Monday, August 22, 2011

BFC Ink Dolls (Including a Comparison to AG)

Hi, it's me again...Beast'sbelle, I mean.  Not Maggie.  I'd just like to start out by saying that I claim no responsibility for Maggie's overzealous advertising about her blog in the previous post.  It was nice to not have to think up something clever for my 200th post, but my goodness!  You see what I have to put up with?  I think I'm going to have to keep an eye on her for a while. ;)

Okay, back on topic!  One of the doll lines that I've really been wanting to review for the blog is the BFC Ink doll line (aka Best Friends Club Ink).  These dolls are anywhere from $20 to $30 each, and as my budget is quite restricted at this time, I figured a BFC Ink doll review would be a long way off.  

Then I got a mailing from, informing me that I had $27.90 in rewards points to spend on their site! :D  I've been really trying to watch what I spend, so this was an extra special blessing. :)  

It took me a while to decide how I was going to spend my rewards points, but when I saw the BFC Ink dolls, I decided that this was a great opportunity.  I could do a doll review on a brand new doll for about $2 out of my own pocket.  It was a bit of a sacrifice, as my other choice was my "Tale As Old As Time:  The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast" book that I've been wanting for a while.  In the end, though, my desire for a well-rounded blog won out.  I figured I could either resell the doll after I was done or keep her if I absolutely fell in love. :) 

I decided on Gianna, the redhead with blue eyes and freckles (the package says blue/green eyes, but in person they look more like a deep blue).  I placed my order and counted the days until she came.

Last Wednesday, my Amazon package arrived. :D  Hubby was sweet enough to bring it over to my mom's, where the girls and I were staying for a few days.  [Remember our breaker problem with our house?  Hubby was able to solve it with the help of his dad, my dad, and my brother, but it took them a couple of days.  During that time, the house had no power, so we needed another place to stay in the meantime.  My mom was great and opened her home to us while the guys worked.]


Okay, I don't know how I always manage to get off on these long paragraphs before I actually show the pics, but I'm honestly moving on now! ;)

My box. :)

Here she is, still in the box! (You can see my daughters' feet to the left.) :)

Sorry these pics aren't the best.  I'm not used to the lighting at my mom's.  :}

Some of Gianna's accessories.

The back of the box.

Once our power returned and I got home, I continued the photo shoot in my more familiar lighting.  :)

Here she is with her box and all of her accessories.

Gianna's brush, sweater, glasses, and purse.

Gianna's journal and a BFC Ink membership card.  I haven't opened the journal, as I hope to resell everything.  I understand from the website and other reviews that the journal features entries from the doll and then has blank spots for your daughter to write her own thoughts as well.  I wasn't too impressed with the excerpts I read online.  Many of the issues they were dealing with were things I wouldn't necessarily want to introduce to my oldest daughter yet (she's within the target age range).  Nothing obscene or risque, of course, just teenage issues that I don't think my second grader needs to worry about yet. :)   

Each doll also includes a special code to unlock online games and activities, much like Karito Kids, Innerstar U, or Hearts 4 Hearts Girls.  I didn't use the code for the same reason I didn't open the journal.     

A view from the box.

Doll Statistics:
(I went ahead and used the same facts as I did for my Doll Comparison Post.  Please remember that all measurements are approximate!)

- Head Circumference:  11" (wig size would be either a stretchy 10-11 or an 11-12) 
-Shoulders: a little over 10" wide
-Arms: about 7 1/4" long
-Chest:  8 1/4" wide
-Waist:  6 1/2" wide 
-Hips:  a little over 9 1/4" wide
-Legs:  9" long
-Feet:  about 2 3/4" long; 1" wide
-Total Height: 18"

-Body Style: All vinyl, slim-bodied doll with elbow, wrist, chest, knee and ankle joints, as well as poseable head, shoulders and legs.
-Eyes:  Stationary
-Body Tag:  None

-Distinguishing Marks: "TM & 2009  MGA Entertainment, Inc.  Made in China" on back of head (see pic below)

-Availability: Can be purchased at Target, Kmart, Walmart, or (I've had trouble finding them locally, so might be your best bet).  Can also be purchased on the secondary market.  You can also visit to get more information.
Here's a pic of the distinguishing marks on the back of Gianna's head.

