Laura wrote and asked for suggestions on overcoming the 2009 Harley Davidson Barbie doll's unfortunate lack of arm posability.

In case you haven't seen it, this doll has the non-articulated variation of the "Pivotal" torso (no joint under the bust) with bendable "Pivotal" legs, but regular old non-bending ModelMuse arms. (The previous year's doll was like this, too.)

The Ken doll in this set has a great new fully-articulated body with joints all over the place (even at the ankles ), which draws even more attention to Barbie's lack of elbow-joints. (However, her non-bendy arms may have helped keep the price down so Ken could get his uber-articulated new body, so it's hard to complain too much.)

Although it's technically possible to replace the arms, it's very difficult to do (and possibly dangerous ), so I highly don't recommend trying it.

A safer (and much easier) way to fiddle with her arms is the classic re-bending trick: Submerge the arms in boiling water for a while until they get soft and pliable (maybe 30 seconds or more), then hold them in whatever position you want, dunk them in ice water until they re-solidify, and they'll stay that way. (Keep them in the cold water waaaaay longer than you think you need to - they have to cool down all the way to the centers to really hold their shape well. Actually, once they've mostly cooled down, just throw the body in the freezer. Barbie won't mind. Plastic doesn't get frostbite.) Just be careful not to create any dents in the vinyl by over-bending them or digging your fingernails in while the vinyl is hot!

The nice part is, if you decide you want to change it at some point, just dunk the arms back in boiling water and they'll un-bend like magic and you can start over. That means you can fiddle with bits that don't come out right the first time, too - just avoid letting the finished parts touch the hot water or you'll lose all your work! BTW - if you want to make it extra-special, you can even split the fingers (carefully) with an X-Acto knife and reposition them individually.

The not-so-nice part is that you can't get really good-looking "elbows" with stright arms like these.

Of course, another option would be to swap bodies - and, in case you haven't already heard, the dolls in the upcoming mid-year Barbie Basics 2.5 collection are going to have articulated bodies, so they might just fit the bill. We have to wait and see how articulated they are, but they'll most likely at least have bendable legs and arms, which would be a step up for Harley Barbie. Maybe they'll be on display at Toy Fair this week?

Hopefully the 2.5 collection will have a good range of skintones so people can "re-body" their favorite heads... It can be hard to find a body with a light skintone like Harley Barbie. And, incidentally - wouldn't it be nice if they they finally released a Fashionistas doll with a light skintone? And maybe some So in Style dolls with Fashionistas bodies so we could get a range of dark skintones, too....

I feel myself going off on a tangent, so let's swing back the other way with a random piece of Additional Trivia - an earlier catalog photo of the Harley Davidson dolls where Barbie has a tribal tattoo on her stomach:

Doll Diary 12 February 2011