Volks, Inc. (ボークス) is a Japan-based corporation that produces garage kits and mecha kits as well as the Dollfie, Super Dollfie and Dollfie Dream lines of dolls. The company's headquarters is in Kyoto, with some 30 shops worldwide, and annual sales of about $50 million, as of 2008.
Volks began as a small hobby shop in 1972. In the late 1990s they produced the first 1/6-scale customizable Dollfie dolls. In 1998, the Volks sculptor Akihiro Enku gave his wife the gift of a cast-resin, ball-jointed doll that he had sculpted. (This doll is now on display at Tenshi-no-Sato, Kyoto.) According to the Super Dollfie Encyclopedia 2006, Mrs. Setsu Shigeta proposed that the company offer customizable resin dolls to a wider market. The first Super Dollfie dolls were released for sale on February 28, 1999. In November 2005, Volks USA opened their first American Tenshi-no-Sumika store in Los Angeles, California. Volks closed the Los Angeles store in March, 2014, moving the shop mostly online, with local orders available for pickup.
Corporate structure and products
Volks is organized into three different enterprises. Volks Inc. is the main umbrella company. They operate the Tenshi-no-Sato museum in Kyoto, the Volks Showrooms in Japan, and the Tenshi-no-Sumika shops in Japan, Korea, and the United States. Zoukei-Mura is Volks' sculpting, designing, and assembly department for Super Dollfie. Virginal Art is Volks' marketing and design department with a focus on the hobby market.
Hideyuki Shigeta is the president of Volks Inc. Several sculptors are working under Zoukei-Mura, most notably Akihiro Enku, the creator of Super Dollfie. Artist Gentaro Araki briefly worked with Volks, creating the U-noss line of dolls. There are also several designers working with the Super Dollfie line of dolls. The main designer, MIKEY, is the daughter of Volks' president Shigeta. Some other notable designers are K. Mayura, Valico, Aone, and Ciera.
Volks regularly publish the magazine Volks News with information about new products from all of their lines.
Volks have been known to create Super Dollfie dolls based on characters from anime and manga such as Chobits, Maria-sama ga Miteru, and Rozen Maiden. Volks have also collaborated with such Gothic Lolita brands as Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, H. Naoto, Black Peace Now and Atelier-Pierrot to create Super Dollfie outfits.
- Akihiro Enku
- Takashi Kitamura
- Noboru Ohashi
- Toshihiro Amano
- Hirohiko Sanae
- Serika Misaki
- Kosuke Kitahara
- Hakase Amano
- Super Dollfie (SD or SD10)
- Mini Super Dollfie (MSD)
- Super Dollfie 13 (SD13)
- Super Dollfie Cute (SDC)
- Super Dollfie Midi (SDM or SDMidi)
- Yo Super Dollfie (Yo-SD)
- YoMidi Super Dollfie (YoMidi-SD)
- Super Dollfie 16 (SD16)
- Super Dollfie 17 (SD17)
- Super Dollfie Graffiti (SDGr)
- Super Dollfie Gou (SDGou)
- Dear Super Dollfie
Vinyl lines by Volks:
- Dollfie Dream (DD)
- Mini Dollfie Dream (MDD)
- Dollfie Dream Dynamite (DDdy)
- Dollfie Dream Sister (DDS)
- Dollfie Dream Pretty (DDP)
Volks has released several storyarcs which each include limited dolls or special editions of older sculpts. Volks has also collaborated with some manga/anime phenomenons such as Chobits (Chii doll) and Rozen Maiden.
- Volks Echoes of a Beautiful Banquet - dolls are in a historical Japanese setting
- Volks Jewels
- Volks Journey to Dream Nights - dolls' stories are based on several fairytale stories
- Volks Maidens' Promises - set at a Duke's mansion
- Volks Naval Academy
- Volks Oath of the Silver Coin - dolls are set in a pirate setting
- Volks Tokyo Boys - dolls are set in modern Japan
- Volks Harajuku Memories
- Volks Boys' Dormitory
Volks releases dolls in a few different ways:
- Standard models
These dolls are available for normal purchase at all store and online locations until they are discontinued.
- Limited models
These dolls are available through lottery at an event (such as a Dolpa). Many are also released afterwards at stores and online lotteries at the official After Events, but some are event-only.
These dolls are one-of-a-kind, signed by the artist and with special outfits from Volks designers. They are available only through limited lottery. Usually, several are released at every Volks event.
- Coordinate Models
A newer type of release. Coordinate models have "coordinated" outfits, wigs, eyes, faceups, etc. These are sort of one-of-a-kind - the particular combination per doll is probably unique, but the outfits, wigs, etc themselves are not unique. These are released either through lottery or for regular purchase.
- Full Choice System
At some locations, and occasionally online in the US, Volks offers their FCS system in which buyers can choose a mold, body, resin, and so on to create their own customized doll. You can find more information here.
Volks has released a few dolls for limited pre-order, though this is unusual for them.
In 2003/2004, Volks changed their resin entirely. The older resin is known as "oldskin" whereas the new resin is referred to as "pureskin" or PS. Oldskin is opaque and a slightly paler shade, where pureskin is slightly translucent and has a matte texture. Oldskin comes in two colors: normal and a yellowish "beauty white". Pureskin comes in normal, beauty white, white (pinker than its "beauty" counterpart; also known as snow white or FCS white), sunlight (tan), shadow (more tan), and ebony (most tan).
In addition to these, Volks released a unique pureskin bisque resin . The information available simply lists it as a "new material made with new techniques".
LUTS Realskin has been noted to match Volks PS Normal.
Links on DoA
- Volks resin match thread
- DoA databases index: Volks A-E, Volks F-Fz, Volks G-K, Volks L-P, Volks R-Z
- Current Volks Super Dollfie Discussion
- Current Dollfie Dream Discussion
- Current Volks Mini Super Dollfie Discussion
- Current Volks Mini Dollfie Dream Discussion
- Current Volks YoSD Discussion
- Contact on DoA: VolksUSA