Hell Freezes Over – A FRODO Review: Tyler 2016

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Let start a shitstorm…shall we, Puddings?

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I had to have this doll. I saw images of her on Facebook (thanks, Troy!)…and thought she was utterly fabulous. Yes, dears…Tyler Wentworth is back, and although not in such a grand scale as Mel Odom’s Gene Marshall’s treatment by JAMIEshow, this is the Tyler her fans will love by the very same doll maker that created her…at least I do, anyway – and it is MY blog, dears.

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As I lurked on the internet watching the progress of the Tonner 25th Convention for any signs of failure, I found myself lashing out at people on Facebook, and embarrassingly picking fights that ended in a few ‘unfriends’ (not that they were really friends anyway). My outpouring of anger was exactly the kind of thing I detest…and after some private messages from real friends, I realized I was being a dick. And even though one should never apologize for being themselves – this was definitely apology-worthy. So take a picture of it, you won’t see it frequently. I’m sorry to those that I was such a dick to. Now that that’s out of the way…let’s dish some dolls, yes?

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What I ended up seeing during the convention coverage was a cascade of lovely offerings from all aspects of Tonner’s 25th History. It was moving for me. Then I found out I actually received a mention as a company contributor, and that made me cry. Sometimes you just want to hear you were valued, instead of ‘we can’t afford to pay you anymore’. Even though you were sincerely valued, which phrase resonates more to one being laid off? Yeah..

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Time to let that shit go, Elsa…

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I won’t bore you with the emotions I was feeling that weekend…but know that they were indeed earnest…and a lesson was learned (as they always are in this, our voyage of life).

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Look at those DOLLS…

So flash forward a couple of weeks…the dolls are appearing on the Tonner website, and those who couldn’t attend are getting their pick of most of them – a great way for folks to celebrate who either don’t travel, or had conflicting schedules. I’m personally not a big fan of that practice…but plenty are, and it’s not my company. And there were plenty to be had in terms of variety, which is what many doll conventions are becoming to make it worth their effort and expenditures to take their shows on the road. Of course, it wasn’t like Integrity’s Cinematic, or JAMIEshow’s cast of Gene’s colorful characters – these events are incomparable…apples, oranges and peaches – each unique in itself. But it did celebrate the company history with variety and choices for both fashion and child doll collectors. Robert did always understand variety and diversification

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I collect child dolls, too…Mr. Filch.

I went to the Tonner website, and although I can be fairly critical of the new website – finding what I wanted and placing an order was pretty simple. When I realized I had left off my apartment number (no – I’m not some fat, old unemployed queen living with my parents anymore, thank you very much) – I emailed customer service to request it be added to my order. I was promptly answered by Michelle…and was thrilled to see no hate mail attached to it. But of course, I’m a paying customer now, so why would they? That’s all in jest, mind you – the conversation was friendly and professional…and the situation resolved quickly…thank you, Michelle.

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Mrs. Norris would approve…

I will also note that I didn’t wait for any sale…or special offer…I paid full price and I paid for standard shipping. When I want a doll…I don’t sit around and dilly-dally…I buy the fucking doll. Doll collecting is a luxury, and if you have to refuse paying retail to get the dolls you want, and concede to those on sale or clearance, you not only understand little about what drives a doll collector, but you probably shouldn’t be collecting dolls, anyway. Try collecting belly button lint, instead…it’s readily available, and virtually free for the asking.

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Yes…this is a real thing…

As I await my new doll to arrive…I reflect on the last two years of blogging, and wonder just what exactly I bought myself…

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Confess! Now understand that I’m not really a doll reviewer – but I should be – I know a great deal about a variety of dolls – and I do it oh-so-much better than other bloggers who are more interested in narcissism, or bitching about the tiniest little manufacturing imperfections (every doll I love may not be perfect, but I am infinitely more handsome, and charming to boot…so suffice it to say that I don’t feel any competition). And like Cersei Lannister…I write about it, because it makes me feel good. Shame…shame…shame.

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When my box arrived, I was stunned to see the amount of paper/cardboard used to ship the doll. This isn’t Tonner’s fault – it’s yours. You, the fussy collector, can’t accept the white shipper box with scratches, marks or imperfections – despite that its existence as a protective SHIPPER is exactly what it was designed to do. Really…thank you for that carbon footprint, Little Miss OCD-elicious.

