25 Jul 2017

Monster High collector Draculaura

So it was my birthday at the start of this month, whoo yay and all that.

Which means I got STUFF.
Well mostly I got money... and an excuse to spend a little on myself heh.

One of the things i'd been eyeing on Amazon for a while was the leftover stock of the Collector Draculaura from a few years back, she'd never dropped to a price I was quite willing to pay and I couldn't ever decide if I liked her or not.
Sure she came up cheap on amazon US, but postage made it not such a low cost option and I talked myself out of it at the time.

But with cash burning a hole in my pocket I decided I wanted something nice and given how shit Mattel now is and how i'm not buying any of their new crap because it's well, utter crap, having something actually aimed at an adult market would be nice.

I have a bunch of their comic con exclusives sure, but aside from the first couple they've all not really felt like deluxe dolls despite their exclusivity, they always felt like playline dolls.

Draculaura on the other hand was actually marketed AS an adult collector doll and she sure did look deluxe.

Her original price tag in the UK was an eyewatering £70, which is just.. nope.
She'd dropped to £40 which was still a bit but it was my birthday okay? So I bought her.


She arrived totally wrapped in blank newsprint which was... weird.

Her box is a big elaborate coffin and looks awesome.
Man I miss coffin shaped boxes.


I always found there to be something almost... Burton-esk about this Draculaura. I wonder if that was intentional. Certainly her huge doe eyes and elongated proportions remind me very much of things like Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice and so on.


The bottom of the coffin has her name in silver, a scuffed up version of the MH logo and then "adult collector" written in multiple languages.

Hmm, the multiple languages worries me slightly.
Means this is an international version.
Why the hell would you make an international version of a deluxe doll?


The back of the coffin features a large picture of Draculaura in an old fashioned frame and a load of writing.


None of it's in english... at all.

Hmmm. Very weird.

It is however is at least 5 languages.


The picture is a sort of pencil looking sketch, very fashion portfolio and quite unlike the MH art style or indeed the doll.
It doesn't look old fashioned either, it looks like something out of a modern fashion designer's sketch book.
Hmm, odd choice.
I'd have gone with a vintage portrait myself.


Opening her up was really easy. The coffin box only had two little taped pieces holding it shut.

Inside the coffin is a pink spiderweb/plush coffin interior background onto which the doll is pinned.

She has a real fabric umbrella that looks like it actually opens and closes, an incredibly detailed outfit and a stand that's unlike any stand we've seen before or since.
It has BATS ON IT!


Behind the backdrop lurks her diary.

Well, I say diary.

See the US release came with a diary that detailed Draculaura's history and how she became a vampire.
International fans though? We don't get a story.


We get one page over and over and then a bunch of pictures from the promotional photo shoot.

I don't know what any of this says because none of it's in English and my German is super rusty and rubbish. 

I feared this would be the case when I saw the multiple languages on the back of the box but it's disappointing. A collector item like this you would think they wouldn't screw over the international customers by making a condensed diary. This is supposed to be for adults right? Adults love the diaries, and even if it was just in one language, you could run it through a translator surely? Heck, given the price tag of this set, you'd think they could have just regionalised the damn diaries. Give us one that's totally in french, or german or italian or whatever.
I'd have rather had a complete diary in a foreign language, at least it would be complete you know?


Anyway, the doll wasn't too hard to debox. She didn't have too many staples in her head but she's floppy as all heck.

She's also really big.

This was one of the things I found so strange when this doll first came out, she's taller than any other MH dolls barring Gooliope and that new tree girl, yet her character in the animations and all the artwork was always depicted as being really short.
Wha?

She has a bust joint presumably to aid her posability but it's SO floppy and weak she can't actually stand up straight as a result. She constantly flops like a ragdoll to one side.

I don't expect this level of shoddiness from a doll that retailed at such a high price Mattel.


Her body looks like an elongated version of the standard body, she has a super long torso.


Also as I stripped her off I realised with annoyance that her arms were stained from her dress.

Seriously Mattel? SERIOUSLY? Are you guys fucking kidding me?

You can see here the elastic band I rigged up to hold her bust upright, it was the only way I could get her to stand and not slump weakly.

The stains? They don't seem to come off. I haven't taken a magic eraser to them yet.
But you would think, you would THINK Mattel would know about bloody colour transfer and have taken steps to line the sleeves to protect her arms!?? Surely?
This is shoddiness I expect from playline, but I have certain standards for collector line. This isn't it.


