Monster High Fashion Dolls
By Mattel

Monster High dolls by Mattel

   "The 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 guest author."

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. Charles79 is here to tell us all about the first two - take it away, Charles!

Goooooood Evening.

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.
Monster High dolls by Mattel

Monster High dolls by Mattel
Monster High dolls by Mattel
Monster High dolls by Mattel
Monster High dolls by Mattel
Monster High dolls by Mattel
Monster High dolls by Mattel
Monster High dolls by Mattel

Packaging - ***
I 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.

There 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 wedge.

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 product.

Sculpting - ****
Both 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.

These 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.

Paint - ****
The paint 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.

The 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".

The plastic 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.

Cleo's 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.

Articulation - ****
The Dolls have ball jointed necks, shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. The elbows and knees have outward swivel motion as well.

Cleo 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.

They 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.

The 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.

Eleven 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 superposable.

Outfit – ****
These are fashion dolls so the clothing had better be good, and with only some very minor issues, it is.

Cleo 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.

Over 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.  

Deuce 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 with a 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
 tape 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 lenses.   

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 attached.

Accessories - ***
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.

The 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 or less.

There is a Monster High logo hairbrush for Cleo and each doll comes with a logo stand as well, green for Deuce with gold for Cleo.

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.

Value - *** to ****
I ordered mine from  and was charged tax and shipping for a grand total of $43.68 which was too much for these dolls as much as I like them.

I knowingly overpaid as I wanted this set very badly and it wasn't in stores  so the blame is with me there.

However 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.

Fun Factor - ****
These dolls are great for a variety of people. Doll people, monster people, kids, adults, and so on.

It 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 toward girls.

At least two other guys are mentioned in the diaries so hopefully we will see them in plastic soon.  

For 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!
At 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.

Overall - ****
While that score may seem high I have to give credit where it's deserved.

Whatever 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.

Where to Buy -
This 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.

Monster High dolls by Mattel

This product was purchased for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Charles79.

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