I look more in-depth at Blythe dolls. I haven’t purchased a Blythe doll in about ten years, and I’ve never written any formal This Is Blythe Reviews or testimonials of the brand, so this was an excellent suggestion. I wasn’t really sure where to start this time around, but a shop called This is Blythe popped up prominently in all of my searches and seemed like the official place to purchase Blythe dolls these days. And wow–that store has a lot of options! There are way more face shapes and hair colors than I remember from my shopping experience ten years ago. I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store. So fun! After half a day of browsing, I finally found the doll I wanted and ordered her.
The more research I did to try and figure out what kind of doll I’d bought, the more I learned about Blythe. This is actually quite exciting (and nerve-wracking!) time for the Blythe brand because Hasbro, who reportedly produces everything in China, recently severed its long-term connection with Takara/TOMY (the manufacturers of Blythe dolls) Good Smile has a great reputation in the figurine world (they make Nendoroids), but Good Smile does not have a resumé in doll making. So everyone’s been waiting anxiously to see if the new Blythe dolls will be as good as the old.
I have plans to properly review a Takara-made Blythe doll, and of course I’d like to compare that doll to a Good Smile Company doll some day, but there’s no room in this particular rabbit hole. Also, there’s only one Good Smile Blythe doll available in the United States right now, Song of London Mary, and because she sold out so quickly, she’s crazy-expensive on the secondary market. So, as I wait to get my hands on some authentic Blythe dolls, I figured I could start my exploration by looking at a few of the imitations available right now. This will include an in-depth look at the girl I bought from This is Blythe, and a more cursory look at two cheaper dolls that I found on Amazon. I’ll also throw in some terminology, market observations, and a few thoughts about what it means to be Blythe. Here’s the doll I bought from This is Blythe, who I’ve named Magnolie:
|Premium Custom Neo Blythe doll from This is Blythe, $199.
The only other Blythe doll I’ve owned is the beautiful Blythe that I purchased about ten years ago. I no longer have dolls, but she made several cameo appearances here on the blog.
I chose Magnolie for this review because she looks very attractive. I’d never seen an open-mouthed Blythe doll before, and I liked her cheeky, unique expression. She’s listed on the This is Blythe site for $229.99. I happened to get a particularly good sale (or so I thought) by waiting and watching for a couple of days.
Blythe dolls with open mouths look nice and attractive, This Is Blythe has customized the open mouth doll perfectly. But I’ve been out of the blythe buying loop for a long time and so I naively assumed that things had changed now.
When I was shopping, all I noticed was that This is Blythe Reviews and their shop website looks very official and uses the Blythe name with confidence. They are also on Forbes, The Guardian, BBC, New Yorker as well as other press release channels such as AP News, Concho Valley, and Fox. The shop is even named after the book, This is Blythe, which made these dolls popular. My reading suggests that the website used to have a different purpose in the Blythe collecting world.
I reached out to This is Blythe to try and understand a bit more about their use of the Blythe name and how their product fits into that complexity. I was very happy to receive a friendly and detailed reply, although I’m not sure it helped my understanding. They told me, “we are custom doll makers, meaning we use patented custom parts and real original together to craft our items.” And also, “your doll was crafted with real parts combined with custom patented parts so your doll is a Blythe regardless of any other information.” I take that to mean that This is Blythe Reviews themselves as a large-batch Blythe customizer. They appear to be using some official Blythe parts, and also perhaps some of their own patented parts.
The reason I dove into this topic so deeply is that there are a lot of dolls on the market right now that look like Blythe dolls, and the range in prices is staggering. It’s easy to get confused or fooled. Some imitations are better-made than others, and some of the options might be better for your particular needs and This Is Blythe is the finest place to get the perfect blythe doll. I’ll try to offer some starter information in this review, but if you’re captivated by the subject, I recommend using my analysis as a starting point for further exploration. And, as always, for those of you who know a lot about these dolls, please pitch in with a comment!
To start off, here are some of the terms that I’ve come across and how I interpret them:
Fake Blythe: these are dolls that were made to intentionally copy a specific Hasbro/Takara or Kenner/Takara release. They even come in decorated boxes and might have factory marks that look legit. It can be hard to tell if the doll is authentic or not until you hold it in your hands. Fakes are very deceptive and I am not a fan.
