Tuesday, 27 May 2014

♥♥♥ Monster Elves - "Wydowna Spider" - "Weberella" - Chinese Monster High Clone Doll ♥♥♥

Ever since I first saw the prototype photo' for Mattel's Wydowna Weberella doll, I couldn't wait to get my hands on her as she is a combination two of my favourite things - Arachnids, spiders in particular and dolls!

Prototype (left) & Finished Article (on right)
Unknown source.

Sadly when they did make her available for purchase it was as a San Diego Comic-Con International exclusive, and she made her debut there in 2013 and of course only available in limited numbers, for a limited time. Which of course means she's not easy to find for sale, and when you do she has a huge price tag whacked on her.

According to sdccblog.com ( San Diego Comic Con Unifical Blog) post dated  June 17, 2013, she was available [Available: Pre-Sale / SDCC Booth] and set to cost $25, which is pretty crazy as, if you do a quick search on Ebay, you won't find her for less than $140.00! 

If the doll herself wasn't impressive enough, her packaging is equally consummate as it consists of not only a very attractive outer box depicting the doll's character all over it in red on black bearing the name "Weberella", but also another impressive inner box containing the doll and accessories and decorated with comic book style designs all over it.

Collage made from images taken from Ebay Listings

The doll's theme is a continuation of Mattel's Monster High "Power Ghouls" range which were sold exclusively in Target stores, prior to the release of Wydowna as Weberella, the Power Ghouls numbered four:  Toralei Stripe as Cat Tastrophe, Frankie Stein as Voltageous, Clawdeen Wolf as Wonder Wolf  and Spectra Vondergeist as Polterghoul; each of these dolls came with a mini comic detailing the adventures of the corresponding Power Ghoul. It is for this reason that the latest addition to the Power Ghouls dolls is known as both "Wydowna Spider"; her Monster High enrollment name and her "Power Ghoul" name "Weberella".

Ebay Listing Photo

As previously stated the Monster High Weberella comes with a mini comic and also her diary, which is standard with most Monster High dolls, she also has a pet called "Shoo Fly" and two outfits. 

"Shoo Fly"
The one she is already wearing is her "Power Ghoul" costume complete with "Wonder Woman esque" rope and her alternative outfit which is a very retro inspired dress and leggings outfit which is decorated with comic style imagery

 Her diary  comic book are  inside the outer box, so you don't have to open her actual packaging to remove them - which is great if you plan to keep this collectors item in sealed condition. 

For some reason the above picture shows the doll with red earrings, however she in fact comes with a pair of silver spiderweb ones, I guess the doll must have still been in prototype stages when they released that picture, although why it was never updated, I have no idea.

As much as I love this doll, I can't help being surprised at her popularity and appeal, especially where small girls are concerned, as spiders are sadly much maligned creatures and the majority of people have a strong dislike and in many cases a phobia of them, I however am in the minority as I not only love them, but I also had more than 20 tarantulas which along with my scorpion were my much loved pets for well over a decade.

Amazon.com  have her priced at $215.43 + $8.00 shipping. Their description reads: "Wydowna SpiderTM, the silky smooth Daughter of Arachne, dressed in her costume as the Power GhoulTM WebarellaTM!"

Wow that's a lot of giant TMs!  

Anyhoo, now I've waxed lyrical about this gorgeous official doll, it's time to tell you about the Chinese Clone version, but first I guess I should explain my reasons for opting for the clone instead of the original, well it's simply this: at the lowest price range she is likely to cost $140.00 - which is a lot of money for a doll which I would only be purchasing to display, this is due to the packaging - both lots - being far too much of a work of art to not want to show off, whereas two empty boxes and the doll posed outside of it just wouldn't have the same effect in my mind.

Another reason is the doll and her boxes have been designed to be a Collector's Item, and rightly so as Mattel have done it so well - far too well in fact, for me to open the packaging or remove the doll would therefore lower the value of the item and when you have to pay such a high price to own it, the idea of devaluing it in this way also seems to me to be unthinkable.

My third reason, is because while I love the look of this doll, I really don't like the fact that she only has one pair out of her three sets of eyes that are made to look like eyes, knowing spider anatomy like I do, this really grates on me and I would have a very hard time resisting the temptation to open the box and "fix" her eyes for her, so it's kind of dangerous for me to own her as a SDCC Exclusive as I may not be able to stop myself!

The fourth reason is I'm saving my pennies to buy myself a fairyland realpuki soso soom bjd for my Birthday, which I will be taking out and about and playing with very often, I'm also planning my own little Fairyland  for him/her to live in when we're not out playing in the countryside!

 My final reason is ... I really want this doll, but I want to be able to fix her eyes and play with and display her, so for this reason a clone would suit me much better - providing I find a suitable clone that is!

... And I have and here she is!

                                                       "Monster Elves Spider Doll"

Thankfully she doesn't come with a built in glove, like the official doll does.

