Monday, December 5, 2016

COLLECTION IN DEPTH: Charlie Bears

Howie
It is a dreary, rainy day, so I thought I'd pass some of the time by doing my first Collection In Depth post. These are different from my overviews, because you'll see pics of my entire collection and my opinions on each piece. In other words, this will probably be pretty long, but most of it will be pictures!

As I said in my overview, I knew about these for a few years, but it was only this January that I finally allowed myself to spend that kind of money on teddy bears! Ha.

Howie was my first. I purchased him off ebay. However, I would quickly learn that it's really hard to tell just how big a Charlie Bear is based on photos. You've got a height listed, but that doesn't tell you anything about the girth. Howie was HUGE. I've got him here next to Kjersti to show just how big he was! Something about him made me think he was a lot smaller and while I don't normally let "too big" bother me with a plush, his sweet little face and his girth just never matched up for me. I think I would have liked him better if he was three inches shorter and scaled down. As it was, I never really bonded with him and ended up rehoming him.

Allsorts and Penny Chew
My next purchases arrived in a pair: Allsorts and Penny Chew. I bought them from a stockist online. Some Charlie Bears with patterned fur like this vary a lot from bear to bear, so I was glad I got to choose my own. Allsorts is 13", so he was 2" shorter than Howie, but he's just so much smaller! And Penny is only 11.5". These two aren't collection favorites, because they actually turned out a little too small for me to snuggle comfortably. Sometimes I like a smaller armful, but most of the time, I prefer something a bit bigger. I do love their color combos though, so they're not going anywhere.

Oodles and Brooklyn

I switched to a different stockist for Oodles and she would become my regular stockist, because she's just on the other side of Florida from me and my packages get here really quickly. She also has excellent deals frequently!

Oodles is my first Charlie Bear love. He's the perfect size, tall but not too fat. I love his unusual color combination and his expression. If I could only keep one bear from my collection, I would fight and say "Let me keep two." Oodles is one of the two.

Brooklyn came from the same stockist as Allsorts and Penny, because my new stockist was sold out. I originally wanted both him and Griffin, but once I got Brooklyn, I realized I didn't want to spend that much on two bears who looked so much alike. Brooklyn is very handsome and he's good for hugging. I went through a period where I napped with him every day for awhile, but mostly, he guards the shelves.

Bray, Dolce and Oodles
Bray was my next arrival, although not my next purchase. Dolce was bought from a seller through Facebook. My regular stockist hooked me up with a lady who was selling hers.

Bray is one of my faves. His fur colors are just gorgeous and he always looks a bit disgruntled. He's perfect for cuddling. Now that it's getting a bit cooler, the bigger, furrier bears are going to be chosen over the smaller ones. All that fur can be too hot to hug during warmer weather, which it is most of the year down here!

Dolce was my original favorite from when I first discovered Charlie Bears. He's very, very sweet and a tiny little thing! He's too small to be super cuddly though, and mine's a little wobbly, so I don't handle him much. He guards my shelf full of smaller bears and handmade dolls.

Hubble
My next purchases were three from my regular stockist. Hubble was high on my want list, so I paid full price for him, buying her last one. Hubble was a little more expensive, because he's "plumo," which means he's made from both plush and mohair. Hubble's plush fur is luxurious and awesome, but his mohair bits (muzzle and ear lining) are a little bit scratchy, so he's not the ideal sleep companion. He's still awesome though. He does a good judgy face, because you can move the fur around his eyes to give him different expressions.

Fabian
My stockist regularly has dozens of bears on sale and I became attached to Fabian. I ended up adding him onto my order for Hubble. Fabian is lovely colors and he's a good size for cuddles, though I admit I overlook him a lot, mostly because he sits back farther on a shelf and other bears are in front of him.

Cayden
Cayden was my third from that order, also a sale purchase. He, Dolce and Fabian all sat together for a long time, because their fur colors go so nicely together. Cayden is a bit smaller, so he's in the mid-range for cuddles.

Shades
I thought Bray was big, but then I got Shades! He was my first really big bear. I bought him on ebay from a UK seller, because I couldn't find him from a US one. Shades is very popular and I was thrilled to win him. I can't afford to collect a lot of the older, more realistic bears, but spectacled bear Shades was not to be missed.