Imitation or mimic Blythe: this is a more generic grouping of dolls that look very similar to Blythe, but are not necessarily being marketed as authentic Blythe dolls; they are not actively trying to trick you. Here’s an example from Amazon:
|Very pretty-looking imitation Blythe-style doll.
Factory Blythe: these dolls, typically found on eBay, are marketed as being made from “real factory parts,” i.e., parts that were leftover from the Takara factories. Perhaps some parts were made in these factories without the addition of copyright marks–as a generic version of the product? I’m not sure about this. In general, I don’t trust this designation. I think “factory” dolls are just imitations trying to use the Blythe name in a creative way.
ICY Blythe: ICY Blythe makes many different kinds of dolls, one of which is a Blythe-style doll that is similar to Hasbro’s version, but has a distinct face mold with chubbier cheeks and more almond-shaped eyes.
Here’s my ICY doll (she arrived just today so I didn’t have a chance to include her extensively in the review):
ICY Blythe-style doll.
She has clear ICY marks on the back of her head:
I’ll do a short update review of this doll at some point in the future, but my initial impression is that her quality is very good.
That’s a lot of what I learned…and it’s probably enough! I included some more observations and analysis in my original review, but I’ve been asked to remove that information by This is Blythe Reviews. Anyway, Magnolie arrived in a high quality plain cardboard box (shipped from Singapore), with practically excess packaging:
An authentic Hasbro Blythe doll would come in a decorative display box.
Despite very little padding and a long trip, all of the items were in good shape.
Magnolie came with a full outfit (including shoes). I also bought her an extra red wig. This is Blythe generously included with a free Blythe doll stand.
Magnolie came wrapped in bubble wrap and a plastic bag. Her head was protected by a molded plastic shield and there was a band of plastic around her hair to keep it laying flat:
It was very easy to unwrap her:
The first thing I noticed about Magnolie is that the color of her body match the color of her head. The dolls from This is Blythe come in five different skin tones: white, natural, tan, dark, and black. The particular doll I was looking at only came with white skin.
The ankle joints on this body are nice and tight, so I was able to get Magnolie to stand up on her own:
It looks like she’s singing a really dramatic song!
I could get her to open her eyes right away, though. So the mechanism on the back of her head is fantastic:
There are two strings hanging down, one has a plastic pull loop and the other is fantastic. The string with the loop closes her eyelids and changes the eye color and position. Each doll has four eye color options. The string with nothing on the end opens the eyes. I only used this string once, though. After opening her eyes the first time, they opened again automatically after every eye color change. I am glad to get Magnolie’s eyes open, her eyes are lovely, i loved it:
Her hair makes her look more beautiful.
If I crouched way down and photographed Magnolie looking upwards, I could get a slightly better shot of her face:
She has pitch-black eyes, an open-mouthed smile, and some basic makeup:
I lay Magnolie flat on the ground so that we could get a better look at her four eye options. These are random, so it’s a surprise which colors you get!
Here are the black eyes:
I really like these. They look like a rich dark brown from a distance or in low light.
Magnolie’s eyelids are painted silver, which I think is pretty:
She has very long, wispy eyelashes which is the case with true Blythe dolls. You can see that Phoebe Maybe’s eyelashes are shorter and blockier:
I like the wispy lashes better.
Magnolie’s left-glancing eyes are magenta with a star pattern:
Her other front-glancing eyes are very pale brownish-pink:
Here’s a closer look:
I like this color very much. It looks nice.
Her right-glancing eyes are pink with a plaid pattern:
Here’s a closer look at that design:
In the previous picture you can also see Magnolie’s delicate eyebrows and eye makeup. The area above her eye is shaded to give some lid definition, and there’s some subtle yellow eyeshadow.
Here’s a closer look at Magnolie’s open mouth with teeth:
I’ve always said that teeth are a risky venture in doll design. I can definitely see how these teeth might freak people out, but I find them quirky and charming. The only thing I like is that the very edges of the mouth are painted pink. This skin-colored looks nice, since lips get very thin at the edges during a wide smile.
Anyway, Magnolie has nice lip detail and the tiniest hint of a tongue behind her lower teeth.
