I was shopping with my boy in town yesterday and he decided (surprise surprise) that the world would end if he did not get a new teddy. The only nearby shop I could think of that sold stuffed toys was TK Maxx (I don’t know whether you find these in other Countries – sells designer end-of-line clothes, homeware and sometimes toys at a discount). In the Toy Section, I came across this doll:
I’d never seen one of these before. They are called “Super Models” and they are produced by Simba – this doll (Sarah) was from their swimsuit range, Palm Beach. The doll herself is pretty meh as far as I’m concerned – not awful, not wonderful. As you can see, she has a flat face with big decal eyes, sort of like a Moxie Girl. But her body? Very interesting. She has pivotal shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees, and jointed ankles. Her knees are capped like a later-wave Fashionista. Oh, and she has a swivel waist, a bit like Spinmaster’s LIV. Cool beans. I bought Sarah for general rebodying experimentation purposes, but it didn’t occur to me until I got her to the till how tiny she is. Much smaller than a Fashionista. Smaller than a LIV. Could she be Skipper-sized, I wondered? Well, I got her home and confirmed it – here is Sarah compared to my first Skipper (who was broken at the neck when I found her):
As you can see, the proportions are a pretty good match, the main difference being the slightly thicker waist on the new doll. Skipper’s skin tone, like the skin tone of many older dolls, is a little pinker than the body donor, but I find that as long as its pretty similar it tends to work out. Sarah’s feet are another interesting feature – she comes wearing high heels and I wasn’t sure about having a permanently high-heel ready Skipper. However, due to the hinged ankles, she can actually convert to flats! So, on this body I would get a choice. Even Growing Up Skipper didn’t get to wear heels when she felt like it!
It seemed too good to be true to me at this point. Doubtless I felt this way because I’ve found that a disproportionately high number of Skippers on the second hand market are broken at the neck (there must have been some problems with the manufacturing process or the materials used around 1987) so there’s a real need for alternative bodies. I’ve been desperate for a good option for ages. When I first started collecting and repairing Skipper, the obvious choice seemed to be the High School Musical dolls but having tried it, HSM doll bodies are too tall and mature to suit this baby-faced Skipper. So, a lovely, pivotal body (my favourite kind) so perfectly proportioned to Skipper – what’s the catch, I found myself asking?
When I got Skipper’s head onto her prospective body, I found out. The neck on these dolls is slightly too wide for Skipper’s head hole, and although I just about managed to squeeze it on, the fit was too tight allow any head movement.
I was determined to make this work. I thought about it. I had recently read a tutorial on how to pare down Fashionista and LIV joints to give a greater range of movement, and that made me wonder if it might be possible to pare down the lip on the inside of Skipper’s head to make her head hole slightly bigger. I’d never tried this before so I was a little nervous about it, but I got out the craft knife and gave it a go.
I just took tiny bits off all the sides, probably less than a millimetre at a time – if you’re going to try this, just be aware that a small amount makes a big difference. When I tried her head on again, it was still a bit stiff (I might return to it later and take a bit more off) but I could move it and pose it prett well. It worked! Here is Skipper on her new body, in Sarah’s original clothes (which I think suit her very well):
I took the picture above in a fit of excitement last night when I’d rebodied her, but this morning I realised how scruffy her hair looked – it had been in the same style since I first cleaned her up, and it needed re-doing. I think it looks much better now:
In case you are interested, I’ll explain the new hairstyle. This doll originally had a fluffy, “sheepdog” style fringe (bangs) which was in poor condition when I got her and I didn’t like it anyway – so I boil straightened it. The problem is, the rooting round the fringe was sparse and erratic, so needed to be covered by a hairband. Because this doll had a “ponytail” style of rooting she has a lot of hair round the sides of her head which, when let down, sort of stuck out like a lion’s mane. At first, I had dealt with this by putting it back up into a ponytail, but this time round, on each side I took the section from the top of her ear to the corner of her forehead, depth about about half a centimetre back, and plaited it. Then I used these plaits as a headband and secured both at the back with a clear rubber band under the rest of her hair, which dealt with both problems at once. I should have thought of it before, really! She needed a tiny bit of just-boiled water to flatten it down at the sides too, as it had been in a ponytail a long time.
Anyway, I’ve found that with a bit of care, this Skipper can be made to stand on her own, which is a nice feature:
And here’s Skipper in flats (some of those Barbie trainers that also fit Skippers) and heels – I don’t think the heels look as strange and incongruous as I thought they might:
Lastly (so you can see the size difference of course, not at all as an excuse to take some more photos) here’s Skipper with my Fashionista-bodied Cali Girl Lea and my LIV bodied Basics Steffie:
I am absolutely delighted with this rebody and would love to repeat it with some of my other headless girls who are in dire need. However, the problem is that I have only ever seen these “Super Stars” in TK Maxx, and they didn’t have many. I’ve googled for them and searched the obvious online shops but to no avail. The back of the box seems to be written in Spanish, so I think those of you who live on the Continent might fare better than me. Please do me a favour though – if anybody comes across somewhere selling these dolls, I’d be very interested in hearing from you about it!