Elderberry
Elderberry was a whim purchase from my stockist's sales list. I love his colors, but I never bonded with him because he's simply too hairy! I don't like cuddling with overly hairy toys, because the hair inevitably pokes my ears, which I hate. I don't like some stuff touching my ears. I'm weird. So Elderberry became my first rehomed bear. I listed both him and Howie on ebay and he sold first.

Bryony
In March, the new arrivals for 2016 started appearing. My mom purchased Bryony for me from a third stockist. Bryony was my first non-bear Charlie Bear! She's got fabulous willowy fur and an amazing face. She's not often napped with though, because she's very skinny and doesn't make a good armful for snuggles.

Graeme
Graeme is my second big guy. He was the other bear, aside from Dolce, that I really loved the first time I looked at these. Unfortunately, being very popular like most of the realistic bears, he's hard to find. I happened to see him on Amazon UK and got help from my friend Picklepud, so getting Graeme was surprisingly easy for me! He's big like Shades, but incredibly beautiful. I love all his fur colors and the shape of his face.

Graeme was my last bear for a little bit. All of the ones you see above were purchased between January 15th and late February. I had several pre-orders for 2016 items with my stockist, so I took a break from collecting for a bit.

Blog
Blog started off my collection again in May. I think I had a gift certificate with my stockist, so I picked out blog. Can't remember for sure though! Blog is different because he's a permanently seated bear. He's designed to hold tablets or phones, which is why all the bears in this style have technology-themed names. I still want Byte. Maybe someday!

Dipsy
Dipsy followed a little over a week after Blog. I'd chosen between them and Blog won, but then I ended up really wanting Dipsy! He was a QVC special for the UK and my stockist got a few of them in. I don't normally go for the animal print bears, but there is just something about this guy. Dipsy has continually held my attention ever since I got him. He's kind of got that judgy, unsatisfied face. He's found his way along on my brief hotel stay earlier this year and my recent vacation. So it's safe to say he's a fave.

Eden and Brussell

Eden caught my eye from early on in my collecting and she finally made it into my collection in late May. I purchased her on ebay and then splurged and got Brussell, too. I had never seen him before he popped up on ebay, because sadly, there is no comprehensive Charlie Bears website. I see all these random new ones turn up on ebay all the time! Eden hangs out with Oodles and Bray. She's similar to Bray size-wise. Even though she's new, she has a slightly wobbly head, so I don't snuggle with her too often. Brussell is tall but slim, yet he's still a great size for cuddles. He's easily the most expressive bear I own. His face and colors are really eye-catching.

Chequers
Chequers was a bit of an impulse buy. I pre-ordered two monkeys from the 2016 collection and my stockist let me know one of them was in. Well, the actual monkeys were nowhere near as cute as the promo pics, so I ended up cancelling that and purchasing Chequers instead. I don't like cancelling pre-orders, so I typically replace that order with something else. Chequers had grown on me a lot when I kept seeing him on ebay from UK sellers and red, black and white is one of my favorite color combinations, so he fits right in with Allsorts, Penny Chew, Bryony and Blog on the mostly black and white (with some red) shelf.

Luna
Luna was an ebay steal at $30. She's a little too hairy to regularly nap with, but her design is pretty awesome. I think I would like her more if she was a little smaller, because she's quite large, but I still enjoy her in my collection. She's my only blue one!

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie is the 2016 bear that really stole my heart. THAT FACE. I was very happy my stockist got her in really shortly after I started seeing her from UK ebay sellers. I knew I wasn't going to be able to wait long to have her at home! Her colors are incredible. She looks like ashes with embers still burning underneath and then that bright orange sweet face. She's the other bear along with Oodles that I could never part with.

Chocoholic
My stockist has albums full of pictures on Dropbox and sometimes I just pore over them, looking at all the bears. It's so cool that she takes photos of them all so you can just give her a name and number and you get that exact bear. Well, those albums are how I've fallen for several bears, including Chocoholic. He was one of the daily specials in July and I bought him, not realizing just how BIG he is. He's my tallest bear, but he's also very skinny and barely stuffed in his torso, which makes him disappointingly not cuddly. Yet I still love his face and colors. If I had to part with some bears, he'd unfortunately be the first on my cut list, because he's not what I was expecting and doesn't really fit my bear needs, but for now, he's sticking around.

