Tuesday, February 12, 2013

American Girl Doll Face Mold Comparison :)

This is a post I have wanted to do for a while.  It was partially inspired by my desire to have a quick reference guide available for those new to American Girl, and partially inspired by a comment I heard a few months ago.  Perhaps you've heard it before if you collect American Girl dolls.  The woman asked me, "Don't all the American Girl dolls just look the same?"

Granted, I can understand how a person unfamiliar with the line could come to that conclusion, as there are many similarities between the dolls.  I must confess, though, I instantly wanted to delve into a huge discussion about the differences between face molds and comment on the many variations of those dolls who did share the same mold.  Amazingly, I showed great restraint and just let the comment pass. ;)

The remark got me thinking, though.  I realized a post like this one would be beneficial for my readers.  So, for those of you who would like a brief look at American Girl Doll history and would like to see the differences between dolls, this post is for you.  I hope my fellow AG collectors will find it enjoyable as well. ;)

I'd like to thank agplaythings.com, the AGPlaythings Forum and Message Board, and the American Girl Doll Wiki for your excellent reference pages, which I relied on heavily for this post. :)  It was a great way to make sure I was keeping things accurate!

On that note, I am by no means an American Girl expert and am only human.  If you notice an error in any part of this post, please let me know and I'll adjust things accordingly.  I've done my best to represent everything as accurately as possible, but this was a lot of history to cover and I may have missed something! ;)

You'll also notice that this post contains numerous links.  I've added a link to every doll I've mentioned.  Those of you wanting a brief look at face molds can ignore the links and just read the post, while those of you who are visual (like me) and want to take a closer look at each doll can click the doll's name or number to get more info. :)  And in case you're curious, all dolls are listed in the order of their year of release.

Okay, I suppose I really should get to the actual post itself! ;)

First things first, though.  I thought I should begin by giving you a basic history of the American Girl doll company to help you understand some of the changes that have taken place over the years.  This is designed to give you some bare-bones facts about things that happened in the company that directly relate to the dolls and face molds I'll be discussing, and is by no means an exhaustive guide. ;)  If you're looking for more information about American Girl, you'll enjoy this "History of American Girl" page I found on the American Girl Wiki after working on this post.  Maybe I should have just linked to that and forgotten this.  Oh well. :}  Here goes:

-Pleasant Rowland founded "Pleasant Company" and released the first three American Girl dolls in 1986.  Her desire was to provide dolls and books that would teach girls about the past and how girls' lives have changed through history.  In the beginning, there were only historical dolls.

-In 1995, the first "American Girl of Today" dolls were released (often abbreviated to AGOT).  These dolls did not come with names or a story (although they originally came with blank books so that girls could make up their own stories about their dolls).  The idea was that the girl receiving the doll could decide her doll's life story.  This also gave girls the opportunity to choose a doll that looked just like them.  (Side note here:  for a great basic guide to this line, click HERE to visit the American Girl Doll Wiki's page.)

-In 1998, Mattel bought out Pleasant Company and took over production.  Also during this year, the "American Girl of Today" dolls had their name shortened to "American Girl Today".

-In 2001, the first "Girl of the Year" Doll, Lindsey Bergman, was introduced.  This was the first of many dolls with a limited release.  The dolls were only available for one year, making them desirable to collectors and girls for their limited quantities.

-In 2006, the "American Girl Today" dolls were renamed "Just Like You" dolls (often abbreviated to JLY).

-In 2010 the "Just Like You" dolls were renamed "My American Girl" (often abbreviated to My AG).

-In 2014, the Historical dolls were renamed "BeForever Dolls."

Now that we've covered a few basics, let's get on to the dolls.

Here are all eight of the American Girl Doll face molds.  (Thanks to my mom for providing the six face molds I don't personally own!)  Seven of the eight are still in use, but more on that later. ;)  Let's get to know these girls!

