Saturday, March 28, 2009

"How could he resist?": Photoshoot with Tonner Scarlett O' Hara doll

How could Ashley resist kissing her? Here are photos from a Saturday afternoon shoot with Tonner Scarlett O' Hara wearing the beautiful Franklin Mint's "Christmas with Ashley" dress. For me this is one of the most beautiful dresses made for this doll.

I forgot to mention that this doll was sold to me by a friend from the US who got it in a garage sale. It seemed to have been played with extensively and was in dire need of T.L.C. The vinyl was not very clean and the hair disheveled. Well, a good bath, and a repaint plus good conditioner on the hair rescued this Scarlett. Now she's ready to entice Ashley again. Tsk, tsk bad girl!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Latest Doll Repaint: Tonner Scarlett 0' Hara doll

I will never get tired of Scarlett -- I guess. It's been a relationship I've had for over 20 years (hint, hint of my age). Why should I? The character taught me "gumption" at a time when I needed it most. I guess it was also the fact that she was unyielding in her want to survive, a complete disregard for what she thought was insensible and her foolishness in love. 

This is Tonner's Waiting for Pa Scarlett. I actually prefer this than the brown-haired version they use for the Basic Scarlett as the black hair frames that "magnolia-white skin". Thus, it is more in keeping with the way Margaret Mitchell describes her Scarlett. This time I took more patience in repainting and wish I did the first time I repainted. Although not really that patient. I do keep retouching and retouching. I am conscious (trying to) about the layering of acrylic. My eyesight though gets in the way. It has gotten blurred after spending much time practicing. Wish I had the right solution to take out the factory paint. Wish I had more of the right brushes (oh those 20/0 and 18/0 brushes). Wish I had more patience too. 

Scarlett is photographed here with available light of 9 a.m. using my 10 megapixel phone camera -- that's why it's rather blurry. 

I've been thinking of getting the "portieres" dress, but it is just too expensive! But that Tonner version is really more in keeping with the Plunkett design, save for the tassels. 

Life is short, a voice inside me says. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Re-doing Tonner's Scarlett O' Hara: What factory paint can do

Existing Factory Paint on Tonner's Scarlett 
With changes on factory paint (and hairstyle, thinner nose) via photoshop

Much has been said about how it has been painted (pertaining factory paint): Caricaturish, nose too big, lips too thin, widow's peak too sharp. 

I've tried an amateur hand in repainting, and this much I can say, Tonner's Scarlett can be improved "if only" the factory paint was right. So, they can't have a Noel Cruz dollface for it. Accepted. But it proves only one thing, the right paint can give you the "intended likeness" the collector is looking for. It would be too much to ask for a Noel Cruz or a Jacs or a Laurie Leigh face on a doll that numbers in thousands or hundreds. What if Tonner did it right -- just with the factory paint? 

This photo is from "Jim" in a message in Prego dolls (Thank you Jim! I hope you don't mind.) He photographed his drapery costume very well! 

I did a little photoshop on his photo "what could have been" if that happened. Manipulating only the factory paint on the eyes and lips -- and okay, the nose, here is probably what the doll could have looked like if the factory paint was better -- at least in my eyes, and in my opinion. 

What are the changes:
The Eyes
I pulled the eyes towards the tear ducts to sharpen it a bit. 
Lower portions of the eyes facing the nose have been pushed up and the eyelashes there erased leaving lashes only towards the ends of the lower part of the eyes
 to give it a much needed slant. 
Eyelashes have been extended specially at the ends of both eyes
 for an added upward slant. 
Eyelids have been extended and shortened. 
Eyebrows have been extended on the "higher arch" and lowered on the right eye. 

The Lips 
The lips have been lessened on both ends to give her a pout 
(after all, she didn't get the $300 from Rhett)
The upper lip has been given a little lift to have a heart-shaped center 
to make give her a stronger Scarlett pout. 

