Almighty Hat ([personal profile] hat_plays_dolls) wrote2017-09-13 11:18 pm

Doll Review: Monster Family Sandy de Nile

I do plan to get all the Monster Family kids, with the possible exception of the littlest Blue sister. The last time I was in Target, they'd finally started stocking the de Nile clan-- they had Pharrah (well, they had two, and both had wonk-eye), they had the three-pack, and they had...



Sandy, solo. And I'll be honest, I'd planned to get the three-pack, for Lux and for Cleo's comfy dress, and I will 100% freely admit that Sandy de Nile is a tiny little hot mess... but this high chair, oh my god I could not pass up the high chair. (Plus I was in a nine-dollar kind of place, budget-wise, not a twenty-dollar place. I'm saving up $5 Target gift cards for the Vampire Kitchen, I can wait a little longer on the three-packs.)

Okay, I know I'm not gonna sell anyone on Sandy, but let's review the little cuss, anyway.



Back of the box. And a thing I note: I have no idea what Sandy's pronouns are. I'm sticking with variations on the theme of 'they' for now because of that. Anyway, a nice blurb about what a close-knit-- I mean, closely wrapped-- family the de Niles are, wherever we left Nefera, Ramses, and Dedyet, and some cute inset artwork of the youngest four kids together. ... On a red Coffin Bean couch, no less. The theme of the de Nile Monster Family subset seems to be either Family Game Night or Adventures in Babysitting.



Here's a closer look at that inset art. Nice re-use of the Manster Game Night zombie pieces, there, Pharrah.



Sandy on the card. Sandy and all their stuff was held in place solely with clear rubber bands, which I always appreciate-- I use those suckers for hair and posing and props and all kinds of stuff, I always want more.



This high chair is ridiculous and I love it. No regrets.



And here's Sandy a little closer. Sandy has some problems, and I'll detail them as I go on, but in this shot let me say that I don't think those problems are anything I can't fix with the right paint.



So let's talk about the high chair some more. It's gold. Of course it's a solid gold high chair, the de Niles are involved here, and of course the seat and back are eau-de-nil blue.



The scarab on the front is repeated, unpainted, on the back. I will paint this more; Cleo's FCA purse has a similar scarab and that was fun to paint.



The tray of the high chair has a peg that slots into Sandy's bottle, to make it harder to lose that teeny weeny accessory.



The Bast-style collared cats echo Cleo's vanity (man I wish I hadn't passed on that), and yep, gonna hit them up with some paint, too.



Now, the lion's paw feet on the back legs, I'd noticed, but the heiroglypics running up the legs? Those I didn't spot until I was reducing pictures.

Seriously, the high chair is fantastic. I love it.



Okay, Sandy.

Sandy de Nile stands not quite three inches tall, bonnet included. They have five points of articulation, at the neck, shoulders, and hip, all swivel-only. Sandy is practically an action figure, with only molded and painted detail; they do have the necessary bandages, but also a cyclops onesie-- the top edge of the teeth marks a molded waistband. I really like how they took the nemes headdress, added a ruffle, and turned it into a baby bonnet-- you hardly ever see baby bonnets anymore, except as accessories to christening gowns, and they were pretty normal even twenty, twenty-five years ago.



Sandy's big problems come in when you realize that the gold of their nemes-bonnet is the base plastic of the whole head. Which means their skintone, bandages, eyes, brows, lips, all of that is painted over paint, which is why their skin is so shiny, and will make for an interesting paint-over adventure, because acetone will melt this poor baby's head. I really do think the sculpt is okay, and I think with a rounder iris and pupil, the eyes will be, too-- but also, you can see my Sandy has some stray black paint around their right eye, so I'm going to have to color-match their skin and paint over that. (Or get the three-pack and hope for a better face. Or both!)



And Sandy was made in Indonesia. So, you know. There's that.



Sandy's non-high-chair accessories are on the simple side-- since Sandy is too little for board games, Sandy gets a snack. You get a recast of the Muppet-cake from the Nefera-and-Amanita Scream and Sugar two-pack, a gold bone-handled fork that... might be a recast but I honestly don't know, and a handled baby bottle with a crack at the base and leaking some sort of goo from the cap.