Classic Mold

The most common American Girl face mold is known as the "Classic Mold".  This was the face mold used on the original three dolls (Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly) when the company first started in 1986.  Other dolls with this face mold include:

-Ruthie Smithens (Best Friend of Kit)
-Emily Bennett (Best Friend of Molly)

Girl of the Year:
-Lindsey Bergman (2001-2002)
-Kailey Hopkins (2003-2004)
-Nicki Fleming (2007)
-Mia St. Clair (2008) (pictured above)
-Gwen Thompson (Best Friend of Chrissa-2009)
-Lanie Holland (2010)

My American Girl (Formerly known as "American Girl of Today" or "Just Like You"):

This mold was also one of the available molds for the "Dolls without Hair", released in 2012.

Addy Mold

The Addy mold was first used for the historical doll of the same name, introduced in 1993.  Addy was the first African American doll to join the lineup.  Her face mold has also been used for several My AG dolls, but as yet has not been used for a Girl of the Year.


Girl of the Year:

My American Girl:
-#26 (pictured above)

#4 Mold

This unique mold was only used for one doll:  AGOT/Just Like You #4.  First introduced in 1995, this cute mold has fair skin and Asian features.  American Girl never used her for any other characters, historical or otherwise, and in 2012, the face mold was discontinued.  


Girl of the Year:

My American Girl:
-#4 (pictured above)

To see all of the original "American Girl of Today" faces, click HERE. :)

Josefina Mold

The Josefina mold was first developed for the lovely Josefina Montoya, introduced in 1997.  This mold seems to be very popular with collectors (and happens to be one of my favorites).  It has been used for Historical dolls, GOTY dolls, and a couple of My AGs. 

-Elizabeth Cole (Best friend of Felicity)
-Nellie O'Malley (Best friend of Samantha)
-Rebecca Rubin (pictured above)

Girl of the Year:
-Grace Maxwell (2015)

My American Girl:

This mold was also one of the available molds for the "Dolls without Hair", released in 2012.

Kaya Mold

The Kaya mold is another unique mold that has only been used for one doll.  Kaya was released in 2002.  Her mold is special because she is the only doll made by American Girl with her mouth closed.  The reason? Kaya is from the Nez Perce tribe, and in their culture it is considered impolite to show one's teeth.

-Kaya (pictured above)

Girl of the Year: 

My American Girl:

Jess Mold

The Jess mold was developed for the Girl of the Year character for 2006.  Jess's character is of Japanese and Irish descent.  Her mold has been used again several times, and some have speculated that this mold will take the place of the #4 mold for any future Asian dolls, unless American Girl decides to develop a new mold.

-Ivy Ling (best friend of Julie Albright)

Girl of the Year:
-Jess McConnell (2006) (pictured above)
-Kanani Akina (2011)

My American Girl:

Sonali Mold

The lovely Sonali mold was first used for Sonali Matthews, one of the best friends of Chrissa Maxwell, the Girl of the Year for 2009.  The Sonali character was of East Indian descent, but this versatile mold has also been used for African American characters, such as Cecile Rey (pictured above).


Girl of the Year:  
-Sonali Matthews (Best Friend of Chrissa-2009)

My American Girl:  

This mold was also one of the available molds for the "Dolls without Hair", released in 2012.

Marie-Grace Mold

The Marie-Grace mold is the newest face mold from American girl.  It was developed for the historical character Marie-Grace Gardiner, released in 2011.  The Marie-Grace mold is similar to the Josefina mold, but her face features a pointier chin, a slightly different nose, and smaller lips than Josefina's.


Girl of the Year:  

My American Girl:  

I thought I'd wrap things up by sharing photos of similar molds next to each other for easy comparison.  Because I took these photos horizontally, I couldn't enlarge them any more or they would have interfered with my sidebars.  You can click on any of the pictures for a closer look. :)

Josefina and Classic Molds:
As you can see, the Josefina mold features a thinner face, a slightly longer, flatter nose, and fuller lips than the classic mold.  The eyes also have a slightly different shape.

