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BJD Quality Control Questions?

Aug 4, 2010

    1. So let me first explain that I am new to dolls and have been saving and selling my old collection of anime gear to afford this first purchase. Initially it was Volks that caught my eye with their beautiful dolls but then I became a member of DoA and it became very clear, extremely quickly that there are a multitude of doll makers in the BJD world and that so many people love the different kinds for a variety of reasons.

      I'm not talking about sculpts in this thread, really. I know that is more of a personal opinion thing and we don't need to go there. What I do want to know:

      Do certain companies:

      - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?

      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.) thank you Robo-Aly!

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?



      This thread is not meant to be inflammatory. I just want to know your experiences/preferences- and I realize within any company that can vary over time. Originally I assumed Volks was 'the best quality' but now I realize that may have been an ignorant assumption on my part.

      Thanks in advance for any answers and (as always) if this thread is a duplicate, a bump in the right direction would be much appreciated.
       
    2. I'm not familiar with the different qualities of materials used by different brands, but I do think that a good additional item for discussion would be the quality of elastic used for the stringing (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.). :)
       
    3. Added it in- great suggestion! Thanks! ^^
       
    4. Even beyond sculpts, people will give you a different response to these questions, so I am just basing this off of my own opinions which have been formed from my experiences with dolls over the past 7 years I've been involved in the hobby.

      Do certain companies:

      - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?


      I really do feel that some companies have superior resin to other companies. There really is no comparison to me between the dense, gorgeous resin Volks uses to the thin, more brittle and plasticky resin used by a company on the lower end like Bobobie. Volks resin has been adjusted and perfected the longest of all the companies, and you know how it is generally going to act over time in terms of yellowing. Their colour is also very consistent, which makes hybriding and putting dolls together in parts much easir than say Bluefairy, which is another company I love but whose resin colour varies dramatically batch to batch.

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?

      There's really no denying that some companies have superior default faceups to other companies, and this is often reflected in the price you pay for them. All you need to do is compare pictures of say a Fairyland doll and an Angel of Dream doll. The Fairyland faceup will consistently be more skillful and detailed and overall enhance the sculpt of the doll, the AoD often will not. Volks own default faceups are not extra in the price tag, but are generally nothing to write home about. It is up to the purchaser to decide whether or not the default faceup is something that is important to them. Some people buy their dolls blank, some enhance faceups, some wipe once they get them home, and others love the default

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?

      Posability vs aesthetics is another large debate, and everyone has their different preferences. My personal thoughts is a lot of the older, more established companies have more skillfully designed joints that are still attractive. Most Volks dolls are single jointed, but are still better engineered than a lot of upstart companies' double joints. Along with this, often the higher quality dolls will have a higher level of detail in the overall body sculpt. To some people, this isn't as important.

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?

      I find that consistency of quality over time is a very important criteria for me when choosing a company to purchase from. I want to buy from a company that consistently presents a quality product over time and provides excellent customer service.
       
    5. No problem. I'm sure that a lot of people have experience with buying better quality and re-stringing their dolls on their own. For anyone like me who hasn't done much with dolls, it's kind of intimidating; I would have difficulty replacing it if the string broke or just wasn't very good quality.
       
    6. I'm still fairly new to BJDs, but I can say with absolute certainty that the Bobobie tiny I recently got has elastic that (as many people complain about) just... isn't that great. It stretches out and refuses to go back to its original length. Soon as he's back from a friend who's fixing some clothes for him, he's getting restrung without a second thought.

      As for joints, I have examined a friend's Luts Honey Delf, which has a very nice double jointing system. In contrast, my brand new Angel of Dream Ai Ai, which is a comparable size, has double jointing that could stand to have some work done.

      But the thing is, some companies like Luts and Volks just have had longer to work on these quality control issues. I'm sure that as more companies mature, even the "lower-end" companies like Bobobie and Angel of Dream, they'll work out the design flaws in each of their dolls.
       
    7. Do certain companies:

      - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?

