Affiliate links within this post may be commissionable.
Edit to add: (cleaned up images by moving them to a floating div, making this easier to read. also nixed the old banner ads as we use a different platform now.) I also want to add that Kitty Blue in the Ohio ABJD meetup group helped me restring and hot-glue “suede” this doll a year or two ago which helped a lot of the problems I mention in this review. She also told me buying shoes, especially boots that go up the legs, would help add more stability.
I own a dollmore model F Melissa Baul. She is from 2011, so there may be some small changes to new versions. My version has a custom face up that I ordered through Dollmore themselves. The default faceup is quite different. She came free with the same dark short wig and grey colored acrylic eyes as her stock photo. Her red lace lingerie was also included. They also sent some free gifts, a purple plaid trench coat, and a pin or button featuring the face of one of their dolls.
They did an amazing job on her faceup. I took her to a dollmeet one time and got a lot of very positive feedback on her face. I had sent them random pics off the internet, one for the eyes, one for the lips, etc demonstrating the color and style that I wanted her to have. I wanted something very dramatic, sexy, glamorous, kinda a film noir feeling to it or vintage pinup girl style. I really love how it turned out. I also requested light freckles, I wish I would have requested a bit darker freckles now, I chose a color from photoshop and screenshot that color swatch, but it just barely barely barely shows up, especially with my subpar camera lol.
She came strung very loosely and I have never restrung her (too afraid to!). If I had one complaint it would be that she is strung too loose and can’t pose – heck she can barely stand up at all. As you can see in this photo she CAN stand… it takes forever to get her to do that though. And standing isn’t exactly something that’s hard for these dolls lol. I’m not even trying to do weird crazy poses – just standing there is a challenge for her! From research I have done (sadly after the fact) this seems to be common for Dollmore. They ship all of their dolls like this, so I would not order from them unless you are prepared to restring your doll.
There are a lot more dollmore dolls that I would like, but until I get brave enough to try restringing for my first time, I would not order from them again.
Other than that one small snaffu, I am extremely pleased with dollmore as a whole. They are probably in my top 5 companies in terms of sculpts and style and faceup quality. Their bodies on their model dolls are so beautiful. If we’re talking aesthetically, they are probably my favorite bodies. Pose-ability wise is another question entirely, and out of the dolls I own, they’d be near the lower end. They are double jointed, can touch their own face, etc, but it’s their ability (or lack thereof) to hold a pose due to the loose stringing that kills it every time.
The one complaint that I have aesthetically is her feet are huge. I don’t know if this is necessary to balance out the weight of her long body (they are among the tallest female dolls on the market at 68cm for the females) but her feet are nearly double the length of my other SD girl. Their busts come in 2 cup sizes. mine has the default bust, they also offer a glamour bust option which is at least double, if not tripple the size of the regular. The glamour bust looks very sexy, but I was afraid that it would make it harder for her to fit into clothes from other manufacturers.
Another odd aesthetic choice is the unusually small head. Some people in the hobby think the dolls have “pinheads” I wouldn’t go that far, I’ve gotten used to my girl’s porportions now and she wears the same size wig as my other SD girl. I think though, given that her body is larger, they could have made the head larger as well. I feel they made the choice so that it could share wigs more easily with their other lines of dolls or wigs from other manufacturers. (which is a good thing!)
Here are her measurements for those curious.
<< body size >>
- Eye size : 16mm (Diameter)
- Tall : 68cm
- Circumference of Head : 22.1cm
- Circumference of neck : 8.4cm
- Circumference of chest : 26.5cm
- Width of shoulders : 11.5cm
- Circumference of waist: 18cm
- Circumference of hips : 28.5cm
- Lenth of “from hips to ankle” : 42.cm
- * Lenth of “from knee to ankle” : 18cm
- Foot size : 8cm
You may be asking yourself what is a balljoint doll. The best place to learn more is over at http://denofangels.com but the quick and dirty lowdown is as follows. They are artist dolls, typically from asian countries, primarily Japan and South Korea. They come unfinished and are intended to be customized by the buyer. It’s sort of like a model kit in a way, which the buyer paints and displays to their liking. The difference is, that the balljoints within the doll allow her to move and take on a number of poses. They are free standing and range in size anywhere from the size of your thumb to the size of a small human child. They come bald and without eyes and you can easily change their looks by changing their wig and eye colors. It is an expensive hobby. The dolls themselves range from 200 to 1200 dollars, and come usually with no wig or eyes included – though as you can see by this post, some companies do include free wig and eyes.
