Bathing Suit Barbie® was produced with the existing 1991 "Mackie" head sculpt...

Well, the official images of Bathing Suit Barbie® (#P6508) are finally available, and now we know why the press releases kept saying she was going to have a new head sculpt: At one point, she was.

The current press release for the doll says this:

"The doll debuts a new face with a more natural look, including a thinner jaw line, more almond-shaped eyes, fuller lips and a softer makeup palette using shimmery pink lip shades and neutral eye colors."

The photo to the right shows the doll as she was produced. As you can see, she doesn't have a "new" head - she has the existing 1991 closed-mouth "Mackie" sculpt.

...but these two different prototype versions do have a new head

However, the dolls in the promo pictures on the right do have a new closed-mouth head sculpt. It appears to be the same new head shown on the FAB Girl™ prototype doll on the right side of the photo on this page.

Interestingly, these two images actually show different dolls. Their face paint is slightly different, and only one of them has earrings.

So, apparently there was some kind of mix-up - the doll was originally going to have a new head and the press releases were written to heavily promote it, but at some point she was changed to the existing sculpt. Maybe the new molds weren't ready in time for this doll to use them?

As is usually the case with Barbie dolls, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. Someday I'm going to write about the very-hyped "new" Barbie body that was supposed debut in 1998 and replace the existing one, but was only used once (on dolls with non-removable outfits) and then disappeared - along with the dolls that were supposed to introduce it, which were promoted as the most important assortment of the entire 1998 line but mysteriously disappeared without a word.

So... what do you think about this new head sculpt?

Doll Diary 09 March 2009