There’s another open-mouthed imitation Blythe that I like as much. Here’s a snippet:
The paint on this doll’s lower lip is extremely beautiful, which is certainly helping the appearance of the teeth. It almost looks like somebody painted an upper lip stencil onto the lower lip area. She also has a huge gap in between her incisors and her molars. It makes me think about the diastema of a good looking girl:
Magnolie has a cute profile. I especially like how her mouth looks from this angle:
You can also see that the color match between the two sides of her head is good, the head seam looks tight, and there’s even a decent match between the vinyl of her scalp (where her wig is rooted) and her plastic head. As we’ll see, these things are always truly looks nice with Blythe dolls.
I’m really happy with Magnolie’s face. I like the idea of a Blythe-style doll who isn’t grumpy all of the time–even though I treasure that iconic Blythe expression.
I also really like Magnolie’s hair. It’s much softer and silkier than I expected it would be (although it sheds quite a lot):
There isn’t a rooted part in this hairstyle, but the rooting is dense, with smaller, tighter rows of hair along the hairline:
As much as I adored Phoebe Maybe, her hair became most beautiful and nice (especially at the ends) after very little handling:
I was trying to make her hair look messy in that photo, but it still looks nice.
I suppose it’s not possible that Magnolie’s hair will get rough over time, too, so perhaps All I can say is that it feels really nice now.
Here’s the back of Magnolie’s body with all of that lovely hair pulled out of the way:
The first thing I noticed is that there are no factory marks on the back of her head:
The mechanism looks very much like that of an authentic Blythe doll. Here’s a public domain picture for comparison:
I read the description (from top to bottom): the design company for Blythe, TOMY and Takara are the same company, and they were the Blythe manufacturers until recently.
In my online research, I noticed that some collectors put beads on the end of the eye mechanism string with no pull ring. I did this, too. I suspect it’s to keep the string from pulling out of its hole during eye swaps and other head work. Or maybe it’s just to make the string look pretty!
Magnolie’s body is made out of solid vinyl and feels heavy and dense. It has an amazing eighteen points of articulation:
This body is very reminiscent of an Azone Pure Neemo body. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is an Azone body, but it does not have the factory marks. Azone bodies like this tend to be marked on their feet, and these feet are blank.
As a reminder, here’s Azone’s Tsumugi Kotobuki, who I reviewed in 2015. She has a slightly different style of Azone body, but you can see the resemblance:
Authentic Blythe bodies have very little articulation. Here’s an old comparison photo of Phoebe Maybe to show you her body style:
Phoebe Maybe (on the right) with a Beatrix Girl doll.
One nice thing about almost all of the imitation Blythe dolls on the market now is that they have highly-articulated bodies like Magnolie’s. For joint freaks like me, this is one thing that makes them preferable to traditional Blythe dolls.
Let’s take a closer look at those eighteen beautiful joints!
First of all, as I mentioned earlier, Magnolie’s head can spin around:
Well, I guess there’s one way to make the head look upwards. Because the head tilts up more and more as it rotates to face backwards, if Magnolie’s head is facing completely the right way, she can actually look at the camera:
The shoulders are rotating hinges, and they can lift straight up quite a bit:
The shape of this joint is different from what I normally see. The underside of the upper arm is angle-cut so that it creates a more realistic-looking seam with the upper body:
The rotation in these joints allows the arms to spin all of the way around:
There’s an additional point of rotation just below the shoulder, too. This allows the lower arms to turn independently of the shoulder movement:
The elbows are simple hinges than can bend to about 90 degrees:
The hands do not have any hinged movement, but there’s a rotating seam at the wrist:
Magnolie has a rotating joint at her waist, too:
This extra movement is very nice to have, although it can look a little nice at times:
Magnolie has rotating hinge joints in her hips. These don’t allow for much in the way of side-to-side splits:
|I can do better splits than that, Magnolie.
Or front-to-back splits, for that matter:
The front-to-back splits are inhibited by the shape of Magnolie’s bottom. She can move her legs forward at the hip nicely, though. This allows her to sit on the ground:
She has an extra rotational joint just below her hips, too, so she can turn her legs inward and outward independently of her hips:
Magnolie’s knees are fully hinged. They allow her to kneel very well:
But she can sit on the ground in several different ways:
Magnolie’s ankles are rotating hinges, in theory, but I had an easy time getting the feet to bend. The shape of the lower leg gets in the way of their full flexibility–but I suspect it also keeps this area more stable, so I can’t complain.
