Sunday, July 26, 2015

Introducing My First Dollmore Dolls

Admit it.  You had me pegged for a diehard Iplehouse and FairyLand fanatic.  And you'd be right, up to a point.   The fact is I do occasionally dip a toe into other waters, such as Aileen Doll, Alchemic Labo, ArtBimong, Doll Chateau, Luts and Soom, to name those currently in my collection.  Those that have come and gone over the years include Bambicrony, Batchix, Blue Fairy, Dream of Doll, Elfdoll, Kaye Wiggs, Limhwa, Oasis Doll, Only Doll, Planetdoll, Rosette, SoulDoll, Supia, UniDoll and a few others.  That said, it should surprise no one that I have ventured into another doll company:  Dollmore.  Because sometimes a collection needs to be spiced up with something new.

I have admired Dollmore dolls for years without buying one.  This year after re-homing several dolls I ordered three:  a Ballerina Kid Pirouette Zinna, a Judith Girl Bitter Biscuit Zinna, and a Judith Girl Maxima Suntan Zinna (Black).  Why three?  It has everything to do with how Dollmore markets these doll lines.  Pirouette Zinna is a limited edition of 15 dolls, Bitter Biscuit Zinna is a limited edition of 20 dolls and Maxima Suntan Zinna (Black) is a limited edition of 10 dolls.  All three have the same Zinna head sculpt.  What's different is makeup, eye color, wig, costume and in one case resin color.  This marketing strategy induces panic buying.  You think: Oh my gosh, there are only 10 of this doll in the entire world!  If I don't buy it now I'll never get another chance.  Actually, there is a slim chance you might eventually find one on the secondary market, but do you really want to risk it?  Panic!  Panic!  Buy!  Buy!

This week the first two dolls shipped.  Talk about Christmas in July!  Pirouette was the first to arrive.  The box included a second outfit I had ordered, with a pair of black ballet shoes as an alternative to the red included in her default outfit, panties (because I didn't realize she would arrive wearing some), and a pair of flat feet for when I don't want her standing on pointe.  I did not order flat shoes, assuming that something in my collection of doll shoes would fit.  Dollmore added free gifts:  postcards, a sticker, two key chains and a short white dress with lace sleeves.

Dollmore's resin is lovely and quite pale.  It is probably closest to Iplehouse's normal resin, although a bit whiter and pinker.  Pirouette's eye makeup is bolder than it appears on either her sales page or my photos.  With green eye shadow shading to yellow under the eyes, it looks like she is recovering from a pair of shiners.  I hope some of it will fade over time.  If not, I'm tempted to tinker with her faceup a bit to minimize the color.

Pirouette's body is the basic Kid with special ballet feet and expressive hands.  She has a special ball joint that allows her to extend her legs straight out both front and back.  I've been looking for years for a doll that can do that!  The joint is a little fiddly to work with, so I'll need to practice easing her into different positions.  She cannot stand on her own and so Dollmore included a stand.  Of course I received the one doll stand in a million whose top piece won't fit into the bottom piece.  The bottom piece is simply too narrow at the neck.  None of the tops from my other doll stands fit into it either.  For now she is using another stand until I find one I like better.

Her default wig needs to be styled, so for the time being she is wearing a wig from my collection.  Not being a hair stylist, I have only a vague idea how to go about it.  Dollmore's wig has two long braids.  They need to be curled or twisted into two buns on either side of her head.  It sounds easy, but the hair is slippery and I don't have doll-sized hair pins.  No matter which way I turn the braids, I still see the black rubber bands holding them together, along with the tufts at the ends.  I may have to sew it together.

Bitter Biscuit Zinna arrived two days after Pirouette Zinna.  Like Pirouette she came bearing gifts:  the black and white carrier bag visible in the bottom of the above photo, as well as a pair of jeans and a faux sheepskin jacket with matching mittens.  There were postcards, a sticker and two more key chains.  I didn't buy her any additional clothing, figuring that with her shape there would be clothes in my stash that would fit.  It doesn't help that Dollmore sells only one additional outfit sized for Judith Girls.  I'll try Pirouette's dress on her to see if Kid clothing is a possibility.  I wouldn't think so, given her cleavage, but you never know.

