Earlier this week I decided that I wanted to get some Monster High Create-A-Monster (CAM) kits so I could have dolls for crafting and possible repainting. I got them today and I decided to take photos and offer a review. I’m not a parent, but I’ll try to look at them from that perspective. Mostly I’m looking at them from a crafting point of view. I know that these dolls are very popular for those wanting to make clothes and do custom repaints but they can’t afford the really nice ball-jointed dolls.
The packages for both sets were difficult to open. A parent would have to do it, and it’s dangerous even then. The edges of the plastic are pretty sharp. Once you get it open you need to take out all the parts and use nail clippers or very small scissors to cut the plastic bits that attach the wig to the packaging. You then need to reach inside the wig and scrape out the other end of the connectors, otherwise you have sharp bits sticking out from the hair that hurt to get pricked by. The same is true of the named dolls, I found several plastic bits that I had to carefully clip as close to the scalp as I could.
There are no left/right markers on the thighs of either doll. You’d better know how a body is shaped to get them onto the correct sides. A child might not know and put them on backwards. When there are markers for left and right on the body parts they’re almost too small to read. A parent may have to help put them together properly.
The doll’s legs spread on their own (both dolls, worse on the werewolf). They don’t stand side-by-side like the named dolls. I’m assuming it’s got something to do with the way the hips are jointed. The spread of the feet actually makes it tricky to get them on the stand without sliding off. The arms pose better than the named dolls, and that’s probably because of the way they join. they don’t feel loose and sloppy like the other dolls.
The wig was ratty and melted in this set. Maybe not melted, but it was hard like it’d been given too much heat. I can probably fix it with conditioner and a fine-tooth comb like I did with my used Draculaura. I’ve heard liquid fabric softener works too, but we don’t have any. The hair is going to need work though. Also, the bangs were crushed and curled under the edge of the plastic cap. Luckily, this can be salvaged with just a little work.
The werewolf hands have claws, the dragon hands are curled. The werewolf has no ears on the actual head. This means that it’s going to look really odd if you try to mix it with other doll parts. The werewolf ears don’t clip into the hair well at all. I forgot to get a photo, but they have a really loose peg-and-hole closure. There’s not enough thickness to the hair to get them to stay on right. I tried to put them in the best I could and they still slid right out of the hair.
There’s only one wig in the package. I really wish that they’d have a wig for each doll, but they don’t, so you’ll never have more than one of the dolls with hair on it’s head. From what I can tell, Mattel doesn’t sell separate Monster High wigs at all. I’m hoping that at some point they’ll start making and selling them, but in the meantime I’ve heard people say that Liv Doll wigs fit well enough. The wig also has some other issues. The hair is added in such a way that you can see the plastic edge very clearly. You could never do a ponytail or updo without the doll looking really weird. Also, the peg that holds the wig into the doll’s head is soft and bendy which makes getting it on a bit tricky. It stays put once you get it on, but I can easily see kids bending and breaking that peg.
All the dolls have holes in their back for wings and tail. The dragon‘s wings fit nicely and are easy to get in and out. I really like the look of the werewolf, but both dolls in this set are nice. The clothes are cheaply made and fairly lame and the stands are, as usual, loose and not well-made. It’s not bad for a child, but collectors and crafters are going to want to ditch the fashions. Except the shoes, those were pretty cool. These dolls don’t come with any jewelry or other accessories. I did steal the corset-style top off the vampire doll in my other set and put it on my Spectra. Once I cut off the ugly yellow bat, it was nice.
These two dolls are pretty much the same as the first kit as far as issues. In this one the bangs were really hard and messed up, but the rest of the wig was fine. The legs spread less than the dolls in the first kit, but still more than the named dolls do. The wigs in both kits are quite a bit shorter than the photo on the box indicates. The box shows hair that goes to the bottom of the rump, but both wigs are barely waist length.
One other thing I found out with these dolls is that you can’t mix parts from the CAM kits with the named dolls. I love the hands on the CAM vampire and wanted to put them on my Draculaura. However, the pegs on the CAMs are much larger and won’t fit into the holes on the regular dolls. That also means the regular doll parts won’t go on a CAM either. I was hoping they were compatible, but they’re not. Maybe Mattel will fix that in the future.
Overall, I’m pretty happy that I bought these, but only because I got them on sale for $7.99 and $8.99 instead of the normal $19.99-$21.99 each. If you’re buying these for your kids and you want to spend full price, it’s not an awful buy, but you’d be better off waiting for a sale. If you’re a crafter, I’d strongly recommend waiting for a sale. The kits are pretty good, but I think the retail price is a bit high for what you get. I will say that the faces are different from anything you’ll get on the named dolls, and the hands are pleasantly unique. They’re a good place to start if you’re just trying your hand at repainting or making clothes. That’s what I got them for, and I think I got a good deal. I’d only have been unhappy if I’d paid full retail.