Thursday, May 13, 2021

Review Time Again! Maru and Friends Twins Ash and Joy

  This review has been a long time coming. I first promised it way back in...August of 2020? That's when the dolls were to start shipping. I thought I'd receive mine then. Things happen though, I guess. One of them was the Covid-19 virus. When the dolls finally arrived earlier this year, we were buried under loads of snow. The snow eventually melted, but the ground was very muddy, the skies were gray, and the grass was brown. These kids are very summery, and I thought they deserved to be photographed in sunshine and, preferably, green surroundings. 

  Spring is finally upon us, but I still had to wait ages for sunshine, and, most of all, grass that wasn't dead and brown. Ironically, the next night after the day I took these pictures, (Huh? I mean the Tuesday night, after the Monday I took them.), we were COVERED in snow, and it snowed on and off all the next day. Since then it has been nothing but rain and cold. Someday I hope for real Spring!

  First of all, I have to say, the twins were sent to me for review by the company, free of charge. As always though, I will be doing an honest review.
   I lost ALL my unboxing photos! I have a new camera lens and I'm using a different memory card now. So whatever was the problem, it seems to have been cured. I wanted to show you the changes in the Maru and Friends packaging. The outer box, with the bright orange flowers is still present. The inner box now opens like a door, revealing the dolls without having to pull out an insert, or even remove the box from the outer box. Gone is the orange ribbon handle on the top of the boxes. It has been replaced by an orange satin and mesh ribbon tied around the box.

 It's very pretty, but I'll never get it tied back as prettily as it was when I got it! I did like the ribbon handle, but as a way to pull the inner box out of the outer box I suppose the ribbon tied around the middle of the inner box almost works better, as pulling it from the top, (by the handle.), occasionally got the box wedged. (I suppose it was for carrying the box.) But most people aren't going to be keeping these kids in the boxes anyway! They're too cute!

  Ash and Joy were  protected by foam sheets and tied into their boxes with ribbon, which is easily removed to free them.
No unnecessary plastic box front, which is nice.

Keep in mind, this isn't the way they came. I unboxed them before, but lost the pictures.

  Both dolls came with a certificate of authenticity.

 Ash and Joy are part of Maru and Friends' line of Mini Pals, which are 13" tall. You may have seen my other Maru and Friends Mini Pals CHADNOAH, and MARY HAD A LTTLE LAMB
  The early Mini Pals, like Chad, were made of a soft, bendy vinyl. Ash and Joy are made, like Noah and Mary, and the rest of the more recent Mini Pals, of a firmer vinyl. That is probably a better idea. They're easier to dress and undress with the firmer vinyl.
  The twins were sculpted by collector favourite, the late Dianna Effner, and designed by Maritza Gutierrez, who founded Maru and Friends. 

Look at those cute chubby cheeks!

 Like the other Maru and Friends dolls, they have a lovely, realistic look to their vinyl.

  Although they are twins, Ash and Joy each have a different head sculpt. Actually, that makes sense. Only identical twins would have the same face, and identical twins are always the same sex because they were originally a single egg that divided. Ash and Joy are what is known as fraternal twins.

 You know I love red haired dolls. These guys have beautiful red hair. It's a mix of red shades, for a realistic look.

And it isrealistic. I, had, and at least one of my kids has this hair.
Their hair is not rooted, but wigged. That means their hair can be changed if you get the urge. They can  switch wigs with other dolls. like the other wigged Maru and Friends dolls.

The wigs are held on with Velcro.

    Joy's hair has some loose curls at the sides of her face, and the rest is gathered in two side ponytails that have blue ribbons.

Her hair doesn't have a part in the back. I think I would have preferred one.
  The hair is soft, and not stiff or full of hair product.
  Both have the Maru logo on the back of their neck.

Both siblings have beautiful realistic blue glass eyes, but different shades of blue.

There are other colours mixed in, as real eyes have, making for very realistic looking eyes.
  They have 'real' lashes on top, and painted ones on the bottom. Unlike the early Mini Pal, Chad, whose lashes were glued on, and starting to come off soon after he arrived, these are set into the vinyl, and firmly in place.

