Sunday, May 1, 2016

Integrity Toys 2016 convention: SUPERMODELS - Larger than Life on the Catwalk

One of the hottest anticipated events of any doll calendar is the Integrity Toys annual convention. The announcment and registration process always takes place in spring. It finally arrived: W Club members have May 2nd to register, while, if there are any places left, the general public can register on May 3rd. Let's check out what is happening:

This year's theme is the supermodels. And of course, it means the original, 90s ladies, not the lesser clones of later years and the unworthy carrying the title lately. The supermodels of that era were known to everyone by their first name, they were truly beloved and admired, they were the true stars of the era, they were on magazine covers instead of actors and celebrities. This year's convention is all about celebrating some of the most glamorous ladies to ever live and every Integrity Toys doll line offered at the convention will be inspired by these fashion icons! Here's a list of what the 2016 SUPERMODEL Convention Pass offers:

For the price of $500.00 US (or $475 if you take advantage of the early bird special), you'll get:

  • A welcome bag with a very special give-away right when you arrive (usually a doll or an outfit).
  • Two full sit down dinners and a luncheon with highly sought-after swag (i.e. dolls) given out at each event.
  • Opportunity to participate in the "Fashion Bazaar", a sales-room for collectors to sell and swap their own goodies (and just like last year, renting a table is FREE and opened to all registered convention guests). Also, at the "Fashion Bazaar", guests can enter our annual costume contest and party with IT staff.
  • Access to the Integrity Toys Collection display, where you get to see all of those cool dolls in person; this year's display will feature a short trip down memory lane with an exhibit covering some of the highlights of the years of Integrity Toys in business.
  • Access to the IT Direct Souvenir shop, where you can scoop up all of those special and limited edition Integrity Toys convention exclusive collectibles and other great deals, just for convention attendees.
  • The opportunity to take part in exciting and unique workshops.
  • The opportunity to purchase the exclusive convention collection.
  • The opportunity to purchase the ever popular Color Infusion Style Lab collection.
  • For W Club Members only, the opportunity to sign-up for the Members-Only luncheon.
  • Exciting raffles with one-of-a-kind dolls created just for the event by the Integrity Toys design team.
  • For people with budding design talents, the chance to enter the annual design contest, where this year again, one winner will see their original design turned into an IT production doll.

This year's convention hotel is the Chicago Airport hotel with cutting-edge design, innovative spaces and stylish guest rooms and suites. Experience the convenience of staying near O'Hare Airport, down-town Chicago and exciting shopping destinations while at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. Hyatt Regency O'Hare has an impressive modern aesthetic that speaks to business and leisure travellers. The hotel has large, open meeting spaces, featuring state-of-the-art technology and relaxing areas where you will enjoy spending time with your friends. Of course there is a special convention hotel rate of $174.00 + tax/night (single and double occupancy only)* for your stay with them during the convention. This rate is available starting Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 (check-in) until Sunday, October 16th, 2016 (check-out). As usual, a limited number of rooms are also available for those of you that would like to extend your stay for the days before and after the convention. Please note that IT and the W Club Liaisons will not be involved in this and you will need to contact the hotel yourself for the extended stay options and make these arrangements directly with the hotel's reservation desk.

This year again, Integrity Toys will be releasing the full registration package containing all of the glamorous details of the convention, including more details on themes and activities of the convention in a few months This is done to give everyone a chance to be around when the registration package is released, since the sign-up for many of the activities will be limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis to those who will have already registered for the convention when the registration package is released. The exact time and date of the registration package being posted will be sent out to conventioneers a few days ahead, so that they can be prepared when this most awaited moment happens.

This year again, Integrity Toys is offering multiple options to register for the event and the earlier you sign up, the earlier you will gain access to the IT Direct Souvenir Shop at the convention itself. No matter if you chose to sign up using the early bird special or the instalment plan, the earlier you sign up, the better your queue number will be for the wait lines. Last year, the convention sold out in less than 48 hours; if you are planning on attending the event, do not delay registering when the link goes live on Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 6:00PM (for W Club members) or Tuesday May 3rd for the general public. Convention registration is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and spots cannot be reserved for anyone.

