Monster High Fashion Dolls
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|Here's an unusual one
tonight...this is a new line of dolls from
Mattel that look (at least to me) like Bratz meets Monsters. They're
called "Monster High",
and are part of a huge
gamble by Mattel
on a full franchise (including television and movies) around the
concept of the modern teenage descendants of the classic monsters.
here to tell us all about the first two - take it away, Charles!
My name is Charles and I'll be reviewing the
first giftset in the new Monster High fashion doll line from Mattel,
Monster High's top couple Deuce Gorgon and Cleo De Nile!
Deuce is the son of the one and only Medusa and the lovely Princess
Cleo is the daughter of his majesty The Mummy.
the end of the day these are toys and they are great toys and a
pleasant surprise from a company that seems to cause more grief than
happiness at this point in time.
destroyed the box before deciding to do this review so no in box
pictures from me (there are plenty on the net anyway). The box is
brightly colored and definitely designed to attract attention on the
shelf with a variety of patterns in multiple colors all over it's
surface overlaying an alternating glossy and matte backround.
is a window front so the dolls and accessories can easily be seen
inside, and the box has an unusual shape being wider on one end like a
There are nice illustrations of the characters and personalized bio
information for each on the back.
The box is not collector friendly which is fine as this is a playline
dolls are totally new and unique with all new sculpts (no Barbie parts
here). I'm sure the girls probably share some parts between them (only
have these two so I can't check now); other dolls in the line will
undoubtedly feature some reuse but for now they're new new new.
are obviously not intended to be in any way realistic, anatomically
possible figures and are in an extremely exaggerated style. For that
they are VERY well done with a kind of skewed anatomy and a shape that
offers a kind of realism in context.
The headsculpts are very
well done managing to have a lot of character within the confines of
the exaggerated, non realistic style.
The more I look at Cleo
the more I really like her. It's an interesting and attractive sculpt.
This may sound goofy but it really does read "Egyptian" not as a
realistic portrait or anything but the severed, sharp angles of her
face are very evocative of Egyptian art.
Deuce's snakes are well
sculpted but fairly blank; I like the positions they're in but there
isn't much detail to them. The scales on his head are well done also if
a little plain.
The faces are expressive without being overly
expressive. No cheesy grin, no sour pout. Neutral expressions are
appropriate for many play scenarios.
There has been some debate
as to whether or not any of these pieces came from Mattel's aborted
Bratz line; personally I think that, that is the case but it's a debate
for another time.
work is quite good on both faces with plenty of small details and
multiple colors and finishes on Cleo's makeup. Eyes have been a real
and extensive problem at Mattel for a few years now but both of my
dolls are well done with Deuce having only some very minor issues with
uneven eye paint and a few small flaws in theiris/pupil area.
The flaws were miniscule enough that I didn't even see them before
looking at the extremely close macro shot.
only other areas of paintwork are Deuce's "hair" which is a nice acid
or "venom"? green in varying shades that matches his eyes and his scale
print tattoo. The detail work on the snakes could be more elaborate but
is adequate for a playline doll. The tattoo is good but may be a decal
or tampo work. The pattern is slightly "Granulated".
on the bodies is slightly shiny but well within the area of acceptable
for fashion dolls. The heads are cast in matte finish vinyl and have a
nice luminous quality that painted plastic can't match.
hair is well rooted and thick and is made of a nice silky fibre. The
hair is black with reddish brown highlights and gold mylar hairs
scattered across the top.
The Dolls have ball jointed necks, shoulders, elbows, knees and hips.
The elbows and knees have outward swivel motion as well.
has jointed wrists with a full range of motion but static ankles, while
Deuce has jointed ankles with a full range of motion with static
wrists, allowing her to interact more with the accessories and him to
do more action poses.
It would have been nice for both dolls to
have all joints but frankly Cleo's feet just need to be able to wear
shoes and Deuces hand sculpts are very expressive and work well with a
variety of poses so the lack of those joints isn't a dealbreaker for me.
can stand without assistance, Deuce more than Cleo and in the photo of
Deuce "surfing" on the column fragment he is standing unassisted and
the column is at an angle with a downward tilt.
There is a fairly irritating problem with the dolls though and it
relates to the construction of the joints.
arms pull apart easily and the forearms and hands are removable. Some
have said that this is to help with ease of dressing the dolls, and
that may be so, BUT the simple truth for my dolls is that the arms come
apart WAY too easily. I've read that this isn't the case with other
people’s dolls but with mine it's a problem, particularly for Deuce and
you'll notice that in some of the photos that his arm is semi detached.
It kept happening and I didn't notice every time in time to catch it
for the pictures.
