looks friendly, which can’t be said about all the current releases.

POGs Barbie

She wears a colorful crop top with alternating, brightly colored stripes. Of course, there’s a Barbie decal on her shirt. She wears a polka dot skirt/striped shorts combo and pink shoes. To complete the look, Mattel gave Barbie POG inspired earrings, a pink ring and a headband that matches her polka dot skirt. Barbie comes with one special slammer and five cardboard POGs. Her plastic purse holds these POGs perfectly!

POGs Barbie

I think POG Fun Barbie is a cute looking pink box doll. Do you have this Barbie? Did you get sucked into the POG craze? Share your thoughts below!

July 7, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Collection Close Up: Pinky Street (Pinky ST)

I picked up my first Pinky Street (or Pinky ST, as I’ll refer to them from here on) figure at Anime Central, sometime in the early 2000’s. Pinky ST figures, roughly 4″ tall and made of PET plastic, were invented by BABYSue and produced by the VANCE PROJECT. They’re 1:18th in scale.

Pinky: ST

Pinky: ST

Pinky ST’s made their debut in 2003 with three figures: Yoshiko, Sue and Tamae. Each were designed with interchangeable outfits in mind. For example, the head, hair pieces (like pony tails), tops and bottoms of Pinky’s come off so you can mix and match the different character’s looks.

Pinky:ST

Pinky: ST

My first Pinky ST was Moe, from series 2 (below), which was released in 2003. Moe came dressed in her schoolgirl outfit and an extra cheerleader outfit. I liked her long brown hair and purple eyes. For years after, I made it my goal to find a new Pinky ST at every anime con I went to and for a while, it was pretty easy to do.

Pinky:ST

IMG_2008

There were a number of different Pinky ST releases over the years, including anime collaborations. Pinky:cos releases covered a wide selection of anime titles, including: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, Gunslinger Girl, Monster Hunter, Kobato, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Sky Crawlers and my personal favorite, Fruits Basket.

Pinky: ST

There were other anime releases besides those mentioned, as well, but I can’t find a good reference guide for Pinky ST releases, at the moment. Besides basic figures, they also released Pinky ST’s that came equipped with their very own car or scooter.

Pinky:ST

IMG_2016

Pinky ST’s were produced pretty steadily until their eventual demise, coming in batches of two or three, with limited releases here and there. The later series, series 8 through 11, saw some changes. The packaging was changed to smaller, rounder blister packs and the girls were packaged without a second body.

Pinky:ST

Pinky St figures stopped production around 2011. They went out with little more than a whimper. News on releases slowed to a halt and the company just continued on. As far as I know, there wasn’t a formal announcement; the line just sort of died. Up until earlier this year, the Pinky Street Forum was a great place for people to find out about the line, but, alas, it seems to have closed up shop as of Feb 2017.

Pinky:ST

The forum was pretty active during the Pinky ST heyday, but, like many forums that lost their doll/toy line, fizzled out towards the end. While it was popular, the forum was a great place for information, photos and buying/selling. I wish it had stayed up, for the information alone, but I’m sure it was costing someone money and understand why they’d let it go.

Pinky: ST

Like other dolls and figures, there’s some amazingly adorable customs floating around the web, like these Monster High inspired Pinky ST’s or these My Little Pony Pinky’s!

Pinky: ST

One word of warning. Pinky ST’s have a tendency to fall over. Over the years, the torso’s have a habit of tipping backwards. If you don’t care to change their look, you may want to consider gluing them together or putting putty inside the torso and leg connector. I, personally, haven’t tried this, but I don’t see why this wouldn’t work. You’ll find this also happens with the arms, hair pieces and heads of certain Pinky ST’s, as well. Some of my girls fall apart really easily, while others are still holding strong.

Pinky: ST

Pinky: ST

You can still find Pinky ST figures pretty easily on eBay, so if this post tempted you, go there to check out some of the other releases. It’s been years since I’ve seen them at an anime or comic on, so online is your best bet at finding these cuties. My collection is rather small compared to everything that was released over the 8 years they were produced. Do you own any Pinky ST’s? What are your thoughts on this line? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

June 30, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 15 comments.

