Saturday, August 24, 2013

Novi Monster High-brids

I posted Part 1 a couple days ago, you can read that first if you'd like. In a nutshell:

  • Novi Stars might be cancelled if sales don't pick up.
  • I bought robot-alien Mae Tallick to put her head on a Monster High body.
  • Then I learned Mae "won't work" as a hybrid head donor due to the voice box in her robot head. 
  • I decided to open up Mae's head anyway and see if I could make it work.

Spoiler alert:

After buying Mae Tallick I googled for hybrid tutorials and quickly learned Mae is not a good candidate for a body swap due to the voice box in her head. Oops! This is what you see once her head pops off:


The other Novi dolls don't have a barrier preventing access to the inside of their heads. Most neck knobs I tried DO fit in this cavity, but they can't be pushed up further inside the head, so on certain bodies the neck looks unnaturally long. 

Here's an example of Mae's head on a Monster High body:

apple neck (pre-surgery)

OK, Mae Tallick is an alien, maybe aliens have long lumpy necks, who can say? I think it looks like she swallowed an apple and it stuck in her throat, so I'll refer to it as apple neck in this tutorial. 

If you don't mind Mae's apple neck then you don't have to open up Mae's head! Her head pops off the original robot body with very little effort, so remove her head and then place her head on a Monster High body. Pop off, pop on, couldn't be easier. I'm using the Blob Girl's body from the Ice & Blob Girl Create-a-Monster pack but you can use any Monster High body, CAM or regular. 

Here she is on the same Monster High body post-surgery, no more apple neck:

I put the Monster High roller skates on Mae because her original robot body has molded on roller skates. Now her wheels work. :) 

Keep reading to learn how to perform the head surgery.


"I don't have Mae, what if I want to make a hybrid doll using a different Novi head?"

Heat the heads with a heating pad or hair dryer (be sure to protect the hair) and then adjust how much neck is visible by moving the Monster High neck knob inside the Novi head. You want to move the neck until the 'stuck apple' is hidden just inside the head, that looks the most natural. It feels and looks right, you'll know when it's in the correct position.

Here's a video showing this simple process, made by MyDollsareMyModels -- he's the collector who first posted his Novi-Monster hybrids on Flickr and inspired many people to do the same: -- The tutorial video will open in a new window, I can't embed it due to Blogger being fussy.

In the video he recommends heating the Novi head longer if you can't get the neck knob through the smaller second hole inside the head. Other customizers say they heat the head and then, while the vinyl is still soft, use a big knitting needle (or similar object) to temporarily open up the smaller hole so the neck knob will pass through it.


"I have Mae and don't want the apple neck, how do I fix it?"

Warning: This surgery will remove (and possibly destroy) Mae's voice box. If you don't want to lose her voice then skip to the next section.

In this section I will show how to make Mae's head fit on a Monster High body. It doesn't matter if you want to use a Create-A-Monster body or a regular Monster High body. If you use a regular body you'll need to remove the ghoul's head with a heating pad or hair dryer. Watch this video (it's the same one linked in the previous section), he shows how to remove Spectra's head with a heating pad. You can also dunk the Monster High head in a mug of very hot water. 

Mae's head does not require heat (and definitely not water! No water!) to remove. Give it a tug and it will pop right off her robot body.

Now, on to the simple head surgery. This is rather easy but kids should ask an adult to do it for them.

Click on a photo to make it bigger.

8-Bit says, "Use a regular Phillips screwdriver."

1) Remove the two recessed screws and the battery pack screw in the middle. I recommend you remove the batteries. Be careful, Mae's ears will fall off their pegs when her head is open. Remove the heart-shaped ear pieces and put them in a safe place with the screws. 

2) Set the front half of the head aside, you won't change anything about it -- unless you want to change the eyes. 

3) Remove the neck hole barrier piece, it slides out easily. You can see I was living dangerously and hadn't removed the ear pieces yet. Do this ASAP, they are tiny and would be easy to lose without you noticing when and where they fell off.

4) Remove the voice box. The main parts will slide out but you'll see two wires connected to metal tabs hiding behind plastic (I took this photo after the wires had been removed). Remove the plastic circular piece in the middle, it lifts off.

5) Now you can see the metal tabs (I took this photo after the wires had been removed). The two wires will need to be pulled off the metal tabs at the solder points. A firm tug will do it. 

6) I sanded the U-shaped opening in the circular plastic piece just a bit. I was afraid of doing it too much and then having to fix it. You might be able to improve Mae's up-down head mobility by experimenting with the size of this opening, but I can't promise anything. (Her head twists sideways just fine.) I'm happy with her as she is right now so at this point I won't open her head again to experiment.

7) Place the neck inside the head as shown, the neck knob will be cradled in the U-shaped opening. Return Mae's ears to the pegs and then put the face plate on. 

8) Screw the two sides back together and you're done! This is an extreme angle shot from Mae's feet. You won't see this square opening when she's on display, unless you're trying to look up her skirt.

Mae with her pet 8-Bit, post-surgery


"I have Mae and don't want to perform surgery on her, but I don't like the apple neck!"

If you want to keep the voice box but you don't like the apple neck then you will need to find a donor body with a short neck. This means Monster High bodies won't work for you.

The size of the neck knob isn't too important -- if it's too small you can build it up with tape, if it's too big you can file it down. 

If surgery doesn't appeal to you then I think Mae's head as-is out of the box looks best (among the spare bodies I have on hand) on a Moxie Girlz body, thanks to its short neck. 

