Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review of Springfield Collection Olivia 18" play doll.

It seems to be review week around the DBB office. I'm cleaning up the boxed dolls I've had for a little while, not least because an unboxed doll takes up less space than one in a cardboard rectangle.

This little girl is one I've wanted to unbox and review for a while now, the Springfield Collection Olivia that I bought in August at Joann's Fabrics, with a shelf price of $21.99. I bought her with a 40% off coupon, so the real purchase price was about $12.

So here we go!

Here she is in her box, with a nice friendly face and painted teeth in her smile. I looked at several of the dolls, as the quality of the facial screening tends to vary the tiniest bit from doll to doll. This one had the best, most even painting with the fewest smudges. Of the 4 dolls on the shelf, I found just this one acceptable.

 A little closer up in different lighting.

 The back of the box, explaining in English, French, and Spanish, what Olivia's character is and what she likes to do. Very relatable for a young customer.
 The other dolls available. There are only 5 dolls, but they represent a good portion of the American population, I think, although I would love to see an Asian girl.
 Hair tips! I like very much that this is on the outside of the box, so a parent (or collector!) can see how much bother this hair is likely to be to take care of. I think the call for "distilled lukewarm water" is a bit much, as most tap water is plenty clean enough.
 Manufacturing info.
 Here she is out of the box and still attached to her cardboard panel. There were only 5 twist ties to get her loose, and they weren't twisted so tightly as to be difficult to remove--they came off very easily.
 Her face freed from the celophane window.
 Her lower body, still attached.
 A flaw: she has a smudge on the outside of her right leg. Had I seen this before I bought her (and it was visible from within the box), I may have chosen a different doll entirely, possibly Emma. However, it just looks like it's on the surface, and easily cleaned. If it isn't, I'll chalk it up to a soccer bruise and get on with my life. ;D
 I tried to get a better pic of this but no luck. Springfield has an online doll club, called SF Style Club, which is easy to join (although I had to enter myself as my own child). I was sent a little bracelet and a memberhip card. I haven't gone onto any of the online activities, however, so I can't give you a review of the games and such.

I also noted when I took this pic that the doll's left and right hands aren't the same mold flipped--the left hand has a different pose than the right. This made me happy--it's a detail that even much pricier dolls don't always have.
 Then to free Olivia's hair! I'm pleased that the sewn strip across her hair isn't also sewn to the cardboard, as some dolls' hair is. I also don't mind that this strip is there, truly, because the hair ends up, after de-stripping, looking much better than other methods of controlling a doll's hair while in the box. I grew up with doll hair being subjected to rubber bands across the bangs and around the doll's neck, which made horrible creases in the hair that never went away. My usual method for removing these things applies: snip the threads and be a little patient, and the hair comes loose without damage.
 See? There's a little crease in the hair that eased itself out after about five minutes as the hair relaxed. However--look at the chop job! That's just a terrible hair cut. This will require some corrective trimming, and I'm not real happy about that.
 I also don't care At All for this sorry excuse for a meet outfit. It's a poorly made sheath dress that looks like a hospital gown with a cheap ribbon sewn on it. Just awful. If I didn't already know the Springfield Collection clothes are mostly well-made, I certainly wouldn't buy any outfits based on this little rag.
 Just an ugly, dreadful dress, but it came off easily and was set aside to use as a pattern for nicer clothes.
 Naked from the side. The limbs have a cup system for articulation so they move more freely than if they were just sewn in, or if they used the same socket arrangement as the head.
 From the front. Her vinyl parts are smooth, nice, harder vinyl, and the cloth body, while not outstanding, is adequate and doesn't look like it'll tear anytime soon.
 From the back. That tag is about 6" long and in the above 3 languages. I'm going to remove it eventually, it does rather get in the way.
 I lifted up her rooted hair, and....hmm. Very pluggy, which will make some styles really difficult to pull off well. The hair is abundant enough when left loose, but pigtails will just look bad from the back.
 The front is rooted reasonably well for a doll at this price point, and the bangs hang nicely without sticking out or up.
 I do, thought, think her eyebrows are too high, and are just lines, no attempt to make them look lifelike at all. Note that her open-close eyes move well and at the same time.
 She sits like a. Uhm. I don't know how to describe it, but her feet are very far apart.
 She does have a decent little butt, made right for sitting. She does sit, and pretty well; she hasn't toppled on me yet.
The Springfield Collection does have many many outfits available, here at their online shop as well as in stores (Michael's, JoAnn's), and their quality is good. I often buy Springfield things for my other 18" dolls, including American girls, and they fit perfectly. For Olivia, however, I chose a different outfit from the Madame Alexander Friends Boutique at WalMart, not least because it was in clearance at an exteremely attractive price. This seemed like a nice outfit for the transition from summer to fall, with a tank top, full 2-tiered skirt, denim jacket, and fabric shoes. It's good to know that clothes and patterns from a lot of different manufacturers fit the Springfield dolls well.
Here she is, dressed and ready for an adventure with her new friends.

