Barbie dolls aren’t really my main thing. Although Ive borrowed bodies for my Ever After High gang, I don’t have an actual Barbie doll proper right now. I do, however, have a bit of a soft spot for her sisters. Mainly Skipper and Stacey, I find Chelsea to be a bit small to do much with. I had two excellent Stacey dolls growing up, one that rode a skateboard, and incidentally had some of the best articulation of any of my dolls at the time, and the other one could throw a bowling ball. At the age I was then, I got a lot of enjoyment out of toys with some mechanical function like that. As I got older and my play changed I started to find the ball-throwing arm a bit limiting to other things, but I still loved the look of them both. I broke the skateboarder eventually, and without a friend her own size the second one left with the others when I decided I was too old for dolls. I think she was one of the dolls that helped me develop a passion for well-articulated dolls. I had one Barbie who was meant to do aerobics, and came with a tape and headphones for her and a tape for me, who had waist, elbow and knee articulation, as well as unusually large feet which I adored.
I think the best doll however was a ballerina Barbie, who had ankle and wrist articulation too. I loved her so much that even after her head came off and had to be glued back on with no movement and a visible crack in the neck, she was still the main character in most of my games thanks to her unusual gracefulness.
Currently, I have one each of Barbies younger sisters, who have turned up on this blog in my family portrait. I only really have Chelsea because she came in a set with Skipper, as often seems to happen. Stacey came in a set alone, with a large accessory, so I payed more for her than I would have liked, but again, that is how she often does seem to come. I wish Stacey and Skipper came together more often, but its actually pretty irrelevant, because Id not buy multiple versions of them anyway, unless they looked significantly different, and at the moment all the one they put out look alike in a lot of ways. Fashion packs for them would be nice, and I would buy some of those, at least. Really I think I spend so little money on Barbie products of any kind, my opinion in the matter isn’t really valid anyway.
The point of this rambling? I did buy another Skipper! And another Chelsea, since those two always seem to get paired together.
She has full arm articulation! Its a pretty lame set otherwise, if you ask me, its not exactly versatile. The only play option it seems designed for is recreating one specific episode of Dreamhouse. All the other sets advertised on the back were bits from the same episode, or loosely based around it, by the look of things. It didnt matter with some of the others, because they could be a more adaptable beach game, but I don’t know what else Id do with hula dancers. For only around £10 though, I was willing to pay to get the actual doll, and redress her in my existing Skippers stuff. I figured Id do a brief one over of the two sets. My original Skipper and Chelsea set was supposed to be at the fairground, and again featured the two dolls in themed outfits with an accessory or two, but the outfits could be for any occasion really, which I like better. Ill start with Chelsea, since Im not very interested in her generally
This is what I mean about the outfit. Where else could she be wearing a grass skirt and coconut bra? Also, small child in a bra! I know its over a swimming costume, but Im still not mad keen on it. Outfits aside, I planned on picking the doll I liked best, dressing her in the nicer outfit, and giving my second favourite to a friend who wants to have a go at repaints. So, we got them undressed, for a fairer playing field
So, the body is very similar. I like original Chelsea’s (on the right here) hair better, new Chelsea’s yellow tint isn’t as nice, and her face appears to have makeup on it- again, small child, no need for it! So, original Chelsea gets to stay. The new Chelsea did have one interesting difference to her arm articulation, though I had a hard time photographing it
My camera wasn’t focussing well on her arm, but you can see a white dot in the middle of her shoulder joint, which is a metal pin, giving her arms the ability to move out to the sides, as well as just backwards and forwards. The one nice thing about her, is that this lets her strike pretty endearing poses with her arms closer together
But, those pins aren’t too pretty, and the rest of her really isn’t as attractive to me, so off she goes. I already knew I wanted to keep better articulated Skipper, because she doesn’t have as much difference in the rest of appearance, but I figured Id cover them both anyway, mainly because it strikes me as quite odd how very, very similar all the recent Skipper releases seem to be. I think they’re focussing on making Skipper, Stacey and Chelsea pretty much exclusively as portrayed in Dreamhouse and Barbie films, but when Barbie doesn’t have this restriction, and can also just have furniture sets she comes with or be a basic doll, or whatever else, I think it makes the others look limited, and less exciting. Id have found it frustrating as a child not having dolls to be friends to these dolls in the same size, for outfit sharing. Chelsea has them, though Ive seen some recently with painted on outfits which would stop sharing anyway. I remember I lost a lot of interest in my bowling Stacey when she ended up being a different size to every single other doll I owned once her skateboarding friend was gone.
Anyway, here they are
Apart from the outfit and arms, they pretty much look the same from any distance. If you’re close enough you can see that their fringes sweep in different directions, but that’s it.
Up close their faces aren’t quite identical, but its close enough that the differences could probably pass for factory variation, instead of intention. The lips are slightly different shades of pink I think.
Lower bodies, absolutely identical as far as I can tell. Id hoped that the articulation improvement might extend to the knees, since I wasn’t sure when they were covered up in the packaging, but theres no difference.
Of course, the big difference are the arms. That was the whole point, and theres not a whole lot else to say about it. The joints aren’t very good, they feel quite flimsy, and she only holds some poses, but I don’t really have the interest level to mind. I just don’t think that Skipper or Stacey have been worth much attention to me for a long time. Im sure some people like them as they are now, but Im so underwhelmed that Ill take this articulation and be grateful, even though I know Mattel has done much better jobs with Barbie dolls, now and in the past. Honestly, bigger dolls are more my thing anyway. I just retain this childhood fondness for Barbies younger sisters. I liked Barbie, but she was so far from relatable for me.
Any articulation is fun anyway, so overall Im happy.