Unlike companies such as FairyLand and Iplehouse that package their dolls into a big block of foam with the doll's shape cut out of it, Dollmore packages dolls between two pillows.  The doll comes very well protected, wrapped in two layers of bubble wrap, with the joints additionally wrapped in pieces of thin foam.  Lots and lots of tape binds all those layers together.  And as if the wrappings and the pillows were not enough padding, the costume (with layers and layers of tulle) was also laid in the box.

Bitter Biscuit Zinna surpassed expectations.  I couldn't be more pleased with her glamorous faceup, particularly the smoky eyes.  I rarely like a doll's default eyes enough to keep them.  These two are keepers.  It's interesting that the Kid has smaller irises than the Judith.  Normally, large irises appear more childlike and small irises more adult.  The larger irises here give Bitter Biscuit a languid look totally in keeping with her outfit.

Judging by the photos on her sales page I knew the costume would be voluminous.  It takes up so much space that she occupies more than half the American Girl sofa that usually seats three U-noa girls.  Even so, she may end up sitting more often than standing.  The way her skirts are gathered at the bottom makes it awkward getting a hand underneath to fit her to a doll stand. But who am I to complain, when she sits so gracefully?  Her shoes are good quality.  Whereas some doll shoes are made of imitation leather, these are the real thing.  It's such a soft leather, however, that I had difficulty putting the straps through the buckles. 

The Judith Girl body is both slimmer and more voluptuous than the Kid body.  I haven't tried other clothes on her yet--I want to enjoy this outfit for a while--but I'm hoping she will fit into things styled for slim minis like Narae and U-noa.  It would have been convenient if both Dollmore girls could wear Iplehouse JID clothing, but the items I tried on Pirouette were all too big.

I have named Pirouette Raissa and Bitter Biscuit Oksana.  They are sisters.  Oksana, who is the eldest, is putting younger sister Raissa through ballet school.  I haven't decided for sure, but Oksana may be an actress.  Because without making this a period piece, how else would I explain those fashions!

Still to come is Judith Girl Maxima Suntan Zinna (Black).  I ordered her a full month after the others, so I don't expect to see her much before the end of August.  As far as I can tell, the only difference between Suntan Zinna (Black) and Suntan Zinna (Silver) is the color and style of the wig. I liked them both.  I figure I can always buy the other wig by itself later.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Steaming Through Time - Chapter 7

When we left our story last week, little Daphne had discovered her pet dragon imprisoned in the ship's specimen cage.  She was about to open the door and let Tweazel out.

Daphne:  I'd better not.  Daniel would never forgive me.  But you know what?  You can have my blanket.  It should be more comfortable than straw.

She passes the blanket through the bars of the cage.  Tweazel, who realizes that she is not going to open the door after all, doesn't trust the blanket.  What if it's another trick?
Daphne:  It's okay, Tweazel.  You can make your nest in it.
Tweazel (thinks to himself):  Hmm, smells like small human.  Otherwise it's not so bad.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Green has made another discovery.  This time it's a fellow Time Traveler.
Daniel:  Ned!  My old friend.  Well met.  But how on earth did you get here?  We're marooned, or so I thought.

Ned:  The Brotherhood has been looking for you.  Anytime a ship disappears from their scopes is cause for alarm.  Help me out of this backpack, will you, Lincoln?

Lincoln:  Gladly, sir.  And if I may say so, it's wonderful to see you again.

Ned:  Same here, Lieutenant.
Daniel:  Sit.  Please.  We have much to discuss.  How did you find us?  I was beginning to wonder if we had even docked at a teleportal.  I feared we had simply dropped into the middle of nowhere. 
Ned:  You're close enough to a portal that the Brotherhood would pick up the occasional blip.  They asked for a volunteer to go through the portal and try to find you.  Of course, I made sure they chose me.

Lincoln:  And don't forget, Captain, that I was able to leave the ship and explore the surrounding town.

Daniel:  Aye, but you didn't mention sensing a portal nearby, did you?

Lincoln:  That's because I didn't sense one.

Ned:  So, what appears to be the problem?

Daniel:  Two problems, actually.  One, we have a stowaway.  Two, he has rendered the control panel useless.  I've spent hours trying to reconfigure the panel, so far without any luck.
Ned:  A stowaway?  A saboteur?  Is he at large or have you contained him?

Daniel:  We've just returned from containing him.  Would you like to have a look?

Ned:  Need you ask?
Daniel:  Here he is.  Daphne has named him Tweazel.  She would like to make a pet of him.

