How do you choose a doll? What is important?

Nov 22, 2016

    1. Hi, everyone! I've been wondering, what factors people consider important, when they buy a doll?

      Is it the beauty of a sculpt/its likeness with your original character/posability/resin colors/interchangeable parts(hands, fantasy parts)/beautiful body sculpt/neat joints(you like the way they look)/availability of clothes, wigs, shoes for the doll/feedback for the company/quality of resin (different companies have different resin, right?)/if there are many owner pics/if there are many pics with professional face - up variations/layaway option/if it's limited/size/amount of joints/faceplate or headcap/something else?

      Which factors do you take into consideration and which are completely irrelevant?
    2. face sculpt is a big one for me. I can handle uglier bodies but i'd prefer the body wasn't terrible.
      But a nice face, an okay body and resin colours I want! So many companies only do like.. white and peach tones which isn't very helpful. For me the fun of a fully customisable doll is that I can have them look well... like anything. I want fantasy colours, I want dark skin tones, I want tans and beige and something other than bloody white white white eugh. Too many white dolls lol.

      Weirdly, posability isn't a huge factor for me. I like to be able to pose the doll, but the articulation doesn't have to be mindblowing or perfect. I can deal with small flaws because most of the time the doll will be standing on a shelf or posing for a few photos. As long as they can hold a couple of poses for pictures, i'm pretty happy.

      Wigs, shoes, clothes are a really minor consideration for me. Wigs and eyes and stuff can be bought just about anywhere, you can even make them yourself if you're so inclined. Same with clothing. Awkward sizes, I just factor in either sewing myself or hiring someone else to do it. My dolls have quite specific costumes in mind anyway so i'm unlikely to ever buy anything "off the shelf" for them.
      Shoes, usually you can find something that works even if it is slightly too big.

      Yellowing doesn't bother me much either, it's a natural process of the aging of the material and seems to mostly impact white dolls. I actually don't mind the creamy look it gives, I find it looks more natural than stark paper white anyway. I'm pretty easy going when it comes to that kinda thing heh.
      I think of it like a patina.

      Now a BIG thing for me is companies listing measurements (head circumferance and neck please, along with eye and wig sizes so I can shop for these things. SO many places don't list these and it's SO ANNOYING) and blank sculpt pics. Why oh why do so many companies not have a picture of the blank sculpt from the front and side? Some only have a front view, some only have 3/4 view, some don't bother with a blank image at all leaving you to search the internet hoping someone's posted a pic. frustrating!
      It took me so so long to find a blank image of my Hujoo Arthur, and sadly a lot of resin bjd companies seem to have the same "it doesn't matter" attitude and only show fully made up dolls as well. No! If i'm buying blank I want to know what i'll be getting, I need to see the blank canvas!

      So factors I take into account?

      Do i like the face sculpt?
      Does it fit with a character idea I have?
      Can I get it in the colour I want?
      Does the scale work with other dolls I have?
      Is the price absolutely astronomical or do I think I can justify it

      the last one is very personal to me but I really struggle to spend large amounts on myself. It stems from having low self worth and growing up with this culture in the family of "if you ask, you get nothing". I always had to save up to buy toys with my pocket money, only "just because" toys I got were usually cheap or because I was being dragged somewhere I didn't want to go and my parents felt bad.
      It's not that I went without, but my parents were pretty strict about learning the value of money and sadly as an adult it's left me really over frugal to the point of being a bit miserly. Particularly toward myself. I'll buy stuff for the kids, for my husband, for other people, but never for me.
      It's not helped by having a partner who never spends more than about £20 on me for any special occassion and whines about having to do so (it's a chore to get me gifts apparently, a real burden. Bah) which does nothing useful to my sense of self worth.
      As a result, I suffer terribly from "spend guilt" where I spend a lot on something extravagant and then have to justify it to myself. And while I know a lot of the time it's utterly unreasonable, the little troll in my head tells me i'm not worth spending money on and so on and so forth and then I feel guilty and selfish and like i'm wasting money that could be spent on people way more worthy and oh it's a mess.
      My only way around this is to "earn" the money. So i sell stuff on ebay to earn the cash to then buy myself something I want. It eases the guilt because i've "earned" the money through the hard work of doing all the postal runs and so on.
      But this also means if a doll is over about £200 my toes curl and the troll in my head goes "NO WAY, you could buy a car for that! Don't you dare be so wasteful!" and I find myself unable to justify it.
      Which is a shame as there's several dolls i'd love that are out of my comfortable price range. *sigh*
      I'm slowly working my way up to a point where I can justify it, but it'll take a while.