Collection Close Up: Sasha Dolls

I received my first two Sasha dolls a few years ago for Christmas: Caleb, a dark skinned boy, and Gregor, a tan brunette boy. Since then, I’ve gathered five more (two babies, two girls, and a bald Gregor). Seven Sasha’s sounds like a lot, until you see my mother’s collection. She has, at least, double the amount of dolls I have. Sasha dolls have been a favorite of hers since she was young and found her first one, a Gregor, for under $20.00, at a store that was going out of business.  Both collections together make for quite a few Sasha dolls!

Sasha Dolls

Sasha dolls, produced from the 1940’s through 1986 (with a re-launch in the mid 1990’s) are unique looking when compared to other doll lines. Most noticeable are their unique faces. It was important to creator Sasha Morgenthaler that her dolls have a neutral expression. According to reference book “Sasha Dolls: A History“, Sasha, who lived in Switzerland during World War II, Sasha thought that “No grotesque caricature can awaken a child’s true feelings. A piece of wood, barely carved, is far superior to a conventional doll with an exaggerated smile.” It makes sense in the context of the times. Children going through Switzerland during the war may not have wanted a doll that was always smiling, always happy.

Sasha Dolls

Interesting, as well, are that Sasha dolls are asymmetric. Arms and legs are not one uniformed length. Their eyes are also not completely even. She designed her dolls this way, because we ourselves are not symmetrical. This asymmetry also helps the dolls do something not all doll lines can– stand on their head! If strung properly, these boys and girls should be able to stand on their heads without falling. It’s neat to see.

Sasha Dolls

Sasha Morgenthaler, as a person, was kind of incredible. While reading about her in “Sasha Dolls: A History”, it’s clear that she was powerful in spirit. I’m not going to go into her entire history in his post, but I encourage you to read the book mentioned above. Sasha wore many different hats in life, including wife, mother, midwife and artist. At one point during World War II, she even started a woman’s auxiliary group that taught woman how to help the men coming back from the war.

Sasha Dolls

One of Sasha’s dreams was to create an affordable, durable doll. It took many experiments with different materials before she found one that fit her criteria. For that reason, you may see Sasha dolls made of various materials. The early dolls are harder to find, because the material Sasha used was more fragile than the vinyl she eventually created and used for the doll line.

Sasha Dolls

Many different companies made Sasha dolls, including Gotz and Trendon. The history of Sasha doll production is complicated and filled with legal drama. The book, “Sasha Dolls: A History” goes through all of this. The dolls in this post are all from the England base company, Trendon.

Sasha Dolls

Sasha dolls can vary in size. They started at 15″ and grew as the molds outstretched to be 16″ or 17″ tall towards the end of the run. You can see that in the picture below, where Caleb (right) looks smaller than Gregor (left).

Sasha Dolls

For those who like video presentations, below is a video Barbee0913 and I shot talking about Sasha dolls. In the video, my mom shares a few other facts about Sasha and her dolls. There’s also a bunch of great links in the video description to books and websites that will help you learn more about this unique line.

Sasha Dolls

Sasha Dolls

Sasha Dolls

Sasha Dolls
Do you have any Sasha dolls? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comment area!

May 9, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 19 comments.

Introducing Boy Story

Note: Originally, there were pictures in this review. However, they were hosted on Photobucket. I will try to reproduce them at a later time.

Boy Story is a line of 18″ boy dolls. They have multiple points of articulation. Boy Story’s Action Dolls have ball joints at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip and knee. Action Dolls come with a certificate of authenticity. They come dressed in some pretty nice looking fashions, which vary depending on your doll, but include underwear, a shirt, a second layer, jeans and shoes. Action dolls have a vinyl head and limbs that are connected to a cloth body. They use ball joints, but aren’t strung, which may eliminate problems with loose limbs after years of active play.

They have molded hair and inset eyes. Currently, there are two styles available: Mason, caucasian, and Billy, black/AA. Both have unique face molds and outfits. They retail for $99.00 or $115.00 if you want the doll to come with a book starring the character Mason or Billy. Baseball loving military kid Aspen and Asian character Kenji are two other dolls we may be seeing in the future.

