/// 05 July 2009 ///
Early prototype on the left; production prototype on the right

Man. I was so excited about the dolls in the closed-face boxes - especially the one on the left side of the picture shown above. I haven't gotten very many dolls lately (you get picky when you run out of room...), but I was getting ready to take out the dishwasher in the kitchen to make room for this one.

So, I'm really, really, really disappointed to find out that it's been produced like the version on the right instead.

Yes, the doll on the right is pretty (and the actual production doll is even prettier than this catalog picture). However, there are already a gazillion Barbie® dolls that look like this. I was really looking forward to something new.

And now it seems pretty much official that the new Barbie face isn't going to be used at all.

"New-Look Summer" may be out of the picture, too

To add to the disappointment, the Summer® dolls from this assortment will most likely look the way Summer does now (like the samples shown at Toy Fair) rather than having the pretty "new look" shown on the right.

(She was going in the dishwasher hole next to Barbie. )

So, I know a lot of people are very glad to see the 1998 Barbie® head returning, and they'll probably be happy that the doll up there ended up swapping faces. But, the production dolls also don't have the articulated arms the box photo prototypes have, which a lot of people were really looking forward to. (Truthfully I wasn't a huge fan of those arms, but I know some people are going to be let down.)

It turns out the boxes do have closed faces after all. I'm not sure how they work exactly, but apparently you have to open the box in order to see the doll.

This worries me a bit. Chances are one of two things is going to happen:

  1. The boxes will be permanently sealed in some way and you'll have to rip them open in the store to see what you're buying to avoid getting a doll with a messed-up face; or

  2. The boxes won't be sealed and store shelves will once again be littered with half-boxes and dolls with pieces missing.

(A few years ago, the Barbie Collector™ line switched over to two-piece split-side outer boxes that weren't sealed in any way, so you could actually take the top off and touch the doll, or take the back off and pull out the paperwork. It was great for displaying and enjoying the dolls at home, but it unfortunately became common to find dolls in stores with no box backs, no certificates of authenticity, and missing accessories. As a result, the box style was changed again after only a few months. But, it's always fun to repeat mistakes, right? )

Click to see it bigger!
Toy Fair prototype (thanks to BarbieZania for the picture!

And now, I'm going to placate myself with nit-picky details.

First, if you've seen pictures from Toy Fair (like the ones in this entry, you might have noticed that the production version of the doll shown above has a different hairstyle from the samples shown at Toy Fair (thanks once again to BarbieZania for letting me borrow some of her pictures! ), which themselves had a different style from the earlier prototype on the first box.

The original doll (with the new Barbie face) has straight, center-parted hair. The Toy Fair samples had the same thing, except the sides were pulled to the back of the head. The production version is totally different, with a side part and side-swept bangs.

Random detail trivia: In the picture at the top of the page, it looks like the buckle switched sides on the belt from one version to the next. However, if you look more closely, the "Barbie" logos on the bag in the picture on the left are reversed, which means the entire image was flipped. (So, the buckles would really have been on the same side.)

And, lastly, the shopping bags are different on all three versions. The production doll's bag is actually like the earliest prototype (the one with the new head), but minus the (now outdated) Barbie logos in the polka dots.

Whelp, I'm still disappointed. But at least now I don't have to take out the dishwasher yet (which is good, because I don't know how to do that).

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Doll Diary 05 July 2009