      So price is also a huge factor for me. because my brain is stupid and broken and messed up. at the end of the day, price will probably be a big deciding factor in whether I buy a doll or not.
    3. For me it's almost entirely how much I like the face sculpt. If I fall in love with the face, it's over.

      I do have to look at the body once I've fallen for a face, though. Joints are a big thing for me, though not necessarily a deal-breaker since I can cover them up with clothes if I have to. I take into account the body's aesthetics and posablility as very secondary considerations to the head.

      As for choosing a head, I've realized it depends a lot on the faceup in a given picture. I have trouble judging blank heads (though I like to see them for reference), so sculpts that have a lot of owner photos available are always a plus.

      I don't care much about interchangeable parts and whatnot. Availability of clothes also doesn't come into my consideration at all since in general I like to make all my dolls' clothing myself.
    4. For me, the facial sculpt is the most important factor! This is what makes me truly fall in love with a doll, what attracts me to that doll, and just generally what fuels the "must be mine" aspect of the hobby. After that, I typically look at the following:
      1. How big is it? I've had an SD sized doll and I felt like she was way too big for me, so I'm really apprehensive about buying another one. I'd have to really love a face sculpt to go with a larger doll and even then, honestly, it would be pushing it for me. Usually the size alone can be a big turn off.
      2. What does the body look like? If a doll is poorly jointed or has a really thin body (Doll Chateau is a good example) I'm not much of a fan. If this happens, I really have to think about rather it would be worth it to buy the head and put it on a body I actually enjoy. It's a bonus for me if a body is really unique or curvy though! I love pear shaped figures, but I also really enjoy cute aesthetic type bodies like Minifees typically have.
      3. How expensive is it? Cost isn't a huge turn off, but a $2,000 is going to make me really, really consider my options before beginning that savings journey.
    5. Size was and probably still is important to me. For my first doll I wanted something rather big, far away from the Barbie size. Since I was looking most likely for a grown boy, I noticed that many many guys had those half closed eyes which I do not like as much as wide open eyes, so I am looking for how far the eyes are open. Also a big thing for me were noses. I saw a doll wich probably would've been my first one if it weren't for this ugly nose he got.
      Body is also a big deal since I don't like them beeing too muscular. When I came to ringdoll I was impressed by the hands of the adults because they got veins on them and I was fascinated with those tiny details. So, the more details, the better!
      Finally I fell for a Ringdoll teen, it was love on first sight. I loved his headsculpt, his eyes (important!) and also the face up. The face up also was and probably still is an important feature since I am not confident enough to make a face up on my own yet. But I slowly I become more confident by interacting with my boy so this will probably not be such a big deal in the future :)
      He is not a big poser but thats alright, I am not great at taking pictures either so I am absolutely happy with him just sitting casually around. Price is also not that important, I mean, I need to save up REALLY long but if its love, that's alright. However, I wont spend 1000 bucks on a doll (I see myself breaking this own rule already xD) How available clothes are is also not important since I try to sew clothes for them on my own.
      I hadn't had a character in mind when I bought my first doll but now I am currently looking for one who matches the character so it became important.
    6. Usually the face sculpt. If the face sculpt is to my liking the body isn't too important, but if it's nicely sculpted that's a bonus too of course. Occasionally I'll go for a sculpt rather for the body than the face; like how I'm currently looking for a Dark Tales Mayfair as I want that extreme corset body to make detailed corsets and corset dresses for.