Josefina and Marie-Grace Molds:
When Marie-Grace was first released, many thought she had the Josefina mold.  However, when comparing the two next to each other, you can really see the differences.  The Josefina mold is fuller in the cheeks, and the Marie-Grace mold is more heart-shaped.  The MG mold also has a smaller mouth and her eyes and nose are slightly different than those of the Josefina mold.  Another interesting fact about the Marie-Grace mold is that it doesn't always photograph well, but the dolls are gorgeous in person!  

Jess and #4 Molds: 
The Jess and #4 molds definitely have their differences, too.  The Jess mold is fuller in the face, the nose is smaller, and the eyes are wider, while #4's eyes are more almond-shaped and her face is thinner.

Addy and Sonali Molds:
The Addy mold features fuller cheeks, a bigger nose, and wider lips, while the Sonali mold features an overall rounder face, a smaller nose and mouth, and rounder eyes.

Addy, Sonali, and Kaya Molds: 
This picture is even more difficult to see with three of them in it, but I wanted to show the uniqueness of Kaya's face mold from the others.

One of the things I enjoy and appreciate about American Girl is the beautiful spectrum of skin, hair, and eye colors they provide in their dolls, as well as their variety in facial molds.  As I've mentioned on the blog before, one of the things I really want to get across to my girls is the beauty in all skin tones.  Having multi-cultural dolls is an excellent way to get that message across. :)  And how boring our world would be if we were all the same size, shape, and color.  I'm glad God gave us variety and beauty in our different ways. :)

Congratulations!  You've officially made it to the end of this incredibly long post (the only kind I'm good at). ;)  I hope you found this information helpful.  Any thoughts?  Questions?  I'd love to hear from you.  Just leave me a comment below. :)


Eileen said...

Cool! I love all these dolls, an I am jealous of Jess! Just kidding. But I may be getting a #54 this summer.

Nina said...

Wow! That was very interesting!

Alexandra said...

Memorieeeees!!! I got my first catalog when I was....three or four, I think. There were just the four dolls then. It was always my biggest obsession...and now my sisters are into it, which is so fun. Anyway, really enjoyed this post, thanks so much for all the work you obviously put into it! :)

Cindybin said...

Great post! I always thought the dolls looked the same, too, until I started watching YouTube videos and someone mentioned the different molds. Then I investigated further and realized I liked some molds better than others, and that's when I really began to appreciated American Girl dolls. They aren't my favorite dolls but I do like them way better than I used to.

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. :)

Eileen, I'm jealous of Jess too. ;) My mom very graciously bought her from me when I was downsizing. At least I get to enjoy her when I go over to Mom's house, though. ;) I hope you get your #54!

Thanks, Nina. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Good to hear from you, Alexandra! :) I've been enjoying your Valentine's Day posts. :)

I used to memorize the catalogs myself. ;) I was never able to get a doll when I was younger, so it's been fun enjoying them now. ;)

Thanks, Cindybin! It's good to hear from you. :) It's always fun learning more about a new line of dolls. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

The Dolls said...

I very much enjoyed this post!!! I really like it when someone (like you) can just look at two dolls with the same hair and eyes and say "These to dolls are VERY different!" I have 4 AG dolls with only two different molds! here is a list of MY dolls with their face molds,

Elizabeth: Josefina mold,
Felicity: Classic mold,
Kit: Classic mold,
Rebecca: Josefina mold,

Now when I get Molly in a few months (Iv'e been saving) I will have yet another classic mold. Sigh... if only I had 100,000,000 dollars to spend on AG stuff!

Lissie said...

I loved this post!!! Thank you so much for doing it and doing so well!!

Unknown said...

What an excellent post! Although I have memorized all of the different face molds and other AG tidbits, it was so informative to see them side by side, especially the comparisons! Thank you for taking the time to link all of the different dolls under their correct mold; I will definitely be bookmarking this page for future reference. xoxo

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

I'm so glad this post has been helpful to everyone! :) Thanks for all the feedback.