For the $12 I paid, this doll is a tremendous value, with a high play value for a girl of the targeted market. They're inexpensive enough even at full price that a girl might get four or five of these for the price of one American Girl doll (however, AG dolls are genuinely much higher quality and arguably worth the price).  If I were to give this doll to a child, I'd restrain the hair as quickly as possible. It's nice hair, but not GREAT hair, and the "tangled mess" potential is very high.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase, and could be easily tempted, coupon or not, to buy other dolls and items in this line.


  1. Having bought several of these dolls, all with coupons, I am pleased with the quality for the price. I wouldn't pay more for them but it will be great for any little girl who loves 18 inch dolls and the parents can't afford them.

    I am with you in the knit dress she comes with and no undies. The first thing I did was take the dress off. Seeing I made clothing in this size I redressed these dolls right away. Now they are ready for me to sell and I can still give parents a good price on the doll and it will have good outfits to wear.

    You did a really good review of these dolls.

  2. How expensive are the outfits sold at Micheals?

  3. Being very late onto AGdolls (expensive) and Springfields Collection Dolls on the tube/net,Can;t buy them over here unless on paypal, not in shops. I do remember the "wars on playdolls"at the time when the Cabbage Kids dolls were first released. Nothing would do but the real thing, it was even shown here in Europe on TV. Now, years later, many have ended in thriftshops, the real ones and the make-believes alike. But I am sure they were all loved by their little mummy's all those years ago. So, I think you get it, I am not a big-name-brand-only lover. I look at what I can pay and then buy the most lovely in the best quality I can and want to afford. Just saying. Now a belated tip for slight smears and marks that won't come off with a mild watered down cleaning soap, try magic eraser. It works like crazy on the dirty grey all over the doll haze of my triftshop finds. just try at the underfoot/soles first and be gently, TLC. I really would like it for all dolls to be sold clothed in at least some u nderwear, but there you have it. That would also be the first clothing I would buy for dolls, but I am in the most lucky situation of being taught by my mum and others at a young age to sew, crochet and knit. I just can not draw up a pattern, but I can change it. Spent the whole week on getting ugly nylon hair on thriftshop dolls detangled, almost defrizzled and looking good ans shiny again, downloaded a few free patterns for having fun with in the coming winter. Thrifted four lovely shirts to sew dresses for the dolls from, a real thin favric pair of jeans plus two babyrompers for underwear, total cost about 10 dollars. I love trifting and making do. Reina.

  4. My 8 year old granddaughter received a Springfield doll for Christmas and she would like to give her comments on the doll.
    I love this doll because she has good arms & legs and a huggable center. I did notice that she did not come with shoes or panties. I would have liked those items to have come with her. My doll is Emma. I love her hair.


Please leave your thoughts. I don't expect universal love but I do expect civil commentary. If you're a hater, don't play. Thanks!