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What do you think of "starter dolls?"

Mar 20, 2010

    1. I've seen a lot of people recommend that newbies get a "starter doll" when they're just getting into the hobby. The reasons given have been along the lines of "get a cheaper doll so if you mess it up with your inexperience, it's not a big loss" or "get a very simple doll that's easy to restring and take care of so you wont be frustrated and leave the hobby" (so no tan dolls or dolls with fantasy parts like Soom MDs). I was just wondering how many people have actually gotten such a doll? Not just a first doll in general, but one that may not be their first choice in doll and has been purchased for the reasons listed above. To those who have started with a "starter doll," would you recommend it to newbies and why?

      Personally I think it can work for some people, but I really don't like the idea myself. I think it's better to buy a doll you like the most rather than one you expect to ruin. If it's something like modding practice I'd buy a cheap head to experiment on, but I don't see the point in settling on what someone else thinks you should have if you plan to own/keep it.

      On the other side of the fence, is there anyone out there who bought a more expensive/more complicated "dream doll" and wish they had bought a starter doll instead? I'm really curious about both sides of this since it's a pretty foreign concept to me.
    2. Oh jeez, you know, if I'd bought a "starter doll" maybe my DOT Tender Shall's wrist wouldn't have nicks that came from me trying to remove her hand; my Soulkid Limited edition wouldn't have a discolored face that came from me applying blue acetone.
    3. i agree with you in that its both good and bad. I bought a limited soom doll for my first doll and thats when i discovered the size is all wrong for me, how to restring, etc. and I did TONS of research so he still remains in good condition but he doesnt get as much love as my smaller dolls. Maybe a started doll shouldnt be your first doll if your dream limited will slip away, but maybe if a simple doll is on your list I would definitely recommend getting them to learn the basics. even after being in the hobby for over a year Im still getting frustrated with restringing the different kinds of dolls, having elastic snap on me or being interrupted while painting... to the point of having to put the unfinished doll away for days just to cool off. I think its very possible a bad enough experience could turn someone off from bjds very early and then they would lose out from this difficult expensive doll
    4. @Nefla
      I totally agree with you, I'm new to BJD and my first doll just got home not long ago was JDF Terra, at 410 I don't think he is one of the starter doll...at least that was not the reason I got him ;^-^;
      Before getting him I asked couple of my friends for their oppinion, and I got some valuable informations such as how to take care of them and what to look out for. Not really anyone told me to get a cheaper or smaller one.
      They did tell me it'd be fairly difficult to shop for his clothes since he's 1/3 boy but with the SD10 hight ^w^b
      Anyway, I think I've made the right choice bring him home ^///^ *am very happy with my Terra* I think if you really wish to be a BJD owner, it's essential to do enough homework before hands, and be very patient and careful when you handling him/her, so you can minimize any disaster that might happen.
      As for modding I think a cheap head is good for ^^w but not buying a doll just for this purpose.
      Also I'm thinking about getting a head for practicing face up ^^w definately don't wanna practice on my Terra's face ahahaha www
    5. I don't like the 'starter doll' attitude. I think its kinda rude of anyone to assume that everybody who is new to the hobby is going to ruin their first doll somehow :o I'm all for buying the doll you love, within your budget, and jumping right in!
    6. i really think, that starter dolls dont exist, because i really dont find it much use if you waste youre money trying to buy a doll so you can learn, i think it is a big loss because you could of saved that money to buy what you like. and maybe i you look around you will find articles on how to tace care of them, but if starter dolls work for you thats great for you, but for me they dont work i buy what i like, if its cheap but i like, i buy it..... sorry i went offtopic
    7. I think it depends on the individual... but buy the doll you love, don't settle for one only because of its price.

      A "starter doll" would not have worked for me. When I know what I want, I go for it. I spent months researching the hobby and when I found what I was looking for I dived in. I woudn't have it any other way.
    8. This. The idea of "lol get a cheap doll and knock it around!" is just plain insulting to me. Maybe I'm just the type to read up as much as possible when I'm going to make a hefty purchase of any kind, but to get a doll you're not crazy about to "test the waters" just doesn't make sense to me.
      In the end, more often than not, you just end up selling said doll and waiting even longer to get the original doll wanted.
    9. It never really occurred to me to get a 'starter doll' when I was looking around for my first doll. The only thing I did take into consideration was the size. I had never seen a bjd in person before and even with a measuring tape, I couldn't really envision what a 45cm or 60cm doll would look like. So to be on the safe side (because 60cm looked HUGE to me back then), I went for a MSD sized doll.

      Once I was certain of what size I wanted, I just looked around for the doll that I thought was most appealing to me - which ended up being a DoD DoC Homme Kirill. DoD dolls are by no means 'starter dolls' as they can be a pain to restring since my DoC didn't even have a groove in his head for the S-hook to sit in, not to mention DoD dolls are not cheap either.