      Definitely. I don't know which companies use the better materials, though. Really, it boils down to which doll you like over another. Some people absolutely swear by Volks (and who'd blame them), while others are wholly dedicated to Soom, or Dollzone. Each company has their downsides, depending on what you like or what you expect in your dolls. As for wigs, I find I prefer JPop fiber wigs. I just love their quality, but they don't have a lot of selection. I can't really say which company I prefer eyes from (not Dollzone), but I know that I really like how silicone eyes look.

      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.)

      As much as I hate to down any company and color your opinion of them, Bobobie/Resinsoul didn't have very good elastic. The Bobobie we have now is over a year old, so I don't know if this problem has been dealt with, but I know we had to order strings and s-hooks to get our Bobobie the way we wanted her. Other than that, we've really had no other problems. Generally, most companies have good elastic stringing. As with material quality, the pros and cons are really just what you want out of your dolls.

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?


      This is where site pictures can be misleading, and I don't really know the answer. There are doll sites out there with some less-than-excellent pictures of their dolls, but the doll factory face-ups in person are just as good as others.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?

      Alrlight, this is definitely a matter of opinion. Some people, like me, really love the posing ability of the Dollshe DSAM32 and 35 bodies, while others are really put off by the almost-alien quality. Most companies now have double joints and two or three joint bodies, which really aide in more natural-looking posing.

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?


      Sculpts, and I'm not talking about head molds. Some companies are just better than others at how hands look. Dollzone has amazingly sculpted hands, while Bobobie and Volks are a little lacking in detail. If you want realism, you want to make sure to stay away from companies that seem to overly exaggerate torso muscles (like Luts), but there are a lot of people out there who like how they look. Dollmore, in my opinion, has amazingly sculpted bodies - subtle, but has detail.
       
    8. Having handled dolls from a fair few companies now, I have to agree with Kim that Volks' resin would be my personal pick for the best as far as texture, weight and general solidity goes. That's not to say that they're the only good choice, or that I dislike the hand-feel of anyone else's (I'm very fond of CP's old, circa 2004 resin formula too, for instance-)... Just that they have a certain density that a lot of others lack. Volks dolls are built like bricks.

      Best face-ups... That's completely a matter of taste, and you might want to look at some of the artists' threads as well as company defaults. There are a lot of very, very talented painters out there that don't work for doll companies. If you're only looking at "factory" face-ups, though, my personal favorite is Luts. (They also paint Fairyland's dolls, iirc-) Once in awhile they'll do something screwy (over-blushing, for instance-) and they don't take custom requests any more, but they're generally very skilled and the face-ups wear well. Some of my own dolls have Luts face-ups that still look good after five years.
       
    9. Even though I'm not super knowledgeable like some people here, I'd like to take a stab at this.. :)

      - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?
      ~ I'm no connoisseur Volks resin really is the best i've ever touched, super smooth and creamy feeling. I'm also really loving the resin of my unoas- 1.5 lusis and chibi roron. :) I don't know much about yellowing, but I know my lusis is at least several years old and she's almost the same color as my brand new roron, so I don't think she's yellowed much at all, if any. My fairyland dolls on the other hand, they do yellow noticeably over time. However, it's not unpleasant to me and all it does is make them a slightly creamier color.

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?

      ~Fairyland faceups are always top-notch and utterly gorgeous. They put a lot of fine details into them, and I love their style.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?

      ~ Again, points for Fairyland. In my opinion their bodies are some of the best posers out there- from my own collection my Fairyland dolls are definitely the best in terms of their engineering. They all stand and sit like champs straight out of the box and they have crazy balancing abilities. Also, apart from the pukis, they have lovely double joints that are really well designed and look and function in a nice natural way.
       
    10. *takes notes*

      This is a very informative thread. I'm also new so I appreciate the pointers >^.^<
       
    11. Yes, I want to make it clear before the thread goes on any further that this isn't about 'artistry'. I can't even pretend to judge what is good "art" over someone else- whether that is dolls or at the MoMA. Specifically this is about the quality of materials used and what I have heard about the resin so far is EXTREMELY helpful.

      In reference to the skeletal system: does one kind break more frequently than another because of the stress on joints? It's good to know about posing ability in general but I'd love to know about the issues anyone has faced with different body types as well as the advantages.

