Okay, let's back up. If you've been following the blog for a bit now you've probably picked up on the fact that I'm a pretty big fan of the MH paper ephemera that comes with these dolls. I love the diaries, the Scaris travelogues, the collector's cards they occasionally throw our way, and even the drawings they include on the boxes themselves. Spectra drawings in particular are always fantastic -- I think it's the ghostly eyes combined with the vibrant purple shades. This new Spectra drawing is no different. In fact, I think this drawing is possibly my all-time favorite yet, of any of the characters in any lines. I love her look, I love the pose, the charmingly surprised look on her face -- it's all just really cool and unique and fun. In a clever touch, the surprised pose plays right into the worry teens have about looking silly in their school pictures. Take a look--
Mattel was even gracious enough to repeat the drawing on the back of the box, in black and white mirror image--
Spectra includes a booklet but instead of being a diary it's a "Fearbook". There's no continuation of Spectra's story and no new character development. Instead, the Fearbook consists of a page highlighting the MH faculty, a page where Spectra has voted for different personality categories, a couple of pages where you can cast your own vote for the categories, and finishes with a pic of the entire MH character brigade next to a page of signatures. The coolest thing, however, is that a sticker sheet of 16 different characters is included. Each doll has a different sticker sheet with different characters. Between the three Picture Day dolls I bought I'm pretty sure the only character I don't have represented in sticker form is Nefera. Anyway, take a look--
How about we take a look at the actual doll? (A disclaimer: Spectra is notoriously hard for me to photograph due to her pure white face. My lighting set up is pretty warm and gives her a yellow tint. I have a cleaner back up lighting system but it totally washes her out. Just be warned. And yes, I'm working on it.)
With PD Spectra Mattel has given us a new facemold. It's not a major change from the original mold, but it's definitely different enough to give the doll a very different vibe. First, let's stand the new Spectra next to her Dot Dead Gorgeous doll. The most immediately noticeable difference is the cheekbones. DDG Spectra's are far more pronounced. It's pretty easy to see why, too. PD Spectra's face has been widened. Her forehead is wider, her jawbone is wider, everything's wider. And it eats up those previously pronounced cheekbones. PD Spectra's eyes are a little bigger, as well. In profile the dolls looks exactly the same as far as I can tell (but I've been wrong on these things before). You'll also notice that DDG and PD Spectra have almost the exact same faceup. The lip color is pretty different but the eyeshadow is almost exactly the same shade. The actual shape of the makeup and design of the eyes is definitely exactly the same. They also share the exact same earrings. To be honest, looking at these two, I could almost say I might prefer the new facemold. Almost.
Now let's take a look at our new Spectra next to basic Spectra. Here, for me at least, there's no contest -- basic Spectra wins hands down! I love her faceup, I love those cheekbones, and in general she just comes across as more "otherwordly" and "ghostly" than the new doll. Plus I just think she's really gorgeous, gorgeous in a sort of smart, mature way the new doll could only dream of. At the risk of sounding weird, the new doll comes across as "pretty", where the basic doll reads as more "sexy", know what I mean?
Picture Day Spectra: "Can you help me find my puppy?" Basic Spectra: "I'm sexy and I know it."
But hey, this isn't the first time Mattel has changed a MH doll's facemold on us; it's not the end of the world. So with the new facemold acknowledged and discussed, let's take a look at PD Spectra on her own terms.
She has the usual Spectra hair of purple and lavender streaks. It's in a sidepart on her right. This time the purple is concentrated at the front, with the portion falling to her left banded near her forehead. I wish they would've used an actual barrette here, but whatever, the band works fine. The rest of her hair is lavender. It's the usual texture -- soft, silky, smooth. As always, I love her hair. The whites of Spectra's eyes are purple while the irises are half purple, half turquoise. She has a dark purple divider line at her lids, while the entire eye is surrounded by magenta shadow. Her lips are dark purple. No doubt about it, this is a beautiful face and some great hair.
Picture Day Spectra comes in what I'd call a rather wicked outfit. It's layered and uses several textures and interesting prints and it all looks and feels high quality. Her top is made of a smooth knit that fits tightly. The bodice has a print of white circles that looks a bit like stylized wire, or ghostly wisps. Behind it, the top has a gradient flow of colors, starting with black at the top, purple in the middle, and pink at the bottom. At the bottom the top curves upward in the middle, like an upside down U, while the sides hang in thin, dramatic pieces that end at the knees. The sleeves are black netting that split at the elbow and droop under the arm. This is a really cool top, one of the best we've seen to date in my opinion. Under the shirt she wears a black "leather" miniskirt. The upside down scoop of the top creates an interesting shape over the pure black skirt. When I first saw pics of this doll I thought this was all one piece due to the way the top naturally lays over the skirt creating that unique contrast. Under the skirt Spectra wears a pair of tights that land just above the ankles. The tights are knit and have an abstract print of white chains with splashes of purple and pink behind them. I like these tights a lot, mostly because the print is just so different and eye catching. I tried the look without the tights and liked it just as much. I also did the reverse, keeping the tights but ditching the skirt, and, well, the less said about that the better. Let's just say if Spectra went out in public wearing it she'd probably be arrested, and with Christmas coming I can't afford to bail a girl out of jail because she took bad fashion advice from me.
Spectra's shoes are silver molded heels. The hood has a chain that rises to connect to an ankle wrap. The ankle wraps have more dangling chains while the back of the heel has several small spikes. The heel itself is flat and squared, giving it an industrial edge.
Spectra's purse is... odd. When I first de-boxed her I just held it for a minute, looking at it in confusion. I was pretty sure it was a purse, but what on Earth was it supposed to represent? How did it function? It's molded silver and has two connected portions. One of these is kind of round-ish, with some folded detailing and a large dip in the top (or is it the bottom?). The other portion is flat and has an oblong loop where it connects to the previous portion. It doesn't open. Winded around the purse and through the loop are black molded chains. They're not actually molded onto the purse; they are completely separate. They have a tab you can unfasten to remove it. So are you supposed to loop the chains around Spectra's arm and she carries the purse that way? Or do you put Spectra's hand through the same loop the chains are threaded through? I'm not sure. It works both ways though I prefer looping the chains around Spectra's hand. This purse honestly looks more like abstract sculpture than anything else. That said, I like sculpture, and even though it kind of baffles me, I like the purse. If nothing else you have to admire it's uniqueness.
Spectra's other accessories are her earrings (a repeat of her DDG ones -- one a white skullette key, the other a silver heart lock), a necklace of five strings of molded black chains that hangs just so over the bust, a matching arm cuff of molded black chains, and a Trapper Keeper style folder. I didn't get a pic of the folder, but you've seen these before. For what it's worth, Spectra's is hot pink and features a molded pattern of swirling chains.
Overall grade: A- As I was taking pictures of the doll for this review I found myself totally into it, having a blast posing her and getting lost in the moment. Really though, I think it had less to do with the doll's face (pretty as it is), than with how much I love the outfit. This layered look totally works, and the rich colors and detailed patterns add so much. This is easily one of my favorite MH outfits. It's unique -- it feels like something I've never seen before on a fashion doll, which is impressive. It reads like genuine modern fashion while playing perfectly into Spectra's established theme of fem metal. As for the new facemold, I'm so torn. I like this new face a lot, it's genuinely gorgeous. But it's lacking the ethereal look of the original mold, and all the previous fierceness is completely gone, replaced by a rather sweet expression. This exact same doll, with the same clothes and accessories, but with the old facemold, would've been an A+.