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The urge to "rescue" a doll

Oct 29, 2017

    1. Apologies if this has been discussed, but I didn't see a thread like this in the active areas.

      Does anyone else struggle with the urge to "rescue" dolls that are being offered for sale in a damaged state?

      I have high respect for anyone who mods a doll -- I'm too afraid to even do face-ups on mine, much less take a Dremel to them! -- and I know that sometimes the best efforts just don't work out. But recently I saw a doll being offered for sale on another site that is showing clear signs of being, shall we say, a practice doll for some body mods. The seller admits that the mods are not quite right, but blames them on a previous owner. I flinched when I saw the modifications.

      The doll is a sculpt I'm vaguely interested in owning, and is legit, and is being offered at a good price considering the damage. The mods are such that they could be covered by clothing most of the time. But I don't need the doll, and I wasn't planning to actually add any more dolls to my horde this year...yet I find myself going back to the listing multiple times a day, and pondering the idea of rescuing this doll like it was an orphaned puppy!

      I showed the doll to the spouse and he pointed out that he often has to persuade me to back away from "rescuing" a doll -- I didn't realize how often I do that. I can't even claim that I'm going to repair the damage or complete the modification to make it all worthwhile, I just want to feel like these unwanted dolls get a home!

      Does anyone else feel this intense urge to grab these semi-broken BJDs and just give them a good home?
      • x 9
    2. I used to, when I was newer to the hobby. At the time, my budget was so tight but I had all these ideas for characters, so I'd sometimes buy a "rescue" doll to save some money. In the end, it was a bad idea for me because it meant I had quantity over quality in my collection--a lot of damaged dolls and none that looked good. If I had known how to restore them, it might not have been an issue, but I didn't, and I was too scared to try, and I just ended up being really unhappy with my collection.

      In short, I think if you only do it because you feel bad for the doll or want to be cheap, you won't be satisfied. If you do it with intent to practice and learn to fix damages, it could very much be worth your time.
      • x 9
    3. I hear you @DollSewist! Have you ever read "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott? In that book Beth, the youngest sister, is known for rescuing scraps and orphans of "dollanity" I totally understand the impulse to rescue...that forlorn face...though there is value in resisting!
      • x 3
    4. Hmmm... though admittedly, I'm still working on getting my first doll, I feel like you could really turn a broken or damaged one into a cool character. With the right paint and posing, you could help them "own" their damages and make it look like part of their design.
      • x 3
    5. I suppose that urge is largely why all my dolls are secondhand, since I love the thought of giving them a new home/new life/new story...but I have no idea how to do even basic repairs on a doll since I'm still new to the hobby, so I know I couldn't give any truly damaged ones the love and attention they deserve (unless, as said above, the damage could be made part of the character and wouldn't need to be "fixed").
      • x 7
    6. Yes. I also want to rescue dolls and make them beautiful again. Lucky for me, my rescues seem to be in O.T. dolls --
      who are not the price of our BJD's. Unfortunately for the rescued dolls, if it more than cleaning and hairbrushing, they never gain niceness again. Do we need rescue anonymous?
      • x 3
    7. I’ve only rescued one bjd head. I was just looking through the mp and saw this poor head with really badly discolored sealer that was partially peeling off. I knew it was going to be a lot of work to ‘restore’ the head and it might not be possible. Normally I would have passed, but the face just kept speaking to me and I bought it. It really was a lot of work to get the sealer off, but I was able to save the head. Now he is one of my favorites as I was able to fix him and make him desirable. I’m not going to make a habit of rescuing bjds though, that’s a slippery slope best avoided!
      • x 4
    8. I would absolutely love to rescue a body, since I'm looking for a cheaper, used body for one of my boys. I don't mind mods or damage (except yellowing), so I totally get where you're coming from!
      • x 3
    9. I would love to fix a "rescue" doll! I just haven't found the right doll yet! I want to fix dirty, poorly modded dolls! They have the most character and personality! Plus, I feel like I love the doll even more if I get to fix it up!
      • x 3
    10. When I was a kid I used to "rescue" toys from a flea market. Usually old plushies and animal figures. Than I washed them, sometimes there was some sewing necessary and I was so happy I have rescued them from ending up in the trash. :)
      Now I have the same impulse with BJD. I just haven't found one where I would like the sculpt yet. I found few in a bad state in need of rescuing. But so far no sculpt I'd like among them.
      So I like the idea of rescuing but buy the doll just if you really like the sculpt as well.
      • x 4
    11. I don't do it with dolls so much, but I have tons of My Little Ponies that I picked up at flea markets and secondhand stores and fixed up.
      When I have more time and income, I might try buying a doll to restore.
      • x 2
    12. .
      #12 Gintsumi, Oct 30, 2017
      Last edited: Feb 29, 2024
      • x 2
    13. I have this problem with literally EVERYTHING. My Mom worked with dog rescue when I was little. So I constantly wanted to "save" any animal I came across.
      She is also thrifty, so we shopped at thrift stores and antique stores too. So yes, when I see dolls that are yellowed and in need of love it takes a lot for me not to snatch them up.
      I do occasionally give in and buy them, and the secondhand ones have always felt more "full" than the ones I have bought new.
      • x 6
    14. There were a few "extreme" modders back when I first joined the hobby. They'd buy damaged dolls and either do repair mods or add to the attempted mods and make a one-of-a-kind creation. @Buff is at the top of my memory for restoration artists who are still active in the hobby.
      • x 3
    15. On the doll side of things, I'm probably more the sort of collector dolls should be rescued from! :whee: It's too bad though because most of them will be mine forever :evilplot:...Mwahahahahahaha [coughs]