 Well kind of ... This is her listing photograph, she took a little over a week to arrive direct from China.

The box was pretty smashed up when it arrived (not enough packaging for transit) but it doesn't matter as the doll was never going to be displayed in it anyway.

As for artwork used well that's pretty naughty; they use the Monster High Official Logo with only a subtle difference - so I guess that could be argued as not quite trademark /copyright theft, and the "Scaris City of Frights" brand as well as images from that doll line - the picture used for the back of the box is very pixilated as though the original image has been enlarged to such an extent that it breaks up.

There is an "Scaris" inner sleeve, which would serve as a good photographic background if not for all the holes cut out of it.

Nevermind, on to the doll herself...

Close up of Weberella Clone
There's something about the type of vinyl used to make these clone dolls as when you take a photograph of one close up, it seems to look as though the doll is made of a much inferior quality/ cheaply dyed plastic than it actually is, it also looks as though it has a light powdery coating, but as you'll see in later pictures none of this actually does permeate into the doll's plastic and since customisation, is not at all visible on the doll - weird huh?!

One thing I have discovered about Mattel's Wydowna / Weberella doll is she has a pointed peak (horn?) on top of her head - this is beneficial in terms of helping the doll to hold it's "bouffant" hair style but exactly why Mattel would choose to opt for this "feature" is something I find most curious and also rather annoying, to me it is another point which spoils what would otherwise be a very beautiful doll and one that I hope helps to give children something along the lines of respect, if they cannot manage fascination for Arachnids and in particular spiders instead of just seeing them as horrible little beasties that you must be afraid of.

My reason for having a problem with this doll's horn is due to the Entomologist inside of me and my knowledge of spider anatomy just not being able to condone this anomaly.

After all, Wydowna Spider is supposed to be based on a Black Widow Spider, hence the black skin and red hair, which are to be expected in an anthropomorphic version.

Australian Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

However, the several species of the Theridiidae Family to which the Subgenus Latrodectus belongs; Latrodectus being the subdivision to which most commonly called "Widow Spiders" - Black, Brown, Grey, Red & False Widows belong and in particular, Black Widow Spiders ( Latrodectus Hesperus,  Latrodectus variolus,  Latrodectus mactans and Latrodectus hasselti ) do not have a horn on their heads, in fact neither the male or female have a horn like appendage anywhere on their bodies, as you can clearly see in the following photographs of  a female Black Widow Spiders and also in the above photograph of an Australian Black Widow Spider; also known as a Redback..

Northern Black Widow- Latrodectus Variolus
She's called "lefty" - photograph by Spiderman937,
Found on 
www.arachnoboards.com website.

Of course one explanation could be that the horn (or even lump, or bump) refers to the story of Arachne from Greek Mythology.  Upon completion of the challenge set by Athena, Athena shows her anger towards what she considers to be Arachne's insulting of the Gods by not only ripping her weaving to shreds but also bashing her on the head three times... Perhaps Arachne's head became swollen as a result, even so would her daughter inherit this bump?

Also, in another version of the Myth of Arachne, part of the reason for Athena resurrecting Arachne from the dead and changing her into a human / spider / monstrous hybrid of the two, is so she and her descendants could weave all their lives. Yet another version has her children vowing to take revenge on anyone of Athenian decent in a bid to right the wrong committed upon their mother Arachne by the Goddess Athena.

Mattel make now mention of any of these aspects of the myth with regards to the background or hobbies, likes or dislikes of their Wydowna doll which seems odd as they state she is Arachne's daughter.

As I've already mentioned another issue I have with both the Clone an the Official doll's is their eyes, I don't understand why Mattel chose to give Wydowna more than one pair of eyes, which of course is in keeping with Arachnid Anatomy, but instead of adding these eyes and depicting them as "seeing" eyes, like her lower set, they chose to give the doll several extra "blind" eyes... Why mattel...Why?

Southern black widow Latrodectus mactans  
My other problem with these eyes, is that there just isn't enough of them - A Black Widow Spider, like many other species of spiders tend to have eight eyes.

The Black Widow in particular, by that I'm referring to  the LatrodectuFamily members I've already mentioned, have two horizontal rows of four eyes which go across the front of the Cephalothorax, sadly Wydowna does not - her eyes go in two vertical rows of  three which ends on her forehead, and sadly doesn't allow enough spare space to correct this anomaly.

Western Black Widow Latrodectus Hesperus

The other issue which makes it harder to correct the eye amount and layout, is the fact that both Mattel and the Chinese Clone maker have provided raised areas which are covered in paint to form the eyes... Removal of the paint does not allow free range to paint wherever I'll need to due to the raised areas, so unless I get another black skinned Monster High doll Head from possibly  a Catty Noir and strip and repaint that I just have to live with the "six eye problem".

 Of course I'm aware there are many other species of spiders which have two, four or six eyes... And even no eyes -  like The Eyeless Huntsman Spider (Sinopoda scurion ) recently discovered in caves in Laos, Southeast Asia, who just have a big baldy spot where you expect their eyes to be!

