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That first doll....

Jan 3, 2017

    1. Just me being curious again. I thought it might be a fun discussion. What differences did you experience, before you got your first doll and after? For an example, did you have this idea of owning a particular doll built up the whole time you waited, only to find that everything changed. Does family and friends look at you differently? Is there anything that you wish you did differently, or wish you knew before taking the plunge and getting that first doll. I don't have a doll yet. So I can't really say what it would be like on that end. But I have heard stories of people making whole character bios before a doll arrived, only to find that the doll just doesn't fit with that idea.
    2. My very first doll I got seven years ago, and i still have him. I adored him, it was the only doll i could afford at the time, an AOD Chen. I raised the money myself because my mom said if i wanted such an expensive thing i needed to work for it. The moment i got him i was happy, he didn't have clothes for a day, i didn't know there where different sizes back than and my mom was a seamstress so she made him his first couple of outfits. I did his first face up and i was so bad, didn't have the right stuff. He still has the stains to prove it. That's the only thing i wish i had know, how to do a proper faceup, but there weren't a lot of youtube videos on that like there is now.

      I didn't come up with a character i didn't even come up with a name before i got him. I just bought the one doll I could afford at the time, and i still love him. He created his own story, named him after a character in a book i was reading at the time, Alvah. I think it's a good idea to let your first doll grow, and then when you are more experienced and know more about the dolls and the hobby you can start shelling characters. That's what i did. Every doll i got after him was not a character, but now seven years down the road I know what i like in a doll and what to get, so I am shelling characters.

      But Alvah will always be my first love <3
      • x 6
    3. What a wonderful story! I love that you still have him even after so many years. I honestly have tried to create a character but it's just not happening ha ha, I don't think I could think up a name if I wanted to. But I am sure after I get my first one it will just grow into something like you were saying. Thank you for commenting again what an awesome story :)
    4. I was already a toy collector when I got my first BJD (mostly Hot Toys and action figures) so I thought I'd have a decent handle on things. Well, my first doll arrived and I realized...not so much. I hadn't grasped clothing sizing quite as well as one would hope so she arrived and several of the items I'd gotten for her didn't fit. Including her pants. That was a downer because she came in and had to be put right back in her box. Couldn't put her on display with a shirt and no pants (or undies for that matter)!

      I was also ultra paranoid about breaking her when I first got her. Which I eventually realized was quite silly. They're pretty resilient. And I was terrified to take off her head! I eventually reshelled her (a few years down the road) after I discovered I liked SDs better than MSDs. But I'm not sure I'd do it any differently if I could. I feel like that first experience was valuable and it helped me figure out what I wanted my collection to look like.
      • x 1
    5. I wish I'd known how carefully I should keep tan resin out of direct sunlight. my first doll is tan, and since I didn't keep her out of direct sunlight for a lot of the first year I had her, the color in her face has faded. I should be able to hide it when I finally manage to do her face up.

      It was a later doll who completely altered my plans for their character. I had a shy wallflower in mind, and got someone more like Mulan. I probably like her more this way than I would have if she fit my plan.
      • x 1

    6. You make a good point about the clothing sizes. I wasn't originally figuring clothing into the plan but knowing I would prob want to display her after getting her that might be important lol. Thank you for the comment. Sounds like wonderful experience to me :)

      I had a similar experience with an off-topic doll. It's legs are now a completely different shade than the rest of it. Was it that you just took your tan doll everywhere? or did you have it displayed near a window? Thank you! :)
      #6 artistgayle, Jan 3, 2017
      Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2017
    7. I had her facing a window in a spot that got direct sun 1-2 hours a day. I put something between her and the window when I noticed it was hitting her, but putting her further from the widow sooner would have been better.
    8. Because I researched ball jointed dolls on and off for a couple of years before buying one, I became aware of what I wanted in terms of size, that I wanted to try a faceup, and that non-fullset dolls needed wigs, clothing, and shoes, so I was able to be prepared upon joining the hobby.

      I did not expect to get dolls in smaller sizes though. That was a pleasant surprise because with each different size came a slew on new accessories and things to worry about.

      I also never intended collect Iplehouse dolls because they were way too expensive, yet here I am with a bunch of iple dolls.
      • x 1
    9. Oooh I love Iple dolls! I hope to get one one day, they are so gorgeous!
      • x 1
    10. Awww, AoD Chen was also my first doll! I got him almost 9 years ago, and while I was on a budget, I don't think I would have chosen differently if I'd had a thousand dollars to spend. He was just perfect, and I still own him.