Link to Jim's actual photo:

Link to Prego Dolls:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Scarlett O' Hara Doll War: Franklin Mint vs. Tonner

One doll seems to rise above the Scarlett O' Hara doll wars. Limited Edition: 1 Worldwide! 
The amazing Vivien Leigh repainted doll by Noel Cruz (

Tonner doll's "Kissing Ashley Goodbye" outfit only showed the wrong cameo. Doll was not also available separately with the hairstyle shown in the publicity shots

Franklin Mint's "Christmas with Ashley" dressed doll came with a sash, the correct hairstyle, cameo with gold fringes, and a jewelry piece at the back of the head. Hairstyle is film- accurate. Neatly done and very polished. 


The publicity shots of Tonner's Mrs. Kennedy Mill dress seemed to show an overlay of two skirts, but the actual dress showed one sewn continuously on another!
Buyers felt cheated. The hairstyle didn't show accuracy and actual dolls released showed a lack of balance on the hair braiding. Despite this, the doll seemed to capture the interest of buyers on ts initial release. ( 

Franklin Mint's version of the Mill Dress this time in Peach with fringes more faithful to the film dress. Hairstyle seems to be also accurate from its initial publicity shots. 

As I write this, I am confused. Out there in doll-land, two of the most popular doll manufacturers seem to be at battle as to who produces the better Scarlett O' Hara. 

My opinion is this: The history of adulation for Scarlett reached its apex with one of the most accurate and comprehensive collection depicting the character. Franklin Mint's vinyl version of Scarlett boasts of a likeness that is doll-like and yet unmistakably of  Vivien Leigh's. Franklin Mint has an "almost complete" ensemble of dresses found from the film. Some have become hard-to-find (FM's Bridal vinyl Scarlett, and the Battlefield Scarlett are nowhere in ebay).

Yet, at around 2008, the Tonner doll company released its own version of Scarlett. This time its slant: the lost costumes never used in the film GWTW. However in its GWTW line, only 2 releases (Trip to Saratoga in 2008 and Travelling to Savannah with Mother in 2009) fall under this category. The rest are film outfits same as the ones released by Franklin Mint. 

In 2009 Tonner released the continuation of this series with a new lost costume. And once again, similar GWTW clothing released by Franklin Mint. 

Buyers can be confused which ones to buy. Buyers can be frustrated after buying one from Tonner, here comes another version from Franklin Mint. 

If Tonner leads in articulation, Franklin Mint seems to still have the lead in likeness, in hairstyle and accuracy of the outfit. Prices differ too. Tonner pricing reaches a $200 plus mark with a Limited Edition claims that can make a collector break her piggy bank to grab one of its new dolls. Yet when it comes to hairstyles Tonner suffers with what seems to be inaccurate. And Franklin Mint now has embarked on hairstyling for its GWTW dolls. 

Take a look at production photos and you'll see the difference between the dolls from these companies. 

Personally, while I am inclined to get a Scarlett from Franklin Mint, my biggest hesitation comes from its lack of articulation. Then what? She stands and that's it? With Tonner the hesitation comes from the lack of likeness and the wrong hairstyles which has to be redone again -- and if one is not brave enough, one may end up with a mess. Franklin Mint's lack of advertising, promotion has seemed to catch the GWTW doll collector with surprise releases ergo, unplanned purchases that can be hard on the pocket these days. But still its doll's price is reasonable for the quality that one can get -- the likeness, the accuracy of clothing -- its biggest minus: articulation. 

Which one is better? Which shows more likeness? Which pricing is more favorable? And if I were a GWTW fanatic, how do I wisely invest my hard-earned dollar (or Peso in my case which is 48 to 1 dollar)?  

What do I think? I think each doll be it from Franklin Mint or Tonner holds a special charm for the collector. There are non-negotiables: likeness, articulation, dress detail, beauty, price. But more often a charmed doll collector loses reason and soon finds herself pressing that "add to cart" or "purchase" button; and find the seeds of guilt growing in us. This is why I think doll manufacturers out there should think twice, thrice about the propositions they give us consumers. The war doesn't happen between manufacturers, it happens inside the doll collector. 
Meantime one, new  Scarlett O' Hara seems to have silently entered the picture and captured the enchantment and adulation of the public : GWTW doll collector or not. Limited Edition to 1 worldwide, this doll is not Scarlett at all but Vivien Leigh, from the amazing, unbelievable, heavenly  talent of Noel Cruz. A repaint of Tonner's Scarlett O' Hara. See more of this one-of-a-kind, amazing creation and more  at