From a reasonable distance, Sandy isn't all that bad-- they still pale in comparison to those fantastic cats, but I really do think with some time and paint, I can give Cleo a little sibling worthy of the de Nile name.



Scale! I grabbed Fiesta Bonita because she was the only dressed project doll I had handy. Sandy is tiny.



In closing... okay, look, nobody's wrong about Sandy, Sandy is deeply flawed as a doll. Salvageable! Definitely salvageable if you buy in person or are reasonably skilled with paint, but deeply flawed. I love all of their accessories-- seriously, I bought this one 90% for the high chair and only 10% because I wasn't up to spending twenty bucks on the three-pack last week. I love Sandy as a concept. I know I'm in the minority that having younger siblings doesn't derail Cleo's character for me. But as for Sandy as-is... I'm less disappointed with Sandy as-is than I am...

Okay, let me put it this way.

I've been collecting Mattel dolls since before I was old enough to count as a collector. I had the Heart Family newborn baby, and the Heart Family toddlers. I had the very first Kelly, before she got taller and morphed into Chelsea. I have three or four versions of Baby Krissy. I have pretty much the whole first wave of the Happy Family collection, but importantly Midge and Allen's kids Ryan and newborn Nikki, and Obstetrician Baby Doctor Barbie with her pair of newborn patients and their clear plastic cradles. I know damn well that Mattel is capable of creating cuter baby dolls than this, on smaller heads. With removable clothing! The first Baby Krissy I got was no bigger than Sandy through the body and still came with a freakin' layette with three full outfits and two T-shirts, including teeny tiny socks.

Taken on their own, in a vacuum or just next to Cleo, I like Sandy de Nile well enough. The idea behind Sandy is cute, I can see where the design team was going with the stylization, and their limitations are mostly those of price point, scale, and materials choice, and nothing I can't either get over or fix. Taken as a Mattel doll, as a doll comparable in size to the original Baby Krissy, as a new addition to the usually-fair-quality Monster High lineup, I feel bad for poor Sandy. I think the only other time I've ever looked at a Monster High doll and thought they were this hard-done-by, I was finally seeing SDCC Hoodude in person for the first time. They could at least have given Hoodude real button eyes. They could at least have given Sandy round irises.

I seriously do not mean to argue against Sandy. From any reasonable distance, which my Super Macro Mode photos are not, Sandy looks okay! But Sandy could look good, and doesn't. Sandy certainly doesn't look as awesome as their high chair.

So I would definitely say, get the single-packed cyclops-onesie Sandy if you love the high chair (which is fantastic, oh my god, solid gold high chair, what even are the de Niles)-- but if the high chair somehow doesn't thrill you, get the three-pack instead. Sandy's head is designed in such a way that an actually-cute mass-produced Sandy de Nile just... isn't likely to happen, given how rarely Mattel changes their painting styles for Monster High. Don't wait for that. Get the three pack now, for Lux, or get the single-pack now, for the high chair, and find a cuter baby to sit in it.

But seriously, how often do you see a gold high chair with all this detail? Worth the price just for that, especially if you have a TRU rewards coupon or Target gift card. I'm happy with my purchase.

(And as I've said before, I don't begrudge the younger de Nile siblings their existence. A brother Lux's age-- especially a twin brother, Lux and Pharrah could be twins-- would only be a real threat to the Stock Evil Uncle Usurper in Cleo's backstory once Lux was six or seven years old. Infant mortality in a pre-safety-regulation, pre-vaccination world was fifty percent: literally half of everyone died before the age of five. Male infants are hit by failure-to-thrive most often; twins are fragile and male twins, especially the brother of a brother-sister pair, are especially fragile. Ramses having a son was no big deal until that son was old enough to not just spontaneously die on his own. And if Lux, Pharrah, and Sandy weren't entombed with Cleo, Nefera and Ramses, maybe they were entombed with Dedyet. It works for me in a Watsonian sense, and in a Doylist sense, hey, what other toy line would sell a happy family three-pack of murdered children in Targets across the country?)
harpers_child: melaka fray reading from "Tales of the Slayers". (Default)

[personal profile] harpers_child 2017-09-14 08:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Whoever designed that high chair really loved the job.