Moxie Girl

Last year I cut up a Moxie Girl to use with Monster High CAM limbs, so this gives me the shorter neck of a Moxie Girl with the limbs of a MH doll -- just what Mae needs. 

We'll get back to the Moxie Girlz later, I'll discuss these bodies in order of the line-up photo below:

Some body options for Novi Stars heads

A - Polly Pocket (pointy neck knob)
B - Polly Pocket (rounded neck knob)
C - Littlest Pet Shop Blythe
D - Kelly clone (Barbie's toddler sister, before Chelsea era)
E - Mae Tallick Novi Star
F - Bratz, articulated
G - Moxie Girlz torso with Monster High limbs
H - Monster High (Blob Girl) 

How does Mae's head fit on these bodies?

small body options - click pic to make huge

A & B - Polly Pocket: No photos because Mae's head doesn't fit at all. The neck knobs are too small, but they could be built up with tape or epoxy. Athletic tape works great.


C - LPS Blythe: As you can see in the line-up photo above, Blythe's neck knob is just about the same size as the knob on Mae's original robot body. So as you might expect, her head fits great on Blythe's body! 

It does look a little silly but at the same time I think it's cute. Silly-cute. :)

Blythe looks skeptical. As usual.

Imagine this body painted to match Mae's head.

Blythe's head pops off with a strong tug, there's no need to warm it up first.


D - Kelly clone: Mae's head fits great. It reminds me of this photo -- click that to see weirdly adorable panda and cat hybrids made with painted Kelly bodies and LPS pet heads.


E - Mae's original robot body obviously fits perfectly, no photo.


regular size body options - click pic to make huge

- Bratz (articulated): The end result is not perfect but it works for display purposes. Painting the neck to match the head would make it look even better. The length might not bother you, especially if you have a shirt or jacket that helps hide the neck length, like the collar on this vest.

Notice when I pull the collar off the neck the length is more noticeable:

You can see a little separation between the head and neck where the neck knob narrows but this isn't obvious when the doll is on display -- this is like all minor flaws that melt away when you're admiring dolls on display and not examining a doll in a photograph. I think you might be able to hide this gap inside the head if you file off say the top half of the neck knob, but that's an experiment I'll leave to someone else.


G - Moxie Girlz: This is a Moxie Girl torso with Monster High arms and legs (instructions here). Of course you can use an unmodified Moxie Girl body. 

The Moxie neck length is great. Mae's head fits on the neck knob but the knob is wobbly so I wrapped two tiny clear elastics (package of 100+ purchased at the dollar store) around the knob to stabilize it. 

The weight of the wig pulls her head back on this neck
2 mini hair elastics wrapped around neck knob base

The clear rubber bands will be visible from lower angles, especially if you know to look for them. If you want to make this a dedicated body for Mae you could stabilize the neck knob with something like air dry clay or epoxy and then paint the new body (at least the neck and upper chest) to match her head. 

Another option would be the same experiment I suggested with the Bratz body: I think that making the neck knob smaller (file off the top half) would allow you to hide the gap inside the head, where it belongs. No guarantees, I haven't tried it myself! 


H - Monster High: The fit on the neck knob is great but the exposed neck is too long and it looks like Mae has an apple stuck in her throat. Scroll back if you skipped the photos at the beginning of this post to see the apple neck. This can be fixed by altering Mae's head (which requires removing the voice box, instructions in this post), and it's not a problem for the other Novi Stars.


You may have a body in your collection that works better, please leave a comment if you have a suggestion. I recommend trying a neck that looks short even after the head is removed. 

Be careful when removing heads, just yanking them off could tear the vinyl and ruin the head or neck knob. The safest method requires a heating pad to soften the vinyl, this is shown in the tutorial video I linked to earlier in this post. OK, here it is again: (video by MyDollsAreMyModels, not me)

A++, would try again

I like the Novi-Monster hybrid so much, it's tempting to buy a Novi Star at TRU for $15 so Mae will have an alien friend -- but I'll hold strong! TRU will someday put them on sale and I saw a report on Tumblr yesterday confirming a 2013 Novi Star was spotted at Ross (overstock discount store). They'll eventually show up at thrift stores for $1-$3 too. 

If Mae turns up at the Goodwill then I'll experiment with spray painting her head, I saw a custom silver Mae on Tumblr so I already know it looks great. She'd be easy to spray paint because her head is hard plastic, her removable wig means there's no hair in the way, and you can open her head to remove the eyes -- no masking required. You can even change her ears since they're removable too. I think this makes Mae the ideal Novi head to customize so if I find one then I'll definitely buy another Mae at the thrift shop.

Update: I went to Ross today and they had one Novi Star in stock, the Beach Orbit Una Verse for $7.50. This is the only doll in the beach wave I want (LOVE her hat and hair style) so I was OK with spending 3 bucks more for her than I spent on Mae at Target. Not ideal but still a good discount. I'll pass on any other first wave or beach dolls at that price, but I'd seriously consider a few of the 2013 Novis for $7.50. Ross hasn't seen the last of me yet!


  1. Hello from Spain: interesting Head-change information. Keep in touch...

  2. Thanks for the pictures. She really does suit the Monster High CAM body with and without her wig. Now I'm tempted although the Novi dolls didn't appeal much before. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of your next experiment.

  3. Hi!! I do a "Doll surgery" too!!! Put Ariroma head in a Mattel Glitter Fairy body!! fits perfectly! ^_^

  4. Blimey, that doll seems a bit scary, I think I would have been a bit afraid of it as a child!