      I suppose in the realm of the face-up it wouldn't be about the overall appearance/design but rather the quality that it came to you in versus the picture representation on the website.

      I hope this helps clarify! I appreciate every since word everyone has typed and I am already feeling more educated. I've had to look up several companies you've referenced thus far and have been amazed.
       
    12. Aside from Dollfie Dreams and (I think-) some Obitsu bodies (and older Dollshe dolls whose owners have added armatures to the torsos-) these dolls don't have skeletons, so I'm not sure what you're after there. The elastic these guys are strung with is pretty much the same across the board. No one company uses a type better than any other as far as I've seen.
       
    13. Do certain companies:

      - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?
      For sure. I am seconding and thirding all the comments on resin. Some resin just has a certain 'heft' and weight to it that makes it a pleasure to hold. I've never been in contact with a Volks doll, however just by looking at images you can see he quality of the resin. It has a certain glow/thickness to it when the light hits it. My only experience has been with Customhouse, Fairyland, Bambicrony and a FelixDoll Brownie. I have to say, Fairyland is nice resin, but it does lack that 'feel' and certain heft to it. My Bambicrony is creamy soft to the touch. I can only imagine what a Volks doll feels like. When I compare both of those to the CH and Brownie I had, the quality in the material is significantly noticeable.

      Wigs there is definitely a difference in quality when it comes to the fiber, be it synthetic or natural (mohair).


      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.) thank you Robo-Aly!

      I can't really speak of this as I've never had to restring or see the 'innards' of a doll yet ;)

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?
      Yes. My Puki's face-up was leaps and bounds better than the Brownie's face-up. Even just in pictures the Fairyland face-ups are so delicately done compared to other companies. Bambicrony face-ups are also so insanely gorgeous compared to some other companies that are just getting started, or even ones that have been out a while. It's really all in the details.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?
      Again, yes. :) Fairyland rather takes the cake for posing, but other companies can and do win for aesthetics for some people. There are single jointed dolls that are gorgeous and pose almost as good as other companies double jointed dolls. It's a bit of a personal preference when it comes to body looks, but overall the companies that are more solidified in the hobby generally have refined their dolls joints and systems because of customer feedback, or just better sculptors.

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?
      A company that has sculptors that can think through the look and feel of the doll and combine it with solidly engineered joints makes quality when coupled with resin that is sturdy, and holds it's color. :)
       
    14. Resin? - I like the resin on my Volks Dolls very much. It's hard to describe but I find them sold and sturdy with a nice texture. Also (this may sound weird) I find it easier to paint them? Somehow the Face-Up material just seems to stick better on my Volks Doll than my MiniFee.

      Wigs and eyes? - Well only my Volks Kaelin came with a wig and eyes. I love the quality of the wig but I dislike the eyes. They have no real depth and they appear rather muddy in photos. I replaced his eyes the day I got him :)

      Elastics? - All of my dolls were fine except my GloryDoll Lucy. Her elastic was not the best.

      Face up - My GloryDoll Lucy had the best out of the box face up of all my dolls. My Mini Fee Shu Shu was purchased from Luts had a great face up! Volks has been a strike out every time. I find their face ups a bit bla but I will say that the quality of the work on Kaelin's face was good. They have improved.

      Skeleton - My ShinyDoll is the best. The jointing on a ShinyDoll can't be beat and they pose like a dream. The dolls are strung together beautifully too. But I think the quality of my Mini Fee and Volks bodies are great as well. I was unhappy with my GloryDoll body and joints. Her feet were just undefined blocks and she could not stand or pose well. She also had no range of movement for her hands so they were sort of always sticking out straight. Finally, My GloryDoll needed a foot joint repair within 3 months of owning her. I hear others have had issues with the screws pulling out of the resin as well.

      As for your final question about quality? - This might sound weird but I am obsesses with eye wells. I dislike dolls with thick resin around the eye hole so that the eyes sit too far back. As a side note, I am also a tear duct freak. My Volks Masha and Kaelin both have very defined tear ducts and it really adds something when you paint and gloss them in a face-up. By no means is it necessary to have an exposed tear duct (some people don't have them) it is just a tiny detail I admire.