      When I got Amir, I had never seen a BJD in person before. This was before you could easily search for BJD photos and info on YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, etc. I didn't even know DoA was a thing. I expected him to be closer to American Girl size, based on his height, but because of his adult proportions, he felt so TINY in my hands, although at 46cm, he's actually kind of tall for MSD. I bought him blank, did my own (terrible) faceup. He had an idea of a character, but nothing set in stone, and he did change a lot as I got to "know" him.

      Things I wish I'd known:
      1. Proper faceup materials and tools and safety protection gear. My faceups would have looked so much better and been safer for me AND my dolls, had I known the proper things to use. I've had a "smoker's cough" for years because I didn't wear a mask when I started doing faceups for a year or two.

      2. Restringing is really pretty easy. It took me about two years before I was brave enough to do it, and it was one of the simplest parts of owning a doll.

      3. Don't go cheap. For just a little more money, you can get nicer eyes and wigs that can make a huge difference in your doll. For example, I started with $3 acrylic eyes, and later upgraded to $10 glass eyes. It gave life to my doll. You don't need the most expensive everything, but sometimes it is worth it to spend just a little bit more for something of decent quality.

      I don't know that my family or friends treated me any differently, but I was 25, on my own, buying my own doll from money I earned from working and selling my old stuff I didn't need, and I've been into dolls and figures my entire life, so to anyone who really knew me, it wasn't a big surprise. My parents think I spend entirely too much money on these dolls, but since I don't ask them for a penny towards anything, they can't say much. My husband has some expensive hobbies too (computer and console gaming, motorcycles) so as long as I'm sticking to a reasonable budget and not asking him for doll money or spending bill money on them, he likes that I have a hobby. My sister is in the hobby too. My friends tend to think it's either really cool or really weird, but I've been the weird friend all my life, so I'm used to that. I have a friend who collects taxidermy, so maybe I'm not THAT weird. :P
      • x 2
    11. I'm fairly new to the hobby, I'd been wanting a doll for ages but only realized I could afford one in 2015, haha. My first doll was an Angell Studio XiShi in her fullset version. While I absolutely loved her from the company photos, I didn't originally plan for her to be my first. There was an event though and her fullset price became lower than the blank price for the doll I did plan on buying first, so I switched things around. I'd never seen a BJD in person and was afraid I'd made a terrible mistake and that I'd hate her when she arrived, or that she would be too big, but it was love at first sight when I finally opened her. :aheartbea Because she was a fullset, I had all I needed right from the start (and I made a point to order some maintenance tools along), but her clothes were so long I had trouble posting her in them, so I started bothering my mom to sew for her quickly, haha.

      That said, despite all my love for her, she gave me a lot of trouble! I bought her to be one character, decided to do a different one, went back to the original plan when she arrived, then decided it wouldn't work. So I tried another character, and another, until I gave up and made a character just for her, haha. My other dolls since have not given me that much trouble, thankfully! Despite all that, I wouldn't change a thing about my history with her. She's wonderful and taught me a lot, and I look forward to many more years with her and the rest of my collection!
    12. What differences did you experience, before you got your first doll and after?
      I was introduced to the hobby in grade school, so long before I could purchase a BJD of my own. As a result, my early perception of what my doll collection might look like was colored both by this being fairly early in the creation of the BJD hobby (dolls were much more expensive then, and much harder to get a hold of) and my childhood tastes (less realistic dolls appealed to me then).

      If I had purchased a doll then, it would have been a Dream of Doll Shall (specifically the Tender version), who is far more childlike, bobble-headed, and anime-inspired than my current dolls. I also currently am turned off by dreaming or sleeping sculpts, so looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking!

      After coming back to the hobby with my own income source and buying money, I began to look toward buying more mature dolls. I purchased other off-topic dolls first, who persuaded me to pursue this hobby, but I won't talk much about these here. I finally settled on a Planetdoll MSD Riz, who I purchased both because my off topic dolls were MSD--so I was comfortable with this size--and because I wanted to test some modding/customization techniques on her (my previous dolls were ABS--which doesn't mod exactly like polyurethane resin).

      After purchasing this doll, I was able to get most of my wishlist dolls and now I'm hoping to move into the crafting aspect of the hobby (if I could only finish my mods!).

      Does family and friends look at you differently?

      I already customized action figures, Momoko, Unoa light (Sekiguchi), Ashley Wood, Pullip, and some off topic Hujoos (actual BJDs) before this, so my family already thought I was weird.

      Is there anything that you wish you did differently, or wish you knew before taking the plunge and getting that first doll?