Yeah I know  Sinopoda scurion has nothing to do with it, but I just had to include a photograph because they are just so damn cute!


Getting back to my "horn problem" -  I can't let it go without stating, that while I have a problem with Wydowna having a horn, this is only due to her supposively being related to a Black Widow, as I know from personal experience that there is in fact at least one species of Spiders which does in fact have a horn...

During my years as a Tarantula Owner  I had two African Horned Baboon Spiders (Ceratogyrus Marshalli)

These are very beautiful, but also very large and aggressive spiders and as the name suggests they have a horn which protrudes from the centre of their Carapace, as you can see is the photographs, above and below.

So it seems that Mattel may have decided to combine qualities from both Horned Baboon and Black Widow Spiders when they designed their Weberella doll or perhaps not, I guess it doesn't really matter, the anomalies either, as I do still love both the Mattel and Clone versions, even though I am not likely to be able to own a real Wydowna until Mattel decide to release her in one of their new waves of dolls - which I have heard is very likely to be taking place sometime this year - due I'm sure to the high demand of these dolls at and after the San Diego Comic-Con.

Here's how my girl looked after I'd taken my paint brushes to her; I just had to add definition to her eyes, after I painted her original (large) pair in red so it would match my handiwork and also to cover up the dusty pinkish colour of the original factory paint and I neatened up her fangs and lipstick a little too.

I still need to neaten it up a little here and there but all in all, I'm very pleased with how she looks now.
As for her skin I didn't really do anything to it, only varnish it, which I was amazed to discover not only brought her up to similar shine as she has on her body, but also made the colour of her "skin" look far more uniform and darker in colour and much closer to the skin tone of the Official Wydowna doll.

Chinese Clone.                                        Customised Chinese Clone.                       Real Weberella.

To get a better idea of how different she looks now, I decided to collage the before clone, after clone and the real Weberella dolls side by side. Looking at them side by side like this, I have to say I think I prefer my customised clone to the the Mattel official version and she definitely is a marked improvement on the clone doll she was when she arrived from China.

I also painted her shoes silver to match the official doll's ones, in terms of looks they were pretty much identical - They also have the tiny spider motif in the centre of the ankle, apart from the colour there isn't much difference between the official shoes and the clone's shoes - I painted the heels red and just to be different, I also painted the soles red as well - this seemed to me to make more sense than them just having a red heel.

It's a shame John Agar and Mara Corday looked so freaked out by her as she's really quite a sweetheart!

In terms of poseability, the clone is of much better quality than I expected, her limbs were actually a little stiff which I like in my dolls as it means they will hold poses much better than looser ones.

There is a few obvious differences between her and my Monster High dolls but these are generally down to the type of vinyl used to make her, Monster High dolls tend to have harder plastic limbs, whereas the clone has limbs which feel almost like hard rubber, but as I've already mentioned this does not affect her poseability in any way so it's really not an issue.

Oops looks like I spoke to soon about how sweet she is, I guess she must be hungry and seeing my custom DragonFly Monster High Doll is too much for her empty belly to handle!

She came with several silver and also gold bracelets on her wrists, but I thought they looked tacky so I removed them.

As she came with pierced ears, but no earrings, I gave her a pair of silver tone Skull and Crossbones as I thought they summed her up quite nicely, I'll probably make her a new outfit soon, when I have a few spare minutes to do so, as I'm a little weird about the one she came in, by that I mean I like it but at the same time I don't although I can't give any reason as to why I would have either opinion on it!

All in all I think she was worth the money - which I have to say was more than I would normally pay for a clone doll, but not really by that much and as the postage cost was included in the £8.00 - I really don't think I can fault it at all.


20/ 12/ 2014 - Update...

Listing Photo

Well I still haven't gotten around to making her a new dress, but it doesn't matter as I found this dress for sale from an Ebay Seller in Germany. It's part of the accessories that come with the newish release of  the Toys R Us Exclusive Wydona "I Heart Fashion" set. It didn't come with any shoes but that doesn't matter as I have plenty of  Monster High shoes I could teem it up with...

In case you're curious, this is what the rest of the set looks like:

Photo taken from ToysRUs.com

Hmmm I think I'm going to have to get me one of those sets myself, I love the "comic Book" prints and the blue lipped version of Wydona herself!

Here's a link to Toys R Us.com for anyone else who just has to have her:  Wydowna Spider - "I Heart Fashion"

Anyhoo, getting back to my clone girl, here she is hanging out with some of her friends while wearing her new outfit. 

I decided to stick with the boots she came with for now as I think they go pretty good with this outfit.  I've recently repainted them to make them an even darker shade of silver, which I also think works really well.

Well, there you go I'm still loving this doll!

P.S. When I get me an official Wydowna, I'll do a comparison review of both her and my clone girl,..

Watch this or some other space!