Anyway, yesterday I went to check if Big Well-Known Toy Store had any Bratzillaz fashion packs left, and came home with two Justin Bieber playsets instead! Not what I had planned, but the price was too good to pass up. Now, I'm about 20 years too old to have any interest in Bieber or his music, but if there's something I do like it's 1/6 scale props and dolls with articulation, and that's why I had been eyeing these sets for a while. I'm not sure where I saw these dolls first, perhaps in this photo story by Limbe Dolls. I thought the articulation looked promising, but perhaps not worth paying full price to get a closer look at.
(This is one of those long Fairy Tales About Shopping With Pictures so I'm putting it behind a cut.)
There are two different playsets, Onstage and Backstage. The best part is the dolls have different face molds, which is what ultimately made me decide to get both when I realized I could afford it. I prefer the one that doesn't smile, although his eye screening makes his face look really small (one more head for the neverending repaint list?).
These dolls have been around a while so there probably isn't much call for an actual review, but I like writing down my observations anyway.
The arms look a bit weird and stumpy, like there's a section missing from the lower arm. My guess is they were designed to look good with the elbow bent and nothing else. No wrist joints. :(
The knees were a disappointment - they don't pivot, even though they look like it. I tried and tried but they just won't budge. :( However, the fully jointed ankles make for a nice consolation price and adds considerably to the poseability. The ankle joint is just a big lump, but that's no problem since his sneakers are even bigger. Both pairs are the same model in different colors - apparently they all are. They do have a left and a right, though. His feet are big and flat, too big for most Ken shoes.
Realistically, teenager Justin is a bit shorter than Ken.
The neck swivels, just like on modern Ken, although Smiley's seems stuck. The head is hard and doesn't seem to contain any of that nasty leaking glue Mattel have been using lately. I like his mop top (nylon, i think?), but it contains SO MUCH GEL. These pics are from before I washed it out, but as soon as it got wet it just went FLOOOM and swelled to twice its size, like those little toy animals that grow in water. At least it washed out easily. "NEW! Justin's REAL hairstyle!" the box tells us, which makes me wonder what kind of hairstyle they had before. They have slightly different hair, but I don't think that's intentional.
FLOOOM. Smiley has some stray hair, giving him the most pathetic mullet ever.
The clothes are ok, but the separate Bieber dolls seem to have better fashions for some reason. Black for backstage Justin, white ("Justin's authentic concert outfit") for onstage Justin. They also fit the girls as a comfy sweater and scandalously low-cut boyfriend jeans respectively. Too small for Ken, though.
The print on the black sweater came off in flakes when I washed it, so watch out for that. I guess it's better than getting stains on my dolls (although there wasn't that much surplus dye in it).
Of course, the real prize is the props. Between the two playsets, there's quite a lot of stuff! Some assembly required but nothing too complicated. Onstage justin comes with a complete set of synth, drums, acoustic guitar with stand, mic stand (height is fixed, but mic is detachable) and some kind of weird vaguely heart-shaped ...stage prop trone thingy? Ok, Justin. Ok.
I have a vision of painting it white and decorating it with flowers, like the most romantic garden-furniture-with-built-in-trellis ever, but I'm probably too lazy to actually do it. (There's a little hook on top, but I don't think it could carry the weight of a doll without coming apart.)
For now some butterfly wings is the best I can do. The headset is Justin's too.
The guitar is probably my favorite. It has two invisible plastic straps, but the one that goes around the body is made of that stinky kind of plastic. Fortunately it's just hanging from two little knobs on the body (a bit like on a real guitar) so replacing it with a bit of ribbon should be easy. The stand leans a bit forward, so you can't entirely trust it with your instrument.
The pedal works! It makes the least bass drum-like sound ever, but at least it sounds better than the hi-hat.
The Bieber family crest! No wait, those are the drumsticks.
The backstage set comes with ...toys, mainly. Also pizza. "Hang out with Justin in his backstage lounge with his video games, snacks, and even his dog, Sammy!" the box urges us. As celebrity merchandise this actually annoys me - why the heck would I want to pretend to watch some child star eat pizza and play video games?? Yeah yeah, I know, some people do. Anyway, the doll in this this set had the best face mold, and there's some good stuff in there too.
A dog. On a pizza. Just the kind of crazy stuff that happens backstage, I imagine.
iPhone and iPad! The phone looks exactly like a bit of chewing gum. My dolls have been sharing a single ancient 90s cellphone and could really use some up-to-date tech, but I'm not sure they want these since the playlist is all Justin Bieber.
Entertainment center and director's chair. It's not as well designed as those lavender folding chairs I found, but it does fold a bit. The seat is some kind of fake leather. The tv screen can be angled a bit, and the game consol can be mounted on the stand.
Monogrammed water gun. Is this on his rider? I bet it is. Non-functional, unfortunately.
There's also a not-terribly-exciting black and silver make up table that I forgot to take a picture of, plus a brush for taming those authentic hairdos. As I mentioned I had been eyeing those sets for some time, but there was no way I would have paid full price, no matter how nice that guitar is. Being able to afford both was a very nice surprise, and well worth it for the props whether you like Bieber or not.
I haven't decided what to do with the Justins yet. Maybe keep Smiley and repaint the other one? The problem is of course I keep adding heads to that infamous repaint list, but I never get around to actually painting them! Then as time goes by I get used to the dolls the way they are, and then I don't want to repaint them anymore. But just stuffing them in a drawer doesn't sound like fun either... Tough decisions! Let's listen to Janet's unplugged set while I try to decide.