Hide
Hide was my first successful pre-order! She's a stunningly crafted ferret and I'm still waiting on her brother, Seek, to arrive with my stockist. I love the non-bear animals, although I only have Bryony and Hide so far. There's an amazing lynx that I wish I could afford!

Mix
I took another little break from collecting after Hide. She arrived in late July and I didn't buy a new bear until mid-October. Little Mix is part of the surprise Sweetie Shop collection. He is TINY. He's only about 8.5" tall. Like all the bears in the Sweetie Shop set, he's a limited edition and I was lucky enough to snag one from my stockist. I think he's absolutely darling and my mom really loves him. He's her fave.

When I bought him, I also put my name down to pre-order this year's birthday box. There's a mystery bear inside that no one can reveal until a specified time on Charlie Bears' birthday. I figured if I didn't like the bear, I could sell it and it was only $72, so I went for it.

Malcolm
On November 19th, we celebrated Charlie Bears' birthday by having contests all day on my stockist's Facebook page. I had to go to work, so I missed out on the birthday box bear reveal, but my mom sent me pictures. Malcolm! Malcolm is one of the older, popular, realistic bears that's more expensive to buy on the secondary market. I would never have bought his original, but this smaller version is perfect. He sits between Shades and Graeme on my shelves.

I was also lucky enough to not only win one of that day's multiple contests for a gift certificate prize, but I found out the next day that I'd won the grand prize: a FREE BEAR! I got to pick from a list of bears and it just so happened that one of my wishlist bears was on there. So Demi came home with Malcolm.

Demi
Demi is a beautiful dark purple that goes really nicely with Bray, whom he sits by. This picture brightened him up a lot, but trust me, he's much darker. He's a little guy, but still very cuddly.

So those are my Charlie Bears. I have Seek the ferret and Pepper Pot, another bear, on pre-order yet, but I don't know when they're coming in. I also have my eye on the lovely Kekezza. (Look her up. She's gorgeous.) I definitely would like some more bears soon, but I probably won't adopt any more until the new year, unless my pre-orders come in.

I love these bears a lot though! I'm glad I finally got into collecting them, because they're worth the extra cost.

Friday, December 2, 2016

REVIEW: Spacepop Hera

Last but certainly not least is Hera. My mom loves her!

Herazanna Appleby of Heralda is the sweet, gentle, nature-loving, meditating princess. She reminds me of Flora from Winx only with those characteristics amped up a lot. She plays bass in the band and her pet's name is Roxie.














The Hera doll isn't the easiest to photograph. She has pale pink skin, though it looks almost a natural tone in some photos.

Hera has the most amazing head of black hair. This is the best curly hair I've seen in a long time that was looser curls, but also really full.

Hera has gray eyes with white and dark pink polka dots. Her eyeshadow is a matching dark pink and her lipstick is a shade or two darker than that. She has neon green liner on her lower lids.

Hera and Rhea are the only two characters with some sort of headpiece. Thea has her hat, while Hera has a green ribbon headband. This is just tied around her head, not held down with anything except her massive curls.







Hera's dress is a nice dark raspberry pink with bell sleeves. It's pink mesh with golden polka dots along the top and there's a small cutout on her chest that I love. The waist and sleeves have lime green ribbon detailing for nice pops of a bright color. She wears stockings that match the mesh of her dress, and dark pink and lime green heels.

 

Hera's pet Roxie is hands down my favorite. She's the only one to have a unique mold and that mold is adorable! Her black and darker pink designs on her front are also repeated on her back.




Here's a shot of all the pets for comparison.














And here are all the matching pairs of shoes in the line. This is really my only major complaint. They could have done so much better on the shoes! They nailed Juno's, so why stop there?



I really love this line overall. I think the quality is there. The hair may not be the best material, but it's not awful. The outfit quality is excellent, though some pieces are simpler than others. The headmolds are all the same, but there's no way anyone's going to not be able to tell these girls apart. They don't even look that much alike to me, even with the same molds. The bodies are pretty and the poseability is mostly there.

With some more work on the shoes, some new molds for future pets, and an accessory pack of instruments (perhaps with a fashion?), Spacepop will be good to go.  