The packaging is as much of a testament to the company’s history as the contents. Classic Tonner box, simple, easy to open and remove the doll, or replace and store as need be (though I don’t recommend using the original box as a long term storage container – see why here). You don’t need a doctorate in applied engineering to remove the doll – and you don’t have to cut threads, plastic bands, untwist metal ties, or cut away at knotted ribbons to get her out. This was always one of the base concepts behind ‘believe in the power of play’.

The doll is pretty much ready to go…some quick removal of protector plastic, and what you see is pretty much what you get. And what I got was a gorgeous Tyler Wentworth doll. Let’s rip her to shreds

The Certificate – yet again another waste of paper and an added cost that could have gone into a simple pair of earrings – because YOU COLLECTORS require certificates. Morons. Really would it have hurt for a pair of pearl stud earrings…Tyler LOVES pearls, man! And it would have been cheaper than paying a separate plate charge for yet another certificate that adds absolutely no value whatsoever. Nice accessories though…

The Stand – another one of my (and your) bitching points. There is no such thing as a perfect stand – it does not exist for all types of dolls and all types of clothing. The waist grabber, although rather ubiquitous, isn’t my favorite. It works, yes…but I prefer the saddle stand so you don’t see any visible means of support. But because no one could design one that was absolutely perfect, we’re stuck with the waist grabber. The ‘Hoo Hoo’ stand was possibly the closest to perfection, but your twisted minds made it sexual, and destroyed its utility forever. Sick bastards…

I do miss the heavy acrylic bases…yes, they are expensive…but what a nice touch.

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And silica gel desiccant…let’s not forget that, right Integrity? Boy, these things have gotten smaller though…right?

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The Shoes. Along with the doll stand, it seems wickedly appropriate that Tonner chose the miniature buckle strappy shoe – because few others are harder to put on the doll’s foot. But they are nicely made (and one of the more expensive accessories you can get in manufacturing). One shoe had an unglued back ankle strap, but this doesn’t bother me like it does one specific blogger who knashes teeth whenever something isn’t up to the standard of the doll’s price point (which was bought at a discount and will sell at a profit anyway). This is an easy glue dab and five minutes of drying…that’s worth about $.63 of my time…I’ll bill you, Tonner.

The Choker Thing. I don’t know what this is…but it doesn’t work with the collar. It’s pretty and heavy, though…and it sparkles, so I like it. I’ll just pull up the collar all gothy-looking…that’ll werq.

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The Earrings. Oh that’s right…there weren’t any. Pfft

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Tonner has always done a great job of protecting its dolls from staining…wrapping the hands in plastic because they may touch the black lace skirt during shipping, for example…a nice touch from someone who does indeed care about their customers. I also like the use of padding at the ties and the hair net. Such practices aren’t unique to Tonner…but they do tend to be more conscientious of this practice than other doll makers.

And here she is…just like the promo photo! (Just kidding)…

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Let’s jazz her up a bit like the old days…right?

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Pretty.

The face painting is wonderful (yes, they are hand-painted, folks…not ‘screened’ as is commonly used to describe Tonner’s face paints). The applied eyelashes are lovely and a great contributor to both depth and optical sentience™ (see below).

The blouse lace is lovely…and the unlined back is sexy (and cost effective!). I’m not so certain about the cream lace and white satin…but the contrast is growing on me. I think this was not planned…what says you, collectors? Was it intentional…maybe a trend of which I am unaware?

The snap on that belt is a Godsend…you will never get that bow to re-tie that pretty…this was an unnecessary, but thoughtful nod to the collector.

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And a TW label in the skirt…yes, thank you…I’m so glad they still do that.

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Let’s get naked, shall we?

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Many collectors complain about the stiffness of the neck joint. However, as I learned from Robert, there is a reason for this in the unique way the neck knob and neck hole are designed. If you firmly take the head in your hand and twist it gently from side-to-side, you will free up its motion (I know what you sick fuckers are thinking…stop that now). You have to be careful to not crack the neck seams, though…so apply some gentle heat to the neck joint first.