Without flash you can see the staining better.
It's on both sides of both arms but nowhere else on her.
Wth?


Her outfit though is gorgeous. It's a fishtail gown with mesh sleeves and a huge amount of lace detailing and several ruffly underskirts.
It's quite awkward to get off because it's so figure hugging but it's beautiful.
My only gripe with it is that this particular one seems to like to slip on one boob and cause a bit of er.. nip slip... if Drac here had actual nipples.
The main gown is made of some sort of lacey stuff, it's quite soft and cotton feeling to touch. The pink under skirts are made of very stiff fabric, it's kinda crinkly/rustly. Taffeta? I don't know fabric. 

She also has a fabric collar, a mesh cobweb capelet, a parasol that opens and closes (well, it opens and almost closes, there's nothing to actually hold it shut) and a pair of rather large heels.

All the garments are fully hemmed and finished, so that's nice.


Her shoes have spike heels and rather sloppy paintwork.


I was curious because the size of her shoes made me think of the big sister MH dolls. Her feet are a slightly different shape with more defined toes and ankles but YES, she fits big sister shoes and vice versa.

So that's good to know.


She looks so regal.

Her outfit feels, I think, rather more Art Nouveau inspired than Victorian, the cobweb mesh and geometric shapes really scream 1920s but the shapes are older than that. Curious.


Her large eyes are indented a little, and super glossy making them look inset when they aren't. They're strangely painted with this severe upward gaze that from some angles makes her look like she's having a seizure.
It's a bizarre choice.

She has rooted eyelashes, least.. i think they're rooted, they might just be really securely glued but certainly tugging them they didn't want to go anywhere.

Her eyebrows are inexplicably grey.
Yeah I don't get that at all.

She has gorgeous soft hair with pale pink streaks and these amazing ringlets.
It's very pretty.


She has a huge plastic tophat which is made of I think 3 pieces. I didn't try to take it off because it's stapled to her head and I can't see any way to make it stay on without those staples.

There's a massive hat pin rammed through the middle, then a sort of base piece that makes up the brim and the cage-like main structure. The hatpin doesn't do much, aside from hold the pieces together as it doesn't go into her hair at all.

I find this hat a bit strange. A fabric one would have made more sense but I suppose then you would have the risk of staining her head. The cage-like hat is cool, but it's also a bit bizarrely impractical and oversized.


Her umbrella she struggles to hold, like all MH dolls she doesn't have a grippy hand or anything so you have to sort of slot the fingers into the slot, elastic band the heck out of it and hope for the best.
It's too heavy for her floppy arms to hold up, so you have to rest it against the wall in order for her to actually hold it up over her head.

The cage hat comes in a little useful here, you can stick the spoke of the umbrella into the hat to hold it in position lol.

As I mentioned earlier, the parasol DOES open and close, but it doesn't really stay closed properly. It lacks that little ribbon piece umbrellas have to keep them shut and the actual structure is too bulky for it to neatly shut in a realistic manner.
I little piece of ribbon might help?


Her capelet is awesome. It's made from a sort of black mesh and quite complicated to get on and off. I assumed it was attached to the collar piece but nope, it's not. It actually has a little loop of elastic that goes over her arms like a sort of backpack but getting it positioned just right so the cape doesn't twist took a bit of trial and error. Maybe that's just my dyspraxia making it extra hard, I don't know, but it wasn't very obvious how the thing was supposed to go back ON after I took it off.

But what makes it cool, aside from the embroidery work on it is the little elastic loops at each end which go around her wrist. Like the Bratzilla capes, it means she can do swishy dramatic poses with it.
I like this.


Her stand is awesome.

The base is sort of star shaped with all these spikes coming off it, I think it's a cobweb...a really pointy cobweb. From that is this organic feeling vine-like stand with little swirls, curls and spiderwebs with little molded bats.

the actual waist piece is shaped almost like a waist cinch with molded cobweb details.

I was a bit nervous about putting it on that dress with all the lace detail but it fits without snagging things and feels nice and snug.
The base is mostly hidden under the skirts of her dress.


This Draculaura really looks nothing like her original doll. The face sculpt has the same chin and rounded cheeks, she has the same little hear but the way her lips are painted and her huge eyes give collector Drac a far more dramatic look.

The softer pink I think I prefer as well, it's really pretty.

