Friday, 8 July 2016

The Chinese fashion doll Xinyi


Hi there! I have some new furniture and lighting and I hope to do this more often now! Last week I took advantage of a wonderful rainy day to bond with one of my newest dolls - a Chinese fashion doll I bought online who arrived on my very birthday in December. I waited for so long to introduce her because I couldn't get her a decent outfit (more on that later). But she got into some construction dust and I had to wash her hair and dress. I also had to dust my latest order of doll shoes that I hadn't tried on her before and found the one pair that fit. Then, as I was arranging the wet dress into nice folds, I came across this piece of ribbon and literally tied the whole look together. My doll was finally presentable enough for the blog, so I got the camera and some doll companions and went to shoot today's review...


The whole story started back in September-October, when I was looking for some articulated 1:6 doll bodies online. There was nothing I hadn't seen before, so I extended my search to include whole dolls and a wider price range. I came upon these dolls. I was lured by the pleasant faces and reasonable price (20-25$) to check the whole description. There was decent articulation and the dolls didn't look like the usual cheap Barbie clones. The detail that caught my attention in particular was the hand sculpt. I don't know if I can capture the beauty of these hands. They are very delicate and graceful, and feel expensive.




I read all the customer reviews, reverse-googled images, asked collectors left and right, but there were no photo reviews, nobody who knew what type of doll this was. I later found out from the seller, after asking, that this doll is named Xinyi. However, even this information doesn't help, because the doll isn't listed as Xinyi; instead, you can find her by searching something like "original nude Chinese doll".

aliexpress.com search


You can see the second search yields fewer, but more relevant results. As of now, only two Aliexpress sellers carry Xinyi. I am not affiliated with any of them, but I'll be borrowing some promo photos and it's only fair that I link to the source. So, all the promo photos from this review (the ones without my watermark) will link to the home page of the store where I got my doll. 

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and get the doll myself instead of waiting for someone else to recommend her. Now, if any of you has seen this doll and pondered over buying her, you'll have me to ask :) I hope I'm doing a decent job at this, because I'm a breaker crafter rather than a reviewer.

I was able to buy the doll for about 16$, taking advantage of a site-wide event with sales, games and coupons. Normally, the price is around 23-25$ +shipping. There were two choices of black hair - "short" (long) and "long" (Rapunzel long), and two choices of bust - "small" (about a C) and "big" (DD). There was only one skintone and face. I picked "long" hair and "small" bust. I didn't have high hopes about the hair quality, but I tend to like long hair and it looked good in the seller's pictures.

A few weeks later, I received this (minus the glove and stand):


At first I thought they'd sent me the big bust by mistake, because holy cow, that's serious cleavage. They even have moulded nipples:


After rechecking the listing photo though, I realized everything is correct. She really is this bosomy. Don't even get me started on the big bust version - those things look like the kind of weapons ancient people used to break walls. They scare me.

 The doll itself is made of nice uniform plastic with a satiny finish, not hollow or melty looking and the seams are sanded better than on most of my similarly-priced dolls. The head is soft vinyl. The body has 14 points of articulation, we'll look at that further.

Xinyi comes with a rather cute factory face. She has brown eyes with light pink eyeshadow, brown eyebrows and dark pink lips.


The eyes can look derpy and I think it would have been better if the lower lashline was thinner and closer to the iris (making the eyes narrower). However, the screening is symmetrical and better aligned with the sculpted features than on 90% of my other dolls.

The head mould itself is simple and pretty. It looks good from any angle. I really like the mouth shape.



The skintone is very pale. You'll notice later in the review it's similar to J-doll Takeshita's, except it's pinkish rather than yellowish. Out of the Barbie crowd, the only colour match I could find was this guy:

Twilight vampire, Xinyi

He, too, is yellow rather than pink. It's not very noticeable in real life. Assuming all Twilight vampires have the same skintone, I'm pretty sure the females can be rebodied on this body (they sell headless bodies too) if you want more articulation but don't need them to wear the original outfits. Despite a few design flaws, the quality of the doll is actually quite good. Unfortunately, this is the only skintone currently available.

Ok, let's get back to the head. The hair is amazing. It's thickly rooted with a center part and the scalp underneath is painted.



The texture is great. It's soft and smooth, feels like Tonner dolls' hair. It's a pleasure to play with it, especially because, unlike recent you-know-which-dolls, Xinyi has no glue or sticky product in the hair. In short, everything about this doll's hair was way above my expectations.