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This is a new body…similar to Antoinette’s…not as emaciated. I’m sure one of you will post what the body variant is in the comments. I like it…it’s nice to see the knee joints finally sorted out (though Pinocchio-Knees never bothered me)…

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The ankle joint is confusing…OK…so she can point her toe downward…well, I think I can use that. I do not miss the swivel waist…at…all.

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I like the expressive hands…this was a lovely touch for Tyler.

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Comparing her to Fifteen Years Tyler Wentworth, she’s more delicate, human-like…the applied eyelashes give more substance to a smoky eye effect than the actual ‘smoky eye paint’.

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This is a beautiful doll. Now let’s FRODO her, Puddings:

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Fabulousness – 8 – Classic signature style is our Tyler – Robert knocked this out of the park – the only thing I have to say critically is that the blouse is a little bulky, and I don’t get the collar with the choker…but I can make it work easily enough…just like I can get those damned shoes on without destroying too many brain cells. I’ve loved all the ‘Signature Style’ variants over the years…and this one does not disappoint. She loses 2 points for that collar and the awkward bulkiness of the blouse (a body suit would have been better like the cotton blouses in original Signature Style dolls. Pure incontinence, however…I exploded with all the wildfire that built up inside me playing with Tyler after so many years…not so good for the neighbors, though.

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Realization – 9 – I am curious if the unlined back was intentional or a cost-savings thing. Nevertheless, it is a sexy touch…but it’s inhibited by the waist grabber stand…there are always things one can do to minimize this…but the waist grabber stand doesn’t work for anything that is also meant to be seen from the back…they lose a point for that.

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Originality – 10 – Tyler Wentworth is one of the most originally conceived fashion dolls in doll history. Sure, she borrows inspirations from many other dolls, namely Barbie and Gene Marshall – but that doesn’t detract from how well designed her world was (and still is) – few fashion dolls out there can touch her breadth and depth of characters, fashions and accessories. This take on Tyler’s ‘Signature Style’ will always be a classic for me…and it never gets old.

Durability – 10 – Hard plastic and vinyl, baby…you don’t get much more durable than that. Grumpypants collectors should rejoice in the knee joint change – she is after all, a doll. The sonic-welded seams are clean and sanded – I see no signs of chips or breaks – the factory is still one of the best in terms of quality. The doll can (and should be) dressed and re-dressed often – it’s a joy forever.

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Optical Sentience™ – 9 – yeah, I’ve copyrighted this term (not that I really see anyone else using it, though – you should…it’s the one detail that clearly sets specific types of dolls apart). I will never understand those that refer to Tyler’s face sculpt as ‘vapid’…what does that mean exactly? Please explain to me in the comments section. I find her to be very Mona Lisa, taking on the emotion of the beholder at the time she is beheld. I subtracted one point for the willingness to consider ‘vapidness’ without fully understand what in the hell this actually means.

vap·id

ˈvapəd/

adjective

  1. offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging.

“tuneful but vapid musical comedies”

synonyms: insipiduninspiredcolorlessuninterestingfeebleflatdullboringtedioustired,unexcitinguninspiringunimaginativeuninvolvinglifelesstamevacuousblandtrite,jejune

“a tuneful but vapid musical comedy”

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Sure, her sculpt features were softened in her molding process, and she doesn’t bear the detail and wonky eyes that Sydney has – but she is a kind soul, you can see it in her eyes. She is anything BUT dull and uninspired. Her creator and sculptor is one of the absolute best in sculpting personality, and it shows in Tyler Wentworth. I get it…haters will hate – but like tiny Betsy McCall, I will always be able to look upon Tyler’s face and bring forth a generous smile in her expression and beauty.

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Tonner Doll Company – Tyler Wentworth 2016 – FRODO SCORE 9.2

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I think we’re done here…

It’s lovely to see Tyler so honored at the Tonner 25th Anniversary – she deserved it. Thank you, Robert Tonner.

