I am the Queen of hopeless cases. I do try to make sensible doll choices but, especially when it comes to Sindy, I have a tendency to pick up the dolls that everybody has written off. Partly, this is because in my pursuit of a bargain I’m sometimes a little over-optimistic about the amount of work a given project might entail, but its also to do with my rampant sentimentality. When it comes to Sindy, both these factors tend to come into play. Second-hand Sindys are usually a bit battered, and nothing looks quite as pathetic and down on its luck as a bedraggled Sindy.
This was the seller’s photo of my latest Sindy. I know, OK? Here is a list of her faults and what I’ve done about them:
* Completely knackered hair. It looks like its been used to scrub pots with, doesn’t it? Very knotted, very dry, very frizzy. I’ve given it at least three deep conditions and many brushes through. Its less dry, now, and untangled. However, its lost some of its nice curled shape and as far as I am aware, “frizzy” Saran can only be restored up to a point. I think somewhere down the line, I might be looking at having to re-root this doll. She’s got a hard head – usually these aren’t popular with re-rooters, but I don’t see that it would be a problem with a re-rooting tool, which I what I use.
*Slightly pushed in eyelashes. They were still there, just pushed in a bit. This was a quick and easy job, I just got some tweezers and pulled them out again, then reshaped them by trimming them with nail scissors.
* Some very small pockmarks round her right eyebrow and on her upper lip. The ones round the eyebrow don’t exactly look like pressure has been applied. I wondered if they might be a sign that the vinyl is degrading a little, although I’ve never read about anything like this. The pockmark on the upper lip looks more like a sharp pencil or pin mark. I actually think it looks quite cute. I decided to ignore these very minor faults.
* Bitten feet. I have learned to just accept this with Sindys. Its better when feet are intact, of course, and it limits the kind of shoes you can put her in. But at least you can still make her look display-worthy.
* Pen marks. It was the pen marks that I should have been most worried about, really. She seems to have been stored in a bag with a red felt tip at some point. As well as the blotches on her legs (which are quite obvious in the photo above) there were also various pen marks on her arms and hands, and also a pen mark on her upper lip/ cheek. When I first started restoring dolls, I blithely used anything that might be effective, but since I have started doing some reading I’m wary of using chemicals that might do damage in the longer term. But given the extent of the damage, I felt I had no choice but to try the benzoyl peroxide method for pen removal that I had read about. Strangely, when I went to buy some acne treatment with 10% benzoyl peroxide, I found that there was none in the chemist. The Pharmacist informed me that they hadn’t received a delivery with any of these products for several months, although he couldn’t tell me why. In the end, I ordered some from Amazon. The method is simple – just apply to the stained area, and leave the doll under a direct source of strong light for several hours. I forgot to take a close-up of the damage before I started! But here she is several hours in, just before a reapplication:
Her pen marks were somewhat diminished at this point. Fortunately, we are in the middle of a heatwave in the UK, so I put her outside in the full sun rather than having to put her under a lightbulb, and it worked great.
Anyway, here she is now:
Lastly, just about her identification. I was pretty sure that she was a Funtime Sindy from 1976 – she has quite distinctive hair that is clearly different to the short styles worn by dolls in the 1980s, like my Holiday Girl Sindy. However, when I looked at her headmarking, I saw that she was stamped 033055X, which (on its own) indicates a doll from the very early 80s. In 1976, the marking should have been 0330050X – here’s an article about it. I wondered what early 80s doll I could have missed that looked similar. But then I found this article which explains that the 1976 Funtime Sindys were stamped 033055x after all … Confusing, but at least I can be surer of this ID now.
Sadly, her outfit in my photos is not her original one (which is flowery, in shades of chocolate and cream which is very typical of Sindys from this time). Its actually a Fashion Girl dress from 1969 – very cute, though, and beautifully made.