Moving on to the body, I must mention that Xinyi is a little smaller than the most common 12 inch dolls. The seller had a lineup of several different dolls and Kurhn is the most similar among them, both in size and shape.

promo photo

Indeed, I've seen fairly credible sources that say this new body was developped for Kurhn dolls. I have no Kurhns, but I figured the body should be similar to Pullip's, so I pulled J-doll Takeshita for comparison. I probably should have used one with a type 4 body, but Takeshita has the meanest outfit for swap and the proportions are still pretty much the same.


I also got a bellybutton Barbie (Raquelle) of the articulated variety, because everyone is familiar with these dolls. As you see, she is quite a bit taller, although her head is smaller.


Here are all three dolls together:

J-doll (Pullip type 3), Xinyi (new Kurhn body), Barbie bellybutton (articulated Style)

In spite of the massive hair and thin calves, Xinyi has pretty good balance when not wearing shoes:


I compared the elbows, wrists and knees first. J-doll wins the elbow test, but I realized her wrists are dead. Xinyi nails the wrist test.


For fairness, J-doll Karl Johans Gate lent us a hand later:


Pullip type 4, Xinyi (new Kurhn)

Speaking of hands, I thought of getting some of these bodies to fix old j-dolls' broken wrists and shovely hands. Although the colour is a good enough match with Takeshita, the hands are way bigger:


They are more similar in size to Barbie hands:


This, I think, is due to the large head. The face and the hands need to be in proportion when they are next to each other.

The size difference is less evident next to the newest j-doll/Pullip body. However, I still don't think I should rebody my old J-dolls with sausage arms and faulty wrists on this kind of body. The hands are almost as long as the J-doll face. 


By the way, the hands are easily removable (they don't fall though). The feet are supposed to be removable as well, but I couldn't pull them off. I didn't try too hard because I didn't need this feature, so I'll take the seller's word.

promo photo

Moving on with the comparison. Here are the side splits:

Xinyi wins

...and the front to back splits:


Raquelle won because she can dislocate her hip to rotate it. Xinyi can't twist her hip at all. Also notice the absence of panties:


Xinyi has good head articulation, the head moves every which way. I realized the old J-doll head can only rotate, so the comparison will be with Raquelle.
This is the head all the way up:



...down:



... and tilted sideways:



Raquelle is better at tilting, but look at the neck detail on Xinyi!
Before I move on to the legs, let's take a look at the waist joint. It's barely noticeable, except when it's twisted, then it looks weird. If used under clothes, it can give a little something to ordinary poses. The joint works like that of a TNT Barbie body.


I really like the body from head down to the hips. I have some issues with the legs. First of all, the calves are too thin compared to the rest of the body. The way the knee joint looks, it's as if the lower part was supposed to be bulkier. When you flex the joint, there's a big gap:



It doesn't help that the thigh part widens towards the joint. Look at all that space inside! I compared it with the similarly engineered Barbie joint. From behind, Barbie's joint is messier:

Xinyi, Barbie Style

Barbie's joint sits below the thigh rather than inside the thigh piece. This allows the leg pieces to be the same thickness at the joint. Even so, they could have avoided the knee-shorts look on Xinyi's legs if they left the joint part skinny and just fattened the calves a little bit. They are so spindly it's difficult to find their correct position simply by looking at them (because they twist around easily).

The same joint from the front:

Xinyi, Barbie Style

You know what? That doesn't look so bad after seeing it next to Barbie's coarse seams. I'll just shave mine a bit where it widens.

Lastly, Xinyi has ankle joints. I'd rather she didn't. They are way too high to provide a flat-to-heels option. When you bend that joint, it looks like her leg is broken. In addition, there's the same widening of the top part that we saw on the knee joint. She has skin trousers.


The only thing this joint can realistically be used for is twisting the foot around. However, since the knees also twist a lot, this joint is unnecessary. Oh, apparently the foot comes off, but as I said, I couldn't test that.


I compared Xinyi to my other dolls with ankle joints. First is Takeshita:

Xinyi, J-doll. That is how you make an ankle joint!

The foot is similar in size and shape, only a trifle longer and wider.

Xinyi, J-doll


She can technically wear most J-doll/Pullip shoes, but looks weird in the high-heeled styles:



The foot is also similar in size to Made To Move Barbie's foot:

Xinyi, Made to Move Barbie (purple top)



The MTM Barbie has undefined toes and a higher arch to accommodate both high heels and flats. Xinyi can't wear MTM's shoes (or rather, the shoes I put on her).