"The dolls!", I think we all would love to have that much to spend on AG stuff. ;)

Lissy, glad you enjoyed it. :)

Kiya, I'm so glad the links were helpful to you. It took a while to get them all in there, but I knew it would be worth it. I'm such a visual person, I knew there had to be a few others out there like me. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have to say that my favorite face mold is the Josefina one and the Marie-Grace. They're both really nice and I would love an AG with the mold of one of them. This review was really great! Tbh I always kinda thought the AG's looked similar in face, Even though I love them. But reading this and seeing the comparison's I can say that, I do see the difference's in the face mold's American Girl uses.

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Glad you found the post helpful, AmLy. :) The Josefina mold is one of my favorites too, and I enjoy the Marie-Grace mold as well, although I don't think it's one of my absolute favorites. :)

Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

I thought I was going crazy when I saw a small difference in McKenna and JLY #57, Usable. Apparently it is not only me who sees that.

Elder and Sister Marsh said...

Thank you so much for your comparisons and photos! I too love these dolls and have many of them, but have never compared all the face molds in quite this same way. I am happy to have found your blog and am enjoying getting to know you through your posts. :)

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by, Dollygrandma! :)

Anonymous, now you know why they looked different to you. ;) Glad to have helped.

lana del hey said...

Thank you for this post.

Here are my opinions of the face molds. :D

My favorite face mold is the Classic.I think the Sonali and Marie Grace face molds didn't suit me.I mainly have Classic molds in my collection,but I have one Josfina {Julie}.The Jess Mold to me is super unique,but not my favorite.

It really depends on the doll to say if I like the face mold or not.Kaya's is unique because of her mouth.

Oh,I forgot #4 face mold.I dislike this facemold-it seems to thin at the top and chubby as it goes down,because of that the eyes are akwardly placed in her face.

Also,the Addy face mold- too big of noses for me.

Sorry this comment is long. :3

Anonymous said...

The josefina mold is my favorite! I can see why collectors like it.

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks for the comments, gals. I love hearing everyone's thoughts on the different molds. :)

Anonymous said...

What a fun post! I love the Jess mold, and we're hoping to add an Addy to our little collection soon. All wonderful, though -- thank you for putting this post together!

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

You're welcome, Anonymous. :) Glad you enjoyed it.

Emily said...

This is amazing! Could not be more helpful. I was about to buy Saige (because of her red hair), but this post has given me so much more information, I feel like I can make a really educated choice. I think I prefer Josefina's face, and wish I'd grabbed McKenna or Nellie when I had the chance! I, too, always assumed the AG faces were the same. Silly me. Thank you so much for this incredible summary!

Emily said...

This is amazing! Could not be more helpful. I was about to buy Saige (because of her red hair), but this post has given me so much more information, I feel like I can make a really educated choice. I think I prefer Josefina's face, and wish I'd grabbed McKenna or Nellie when I had the chance! I, too, always assumed the AG faces were the same. Silly me. Thank you so much for this incredible summary!

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

You're welcome, Emily. :) Coming from you, that means a lot. I so appreciate your wonderfully informative posts on your blog. :) I'm glad you found this helpful.

Thanks for dropping by! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Beast'sBelle!
I just found your blogs recently, and I've been having a lot of fun reading them!
This post was especially cool. I'd never seen a comparison of all the AG face molds before, and it was very helpful. In the past, I have spent a fair amount of time comparing my McKenna's, Elizabeth's, and Nellie's faces, trying to decide if they had the same mold or not! Now I know!

I would just like to add that there were apparently (according to Doll Diaries) two different versions of McKenna made. The one with the Josefina face was more common (and the one that I have), but there were some with a rounder, shorter face, likely the Classic mold. I thought you might find that to be an interesting tidbit to add to this post. If you want, I'll see if I can find the exact Doll Diaries post and leave a link in a comment for you.

