Need some help please

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Kelsey
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Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

Hi all! First post here, I created an account so I could ask this question. I could use some help, sorry this post is so long!

So I've been looking for a reborn toddler doll, around 18 mo old, and I've been running into a lot of confusion. I'm hoping someone might be able to help clear it up.

Some quick background, I lost my daughter around that age and my therapist is suggesting a reborn doll. I've tried three different dolls off Amazon, (more on that in a min) just to see if this is something I'd be into. Turns out it is, very much so. Things like getting her dressed, carrying her around, snuggling while watching tv, doing her hair, these things bring back floods of special memories.

I bought my first doll, $70, brand Babyfere. She was advertised as 'toddler' and 24" tall. She arrived and was MUCH smaller than I expected. I looked back at the listing and it said "wears 3-6mo clothes" and even those were big on her! She actually measures 22". I started looking into children's average height charts and sure enough, 22" is about 2 months old. She's soft cloth body with full arms and 3/4 legs.

So I started searching by size and found a 34" doll. Brand name is 'Pinky'. She's about the right size, maybe a tad big, but she's hard plastic with balls for joints, very doll-like. I knew what I was getting, I was just trying to hone in on the sizing. The listing said she wears 2T clothes and that's accurate.

I bought a 28" doll (brand zero pam?) and when she arrived, her body looks abnormal. She's cloth body and full arms and legs. The body, however, is the height of a 6mo and the girth of a 24mo from shoulders to hips! She looks more like SpongeBob! A 2T shirt is snug on her torso. She measured an actual 4 inches short at 24" ( the size of a 4mo old). The listing said she wears 3-6mo clothes.

I've returned all three of them. So now that I've dipped my toe in, I'm ready to make an investment.

Upon researching, here's some things I've noticed (and a small rant)

There are full body silicone dolls that appear to be "true" reborn - they appear actually lifelike. But they all seem to be newborns. I'm under the impression that these are what the term 'reborn' accurately represents. I believe this is what I’m looking for.

Anything in the $100 range is going to be under 22" and cloth body with vinyl limbs. Basically my fist doll.

The hair, face, and artwork oftentimes does not accurately represent the advertised age of the doll. I've seen listings for 12 mo old but the doll has the face/head of an older child with the full hair of 4-year-old!

Above the $100 range, and in sizes above 22" it seems like it's a real crapshoot as to what you're getting, even up to and over the $2000 price range. I found many listings in the $1000-$2000 range with cloth body and 3/4 limbs. (I guess at that price I expect more).

I've seen many versions of cloth and half cloth bodies, vinyl head and shoulders tied onto cloth bodies, 1/2 legs, 3/4 limb, full limbs, vinyl body (advertised), etc etc. Most of these listings only show the doll clothed so you really have no idea what you're really getting because the descriptions are often vague or misleading.

Everyone says "reborn" "realistic" "lifelike" "life size". But I don't think they mean it :D

Silicone and vinyl - these terms seem to be used almost interchangeably (often together in the listing title!) but they are two entirely different materials, are they not? Then there’s resin? What’s the difference here?

So many say "toddler" or 24" or 28" or whatever, but then the details say "fits 3-6mo clothes" or some such.

There's a handful of dolls above 30" but they all seem to be hard plastic or unrealistic.

So what gives? I know the ones I tried are mass produced Amazon dolls but it seems Amazon is a representative cross-section of what's out there, at least on Google anyway. No matter how I search I seem to be coming up with the same results. It also seems like 90% of them, even from boutique shops, are under 22" (2mo old), even though they're advertised as 'toddler'.

So, where do I go to find my doll? I'm looking for an accurate and lifelike representation of an 12-18 month old girl. That should be around 28" -32". I believe full silicone is what I'm looking for, for the most realism but I'd be fine with cloth body and full (vinyl?) limbs. Does anyone make full silicone dolls in this age range? I don't care if I can pose her or not, as long as she looks and feels real. Any recommendations for specific shops or anything specific I should be googling for? 'Cause I'm striking out left and right and at this point.