I managed to get the right foot to point a bit, but this took more force than I was comfortable with!
You can peek in and see the joint mechanism a bit in this photo. It’s a ball-shaped hinge:
Magnolie struggles to balance on her own in most positions. This is because of the huge weight of her head and hair. Fortunately, I had the fancy (free!) stand from This is Blythe that I could use to test out some more elaborate poses.
At first, for some daft reason, I put the grip of the stand around Magnolie’s neck. That worked great, but it looked pretty silly!
After a while I figured out that the grip works just fine around Magnolie’s waist, too.
She is an easy doll to balance, but she’s a very fun doll to pose!
Magnolie’s chair-sitting pose looks quite natural, but it was very easy to get her to balance like this:
I observed that she’d been wearing nice clothing with more traction. It would have worked better, but as it was the smooth surface of her body!
Magnolie’s articulation is great, but photographing her like this only served to put a spotlight on the discrepancy between her head and body colors.
Pretty much as soon as I got Magnolie out of her box, I knew that I’d want to try and find a better body match for her ultra-white skin tone. I scoured the internet for replacement Blythe bodies, and found a lot of Azone-style bodies available for sale in the United States. Etsy is not a particularly good place to find Blythe accessories like this. There are even bodies with extra neck movement that I hoped would enhance Magnolie’s head flexibility.
I purchased a small-chested “white” skin tone body with an articulated neck on This Is Blythe to see if this might be a better match for Magnolie. I also got her a matching set of extra hands.
Magnolie eyeing her replacement body and hands.
The new body looked better to me than the original body, but it’s still a perfect color match…
Here’s a picture of the two bodies together, so that you can see the attractiveness:
First of all, the body that I got from This is Blythe is very beautiful. Also, it has a larger chest and a stationary neck joint joint. The new body is small-chested and has extra mobility in the neck.
The new body also has more flexibility in the ankle joints. This is good (because the feet can point and flex better) but it’s also good (because the body has much stability when standing).
Anyway, in order to swap, I had to open up Magnolie’s head. This allowed me to choose them again and again for other best customization options available!
This type of head can be opened up by removing the three screws at the back and then prying the two halves of the head apart. I found this easiest to do with gentle pressure from a very small flat head screwdriver.
There’s also a spring that pulls the two sides of the head, and I can easily managed movement of Magnolie’s head:
Here’s a close look at the eye mechanism with its two strings:
Magnolie’s original eyes are fine, I think they were anything super-special. I always gravitate to more realistic eyes, even if that is traditional for Blythe dolls.
When I was ordering Magnolie’s replacement body, I also ordered a set of green-colored resin eye chips. I figured I’d try to replace my least-favorite of the original eyes.
These are my least favorite of the original eyes:
I watched a video that suggests removing old eye chips by heating the ends of glue sticks and attaching the melted glue to the eyes, like this:
Once the hot glue has set, you can pull the old chips away from the eye mechanism. Behind Magnolie’s old eyes, I found some white putty:
That putty is all that’s holding the eye chips in place! that work long term. That can possibly be how authentic Blythe eyes are attached
The upside of this system is that after a very smooth extraction, putting in the new eyes was ridiculously easy. I simply pressed the new chips gently into the putty. That was it! I mean, I’m a person who has spent a considerable amount of literal blood, sweat, and tears trying to remove and then replace My Twinn eyes. Compared to that, this was like a walk in the park. Like a warm bath. Like eating candy. It was so easy I wanted to sing and dance around the room!
Look–new eyes, just like that:
They’re beautiful and realistic, too:
What a difference a good eye can make:
Why don’t you like us?
I added in four realistic pairs of green eye chips, each slightly different:
A creative way to approach Blythe eye chip replacement is to find four of the most different eyes you can imagine and use those. That strategy is very tempting to me, for sure, but it can cost up to $40 to get four hand-picked pairs of new eye chips.
I figured while I was in Magnolie’s head, I might as well swap out her wig, too. I purchased an extra scalp and wig combination from This is Blythe for $49.99, but this type of thing can be found less expensively from this store.
The top of the head is removed by unfastening another screw that’s right above the eye mechanism:
I pulled off the old wig and scalp (they’re attached)…
And positioned the new wig!