      Finally, look closely as the ears. This is a detail sometimes overlooked. You will find that some ears look blocky and poorly defined. I think my FairyLand doll has perfect ears!
       

    15. - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another?

      Definately. Up to a certain price point it's very much a case of getting what you pay for - but beyond that it becomes a matter of taste. Once you're beyond the lowest-price group, things like the weight and feel of resin do differ between companies, but it's more a matter of taste which you prefer. Wigs and eyes are the same - below a certain level you don't have the same quality, but beyond that it's all personal.

      And even with the lowest priced dolls, the weight that you give to any particular issue depends on what you plan to do with your doll. If you want to practice modifications then a low-priced doll with thin resin and fairly neutral features may be exactly what you need!

      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing?

      Other people have already pointed out the issues here, but it might be worth noting that it's not that hard or that expensive to restring, so if you're debating between two dolls this is only a huge issue if it's something you're really, really not comfortable doing.

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?

      I think that's more a matter of taste than anything. Generally the lower-priced dolls have more generic face-ups, but that's not universally true (and it's something that enough people do themselves or outsource to non-producers that it's not necessarily a deal-breaker either).

      Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?

      Depending on what you plan to do with your dolls, sometimes the accessories make all the difference. It's something that makes me laugh, but the doll I have that's generated the most positive comments in real life and on non-doll photo forums is also my cheapest one (an Angel Street doll) - that doll very much feels cheaper as far as the resin quality (lighter, more plastic-y), but he poses well and when he's wearing an elaborate outfit (including the wig and, his accessories cost more than he did) that seems to be what catches people's eye (I'll be honest, unclothed and sitting alongside my other dolls he doesn't look that spectacular - it's all in the context). So if even a cheap doll can be dressed up!
       
    16. - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?
      Sometimes, but not necessarily. Resins are definitely really different from company to company. I actually love the smooth, light Bobobie/Resinsoul resin, and it's really color-stable, especially the tinted resins. I have a Dollstown head, and that resin is amazing--it's so smooth and heavy, it's like porcelain. Iplehouse resin is beautiful and luminous, but their tan and brown dolls turn green, like jade green, if they get too much sun. And that's a 600 dollar doll.
      Higher-end dolls do seem to come with nicer default wigs and eyes, as far as I've noticed. The cheaper doll companies also don't usually carry extensive lines of wigs, eyes, or clothes, that way Iplehouse or Volks or Soom does.

      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.)

      Bobobie is notorious for having crappy stringing (too stretchy/floppy), though I think they're finally getting better. A lot of other companies tend to string too tight, which can be a real pain in the ass too. Restringing is really not a huge deal, though.

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?
      Sometimes. I feel like it's a crapshoot. The Soom default faceups han be, in my opinion, way too heavy and frosted, depending on which doll you get. Fairyland and Bambicrony faceups always look really nice. DIM used to have iffy faceups (everything was way too pink) but I think they got a new artist recently, because the last few I've seen have been really nice.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?
      Again, sometimes. I have a NotDoll Belladonna (originally sold for $550 or thereabouts), and her legs are not well-engineered at all, even though her torso is. It's a total chore to get her to stand up. My Bambicrony girl is really well-engineered and poses great. Fairyland Littlefees have amazing jointing and can do handstands and stuff. On the other hand, those gorgeous Soom Monthlies don't pose amazingly well, I've heard.
      So I would say that more expensive companies tend to have better jointing, but don't always.

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?

      It's really nice when the company sands their seams. And lots of companies don't. My NotDoll has big ol' seams. You have to pay extra at Soom, but BBB/Resinsoul does it standard. Fairyland too. Quality eye putty is also nice.
       
    17. I'm not sure if I am as well qualified to answer this as some of the other owners as I've only had limited exposure to various brands despite being in the hobby a really long time.




      - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?


      I try to avoid French Resin, it might have a pretty luminosity to it, but it does also tend to yellow faster than other resins. A lot of companies can be inconsistent with their resin colors, even Volks is not completely consistent. I know at one point I got several of their more recent UV protect dolls and I was a little surprised at how much paler the resin was than some of my other dolls by them. I think even without yellowing there is a difference in color between the UV protect and the pureskin and the old skin resins which I think are naturally a more sallow color. Other companies have even more variance, which is mostly a problem if you're buying heads and bodies separately. I adore Blue Fairy and they're usually semi consistent within a certain time period, but their colors do vary. I actually really like the current color they're using a lot.

