FRODO: Sybarites Generation X Solitaire

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“Always Knowingly Fabulous”

Indeed. Clearly Superdoll needs no introduction, and even though I am not a regular reviewer of new dolls, I just had to chime in about the new Sybarites Generation X Solitaire. Considering all the snow hammering the US Northeast, I wasn’t so sure mine would get here quickly – and after ordering her just last week, I was happily taken aback when I came home to find a DHL delivery waiting.

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I had read many of the online comments regarding ordering the LE75 Solitaire – I had seen many questions, some of them simply misinformed, some good and thoughtful, and some just stupid. Most of the latter tend to come from the stigma that vinyl is cheaper than resin. It is, but not dramatically like so many might think…especially when the vinyl poured is firm and solid, much like the lower limbs of many Tonner fashion dolls such as Tyler Wentworth. Also, many unfamiliar with the way dolls are made often think of all vinyl dolls in the sense of Kitty Collier (or more unforgettable offerings such as the first Daisy & Willow and early Effanbee, pre-Tonner Brenda Starr dolls), or the failed attempt at translating resin dolls like Evangeline Ghastly into vinyl before moving to hard plastic. Vinyl is a very tricky substance of many attributes…but cheap is not one of them…

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Vinyl is durable, and requires much less finishing than resin – and unlike hard plastic’s compact strength, vinyl has limitations in its use – and this can greatly affect jointing. Hollow vinyl can be catastrophic in doll-making (remember Betsy McCall’s collapsed upper chest, requiring a metal rod inserted to support the torso?) – Well, the vinyl Superdoll is using looks and feels like resin – there are differences, but to the untrained eye, I’m not sure many could tell the difference. Walk with me for a moment…and let’s look at how Superdoll is bringing “future forward for everyone”.

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Let’s start with the arrival – DHL Express…not shabby for international delivery. You can complain about the shipping costs all you want – but doll collecting is a luxury, and this is the way to get as instant as you can with international shipping gratification…but it ain’t cheap, Puddings…

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Opening the box, a sigh escaped from my lips…it’s very much a Superdoll experience – I’m feeling like I just received a personal delivery from Tiffany, and I shiver thinking about the contents…

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Past the bow and tissue, the initial image is an impressive one…

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The presentation is not mired by the excess of plastic baggies, foam padding, or what-not…instead, I see the doll as it was advertised – and I am immediately taken by the expression and detail. I take a deep sniff…not quite the ‘new dolly smell’ of which I am accustomed…a light fragrance rises when I touch her hair…it’s a pleasant aroma of a styling salon – with fresh, clean coiffures and a bit of chemistry. I smile a little, feeling naughty. I feel like I’m in the ladies’ room with her as we fix our hair and gossip about people we don’t like…

Photo: Superdoll London

Photo: Superdoll London

I immediately refer to the promo images – it’s amazing to see what little Photoshopping has been done by Superdoll…pretty much, what I see in the promo image is what I see waiting to be released from her packaging. Aside from minimalist plastic wrap to hold the necklace in place, and the open jacket – I’m pretty excited at the presentation. There are a couple of clear plastic bands that have come loose, but the security of the doll isn’t compromised a single bit…and I grab a pair of safety scissors and run back to my work table (it’s OK to run with these scissors). Solitaire waits patiently…

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Keep calm…and debox. Before I start snipping away, I check to see where the doll is secured inside her cradle – I am easily distracted by the surrounding treats that flirt with me from the sidelines, bringing a heightened anticipation of play to come. And those multiple hands! Love the concept…

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I’ve seen people question the price of this ‘vinyl’ doll, comparing it to Tonner’s dressed vinyl/hard plastic products – need I remind you that gowns can be very impressive, but suits can be just as equally complicated, particularly in production? Add the multiple hands, and host of accessories – dress it all on a solid vinyl with hand-painted detailing…surround it in packaging that is befitting of a Goddess? It’s pretty easy for me to see where the costs are applied in this…and simply being a small edition isn’t your only culprit.

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I understand that many would like to see less packaging fuss and more of these production costs transferred to the doll. But like Integrity Toys, Superdoll knows its customer, and the packaging is part of the experience much as the outfit and accessories are…

Secure, but simple threads anchor the doll to the box - just snip, snip!

Simple, but secure threads anchor the doll from underneath – just snip, snip!