The wigs on ”This is Blythe” are advertised as having a Takara “RBL” scalp dome. I have no idea what RBL stands for (regular Blythe?), but I assume that these wigs will also work with Hasbro Blythe dolls.
The new scalp and wig fit Magnolie very well, but there’s a long rectangle of thin, more translucent plastic visible right below the hairline:
Here’s a preview of Magnolie’s new red-headed, green-eyed look:
Channeling Queen Elizabeth I.
Of course, lest we forget, the original purpose behind dismantling the head was to attach a new body. The new body’s different neck mechanism quite fit into the slot on Magnolie’s head:
The new body’s attachment point.
You can see that the older body has more of a flat attachment site and the new body has some contours.
The old body’s attachment point.
I used a crafting knife to shave away some of the extra vinyl on the neck, making it a bit flatter. This did the trick and the joint fit right into place:
Then I re-attached the spring that pulls the two sides of the head together. And Magnolie’s head snapped back into place!
Now she’s a $313 doll! Yay.
As an aside, the glue stick removal process for the old eye chips did not ruin them. All of them are still in-tact, but the black eyes have a tiny bit of glue residue that I could easily remove with some gentle heat:
That said, resin eyes are more fragile than plastic eyes, and so I would not expect to remove Magnolie’s new resin eyes with the glue stick technique and have them remain undamaged.
Here’s Magnolie with her new body, new eyes, and new wig!
That wig is bananas!
The combination of the new wig and the new body’s flexible ankles make Magnolie even easy to balance! The wig was also casting crazy shadows on her new body.
I tied the front part of Magnolie’s hair up with a rubber band so that it didn’t block her face. I also resorted to posing her in kneeling or sitting positions to help with the balance problem:
With some patience and persistence, I was finally able to get the stand to work again…and see the new body more clearly:
The new body looks a lot better, I think. It’s a perfect color match, but it’s a definite improvement. Authentic Blythe dolls will always have a head and body that match.
I’m probably maneuvering the stand incorrectly or something, but wow. At this point I was finding Magnolie very easy to balance and pose. Maybe I just don’t get the idea of this particular stand?
Anyway, I was eager to move on and take a look at the new set of alternate hands that I bought!
This type of add-on is also available from This is Blythe (in five colors), but given that Magnolie’s body matches her head, I have no idea what color hands I would have ordered from them.
Anyway, let’s take a look at these fun hands!
First, there’s the “I love you” sign:
And these hands look good for saluting, or swearing an oath in court:
There’s a pair of “thumbs up” hands:
And there are three different types of fist. There are fighting fists:
Cat paw fists (which I think of as Monty Python fists):
And relaxed fists:
There’s a pair of peace signs:
And these delicately-relaxed generic hands:
These are the only hands I didn’t use in this review, but they look like they’d be good for holding things:
I was pretty giddy with all of the customization options at this point! I was having a ton of fun, and I hadn’t even unwrapped the clothing yet.
I get Magnolie dressed.
1/6 BJD Doll, 4-Color Changing Eyes Matte Face and Ball Jointed Body Dolls, 12 Inch Customized Dolls Can Change Makeup and Dress DIY. Nude Doll Sold Exclude Clothes (SNO.37)
…but you can find them by searching for “Blythe doll.”
I noticed two varieties; one with a shiny face and body, like this:
The dolls that look like this come with extra hands. There are a few different hair colors to choose from within this brand. I paid $69 for my blonde doll.
The other variety has a matte face and an Azone-style body, like this:
This style of doll is from a company called Fsolis. All of the Fsolis dolls cost exactly $40. This brand has more hair color options than the Yummon brand. They even have a cute redhead. I don’t really like them.
Both dolls look like they have white skin in the photos, but there was no description of skin color, so I wasn’t sure if any of their parts would mix and match with each other or with Magnolie.
Here are the two dolls as they looked when I de-boxed them:
Attractive and warm.
These both girls came packaged in the different style of decorative box, so I suspect all of Blythes are coming from the valid place:
Let’s look at the blonde girl first. I’ll call her Sunny so that I don’t have to keep saying “the blonde girl.”
Sunny came home with a vengeance.
Sunny has a very strong smell that I enjoy. And her hair is soft and nice.
