Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Maleficent Doll or "Buyer Beware"

 Ever since I first watched the Walt Disney's Classic Sleeping Beauty  when I was tiny, I wished I could have my own Maleficent Doll, ok that's not quite true, I wanted the Three Good Fairy Godmothers and Diablo the raven, in miniature to keep as pets... I also wanted a miniature "Crone", Evil Step Mother, The Seven Dwarves and the friendly Forest Animals from Snow White in living miniature versions, but that's another story...

In my fantasy I would grow up to become Maleficent, be able to use lightning as a weapon, wear an Atora Headdress and be able to transform into a Dragon at will.

As I grew up I discovered that unfortunately I would never be able to fulfil these wishes but on becoming an adult the possibility of having a mini version of Maleficent in doll form began to  take form in my mind - I have for many years harboured the knowledge that one day I'll get around to making myself one..

In 1997 Disney released their Classic Doll Collection and a beautiful green skinned movie perfect Maleficent was amongst those dolls released... So I found I had another opportunity to own a Maleficent Doll, but at the same time the artist in me still wanted to make my own.

Although I still haven't gotten around to making myself a Maleficent, I do now own an "Official" Maleficent Doll - She is one of those released by Disney in 2013. But there is nothing like "making your own doll", so I have never put the idea to rest and still find myself eyeing up dolls with this idea in mind.

With the release of the recent Maleficent film there was the inevitable merchandise, amongst these are the Disney and Jakks Pacific Maleficent Dolls, both bearing a strong resemblance to Angelina Jolie.

While I am in no way a fan of Angelina Jolie's acting skills and have no desire to ever watch the Maleficent Movie, these dolls seemed like the perfect base on which to make my custom.

In particular I felt the Jakks Pacific version would better suit my purposes, the price was of course lower too, especially as at the time there seemed to be an influx of these dolls, but not so many official Disney Dolls, and when doing customs I much prefer to use a less expensive doll (or in the case of Monster High - one I already have) otherwise I'll feel bad about stripping and repainting her...

The fact that they both have the Atora Headdress already moulded onto their head was a quite a selling point for me - I must confess that I have on many occasions wondered how the heck to make her crazy headdress, which would make either of these dolls an idea candidate for customisation.

I also love the strong chiseled jaw and cheekbones these dolls have. So I went ahead and purchased a Jakks Pacific Maleficent from a U.K based Seller on Ebay... Or so I thought...

The first nasty surprise I had was when I was waiting for the doll to arrive and had the realisation that the doll was actually coming from China not The U.K.

After waiting a month she finally arrived and instead of the doll in the above photograph, I received this:

I was at first struck how unlike the photograph on the listing the doll I received is, and certainly was not the Jakks Pacific Doll I had been lead to believe and paid for. The box is a poor imitation, flimsy too and the backdrop behind the doll is clearly an image that has been enlarged so much it has pixelated.

After realising that she is clearly a counterfeit, I thought well I guess she'll just have to do as sending her back is certainly not an option.

Her face mould is pretty good so what the hell, so I began to open and inspect her...

I began to remove her from the packaging and discovered another nasty surprise - her dress is made of such flimsy poor quality fabric that it had ripped around the velcro strip and frayed so much, where the maker had placed the plastic ties to hold the doll into her box.

As you can see when viewed from the front, her dress is only slightly like the Jakks Pacific Doll's dress. It has a similar pattern to the fabric, but there is no stiff stand up collar, just an oversized fabric floppy one, and no choker around her neck.

I carefully removed her dress to check out the doll's body, with the hope that I would be able to salvage more of her than just her head, instead I got another horrible surprise: The doll's body is covered in stains from where the dye of her dress has seeped into the plastic.

The body of the doll is so cheap and flimsy. It also creaks loudly when the legs are moved and aside from standing or sitting with her legs out in front of her, there really are no other poses this body is capable of.

The distance between her legs make her body look stupid when her clothes are removed.

Her legs are so skinny that they are of absolutely useless to me in terms of salvage. That goes for the rest of her body really, apart from the head the arms may be of some use if I need temporary arms for some reason, but definitely not as replacements.

Basically, this body style is only worth being recycled, that way it may actually become something of use in the future!

So now I guess I have my Maleficent head to customise which will be completely stripped prior to use.

But the body is destined for the bin, I can't even see any salvage benefit in it - it's that bad!

Her face mould is nice, but "Nagdabbit"! I was angry, I've been totally duped - the price I paid and the month's wait was not worth it for just a head... 

If I was in the market for just a head to use, I could have either used one of my "victims" or bought a different doll's head for this purpose.

I'd bought a Maleficent Doll in particular as I had plans for her, and having a ready made dress too was I thought a bonus as most of my customs have to wait months for completion just because I haven't had the time to get my machine out and materials together, draw up and tweak patterns, resize etc and everything else that goes along with it.

The neck hole is handy, it should fit easily on another body - hopefully, I haven't checked this yet but meh, something has to give...

Side by side it's easy to see the quality difference between these two dolls, that said it's unfathomable that the seller could have made a mistake... They planned to rip people off and sadly it was my bad luck that I was their patsy, but "Hell no" were they going to be getting away with it!

I contacted them, I sent photographs of the damages and told them in no uncertain terms that I was not made aware that the goods they were selling are counterfeit... They ignored me!

I persisted and Ebay returned the full payment to me, so I guess I shouldn't complain anymore as I got her for free and as the saying goes "You get what you pay for"!

As you know, I'm not against "Clone Dolls" some of them are really beautiful, especially the vintage ones, and I did buy a "knock off" Wydona Spider Doll several months back when the only version of her available was the Comic Con Exclusive that came with a ridiculous price tag.

 The fact that this doll is not an Official Doll is not the issue, the issue is it WAS sold as being one, the listing photograph was of an official product, and the product received was anything but...

And so the point of this post is really is to serve as a warning to other buyers - Please be careful when buying yourself or anyone else a Maleficent Doll, ask questions, look closely at photographs, and if in doubt - don't buy it!

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