Examining the suit, I am blown away by consistency in detail – welted pockets, tiny working buttons and buttonholes, zipper enclosures, full linings – these are finishing nightmares to a doll maker; yet, even the bulk has been greatly reduced through cleverness in design, and savvy use of materials.

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The lapels are communion wafer thin, and turned perfectly – the pockets (although the pant side pockets alone are functional) would make any person who sews envious of how the welts are matched with precision. Top this with a functioning belt, and the miniature obsession with detail is fed with gluttony.

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Now, those buttonholes…they are not stitched, but have been either cut with a hot knife, or stabilized with a fixative – they are cumbersome at best, and for those brave enough to attempt it, I can assure you they work just fine. The openings are nicely stable – but because of them, you will probably notice several collector photos without the jacket fully closed. I am curious to hear opinions about these buttonholes…they are not perfect solutions, but they translate well in this scale…and the impact on the eye is sublime in its tiny interpretation.

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I had more of an issue with the hook and eye just above the center back pant zipper – but these are more frustrations caused by my sausage fingers, and less of Superdoll’s design decision-making.

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The jointing was interesting to study…

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The expanded design at elbows and knees allow for extended movement, but they are not independent. For example, the doll will have to rely on the body weight while crouched on the knees to fully collapse into the concave depression of the thigh back meant to accommodate the calf convex. This is nothing new for BJD fashion doll collectors – however, the vinyl does resolve a great deal of kickiness, allowing Solitaire to hold her pose well.

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Nevertheless, the elastic cord stringing is more functional in vinyl than resin – probably because the vinyl isn’t as heavy – and also because the cleverness of engineering applied to the materials, allowing for tighter stringing without breaking a material like resin. The mini-joints appear to be hard plastic, but I am not certain of this – they also have a different color than the vinyl, and it results in a distraction to the eye when the joint is exposed. Since the costume covers these joints, I didn’t give a fuck.

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Like all fashion dolls, Generation X does not have underarms – make due notice thereof in your posing, and govern your photography accordingly.

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UPDATE: A note on the hands…please read the instruction booklet…it will save you some heartache when you break a hand joint: Vinyl is durable…but it’s not indestructible. When you observe the holes attaching the wrist to the pin, they stretch – seemingly out of shape – but vinyl has an excellent memory and always returns to its original form. Gentle heating with warm water or warm air (actually, hot air won’t hurt…but you do need to observe caution with temperatures), will allow you to separate the hand from the pin, itself…thereby saving frustration in removing the pin from the wrist, altogether. But don’t pull on them cold – the vinyl will break as you see in the sorrow below.

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Sorrow…

The hip jointing is utterly fascinating – and an easy-to-see benefit of using vinyl over resin in this type of jointing. I think this jointing resolution already exists, but I’m not certain it’s this well-conceived or sculpted.

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After returning the doll to a standing pose from a previously seated take, I heard a gentle ‘snap’ in the hip region…only then did I discover the booklet that gives tips on the body such as hand removal…and the ‘seat lock’. I was damn relieved nothing was broken…because it would have been if it were resin.

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Superdoll also address vinyl’s notorious property – staining – and in a clever and truly fabulous way. All vinyl is going to stain…it’s a porous material – so know this:

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I cannot say in my limited experience with Sybarites as to whether this is a new design feature…but I can see that if manufactured in resin, this area would be problematic over time and excessive posing. Readers…please enlighten me

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See the camera shoot with Solitaire here – but just out of the box, I was very pleased with the posing abilities of this lady – she owned each vogue moment, silently saying ‘B*TCH’ to me in harmony with her handbag.

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The cuffs and necklace were crafted in a soft leather or leather-like material coated with a metallic surface – it is gentle on the vinyl’s surface (which can still be scratched, but not like resin). This was a relief for me as I was afraid they would be cast resin or actual metal…

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The stand was simple and secure, with a telescoping rod, and an unobtrusive saddle that doesn’t mar the look of the pant crotch…

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And those shoes…simply fucking fierce

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Only in the end did I notice the ‘Superdoll’ marking on the lower part of the torso…an interesting way to mark your brand without adding yet another visual distraction to the body of the doll – there are always trade-offs in the design of a doll, especially when deciding where and when the flesh is to be intentionally viewed.

