Saturday, December 6, 2014

Reporter Ken from "Barbie In Princess Power" - A Review!

Hello Everyone,

I bought a new doll the other day. I know that's not a rare occurrence, but this is a new doll. Mattel recently started releasing the dolls from the 2015 movie "Barbie in Princess Power". While the dolls are interesting, only one of them I actually wanted, Reporter Ken. The doll himself was kind of dull, but he came with a pair of black eyeglasses and those are hard to find. I only have two pairs of adult glasses, a repro cat eye pair and the 90's round eye glasses that came with the Scooby Doo Velma doll. However both of these glasses are claimed and rarely share them. Sometimes Joe likes to wear glasses, so sometimes I borrow the Velma pair but never for very long. I was excited to find this new pair (I do like the older style better). The doll sells for 10.99, but I bought him on sale at Amazon for 8.99 with free shipping. I was hoping to find him at Walmart and use my Mattel Voucher on him, but they were taking their sweet time to get him in so I got impatient and just bought him from Amazon.  I'm going to do a quick (for me) review of him in case anyone else is curious about him.

It's been rainy and overcast all week, so I didn't take any pictures for this review. You can see the promo shots (and buy him from if interested) over at Amazon.

The Packaging: Ken was packaged in a clear plastic bubble with a cardboard backer. There was a molded tab for easy opening, but the cardboard tore when I used it and it really didn't help any. He was held down with plastic threads to his wrists, hips, and ankles. For a doll that doesn't have hair or much head movement he was still stapled in the back of his head with those terrible plastic ties. Since he doesn't have real hair he's left with two holes in the back of his head. He really didn't need that, I don't think he was going anywhere.

The Doll: Ken is your pretty standard Ken. He has blue eyes with dirty blonde molded hair that is styled in the "duckbill" hair style. For a doll that costs almost 11 dollars, he's pretty much the same doll as a 5 dollar beach line doll. His only pivotal joint is his neck. His arms and legs only move forward and back. I don't care for the newer Ken hand mold, he looks rather zombieish when his hands are in front oh him. They're not very natural and only look the best when they are at his side. When I got mine his hip joints were creaking whenever you moved them. I think it was just some excess glue in them, but I was worried something was going to snap as I tried to move his legs. Mine has a bit of a factory flaw at the neck. I think they had a problem with the molding machine. The bottom of his neck on his head isn't very even. I think they had to cut it by hand, and they left a little excess plastic right under his jaw. If you look around the neck in the back the "skin" isn't as smooth as it should be. Also the Mattel copyright information is very blurry. The rest of the head looks fine, it's just his neck at the very bottom that has the issue. It wouldn't affect play or anything. His neck still works like it should.

The Clothes: Ken comes to you wearing a one piece outfit. It has a light blue, short sleeved, collared shirt, a pair of blue skinny jeans with light blue top stitching, a "lightning" pattern tie, a brown faux leather belt with a gray belt buckle. That is all one piece. The outfit is okay quality. There is a little messy stitching in the back where the Velcro is sewn down. The collar is un-hemmed as is the tie. They're just glued to keep them from fraying, so I bet with actual playing they will start fraying. The sleeves on the shirt aren't as tight as they are in the promo pictures, but the rest of it looks about the same. My belt buckle is actually on backwards. It has a little molded "2" on it that should be facing inwards. I tried the outfit on Blaine from the Generation Girl line (early 2000's body), his thighs were too thick to pull the pants up. I tried it on a vintage Ken and while it did fit, vintage Ken has a longer torso so the seam between the shirt and the pants were a little stretched. I didn't try it on my Fashionista Ken, but I'm pretty sure his legs would be thin enough to wear it. Ken comes with molded plastic black squared heeled dress shoes. They have an slit in the back for easier putting on and taking off. I was hoping these would fit Joe since they looked pretty big in the promo shots, but his feet are too big for them. (Darn). They did fit Blaine, so they should fit most Ken dolls, which is nice because they are a very versatile shoe mold. 

The Accessories: Ken only comes with one accessory (I guess a reporter doesn't need anything to record the news with these days), his glasses. The reason why I was interested in this set in the first place. The glasses were... different than what I was expecting. They've changed from the promo shots. They're a lot more square than the ones shown. I was worried the promo ones might be a little too cat eyed looking for Joe, but I'm not sure if these square ones are an improvement. In a shocking twist, they are attached to Ken's head. In the back, they have the burrs anchoring them into Ken's head like they do with modern Barbie earrings. Also I will say that they had a clear elastic holding them in place that covered his eyes. I'm not sure how those elastics will react over time to the eye decals, there wasn't any wear with mine but he was new. I would be concerned over the decals adhering to the elastic as they aged. I boiled the head and was able to easily remove the glasses without any damage to the head or the glasses. I plan on trimming off the plastic burrs so I can use them with other dolls. However, this leaves Ken with two holes in the side of his head that I can't do anything about.

Overall: Am I happy with my purchase? Sort of. I like some aspects of the doll, but only bought it for the outfit. I could have purchased that same Ken for 5 bucks in a swimsuit and sunglasses for 5 at my local Walmart (I went there yesterday and they were swimming in swimsuit dolls). And that one wouldn't have any holes in his head. The outfit is okay, but the un-hemmed parts are going to start fraying with any real play and that's just stinks. Toys should be more durable than that. The shoes are nice, but I don't really need another pair of Ken black shoes. It's good to have, but I wouldn't have bought the doll just for the shoes. The glasses were slightly disappointing since they've changed from the promo shots and now look slightly like these knock off ones I could buy on E-bay for 4 dollars and get three pairs of (They aren't exactly the same though). And I can only use them on other dolls after I remove the burrs on them. I'm going to have to question any dolls with glasses from Mattel from now on in case they do that again. What would happen if I liked the doll but hated their glasses? I'd be left with a doll with holes in it's head! So I guess I'm glad that I bought this doll, but wouldn't buy another one and wished I had been patient enough to get it with my 6 dollar voucher from Mattel.

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