The thing I most love about them is that they're unique. They have a lot of elements that other dolls do, like similar style bodies and unusual skintones, but they don't look exactly like those dolls. No one else in my collection looks like Juno or Rhea or even Luna. I've been wanting something new to add to my shelves and these girls are the perfect fit.

PHOTO CREDITS: Mine.

REVIEW: Spacepop Luna

Luna is the only Spacepop member to have a normal by Earthling standards skintone, yet I think she's still one of the most striking girls.

Princess Lunaria de Longoria is the only princess aside from Juno to share a name with her planet. Her pet is named Adora and she is the band's lead singer. Luna reminds me of Stella from Winx Club, but only if you take away Stella's good qualities. I think she's the hardest character to like, because she's the only one that's truly a spoiled princess type.










Luna is obsessed with being in the spotlight and is a bit boy crazy. She wanted to name the band after her, which probably says it all.

One of Luna's most striking features is her eyes. Her left eye is yellow and her right is red. Luna is the only Spacepop doll that doesn't have a bunch of polka dots in her irises. Each one just has a single white dot. Her yellow eye has brown eyeshadow, while her red eye has red shadow. She wears yellow liner on the lower lid of both eyes. Her lips are the same red as her eye.

Like Rhea, Luna came with her hair trapped in a plastic band with three plastic tabs punched through it. It was a pain to get them out of there and the plastic felt a bit sticky, but their hair seems okay.









Luna's hair is yellow with orange streaks and she has a twist on each side that's sewn up into a little bun. It's so cute! I love it and I'm glad they sewed them down so I don't accidentally ruin her hair.


Luna wears a dress with a yellow top, black sleeves and a red skirt. The yellow top has these amusing Madoona-esque cone cups. The black sleeves are criss-crossed with thin white lines and red hearts inside some of the squares. Her skirt is a bit darker red than her eye and lipstick and is edged in yellow. Luna also wears black fishnets. I pulled them down and she does have some light staining on her calves. It's not the worst staining I've ever seen though.


Luna wears heels in black and red that are the same style as everyone but Juno's shoes.

Poor little Adora here on the right shows how some of the pets have paint damage. She's still cute though.

Luna is a lovely doll and like all the others, she's a standout. None of these girls are like anything I've owned before!

PHOTO CREDITS: Mine.

REVIEW: Spacepop Rhea

Rhea is my favorite Spacepop character. So of course, she was the only doll I received that was a little flawed. She's missing a little bit of paint on her bottom lip. I might upgrade once they hit stores, but I might not. I actually barely notice it.

Rhea is the one I took a shot of the whole back of the box for. If you can't read the profile and want to, let me know and I'll add it to this post.












Rhealetta Hemmings of the planet Rhealo is the only one of the princesses whose parents were not kidnapped. She lived in an orphanage until age five, when it was discovered that she had royal blood, so she has no real attachment to the royal family, who basically left her alone. Her pet is named Springle and she's the band's guitarist.






Witty, independent Rhea is the group's fashion designer. She's the one who crafted all the Spacepop outfits.

Rhea has pale blue skin with masses of freckles all across her cheeks. She has two shades of blue in her hair, blue eyes with white polka dots, blue eyeshadow with a darker blue line up higher, hot pink lipstick and hot pink liner on her lower lids.

Her outfit is a lighter blue jumpsuit with jagged pinstriped layers all over it. I don't know enough about fashion terms to describe it any better, but it's fantastic!





It's all one piece, so those cutout sleeves won't be sliding off and getting lost.

The outfit is like Rhea herself: mostly blue with pops of pink. The belt is a deep blue.

Rhea wears an adorable hat, which is on a headband. It's a bit top heavy and likes to fall off, especially since the character wears it lower on her head.


Rhea's face has an almost melancholy look to it that I think it is a nice hint at her not so pampered past.

Her hair, like all the others', is nylon. It's not the best hair, but it's not the worst either. Maybe companies have finally stopped using that really super bad nylon.