Thanks in advance, any advice or pointers in the right direction are much appreciated!
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georgeanne
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Re: Need some help please

Post by georgeanne »

Hello and welcome to DollFan. I am sorry about your dear Daughter, I know your pain.

I think if I was you and wanted an lifelike size doll I would look at Masterpiece Dolls, also Gotz made some lovely dolls. They are beautiful and extremely well made. You can find them on Ebay, Etsy, Facebook. I am not sure if they have come out with any new editions in the last year or so but they are large and can stand alone.

If you type in Masterpiece Dolls in your search engine you will see lots and lots of them. I prefer buying from people on DF, but I haven't seen any Masterpiece Dolls for sale here in a long time if ever. I would feel comfortable and have also bought from sellers on Ebay and Etsy. All the Masterpiece dolls are from famous Doll Artists and they are quality.

The Doll Doll Connection Store has many beautiful dolls as well. Not Masterpiece dolls, but you can be assured of the quality.

Be prepared to normally pay over $100.00 for a quality Masterpiece doll but if you keep looking you might find a great deal on Ebay and/or Etsy. Good luck and don't settle, it is better to find "the one" and spend more than to buy several and be extremely disappointed.
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Kelsey
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

Thank you so much for the referrals, and the kind words! She is missed, so very very much. 🥲 I don't think there's a deeper pain than losing a child. It's been 6 months now and although I'm finally off the couch and able to function, there's still an unfillable void left inside of me. While a doll is no substitute, I was surprised and relieved by how comforting it was. I'll check out the referrals a bit later.

As to my previous ramblings, and an update, I think I'm starting to figure this out. (I'm a complete newbie to all of this!) I ran across a doll supplier and was able to browse dolls, kits, parts, and bodies by size. They only had cloth bodies but I was better able to understand the construction and know what to expect. They had plenty of offerings in the 28" to 32" range. The doll kits are all unfinished, which is fine, it sorta clued me in to what's going on.

Throughout my research, I kept running across the name Ping Lau as a standout, because the dolls I've seen with that name associated are absolutely adorable! They have some of the goofiest expressions, I just wanna munch them up! Well, I finally figured out that's the artist who makes the sculpts for the dolls kits for mass production and then the doll kits are finished by reborn artists. I was able to find several dozen unfinished doll kits by Ping Lau in the size range I'm looking for. Yay excited!

I also figured out that the body/limb/torso configurations are determined by what the original doll kit is, as made by the sculpt artists, and then they're paired with a body.

At least, that's my takeaway for the cloth body dolls. I'm not sure yet what else is out there as an alternative to cloth bodies.

I think a lot of my confusion comes from the combination of all the different sculpt artists (and all the dolls they produce) combined with all the different reborn artists, compounded by poorly written listings, no pictures of the doll without clothes, and a ton of mass produced dolls, (Amazon!) many I suspect being knockoffs? What a minefield!

As for budget, at this point I'm willing to spend $1500 (up to maybe $3000) for the right doll, but it would have to be a big step up from cloth bodies, especially on the upper end of the budget! And I agree, I'd rather hold out and pay real money (if necessary) for "the" doll!

So a couple follow-up questions:

If I can't find a finished doll I like, I assume I can I find a reborn artist who's work I like and reach out to them to commission a specific doll kit for them to finish?

Are there any dolls made in that 30" range that are full body replicas without visible joints, similar in look and feel to the silicone reborn infants I've seen? Not sold on the cloth body yet, but it might come down to being the only choice.