Now as an adult collector, particularly as an
adult collector who collected Toybiz's 1/6 scale Lord of the Rings
dolls, I know a thing or two about tightening loose joints using
Superglue and so the problem with my dolls is no more BUT I can see
this being very frustrating and irritating to a child trying to PLAY
with these dolls.
The problem seems to stem from the totally
smooth pegs that hold the forearms and wrists in place, there is
nothing to provide resistance inside the arms or forearms and the pegs
are very smooth and slippery. I think
Mattel should go back and redesign this at some point.
points per doll may not seem that much to an action figure collector
when 30 plus is common but for a fashion doll, particularly for a
playline doll it is a lot, for a playline doll it's practically
These are fashion dolls so the clothing had better be good, and with
only some very minor issues, it is.
has a printed mummy wrap/bandage body suit with matching choker and
forearm sleeve and gold platform sandals that also look somewhat like
wrappings with drybrushed gold paint on them and have black bases with
gold studs painted on them. Both the suit and the arm covering have
dangling bandages dangling from them.
the body suit she wears a sheer blue halter-y top trimmed with black
ribbon and lace that ties behind the neck with the black ribbon. On her
head is a vac-metallized gold band with blue painted jewel detailing.
She has a bicep cuff, a bracelet, a triple strand belt and a pair of
large earrings all cast in gold semi metallic vinyl as well as a golden
cell phone with coordinating thigh holster.
The cuff is too big and is loose on the dolls arm and the cell phone
holster tends to come off the pants leg.
She also has a matching solid vinyl purse with molded details that have
blue and black paint work on them.
has black low rise pants printed with sliver scales that flare out at
the ankles and a red tank top featuring a skull motif decal; over this
he wears a jersey sleeveless vest which has black, silver, and
white stripes on the front, and is solid gray in the back
black collar, silver trim, and a white ribbed knit bottom.
There is a white vinyl belt with a molded chain hanging on it and a
red, white, and silver cassette
belt buckle. His molded plastic shoes look like Vans with a black and
white checkerboard pattern painted on them with silver on the upper
sides and studs on the lower sole sides. The shoes are detailed like
sneakers on the bottoms.
To finish the outfit there is a chain
necklace molded in semi metallic silver vinyl with a cartilage earring
of the same vinyl and a black vinyl wrist cuff with a molded and
painted skull (the MH Skull) on it, as well as a fingerless black
fabric glove and his pair of red shades with black
The only problems I have with
the outfits is that the velcro is the weaker thin type and tends to
separate often and that the lace trim on Cleo's top wasn't fully
The line between accessories on these dolls is a bit blurred so I'm
only counting the pieces that are NOT part of the ensembles.
dolls each have a paper diary detailing the end of their summer breaks
and social lives as they gear up for school. The diaries are very well
written and frequently quite funny; they give you a definite sense of
each character and how they fit in their world.
Cleo is afraid
of the dark after being entombed, Deuce has to wear his shades or he'll
turn people to stone with his gaze – only temporarily though, 24 hours
There is a Monster High logo hairbrush for Cleo and
each doll comes with a logo stand as well, green for Deuce with gold
The final two accessories are Deuce's pet rat Perseus
whom according to Deuce's bio is named after "Some guy my mom knew" and
Cleo's slightly poisonous pet Cobra Hissette.
It's not a lot of stuff but some of the outfit pieces could (and
probably should) totally count in this area as well.
- *** to ****
ordered mine from TRU.com and was charged tax and shipping
grand total of $43.68 which was too much for these dolls as much as I
I knowingly overpaid as I wanted this set very badly and it wasn't in
stores so the blame is with me there.
the set should retail from between $29.99 and $34.99 in stores and at
the $29.99 price point add another star at least as that is a dang good
value for this set.
Factor - ****
These dolls are great for a variety of people. Doll people, monster
people, kids, adults, and so on.
remains to be seen what other accessories, outfits and playsets will be
produced that can expand the play possibilities for this set but I
imagine the spread will be gigantic.
I would have had hour after
hour of fun with these as a kid, and I think they can work for both
girls and boys easily. Though the line is definitely skewed
At least two other guys are mentioned in the diaries so hopefully we
will see them in plastic soon.
adult monster collectors they are a fun take off on the established
monster lore and make for a fun visual just standing around on a desk
or shelf. Hey, they're not bad for playing around with either!
While that score may seem high I have to give credit where it's
their actual origins these dolls are a marked and daring departure from
the usual, from a company that generally isn't very forward thinking
and is decidedly risk unfriendly.
to Buy -
line is getting an unprecedented MAJOR launch and should be
easily available at most major retailers by august.
Toys R Us currently carries the set online and in some stores at $34.99
No other sightings so far.
Mattel will be offering a grayscale "Frankie Stein" exclusive doll at
SDCC this summer as well.
This product was purchased for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Charles79.