My biggest complaint about Rhea is that they didn't even try to do her boots right. She has a complicated garter belt thing going on, so I don't blame them for not doing that, but they could have given her a calf-high navy boot with painted on pink details and molded on straps that she could have worn over striped thigh highs. Instead, she's the only doll with painted on clothing. Her stockings have become socks and are painted on with the pointed part of the tall boot looking like it's part of the sock. Then she wears little blue heels like three of the other girls do. It's disappointing, considering I know Madame Alexander can do better than that.

Even with that issue though, she's one of my favorites, because she's my fave character, has an expressive unique face, and has the best outfit.

PHOTO CREDITS: Mine.

REVIEW: Spacepop Athena


Madame Alexander has learned wisely from other doll lines by now having Athena's glasses on her in the box. 

This is Mettathena Mystos of the planet Athenia. She's the group's leader, the smart one. Her instrument is the keytar and her pet's name is Mykie. 





















Athena came with her hair held with a plastic band, but I popped it off. Athena's always shown in the animation with wilder hair and I think the doll does a good job of capturing that. Her hair is light pink with four smaller streaks of a darker pink running up it. 

Athena has chalk white skin. Her eyes are sky blue with pale pink and white polka dots. Her eyeshadow is very pale pink with five hot pink dots under each eye. Her lipstick is a nice bold shade of matte hot pink. 








Athena's glasses are one of the best molded pairs of doll glasses I have ever seen. They even have little nose pads on the inside. The problem is they don't like staying on her head! They have flown off at me several times. Like shot off her face with some pretty good force even. 

Athena wears a dark purple dress with black polka dots. It has one long sleeve on the left. The top has a jagged fuzzy black edge. She wears a hot pink tie that's permanently a part of the dress. Her black lace sleeve has a gold elastic top and bottom. Amusingly, I found a piece of this elastic in Rhea's hair when I was deboxing her. And it didn't come off my Athena. It was just in there. She also wears hot pink mesh tights with purple and gold heels. 


The jagged part of Athena's dress is detachable if she wants a sleeker look. 

I think this outfit is well-made and I love that it uses so many different materials. The tights fit nicely and don't sag. 


Here's her pet, Mykie. Mykie is a good example of why I'm glad they gave Athena black eyebrows. Mykie has lots of pale pink detailing that disappears into her white. The same would have happened with Athena. 



Athena is my least favorite of the five dolls, though I love all of them, so it's by no means saying that she's horrible. If her glasses stayed on better, I'd like her a lot more! But I'm already kind of avoiding touching her, because I don't want her glasses flying off. 

PHOTO CREDITS: Mine.




REVIEW: Spacepop Juno

Welcome to Spacepop Day! I thought I'd be starting this a lot earlier than 11:34pm, but FedEx did not deliver my dolls until 8:37pm. Argh.

So Spacepop is a Youtube series about five alien princesses, each from a different planet, who escape the clutches of the evil Empress Geela, who has imprisoned all their parents (or guardians, in Rhea's case) and taken over the Pentangle (the five planets). The princesses decide to fight back by spreading messages of rebellion through their music. They do nothing to change their look and just shorten their names, which are already very close to the names of their planets. It's really silly and the animation isn't very good. The style is sort of like Winx meets Monster High. I saw a couple books on Amazon and picked up the first one out of curiosity. I was pleasantly surprised, because the book is way better than the webisodes and has a couple comic book inserts drawn by Jen Bartel, who makes the characters look really great.

The dolls were made by Madame Alexander in their first real foray into fashion playline. They've had some smaller playline dolls that I wouldn't consider on the same level as these.

The release date I had heard was December 1st on ToysRUs.com. However, when telling a friend about them, she turned them up in a Google search much earlier and on sale even (they're regularly $19.99 each)! I was actually supposed to get my dolls yesterday, on the day when I'd originally thought I was only just going to be able to order them. They came a day late and a lot later in the day than I expected, but they're here now and I'm pleased.

So let's get to it. The packaging is nice. I really like the art of the girls on the sides. They looked so nice together that I was almost tempted to keep them all, but I don't have that kind of storage space! I did keep one box though, Rhea's.