      It is a bonus if the doll is at least available in some shade of tan in addition to white and peach, as I can then choose that if I need the doll for a middle eastern, sub-saharan african, south asian character etc.

      And then the third thing is size. I don't go for dolls larger than 52cm (with a very few exceptions, but those then fall outside my regular "group") or smaller than 30cm (for mature dolls) or 25cm (for childish dolls). My core group is 35-52cm, so I want most to fit in there.

      Bad poseability I can live with, so also bad resin quality. And I can make clothes, wigs and shoes, so that isn't a problem either.
    7. The first thing I consider is the face. I don't really have a system for that, it's usually just whatever sculpt resonates with me. After that, I look at the body and it's mobility. If the body is too unproprtional or odd looking, it's a no go for me. If it's a beautiful body but has no poseability, I can work with that. I also look at the resin colors available, because there are certain colors I like and don't like. I usually end up picking tan skin.. like 80% of the time. Other than that, clothes and accessories, I usually figure that out along the way!
    8. I care about:
      Sculpt (the face needs to have something different to it, and I perfer faces that look happy/thoughtful), more androgynous body, the torso having at least two parts, The company being trustworthy and being of decent quality, having normal limbs, nice faceup, generic size for clothing, normal level pricing, and size (YOSD and MSD, maybe smaller but not bigger) being able to pick gender/buy the bodies and heads separately.

      I don't care about:
      sculpts that look really sad/mad/upset, possibility, extra parts/fantasy features (Though I might get one in they future, it's not what I'm normally drawn too), limited sets/dolls (unless I have money right then and there, and it's the same sort of price as basic ones, I would rather find one I love elsewhere).

      I kind of like:

      Being able to see measurements, seeing the sculpt blank, being able to by a full set/parts of it, getting random eyes with the doll, double jointed bodies, finding owner pics, getting skin tones that are different from the other dolls I own.
    9. In order of importance to me, here's what I look for:

      1. The head sculpt looks like my OC should look.

      2. The doll is available in a resin color that closely fits my OC's skin tone.

      3. The body sculpt fits my OC, or a body from another company is available that matches the head in color and size.

      4. The engineering is good--the doll can stand, sit, touch their face and do various other poses without needing to be wired, held in place or photoshopped, and looks natural, not stiff or kicky.

      5. The company and/or seller has positive feedback and no known drama or poor service issues.

      6. The resin is known to be strong, heavy and high quality.

      7. The doll is easy to find clothing and shoes to fit (I can bend on this a little, as I do sew, but they still need to have shoes that I can buy).

      8. The price is justifiable to me. This does not mean "cheap". (Though if a very inexpensive doll is perfect in all other criteria, I'll absolutely be happy with that!) I am willing to pay more for a better quality doll that meets my standards, but it does still have to be worth it to me. For example, I have spent up to $750 on a doll who was absolutely perfect for one of my favorite OCs, but I'm hesitant to spend over $500 on a more minor character in my RP. This CAN change over time--when I first bought Justin's first shell, I spent about $380 on him, but I bonded so much with his character over two years that I ended up spending about $700 to reshell him in a doll I liked a lot better that didn't have the flaws and downfalls of the cheaper doll (better poseability, better resin color, heavier resin).

      9. Wait times are under 6 months, preferably under 4 months. If it's longer than that, I may look for the doll secondhand, but I absolutely will not buy a doll who is known to take a year or more!
    10. My avatar is my first bjd and I love the Dollzone sculpt so much! Why? She is a 58 cm which will provide a good size for creating and crafting clothes and props. Recently I went to my first doll meet and met some incredibly talented DoA members. They had some beautiful dolls and I really haven't a clue which size I like best. There was a wonderfully tiny doll at approx 6 cm!!! It is the sculpt that attracts me most of all and it has to be quirky and interesting.
    11. Wow, I actually thought posability would be more important. It's so interesting to know how tastes differ:)
    12. The face is primarily the most important factor for me. This is then followed by the overall body proportions. Then company reputation (I might like a doll but if the company has a poor reputation then I won't buy directly from them) and then last is the posability. The look of a doll is more important to me than whether it's got lots of joints or not hence why I'm happy to buy a OOAK artist doll that I find striking but may not pose all that well. I'm not interested in doll photography, I purchase dolls to display as works of art, not to mess about with so although good posability is a nice additional benefit it's not a prerequisite for me.
    13. I have to go with other posters here and say that the face sculpt is THE number one, most important thing to me when first looking at a doll. I do not even bother to check into my other requirements if I don't love her face, after all :)