      I wish I had purchased one body before it was discontinued. Besides that, I don't really have any regrets--I originally regretted not becoming involved with resin BJDs earlier, and perhaps I regret getting my MSD off topic dolls because I ended up selling them, but I really love the other dolls which I was exposed to due to my interest in BJD. I wouldn't have even known about Pullip, Momoko, and Unoa light Sekiguchi before this hobby, and I am very glad I have them!
    13. We have so much in common, my partner also does gaming and computer builds, so there is no room to tell me my hobby is expensive. It's nice to be able to afford more expensive dolls but i'm happy with my Chen still :)
      • x 1
    14. I agree. Iplehouse dolls are very beautiful. I hope you get to have your very own. :)
    15. Before I got my first doll I had been a great admirer of BJD's for a couple of years and one day decided the time is now. I searched E-bay for months and months but never found one I liked, I looked at loads, I did find the re-cast Iples attractive but I didn't want a re-cast, so started looking at the various factories, Spotted a sculpt I fell in love with and ordered her. Her name and her clothes came before she did and fortunately they fitted. I also arranged the face-up artist while she was in transit so that I could have her perfect as soon as poss. As for family and friends, I have to be very careful who I tell and really pick my moment too. Being a man and collecting dolls doesn't really conform to the stereotypical male and although I don't really care what others think I am careful about who is told, so I don't openly discuss the hobby with friends. I did tell a female friend who proceeded to take the rip. So, I'm very reserved about it now. I love having her, it helps me to see aspects of myself which I would not if I didn't have her, like dressing her, brushing her wig etc. My main hobby is photography and she is just brilliant for that. So she brings out my feminine side and helps me progress with photography. I didn't have a character defined before she arrived, that's coming out now, she's a cheeky little monkey and very sweet. The face-up artist described her as 'a darling sculpt'. I love having her around and she's constantly sat near me. I'm not sure if I've answered the question of differences but I think so. There's absolutely nothing I wish I'd done differently, she's gorgeous. That's my Katie.
      • x 1
    16. My first doll was an MSD, and while she no longer works for me now, she was perfect at the time. I had no set ideas, and back then wanted to do my own faceups. I had a lot of fun and she was my favorite doll for years. It was only really the negative times I bought her in that made her bring back bad memories... so no longer like her, otherwise I would still love her.

      The first SD I got was another thing.... I found I didn't really like SDs, and I couldn't seen to like her no matter how hard I tried. It's only when I realized I was keeping her all feminine like her promo pics and not letting her develop her own character that I started to like her. She was much more boyish and I did start to like her a lot. ...I'll never like SDs though (Much too big for me), and she keeps the same bad memories, so I can't really like her now.

      As for how other saw me, well I've never fit the mold so no one was too surprised. My mom was a little, as when I was a kid I was more into cars, and goo, and exploding stuff...xD Most of my friends at the time didn't care, thought they where cool, or had dolls of their own.

      I really have no regrets. Even though I'm selling them now, my dolls helped me though hard times and I'm getting dolls I like better now. I didn't damage anything aside from one of my MSDs getting slight uneven yellowing on his legs... but in ten years that is pretty good! I was even told recently that one of my Bluefariy dolls was so much pinker then they thought it would be, so I'm glad to know I did a pretty good job taking care of them.

      I'm glad I'm buying my current dolls in better times, they can hold these good memories for me.
      #16 skyf, Jan 4, 2017
      Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
      • x 1
    17. What a wonderful story. I think with dolls even if you are a women there are some bad stereotypes. I can see how being a guy tho it would be even more difficult. Most of us don't care about what anyone else says, but it still ways on you when people we care about doesn't understand or support us. I love how she is so special to you, and that she inspires your photography and art. That is just so beautiful. I am hoping once I get one to have a similar connection.
    18. Thank you so much, that's very thoughtful of you. Yes, I feel like I'd like to tell everyone about what a darling she is but I can't. Oh, I'm sure you are going to love yours when she arrives, you were interested enough to join DoA. The best of luck in your search for your first, she will be special.
      • x 1
    19. I'm sure this has been asked but I am curious what kind of doll you bought first and if you regret your choice (whether it is because the shop you brought it from wasn't good or if it was overpriced, etc). I think past experiences can help with people new to the hobby (such as myself) who are still contemplating a first doll. :)
    20. My very first BJD doll was a Boy & Girl Celia. I still have her and don't regret my choice at all! It was my first doll so she has a special place in my heart even though she isn't the most artsy or beautiful BJD I have seen. At the time, I saw her as a very cute doll that I wanted to have so I could explore the BJD world and that's exactly what she did for me. I still use her for that purpose since clothes and accessories for smaller dolls are less expensive than for larger dolls in general. Plus, she also came with her own carrier bag so it's very easy for me to pack her and go somewhere with her if I want to.

      I haven't touched her in a few years so she still needs a lot of love to look the way I want her to but I'm excited to get her out again!