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Nothing is perfect…and it’s not supposed to be – these are dolls, and most doll collectors get that when choosing their favorites…

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After violating her body, examining her jointing, and fully satisfying my curiosity as to whether this was indeed a vinyl doll – I re-examined the accessories…I had just about died and went to heaven. I love this shit

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I’ll be taking many more photos of Solitaire…but, let’s break it down FRODO-style, shall we?

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Fabulousness – 9 – Not perfect, but grand – eliciting a good pair of soaked britches on my part. The first reaction of how this doll so closely resembled the promo images, and simple fluffing of the hair to get that wild Demarchelier look…well, my expectations were pretty much met with every drop that leaked from my bladder.

Not that wild...

Not that wild…

The suit, accessories, face – all these brought an instant incontinence – it’s design personified by thoroughly pissing my pants.

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Realization – 8 – Based on the promo image, this doll would have gotten a ten, but it lost two points for the beautifully realized, but difficult to manage buttonholes…and that hook and eye on the pants – and – the beautifully functional, yet in-need-of-refinement jointing. I guess I shouldn’t blame Superdoll for these, as they are more caused by scale and materials…but, this portion rewards functionality, and there is room for some improvement there…as there always is with even the finest of dolls.

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Originality – 10 – This is Superdoll, with no apologies or excuses…and no one does what they do. They have successfully translated their Sybarites into a mainstream interpretation, and it only thrills me to see where they will take it. Granted, the outfit reminds me of Karl Lagerfeld Barbie…but only because it’s a black suit – and besides, I actually got to touch this doll – the accessories and Sybarite model set this look apart.

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Durability – 10Vinyl wins out…I was pretty rough on this girl…and I only broke a shoe strap…that is saying something as I do observe reasonable care when dressing dolls, but I also want to know how far I can push it when determining how much more play I can get with this subject. I would like to see a removable wig for versatility, but there’s plenty of time for that later.

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Optical Sentience™ is a term I created (and trademarked, thank you) – 10 – She not only looks at you, Solitaire is reading your mind – and I felt a little embarrassed at the thought of exactly what she might be seeing in my head. The eyes have a clear personality and a deep expression…that which a well-designed and skillfully-painted doll possesses – a soul of sorts. Granted, this type of soul will unapologetically cast me into Hell…but we’ll chat about fashion trends and chefs we find hot along the way…

Superdoll – Sybarites Generation X – Solitaire – FRODO SCORE 9.4

As for the edition size, I’m glad they kept it small and desirable instead of flooding the market with a million of them. I am truly feeling for those that wanted her, but were unable to get one – technology is fickle like that, and I highly doubt the oversight was intentional…it’s just kinda hard to control what a computer is thinking when you have hundreds of rabid buyers descending onto a server at once…and in some instances, humans act faster than computers.

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The price point will naturally eliminate many collectors, but it will also serve as a gateway doll for those looking to graduate to the finer Goddesses. I’m sure there will be plenty more in Superdoll’s evolution of Generation X – more for people to get their grubby little paws on and dissect it from one limb to another – or better, yet – to celebrate its triumphs in doll making. This is a fabulous doll. See the photo shoot with Solitaire here…and MORE HERE.

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Superdoll…Fabulous Since Forever.” And they mean it, Puddings…

26 thoughts on “FRODO: Sybarites Generation X Solitaire

  1. Love you, Tommy, but I’m glad I don’t do your laundry! LOL! I was very curious about this girl, but not seriously tempted. Your photos were very informative—I find the backs of the legs a tad offputting, but that’s what makes dolls such an interesting field of study: everybody’s tastes are different. Glad you’re enjoying her!

  2. Fab review! I’m not getting her, love being with you to see what you saw! Thanks! Des does the best detailing and fabric manipulations. Wow! The suit is a marvel. She is a sybarite, no doubt!
    The hip joint has been evolving. I can see the difference between this one and previous versions…last incarnation had the locking concept but completely different engineering and had an extra joint in the thigh to allow internal/external rotation of the leg. My experience is that the last hip was more stable than the ball version, it didn’t loosen after use- there was a brief period with frozen hip problems.That passed quickly. Looks like the newest has it all! I like the look of the hip area from behind, your image 2408- hmm, quite sensual! Nice behind, nice curves!
    Sorry about your wet clothes, there are products.
    Wish I had one coming… Next time.