Thanks again!
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Barbara L.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Barbara L. »

Ping Lau is a wonderful artist. I don't know if she still makes portrait dolls, which would be very expensive, but you might research it.
Otherwise, I don't think you will want a silicone doll. They are more fragile because the paint can rub off if they are handled a lot and the hair cannot be combed much because it is not able to be glued inside the head and will be pulled out.
I agree that the Masterpiece dolls are something you should check into. They are beautiful dolls that fall into the manufactured category, so they are not reborns.
As far as reborns, they are vinyl dolls that are orinally sculpted by an artist and made into vinyl kits and sold to reborners who then paint and root them. Look on ebay and reborns.com for pictures and descriptions. You can also look at kits and prototype pictures on Bountiful baby, Macphersons crafts and Dolls by Sandie websites.
You can also get in touch with a reborn artist and ask them about making a custom doll, which would take more time and be more expensive, but you could see about having a little larger body if it would be appropriate proportions. But realize that most reborn artists are very busy, and this is not a craft, but an art and it takes time and trust.
Be careful of scammers and please avoid buying dolls from China, as that is where a lot of the illegal kits come from.
You might look at Liam by Bonnie Brown, Tippi by Linda Murray, and 3 year old June. I love Sandie by Joanna Kazmierczak, but she is on the small side.
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Kelsey
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

Thank you for the additional referrals! I'm definitely keeping an eye on Ping Lau, so far they're my favorites! Most of the finished ones I'm seeing are in the $1300 range which could be acceptable if it ticks all the boxes.

Thanks for the advice on the silicone based dolls. I agree. Although the look is what I'm going for, the fragility is not - especially the hair! One of my favorite things was doing her hair after a bath, so I definitely don't want hair pulling out! Besides, it doesn't look like they exist in the size I'm looking for anyway.

Unless there's another version of 'silicone-like', or soft vinyl full body that I haven't run across yet, it's looking like it'll have to be cloth body. Full limbs with upper torso looks like the way to go.

I've seen several listings that state "rooted human hair" - I assume this is not uncommon? I guess if I'm paying $1000+, I would want human hair. The dolls I had were synthetic wigs, ick. I found the hair to be scratchy when cuddling and didn't brush out realistically. I'd pay for human hair, especially since I enjoy brushing and doing her hair.

I've seen Liam, he is a cutie for sure! and 3yr old June has been on my list too. I'll look up the others.

I absolutely appreciate the artistry that goes into finishing these dolls, and am certainly willing to pay for the right artist/doll. A craft like this is priceless!

Thank you again for the referrals, this is starting to make more sense to me now, thanks to the help here.

One more quick question, Of the two cloth body dolls I've had, neither one had the correct proportions and contours - they were basically footballs :D Is there any specific suppliers of cloth bodies that are more accurately proportioned and contoured that I should be looking for?

Thanks again for the resources. I had posted this question in a couple other places and am either still awaiting moderator approval (3 days later!) or was met by the sound of crickets. It's nice to be able to get some "insider" information from more experienced collectors!
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JackieKay
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Re: Need some help please

Post by JackieKay »

I know you said you don't really want a cloth body but the big cloth-bodied Masterpiece dolls by Monika Peter-Leicht are really wonderful toddler dolls. They are about 32" tall and have 3/4 arms and legs on a cloth body - a couple of them did have a small shoulder plate as well. Monika Levenig also did some dolls in this size with similar bodies. Some had a full shoulder plate with the arms going into the shoulder plate. They're cuddly just like a big teddy bear. Of course these dolls are no long being made but they do show up on eBay now and then - if you go there and type in Monika Peter-Leicht or Monika Levenig some might come up. They also made some full-vinyl dolls BUT those were hard vinyl and maybe not what you're looking for although they are fun to dress but definitely not cuddly. Here is a picture of one of my big Peter-Leicht dolls - Kathy - who has a small shoulder plate - 3/4 arms and legs on a cloth body - and she wears 18-24 month size baby clothes. I have several of these big dolls and really do enjoy them. None are for sale however. I can send you other pictures if you want to email me at jkdykstra@hotmail.com When it comes to toddler dolls that are NOT made from kits and don't have to be painted these are really great dolls. The trouble is finding them in the US these days. There are lots available from Germany and I know some have had good luck buying from Germany. If you do that be aware it often takes a LONG time to get them.
Kathy 06 - Copy.jpg
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JackieKay
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Re: Need some help please

Post by JackieKay »

I think this is one of the big Monika Levenig toddlers with soft vinyl limbs and a cloth body. I don't remember her name being Sydney but it could have been. You could ask for some pictures of her undressed to see her body construction. I found her when I typed in Masterpiece Dolls.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/144636844280?h ... SwXXVixd9c
Kelsey
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

Thanks so much for the info and the eBay referral! I’ll definitely look into that one!