      Most of the companies I've tried tend to send high quality wigs out with their dolls, (Volks, Luts, LaTi, BlueFairy, and Fairyland) I personally don't really find any the default eyes I've gotten up to my standards though and those tend to get replaced quickly.

      I did at one point own a Souldoll and the wig that came with him was not as nice, but I got him at such a low price I didn't care.


      What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.) thank you Robo-Aly!

      I've not had problems with elastic. Occasionally some of my dolls are strung a little tight so that they are "kicky" but overtime elastic does tend to stretch out. I don't think I've ever heard of elastic breaking. Now I have heard about resin parts breaking and I can't think of a company who that hasn't had that happen to them at least once.

      More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?

      Luts/Fairlyand and LaTi have incredibly nice face ups. I also really like BF face-ups, to me they are one of the companies whose photographs most accurately show their face-ups.

      Volks face-ups are a true mixed bag. Older LEs whether it was lack of experience or stylistic have some truly awful ones. Most of the newer ones have better face-ups, with a few that are occasionally really nice. Volks can paint better face-ups since most FCS I've seen have quite nice ones. But I always feel like you can't truly appreciate most Volks molds until you see a repaint. >>;

      I tend to like my heads to come with a default face-up unless I already have a spot with a face-up artist. I know I can't paint all that well myself, and I don't enjoy having blank heads sitting around for long periods while I wait for a spot.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?

      Oddly enough, I'm not one of those people particularly into jointing. As long as my doll can stand, sit and hold a few simple poses I tend to be pleased. I loved my Unoa boy and my Unoa 2 girl even though they didn't end up staying because their bodies were so beautifully designed. I think they had my all time favorite knee joints.

      Posing wise, I like the MSD body better than say the BF body, but physically I prefer the BF body. I don't really want my minis to be pudgy 5-6 year olds. I don't like the SDC bodies, they're too jointed for me. I did like my MNF when I had him but his body looked a little awkward with larger dolls because it was a little too mature. With other minis he looked good though.

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?

      I like to always buy eyes separately because a beautiful pair of eyes can really make a doll come alive. At the moment, my favorites are probably Silver glass eyes. I'm also rather fond of: Hitomiya, Enchanted Doll eyes, Dollflower, and DropRops. Some of the list is pre-order which I prefer. I also like Everpurple, their older eyes looked sort of plasticy, but in a doll they looked terrific and their newer eyes seem to be higher quality. I hate the wait time on EPs though even if they can be some of the best priced urethanes if you get them in a good group order.

      I like Luts wigs a lot. I've been very impressed with the quality, the fibers are smooth, the styles accurately reflect the pictures and they tend to stay in place well. I like older Leeke wigs better than the newer ones. I so miss their old catalog and all the old colors they use to make. I wish I had known they were discontinuing. Their newer wigs seem more mixed. I really like some, but some the style looks nothing like the promotional pictures. I do like the colors though! Volks makes nice quality wigs in some of the least interesting styles, at least in the sizes I like. I love my 2 BlueFairy wigs. I've also loved the LaTi wig I ordered.
       
    18. Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?

      Wigs: I haven't noticed a huge variance in the wigs I have ordered with my dolls. I have ordered some special wigs -- one fancy souldoll wig, and a few fancy styled Dollheart wigs -- which have extra styling that makes them fancier and more elaborate out of the box, but the actual quality of the wigs is about the same.

      Eyes: Completely hit or miss for me.

