Monday, February 22, 2016

An Update and Blythe Dolls

Hi Doll Friends!

I started writing this post last month, but I was never able to finish it. I'm so sad to say that I have lost my wonderful Mom. There was never a sweeter or more caring lady. She spent her whole life taking care of others. Lately, I was able to spend time taking care of her, and now I don't know what to do without her. I miss her terribly.

I love you Mom!

The words below were written last month before this happened, and I have decided to go ahead and post them.

I wanted to tell you about a new dolly who has been on my wish list!

If you've read my blog before, you know that I collect a variety of dolls. Lately, I've been obsessed with antique dolls, especially my Schoenhuts - Love, LOVE, LOVE them!

No, this is not a new doll. That's Martha peeking in to say Hello!

Martha, my first Schoenhut Doll

...But this new doll that I'm talking about is a bit different... well actually very different. This new (to me) doll on my wish list is a Blythe doll.  Here is a sneak peek...

Since these dolls are not readily available here in the US, some research is required to learn about them. I thought I'd share what I've been learning here, in case it may be of interest to anyone else.

Blythe History

The original Blythe dolls were only sold for one year in 1972 by Kenner in the USA.

In 2001, almost thirty years later, Blythe dolls began being produced by Takara in Japan. I'm not sure how many versions of Blythe Takara has released since then, but they have been producing them from 2001 to the present.

In 2007, Ashton-Drake Galleries also made a limited number of Blythe dolls that were reproductions of the original Kenner Blythe including the original outfits that she wore.

The Blythe dolls being produced today are still only made in Japan by Takara. They are not sold in any stores in America, which makes them very difficult to acquire since you have to order them from outside of the US. Takara produces Blythe dolls in 3 sizes now. The Neo Blythe, who is about 11" tall, has a slender body similar to Barbie, but her head is the size of a grapefruit. The other 2 sizes are Middie Blythe, who is almost 8" tall and Petite Blythe who is is just over 4" tall.  

Blythe Eyes

The thing that makes Blythe really different from all other dolls is her special eye mechanism that is controlled by a pull string. Pull her string to change her eyes and give her a totally different expression. She comes with 4 different eye colors, with 2 sets looking forward, one set that looks to the left, and one set that looks to the right. Well, you know I love dolls with big eyes, and Blythe must have the biggest eyes in the doll world. And just a pull of her string changes both the color and direction of her eyes. Only the full size Blythe dolls have this eye mechanism.

Similar Dolls

The 4" size Petite Blythe is similar to the LPS Blythe dolls that were produced by Hasbro from 2010 to 2012. Their eyes do not change like the Neo Blythe though. I wrote about my LPS Blythe mini dolls a long time ago. You can find my articles on my LPS Mini Blythe Dolls Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

LPS Mini Blythe Doll

Another doll with some similarity is the Pullip doll, who also has a large head, slender body, and huge eyes. Pullip dolls have a button on the back of their heads to make their eyelids open and close, but they do not change their eye color or direction like Blythe.  You can find my article on my Pullip dolls here.

Peter Pan Pullip Doll

I think Blythe dolls also bear a bit of similarity to Tonner's Wilde Imagination Patience doll. Patience has huge eyes too, but her eyes move from side to side by themselves when you move her, not with a pull string. Although the direction of her eyes move, her eye color does not change. You can find my article on Patience here.

Tonner Patience Doll

Where to Find Blythe

Since I couldn't run out to the store and buy a Blythe, I started looking on eBay. A quick search of Blythe doll on eBay brings up over 15,000 listings though. How does one even begin to choose a doll from such a massive number of listings? So, I began to research to try to narrow down exactly what I wanted.

Through this research, I found out that MOST of these listings are actually not official Blythe dolls produced by Takara, but are actually fakes. Apparently Blythe dolls are so popular and in such high demand that others have copied the dolls and try to pass the copies off as real Blythe dolls. They sellers list these knock-off dolls as "Factory dolls". Any Blythe listing that has the key words "factory" or "nude" is actually a fake... so Buyer Beware!

If you want an official Takara release, be sure that you purchase from a reputable authorized Blythe dealer like C.C. Toys or Junie Moon. There are also some reputable eBay sellers like iloveblythe who sell official stock releases. If you see a doll listed for a price that is substantially lower than retail, or if "factory" or "nude" are anywhere in the title, then be aware that the listing is not an original Takara Blythe.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying any doll that you like, whether it be an official release or a factory doll, as long as you are aware of what you are buying. Fake or factory dolls are also referred to as TBL's.  Other acronyms such as "RBL" and "FBL" represent the different Takara face molds, but a "TBL" is an acronym for a factory doll. This can add to the confusion for new collectors.

One thing I think factory dolls are perfect for is customization. Many collectors love to customize Blythe dolls. It is very popular to repaint the faces, even sanding and carving the face to create different looks for Blythe. Adding sleep eyes and changing the eye colors is also very popular and even rerooting the hair. I would love to customize Blythe, and I would prefer to customize a factory doll and keep my official stock release dolls original.

Coming Soon...

Next time I'll be sharing about some new dolls that have been added to our collection.