Here are the two options available this year to purchase your registration package:

Early Bird Special:
$475.00 US (payable in full immediately at registration)

If you pay in full IN ONE COMPLETE PAYMENT before May, 13th 2016 at Noon Eastern (New York time), you save $25.00! If the convention is not sold out after this date, the full price of registration will be $500.00 US.


Installment Plan:
$500.00 US (payable in three installments)

To help guests budget for their trip a little better, this year again, an instalment plan is offered. The first instalment of $150.00 US is due immediately at registration to secure your convention pass(es) and then, you will be invoiced via email for the balance in two additional instalments of $175.00 each on approximately May 24th and June 24th, 2016 respectively.

  • Children under the age of 10 will not be admitted.
  • Convention registration is offered on a first-come, first-served basis and we cannot reserve spots for anyone.
  • No absentee packages available.
  • No proxies are accepted and Integrity Toys will only acknowledge one registrant per registration pass. The convention team will only speak directly with the guests who are registered to actually attend the convention in person. As always, you are more than welcome to make your own arrangements to purchase someone's convention goodies before or after the fact, but Integrity Toys will not deal with third parties who are not physically in attendance at the convention. This includes (but is not limited to) purchasing a pass for someone else when you yourself are not attending, pre-ordering the convention collection unless you are registered and attending, etc. If you find someone to attend on your behalf, please make sure that you both understand that they are the ones who will have to purchase the convention registration or any other items offered during the event in their own name and then, ship them to you afterwards. Any arrangements that you make with this person will be strictly between you and him/her and Integrity Toys will no longer recognize or deal with anyone else other than the guests actually present in person at the convention and whose sole name appears on the ticket.
  • The Fashion Bazaar is an event started in the fall of 2014, which was a huge success with attendees. Guests are encouraged to come wearing their best disguise, as there will be a costume party and an actual sales room where guests will be allowed to bring down Integrity Toys goodies to sell in the ballroom (more details about this will be in the upcoming registration package).
  • You can make a vacation of this convention and bring yout family. One the reasons behind the creation of the "Fashion Bazaar" was to have a more "optional" event that would give guests some free time so that they could go explore if they wished on Friday night. Please note, however, that this convention is geared towards adult collectors and children below 10 years old are not allowed. Only fully registered guests will be allowed to attend the various functions and gain access to the IT Direct Store and Style Lab. While your family members are more than welcome to stay with you at the convention hotel, please note that if you would like your family members to actually attend the convention functions, they will need to be fully registered.
  • If you want to get early access to the Souvenir Shop, you should buy your registration package as soon as possible, since the date/time stamp of your paid invoice will determine your wait line priority number at the event.
  • In order to give a chance to a maximum number of guests to purchase their convention passes first, Integrity Toys will release the registration package within the next few months. If you are planning on submitting an application to be a table host, you may start to find your table mates immediately. When the time comes, you'll be prepared to send Alain Trembley your complete table list. There's no need to contact him about it ahead of time. Having a complete table of guests will not guarantee you a position as a table host.
  • There will not be a JEM-specific event or souvenir available at the convention. There will be Color Infusion products featured in our Style Lab, which also share a body with JEM.
  • Budget concerns: typically, registration package included, it is a good idea to set aside a minimum of $2000 to $3000 US to have a comfortable and worry free time at the convention.
  • Transfers and cancellations will be accepted up to 60 days before the start of the convention, therefore until August 12th, 2016. A fee of $75.00 US for transfers or cancellations per convention pass will be applicable. After August 12th, 2016, no refunds or transfers will be accepted and you will forfeit the price of your ticket if you choose not to attend the event. This is not negotiable and out of fairness to everyone, no exceptions will be made.
  • Integrity Toys will not accept last minute requests to have table hosts pick up goodies on your behalf. Souvenirs are counted and table hosts will be instructed to bring back any souvenirs that are not spoken for. If you are not present in person, you forfeit your convention pass and there will be no refunds issued or souvenirs sent after the convention. 