Thanks again! This post was really informative, and now I can stop going bug-eyed from staring at my dolls for so long! :D

--Anonymous :)

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks, Anonymous. It was great to hear from you. :) I'm glad you've been enjoying the blog and that you found this post helpful.

I hadn't heard that about McKenna...I'd be very interested in finding that post on Doll Diaries.

Lol...I'm glad I'm keeping you from going bug-eyed, too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Here's the link!
The picture comparing the two McKennas is about halfway down.


--Anonymous :)

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks for the link, Anonymous. I found it very interesting. There are some definite differences between the two McKennas pictured. However, I would still say that both have the Josefina mold, but just with slight variations. The nose, lips and eyes are not right for the classic mold.

Anonymous said...

Wowww! So happy you did this comparison, because I was one of those people who thought all AG dolls had the same face mold. Kaya, Sonali, & Marie-Grace are my favs. I still prefer the MA 18 play dolls over the AGs, mostly because of the breast plate & closed mouth. I wish you would a comparison on the MAs also, because I'm starting to notice that a lot of my dolls look alike! :)

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Anonymous, glad you found the post helpful. :)

Doing a Madame Alexander 18" doll comparison would be interesting too...I'll have to see what I can do. I don't want to promise anything yet. I'm really bad at promising posts and then never getting to them. ;)

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

My goodness I love how you modified the Josefina doll!!! I have the doll, got it when I was ten on Christmas and I was always disappointed by the doll because I didn't like her look at all but now that I see the potential you must tell me how you did it. I would love to change her eyes and hair to give her the glamourous retouch you gave the doll in your blog picture.

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for stopping by. :) I'm afraid I may have confused you a bit. The names I used for each of the molds were the names given to the molds, not necessarily the dolls I photographed. The doll in the pictures with the Josefina mold is actually a Rebecca Rubin historical doll. There wouldn't be any way to modify Josefina to look exactly like Rebecca since she has a completely different skin tone and different eyebrows.

If you wanted to try modifying your Josefina, you could try rewigging her or giving her an eyeswap. There are many members on the AGPlaythings message board (http://agplaythings.proboards.com/) who do eye and wig swaps for a fee. You might also just consider getting yourself a Rebecca, though. ;)

Hope this helps!

Kathy said...

Glad I ran across this site; I love it, and this comparison is great. I had the faces all right except Marie-Grace. I kept wondering why she seemed slightly different -she is!

The other reason I liked all these pictures and comparisons is that I have never really cared for Addy, but, after seeing your pictures, I've realized that her look is unique, and she is really cute! Now I'll have to start looking to get her. But I like her with that long curly wig the best. Thanks for doing all this work, Kathy

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks so much, Kathy. :) I'm glad you found the post enjoyable and helpful. :)

It's funny how sometimes a picture is all that's needed to make a doll more desirable. I've found that stock photos don't usually do much for me, but seeing someone's pictures from their personal collection make me see certain dolls in a new light. :)

I hope you find your perfect Addy mold. My AG #26 is the one pictured here that you liked. :)

girlygirl said...


We live in Australia and my little girl is desperate for her first AG doll - she found a picture of JLY #25 made in 2005 and has her heart set on her. Are these dolls retired and if so, where can I get one?

Thanks for your help.


Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Sonia! :) Good news, JLY #25 is not retired. She's now called My AG #25. Here's a link to her page on the American girl website (you'll have to copy and paste): http://store.americangirl.com/agshop/html/set/id/1690/uid/86

You could also try finding one on eBay, although it can be tricky to locate her since she doesn't have a name and not everyone knows her number. I normally try searching "American Girl brown eyes" for a start, but you can also try "American Girl Just Like You" or "American Girl black hair". I found my #25, Alice, on eBay. You can see her here: http://nevergrowupdollguide.blogspot.com/2013/06/american-girl-goodies-ever-after-high.html (Again, you'll have to copy and paste and scroll down a bit to find her.) ;)

Hope this helps! :)

Unknown said...