      However, when I got my doll.. I didn't really regret it even though I knew there were less expensive dolls out there I could have bought as my first doll. I jumped right in and learned how to restring a doll, how to hotglue seude a doll and so on. I think it just takes a lot of common sense AND research in order to keep your first doll in good condition, regardless of whether it's a 'starter doll' or a more expensive/complicated 'dream doll' with fantasy parts.

      My only regret was... I fell in love with SD sized dolls after a while and have only recently gotten back into MSD sized ones >__>
    10. Even someone new to the hobby can do well with any kind of doll they want if they have the patience to read through the forum or post their questions before working on their doll. Unfortunately a lot of people just aren't like that and so we see a lot of new owners dissapointing themselves by damaging their new purchase.

      I really think the starter doll concept is for those people who know they are going to want to experiment with face-ups and modifications. However for someone who just wants to make clothing for their doll or photograph it why shouldn't they get exactly the doll they want?

      On the other hand an excellent idea for someone who knows they will want to do face-ups and modifications would be to buy a seperate doll head to practice on. Even those with tremendous skill with pencil and canvas sometimes find the 3-dimentional shape and texture of the dolls so much different from what they are used to. A head would be the best solution.


      Finally there are starter dolls that aren't cheap but are actually a bargain because they come with a face-up , eyes, hair and clothing already. This is great for the person who is just interested in having a doll for their collection, and for photographing.
      It's very cost effective!
    11. I think people should buy the doll they want. Some folks might feel more comfortable with a "starter doll" so it's fine for them, but if your dream doll is really that SOOM limited then you're not going to be happy with a substitute.

      Also, I think another reason people recommend "starter dolls" is because they're not sure how committed to the hobby newbies are going to be. It's true some people might just want to try out owning a doll, but I'm one of those people who gets really into things for a long period of time or not at all, so when someone like parents would just assume that "oh, it's a phase, she'll be tired of it in a year, let's just get a cheap starter whatever-it-is" that attitude would bug me. I don't think it's fair to just tell every new person looking at dolls "you should buy a starter doll so you don't mess it up/ get tired of it." Depends on the type of person you're dealing with.

      I'd qualify my above statement though, by saying that people who ask for help choosing a doll and make it appear that they haven't researched or thought about it enough to know what they want, do come off as maybe a little more scatterbrained and less committed, so I can see where that would bring the "starter doll" recommendation on.
    12. I'm a big believer in 'start as you mean to go on', so I'm the least likely person to buy a cheaper *insert object here* just so I could take part in a hobby. If a hobby takes my fancy, I research it and I buy based on quality. Even if I'm not part of the hobby for long, I can sell the higher quality object for either equal value or increased value based on workmanship and condition.

      When I was learning to play bass guitar I researched and I bought an Ibanez, rather than 'my first electric bass'. When I began to pursue photography as an art form, I bought a Nikon SLR. When I joined the BJD hobby, I bought a Soulkid (because she fit my budget and my quality criteria) and I've always, always had my eye on Volks (If I'd had the means at the time, my first doll would have been a Volks...)

      I think the idea of buying a 'starter doll' is misleading to newcomers. Sometimes accidents do happen and they're sad, but most are preventable by a good deal of research and some friendly advice, and a few times damage and accidents can be reversed. From the evidence I've seen, the thicker, toothier resin of some of the more established companies stands up against wear and tear and frequent face-plants much better than the typically thinner resin of the newer companies, so a typical 'starter doll' might not be as durable as one would hope.

      I recommend to anyone, that someone looking to get a doll for the first time should take themselves to meets! Chat to owners, hold some resin, get used to the way different companies' resin feels, figure out what suits you and base your starter doll off this real information, rather than sit in front of your computer screen trying to guess from company photos what a doll is really going to feel like :)
    13. Yeah :XD: Its also insulting to the people who own and LOVE their 'cheaper' dolls... considering NO doll is actually 'cheap' in this part of the Dolliverse!

      I think the good thing about this hobby is that if you make a 'mistake' with your first purchase - such as the size/skin tone/general aesthetic or whatever not being what you expected, its really easy to re-sell with little to no loss, and try another doll. Expect trial and error, its all part of it!
    14. In my opinion, I think idea of "Starter Doll" is for people who want to try face up themselve, like me, lol. But I sadly end up buying one I want and try. I think starter doll is fine idea but if you want to spend your precious money, you should spend it for "the way you like it" not "the way you will distroy it" :]
    15. To some extent, I agree with the notion of a starter doll--but only in the terms of a somewhat less-expensive doll, not in terms of sacrificing quality or anything or just buying a particular doll so you won't screw up something more expensive. I know that I myself compromised when I bought Freya, (Who was supposed to be a different character from who she is--that's what you get when you compromise, I suppose!) but only because I'm one of those people that has flings with one hobby or another before moving on to the next one quickly, and wanted to limit myself budgetwise so that I didn't end up with this gorgeous doll that I love(d) in a hobby that I didn't. That's the only time I think a starter doll is a good thing. Otherwise, the notion is vaguely offensive, mainly the assumption that every newbie out there needs a cheap doll to screw up because they haven't done the right research.
    16. I've always been a huge Miho fan so logically my first doll was a Miho hybrid, and while he might not have been in the price range of a Volks or Soom limited, I certainly had to work a while to afford him with all his belongings and extras, which I don't regret in the least. Anything else would have been nonsense imho.