So far this one is my top pick:
https://pumpkindoodlebabies.net/product ... -available

I’m just absolutely in love with her face - her expression is priceless! I don’t want to spend that much money but she actually reminds me of my little one - I might not be able to resist! However, the search is still ongoing.

Thank you all so much!
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

Need a quick opinion...

I'm kicking around a lot of different ideas right now, and thanks again for the help, y'all have nudged me in the right directions.

On to the question:
There's a few dolls that have stood out to me. The Lyra by Ping Lau linked in the last post is one of them.

Here's another:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3R3Q4H9/?c ... _lig_dp_it

I recognize this one from several sources and I think I've seen it done as a girl but I haven't been able find it. Is anyone familiar with this one? Do you think this one would look natural as a girl? I ask because I think I've seen a lot of what appears to be the same doll in either gender. Wondering if this is one of those. I suppose the finishing (makeup?) is different? I know these are cheap mass produced and not 'finished' but ....do you know what I mean? Would the girl version be different? Or is it just clothes?

**EDIT** Is that Liam?

And the maybe not-so-obvious-to-me dumb question of the day...

This guy is $150, the Ping Lau is $1350.
Is the amazon doll a knockoff of another high level doll? Or is it just what it is?

I can see the $1300 difference for all the hand finishing, human hair, weighting, all of it - obviously it's high quality with unbelievable artistry and craftsmanship and worth every penny. I'm curious to learn more about the base kits. They are different kits, right? Because most of them I've seen are $150+ but how are they different than the < $150 Amazon dolls?

Thank you for helping me figure this out! JackieKay, thank you for the offer of pictures, I may reach out to you!
Last edited by Kelsey on Wed Jul 13, 2022 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

JackieKay wrote: Tue Jul 12, 2022 8:04 am I know you said you don't really want a cloth body but the big cloth-bodied Masterpiece dolls by Monika Peter-Leicht are really wonderful toddler dolls. They are about 32" tall and have 3/4 arms and legs on a cloth body - a couple of them did have a small sho.....

I've seen both of those artist's dolls around, and Lara by Monica Levenig is on my list!
https://www.ashtondrake.com/products/30 ... -doll.html

As I've been learning more, I'm not opposed to a cloth body. I'd just like it to be proportioned correctly for the height/age of the doll. I bought a 28" doll off Amazon for $150 and was disappointed in the proportions of the body and limbs.

Your Kathy look adorable, and more importantly, the body and limbs appear well proportioned! Is that what to expect from the more famous artists? I'll probably shoot you an email at some point

Thank you!
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Barbara L. »

The doll from Amazon is a knock off kit and comes from China.
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JackieKay
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Re: Need some help please

Post by JackieKay »

Kelsey wrote: Wed Jul 13, 2022 8:41 pm
JackieKay wrote: Tue Jul 12, 2022 8:04 am I know you said you don't really want a cloth body but the big cloth-bodied Masterpiece dolls by Monika Peter-Leicht are really wonderful toddler dolls. They are about 32" tall and have 3/4 arms and legs on a cloth body - a couple of them did have a small sho.....

I've seen both of those artist's dolls around, and Lara by Monica Levenig is on my list!
https://www.ashtondrake.com/products/30 ... -doll.html

As I've been learning more, I'm not opposed to a cloth body. I'd just like it to be proportioned correctly for the height/age of the doll. I bought a 28" doll off Amazon for $150 and was disappointed in the proportions of the body and limbs.

Your Kathy look adorable, and more importantly, the body and limbs appear well proportioned! Is that what to expect from the more famous artists? I'll probably shoot you an email at some point

Thank you!
The Peter-Leicht and Levenig dolls are very well proportioned in my opinion - definitely life-sized. Like Barbara said - beware of the ones on Amazon. They are nearly all made from illegal copies of artist kits and some have been resized. Even on eBay there are illegal copies - you want to stay away from those.