Gianna's brush.  I don't know that I'd want to use this brush on her hair.  Plastic bristles aren't the best for doll hair.  Although, it's not like you could do much to make her hair worse, as I'll explain in a moment! :{

Here are Gianna's glasses on her face.  I must say, I'm not really a fan of the "cat eye" style.  In the right outfit, though, she would make a cute little 50s or 60s girl. 

One of the great things about this doll is her poseability.  I would have loved having a doll this versatile when I was a girl!  As you can see from the following pics, she can do a lot. :)

While posing her was really fun, and the idea itself is great, I wasn't impressed with the quality of her joints.  Right out of the box, one ankle joint was noticeably looser than the other.  Her chest joint was also pretty loose directly out of the package.  Shaking her slightly made her swivel back and forth.  If her chest was that loose already, how floppy would she be after hours of play?  Would she continue to hold a pose? 

Gianna comes with pretty silver earrings that have little stars on them.  I know that some of the BFC Ink clothing sets come with earrings, so I'm assuming they are removable (I'm too afraid to try to take them out, though, just in case!) :}

Gianna has a stunning face and is very photogenic. :) 

I love her freckles and her pretty, deep-blue eyes. 

One thing I was NOT impressed with was Gianna's hair.  Her bangs were trimmed very unevenly, as you can see from the above pic.  Her hair also had a crunchy gel substance in it, I'm assuming to keep it flat.  Ick!  The hair itself started looking messy before I even did anything with it.  In a child's care, this hair would be a disaster within weeks...perhaps days, depending on the child!   

The "layers" in her hair were not very impressive, either.  It looked like a bad haircut.

My Gianna also had a pretty thin patch on the top of her head.  It was covered up, but I didn't have to move the hair around much to discover it.

I also found that I didn't care as much for her eyebrows.  To me, she goes from sweet and innocent looking with her bangs, to taunting, cliquish high schooler with her eyebrows exposed.  But maybe that's just me.

I thought it would be interesting to compare Gianna to one of my American Girl dolls.  For the sake of consistency, I chose Charlie, my renamed Mia St. Clair doll, which I used for the last doll comparison post.  (I also want to apologize in advance for the greenish tint to Charlie's skin in some of these pics.  The skin tones in this first pic are truest to their actual coloring.)  

As you can see, Gianna is just about the same height as Charlie, but is much slimmer.  Charlie would never fit into Gianna's clothes.  Gianna might be able to get away with wearing an AG t-shirt or dress (although it would be huge on her), but she'd never be able to wear AG pants, shorts or skirts.

Two cuties.

Here is a body style comparison.  You can see all of Gianna's bendable joints.  You can also see that she has painted on underwear.  I actually appreciate it when they do this on vinyl-bodied dolls.  I just with they'd start painting on bras, too! :)

From her more developed figure (and from the story lines in the journals that accompany these dolls), you can see that she is meant to portray a teenager, while the AG dolls are meant to portray 9 to 10 year olds.

Side view

Back view

Up Close

I also took some pics of Gianna with Elena, my renamed Karito Kids doll.  Her proportions actually work a little better with the KK dolls.  I didn't take any pics of them undressed, but at least you get an idea of how they look together. 

Side view

While the Karito Kids have a slightly more "realistic" feel to their faces, these dolls actually work pretty well together.  They have the same stationary eyes and slimmer builds.  I think Elena could work very well as an older sister for Gianna. :)

Thoughts on the BFC Ink dolls:

   1.  Beautiful, well-painted face mold
   2.  Her poseability provides great options for play and display.
   3.  A nice, light doll for carrying around with you.
   4.  A line of compatible clothing and accessories are available.

   1.  Low-quality hair with a bad haircut.
   2.  Loose joints directly out of the package, meaning more loose joints after playtime.
I was fully prepared to adore this doll and add her to my collection.  After seeing her in person, though, I may go ahead and resell her.  If I do, it will be hard to let her go.  I love her sweet face and freckles.  Her eyes are striking, and her outfit is cute (although the dress is a little too short and low-cut for my taste).  I really like the idea of having a super poseable doll, too.  Oh, the possibilities! :)  But her poor-quality hair and questionable joint construction leave me reluctant to give this girl a completely positive review.  

Based on what I've observed with this doll, I would not recommend these dolls (at least the super poseable ones) for a young child.  There's no way I would give Gianna to my 5 year old or 3 year old, for example, unless I wanted a doll that looked like a train wreck.  And just for your information, my 5 year old is pretty careful with her toys.  My 3 year old...not so much. ;)  The box says ages 6 and up.  Honestly, though, I'd even be reluctant to give Gianna to my 7 year old.  She's pretty careful with her things, but I think she'd find it difficult to manage Gianna's hair.  She might have some difficulty posing her, too, especially if her joints continued getting looser.  

I would recommend this doll for a careful, older child or an adult collector, especially one interested in a pretty doll to re-wig.  With a new wig and limited playtime, this could be a great doll.  

As a side note, these dolls make great older sisters for the Hearts 4 Hearts Girls (although the H4H girls would have to be about 4 or 5 years old by comparison). ;)  Both doll lines have the same slender, vinyl bodies and beautiful but almost cartoonish facial features (I mean that in a good way).  I wish I had a H4H Girl to photograph next to Gianna, but I guess we can't have everything we wish for! ;)

If I decide to sell Gianna, I'll probably list her on my local Craigslist fairly soon.  I want to sell her before her hair makes her look more used than she is!  I've decided I'll try to get around $25 for her, since I used up $27.91 of my rewards that could have gone towards something else.  I figure I'll put the $25 towards a My AG #55...or possibly that Beauty and the Beast book I was considering. :D  I'm still deciding. 

Hope you enjoyed the review.  Do any of you have BFC Ink dolls?  What do you think about them?           


Anonymous said...

Mama is glad that we are not real impressed with her .. especially her hair .. YUCKO .. that looks like a messy bad hair cut for sure .. we love you doing the comparissons it helps show Mama that we AG's are the best .. LOL

Oh I think You should get #55 .. then she could be my cyber twin .. LOL .. not that i am prejudice ..

Love Taryn

Bama said...

Gianna has been my hands down favorite of these dolls! I'm so glad for this review, because I have been seriously thinking about getting her.
Now I won't! I know the price is not a lot, but I'd rather have less with quality than more with bad hair and other issues. Besides I really don't have room for another big doll anyway. (I do have room for a couple of small ones though!) LOL!
Thanks so much for the review. I hope she sells easily so you can get something else.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Taryn! Thanks for commenting. :)

I would LOVE to get a My AG #55, but I'll just have to see how things go. I'm hoping to get some AG gift cards for my birthday and Christmas to help with the expense. :) If I did, I'm sure she'd love to be your cyber twin! :)

I was pretty disappointed in Gianna's hair. It's such a shame, too. She has such a pretty face and such great potential. If I had more room and felt like branching out into other doll sizes (and doing another rewigging job), I might consider keeping her. :) Hopefully she can find a good home...I just listed her on my local Craigslist, so we'll see what happens.

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks, Bama. Your comment didn't show up until after I'd posted mine. ;)

Gianna was one of my favorites, too. And even though $30 isn't that bad in the doll universe, it's still a lot of money to pay for something that isn't the best quality. I was so disappointed...before she came, I was really interested in keeping her!

Have a great day, and glad I could help with the review! :)

AuntLou said...

Neither of my girls has bangs and their hair curls. The rooting is far apart, but I can deal, with the price I paid -- around $5 each. Neither of my girls has eyebrows quite so startling! I love mine and intend to keep and play with them. The sparser hair looks a little more realistic to me, as I've only known one or two girls with huge quantities of hair.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi AuntLou! Thanks for commenting. :) I'm glad you're enjoying your BFC dolls.