      What's considered a 'cheap' doll in this hobby isn't really cheap at all if you think about it and a loss is a loss, be it 100 or 1000 dollars. I would have hated to ruin a mod job or not getting the stringing right on every doll, no matter the cost and I'm still new to the hobby - I still need to learn and I love to learn, but I love to learn with a doll I want and can use as a fitting shell for my OC, not one I just got to try stuff out.
      Trying also does not automatically mean messing up btw. You can just as well bring a doll and a bunch of sandpaper and a dremel together for the first time and be a natural.
    17. I am one of those starter doll people, and I'm honestly really glad I did that. I have a set of RS and BBB tinies, very simple, very cute, but also very affordable. Even though they were "starters," I didn't exactly settle. I wanted a boy and a girl that looked nice together, I wanted the boy and girl to have different skin tones, and I wanted yo-scale.

      Since Bobobie was one of the first companies I was introduced to, I was wholeheartedly ecstatic to find what I wanted so quickly for a price that wasn't all that startling, and didn't do much research beyond that. I was perfectly content and excited with them. A NS Bei and a Light Tan Bao. Perfect! Exactly what I'm looking for!

      It was after the initial purchases that I started going to meets, was indulged with info and tips from fellow collectors (beyond the particular friend that introduced me to them), and was able to play with dolls of all sizes and types.

      After getting the pair, however, I started noticing little things about them that severely limited what I could do. The were incredibly simple and easy to string and the aesthetic is great, but they are not very posable at all, and, despite their proportions being pleasing to me, both are such an oddball size that finding fitting items is a major challenge. Despite that, I learned how to handle everything BJD related on the pair, from simple care to suading to face-ups, something I may have been intimidated by if they were much pricier.

      The problem is now, 8 months later, I don't do anything with them. I've found many more companies, I've played with dolls that are engineered differently and better, seen up close the aesthetic of different sculpters, and quite frankly, I just flat out have a better idea of what I even want in this hobby. I had no idea until I owned dolls how much posability meant to me, and that's really not anything I would've known unless I had dolls of my own and went to meets to handle all sorts.

      I'm seriously thinking about selling them and starting from scratch with different dolls that pretty much serve the same purpose but are also better posers and a more conventional size. You live and learn. I'm just so glad selling them isn't an impossible task.
    18. I personally got what I wanted for my first doll. I researched/looked around for a couple years before hand though to make sure I knew what I wanted and if I really did want. I think it depends on the person and they need to know themselves. If they impulse buy, it might be a better idea to go with a starter doll to make sure they really want one. But if you know you want X-doll, I say save up and go for it.

      I've always thought it was better to take longer and save for what you really want than to get the 'next best choice' for less and feel less satisfied as a result.
    19. I suppose my first doll could be called a starter doll. The reason being that I didn't really pick out her sculpt, skin color, eyes, and she already had a face up whether I wanted one or not. I bought her because I saw a booth at an anime convention, and I was SO overcome with glee by the fact that I could see and touch and AFFORD the dolls there and not have to wait for one!

      So it either comes down to: Starter doll - I panicked and snatched the first doll I could that was closest to me because she was there, or love at first sight - I saw her and wanted her. To this day it's hard to decipher since I DEFINITELY wanted a doll more than a lot of things back then. Do I love her and am I happy with her? Yes! I still own her. And she's adorable. Have I settled in an effort to launch myself into the hobby? Maybe! But I don't regret it. (:
    20. Honestly, even if you're getting a 'cheaper' doll you're still dropping $200 or so on a new hobby, and I don't know about anyone else but I certainly can't afford to spend that much on something to experiment with and potentially ruin!

      My first doll definitely wasn't cheap, and I didn't buy him with the intention of messing about with him right away. I don't regret my purchase at all, and although I'm a pretty creative person I feel happier having the faceup etc. already done because this way I can grow to love the doll and the hobby without potentially souring the experience by ruining my first doll. I plan on getting a blank head to start practicing faceups on at some point, but I wouldn't want to do it with my first and only doll - at least if I screw up on any practice head I buy, I still have Maya to inspire me and show me what a faceup looks like when it goes right.

      It's bound to depend on the person though - I'm sure for some people jumping straight in and experimenting works better for them, and buying a cheaper doll might be more logical. Certainly getting, say, a limited tan doll and then using it for practice doesn't seem very wise to me. I tend to think it's best to go with something you like though, whether it's cheap or not.