Buyer beware

Some years ago, I bought a Steffi Love mermaid doll by Simba. She had beautiful long hair in just the right shade of red to make a Ranma-chan custom. I repainted her face, but did not do anything to her hair except for braiding it. Now I just took this girl out of her box, and found that her hair fell of. Yep. Just like that. The fibres broke off where they came out of the head. This girl is bald now except for her bangs. While it gives her an interesting punk look, and she might be saved, this is not at all what should happen.

This is not the first time I bought a Simba product that I am not happy with. In fact, I own four Simba dolls, and three of those have problems: I bought an Evi (the Simba clone of Barbie´s little sister Kelly/Shelly) in a Japanese outfit to borrow her kimono for another doll,  and the kimono came apart at the seams and frayed almost immediately after I took it off and put it on an Orientdoll So Ji (which has now moved on). This outfit did not get handled or played with a lot, and considering that this is not a collectible one is not supposed to change, but a product made for children who usually give some wear and tear to their toys, this is not what should happen in a quality product.

Problem doll number three is a Tinkerbell I bought nude at a flea market. While this girl had been played with quite a bit, her main problem is one her former owner can´t be held accountable for: Her face is “sweating”, i.e. the vinyl is leaking plasticizer.

If sweating vinyl happens in a vintage doll, such as the 1961 Barbie dolls, or other dolls made in the 1950s and 1960s – I guess it has to be lived with. (Indeed it has, because there is really nothing you can do to stop or reverse the process.)  After all, I guess no manufacturer can be certain just how the vinyl will react over several decades, but as this is not a new problem, it should not happen with a contemporary doll , whether play doll or collectible, and especially not after only a few years.

Simba is not the only company whose dolls have this problem, though. Charles Roark mentions Barbie dolls made in Indonesia which get greasy:

http://www.dollstuff.net/diary/200903291

and I own both a Takara Jenny friend Flora (made in 1998) and an Igel Queen Beryl from Sailor Moon (also made around 1998, and the only Igel Sailor Moon doll that was actually cute) whose faces got greasy. I got replacements for both, and these are already starting to show the same problem (none of my other Jenny dolls does, though, knock on wood), and as if that wasn´t enough, Beryl´s legs also fell off. Grr!

The fourth Simba doll is an Ariel that a friend found forgotten on a bus and gave to me. I´m glad that this girl at least does not show any problems. PHEW!

My personal consequences: I will never buy a Simba doll again. My experience has convinced me that though their products are cheap, they are still overpriced given the quality.

I don´t think it´s likely that I will buy another Igel doll, my experience with Beryl was too sad, but as far as I know, the Sailor Moon dolls are their only 11″ vinyl dolls anyway, so they have nothing that could tempt me (except perhaps their Tuxedo Mask that looks delightfully like a gay Dracula, if I find him very very cheap).

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