  From the photos on the Maru and Friends web site I was a little wary about  the pale pink of  Ash's lips. It didn't look like a very natural shade, or even flattering. But in person it looks fine. It doesn't look as good in my photos as it looks in real life either. I guess it's hard to capture, but trust me, his lips look quite natural.
  Joy's lips are a very nice natural colour. While Ash's look fine, I do prefer the colour of Joy's lips. 
  The eye brows are made up of separate strokes, rather than a solid line.

She looks so real! 

   They both have a delicate sprinkling of freckles across their faces.  

  Like all Maru and Friends dolls, Ash and Joy are strung. They are jointed at the neck, shoulders, and hips. They can sit...

...and their arms can spread out to the sides, although not very high, as well as move up and down.

They can look up and slightly down.

  Their legs can move out to the sides, and can be turned inward or outward, so they can be shyly toed inward the way Ash is above, or strike a bold, broad legged stance. .

Their outfits coordinate, with Joy wearing a yellow and white gingham blouse, with cuffed blue and white gingham shorts...

...and Ash wearing a white and yellow gingham shirt and cuffed navy blue shortalls.

His shorts close in the front with a snap.

The straps crisscross in the back.

Afterward it occurred to me that this picture looked like he was peeing on the tree. Oops.

So I took another.

Ash has a blue bow tie that matches his shorts, and an extra yellow and white gingham bow tie.

Both ties Velcro closed in the back.
  Joy's blouse has...what would you call this kind of sleeve?

The blouse closes in the back with snaps, and her shorts close with a snap in the front, just like Ash's.

They both have cute little kid, slightly pudgy bellies, and belly buttons. Her shorts have belt loops, but no belt.

  Joy has yellow sandals with a cut out design. The ankle straps close with Velcro.

They both have sculpted fingernails and toenails.

  Ash has white ankle boots that really tie and untie.

His boots have a sight texture on the bottoms.

  They're just like the boots that came on previous Maru and Friends dolls, Coy and Noah. As usual with Maru and Friends the quality is great. The clothes are well made from quality fabrics, just like tiny human clothes. Neither Ash nor Joy are wearing underwear or socks. Underwear can be purchased on the Maru and  Friends site though. 

  I really love these dolls. They have gorgeous Effner faces and are made of wonderfully warm looking vinyl. The glass eyes add a 'live' touch to the dolls' faces. The dolls have a fair amount of posability for their limited jointing.

 The hair is very pretty and realistic. I love that I can change the wigs if I want to. (Now Maru and Friends need to sell a line of wigs for these dolls. That would be fun.) The clothes are good quality, well made clothes, with snaps instead of Velcro. The snaps are great for kids because for one thing, they can learn to use closures that actually appear on real clothes, and for another thing, there isn't the worry of snagging the doll's clothes or hair with the Velcro. I taught my kids to always re-velcro their doll clothes closed when they took them off the dolls, so the clothes didn't get ruined by the Velcro. (Not that they all did it all the time!) Barbie clothes with gauzy parts, and sweater fabric were in the most danger, and I have come across loads of that type at yard sales that are totally ruined because of the Velcro. 

    All but one of the Maru and Friends dolls have been sculpted by Dianna Effner I asked Maritza about the future of Maru and Friends, following the death of Dianna Effner late last year. Here's what she had to say:

 "Dianna's passing is sad and sudden. But she left us with lots of doll designs prior to her  passing that we have yet produced. So soon we will launch two dolls for this season and some other surprises that are in development phase. We look forward to continue to produce her beautiful art for generations to enjoy her legacy."
  Ash and Joy are a limited edition of 300. They are available on the Maru and Friends website for $115 each, or $199 for the pair.

  There are outfits for the Mini Pals available on the Maru and Friends website too, including pajamas,  undies, and two boys outfits. 

  You can read about Maritza, and have a look at my review of Maru, the doll who gives the company it's name HERE. You can see my reviews of Maru and Friends' Chad HERE, Noah, HERE, Mary Had a Little Lamb HERE, and Coy, HERE. You can also see my Jamie HERE, and my Savannah HERE.

See you again soon!