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Oh, the drama…

15 thoughts on “Hell Freezes Over – A FRODO Review: Tyler 2016

  1. well, wordpress is at it again and my pst went into the ether, so here goes again [and I will save to be on the safe side] I don’t think anyone can see you as anything but a great designer and artist and your contribution to Tonner was invaluable. Your touch at the company is sorely missed by many and that is a given. Everyone is entitled to some meltdowns and bitchfests some times, people will accept it or just go away. Michelle is wonderful to deal with and those online address forms can be a pain. I would always be honored to make you some earrings just because yu are you!

  2. Excellent as always, Tom 🙂 I think my previous comment went into cyberspace as well, but just wanted to say that when your name was mentioned at the convention seminar, my daughter and I almost jumped up and shouted. We restrained ourselves, but had big smiles on our goofy faces 🙂

  3. My goodness, she is GORGEOUS! I see why you had to have her. The clothes are nice but a tad bit too….”female CEO” for my taste, but I’ll count on you to glam her up a bit.

  4. Mo*%#@*^% FU^$#*^

    I wrote a thoughtful comment and it’s gone into the never never land… happens all the time with this F$#*@ng WordPress… anyway, I’ll try again. I felt for you reading this blog and I wanted to hug you as best I can with my words… this is what I heard in your words… and I may be way off the mark…

    I’m not clever or worldly and I don’t hang out in the doll world. I don’t know who is who… I just love dolls and one day stumbled onto your blog… it’s like doll genealogy, where they came from and who they were before they were mine and learning how my shopping habits impact the doll world… so much I didn’t and don’t know…

    So… picking up where WP dumped me…. sounds to me like you’re still grieving… still is not a judgment… I think of grief as a long term process and often comes up like heartburn when we least expect it. Maybe, buying this doll and reviewing it is more than meets the eye, could it be the impetus to help you further resolve your feelings? You know, grief is the precarious process of letting go and hanging on… of ultimately redefining ourselves in our new environment… it is a damned hard task. I liken it to the process of unpacking and going through every fucking feeling and memory, all the bits and pieces and having to decide what you’ll keep and what you’ll toss… it’s on-going and demanding. It’s much like divorce, death, abandonment… all those painful human experiences where we have to gather ourselves up off the floor and put ourselves back together. You are so much more than you imagine; your talent, vision, wit and cleverness have gone on to surpass who you were when you worked for Robert Tonner… I think, like many of us, that put our hearts into our work, you lost a family, you lost your place in that family and I’m so sorry. Losing family, losing our definition of ourselves… is immense… forgive yourself for being a dick, you’re entitled once in awhile plus, it reminds people you’re human… and be kind to yourself.

    I love that you can still find joy and affection for Tyler and all that she is and all that she isn’t… and more importantly, that as bad assed as you come off sometimes, you’ll humor me for trying to hug you with my words… as flawed and weird or inappropriate as they may be… your big heart gives you away for the softy you really are…. through reading your blog I’ve come to care about how you feel. (((hugs)))

    • Thank You so much…this was a joy to read and feel…it has to be one of the most embracing hugs ever…and I loved your message about grieving. Thank you with all my heart!!!

      • I really tried to gloss over that part as I didn’t want to go all kitty hairballs with only some coffee in my system at that point in time. Kudos for having the true dedication of reposting all your thoughts! My second time around with wp [as I didn’t have the presence of mind to copy and save before I hit sign in post routine] was merely the bare boned basics of what I was thinking all all the was in the blog!

  5. Ditto to crazyzelda’s comments above, I still remember the time my husband came home and found all the plates on the kitchen floor (it’s a slate floor), and they weren’t stacked neatly either. Fortunately they were all opp shop plates. Who was it who said ‘No one get’s outa here alive’? I digress. I’ve always loved Sydney as well, and I bought a few Antionettes (the new body above) because they are really pretty and I liked the softer, more feminine and naturalistic body. I see your point about the stands and I don’t like those waist grab ones. Mostly I stopped buying Tonner when he got into the more comic character side, which isn’t my thing.

  6. I have the first Signature Style Tyler NRFB. I keep it around so that I can relive that wonderful feeling of opening up a Tonner Box for the first time. It was a wonderful time in my life when Tonner brought out Tyler. Thanks for the commentary, Tommy! I don’t buy Tonners very often anymore, but I might want this one to complete the circle!

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