The multi jointed playdolls by Sonja Hartmann seem to be every doll mummies dream but, sadly, they are very expensive to buy in Britain or in Europe, so many people, including myself, had a look at the listings on eBay USA and, lo and behold, they seem to be a lot cheaper there (and that includes the higher P&P) than over here.
So I went ahead and bought one - to say that I was disappointed is an understatement. Please consider the following very carefully before you buy one from the USA.
Although all the doll boxes proclaim proudly that they are made by a German company called Heart & Soul, the American ones are marketed by Madame Alexander. I am still a little confused here but, looking at the difference in quality between the US doll and the one I subsequently bought from Germany, it seems that the American dolls are actually manufactured by Madame Alexander as I just cannot see how one doll can end up with so many problems whereas the other is nothing short of perfect.
The German doll (Alexis) is perfect in every way, poses beautifully and has firm, yet flexible and noiseless joints. The face paint is subtle and very lifelike as are the eyes and the lashes. The American doll had a rather gaudy facepaint with far too much blush on her cheeks, the lashes on one eye had come loose in the corners and there was a lot of blush or cheek blush overspray on both her hands. The joints were very 'squeaky' and over tight, making it impossible to pose her properly and I lived in fear of something breaking when I undressed her.
The body of the German doll was perfect, no lines or marks on the body and no trace of clothing colour transfer whereas the American doll had lines in the vinyl, akin to stretch marks, all over her back and upper thighs and there were several large patches of this pink blush on her tummy.
The worst part of all was the hair. Again, the wig on the German doll was perfect but the American doll had her wig glued on crooked which made her fringe look very lopsided but, due to the wig's netting, it is also impossible to straighten it up with a trim.
On the plus side, the clothes on both dolls were of exceptionally high quality. The materials used couldn't be better, everything closes with either zips or snaps (I hate velcro on doll's clothes, don't you?) and the stitching is superb. The designs are well thought out, contempory and highly fashionable, infact you would be happy to wear them yourself. However, the little boots on the American doll looked completely different than the ones on the German doll, same colour but much more cheaply made. Penny pinching by Madame Alexander...?!?