Ned:  A blue horned dragon.  Not what came to my mind when you said "stowaway."  Hello, Daphne.

Daniel:  You remember Ned, don't you Daphne?

Daphne:  Hello.  You're not going to take Tweazel away, are you?  He's not a spaceman.

Ned:  Spaceman?

Daphne:  Daniel put him in the spaceman cage, but he's not a spaceman.  He's a baby dragon.

Ned:  I think your brother might have said "specimen" cage, Daphne.  It's a cage for interesting animals that we pick up on our travels.  So we can take them back and study them.

Daniel:  I don't particularly want to study him.  I merely want to get my ship moving again.
Ned:  Well, now that I'm here, let's put our heads together and see if we can sort it out.  I love a good puzzle.

To be continued...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Steaming Through Time - Chapter 6

Lincoln Green returns from the pantry with a box of sweet things with which to lure Tweazel.
Lincoln:  How do you want me to set these out, Captain?

Daniel:  Put an item or two in the cage and let him find them.  And lay a trail with one item every few feet. That should distract him from noticing where the sweets lead.
Lincoln:  Poor little guy.  I hate doing this.

Daniel:  It's necessary.  I can't fix the control panel if he's at liberty.  He's underfoot and he's attracted to mechanical parts.
Lincoln notices that Daniel does not ask, "What else can I do?"  The matter obviously is not open to discussion.

At last the trap is laid.  Presumably the smell of sugar will draw the dragon near.  Within a few minutes Tweazel appears in the doorway.
Tweazel:  Mmmmmm?
Lincoln (in a whisper):  He sees it.

Daniel:  Hush, now.
Tweazel:  Nom.  Nom.  Nom.
Tweazel tastes one delight and shuffles it along to the next.  He appears to assess the desirability of both treats with an eye on the third, then shuffles both treats forward.  If he keeps this up he'll have a pile of desserts to choose from when he reaches the cage.
The little dragon comes eyeball-to-eyeball with a green iced cupcake.  So engrossed is he that he does not hear Lincoln tiptoe across the room and begin to swing the cage door shut.  The well-oiled hinges make no sound.
 Lincoln:  Just so you know, this gives me no pleasure, Tweazel.
Tweazel:  R-O-O-A-A-A-R-R!
Daniel and Lincoln leave the little dragon to cry in solitude.  He is not alone for long.
Daphne:  Tweazel!  How did you get in here?  Did Daniel do this to you?
Daphne:  I wonder what would happen if I open the door?

To be continued...

NOTICE:  No dragons were harmed in the production of this photo story.  Here Tweazel and a couple of extras relax between takes.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Steaming Through Time - Chapter 5

When we last left our story, Captain Daniel was working to restore the ship's control panel, all the while trying to keep an eye on Tweazel, whose interest in the project seems a bit...shall we say...predatory?

The little dragon has crossed the room and hoisted himself into the chair Daniel vacated.  If only he could tell us what he's thinking.  On the other hand, maybe we don't want to know...
Tweazel:  Mmmmmmm?  Mmmmmmm...
Daniel:  What are you up to?  Stay out of there.
Tweazel:  Mmmmmmm!
The little dragon lands with a thump.  He roots around at the bottom of the drawer and finds some curly wire to chew on.

Tweazel:  Nom.  Nom.  Nom.
Daniel:  You didn't.
Daniel:  Give it to me.  Give.  It.  To.  Me.

Tweazel won't let go.  After a few moments thought, Daniel goes off in search of Lincoln Green and leads the way down to the cargo bay.
Lincoln:  Are you sure this is a good idea, Sir?  He's going to be awfully upset.  Not to mention Daphne, when she finds out.

Daniel:  He gets into everything.  I can't work with him underfoot.  This will assure he stays out of trouble.
Lincoln:  If you say so.

Daniel:  What?  The specimen cage is perfect.  We weren't scheduled to pick up live specimens this trip anyway.  We might as well put it to use.

Lincoln:  Good luck getting him inside.

Daniel:  I don't see a problem.  He loves sweets.  Simply strew the path with sweet things and he'll walk right into it.

Lincoln:  Daphne is not going to like this.

Daniel:  You know, Lincoln, I think you are the one who doesn't like this.  Now go fetch the bait.  That's an order, Mr. Green.

Lincoln:  Aye aye, Captain.

To be continued...