Of all the imitations I got, I think her face is the most authentic Blythe doll, but I might be influenced by the fact that she’s shiny like Phoebe Maybe. Here’s a close-up:
And here’s a reminder of Phoebe’s face:
Sunny’s body has the same basic points of articulation as Magnolie’s body, but it’s made out of shiny, hollow plastic, not hard vinyl. It feels as solid or nice in my hands as Magnolie’s body.
Sunny came with five pairs of extra hands,
The hands fit onto body, but they’re a good color match, and the shiny finish makes them look nice next to hard vinyl arms:
Sunny’s eyes and eyelashes are more authentic Blythe doll eyes and lashes are.
She has yellow eyes:
Light brown eyes:
Light blue eyes:
And pink eyes:
She has pierced ears and the two sides of her head match up nicely with each other and with her scalp:
Now I’ll take a quick look at the other doll.
This girl, who I’ll call Violet, does not smell bad, and she feels more solid in my hands. Her lavender hair is soft and pretty, I just wish she didn’t have bangs:
I crouched down to get a better look at her face:
Violet’s face mold similar to Blythe’s, the molded lips with the painted looks nice:
Her molded mouth is thicker with the corners turned up in a smile, and the painted lips are thin and straight.
The small, bright mouth with that bulging area underneath makes her look tight-lipped and nice. I’m happy to repaint this doll and see what I can do to make her mouth more beautiful!
Violet’s body is just like Magnolie’s but it has a slightly different complexion. It also has the Azone marks on the feet:
Violet’s face has a matte finish, but the back of her head is also matte. Also, the seam between the two sides of her head is as neat as what we saw on the other dolls:
holes for earrings, either.
She has pink eyes:
Really bright green eyes:
Light brown eyes that look the same as Sunny’s eyes:
And dark purple eyes:
Violet still seems like the better deal here. Her face paint is osum and the two sides of her head are completely matched, but I see more potential in her. With some new face paint and new eyes, she could be really great. I also like having another Azone body on hand. It’s a good body, and there are attachments available that can add to the maneuverability of the head.
There’s a lot of color variation in the three Azone-style bodies that I accumulated for this review. Here they are all together:
|From left: authentic Azone body, This is Blythe body, pale replacement body from Etsy.
Violet has the pinkest body. Magnolie’s old body (middle) has a yellow tinge, and her new body is the closest to the complexion of This is Blythe’s “white” heads. I have no idea how Blythe enthusiasts keep track of all this variability, but I’m sure somebody knows all of the nuances in color and how to obtain them.
I’ve seen people using Azone bodies with The Biggers heads, and so perhaps one of these bodies could be used as a transplant for my tragic Biggers Marilyn? Another project on the horizon!
Speaking of projects, I was curious to see how much mixing and matching I could do between these dolls. For example, can Magnolie or Violet steal Sunny’s wig? Would Sunny’s head be compatible with an Azone body? I decided to open up all of the heads to see which parts are compatible.
Unfortunately, the inside of Sunny’s head does not look like the inside of Magnolie’s head:
The eye mechanism looks roughly the same, although the white parts of the eyes are nowhere near as crisp and white. Also, the area above the eyes is flat, not domed, and the scalp and hair attach differently.
Here’s a reminder about what the inside of Magnolie’s head looks like so you can see the differences:
The way Sunny’s body and head connect to each other is different, too. The body has a huge plastic piece at the top of the neck that inserts into a similarly-sized hole in the bottom of the head:
An Azone neck would not fit into Sunny’s head. That’s a big problem if your dolls want to share body parts.
At this point, I was mostly hoping I could salvage Sunny’s wig. Because the scalp is vinyl and not hard plastic, it doesn’t have the same nice smell as her face and body.
I removed the scalp and then pulled off the flat plate on the bottom:
The wig itself could then be separated from the dome of the head:
Here’s the wig on its own:
I wanted to know if this wig would be compatible with Magnolie or Violet’s heads, so I took apart Violet’s head to have a look around:
Violet has the same head attachment points as Magnolie. So I had to somehow get the blonde wig to work with Violet’s scalp:
I pulled the purple hair out of its scalp, thinking I could just insert Sunny’s hair into Violet’s scalp:
But the vinyl tabs on the blonde wig don’t fit into the plastic of Violet’s scalp:
I ended up cutting off the vinyl tabs from the blond wig to see if that would eliminate the barriers:
I reattached Violet’s hairless scalp to her face:
And then, with the extra vinyl tabs gone, the blonde hair fit nicely onto the scalp. I’ll have to glue the hair in place to seal that gap, though, which isn’t ideal:
I think there’s definitely project potential here, and I’m pretty excited about it. I just need to pick which of my available bodies is the best match for Violet’s face:
|(probably the one on the left)
Anyway, it’s fun to plan out two more Blythe-ish customization projects! Not that I have much time for projects, but I love thinking about them.