So what do you think about this year's theme? How will the well established characters of Integrity Toys lines transform into 90s supermodels? Which character will be Linda? Christy? Naomi?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Game of Thrones dolls - creating the HBO series characters in scale

Tonight is the premiere of the sixth season of Game Of Thrones, the popular television series based on the books of G.R.R. Martin. I am a fan of both and am waiting for it anxiously. Just last week I saw on facebook the wonderful work of the talented Lisa Ramsammy (The Dollplace), who repainted a Tonner doll to make it look like Jon Snow - with incredible results. So I decided to look around a bit about more Game Of Thrones great repaints and I am happy to present them all here, with links to the websites of their talented creators, so that you can go ahead and see more of their amazing work and maybe order a doll that you crave. They were created for the Game Of Thrones project of The Repaint Society, where you can find more characrers from the series. Some are already for sale on ebay, others through the respective creator's website.

Jon Snow by Lisa Ramsammy - find her at The Dollplace.

Photo by Lisa Ramsammy

Photo by Lisa Ramsammy

The Night's King by Lisa Ramsammy

Photo by Lisa Ramsammy

Tyrion Lannister by Laurie Leigh - find her at Beautiful Faces by Laurie Leigh

Photo by Laurie Leigh

Photo by Laurie Leigh

Kal Drogo by Laurie Leigh

Photo by Laurie Leigh

Jaime Lannister by Susan Hook at My Immortals

Photo by Susan Hook

Photo by Susan Hook

Ygritte by Susan Hook for My Immortals

Photo by Susan Hook

Cersei Lannister by Laurie Everton at Barbie Canvas

Photo by Laurie Everton

Missandei by Laurie Lenz at Angels Doll Studio

Photo by Laurie Lenz

Melisandre of Asshai by Aysun Kuzey of Kuzey Creations

Photo by Aysun Kuzey

Friday, April 15, 2016

W Club presents its first doll for 2016: Ooh La La! Poppy Parker

It was about time the W Club presented its first doll for this year - it's mid-April already! It is a Poppy Parker doll, clearly in the Bon Bon style of this year's line. Let's see the doll:

Item # PP101
Ooh La La!
Poppy Parker™ Gift Set
The Bonbon Collection
2016 W Club Exclusive
Limited Edition Size: TBA 
Estimated Ship Date: Mid to Late Summer 2016
Special W Club Price: $150.00 + Shipping, Handling and Applicable Sales Tax*. 

*A non-refundable deposit of $25.00 due immediately at pre-order, balance of $125.00 + shipping and handling (and tax for Maryland residents) due approximately Mid to Late Summer 2016.

Doll Tech Specs:
Head Sculpt: Poppy Parker™
Body Type: Poppy Parker™
Quick Switch Feature: No
Skin Tone: FR White
Hair Color: Platinum
Eyelashes: Yes, Hand Applied

Poppy Parker is a 12-inch fully articulated vinyl fashion doll with a fully rooted hairstyle and hand-applied eyelashes. This gift set includes Poppy's mix-and-match separates, colorful bracelets and silver hoop earrings, her printed tote, two pairs of interchangeable hands, a pair of authentic cork wedgies, bright red slingback shoes and a doll stand, all packaged in a window box gift set. A numbered certificate of authenticity is also included. For adult collectors ages 15 and up.

I am glad I skipped the upgrade Poppy, as this is a much better doll, both in design (well done David Buttry) and as a complete offering.  Her new eye screening is more mature and sexy, but so much better than previous efforts in this direction (IFDC, IT Convention). I love the platinum hair (it looks different than the silver of Mistress of Disguise). Her outfits look lovely and very versatile, the jewellery looks nice, except from the earrings. The bag is pure fun and the shoes are to die for - thankfully not another flat classic Poppy shoe in sight. I love the rockabilly vibe with just the right touch of French finesse and joie-de-vivre. Cannot wait to see how the rest of the line will look. And what about the numbered certificate? That is a first for Poppy as far as I know.