Startling is a very accurate way to describe Gianna's eyebrows. I like the eyebrows on the other BFC dolls I've seen in stores. It's just amazing how much it changes her face!

The sparseness of her hair didn't bother me as much as it's actual quality and cut.

Have a great week! :)

beast'sbelle said...

Aargh! I put an apostrophe on that "it's" when I wasn't supposed to. I always have that problem with "its" and "it's". I shouldn't publish my comments so quickly! :}

Elliebob said...

So so so so very cute. I love those dolls. I had to choose recently on which one I would get a karito kid or a BFC Ink doll. I chose the karito kid since I get get the bfc ink doll i want in almost all local stores. Anyway, I got Piper from karito kids. She should be coming any day now! I bought her on amazon. :) Neat post!

bwaybabs said...

Thanks for the review.

I myself have 4 BFC Ink. dolls, one of which is an older version that has an all-vinyl body and somewhat bendable (but not really) knees which are jointed but also strung for some reason so they don't really hold, and non-jointed elbows and ankles. The newer ones like your Gianna have plastic bodies and better joints.

I too noticed that some joints are looser than others, and it really depends on your doll. Also, their 'makeup' varies quite a lot from doll to doll. Some have very metallic lips and appear to have lip-liner, while others have much more normal looking lips. This is why I think BFC dolls are much better to buy in person!

I have a Gianna as well, and she is probably my favorite (I also have Addison, Aliesha, and an older Aliesha.) My Gianna's eyes are actually do have a bit of green in them, and I think they're gorgeous. She has (in my opinion) the 'good' lips, but she does have barely-noticeable streaks on her cheeks as if someone took a bleach pen to them. I noticed on your Gianna her bangs are kind of botchy. As you can probably tell, BFC Ink.'s quality control is rather lousy =/ The first (older) Aliesha that I bought off of Walmart's website online has the overly made-up lips, so I was really surprised at the amount of variance I saw in the dolls when I saw them in the store.

Sorry for being so rambly, but I don't see very many people with these dolls much less reviews of them! =)

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for the great comments! :)

Elliebob, glad you enjoyed the post. I can't wait to see what you think of Piper! :) She looks like a beautiful doll in all of her pics. I hope you're planning on doing a post when she comes. :)

Bwaybabs, don't worry about rambly comments! I love getting comments...especially rambly ones! ;)

I's really hard to find reviews about BFC Ink dolls. That's one of the reasons I really wanted to have one on my blog.

It sounds like they definitely vary from doll to doll. My oldest has her heart set on Addison (and explaining to a 7 year old that the quality isn't the best doesn't phase them!), so who knows? I may be doing another review in the distant future (it will take her a while to save up).

Thanks for taking trhe time to comment, everyone! I'm glad this post was helpful. :)

Elliebob said...

I did. She is so pretty. :)

beast'sbelle said...


Lucy said...

Problems aside, Gianna is pretty! =) I have my eye on a couple of BFC Ink dolls, neither of which have bangs or layers, so I (hopefully) shouldn't have those problems when/if I get them. Thanks for the review and comparison pics especially! Very helpful!

- Bre (Lucy's human)

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Bre! Thanks for commenting. :) I agree that Gianna is pretty. I'd definitely say if you want to get one of these dolls, it would be best to pick one out in person, or at least go for one without bangs, like you're doing. There are a couple of them in my local Target that have really nice eyebrows and better-looking hair. I think the hair quality would probably still be low, but at least it would look better.

I'm glad you found the review helpful. :)

AlexAndrea said...

I prefer long dresses and tights WITH stockings for the BFC dolls (See my 'Cast Iron Providence' blog post).

Just a caution for those of you who order through the internet, the hair colors don't always match the photos. I bought mine (three) in a retail store on sight and noticed the photos afterward.

I forsee another ballerina added to the dozens of others in my collection. Their sizes range from Kelleys to 38 inch (TALL) 'Just My Size' Barbies.