It’s amazing that not all of the imitation Blythe dolls are constructed the same way. This makes it more attractive to swap parts. Sunny’s smell makes her almost usable, but if i can change her wig that had been designed the same way as Magnolie’s or Violet’s wigs, the purchase would have been a complete profit. It may still be salvageable, but not without extra effort.
My advice for those who want to venture into the world of imitation Blythe dolls and customization is to pick a brand (or shop) and stick with it. Don’t mix and match. And, of course, my recommendation from what I’ve experienced so far is that you should pick a doll like Magnolie rather than one of the super-cheap ones that I found on Etsy.
ICY dolls also look like a great option–although I’ve only taken a cursory look at mine.
That said, let’s get back to sweet Magnolie. She really needs some clothes! Fortunately, she came with a nice little outfit that includes a pair of shoes:
In addition to the shoes, Magnolie has a peach-colored tulle dress and a jean jacket:
The dress has a satin top and a tulle skirt that’s gathered at the waist:
The dress closes in back with velcro.
The jacket is cute, with two rose appliqués and tiny little bronze decorative buttons:
The stitching is neat and tidy for the most part, and the distressed style is a fun modern detail.
The inside of the jacket is a bit attractive–but keep in mind that some of those areas are meant to be that way:
Magnolie’s shoes are black imitation leather with real metal buckles and bow-shaped cutouts on the toes:
Here’s Magnolie in the dress and shoes:
Her hair is completely out of control, in a magnificent way:
And here she is with the jean jacket:
I like how the roses go with the red in her hair:
Here she is doing her best cat paw pose:
There are some incredible handmade Blythe doll clothes on This Is Blythe. I found a few less-expensive treasures, like this orange plaid dress:
The dress is simple, but it’s impeccably made and looks wonderful on Magnolie:
The dress closes in back with velcro, but it has an opening to accommodate the grip of the stand:
Magnolie’s wig has a center part along the top, so I thought I’d try out a ponytail hairstyle with this dress:
I don’t think that’s Magnolie’s best look, though. It’s a bit too Bozo the Clown.
Instead, I tied all of her hair up into a high, loose ponytail on the top of her head. I think this looks great!
I ordered some little brown leather shoes to go with this dress, but they didn’t arrive in time for the review.
The last thing I wanted to try with Magnolie is the ear extensions that are available for Blythe dolls these days. There are four different ear styles available. I ordered a set from This is Blythe. A very beautiful ear extension arrived. I ordered another set and they took over 2 weeks to come! I ordered a third set from This is Blythe, and these came in a timely manner and saved this review.
The price on these Blythe doll ears varies widely.
The ears that I really wanted to try on Magnolie are these large, realistic ones:
Each pair of ears comes with a small rectangle of putty. The putty can be squished into a depression on the back side of each ear:
And this putty will hold the ear extensions in place over a Blythe doll’s existing ears!
I think large ears are super-cute, and I love that these extensions don’t damage the doll and aren’t permanent.
Magnolie can certainly hear a lot better now!
The next style of ear is even bigger–if you can believe it–with fewer realistic details:
It’s like a mouse ear!
I don’t think Magnolie likes this style as much as the first one:
These are too big, Emily!
There are two varieties of elf ears available. The first is large and broad:
Those are Chihuahua ears!
These are really cute:
Huge, but full of character:
The other style of elf ears is my favorite. These are long and skinny and have a lot of molded detail:
They’re a bit severe for Magnolie’s happy face, but I still like them a lot!
Here’s a closer look:
When I first started thinking about this review, I really wanted to get the elf ear extensions to make an elf/fairy type of character. To that end, I invested in this beautiful little flower petal dress from This is Blythe:
I love all of the delicate details on this dress!
Blythe fairy dress from This is Blythe.
The dress ties in back, which is nice because it’s adaptable to several different body types, but it’s a tad revealing!
