CAM = Create-a-Monster
|Blobbie shows off her torso and upper limbs, Skelly and Bee are jealous|
First, I'll point you to http://monsterhigh.wikia.com/wiki/Create-A-Monster if you want to read up on all the CAM dolls and see stock promotional photographs. The information there is thorough and accurate so I won't repeat most of it here.
I really like some of the single CAMs, like skeleton and bee girl, but the lack of a torso and upper limbs (thighs and upper arms) in these add-on packs is a downer. Last year Mattel sold torso packs via their web store but it didn't take long for them to sell out. If anyone wants to trade away a Mattel torso pack let me know -- as in you send me one and I send you something you want, I don't have any torso packs to trade away! :) I made a few using donor bodies but the real thing is better.
The CAM starter packs are a solid deal, especially after Mattel included two torsos in each starter pack instead of one torso for two dolls to share. That's a perfect example of customers voicing their opinions and Mattel doing something to fix the problem. However, they continued to sell the add-on packs without torsos and upper limbs. I understand the difference between "starter" and "add-on" and the concept behind it all, but I still think it'd be nice to have limbs and torsos that match the parts in the add-on packs.
The starter packs sell for $20 at Walmart and Target (and $27 at TRU, ugh), which is cheaper per doll than the add-on CAMs ($11 Walmart, $15 TRU).
When you consider the $20 starter packs have two torsos ($10 per doll for two complete dolls) and the add-ons have zero torsos ($11 for a half-doll -- actually less than half a doll because she lacks a torso, upper thighs and upper arm pieces!), the $20 starter sets seem like an even better deal.
Blobbie & Icy, here at last
The Blob and Ice Girls starter pack is my favorite CAM starter. I call these two Blobbie and Icy, with affection -- and a remarkable lack of creativity. I love almost everything about these two dolls, even the funny plastic blob wig, which some people hate.
|Orange eyes, unusual choice|
Icy's legs are faceted like they were carved from ice, they look and feel so satisfying in person.
I also appreciate how unique both dolls are because I don't need another vampire or werecat. (Actully I don't need another doll at all, but whatever.) Monster High's Abbey is a creature from an icy land but her opaque shimmery body isn't like Icy's translucent body. This is a wonderful set and if anyone asked me which CAM pack they should buy I'd recommend this one for sure. These girls are weird and wonderful.
|Her nose is too cute!! Great hand sculpts too.|
The only thing I don't like is the shoe count. Mattel includes two of everything, including two wigs and two dresses, but only one pair of shoes (and one doll stand). One pair of shoes isn't a deal breaker but it does seem cheap. How much do doll shoes cost to make per pair? It seems like they'd be a lot cheaper than wigs and dresses.
|promo photo showing everything in the box (except the one black stand)|
I suppose Mattel's theory is customers are more likely to notice there's only one wig or one dress for two dolls and put it back on the shelf. The big pieces make the set seem like an even better value. The fact both dolls share the same pair of shoes is easy to miss in the busy packaging. It'd be interesting to know how much money they make by not including two pairs of shoes. Simple curiosity.
|Blobbie looks so sweet to me.|
This set was released in late 2012 but I didn't find it in my town until this week. Seriously, 8+ months? Every so often (maybe three times since January) I saw the other starter CAM released at the same time -- the one with the purple wig and plastic green ponytail wig. So that tells me both sets were occasionally showing up, assuming they were boxed together, but Blobbie and Icy were selling out before I got there. You know what this means of course: now they will be in stock and plentiful everywhere I go.
|The ghouls switch wigs|
The one good thing about the wait is that Walmart had this starter pack on sale for $15! Nice! That makes TRU's $27 price for CAM starters even uglier. TRU can have amazing clearance sales but I have to pay attention to how much stuff costs there compared to elsewhere in town.
Scroll down for more Icy and Blobbie fun, after I discuss the 2013 CAM line.
What's coming in the future for Monster High CAMs?
Thanks for the torso but you want how much?
Mattel is now shipping two Color Me Creepy CAMs. A third doll comes with the Color Me Creepy design lab but I'm not sure if she's a normal doll or a CAM that can be easily dismantled. I saw these dolls for the first time last week at Target.
The werewolf and sea monster are sold individually (not as a two pack!) with their very own torso and upper limbs, which is awesome, but the price made me do a double take. Mattell's MSRP is $21 ($20.99 to be exact). According to store websites, they are $20 at Walmart and $22 at Target. Per doll. I've been spoiled by the $20 two doll starter packs.
The dresses are cute but they look like simple CAM dresses, these are not special outfits with multiple cloth pieces. Included are two plastic tools to change colors and some plastic cuffs for the arms and legs. Does the color change gimmick (which isn't exactly new, Mattel did something similar in the '60s with color change doll hair and clothing) justify the significantly higher price? Can this be blamed on manufacturing costs?
Another strike against the CMC CAMs are the plastic wigs. A plastic blobby wig works for a blob girl (in my opinion) but I'm not sure it's a good fit for a werewolf. I've seen complaints online about the plastic wigs, I don't think they've been well received. Opinions vary of course. The doll included with the expensive design lab has regular dolly hair.
I don't know if we've seen the last of the $20 two pack starter sets. It makes me happy to see solo CAMs with torsos, that's a huge improvement. I hope the new price is due to the Color Me Creepy gimmick and this won't be the regular price from now on.
|promo photo - Color Me Creepy design lab, comes w/ doll, $46|
I look at this design lab and just see plastic junk that might be fun to set up and play with once. $46 MSRP? Yikes. Factor in $20 for the doll, would you pay $26 for the rest of it?
Finishing off the Color Me Creepy line are these two fashion packs ($11 MSRP). The yellow dress with black fringe is cute and I like how each pack has two dresses and two pairs of shoes.
This stuff is nice but I'm going to play with Blobbie and Icy and leave the color changing to everyone else.
Summer time and the skating is easy
I bought an Abbey fashion pack last year that hasn't been opened yet and I think the outfit will look cute on Icy. Don't tell Abbey! Poor thing is still wearing a funky Bratz outfit I dressed her up in a long time ago, I'm kinda scared to approach her now.
If I were a serious ice skater I'd want these boots and skirt in human size.
Since Icy got to try on a new outfit (sorry Abbey), Blobbie decided to try on Icy's dress. The fabric print reminds me of Fair Isle sweaters.
|Head UP Icy, keep your HEAD UP! Nooooooo...|
|Icy is lectured on ice skating safety|
Right now we don't know if Mattel has plans to continue the CAM line in 2014 and beyond. The sales numbers for the new Color Me Creepy dolls could be considered a test. The price is a huge jump from the add-on packs. Will customers decide the torso and upper limbs are worth an extra ~$9 per doll? (Keep in mind the torso pack Mattel sold last year cost around $7.50 for all five torsos, three of which included matching upper limbs. Most customers never heard about it though since it was only sold for a few months in Mattel's webstore.)
Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for reading my ramblings about prices, it's just the way I think about new dolls in stores: what's a good deal, what could I get if I paid that much for a different doll in another line, will it sell out or go on clearance in 6 months, and so on. :)