The Ashton Drake one is definitely cute - she is all-vinyl if I remember right - so not cuddly at all - and she has joints in her knees and elbows which aren't my favorite.

Email anytime.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

So yep, I’m definitely recognizing the fakes now! I think I’ve found the real versions of everything I’ve bookmarked that were previously unknown fakes. And yeah, what a quality difference! The real ones are all $1000+ and that’s ok

I can’t thank you all enough for your help, I probably would have bought a fake and been horribly disappointed!

So far, and out of probably hundreds of babies I’ve looked at, Lyra has remained my top pick by far! I just can’t get enough of that little face! I reached out to the artist this evening to inquire about reproducing her for me.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1146348875/

All of Ping Lau’s sculpts I’ve seen are just OMG adorable! She’s definitely my favorite! I think I just have to have one of her dolls! Cammi is my second choice right now

I still have a couple others that are in contention but it brings up a question.

It looks like some of the artists are using a mix of pictures of their own work and another, more skilled artist? I oftentimes see what’s obviously early, more rudimentary work alongside pictures of a doll that’s been finished at an upper skill level. I have noticed most of the ‘pro’ finished pictures have an artist name on them as well, and just starting to notice that it might not be the same name. Are early artists trying to bump their visibility, or is it maybe wishful thinking, or are they showing early versions of the same doll, or whaaa…?

Thanks again, I hope I’m not dragging this thread into “dead horse” territory!
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Re: Need some help please

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Well, I did it, I pulled the trigger!

After hours per day and days and weeks of looking and researching and learning and after looking at easily multiple hundreds of babies, I started to realize that I was trying to top Lyra and I’d seen most of what’s out there and hadn’t found it. That’s when I knew it had to be her - ‘the one’ …as this thread started out…
(Funny, I knew it when I saw her for the first time, I just kept looking ‘cause I didn’t know if there was gonna to be another.) I have about half a dozen runners up bookmarked though!

She might get a Cammie sister down the road :D

I found one on Mercari practically brand new with a COA beautifully finished really close to the one from Kori at Pumpkin Doodle Babies. (I actually like this one a little more!) Either way she looks like she’s from a top artist. She’s 28” with upper torso and full legs (I think) and comes with a bunch of clothes. I saved a couple hundred bucks, don’t have to wait 15 weeks and no guessing as to what exactly I’m getting! I think it’s a win-win!

You guys are awesome, I came in here clueless and now I practically feel like an expert! I got to know all the current dolls so well that I was starting to be able to identify them by name! Thank you so much for joining me on my journey! I’ll post some pictures once she arrives, hopefully next week!
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Barbara L.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Barbara L. »

Good for you! Please show us a picture of your sweet girl when you get her!
It was an interesting conversation with everyone's input!

To respond to your question about pictures of dolls with artist's names on them and differences in the skill, I think what you are seeing is pictures of the prototype dolls.
The sculpting artist sometimes uses skilled reborn artists to paint the first kit for marketing purposes. Sometimes reborners use the prototype pictures or other pictures they find to show how the doll can look when they are advertising their services.
I like to see the artist's actual work before purchasing something from them.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by georgeanne »

Congratulations, and please do share pictures when she gets home. I am so excited to see her.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Kelsey »

I will be sure to post pictures! She’s shipping out today, so hopefully she has a safe journey and makes it home quickly! I can’t wait to meet her!
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Post by Kelsey »

She arrived today, a full day early and totally unexpected! (I hadn't checked tracking in a couple days)

She's beautiful and everything I wanted! Here's a couple quick pictures!

https://ibb.co/w4QXB5J
https://ibb.co/6NZq9s4


Thank you all again!
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Barbara L.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by Barbara L. »

She is adorable! I am so glad you are happy with her.
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Re: Need some help please

Post by georgeanne »

Oh my goodness, she is so precious and sweet. I love her. Enjoy her, she looks like she will be such fun to dress.
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