      Wigs and eyes, though, you don't have to depend on the company you order the doll from at all, so if you find a doll you love with horrible hair and wonky eyes, there's no need to fear -- you can swap them out for ones you like, even if it means ordering them from a different site and waiting until everything arrives at your doorstep, sometimes at completely different times. (I have a 'doll' that is boots, jacket, head, hair, and feet right now, for instance... she's still waiting for me to order her body. ;) )

      Resin: Volks resin is really impressive. I have to echo what has been said here about it thus far: it's great stuff. I don't own a Volks doll myself, but I've had the chance to see a few of their dolls in person and would gladly buy one without a second thought if they fit my style preferences.
      Soom's resin is good stuff, but it's also a little more hit and miss when it comes to the color batches. (I have two NS dolls from them, ordered the same month, that are even the same mold, but aren't the same color, for example.) This might not bother you at all if you don't plan to swap parts or hybridize your doll, but it's something to keep in mind if those things are important options for you.
       
    19. - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?
      I think without a doubt the best resin I've ever handled goes to Volks. It has a nice feel to it and there's this sense of sturdiness of weight - I feel that if my doll took a plunge, it would emerge more or less unscathed. Piposdoll resin is quite lovely as well in that it has the same feeling of weight as Volks, but it's more toothy in terms of texture which is quite nice as well. Fairyland...not so much. It yellows much quicker than I expected; not quite pleased with that unfortunately!

      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.)
      I can't remember where I got it from, but I did come into posession of some horrible elastic that...wasn't elastic at all. It barely stretched and had zero tension.

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?
      Volks defaults are nothing to phone home about, save the exception of a few of their limiteds. [I wiped all of my Volks defaults more or less upon receiving them! D8] Fairyland's faceups are very consistent and beautifully done. My Pipos and Lati girls also have beautifully done limited edition faceups.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?
      Fairyland would take the trophy home with this one IF I didn't own an SDGr body. Granted, my Fairyland boy seems alot more poseable [also because he's small], but his torso joints just don't lock as well as the SDGr. Probably biased in saying this, but the Volks SDGr is definitely one of the best SD bodies I've handled in terms of engineering.
       
    20. - Use higher quality materials (bodies, eyes, wigs, etc) than another? Does this decrease yellowing over time or have other benefits?

      I definitely believe that some companies use better quality resin than others. Volks is one of them - at a doll meet I compared the weight of an SD13 to one of the 70cm RS dolls I had at the time, and the SD13 was actually heavier, albeit being a smaller doll. I like my dolls to have good weight to them, and I really love the slight texture that my Luts KDF has. I'm not really a fan of silky smooth light resin, though I know a lot of people are. It depends on taste, I guess.

      - What about the quality of elastic used for the stringing? (e.g. if it's not that great and is more likely to break; or if it doesn't stretch enough, leaving the doll rigid, etc.) thank you Robo-Aly!

      Three of the four bodies I've bought from companies have had pretty poor elastic. Two of them were from RS, but they're well-known for having thin elastic. The other was from Popodoll, I feel the elastic they used is too thin for the 70cm of resin it's supposed to support. F-doll elastic, from what I remember, was alright but I soon restrung the body with elastic that came with a neckpiece from Luts (which is very nice elastic).

      - More professionally executed make-up or face ups out of the box ?


      I generally buy my dolls blank, but from what I've seen from box openings Luts and Fairyland tend to have default faceups that maintain a level of quality and are often more detailed than others.

      - Have better joints or skeletal systems?


      Out of the dolls I've handled, I've got to say that Luts KDFs and Fairyland tinies have nice joints that fit together very well and have a wide range of poseability. Their joints just glide against each other so nicely!

      - Anything else that makes them a 'quality' product that I can't think due to my unfamiliarity with the hobby?

      Most important part to me is that the body features are accurate and attractive, without compromising too much on joint engineering. I love a body that has well-fitting joints; there are dolls with double-joints whose posing cannot compare to other companies' single-jointed dolls because of lack of joint contact - ie the sockets aren't flush around the ball joint and the limb is either straight or bent with no in-between posing. I also hate thick eyewells, and the only thing I hate more are unevenly bevelled eyewells - it's awkward to position eyes and is unsightly IMO, albeit fixable.
      Seamlines I could care less about if sanded or not, as long as it's done well. I've had dolls sanded and unsanded from the company, and I've found that the less expensive of the sanded dolls did have some sanding marks, which I feel is worse than not sanding at all. The others I've had sanded from the company (F-doll and Popodoll) have no sanding marks :)