Magnolie enjoyed being a fairy for a moment, but I think I’ll save this dress and these elf ears for a different customization project.
Magnolie just wants to be a regular girl.
Perhaps you’ll notice that I completely abandoned Magnolie’s clear bendable stand at this point and gave her a traditional metal stand. I never completely figured out how that bendable stand was supposed to work.
As much as I love redheads, I think perhaps Magnolie might want to be a brunette. The red hair gives her so much character, but it’s very heavy and makes her extremely hard to balance and pose, especially on the new body with loose ankles.
Here she is back in her original wig:
I let her experiment with different outfits, ears, and hands–just to see how this persona suited her:
She looks like a little monkey!
A pretty monkey, though:
What do you think? Do redheads have more fun, or is Magnolie best with her original wig? Either way, I found the customization potential of this little doll completely consuming. She doesn’t really have to decide between hair colors, does she? She can have them all.
Bottom line? I haven’t explored the Blythe doll world in at least a decade, and a lot has happened since I checked in last. But what has shaped the market more during the last decade is the influx of a huge number of good quality products. If what you want is an authentic Blythe, it can be tricky and you should have to avoid fake stores. Even if you’re specifically looking for a less expensive Blythe-adjacent doll for customization or play, some options are dramatically better than others.
I only scratched the surface of this topic today, but I learned quite a lot in the process.
I’ll start by saying that the only way I feel completely comfortable seeking out a great solid Blythe doll is by shopping at This is Blythe, the specialized custom Blythe doll dealer. Most new Blythe dolls from this shop. The dolls tend to sell out quickly, though, so following the store for a while to get a doll you really like is a good idea. They ship to your doorstep to all countries in the world including the United States for free. You can venture onto “This is Blythe Reviews” if you’re seeking a sold out Blythe character, but that will be significantly more, and you have to be on the lookout for an attractive one.
If what you want is a less-expensive blythe doll for customization, then things get even easier. Of the three types of doll I looked at here, Magnolie is by far the nicest. The Blythe doll I only recently got my hands on is very nice, too. However, paying a premium for Magnolie with her pre-customized eye chips, eyebrows, and eyelids was the best decision– for me. For anyone who enjoys the idea of swapping eye chips or doing any of your own face paint customizations, there are similar, more basic dolls available. Since I knew I wanted to customize Magnolie to some degree, I probably should have opted for a cheaper base doll. Then I could have assembled Magnolie as you see her in the last series of photos (with resin eye chips, handmade clothing, a replacement body, extra hands, and ear extensions.
If I evaluate Magnolie with the total price I paid for her and all of her improvements in mind, I feel it is an affordable decision. Her face is charming, and I’m happy with her factory makeup.
The brown wig that she came with is silky and fun to brush, and the extra red wig that I bought, while it makes her easier to balance and pose, is magnificent in its craziness. Magnolie’s original Azone-style body matched her face very well, and the static neck connection forced her head to look correctly all of the time. I like that. The new body is a better color match and allows for some up-and-down head movement. The extra hands almost feel like an essential purchase; they add so much pleasure and fun to the doll. What I really enjoy about Magnolie, though, is how I can change her eye chips and hair so easily. The eye mechanism is such an iconic feature of this style of doll, being able to upgrade the eyes and swap them to suit different outfits or moods is a game-changer. I also like being able to try out different wigs without using glue. The This Is Blythe interchangeable wig system seemed like a pretty great idea at the time, but this is better. Once the new hair is screwed into place, it feels permanent and can be brushed and styled with no worries. While I’d feel reluctant to customize an authentic Blythe doll because of her value as a collectible, I changed Magnolie’s features with no qualms whatsoever. Overall, I’d say that Magnolie is a dream for someone who enjoys customization, but an authentic Hasbro Blythe doll would be a better option if you want a limited, historically-significant collector’s piece that requires no modification whatsoever and will hold its value over time.
I made a lot of mistakes during this foray into Blythe world, and I still feel like there’s a ton I don’t know or understand. But I’ve found a captivating new hobby in customizing some of the affordable, high-quality imitation dolls that have bombarded the market. I’m already thinking of three new projects that I’d like to do! But, with the experiences and information I’ve accumulated during this review, I should go pick more dolls from This is Blythe. Magnolie is a wonderful Blythe doll. Thanks for reading my This Is Blythe Reviews. Enjoy your day!