Friday, February 25, 2011

A new face

Just a little progress report on Vanilla. She's not quite finished, and definitely not perfect (an unfortunate condtion shared by most of my customs), but I do like her more so I'm considering it a victory of sorts. I may redo her lips yet as they are not terribly symetrical. How I wish I could paint!

I decided to go with a more exagerated shape this time as my previous attempts of natural and pretty looked well, unnatural and kind of ugly which kind of defeated the purpose. At least this way it's kind of meant to be kooky so the wonky-ness is a little more ok to live with. A master customiser I aint!

I still have one pair of eye chips to change out - plum to stock blue - and a few other things that I am quite frankly a little scared about. I've never attempted a boggle or gaze correction before, mainly because it involves carving bits off of things that can't really be changed back once they are done. I established quite early on in my foray into customising that carving is not something that I am good at and therefore have resisted the urge to further mutilate any more of my dolls in that manner. Hopefully this will be ok as at least it is on the inside and (fingers crossed) undetectable!

I also have to separate her scalp from the dome to do the patching, and I can see that there is a bit of glue there, unlike my factory girls which just had the scalps sitting loose on the dome. I'm a bit worried I won't be able to get her all put back together without some kind of a gap. And also about cutting the patched pieces so they blend in with her hair. Last time I attempted a haircut it was a disaster! Perhaps I should just leave it alone for the time being...

Also on the to-do list is a new body - the flexion I've had sitting dainty and headless on the shelf for about 6 months. And possibly a new outfit. This one likes jeans, sneakers and hats. I like her, she's kinda cute :)

I am glad I decided to give this a shot - it's like getting a new girl without spending any money!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Off with her head!

I tried to love Vanilla, I really did. But in the end her shiny face and stock makeup just a little too much like Frankie the fake's got to me, so it was off with her head! I was a little bit nervous opening her up as I hadn't done an FBL before, but I needn't have worried as it was exactly the same an an RBL.

Possibly not the wisest decision to customise her, but I figured that I would have to sell her as bait anyway (even though she had no scratches or damage) as her scalp is so bad, so what the hell. I might even attempt my first boggle and gaze correction on her. I'm going to try to fill in the massive gap in her rooting with some saran as well. If it doesn't work out, I have a really beautiful Audrey scalp here as a backup plan and if I still don't like her then out she goes. As bait. It's ridiculous really. And yet another compelling reason to get your dolls from Junie Moon - I could have returned her then.

So here she is, a blank canvas - for the time being. Mwah hahahaha! Usually I find the sanded faceplates quite beautiful and delicate looking, but even with no makeup, I'm not liking the FBL so much. She looks a bit dour don't you think?

You know what though, I am really a bit miffed at Takara. I should have been able to sell her without any concern at all as she was NIB when I bought her - their quality control absolutely stinks of late! Just look at how bad this scalp is. I am so not impressed. Especially when I see the lovely thick ones that other people got.

Anyway, hopefully I will like her better with a new faceup. And perhaps a hat!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The restless collector....

I didn't think that this would happen to me quite so soon. After my disappointment with Vanilla I thought that perhaps I was done with buying new Blythe, but the last few days have seen me wistfully trolling ebay and Flickr, not to mention the trade threads on the forums. I'm thinking maybe I should take the plunge, sell one or two that don't excite me and get myself a new girl. Or two.

Right now I am thinking I'd like an Enchanted Petal or a Simply Peppermint (to be customised), or a blonde girl like Silver Snow (I have my eye on one already customised - she's very pretty. Shame I have no funds at the moment until I sell another doll!). I'd also like a Simply Sparkly Spark. She has the best hair ever right out of the box!

Meanwhile, I ordered a blonde bob wig for Vanilla and am itching to sandmatt her, change her chips and see if I like her any better. I have seen some adorable customs on Flickr, but they notably all have much better hair than mine. Maybe I could just cut my losses now, sell her on and put the funds towards Sparkly Spark. Or customise her anyway and sell her if I don't warm to her.

I never did bond with my Star Dancer and I don't have the heart to have her customised as she is in such good condition stock. It seems so silly though, as she's the most valuable Blythe in my collection and I couldn't afford to replace her. What's wrong with me? She's so pretty and I barely give her any attentio - she doesn't even have a name!

Should I hang onto her and see if she grows on me? I don't like to photograph her because of her super-shiney face and I think I'd prefer a blonde with a lighter skintone. Perhaps I'll be saying goodbye to her soon - if I can bring myself to sell her!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Living vicariously!

I love the 50s. I wish it still WAS the 50s! In my little idealised version of it, everyone is nice and mannerly and there's a lot of pie and swing dancing. I've always secretly wished that crinolines would come back into fashion - there's something so feminine and dainty about all that tulle and big full skirts.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my near 40 year old plump self might raise a few eyebrows if I were to wear a big ol' dress out to Woolworths, but I can always live vicariously through Blythe :) I've been just about sending myself blind making these petticoats but I love them! They really give a dress some umph and they are soooo fluffy and ruffly on the bottom! I originally intended on making a double layered one, just like the one I did for Miss B, but I soon realised that it would have been a petticoat of ridiculous proportions (not to mention double the amount of super-boring gathering) so I settled on the single layered one, which is more than full and fluffy enough to indulge my 50's fantasy.

They take quite a while, and are not particularly fun to make either, but I am kind on obsessed with the end result so I think I will have a few more in me before I'm done with them, I just love the extra dimension they add to a dress.

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.