Some companies will sand seams for free, others charge for it. I am not bothered by the seams, to me they don’t show nor detract from the doll, so I never bother with it. Many people sand their own seams but you have to be careful because breathing in the resin dust can be a health hazard as it is very toxic. To be clear, touching and playing with resin dolls will not jeopardize your health, but if you are grinding it down to a powder form, and you inhale it, that can be deadly, so always wear gloves and facemasks when sanding your dolls.
These precautions are not needed when merely playing with or touching your dolls. Some people like to sand down different parts of their dolls, like reshaping the chin or nose etc to further customize them. It is simple to do, just with fine grit sandpaper. Many people paint their own dolls, but you can have the manufacturer paint them too for an added fee. Some companies, such as dollmore, will paint the face however you like, other companies have 3 or 4 options to pick from, and other companies only have a default option. To illustrate, my doll in this post is marked at $555 dollars on the company’s site. To add in a faceup costs another $65, body blushing is $110 (they will add a light peach color to define muscles and highlights over the body), sanding seams is another $110 dollars. So if you want a blank unfinished doll you’re paying $550, if you want to add all the other features you’re paying over $830 bucks. Then when you start buying clothes, wigs, eyes, props, accessories, etc — it gets crazy expensive. It is not for the faint of heart (or wallet lol). But the tradeoff is that you have a piece of art, if you are an artistic person who wants to sew, make jewelry, or make wigs, or props, I’ve even seen complete dioramas with furniture and fireplaces, well this hobby allows you to do all of that. If you’re a photographer and nature lover, this hobby lets you always have a model to take with you to photograph. Its really a rewarding and fulfilling hobby to anyone with a creative itch. It also used to be a good investment as dolls would either hold their market value, or go up in the case of limited dolls, but that is no longer true, most resellers will take at least a 25% loss and sometimes much more depending on the condition of their dolls. Resin yellows with age, no matter how well it is preserved. These dolls are not meant to last forever. That kind of makes them even more beautiful though to me. Beauty fades for all living creatures, why should our dolls be any different. I still have the very first doll that I bought back in 2006, and she is very very yellow now but I would never sell her because there is that emotional attachment. Dolls have a strong personal and emotional sentiment to their owners, moreso, when they are customized by their owners as these are, and unless you are extremely wealthy, these dolls are something that you work very hard to afford and enjoy which in and of itself also brings happiness and fulfillment. And maybe I’m weird, but I actually like the waiting for the doll, both the saving up aspect, and the fact that they take anywhere from 2 weeks to 10 months to manufacture and ship after you pay. Most my dolls have taken about 20 weeks or so to arrive (which is about 5 months!!) But it’s kinda like a kid with the buildup and anticipation of christmas… you know it’s coming, and to me that’s part of the fun. And then that package comes and you open it, and it’s even more beautiful than you had imagined it could be. Another weird quirk in the hobby is that you photograph (or youtube) yourself opening the box when it comes. It’s called unboxing day and many people use this date as their doll’s birthday. Which leads to another way to enjoy the hobby, which is many people have elaborate stories and roleplay or blog about their dolls. I haven’t yet. But I think that’s an amazing idea :). Some people even have doll penpals lol. Perhaps the most universal thing to do with the dolls is to photograph them and share photos and comment on other peoples’ dolls and photos around the net. To that end, I seriously need to get a better camera lol. No matter how you choose to enjoy your doll the unique ability to make something your own and know that no one else has a doll exactly like yours make this a thrilling and exciting hobby.
Range of Motion: 10/10
Ability to Hold a Pose: 2/10
Aesthetics of Sculpt: 8/10
Faceup Quality: 9/10
Delivery & Service: 10/10
Final Verdict: 39/50 78% C+
Note: If it could hold a pose it’d be 47/50 94% or an A.
All she needs is restrung, but that is not my expectation when I buy directly from the manufacturer and pay all that money to have a doll that can’t pose. I’m too afraid to take her all apart given how expensive she was. – If you are not afraid of restringing, by all means, don’t let my “low score” scare you. She is almost flawless aside from that small fact and I truly recommend dollmore whole heartedly in terms of service such as offering custom faceup, delivery time, and including extra gifts and pleasing their customer.