Friday, February 11, 2011

New fakes or factory teething problems?

There's a new scandal sweeping though the Blythe community - the possibility of a few recent Blythe releases being copied and sold as the real thing.

For a long time now there have been Blythe clones, but up until now they have been easy to spot a mile off and have never branded themselves as Blythe. Blybe, Basaak, Blyth and CCE all look a bit like Blythe, some of them even sound a bit like Blythe. If you were a new collector you might be forgiven for accidentally buying one thinking that they were the bargain of the century only to quickly discover once you unboxed her that they were not a Takara Neo, but for the seasoned collector it's obvious at a glance from the auction pic that this are poor quality clones.

Here's my clone. She cost $25 and looks nothing like a Blythe. Excuse the terrible photo - I knew nothing about how to take a reasonable one at the time!

This is not the case with these girls. These Blythe are being sold as official Takara releases. They come in Blythe boxes complete with the printed inner and are even dressed in exactly the same way as their better quality counterparts. The difference being, they don't look right. And rather than coming from obviously dodgy sellers with barely any feedback, these Blythe are being sold by trusted Ebay sellers with hundreds of sales and 100% feedback - many of the people who have ended up with these dolls have purchased from them several times before.

There is (or was, it may have been removed now) an interesting thread on the This Is Blythe forum that had an email from one of the sellers of a suspected fake. The seller more or less says that the dolls are not fake and have come from a new factory in China that has some quality control issues rather than the usual one in Japan. Their claim is that the dolls are defective rather than counterfeit. Either way, there are some big differences, and I can completely understand why collectors are up in arms about this.

I would love to post some pics of this, but I'm not sure in terms of blogging ettiquette if it's ok to use other people's photographs from Flickr. Click the link here to go to the Fake Takara Blythe Galore photo group. It is well worth checking out. The sellers names are disclosed as well as comparison pics of some of the dolls in question. There is also a Bad Dolly Deals post here. From what I can gather the matter is still being resolved, so in all fairness it is entirely possible that the seller did not even realise that the dolls they were selling weren't right.

So far the dolls that have been discovered to have differences between them are Last Kiss, Urban Cowgirl, Simply Mango, Simply Gauva, Bohemian Peace and I've also heard of a Kiss Me True. When the doll is placed alongside the "real" version, you can see that there are quite a few tiny differences:

- Skintone differs (often darker).
- Scalp and faceplate don't match (but not always).
- Eye shape is wrong. RBLs that look like SBLs...but not quite.
- Eyechips are not quite the same shade as the original version.
- Face is strangely shaped - square rather than round around the eye/cheekbone area.
- Feet are stubby looking and square and the digits are more defined than the Takara.
- Stock is poor quality, particularly the shoes.

So keep on the lookout, join the group and check your dolls if you have any of these releases.

I will be very interested to see what comes of this - it is horrible to think that the $100+ that you spend on a doll might be going towards a worthless fake.

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