Deboxing was very easy. You just slide the liner out. The dolls are held down by plastic at the hands, like the Monster High dolls, but they have a slit in the plastic so you just have to open that and slide the hand out, no cutting needed. The waists and ankles are held by thin plastic bands. Not the harder plastic, but the thin stuff like rubber bands. Juno has another of those around her neck. I think Athena might have, too. Rhea and Luna both have their long hair trapped in plastic stapled together with plastic Ts. I'll have a pic of that in Luna's review. The long-haired girls also have some thread to tie their hair down a little, but nothing hardcore like how Bratz used to be. The pets are held in place by the plastic rubber band things. All in all very easy. No plastic to be clipped off the backs of heads.

This is Junoia Atley-Wolford and her pet Skitter. She is from the planet Junoia and her name is shortened in the series to Juno. Yes, creative, huh? No one will ever figure out who these girls are!

Anyway, Juno is the tomboy warrior girl. She wears a one-sleeved, thin purple tank top underneath a darker purple jacket with a jagged collar. Her green pants are very baggy, which I like to see. You always see fitted pants on dolls when they wear pants at all. Her thick blue belt is attached to the pants, while the top and jacket are separates. She's the only character with a unique shoe mold, these completely butt-kickin; boots. I would wear these.







Juno has a couple purple stripes on her face. Her eyes are a pinky-purple with white and darker purple polka dots in the irises. Her eyeshadow is dark purple, her lipstick matches her eyes, and she has pale blue liner on her bottom lids.

The most striking thing about Juno is her hair.


She has a thick not quite mohawk, not quite lazyhawk in two shades of purple. Back and sides of her head are flocked and it's nice and soft to the touch. Her hair isn't because it's gelled to hold that style, but it still feels more like gelled hair than the helmet hair you see on Monster High dolls with short hair.

Poseability on these girls is good. They can't sit with their legs straight out and their knees bent, which is my only complaint. Their legs go out in a bit of a V instead. Their hands do come off for ease of redressing.

And Juno can put her hands in her pockets, which is something I always appreciate. Both doll pants actually having pockets AND a doll being able to use them.

Juno is the drummer for the Spacepop band. I really wish these girls came with instruments. I think they're a good value for the $19.99, based on quality and things included, but instruments would have been even better. I would have paid extra for that. Maybe they'll make an instrument pack.

All the girls have the same head and body molds.

Seeing that top and the baggy pants here really reminds me of Season 1 Winx Musa. Back when she dressed better. Now she's always in pink and dresses. I miss the old Musa, so I hope Juno never changes! Keep the short hair, too, Juno. It's so good to see two shorter-haired girls in one line.

Gah, I love these boots. The footwear is the biggest disappointment I have with this line. Juno's boots are awesome and the other shoe design works for Hera, but they could easily have made a slight modification to that mold for Athena's shoes, which have more straps, and given Luna her ankle boots. Rhea's stockings, garters, boots combo is a little harder, but I don't like that they just gave her the same heels as the other three and then painted the rest on. But we'll get to that more in Rhea's review.

Here's Skitter. The pets are really nicely-molded and heavy. They're not a cheap plastic thing. Again, my only problem is the lack of variation. Hera's pet is the only one that's a different mold. Granted, the other four do kinda look the same in the webisodes, but still.









Since Juno has the darkest body and easiest to remove outfit, she became my opening review, even though these are actually the last photos I shot. But she shows off the body best. These girls are bigger than MH and EAH. This is even the thicker reboot body here on Draculaura. The Barbie on the left is a petite one. Not a match, but some Barbie stuff might fit Spacepop.

Shoes-wise, the Spacepop girls have smaller feet than MH, so MH won't fit their stuff and vice versa. You could maybe get away with some closed-toe MH boots on the Spacepop girls. Maybe. I did not try Descendants. That might be another option.











They do, however, have one very close match and that's Project MC2. Bryden and anyone else with high-heeled feet can fit the Spacepop stuff and Juno can fit Bryden's shoes. Adrienne's open sandals are a little big on her. Juno also fits nicely into Camryn's clothes, so Spacepop are a little bit smaller than PMC2 when it comes to body and foot sizes.

I really like the Spacepop body style. I think it's a nice blend of delicate (especially the hands) and thicker than the exaggerated MH/EAH dolls.

So that takes care of body comparisons. If anyone wants me to do any others or check on clothing/shoe compatibility, just leave me a comment. With getting these so late in the day and combating a constant headache, I was already running out of steam when I did this.

PHOTO CREDITS: Mine.