      After the obvious importance of the face, I also look for:

      - Whether or not this doll's proportions will work with my others. I consider all of my dolls a big family, and as such, I like to feel like they all belong together. For instance, I got rid of the vast majority of my slim MSDs, because their proportions just don't work with my chubbier MSDs, in my opinion. Making sure that they belong also usually takes care of the issue of clothing them, since I am always expanding my dolly wardrobe in the sizes that I most often collect.

      - Body posing. This is also very important to me, since I view taking doll photos as one of my favorite things about this hobby. I love to dress my girls up, take photos of them, and share the photos here on DoA or on various social media sites. So if my girls cannot stand or sit properly, or pass my one-foot balance test, it's a pretty strong mark against them. If I still settled on this bad poser, it's probably because I am THAT MUCH in love with her face and have not yet found a satisfactory hybrid option for her.

      - Body aesthetic. Not nearly as important as posing, since my girls are never in the nude. I love having dolls with gorgeous bodies, but I have to admit, not all of my dolls do. I don't find the Volks SDM/SDC bodies, for instance, at all to my taste, but for the sake of having decent posing and a perfect match to a cute face, I will definitely just keep the bodies.

      - Company/seller reputation is another important one, for obvious reasons. I prefer to not order from companies who have long wait times combined with horrible communication, for instance. I don't mind waiting for my doll, as long as I need to, but I need to know every now and then that my order is actually being worked on, so that I don't start feeling anxious and worried about that deadline on Paypal's claim system. Seller reps are also important, and I definitely check them out via feedback before buying second-hand. I definitely think twice before committing to a sale from a person with a history of being flaky or unresponsive. Slow or delay shipping absolutely does not bother me, as long as there is an open line of communication.

      - Skin tone availability. I usually have a very specific idea, regarding what skintone I'd prefer, and sometimes, a lack of that color is a deal-breaker for me. This probably doesn't happen as often with me as others, but it does. I hate Soom's Creamy White, for instance, so unless they release their dolls in an NS or a tan, I probably won't go for them, despite really liking the sculpts. I have a Little Gem Ior in CW just sitting around at home, and I probably won't do much with her until I get the courage to dye her. It's a shame, too. Ior is absolutely one of my favorite face sculpts out there.

      - Then, finally, after the doll in question has passed through all of these other considerations, I look at her price. Price is not a very huge issue to me, especially if I anticipate having a long time to save or have the option of a layaway. But if neither of those options are on the table, I sometimes have to pass. If I love the doll enough and have options/time on my side, then I am definitely willing to pay well for her. Her price has to be quite considerable for me to step back and say, "Whoa.. WAY too much," especially if I can get a layaway. So, really, inflexible companies/sellers are more of a detriment to my purchases than actual asking prices, so long as we aren't climbing into the thousands of dollars.
    14. First is face -that is my most important consideration.
      Second is size -I prefer msd and smaller
      Third is price -I just can't justify really expensive dolls on my budget

      Resin color for me is mostly normal pink, or white. I like fantasy colors and tan, but always play it safe. This is for human dolls, no restrictions for anthros. I used to not care about pose ability, but after struggling with my dolls, I'm reconsidering dolls with elastic. I think I will be getting fewer of these in the future and going exclusively to vinyl.
    15. I am very picky with BJDs--I will often spend months, even years, looking for the right head sculpt and body.

      For heads I value realism (I am especially partial to small eyes, and details such as wrinkles, defined bone structure, and teeth). I find this particularly hard in female sculpts, as they tend to lack bone structure and definition (perhaps to make them look younger (?)). I really do like teeth--I have added them with just paint or carved/sculpted them for other heads. I am not particularly afraid of modding, so if the "spirit" of the sculpt works, I am fine with modding it to work perfectly.