Pictures of prototype shown; final production colors and textures may vary slightly. Any staging props are not included. All photos and information contained herein is copyrighted Integrity Toys, Inc. and Intercap Merchant Partners, LLC 2016 and may not be reprinted or disseminated without express written permission. Poppy Parker is a trademark of Integrity Toys, Inc. All rights reserved. Graphics, photography and Layouts by Alain Tremblay Marketing.

Censorship on the Internet: how far can Mattel go to protect their interests?

A couple of days ago, I saw a post by a fellow doll collector on Facebook : it mentioned that a common friend and popular doll blogger, Ada - better known as Papusile Mele  had been blocked on Facebook and could not post anything for the next few days. I soon discovered that she had been blocked  by Mattel. The  reason for this was that she had posted on her Facebook page a sneak preview photo of the upcoming Mattel Star Trek dolls.

That photo, showing three upcoming dolls from the Star Trek series (Spock, Kirk and Uhura in the likeness of the original actors), had been already posted in many Facebook groups, chat rooms and even some obscure online shops (Ada posted a Linkin to a Greek one!), so blocking her for posting it was a bit extreme - and without even warning her first or asking her politely to delete it, as would have been the proper way for Mattel to follow.

Companies have the right to restrict the use of their photos, especially of they are from unreleased products or have been made known to certain groups of people under condition of confidentiality and guidelines for their publication. That would be the case, for example, with photos of dolls send to W Club members by Integrity Toys or the Barbie Collector club and their sneak pics. From what I know about this particular case, this is not a sneak photo from a club etc., but a picture probably leaked online by someone with access to it. 

So, however ridicule may sound to you, it is perfectly legitimate for Ada to post it, until Mattel asks her to pull it down. Which never happened. She got blocked for three days instead. Just like that. It sure does not look good for Mattel - it makes them look like a bully scaring people off. Which is exactly the opposite of what a company like it should be doing. Was it that hard to simply ask for the photo to be taken down? And the irony is that Ada is a genuine Barbie fan: her blog and Facebook page is a testament to that and a source of valuable information for Barbie collectors all over the world. It is ridiculous to attack people who support the doll industry like this, especially when they do better PR for their product that the company interested. 

Shame on you Mattel.

All photos are courtesy of Mattel, from previous Star Trek releases.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tonner One World Dolls to produce an Empire line of dolls

Tonner One World dolls have made their first joint move after their merge: they are going to release a limited edition of Empire dolls. The TV series Empire, if you have been living in a cave for the last 18 months, is a pop phenomenon, the most successful TV series in the US and a worldwide hit, a black soap opera taking place in the music industry, Much of the series'success is due to the incredible Taraji P. Henson (formerly of Person Of Interest), playing the sassy Cookie Lyon.

The company has reserved a website where one can sigh up for email releases regarding the dolls. So far there has been no information regarding which characters are making it in the line up and if they are going to have the actors' likeness or not. It's certain though that Cookie will be the star of the line as she is in the series. The welcoming email does not say much more:

Empire is one of the hottest show's on television and it is about to get even hotter! The Empire Collector Doll Series is in full development right now and we guarantee you are going to love these dolls! 
Hand scuplted and designed by legendary doll designers, Robert Tonner and Stacey McBride-Irby, these one of a kind, limited edition works of art will leave you breathless and weill be a definite conversation piece.
For up-to-the minute details on what's new, what's coming next, promotions, collector's contests, all things EMPIRE and so much more; be sure to stay connected.

Cannot wait to see the dolls! Can we hope for a Naomi Campbell doll too (she guest stars in the series)?

UPDATE 14/4/2016: Tonner One World published sketches of the dolls and a photo (or good render) of the doll boxes: two Cookie dolls and one Lucious: