Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Killer Style Monsters

A few months ago I ordered two Monster High dolls from Amazon. Turns out I overpaid for one but got a good deal on the other (and both qualified for free shipping, a very good thing).

The monster I wanted more than anything was Dawn of the Dance Clawdeen Wolf. I love everything about her, especially her rave green hair and tights. At the time she was only $21, which seemed like a great deal because the DotD dolls are no longer in stores around here. Her price has since gone up to $35 on Amazon but it could go down if a large number are made available again.

Eventually I'll probably wash the shellac out of her hair

The other monster goes by different names because Mattel didn't give her line a special descriptive name. On Amazon she's listed as "Classrooms Draculaura." According to this Wikia entry, Amazon sellers mistakenly thought she was part of the Classroom line. This is odd because she doesn't come with a locker or classroom accessories. The boxes are also completely different. I've seen her called "Killer Style Draculaura" by fans and that name at least makes some sense so it's what I'll use.

I resisted the classic shhh! pose

What is she exactly? Essentially she's a Gloom Beach Draculaura dressed up in a modified version of her Day at the Maul outfit. (Day at the Maul is a clothing pack featuring two outfits, one for Draculaura and one for Frankie Stein, and some accesories for their friend Clawdeen.) A few months ago I paid $27 on Amazon for this Draculaura and now she's $18. I hate it when that happens!

The other half of the Killer Style line is Frankie Stein. She also has Gloom Beach face paint (but with a new hairstyle) and like Draculaura she's wearing a modified version of her Day at the Maul outfit. I had no plans to order her off Amazon (where she's listed as "Classrooms Frankie Stein," so weird!!) but I saw her at Fred Meyer on Sunday for $15 and decided it'd be nice to have a matching set of the two Killer Style dolls. I'd much rather buy a doll in person due to the messy facepaint and bad hair these monsters are often plagued with. It's hard enough just being a monster, get with the program Mattel!

Love the neck bolts

The Killer Style dolls and Day at the Maul clothing pack were released a month apart, in June and July 2011. It's not clear why the Killer Style outfits are very similar but not exactly the same as the two outfits in the Day at the Maul set.

Let's be honest, it was likely a scheme to get more money out of fans who neeeeeed both versions of the outfits. I think they're too similar so I won't buy the DatM fashion pack. It pops up every so often at the TRU here, I think it's $15 retail.


These two dolls come with a stand, hairbrush, and a cute but fairly useless charm, also found in a Monster High keychain sold separately. The charms are plastic instead of metal so I think the skull shaped part would break due to normal wear and tear if attached to a bag or keychain. I pinned them to the wall where they will likely stay FOREVER.

Draculaura's pet Count Fabulous and Frankie's pet Watzit

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Moxie Surprise

Guess who I saw again?

Looks like nobody wanted to spend $5 on Moxie Teen Arizona. I found her again at Value Village with a new price tag. This is definitely the same doll, I remember the flower sticker on her forehead added as a unique touch by her former owner. The jacket would've been nice but I'm happy she has her shoes and a basic shirt. My plan is to dye her clothing, maybe I'll experiment with dyeing the doll too (she's a duplicate in my collection). Don't ask why $5 seemed too much but $3 was acceptable, I can't explain it.

Aside: As you've probably noticed I usually round prices up because it seems silly to say $2.99 when $3 is essentially the same thing, and $3 is a more accurate reflection of the price, if that makes sense to anyone else. I won't report something cost $2 when it was really $2.99 but that's how we as customers are trained to think of prices ending in 95 or 99 cents.

First wave Arizona, she needs a bath

Her lips look different than my other 1st wave Arizona, the lip liner is more pronounced. I wish Arizona had brown eyes, Madison has blue eyes with a tan and they look too similar on my shelf, though it helps if I put a blonde wig on Madison. Oh well. I could change them if I want to but it's not worth ordering new eyes and switching them out, the eyes would cost more than the doll. :)

Let's see what all was included in her bag, I don't think I've documented one of these thrifted random bags of toys before.

  1. Moxie Teen Arizona w/ pink shirt, skirt with attached lace leggings, black boots
  2. Mattel fairy doll
  3. cute Mattel picnic basket
  4. brown and white skirt with blue trim, homemade
  5. plaid skirt (the waist is a little big on Arizona, she's wearing it here)
  6. red and pink striped hat, too big for any of my dolls
  7. tiny shirt
  8. two pink and white chairs, one is missing the white back piece
  9. a rectangle of purple nylon fabric

Not bad for $3 but none of it's worth anything to me without the Arizona doll too. As usual I'll do one of three things with this extra stuff: 1) keep it, 2) donate it back, 3) give it to my nieces (they're almost 3 and 5). Sometimes I'll throw an item out if it's true junk and not worth putting back into the thrift stream.

Speaking of changing prices... starting last week the local Goodwill is once again putting $2 and $3 stickers on a lot of their fashion dolls. This isn't a big deal but it'll affect how many dolls I thrift. On Monday I ended up not buying a couple $3 dolls I would've purchased if they had been $1.29, which is the price I've grown accustomed to. One was a Moxie Girl missing a foot-shoe (it snaps on at the ankle, just like Bratz shoes) with wrecked hair and a cute but dirty outfit that had noticeable play wear. I wanted her for a Monster High CAM body but I'll wait to find a cheaper donor doll. Oh well! If the Goodwill doll is in great condition then $3 is fine, but I'll be a lot pickier now.

Here's an example of a Moxie Girl I bought a couple months ago for $1.29:

This is my only intact Moxie Girl (the other one was a thrifted mess and I turned her into a MH CAM body last week). I probably would've paid $3 for this MG, but at $1.29 she was an easy purchase. I'm not cutting her up because she's adorable and there isn't anything wrong with her. :) I can't imagine buying more of these Moxie Girlz dolls new in stores because they're not exactly my style but I couldn't resist this cutie with such a great outfit.

