Adventures in Rebodying Eight – Pivotal Skipper

8 Apr

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:

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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):

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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!

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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.

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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):

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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22 Responses to “Adventures in Rebodying Eight – Pivotal Skipper”

  1. Pam April 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Congratulations – she looks fantastic. Love the hairdo too.

  2. Medina April 8, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    It’s a lovely match!
    I was interested in trying this rebody combo, but I just did a little research and it looks like this doll line isn’t available in the US. 😦
    Weird that the store name is TK Maxx – We have an almost identical type of store called TJ Maxx LoL I think it’s the same company though.

    • barbielea April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi Medina πŸ™‚ for a moment there, I really doubted myself and wondered if it was also called TJ Maxx over here but phew! Just checked and its not me having another outbreak of “mummy brain”, it really is called TK Maxx in the UK! Regarding your sourcing problems for these dolls – please see reply to Andrea below, it might be of some use to you as Amazon do worldwide delivery …

      • Medina April 24, 2014 at 8:38 am #

        I just checked it out, thanks a bunch! πŸ˜€ I actually have a gift card balance on Amazon that I forgot about LoL so maybe I’ll get one after all!~

  3. Andrea April 8, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Perfect match for poor, neckbroken Skipper, Lea! I love the hairstyle you gave her and thank you for explaining, how you did it.

    I remember those, they were sold around 2012 in a store chain called Ernstings Family in my area. I did buy two of them at the time with rebodying in mind, but never got round to do it. I didn’t see them in the stores lately, so chances are they might be discontinued already.

    • barbielea April 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Thank Andrea πŸ™‚ I think that in the earlier pictures, this doll looks rather long-necked but in the later pictures I repositioned the head a little. That’s my only complaint with it, really. Re: the Super Stars – I am not sure if they have been discontinued, but I don’t think so. The Simba Website still lists them as a current line (and there are LOADS of different waves with a variety of cute outfits). And best of all, I managed to track some down on Amazon.de. I ordered one (after going round in circles for a while because I don’t understand any German at all) and she only cost just over GBP 12 including delivery, which isn’t as cheap as my TK Maxx doll but still pretty good for such a great rebodying option.

      Did you understand my hairstyle instructions, then? I read it back afterwards and felt a bit bad because I thought it sounded like nonsense πŸ™‚ Glad it made sense to you!!

      • Andrea April 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

        Your instructions were great and easy to follow. Glad you found one on Amazon. I’ll keep an eye on the Simba shelves, if they are still around.

  4. Taswegian1957 April 9, 2014 at 12:57 am #

    What a good idea. When I first looked at your post I didn’t think much of Sarah as a doll but you are right, her body is great for Skipper. I was interested to learn that Simba are still making fashion dolls as I hadn’t seen any here in Australia for quite some time. I was very interested in how you did it and think I must really try rebodying one day although getting cheap donor bodies is likely to be a problem for me.

    • barbielea April 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      Hi Taswegian πŸ™‚ after writing this post, I did a little research on the Supermodels and they actually have a small collector following. They are not my cup of tea, but they are nicely done (they have LOADS of hair) and they are pretty cute, so I can see why. So, I did feel a bit guilty when I beheaded poor old Sarah – mostly because I think that these dolls are quite rare in this country. But then again, this is my HEADLESS SKIPPERS here. I have so wanted to rebody them for ages, and getting a pivotal option is better than anything I had ever hoped for. So I went for it …

      Simba is widely available over here, and pretty cheap. I have a couple of Steffie Loves, which I got in job lots or inherited and then just never got rid of, and also a couple of their Disney dolls. I do love Steffie furniture, which is much better and more affordable than Barbie’s (still sometimes a bit too pinkcentric, though).

  5. discodiva1979 April 9, 2014 at 4:30 am #

    WoW! Impressive rebody-I love it! Beautiful transformation. We have TJ Maxx stores so I will have to check for the Sarah doll & let you know-Thanks for the hairdo info-she really turned out GREAT!

    • barbielea April 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Thanks so much Discodiva πŸ™‚ yes, please do leave a message if you find some, it might be particularly useful for other Americans who are trying to source these dolls. Glad you like her!

  6. Blackkitty April 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

    This body was a great find! Adjustable heel height and the almost childlike body are just what Skipper needed.

    • barbielea April 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Thanks Blackkitty πŸ™‚ yes, the adjustable heels have made me really happy – they work really well too! I love hinged feet – so cute …

  7. Teresa B. April 11, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Beautiful! I too have found neckbroken Skippers. Poor dears. I just try to push the head on the body and not move it. lol. Your rebody looks fantastic and flats fair much better on Skipper πŸ™‚

    • barbielea April 11, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      Hi Teresa πŸ™‚ yes, this has always been my tactic up until now, but I do find it quite depressing when the head falls off and rolls somewhere, and of course the hair gets messed up. More to come – I just got my next Super Model delivered. I just hope that my supply of these dolls holds out!

  8. timelesslady April 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Terrific, I love the Skipper head on the ball-jointed body.

  9. Anderson's All-Purpose April 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

    I find Super Models are really useful for rebodying ~25cm dolls on. I haven’t tried Skipper, but Hadley and Isla from 12 Dancing Princesses worked surprisingly well, even though they have about the same size neck holes as Skipper. It’s a bit tight but the articulation works fine. (Also I just realized you can remove their hands and forearms, a la Monster High.)

    • barbielea April 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Hello πŸ™‚ Really, their forearms are meant to come off? Mine came apart while I was handling it but as I couldn’t read the Spanish box instructions and the peg was super hard to get back in, I never realised that it was meant to happen. Doh!

      I was just thinking about Isla and Hadley when I got your comment and read your post about them – they look great. I have mine on HSM bodies, which looks OK, but unfortunately I also decided to give them a haircut, which I completely messed up – I still need to get back to them and sort it out.

  10. Ms. Leo April 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    I love skipper on this body! Great Job!!!

    • barbielea May 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Thanks very much Ms Leo πŸ™‚

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