Today I’d like to introduce a very special little doll who joined my collection a few weeks ago:
She came all the way from London, from the My Doll Best Friend webshop, but she’s actually German. She’s a 17 inch jointed all-vinyl play doll made by the German doll manufacturer Schildkroet, and she’s relatively new on the market, having first appeared with her two sisters in 2012.
Schildkroet is a very old company that has been making dolls since the 1890s, and they have an interesting history involving the development and production of the material celluloid for many products, including the first really durable play dolls (read more about their history on the My Doll Best Friend blog). These days they make a wide range of play dolls from plastic and vinyl, including reproductions of some of the original celluloid dolls. So far there are just three dolls in their 17 inch jointed line: a red-head, a brunette, and a blond. They share the same light complexion and lovely turquoise-blue sleep eyes.
When I first saw these dolls on the My Doll Best Friend Facebook page (a great way to keep track of what’s happening in the doll world!) I was caught by the expressiveness of their little faces as well as by their poseability. When I found that the 2013 Schildkroet dolls were on sale at My Doll Best Friend, I decided to take this opportunity to add the lovely little red-head to my collection. It took her a while to make it through customs, but she finally arrived safe and sound and is just as special as I thought she’d be! So here’s a review of a very special and unique little doll.
She arrived in a sturdy and very simple cardboard box decorated with the Schildkroet “turtle” logo. (I actually really like the box but don’t have a good picture of it). She was attached to her box via a single tight rubberband around her neck and though her packing was minimal, it was quite adequate to keep her safe on her journey. Here she is released from her box, as she arrived:
From the side:
And from the back:
As you can see, her hair is a lovely rich rust-red shade and she has voluminous bangs and wavy curls. The hair is rooted nylon, has a nice glossy feel, is fairly fine, and is quite thick. However, as I experienced with my Paola Reina Lidia doll, the nylon lost much of its curl after a few hours in our dry climate. After releasing it from the ponytail and braid that it arrived in, I carefully misted her hair with water and brushed it out gently in sections (which was quite necessary as there were some pretty severe tangles) and by the time I was finished, she had only gently waving hair. This was a little disappointing, but it is still lovely and I like it almost as well as in her stock pictures. Perhaps I can be brave and learn to re-curl it? This problem of losing curl seems to be unique to the nylon fiber, as I’ve not had the same difficulty with any of my curly haired dolls that have Kanekalon wigs (American Girl dolls, for instance).
One of the things that makes these dolls unique is their very slim little bodies and limbs. Frankly, I think this slimness is charming paired with her round face and bushy hair, and every time I look at this adorable doll I think of a little elf! Her face has something very pixie-ish or elf-like about it, I think:
She’s very photogenic, and her face is so expressive! Her expression seems to change a little with every pose. They’ve really caught a lot of character in a very simple face. Her facial coloring is gorgeous: very rosy with brightly blushing cheeks, and softly painted lips. The lip paint actually has a soft shine and almost a “moist” feel to it. Her eyebrows are just delicate crescents hidden under her bangs. Her head is made from a very soft vinyl that “squeezes” easily. The material, as well as the style of her little face, reminds me a lot of the early Pleasant Company American Girl dolls, actually. Her head turns and tilts easily. She has the Schildkroet logo on the back of her neck:
Her eyes are a lovely bright blue shade with a very detailed pattern in the irises (which is hard to see in pictures). They are slightly different from each other, both in how they’re set and how the eye-holes are cut. Somehow this slight asymmetry works for me on this doll; it adds to her individuality and charm. However, if you are concerned about “wonky” eyes, you might want to choose one of these dolls in person, or have one chosen for you by a friend.
The outfit she arrived in is just adorable. And I’d like to add here that one of the nice things about these little dolls is that the outfits they come in are also available separately, so you can buy the doll and outfit you like best, even if the doll you chose didn’t arrive in it. This also means that if you buy a 2014 doll, it’s not too late to buy the 2013 outfits separately, and vice versa, which is really nice!