There was a style of flat platform flip-flops that fit Xinyi perfectly, it seems I gave them away before taking a photo. The only other Barbie shoes in my stash that fit her are the ones from the beginning of the review. They are high-heeled boots with wide uppers:



Finding shoes for this specific body wasn't the only problem. The doll comes absolutely nude, without a wrap or bodysuit in sight. She is too small for Barbie clothes. This is the tightest pair of Barbie trousers I could find:



The waist gap can be covered with a loose top, but I'm still not convinced:


As we established, Xinyi can borrow clothes from smaller 1:6 dolls like J-doll, Pullip, Momoko and Kurhn. Here she is in the Takeshita outfit:


Man, I really hoped I could put the shoes on, too! They would have been perfect because they are flat. To be fair though, the shoes are ridiculously difficult to put on any foot, including the original owner's.
I could barely button the jacket over her ample "small bust", but it still fits very well and I think it looks great.

Xinyi has also tried Camden High, Karl Johans Gate, Lavalle's outfits and Charing Cross's coat at some point (no photos, sorry!). The only outfit in my collection she might not be able to wear is Crescent Road's dress which is very tight in the chest.

Crescent Road, Karl Johans Gate, Lavalle, Charing Cross, Andrassy, Takeshita.
Camden High is sadly absent from my shelf at the moment.

These are great but the problem with J-doll/Pullip/Momoko outfits is that people don't tend to have spare ones lying around unused. The reverse is more likely, with nude dolls being more affordable when you just want the specific doll (or if you don't like the stock outfits). Custom clothes for these types of dolls are usually expensive. The affordable option is Kurhn.

I don't have any Kurhn dolls to compare, but there are many budget dolls and dolls with spare outfits that should work for Xinyi. There are even separate fashions, but I don't recommend buying those. I did, and afterwards I realized there are two types of Kurhn dolls - the real and the fake. Now, I didn't care to investigate this beforehand because all I wanted was a cute outfit for this size of doll, independent of the plastic clone that should go with it. The outfit cost three times as much as a clone Barbie outfit and looked nothing like the picture - cut, colour, trims - nothing! Besides, many of these are meant to "fit" both Kurhn and Barbie, so they are loose anyway. I don't want to dig a photo of it to get mad again and I didn't even want to talk about it, but I felt you should be warned. Just don't buy clothes from fake Kurhns, ok? If you have legit Kurhns though, I promise the clothes will fit.

To dress my doll, I took inspiration from one of my dresses and drew a 2-piece pattern for an unhemmed, closureless jersey dress. I borrowed some J-doll stockings and tried sewing fishnet gloves to match, but only managed to make one (that doesn't even fit very well). The dress was baggy, I soaked it to tame the folds, which looked fine if not for the thin legs underneath. Finally, I came across those big boots that helped balance the bottom visually. I tied a stray ribbon under the bust, crossed it over the shoulderblades and around the neck to further contain the top bulk. I am quite pleased with how she looks now, no longer a barefoot orphan in borrowed clothes.



Before the end of the day, I found her a guitar purse and nail water transfers for tattoos:



Bottom line? I like this doll. I don't know why, you'd think that after criticising her joints and outfit problems so much I would grow weary or unhappy of her. But in spite of all the flaws, she has an overwhelming charm. The serene face, the amazing hair, the smooth plastic, the hands - oh, the hands! - make for a great doll, whether for play or for display. Yes, there's the problem of clothes (or lack thereof), but I have hopes for this line. Already they introduced more body options - double-jointed knees and high-heeled feet - in addition to the boob size choice. From the look of it, the new feet don't seem to have the trouser-leg nor the broken-ankle problem:

seller's photos

They added more hair and makeup options. There is a version with blue eyes, as there are side parts and even a widow's peak. The candy hair colours existed when I bought my doll, although that seller didn't have them yet. The one with white hair sees to have darker lips. The top left version is the one I bought and her face is identical to the second photo, which is the "short hair" version (waist long hair).

Promo photos

[Edit 12/08/2016: Now they are making some versions with brown inset eyes!

Promo photos

The new dolls have different eyebrows and the face appears rounder.

I'm really tempted to buy a second Xinyi doll, if only to see the new knees and feet; and I know her hair will be soft as fresh corn silk. I don't see any other interesting dolls in this price range due to come out soon, so I might just think of getting one for my next birthday (though I doubt the post will pull off such a coincidence ever again :)). Would it be the one with long white hair? Or another one with black hair that I'd cut into a fringe (there's plenty for it)? She doesn't fit well with my other dolls because of her big-headedness, but I like the idea of two of the same kind that go with each other.

I wonder if they'll add more diversity in the sculpts and skintones. Clothes would be more than welcome as well. I realize it must be too expensive for a nameless manufacturer, but I'm glad they are at least trying to move forward, what with the new face paint and hair. I hope they will at least maintain this line for a while, they are nice dolls that deserve a place in the doll collecting world.

What do you think of Xinyi? Have you seen this doll before? Were you tempted to buy one? Share your opinions and questions in the comments!