  3. Hey, thanks so much Tom for a really incredible and in-depth review of Miss Solitaire! Wow! I never even took her out of the box! She went immediately to eBay where I was pleasantly happy to recoup almost twice what I spent for a VINYL doll…. hee hee… I agree with a lot of your points about vinyl versus resin but, in reality, I’ll take my resin girls any day of the week. I wish Superdoll well and I am happy for the collectors who will love this doll. She is not for me and, in all honesty, I am not into the harsh faces that these ladies imbibe. I’m good to go with the “pretty” stuff. Thank you so much for your blog! I love it! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

  4. Thoroughly entertaining and informative blog as always… your multi talents show in the written word, photography, observations and dressmaking skills – I wish I had got her but will wait and see if she comes up on the secondary market (but not at the inflated prices that some try to get from the get go, which really grinds my gears)

  5. Fabulous detailed review Tom . I would have been devastated to miss her. Superdoll have never let me down in ten years and if this is the future they never will. The only doubt I had was the indentation in the back leg but then I looked at my current display of around 26 dolls and realised not one of them was showing the back leg so this would never be an issue. I love her and quite greedily look forward to the next and the next…….
    NADINE xx

    • Agree…I like the indentation and it’s functionality…there was a certain beauty about it I found interesting. Like all compromises made when improving posing, I can live with this one. Thanks for reading!

  6. What a wonderful review Tom! The only thing wrong with it is the resentment that it is bringing out in me because I don’t have a Solitaire of my own!

    Seriously though, congrats on your new girl and for doing a great job 🙂

  7. I despise people that are greedy and only bought her to make a profit. Especially when theyre not even a Sybarite collector, and has posted many times trashing Sybarites. and you know who you are. I love Solitaire but didn’t get her. Got a refund instead. So to those that did get her good for you. I think her face looks fierce unlike (pretty dolls), as some one thinks they have.
    Love reading your blog on Solitaire Tommy.

  8. Welt pockets!!???!!! Functioning buttonholes!!! What planet do these dressmakers come from? (Clearly a species with great big eyes and toothpick fingers!) Have not yet succumbed to hard drugs….er, ummm, the Sybarites. A few more posts like that, who knows….

  9. I was grateful to see what a vinyl Syb looked like. I didn’t know they existed.

    Good luck getting the hand replaced. When I ordered Couture Savage she arrived with black marks on her wrist/hand/leg. Long story short, Charles requested I return her to England. I did, at a cost of around $46. I requested a shipping refund or a “goodie” to come back with her (as Tonner used to do). I got nothing back and was out the extra money for a new doll! I only purchased one more after that – don’t like the company.

  10. Funny isn’t it, guess it’s like your header, you either love them or hate them. They clothes are great, the accessories are gorgeous, but I just can’t warm to Sybarites. Thanks for the review, very useful.

  11. Hi Tommy,

    I’m itching to hear more about the articulation! I love that they are made of vinyl instead of resin, and the vinyl looks sumptuous. I have only viewed Sybarites from afar, but they seem to be the best articulated fashion BJD, next to Horsman Urban Vita, who is not strung and can do almost anything. You can probably tell that I don’t come from resin, lol, but I do have a resin Fairyland BJD.

    I also find a flexible two-jointed torso somewhat mandatory, as well as a high range of motion in each joint. I would probably fit in better with action figure collectors, but I love the look and feel of fashion dolls…

    Can you tell me more about her posing? Is there anything she can’t do that you wish she could? I’m very interested in getting one.

    Great review and photos, and I really enjoyed the photo shoots of Solitaire and Precious; wonderful! Thanks!

    • Thank you! Vinyl jointing is a fickle bedfellow…although Superdoll uses a firm, almost resin-like vinyl…it is still bendable, and care must be observed in trying to over-pose. The image you see where she is seated and her knee is close to her body….don’t try this at home. But otherwise, she holds numerous poses well, and is a very satisfying fashion doll. Hope this helps!

      • Oh no! You mean the image of Precious seated with her knee drawn up? That was the one that convinced me that vinyl Sybarite is a master poser. Did you have to pull the string and wedge something in there to hold it like that? I have to ask because I WOULD try it at home.

My blog is satire, but your thoughts are welcome!

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