There are three things I really like about this line. First, I love the ball joints, which offer 11 points of articulation. I’ll admit, the knee joint looks really strange to me, but overall, they look like they’ll allow the doll to pose well.

Second, I like the outfits. There are so many pieces to them and they look authentically male. My problem with some male 18″ doll fashions (fashions for most of the dolls on the market, 18″ or otherwise) are that they often times look too girly. Mason’s button down the front shirt and Billy’s striped hoodie look interesting and authentic. The doll’s shoes look pretty nice, as well! Third, I love the inset eyes and unique face sculpts. Boy Story did a good job crafting the faces of their dolls.

Boy Story launched their Action Dolls in 2016 after a Kickstarter campaign that saw over $28,000 from 238 backers. The brainchild of sisters Katie and Kristen, the ball was set in motion when Katie, pregnant with her second child, went in search of a doll to give her oldest son to help introduce the idea of having a new sibling. When she couldn’t find anything that fit her criteria, she and her sister decided to create their own brand in this niche market.

On April 13th, 2016, the idea found its way to Kickstarter, got funded and the momentum hasn’t died down since! Just this February, the line found its way into the Launchpad, a section of New York Toy Fair that focused on new and exciting brands that were making their debut appearance at the trade show.

Not attending New York Toy Fair this year, I missed my chance at seeing these dolls in person, so my thoughts, at the moment, are based on the promo shots. I’d love to see what these guys look like against other 18″ doll brands. In the promo photos, for example, the dolls look like they are very big, in terms of proportions. It would be interesting to see how they measure up against other dolls of this size.

To keep track of the company, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter! What do you think of Boy Story? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

February 26, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 11 comments.

Collection Close Up: Polly Pocket, Part 1

Polly Pockets made their debut on toy shelves in 1989. The idea came about six years prior, in 1983, when inventor Chris Wiggs sought out to create a pocket friendly doll house for his daughter. He took a compact and created a tiny little doll house inside, complete with a doll. The idea eventually found its way to Bluebird Toys, who produced them until 1998.  I was the perfect age to really embrace the world of Polly Pocket and because of that, I have quite a few. This post is one of a few I’ll be doing showcasing my Polly Pocket collection.

Calling all riders! The Wayback Machine is ready to go! Where to, you ask? 1989! We’ll start our look back at Polly Pocket with Polly’s Flat. Polly’s Flat is housed in a circular purple compact. In later years, Polly’s compacts changed from being shapes to more realistic looking houses. However, in 1989, all of the Polly Pocket buildings were hidden within colorful compacts. Polly’s Flat included two figures: Polly and Tina (blonde with pig-tails).

Polly Pockets

Polly’s Flat includes a kitchen, living room, bedroom, balcony and bathroom.

Polly Pockets

Polly Pockets

Next on our tour is Midge’s Play School. Midge’s Play School is in a square yellow compact. This was also released in an orange compact with different interior colors. This set comes with two figures: Midge and a baby.

Polly Pockets

Midge’s Play School has a front yard filled with playground equipment, like a slide and sand area, a classroom,nursery, bedroom and bathroom.

Polly Pockets

Polly Pockets

Before we head back to 2017, we have one more stop, Buttons’ Animal Hospital. Buttons’ Animal Hospital comes with three figures: Buttons, a dog and a cat.

Polly Pockets

Buttons’ Animal Hospital has waiting room, kennel, front desk, exam room and a living space for Buttons.

Polly Pockets

Polly Pockets

Watch the video here:

Keep your arms and legs in the machine as we depart 1989 and return to the present! It may be a little bumpy, since we’re going forward over 20 years. (Yes, Polly Pocket is that old.) And we’re back!

The Wayback Machine needs a bit of a rest before our next trip into Polly Pocket history, so in the meantime, why not share some of your own Polly Pocket memories! Do you have a favorite of the three sets shown in this post or a favorite in general? Let me know!

February 20, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

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