Monday, December 15, 2014

Smartees Alert - Handle With Extreme Care

Do you have any of the Smartees fashion dolls? These are the Barbie alternatives produced between 1999-2001 whose focus was careers outside the fashion and modeling industries. Amanda the Architect, Destiny the Doctor, Emily the Entrepreneur ... yes, those dolls. If you do have them, I suggest that you handle your Smartees dolls with extreme care because they are more frail than they seem. Several of mine have had the legs break at the right hip connection.

Taylor the Teacher was the first doll whose right leg snapped off. She fell from my hand to a table. Okay, I suppose I should have been careful. The fall distance did not seem far to me. I have dropped click bend kneed Barbies from greater distances than that. Oh yes, I winced. Then Caitlin the Cook's right leg cracked when I tried to cross her leg. Oh no, I wailed. Then Amanda the Architect's right leg snapped when I was taking off her black stockings. Oh sh-t, I said. Three breaks at the same place - what are my Smartees trying to tell me?

Sigh. You can see the break in this photograph.

Close-up of Smartees doll's broken leg-hip connection
Smartees leg-hip break

Okay, these fashion dolls are from 13-15 years old. While the material is decent enough for a "small name brand" doll, it was not intended to last for centuries. So I and others interested in "playing with" these dolls should be careful and gentle with them. Or be prepared to find them replacement bodies.

I would rather not swap articulated bodies for the Smartees dolls because their original bodies are good quality. No leaky plastics, no sticky residue. The waist twist. The knees bend. The arms bend at the elbows - although they have no articulation at the wrist ("paddle arms"). I prefer to save my articulated bodies for dolls with limited posing ability.

Smartees Amanda with leg broken and showing "paddle" arms
Smartees Amanda and "paddle arms"
So handle your Smartees with care, but if they should break as mine have done, please remember their age. They aren't antiques or "vintage," but they are mature in doll years.


RagingMoon1987 said...

Jeez, that's too bad! If I pick any of these up in the future I'll keep this in mind.

Black Doll Enthusiast said...

Sorry your dolls are not standing the test of time or doll play. My Destiny the Doctor remains in her box, where she shall remain.


Anonymous said...

Hi D7ana, that's a pity! And always the right leg! With dolls it's not predictable how the material will react after 10-20 years unfortunately. The Smartees are very pretty and interesting dolls though!

D7ana said...

Hi RagingMoon1987, Black Doll Enthusiast, and Night Owl!

@RagingMoon1987 - glad to have you aware of the problem.

@Black Doll Enthusiast - sigh. At least one Destiny will be safe ;-)

They've got such cool packaging, the Smartees.

@Night Owl - i rather the clean break though to oozy plastic. I like the Smartees dolls. They are a niche unto themselves ;-)

The grandmommy said...

Why do we feel so bad when we break a doll? For me it seems like a mini person has been hurt. LOL Hope you figure out how you can make them better!

D7ana said...

Hi The Grandmommy! I think we feel bad because the doll represents a person. And I feel guilty because I've been careless with a charge.

I'm trying to think how I can "fix" them so they can keep their original legs and bodies.

Thanks for the sympathy ;-)

Unknown said...

Hello from Spain: great advice. I also suffer when the dolls are broken. Keep in touch

D7ana said...

Hi Marta. Always good to take care with older dolls. We don't like to see them broken.

Having a specially good time seeing the Christmas posts.

Ms. Leo said...

That is too bad! One of the advantages of Mattel is that you can always find a spear body. You might what to put her on a Mattel body. I am starting to feel like you are making a gamble by keeping a doll in the box. I only have about 8 NRFB dolls. I think I'll keep it that way.

MissSpottyJane said...

So sad! 1999 doesn't seem old enough for the dolls to already be falling apart, but it apparently is.

jSarie said...

What a shame! They're such unique-looking dolls, and I always think it's worse when the unique ones don't hold up.

Still good to know to be careful with them (if I ever find one, that is!).

D7ana said...

Hi Ms. Leo, MissSpottyJane, and jSarie!

@Ms. Leo - alas, the doll being MIB or NRFB doesn't mean "intact" in box. Although my dolls were fine until recently.

I'm not sure if I will modify the Smartees body or use a donor Barbie or Liv body.

@MissSpottyJane - I agree - 1999 is not that long ago. In human years ;-)

@jSarie - as Ms. Leo stated, Barbies are or seem to be everywhere. Novel and unique dolls though are more eusive so there's additional anguish when something goes wrong with them.

billa's dolls and fashions said...

Hi D7ana, this is such an awful remindend me when the same thing happened to my 1976 Ballerina Barbie....

Unknown said...

Oh poop. That's so sad! Is there a chance that you might be able to reheat the plastic and melt the parts that broke? (I mean, that would be a fire waiting to happen--I mean, a burning-down-the-house fire, in my case, as far as my coordination goes--but I thought I'd put it out there.)

I've not heard of these dolls. She's got such a sweet face. And so nice to see such great even plastic. Maybe sticky, marbled legs add to stability. How irritating!

D7ana said...

Hi Billa and Alison!

@Billa - you do NOT want to see my 1975 Free Moving Curtis Doll (7282). He's completely fallen apart. Side seams to his body just splat. The "free moving" device must have been one of the worst Mattel created.

@Alison - Yay, I am glad to share a new doll with you. The Smartees all have the same face, just varying complexions and hairstyles. They look pretty without Barbie's glamour and - sometimes - excess make up.

I was thinking of taking a short piece of clothes wire and heating both ends, then piercing that wire to both sides so that the leg has something to hang onto the hip. I'll have to be careful with her, but I would be able to retain her original leg.

The Smartees legs are a nice material, even if they are click bend. Smooth, clean-lined plastic.

I didn't used to like the hard plastic, articulated legs, but since encountering some of the sticky legged dolls, articulated knees are my preference. When I can get them ;-)

Oh and sticky-marbled legs fall off, too - sad to report. Sigh.

Troy said...

I've never heard of these dolls either. Something else to look for!

Older dolls and their joints seem to be the bane of player-collectors. When the same thing happened to my Growin' Pretty Hair Barbie Doll right after I bought her, I was so disappointed. She's terrific otherwise, so she now has her legs kept on with a band.

Sometimes we do tend to forget that these older toys are fragile.

D7ana said...

Hi Troy! Glad to share this doll series with you. That's a good way to keep her leg attached. When my Baggie Francie's arm broke, I gave her a Mystery Squad Kenzie body. Not the best match, but i can pose her better.

Hope you find the Smartees that you want. If you get one MIB, they have neat accessories ;-)

BlackKitty said...

I never heard of these dolls before, they are very pretty! I was just going to suggest fixing the hips with a metal pin, you should definitely try. This doll is worth saving.

D7ana said...

Hi BlackKitty! The Smartees came out around 1999 and were active from then - 2001. Thanks for the metal pin endorsement. I'll try that.