Both have lacy collars though. And mesh sleeves and a parasol. So it's nice to see some details carried over.


Collector Drac is very tall. Her stand base is slightly thicker than the other doll's bases, but even so, she's bigger than the standard and big sister bodies (Drac's signature doll here is actually on EAH Bunny's body to make her short)


Casta is the big sister body, and as you can see, Drac still towers over her.

I don't think they've ever used this body again, which is a shame because it's an interesting even taller body shape.


Collector Draculaura has no earrings, but has little indents in the mold for them. Just no holes.


Her stand holds her suprisingly sturdily given the endless problems i've been having with the standard stands toppling off their base.

Drac's hair has a large chunk of pink at the back with the black mostly framing her face.
There's a product in the front of her hair to form those ringlets but it's not overly crunchy feeling, it just feels like styling product rather than the rock hard gel of some dolls.


Back view for completeness sake.


Only way I could get her to hold that parasol was to stick it into the hat.


So, do I actually like her?

Well aside from the QC issues which pissed me off, yes... yes I do.

She has a dramatic face, an incredible outfit and she's so much bigger than most MH dolls that she really stands out.
Her eyes are strange, sometimes I love them, other times I think she looks strange and vacant... so hmm.

She isn't a play doll, she's supposed to just be displayed and you can tell. Her hat doesn't really come off, her outfit is a bit awkward to get off and on again and it's not totally colourfast as evidenced by her arms.
Her parasol also just doesn't look right closed.

But gosh she can manage some cool poses with her stand clipped on and her floppy bust joint secured with elastic.

It annoys me her bust joint is so floppy though. Were they all like that or is mine just a bit iffy?

I also don't quite understand why her eyebrows are grey not black.

Even so, she is beautiful and unique and quite unlike anything MH have done or are likely to ever do again.
their subsequent "adult collector" MH dolls have really not felt any more deluxe than playline, not at all justifying their price. Collector Skelita is nice enough but she just feels like a more expensive playline doll, not an adult collector doll. Same goes for that new Abbey, who pictures seem to suggest is on that awful flawed gappy body Mattel seem unwilling to scrap and determined to ram down everyone's throat.
*sigh*


THIS is what I think of when I think "adult collector", something insanely detailed and special.

I'm glad I convinced myself to buy her, gripes about her engineering and staining aside she is gorgeous.

She's just a bit too tall to fit on my shelf. Oops?


4 comments:

  1. Dang it, you just had to mention Tim Burton in the same sentence as her, and now I want her again. Anything that can make me see his fantastic spooky style in it is a must-have.

    I think what I really like about her, though, is that she has this real antique-doll quality to her, because it's not just the outfit, but the entire doll that carries an older and more elegant aesthetic. She reads to me less like a toy of a character and more like an old relic in an 19th-century haunted house; a doll for a doll's sake. She'd be a fantastic decoration in a spooky curio cabinet or on a mantelpiece.

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  2. I didn't even get to the end of this review when I ordered her for myself! I'll probably get the freaking international version too, because I ordered from Amazon.de... But thanks to you, I finally made up my mind and decided to spend some money on this beauty. Maybe 40€ isn't so bad, it even includes postage :D But I'll let you know if mine's floppy too, if you want to. And I'll have to check for stains.

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  3. I think that Mattel doesn't care for quality anymore, it doesn't mind if it's playline or collector. A couple of weeks ago I got a Barbie look doll that was super wonky, and she passed the QC.
    Lovely review, I'm glad that you found her at a fair price.

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  4. This is a great doll in a MH collection, especially now with the whole line going down the toilet. In a little time, even considering the quality issues, I'm sure you'll be glad to have splurged on it. I didn't notice any wobbliness in the bust joint on mine, but the arms and hands are super floppy. I overlaid the pink ruffles with tattered looking scalloped lace, I think this detail really brings the outfit together: http://bit.ly/2v20RYN
    By the way, the hat is one piece and the intention was to use it like one of those hair pins with two holes that you secure with a pin under the hair. Evidently, the team who designed the hat didn't tell the team who designed the hair to root more of it and have it in some kind of hairdo, so that the stick doesn't slide clear. As it is, the hair is ridiculously sparse and the hat pin doesn't work, but I'm glad at least it doesn't have any glue inside the head (at least mine). You can cut the staples though, play with the hair and pin the hat back with sewing pins.

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