This was a total splurge. I ordered one of the very limited edition Horsman Urban Vita My Valentine dolls. It took two months longer to get than I expected, which was good, since it gave me enough time to pony up the rest of the $200 retail price to complete the pre-order when it came in. This was limited to 100 dolls produced, and at least according to the Horsman site, very small quantities may still be available. I ordered mine from Angelic Dreamz.
I had heard about Horsman dolls for several years, and how they are one of the oldest doll makers in the United States. I believe they made one of the first ball jointed vinyl dolls. My Valentine has mechanical ball joints, and shows off all 19 points of articulation, allowing her to sit cross legged with ease, and even double jointed on the floor. She can actually put her hands on her hips, and cup her chin in her hands, and look natural doing it. She will give many of my resin BJDs a run for their money in this area.
The facepaint is stunning. At first I wasn't sure I would like her, but in person those side glancing blue eyes are full of attitude. She is extremely photogenic, looking great even with my cell phone camera. Properly lighted and with a nice backdrop... Gorgeous!
Her curly blonde wig has cause for one of my three small issues with the doll. The tag sticks out in the back, and makes putting the wig on a little fussier than I thought it should be. The wig fits snugly, and doesn't move once you get it in position, but it took me several tries. That tag ended up sticking out on her neck, sometimes popping out just when I thought I had it on right. But once the wig is on properly, with the tag tucked up, you're in business. It was a small annoyance that doesn't detract from the quality. I did need to fluff up the curls a bit, since they got smooshed down during shipping, but that's to be expected. I love the curls! It makes her look very glamorous, like she could be starring in the upcoming Great Gatsby movie this winter. It definitely is part of her awesome attitude!
The jewelry is very nice. The glitzy bracelet fits her wrist perfectly, although I scraped her hand a bit getting it on. Her fingers do bend a little, making it possible to get the bracelet on with such a snug fit. Her hands are amazing, with each finger separated. She doesn't have two or three fingers connected like a lot of vinyl dolls her size. If I could make them that small, I could put tiny fingered gloves on her. It's a challenge I may have to undertake in the future, because it would look so cool!
Her shoes will be a source of aggravation for me. They are a pretty silver, and fit her foot well, but the buckles and strap feel so thin that I don't know if I can cinch the strap around her ankle without snapping it. It looks funny on her foot because of it, and also lets the shoes pop off very easily as I move her around. If I'm just posing her in one place, they'll be fine, except I'll know that strap isn't as tight as it should be. Again, a very small annoyance, and this one is more because I'm afraid to be too aggressive with the part.
The dress. Oh man, the dress! It's a soft burgundy velvet-type fabric, clingy and slinky. The back is cut low and sexy. The shoulder straps have little buckles to add the right bit of sparkle. The dress is floor length with a great drape. But the fascinating part for me was the inner construction. To prevent her joints from showing through the clingy fabric, they added what is basically a girdle. Her legs slide into the swimsuit-type material, which makes the dress fit even more securely, and gives a smooth line. Awesome!
The fur stole is great, too. It is lined with soft pink fabric, with tabs added for sliding her arms into. Again, it secures the item onto the doll. The long silver fabric gives a ton of options for more styling. You can leave it loose, or tie it into a bow in the back, or have it drape over her arms.
The only other issue I had with the doll was I had to punch my own earring holes. I was surprised that these weren't pre-punched for me so she could wear her earrings. The issue was easily solved with a thumb tack, but it was still a little unnerving to have to manhandle my brand new doll like that. But now that it's done, it's done, and the earrings look great on her!
She also came with a box of chocolates. It's a nice touch, and I liked that they had each chocolate secured to the box instead of a ton of loose pieces. But I don't know how I could have her hold the box except like she's delivering a pizza. The details are wonderful, though, and it will make a very nice prop for posing her with a table. Especially if I can splurge on some of Horsman's other doll accessories, like the martini glass set!
Overall I am extremely pleased with the Horsman Urban Vita My Valentine, and think she is worth every penny. Unlike other dolls I have purchased in the past, this one will remain complete for my personal collection. Because she is the same height and roughly the same dimensions as my other fashion dolls, including my Tonner and Wilde Imagination collection, I anticipate a lot of new clothes for her in the future, especially some hand knits.
I plan to do a sizing comparison between my 16 inch fashion dolls in the near future, and will post the results. The main differences I expect will be the bust line, hips, and waistline, but I think it won't be so drastic that clothing made out of knits and other stretchy fabric won't be able to cross fashion doll lines with ease.
Be sure to check out the full gallery of photos here!
Now it's time to make sure my newest doll is safely on a shelf, and well away from the curious paws of our three cats. I will determinedly ignore the jealous looks my other dolls give My Valentine, as she lounges in her glamorous outfit and several of them still wait impatiently for a new gown. Oh, the suffering of my dolls!