Any of you who have been readers for a while will know that one of my favorite current doll lines out there is the Hearts for Hearts Girls line from Playmates Toys. The Hearts for Hearts Girls are dolls representing cultures all over the world. They are approximately 14 inches tall and have sweet faces and soft, beautiful hair. (To see my numerous other Hearts for Hearts Girls posts, be sure to check out my Doll and Toy Reviews Page, and look under the "Hearts For Hearts Girls Doll Reviews" category.)
Like any H4H fan, I was thrilled to hear from the Toy Fair reports this past February that two new dolls were in the works: Nyesha from New York and Surjan from Nepal. I wasn't expecting to see them this year, though, especially after the delays with Mosi and Shola's releases.
So you can imagine my surprise when I got a call from my mom today, saying that Nyesha and Surjan were in our local Target!! As I mentioned in the last post, things are a bit tight on the financial end for us right now. My mom was a complete sweetheart, though, and bought both dolls for me so I could do a review for all of you. :D Thanks, Mom!! You're the best!
Here are the lovely new gals in their boxes. :)
We'll take a look at Surjan first. You'll notice that Surjan and Nyesha both are in the new packaging without the big cardboard flap with the doll's photo on the front.
Some box details from the front:
Top of the box
Interestingly enough, on both this box and Nyesha's, Surjan does not make an appearance on the side that shows "all" of the dolls.
The back of the box.
A closer look at Surjan's box photo...
...and a little snippet of her story.
The bottom of the box.
Surjan's packaging is just like the other Hearts for Hearts dolls I've reviewed, with a cardboard box that slides inside the outer box, and a clear plastic insert to which the doll is attached.
A clearer look at Surjan's pretty face.
The back of the inner box has just two simple twist ties (the soft, "environmentally friendly" type that don't poke you). ;)
Also like the other dolls, the inside of the box shows her location on a map.
Here she is in just the plastic insert.
She is held in place with more twist ties and some thread on her hair.
Surjan is a stunning doll with a lot of great details. Her outfit is pretty much identical to the photo on her box. I was pleased to see the similarities after the huge costume differences between Mosi's stock photos and Mosi herself.
I love the fact that Surjan's earrings are actual metal loops...
...as well as her nose ring.
Her necklace is plastic and shaped to fit the curve of her neck and shoulders.
It opens and closes in the back just like Rahel's necklaces.
Here's a closer look at Surjan's pretty outfit.
I love all of the little details, such as the actual embroidery around the hem.
Different layers of material on the sleeves.
Her shoes are pink plastic sandals.
I decided to take the clear bands off so they wouldn't leave marks on her feet. They do tend to fall of pretty easily without the bands, though.
Here is Surjan from the back, with the first close look at her hair. I was a bit disappointed by Surjan's hair. The Hearts for Hearts Girls' hair has always been one of my favorite things about them. They usually have the most silky, beautiful hair that holds up to lots of play. This hair had a different texture to it and was not nearly as smooth. I get that some hair is more textured than others, but this seemed to be more of a quality issue than a matter of racial accuracy,
Surjan's outfit has Velcro closure in the back.
Let's take a minute to check out a few of her accessories.
The little cardboard name circle that in earlier dolls used to have an online code for the website (which is no more)...
...now has trivia on the back instead.
Like all the other H4H dolls, Surjan comes with a little booklet, telling her story.
A few sample pages:
I have not had the chance to read the story yet. To be honest, I buy these dolls more for themselves than for the stories.
A girl-sized charm bracelet, another item traditionally included with these dolls.
Surjan's comb, which I will NOT be using. (Plastic combs destroy doll hair!)
Here's a comparison between Surjan's stock photo and Surjan herself.
I wasn't able to tell from the stock photos online, but Surjan seems to share Tipi's face mold, although her lips look slightly fuller. What do you think?
Her eyes are the exact same shade as Lauryce's (and Shola's, too).
Let's move on to Nyesha now!
Nyesha, ready to be opened. :)
Top of the box
See? Still no Surjan!
The back of the box.
Nyesha's stock photo/box photo.
Bottom of the box
I won't go into as many details as I unpack Nyesha since her packaging is exactly the same as Surjan's. ;)
Nyesha's map location.
Free from the box! Surjan has a pretty face and a cute little outfit. There are a few mild changes to her outfit, mostly shades of color and such. Overall, though, her outfit is very comparable to her prototype doll.
Her earrings are blue "jewel" studs.
A closer look at her shirt, skirt, sweater, and tie combo.
Her shirt, tie, and sweater. The sweater and shirt are actually all one piece, but are sewn to look like they are separate.
Her sweater and tie are both attached to her shirt front with threads.
Her skirt is attached from front to back with a thread. In this picture, you can also see closer detail of her skirt. Oh, and both dolls came with white undies, which you can also see here.
I love her sparkly silver tennies! :)
Here she is from the back. Check out that wild hair!!
Her sweater/shirt has Velcro closure in the back, as does her skirt.
I have to say, I was even more disappointed with Nyesha's hair than with Surjan's. The curls are cute, but unruly, and feel much dryer and more prone to tangles than earlier versions of Hearts for Hearts Girls hair. Rahel is the only other doll that had super curly hair, but hers held up amazingly well to Little Gal's crazy toddler play. Nyesha's does not feel like the same quality, and I can only imagine the tangled mess it will become in the hands of a less-than-careful little one.