I love her freckles!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monster Mash-Up (two new CAM bodies)

Yesterday I was at the Goodwill and saw a Mattel ballerina in the doll jumble. She is smaller and thinner than Barbie and her limbs are thin as well. Her hard plastic body is marked 1999, her head is marked 2005. One leg is permanently bent at the knee and her ballet slippers are molded on. If someone can identify this doll that would be great! Mattel could've used this body for some fairy dolls because it's small.

Who am I?
Her size made me think she might be able to donate her torso and limbs to a Monster High Create-a-Monster add-on pack. These are the CAMs that include an outfit, wig, head, hands, forearms, and lower legs with feet. The add-on packs do not include a torso, thighs, and upper arms. You have to borrow those missing pieces from the CAM Starter sets, buy a homemade molded torso on eBay/etsy, or perform surgery on a donor doll.

The molded torsos I've seen online look great but you'd still be missing the upper parts of all four limbs. Also, the torsos are NOT cheap. Around here Goodwill donor dolls cost $1.29. I like that price!

Important: If you're a kid please do not perform surgery on your dolls!!! You could cut off a finger or do serious damage to your eyes, please ask a parent to do this for you. They are old and have more life experience than you, they can make do without a finger or eye.

First I used the toothiest saw on my Leatherman tool to remove Ballerina's legs at the knees and then her arms at the elbow. This didn't take much time at all, less than a minute per limb. Then I sanded the rough edges to a smooth finish. Her legs and arms are hollow but I had to remove the pegs from her articulated arms stuck in the upper arm. On one arm this was rather simple, the seams weren't glued cleanly so I gently pried up half the arm (just a bit, didn't want it to snap) and flicked the peg out. Her other arm wasn't cooperating, the seams were glued firmly shut so I had to drill out the peg hole.

(Kids, do NOT use your parents' drill. I was a kid once, I know you'd think of doing it when they're not home so they won't be there to scream down the stairs, "What's that noise?!" That means if you hurt yourself, which is actually very likely, no adult would be home to help you. JUST DON'T DO IT. Your parents love you and would much rather do this doll surgery for you. It'll make them feel needed, parents like that sort of thing. Remind them to wear safety goggles. Thanks.)

Sea Monster starter CAM with the 3 Eyed Ghoul add-on CAM
Pretty cool! The monster on the left is the Sea Monster from one of the CAM starter sets, she's using a CAM starter set torso and a Liv wig. My three-eyed Ghoul will look even better with her new body parts painted blue to match. I was so happy with the way this CAM turned out I looked through other Goodwill dolls I've accumulated over the years for more small bodies.

I found a Moxie Girl missing her feet (they have the foot/shoe combo like Bratz) and her hair was a wreck, she was purchased just for her dress. Her body and limbs are a little thicker than the ballerina doll but her torso is still small, I figured she'll work if clothing is used to hide her limbs.

I cut the hooks off the neck knobs to make head swapping easier

Notice how much longer Barbie's thighs are compared to the other three, look at the knees

I easily snipped Moxie's arms off at the elbow with kitchen shears, they are solid soft vinyl (not hollow hard plastic like the ballerina) so the scissors worked much better than a toothy saw (the saw tore up the vinyl more than cutting through it). Then I drilled small holes into the upper arms. After seeing the above photo it looks like I should make their upper arms a little shorter to match the Monster High upper arm length.

There's a hard plastic click mechanism inside Moxie's vinyl legs at the knees so I sawed through that and then used a bigger drill bit to remove more of the plastic and vinyl inside her thighs.

In total I spent about 2-5 minutes per limb, which includes cutting/sawing, sanding, and drilling. Not bad at all.

Oh, the heads! I didn't care about the donor heads so I cut them off with kitchen shears. Brutal. If you want to save the head you can heat it up with hot water or a hair dryer (protect doll hair from direct heat with a towel) and slowly work it off over the hook. Do not break the neck or neck knob! After the head is removed cut the hook off the top of the neck knob, it's a safety feature and doesn't serve any other purpose. Try not to break the neck knob, that is what holds the head on the neck and allows you to tilt and pose the head. Swapping heads will be MUCH easier without the nasty hook in the way but you still have to be careful to avoid breaking the important neck knob.

The monster limbs plug into the Moxie Girl vinyl because her limbs are solid with little drilled holes. When I lift her up the legs don't fall out. The ballerina body looks better but the ballerina limbs are hollow. I'm not sure how I'll secure the MH limbs in there but I have a few ideas, like air dry clay, sponge, vinyl plugs with drilled holes, etc.

I think they look good but they'll look even better painted to match the CAM limbs. Next week I'll take the limbs to the craft store for a paint match. :) The skeleton is easy, ha.

One disadvantage to these donor torsos is that the bodies are slightly bigger than the monsters so the CAM clothes don't fit. This isn't such a big deal though because the CAM clothes aren't that great.

I need more CAM torsos so I'll keep an eye out for these ballerina girls and Moxie Girlz too. I prefer the Ballerina body but Moxie Girlz will be a lot easier to find at the thrift stores -- but even they don't turn up that often, Bratz are much easier to find. I'm not sure if the Bratz body will work or look as good, I might try one of those next.

After I have enough new bodies for the three add-on pack CAMs I'll experiment with removing the entire arms and legs and using just the torso for the second character in the CAM starter sets. (Yes, Mattel sold just one torso with two characters in each Starter set.)

P.S. I took photos of the pleather doll outfit I found last week and they look terrible. Pleather is hard to photograph! I'll try photographing Arizona outside in her cool new outfit, natural light might help.