      However, I do have this temptation with fabric (I'm not quite crazy enough to move on to deconstructing clothing yet). 6 yards of dusty blanket-weight wool in a neon yellow color? Who else could do something with that? Moth eaten blanket with a really nice fair isle pattern? Mine. A kimono bolt in someone's attic? Sure! I'll take that too! I now have an entire partner-height dining room-sized sewing table full of fabric, along with a small closet, stuffed floor to ceiling to the point that you have to kind of hold the fabric in with one hand and shut the door quickly with the other!

      I have a problem.
      • x 6
    16. @americanseamstress, I totally get you! I'm in the process of de-hoarding my sewing stash myself, and it's so hard to resist the urge to just keep adding more fabric! It doesn't help that my Halloween decor at work required me to buy four bolts of white muslin -- now it's all gotta come home to me tomorrow, *sigh*....

      I think a lot of you touched on the decision I have to make with this: can/will I use this doll as a springboard to learn to do any mods or repairs? If so, this might be a sensible purchase. Otherwise, the doll just goes from "being damaged in seller's home" to "being damaged in my home", and that's such a waste. The doll is still being offered for sale, so I have some time to mull this over.
      • x 3
    17. @DollSewist

      I definitely use dolls to learn new crafting skills. They've taught me sculpting and carving (never had used a Dremel before) and dyeing synthetics. Various types of wig-making.

      Part of my fabric problem is that the fabric I acquire gets saved for very specific projects I envision, and compiling all the pieces takes time. I just gathered together all the fabric pieces for a cotton velvet suit set (pants, jacket, and perhaps pencil skirt) with a polyester brocade lining.

      The yellow blanket weight wool got paired with another polybrocade of pinks, yellows, and whites, and got made into a coat for my mom and a duffel coat with a fur collar for me. The fairisle is cut out to be made into another coat (the pattern avoids all the moth eaten patches), but is temporarily on hold until I figure out how I want to line it. The kimono bolt got made into a bustier top (boning practice), high waisted sailor pants, and a short kimono. (Sometimes I feel guilty about making something into a garment which it was not intended for--the pattern looks hand-printed, and I worried that the fabric printer would be sad all their hard work didn't make a kimono.)

      Much of the other fabrics in my closet are for dolls (I have the entire wardrobe of most of my dolls almost completely put together now in 1/2 yard to 1 yard pieces), but I can really only work on these sorts of things in holiday spurts because I spend all my school days (and weekend) studying. Hopefully I can learn how to better utilize my Monday nights (my new weekend, as my exams are on Monday mornings).

      Luckily, this Friday is my final (3 hours long!) for end-of-block (I'm deep, deep into biochem now), so I finally get a bit of a weekend to sew (still have some admissions stuff to help with for my department)!
      • x 4
    18. A long time ago in a doll galaxy far far away (not really, it was on DoA probably 8-10 years ago), rescuing a doll and fixing it up to resell was a viable practise and frankly it funded my hobby for a very long time. I had rules about it tho, mostly that I never bought a sculpt I didn't like, and wouldn't mind keeping if it came to it, but that said, it was very much a business for me with very few of them actually staying with me.

      Over the years, I would estimate that well over 150 dolls have passed through my hands in that way, 99% of them purchased here because someone had either got in over their head with some mods, got bored or simply didn't want to fix the doll up themselves but these days it's not something you can really do anymore. It made me stop rescuing and instead fund things other ways.

      Still miss it though, there was something really fulfilling about fixing up some wreck and finding it a good home.
      • x 4
    19. Taking on a damaged rescue case was exactly how I ended up with Muninn, my SDF Bliss... But he was a sculpt I liked a lot to begin with, and his faults were more in the "summer project-doll" vein than a Serious Disaster.

      Fixing him up was still good fun and an excellent opportunity to learn some repair and restoration skills that have proven useful with other members of the crew, though. And he ended up becoming one of my favorites in the process. ^_^
      • x 4
    20. I understand this impulse "to rescue". All dolls look like people, and bjd-dolls are especially. I think I would have saved these dolls if I had the opportunity. Just I never saved dolls and I am afraid to do anything ). However I fill happiness when I read about repaired bjd.
      • x 3