I was also a bit bummed because her hair looks quite different from her stock photo. More on that later, though.
This particular doll had some pretty thin rooting in some areas, too. I could find huge, bald patches like this by just moving a bit of hair aside. By contrast, Surjan's hair seemed nicely rooted without these obvious thin spots.
I feel I should mention, however, that in my own experience, Hearts for Hearts Girls hair can vary quite a bit between dolls. I experienced this when I added Mosi to my collection. The Mosi I ordered from Amazon.com had really bad hair. It was thin and almost greasy-looking, and her bangs were chopped really short in front. Later, when I was at my local Target, I saw another Mosi with beautiful, soft bangs, so I picked her up. The difference was like night and day. You can see the comparison pictures of the two Mosis HERE.
All that to say, it's possible there are other Nyeshas out there with thicker, better hair. I would definitely recommend buying them in person so you can choose the one with the best looking hair.
She's still a very sweet little doll, in spite of her hair issues. :)
Here are some of her accessories:
Nyesha's name circle...
...with trivia on the back.
The charm bracelet in her package.
Her pink plastic comb.
Her storybook pamphlet.
A sample of the pages inside.
Here you can see a look at the differences between the stock photo and the doll herself. The main difference that instantly stands out is the hair. Look at the beautiful, full, poofy curls on the stock photo! Even the prototype doll at the Toy Fair had a similar look. I wish they'd been able to capture the same style in the doll herself. I also noticed that she does not have the little orange hair clip in the picture.
One of the things that became quite noticeable about Nyesha and Surjan as I reviewed them was the incredible softness of their plastic, both in their heads and limbs.
With little effort, I could squeeze Nyesha's leg almost completely in on itself.
By contrast, the earlier H4H dolls have much firmer plastic. I don't think this affects the quality of the dolls, and it didn't seem to affect their ability to stand or anything. Just an interesting change between releases. ;)
I determined that Nyesha shares Consuelo's face mold.
She is almost identical in coloring to Nahji.
My two newest girls.
I love both dolls for different reasons, but I think Surjan is my slight favorite. :)
So, it's time for the ratings!!
Surjan: 4.5 out of 5
Nyesha: 4 out of 5
Both of these dolls have the same sweet faces and fun outfits of the earlier releases. Their unique coloring and cultural backgrounds make for great diversity in a doll collection, and also provide great conversation starters for families. I am disappointed in their hair this time around. As I mentioned in the post, the hair on this doll line has always been one of my favorite things about them, so it's sad to see that the hair is not quite up to par with the earlier dolls. That's why I gave each doll a deduction. I gave Nyesha a slightly larger deduction because her hair seems to be worse in quality than Surjan's. Still, I love both and am glad to have them in my collection. :) Also, I feel I should mention that I am basing my ratings on the dolls I have on hand. If I were to find dolls with better quality hair (comparable to some of the older releases), they would both get perfect scores.
Surjan: 4 out of 5
Nyesha: 4 out of 5
The posability of these dolls has not changed at all. While they stand pretty well and are fairly sturdy because of their simple articulation, I'd love to see a bit more flexibility, especially in their sitting position. They have to sit with their legs splayed out to the sides, and they don't tend to sit very well without leaning back on their hands. This makes them particularly hard to display or store in anything other than a standing position.
Surjan: 5 out of 5
Nyesha: 4.5 out of 5
Like I've mentioned before, these dolls make GREAT starter dolls for little ones who are not quite ready for a full 18 inch doll. They're very lightweight and their smaller size makes them easy for small hands to play with them and carry them around. My three girls have spent countless hours with their Hearts for Hearts Girls and love playing with them.
I gave Nyesha a slight deduction just because I think her hair is going to be difficult to deal with. Even though Surjan's hair has some issues, too, I think it will be easier to brush out and work with since it has only a slight curl. Still, if you're looking for a doll for a younger little one, I'd definitely recommend going for one of the Hearts for Hearts Girls with straighter hair, like Consuelo or Lillian.
On another note, the boxes do say ages 6 and up, and I would really recommend sticking with this for Surjan because of her metal nose ring and earrings.
And again, these scores are based on these particular dolls, but even if the hair was better, I think I'd keep the scores the same. Even if Nyesha's hair was better quality, it would still be difficult to maintain because of the extra curl, making her slightly less playable than Surjan.
Surjan: 5 out of 5
Nyesha: 5 out of 5
As always, the other great thing about these dolls is their very affordable price. The dolls retail for around $25 each, which is much more compatible with a tighter budget than some of the higher end play dolls. :)
I know it's been a while since I've shared reviews from my daughters. I had hoped to do so with this post, but since they're already in bed, I figured I'd get up as soon as possible. I'm hoping to be able to incorporate more reviews from the girls in the coming weeks. :)
The Hearts For Hearts Girls will always be some of my very favorite dolls. It's so nice to have dolls with little girl figures and a variety of colors and cultures represented. I know we'll enjoy many more hours of playtime with these gals in the years to come. :)
Will any of you be adding Surjan or Nyesha to your collection?