Her hooded jacket is very detailed and unique. The fabric is an interesting textured plush, and the sleeves are lace-mesh decorated with rosettes. Here is a close-up of the materials:
The outfit also includes plaid flannel shorts, thick leggings, a cream-colored sweater, and knee-high boots. All the pieces are beautifully made and very sturdy and high-quality. Here is a close-up of the boots:
Here are her tags (and look at that beautiful little hand!):
Now let’s take a closer look at how this special little doll is made. She has nine joints (knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and head), and the way she is constructed makes her highly poseable. She can sit and stand quite easily on her own. Her arms and legs hold their position when posed, and they stay bent, which is exciting if you are really into posing dolls for pictures (or play!).
I’ve removed her clothes so we can look at how beautifully she’s made. This doll has one of the prettiest bodies I’ve seen. Her complexion is so light and rosy and healthy-looking. Her limbs are beautifully sculpted and her joints work well without being too obvious. And I think her torso is particularly graceful. The vinyl of her body and limbs is much harder and a bit smoother than that of her face, but the skin tone matches perfectly.
She does have a bit of trouble balancing on her bare feet–she tends to lean forward a little to balance her large head. It is much easier to stand her up when she is wearing shoes.
I love the graceful curve of her back and neck.
I’ve put her into a few poses so that you can see how well she holds them:
I’m particularly impressed with how well she sits. She looks so natural!
And look at that exquisite little back (and ear!):
Another favorite thing of mine about this adorable doll is her beautiful hands and feet! I’m starting a “beautiful hands and feet club” here on A Doll’s Picnic, and this little girl is definitely a member!
It’s a bit hard to capture in photos, but she has lovely arches and very detailed toes.
Her hands are even prettier! Her right hand is different than her left hand, which adds to her life-likeness.
Here’s one last picture of her hands. She can hold them together very nicely:
Here are a few more poses. She can’t balance on her own in this one, but I wanted to show her flexibility:
I haven’t shown it in the pictures, but she actually has a wide range of flexibility in her hip joints. She can stand with her legs apart up to a fairly wide angle, as well as do the splits.
Here she is with her original outfit back on, so you can see a little more of the quality of the pieces. I took these pictures on a dreary afternoon, making the lighting difficult.
The shorts and tights have elastic waistbands, and the sweater closes up the back with velcro. You do have to be careful not to let the velcro snag the material of the sweater!
I had to hold her feet down with one hand for this one:
Now she would like to show you the adorable little bag that came with her arrival outfit:
It closes with a little velcro tab, and it’s big enough to put small accessories inside!
I bought a second outfit along with my doll so that she’d have a change of clothes, and the quality is just as good. This is the outfit that came on the blond doll in 2013.
The pink shoes also came on the blond doll, but have to be purchased separately if you buy only the outfit. They’re way too cute, and so well made!
I love the puppy-dog applique on the tunic-sweatshirt, but if she wants to, she can wear the polka-dotted turtle-neck all by itself:
By this time she was pretty tuckered out from a long afternoon of modeling!
I would like to see Schildroet debut some pajamas for these adorable dolls, in addition to the six outfits now available. Their clothing is so cute and well made!
This is an adorable, dear little doll with exciting poseability for either a child’s play or an adult collector. She seems very sturdy and well-made; however, because of her slimness and delicate arms and legs, I would wince a bit at giving her to a child younger than eight. I’m not sure what the target age range is on these dolls, but I think a careful child or older child could take care of her safely.
My favorite things about this doll are her face, complexion, the color of her eyes, the color of her hair, her beautiful hands and feet, her graceful little body, and her poseability. I really don’t have any faults to find with her, aside from the nylon hair fiber losing its curl (and my hair does the same thing in our climate!) and the slight difference between her eyes, which will bother some people more than others. She has an old-fashioned, heirloom feeling, and yet she is perfectly modern, and perky enough to go everywhere and try everything! I think she would make an excellent traveling doll, as she is so slim and poseable that she doesn’t take up much room.
Now she just needs a name! I’m a bit stumped on this. I wanted to give her a real German name to celebrate her heritage, but neither Irmengard, Ingelore, Hannalore, Morgen (which literally means “morning”!), Brigitta, nor Babette have seemed quite right. Perhaps I should give up on the German and try Bernadette, Bernie for short. Any suggestions?
Thank you Schildkroet and My Doll Best Friend in the UK for bringing us another wonderful German treasure! She will be loved!
Pictures taken at the Dunsmuir Botanical Gardens in the Dunsmuir City Park, and at home.