Friday, September 20, 2013

A look at Bianca & other new Cutie Pops for Fall 2013

Cutie Pops have disappeared from my local Walmart and Target, but I'm guessing new dolls will show up before the holiday shopping season is in full swing. When I say disappeared I mean completely gone, not a trace! The dolls and their dogs, outfits, hair & eye packs, pop packs, everything was marked down this summer. They were either bought up or sent back to a warehouse sometime in late August. For now, at least where I live, Cutie Pops can only be found at Toys R Us.

Fashion Pups

Coletta and Dalia make up the Fashion Pups wave, each doll comes with two dogs. They've been at TRU for a few weeks now. I'd like to show a promotional photo but I can't find one on the official website or Facebook page, even though the dolls are already in stores. Weird. The best I can offer is a misleading cartoon drawing:

In reality the production Dalia is barely tan, she doesn't look anything at all like the teaser image from Jada Toys. This is disappointing to say the least. It makes me wonder what prompted the change. I won't even bother talking about using blue eyes for both dolls, regardless of vinyl color, except to say it's disappointing too.

You can see Dalia and Coletta for yourself by following this link to the Cutie Club Tumblr page: (large image) and (tumblr post).

I'm a little surprised Jada Toys went with dogs again. In case you forgot, when the Cutie Pops first rolled out last year we could buy large dogs ($10) as a pet for each girl in the first wave:

1st wave Starr and Candi with a 1st wave pup

The decision to offer dogs again would be easy to understand if Jada Toys simply used the same dog molds (cost effective!), but Coletta and Dalia have new dalmations and poodles. Oh well. 

At $25 (TRU price) they're on the expensive side of playline dolls. Dalia is cute but not $25 cute. I'd be very tempted to buy Dalia once she hit a decent sale if she came with cats instead of dogs.

Got Hattitude?

Fortunately there is an affordable budget line, the Hattitude girls are $10 and I think they're adorable. Dumb name but cute dolls. According to the Cutie Pops website this wave was called Bear-y Cute before the dolls hit production, which makes sense. There are three dolls in this wave, each one has a different bear hat (which is more like a headband): panda bear Bianca, koala bear Sydney, and brown bear Dakota.

Back of Bianca's box

I have an affection for panda bears and the $10 price made it feel like I was buying a doll on sale so Bianca came home with me.

For $10 you might expect the doll to be wearing a simple cheap dress and basic shoes (see "Liv for Color," the sad swan song for Liv dolls) but I'm impressed with the Hattitude outfits. 

Pockets for her hands! So cute!

This is not a fancy outfit with separate pieces, but it's cute for the price, especially when you consider how much the bear headband probably factors into the manufacturing cost. This doll does not shout BUDGET so congrats to Jada Toys for pulling that off.

I wish more toy companies realized they can keep things affordable if they don't clutter up the box with plastic that is usually tossed in a box never to be seen again. (OK, it seems like most toy companies include 20 cents worth of plastic extras to justify charging $15 instead of $10.) I care more about the price than how much plastic junk is tacked to the cardboard. The last thing I need is yet another doll comb or molded plastic bag so I don't mind at all extra junk isn't included with Bianca. You don't get a second set of eyes or a bunch of pops with the Hattitude girls, but it's a $10 doll and I think the price is more than fair.

Biance with a pink hair piece (from a 2012 hair & eye pack)
You can put a bow on the hair piece but it kinda clashes with the bow already in the ear.

As you can see, the Hattitude name isn't exactly accurate. This is a headband, not a hat. 

It doesn't bother me, I don't display my dolls facing the wall. However, I can understand why this might frustrate some people. 

Here is Bianca without her panda hat, er headband. She comes with a single black ponytail hair piece, which can be swapped out for hair from another Cutie Pop doll or hair pack. 

She does not come with a bow for the hair piece, but these can be borrowed from other Cutie Pops as well.

Bianca with 1st wave dolls Chiffon and Candi (Candi is wearing Starr's outfit)
When I first saw Bianca in the store she didn't look much different than the other two Hattitude girls. Sydney the redhead has the lightest vinyl "skin" but Dakota and Bianca are only slightly tanner. Now that she's out of the box in natural sunlight I am surprised to see how similar Bianca looks to Candi, the darkest Cutie Pop. I think that's because this is how I think of Candi in my mind (wishful thinking):

Photoshop alert! Not true to actual vinyl colors.
I manipulated this photo in Photoshop to darken the vinyl used for both Bianca and Candi. I wish Jada Toys would make a doll that matches my vision of Candi! It'd be nice to see more diversity instead of playing it safe. It would also help if more Cutie Pops came with brown or hazel eyes instead of blue or green. (Hattitude Dakota does have brown eyes, I think she's the first!)

Crown Cuties

I'm looking forward to seeing Crystalina in person, she's the blue haired girl in the Crown Cuties wave. These two dolls emphasize hair play, if you look online for more promo photos you'll see various hairstyles that are possible with the included hair pieces.

Crown Cuties promotional photos

You can buy these dolls on for $17, the website says they're only available online. I hope this changes soon because I prefer to buy dolls in person to avoid factory defects. 

I still have hope that Jada Toys will eventually introduce new bodies, with articulated elbows and wrists. Real doll hair without a trace of plastic molded hair would be a welcome change as well, this would probably help the dolls appeal to older girls. When I first saw a small photo of blue haired Crystalina I thought she didn't have any molded hair, but no such luck. At least Jada Toys changed up how the plastic bangs are styled (molded) on some of the new dolls like Crystalina and Dalia.

I'd also like to see more fashion packs, but if they keep offering $10 budget dolls with cute outfits that's a decent alternative. It's actually a lot cheaper to buy a $10 doll than the fashion pack plus its matching hair & eye pack, although you do get a better outfit (and more pops/eyes) in the packs. 

2012 "Day in the Park" fashion pack
2012 "Day in the Park" hair and eyes pack
The fashions were around $9 and the hair & eye packs were around $7, so it cost approx $16 to get an outfit with matching hair and eyes (two sets, open and closed) and several theme pops. Prices varied by store, I think TRU charged $2 more than Walmart for the same pack.

Fewer pops and eyes but only $10 -- and you get a doll

When I first saw this image on the back of Bianca's box I thought "Oh cool, there's a froggy girl too?" Ha! Nah, it's just Sydney with her koala hat, the green ears tricked me.

I first reviewed the Cutie Pops last September and I wonder if there will be new Cutie Pops to review in September 2014. Do kids like these dolls? They haven't been a big hit with adult collectors, I realize I'm in the minority for liking them so much.

I now have four Cutie Pop dolls (Starr, Candi, Chiffon, and Bianca) and I keep thinking I should hold out for better bodies and less plastic hair... but I'm tempted to go buy Dakota tomorrow! She's only $10 plus I have a 20% off TRU coupon... so tempting. :)