      I value poseability in bodies--at the expense of buying the body with the doll. I like underbust (not mid torso) joints, hip joints, double jointed knees and elbows with floating knees and elbows, and thigh mobility joints (preferably those which allow crouching and don't just twist the leg).

      The body corresponding to the head and the head corresponding to the body are irrelevant, as I usually hybrid. Resin color is also less of an issue, because I can just dye the doll. Clothes don't really matter, as I can sew decently well, although I am a bit anxious about making shoes. All of my SDs are in a single story, so their sizes are restricted to remain in scale with the other dolls.
    16. For me it's definitely about the sculpts and how the character looks, because all of the dolls I want to get are characters that already exist in my own world and stories, so I already know what they are doing to look like and what features and stuff they need to have to be that character, so that is very important to me. But also availability of skin colours as well is very important, my second doll is going to be one of my main characters, and she has quite dark skin, and specific facial features and I have been finding it very hard to decide on a perfect sculpt and company to buy from for her, at the moment I'm looking at an iplehouse Ashanti for her, but money! ;_; I find it very hard to make compromises when it comes to sculpts I like~
    17. It's the face sculpt. I tend to go for more realistic looking faces. Expression is important as is balance and beauty. Body mobility is not as important as the proportion and beauty of the body sculpt. Generally I can coax them into a nice pose easily enough even if they're not double jointed. Hands! Beautiful hands are definitely something I look for too.
    18. Obviously sculpt is a big one. But mostly whether or not they fit the character I'm looking to shell. And, of course, price.
    19. When looking at a particular doll, I take the following into consideration:

      1. Whether or not I can imagine a character for the sculpt, or if it suits an already existing one. If that answer is yes for one or the other, I will come back to the sculpt several times to see how much it grabs me. If it grabs my attention for more than a month or two, and I keep thinking about it, I will add that sculpt to my wishlist. However, if that answer is no for both, I keep looking.

      2. Since my only option is to save, I don't have the funds for more than one doll a year. Thus, body aesthetics are just as important as the face is for me. So if I like a sculpt, but don't like the body, or vice versa, then I won't consider that doll since I don't do hybrids.
      I'm very picky with bodies - I can't stand 3-part torsos, face-plates, or weird-looking extra joints.

      Hell, even something as miniscule as shoulders jutting out or swivel joints that are very round is enough to make me pass on a body. I also like for the porpotions of the body to be within the realm of somewhat realistic. That means no super skinny or long arms/legs, ridiculous-looking balloon boobs on my girls, or out-of-place musculature on my guys. (That includes the groin area, too. *cough*)

      3. When it comes to pose-ability, I actually prefer stability over being able to make a doll do a handstand unaided. As long as the doll can sit upright, stand easily, and touch their face, then I'm happy with that. The less joints a doll has, the less fiddly they are, and the happier I'll be as I tend to get frustrated easily with too many joints. On that note, I highly dislike double jointed knees.

      4. Price, and whether or not I am okay with saving up that much. I've told myself before I wouldn't be comfortable with going above the $400 mark, but unfortunately I've fallen victim to a few of Volks' and Iplehouse's scuplts over the years. Woe is my wallet.

      5. The company's reputation, and their resin quality. These two points are key reasons I avoid companies known to have light, super shiny resin and poor communication with customers. I don't buy secondhand, so that part doesn't really apply to me.

      Not of importance for me: Pose-ability, size, scuplt aesthetic (I like all kinds!), color availability, limited sets, clothing availability
      #19 Selenae, Nov 26, 2016
      Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
    20. Good reputation/quality is a given...:thumbup

      Important for heads: A sculpt that looks good from most angles with appealing proportions
      Irrelevant for heads: Absolute correctness of facial anatomy

      Important for bodies: Appealing hands and feet, reasonable anatomical accuracy for the torso/limbs, relatively natural looking joints
      Irrelevant for bodies: Posing ability