Xinyi in J-doll Takeshita's outfit
The Black Kitty
(^^)~

21 comments:

  1. Great review. I saw these dolls when I was looking for a Kurhn doll. The new bodies look interesting but I probably won't buy one. I'm saving my money for more Kurhns and the Star Trek dolls that are coming out soon.

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    1. Good luck! Which Kurhns do you have in mind?

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    2. I have a Chinese bride. Next I want to get one of the fairies.

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    3. Oh, I love those two series! But if I get a Kurhn doll, I'd like my first to be one with versatile clothing.

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  2. Wonderful review! I have seen that doll at Ali Express, and wondered what she was like. Now I know, so thank you for that.

    I think I've seen elsewhere that you won't be getting a Made to Move doll, but I'm sure she could beat all of these dolls in the flexibility department.

    I know what you mean about the scary large bosoms on some of these dolls from China/Japan. Some of them look like implants gone seriously wrong.

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    1. Hey, I have a MTM doll! You must have missed the part where I compared the feet of these two dolls. I have the purple top, I just don't have photos of her for some reason. I like their flexibility, but I like this doll, too, because she has great hair and hands. The knees on the MTM doll look prettier than the double-jointed Xinyi knees, I wonder how they compare in possibilities.

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  3. Honestly, I have never seen this doll, and I understand why you like her. There's something very nice in her face. There are some asian dolls that I find very interesting and I'd like to get Licca Chan and Ruruko dolls at some point.

    It's great to have you blogging again. I loved your review, very exhaustive and detailed,congratulations.

    Cheers!

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    1. Thank you! Asian dolls are charming, I hope you get the ones you want!

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  4. LOL @ skin trousers! My first time seeing this doll and I have to say that she reminds me of a living ghost. One of those ghosts that appears in flesh to mess with people and you don't realize until the movie is halfway over that she's been dead the whole time. I like her a lot!

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    1. OMG. What kind of imagination you have. Now I'll think about Ringu every time I see this doll.

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    2. Lololol Muff! She looked so off when I had her on the Barbie shelf, I thought it was because of the oversized head, but now I have a better explanation :) Even Jackson here who's just as pale only looks like Barbie's basement-dwelling nerdy brother. Can you recommend a movie with such ghosts? I love this kind of stuff.
      Btw, the doll reminded me of the beautiful evil geisha from the movie "Memoirs of a geisha" because of her long and luxurious hair.

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    3. If you're on Youtube you can look for A Chinese Ghost Story and Ghost Bride. From there, the recommendations will show you many others. A favorite of mine is called The Doll Master. It's Korean and full of gorgeous, but evil, ball jointed dolls.

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    4. Thank you, I'll try to find those :)

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  5. Awesome review, so complete and detailed! :D I love the doll, she has such a beautiful mold (would love to see it repainted though she doesn't really need it since the original face is very well done and delicate). I also love the look you gave her! She totally is in my wish list now ^^

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    1. Thanks dear, I'm thinking of making her eyes narrower and painting her lips red and her eyebrows black. As you said, there isn't much to be done but if I'm going to get more I'll need to make them different.

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  6. Thanks for such a thorough review ;-)

    I like her look. She reminds me of Azone's Reina. Similar slightly big head and slightly ghost-y look.

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    1. I googled that, there is indeed something similar. The Chinese are notorious for ripping off designs from all over the place, however nobody I've talked to was able to point the exact head, hands etc. they used to make this doll. All I know is that the body is the latest development for Kurhn. I still wonder if the head is supposed to be a clone of something or if it is, in fact, an original design.

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  7. I have been eyeballing these dolls for awhile now, and this review helped with my decision.

    I am leaning on a big bust doll and try making simple clothes for it; like minidresses or something.

    I'm rather new to doll collecting, but fell in love fast! Already attempting my first doll repaint even! Lol

    Amazing review! Thank you!!!

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    1. Thank you, Kyran, I'm happy to help!
      I was just showing my second doll to my husband and even he was impressed with the quality of the seams and joints. I bought the second body type with "tiptoe" feet, which solves the awkward ankle problem for me - http://bit.ly/2dZ5PtR. I'm a big fan of these dolls already! They now have some Caucasian versions as well.
      If you'll be making clothes for the busty body, you could start with a Barbie pattern and take it in at the waist.
      Good luck with the repaint! Any chance I could see pictures?

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    2. Sure! Im currently trying yo airbrush parts of the joints that didn't receive paint. I found the head and arms of MH dolls take paint way differently than the body, so they're kinda messy. Hope they turn out ok. I ordered a custom wig from Monstrodesigns for the piece, using factory shoes, and will be making the clothes. My main concern are the eyes and eyebrows. But I'm having fun with it. 😊

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    3. Oh! And I'm also getting things together for my second project already too! Lol

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