By the way, my big Barbies all came with a painted on chemise.

beast'sbelle said...

Thanks for commenting, AlexAndrea. Good to hear from you. :) Thanks for all the info. I definitely prefer your BFC Ink doll's outfit to mine. :)

Kelly said...

I can't find Gianna and my daughter really wants her. If you are still considering selling her, please let me Thank you!!

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Kelly,

I'm so sorry, but I already sold Gianna on eBay about a month ago.
:( I hope you're able to find her!

Stacy said...

My daughter who is 9 has Noelle.(She takes very good care of all her toys.) We had issues with the hair. My daughter still loves her and we washed, dried and styled her hair which now looks better then when we bought her. We have just purchased my daughter the new boy doll from BFC Ink, C.J. and another girl doll, I believe Addison, for Christmas. We have a hard time find accessories and clothing for the dolls in stores and usually have to buy on-line. My daughter picked this doll over an American Girl, Our Generation, and PlayWonder. She says the other brands' dolls are kinda scary looking.

beast'sbelle said...

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for sharing! :) I do love their pretty faces. I'm sure your daughter will be so excited to get CJ and Addison this Christmas! :)

I've had the same problem with clothing. They are so much slimmer than the other 18" dolls that it can be tricky finding clothes locally.

My mom actually just found me a really cute dress for my Katelyn doll at a thrift store. Once I get some pics, I'll be doing a post. :)

Anonymous said...

wow i absolutly adore bfc and my bfc dolls hair are very good actually exept yuko its cause there hair is thin cause of there culture for example yukos hair is thin cause shes korian and korians have very thin hair so technichally the bfc ink designers are being detailed

ps im not being racist or anything

beastsbelle said...

I'm glad you're pleased with your BFC Ink dolls. :) Unfortunately, I haven't run into one with good hair yet!

I've known Korean people with pretty thick hair. It's usually straight, but I don't know that it would be accurate to say that all Koreans have thin hair. I think the fact that her hair is straight is probably one of the main reasons it's thin. Gianna and my newer BFC Ink Pen Pals doll Britt, who both have straight hair, have much thinner hair than Katelyn, who has wavy hair.

I think Yuko is absolutely adorable! :) If I were to get another BFC Ink doll, I'd probably get her.

Makenzie & The dolls said...

Great review!

beastsbelle said...

Thanks! :)

jilflirt said...

The BFC clothing I most want are Gianna's meet dress and Yuko's meet outfit, partly b/c I bought unclothed, used Gianna and Yuko, but also b/c I find both outfits so adorable.

beastsbelle said...

I'm with you, Jill. Both of those outfits are adorable. :)

Diane Dixon said...

Great reviews - I am just considering increasing my collection of AG's (2), Maplelea's (4),Springfield's (8), Itty Bitty's (24), Barbie (3)and Lots of Love (8" and 10" - 8).
As shown in this inventory, my likes range from very small to 18" dolls. I've been designing sewn clothes for the 18" and learning to crochet on the 4.5, 8" and 10" dolls - with increasing success.
Love all my dolls but will need to sell some to make room for more diversity - or move to a larger apartment:))
I'm one of a small group (3) older women who love dolls - I am 69, one lady is 83 and has most her original dolls and the other lady is 55 and an award winning crochet Barbie doll clothes maker. We don't think we are weird at all - just have a deep and common interest in dolls.
Sorry no photos yet - that is next on the list of "to do's".

beastsbelle said...

Hi Diane! It's wonderful to "meet" you...thanks for stopping by! :)

It sounds like you and I have some similar doll interests. :) I can't wait to hear which dolls you decide to add to your collection. :)

I just recently joined a local doll club, and the ladies there range in age from their forties to their eighties. I'm the newbie and the only one in my thirties. ;) We all have a wonderful time together and don't feel we are weird either. ;) It's nice when you have someone to share in your hobby. :)

catty2chatty said...

Thanks for the great review. I have Addison and she makes an awesome big sister for Dell, my H4H Girl.