Wonderful Article! Thanks for all the photos and comparisons. I agree - the variety AG creates by combining all these hair types, skintones, & eyes, etc is really wonderful in a range of sweet face molds ♥

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks, Renee...I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

ExpatHK said...

I'd love to find a AGOT/Just Like You #4 doll for our office manager's little girl. We live in Hong Kong and they are Chinese. The doll looks very much like her daughter. Any leads as to where I could find one? I checked Ebay and no luck.


Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Craig,

Unfortunately, because #4 is no longer being made, she is only available through secondhand vendors such as eBay. I would save it as a search. It's a lot of work, but you might also just try something like "american girl doll black hair" when you search. Sometimes sellers on eBay don't know exactly what they have, so they might not list her as a #4. It takes time and patience, but eventually one should turn up.

Some other sites you might want to check are craigslist.org, bonanza.com, and shopgoodwill.com. The key to finding something so specific is patient searching, though.

I hope this helps, and I hope you find your #4! :) I think it would be a wonderful present for your office manager's daughter. :)

MyLittleMegara said...

Oh, wow, thank you!!! :)
I now know that I have dolls with the Josefina mold and the Classic mold. This was beautiful and very helpful!

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

You're welcome, MyLittleMegara. Glad I could help. :)

Anonymous said...

What face does Caroline have??

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Caroline has the Classic mold. :)

Heather Mitchell said...

Hi, i found a super cute 18" doll at Salvation Army. I thought she was an American Girl doll but she seemed "young"... She has big doe-eyes and a closed mouth (slightly resembling the lower right doll in your blog heading page)... any idea what type of doll she is?

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Heather! Hmm, nothing's ringing a bell from the description alone. If you sent me a picture via email (nevergrowup.beastsbelle@gmail.com) I might be able to identify her for you. :)

JacJac said...

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise. I really enjoyed reading your article. I have noticed similarities and differences in the dolls. I am glad I ran into your article. It clarified many things and saved me time as well. I will sure used your article as a reference. Thank you again!

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

You're welcome, JacJac. Glad I could help! :)

Anonymous said...

The first Kaya face is fuller than the new Kaya. Why did they change it?

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

I'm not sure why they decided to change it, but it was part of the launch of the new BeForever line. I love the old mold, though, and wish they had stuck with it. :(

Vicky said...

Very interesting read, never knew they used so many different facial molds!

What I find truly fascinating is how little they change from the first one ;P

I used to collect these girls but I recently found Maru and Friends which to me, look just a tad more realistic. Still love my AG dolls but they're loving their new friends :)

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Thanks, Vicky. Glad you enjoyed it. :) It's amazing how the little tweaks here and there to the face mold make a difference. ;)

I adore the Maru and Friends dolls and completely understand why you love them. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! These are very interesting facts and I love long blogs filled with information. So glad I discovered you today! Dianne

Unknown said...

Wonderful thank you for this information it has been very hard to determine who has what mold now I have this

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

You're welcome, Ashley Stacy! Glad to help. :)

Unknown said...

Hi does the Marie grace mold come with long black wavy hair . Any other forms than in the photo. ?

Hannah Prewett (beastsbelle) said...

Hi Mihiri! So far, Marie-Grace has only come in her original coloring. Hopefully someday AG will release more dolls with her mold in different coloring. :)

Zoey said...

Oh wow, this is so cool! I have Mia, Elizabeth, and JLY4. Never knew she was so rare regarding her face mold, thanks so much! She was my first AG doll, I saved up the money myself at around age 5-6, no easy feat. Because of this she's always had quite a special place in my heart, so it's incredible to hear how she's even more unique than I thought. I also really appreciate AG's attention to details regarding cultures as well I myself am Asian, South Korean to be exact, so having a doll with a separate face mold that highlights my features means a lot to me.