Meet our Tonner Collector Boots of the Philippines – Profile Pic of the Week

Guess Who Dropped By for Breakfast

For those who saw our spectacular profile pic of the week from last week, you probably were mesmerized by it as much we were. Cropped from the photo above, Boots wrote about it on his blog, A Scarlett Reverie :

I tried repainting my Business Mill Scarlett and was so frustrated by it, I decided to redo and do something else. I always thought she would have the sculpt for it — save for the nose. Her hair hasn’t been styled yet. So, if anyone knows one who can, let me know haha. Here she is taking a peek...

…Now, I know where I go the idea from — Dave of missgenemarshallandfriends! He posted an Integrity Breakfast at Tiffany’s doll line. While I also have the Mattel Audrey Hepburn — which is a fabulous doll, I always wished for one with articulation. And since the Scarlett doll of Tonner seems to have the almond eyes for it — why not? Thanks Dave for the idea!

If you take a look at Boots’ blog, you’ll see the extraordinary care and craft of his work. We really wanted to learn more about him. It turns out he is one of the few Tonner collectors in the Philippines, and we are so happy that wrote a little about himself and his collecting. As we discover our international collectors we can feel the Tonner family grow! And fantastic that he shared technical details about his aesthetics and photographic techniques. Our collectors are our stars, and we celebrate their work:

Boots on Collecting, Influences and Photography

I used to work in publishing as a Creative Director for Sales and in between Sales pitches to clients, I would study photo editing and retouching. This was mostly for 5 magazines. This started my interest in taking photos and editing them (cropping, fixing skin tones and irregularities), which is often the situation in the magazine world. My interest in Gone with the Wind started with the novel during my high school years. It was a piece of work that was inspiring: conquering the obstacles that come your way that inspired the shy young man that time. 

Thus, the collection of anything Gone with the Wind — posters, dolls photographs and dolls included. I started photographing them with the intention of making them look life-like, trying to capture the mood and tone of the film and its characters. The story of repainting really began when I saw Noel Cruz repaint his Scarlett ‘O Hara. And since I was in pursuit of realism in photographs his work inspired me to pursue the hobby. Noel Cruz was the figure that inspired, encouraged, and pushed me to pursue this. He even sent me his personal brushes to work with (all signed!). He still continues to encourage me with the work like a mentor (I always call him my “Grand Master”. He is greatly humble and always tries to deflect this title, but he IS I guess for all of us who have seen his work). A lot of the work is really because of him and other generous friends I’ve met in this passion for collecting. .  I have met a lot of great repainters too along the way who have voluntarily shared their learnings like Isabelle of Isabelle Repaints (a most sweet and generous lady). 


Melanie Wilkes sculpt - repaint is inspired by Botticelli and Dante Garbriel Rossetti
The photo above was posted in the Tonnerdirect facebook wall. It is a Melanie Wilkes sculpt which I believe is a sculpt of classical proportions. The repaint is inspired by the paintings of Botticelli and Dante Garbriel Rossetti. I always wanted the finish product to be beautiful and feminine in a classic way and these were good models for it. The hair has been sectioned well and braided with small braids all over. They are tied well at the ends with a small string to keep them in place, heat permed, let alone to dry and released to show a fuller hair with undulating small waves. The repaint is almost monotone with the lightest of strokes and blushed. Classical paintings of women have very little makeup and have almost no eyebrows, pale of skin and no strokes for eyelashes. The lips is a mixture of flesh and vermillon. The bodice is from another gown wrapped with a Tonner corset and the multi-layered tulle skirt is done by Alana Bennett (who helped me in recreating a Bette Davis Jezebel ensemble). 

I always photograph with a draping of velvet or a flat cloth with a color that complements and contrasts with the doll. I use a Canon 10 megapixel camera (no flash) and the secret which I share is a magnifying lamp — so the subject is captured in a circle of light. There are two lamp on the sides that can be angled at any direction. The beauty of a Tonner doll is its articulation in that you can pose it in the most poses that follow the images of classical paintings. Some photoshop is employed to fix the details that are either eaten up by the light or lack lighting. I don’t mind sharing secrets to the portraits — we all see things differently and knowing the technique is one thing but using it to  express ones vision is.

Unfortunately, there is no official Tonner group of collectors in the Philippines although I know that there are some who do purchase but I have only met with them once. It is an expensive hobby considering the peso is P45 to $1 dollar. In that one has to be frugal. A lot of lunch breaks have been missed in the name of this hobby. No regrets there. 

My greatest dream: to do a GWTW museum of repainted dolls. That would surely be a way of immortalizing and paying tribute to the movie — the costumes of which are undergoing restoration. 

To see more of the work please go to my blog Scarlett Reverie 

More Scarlett O’Hara

To get a comprehensive view of the scope of Boots’ work take a look at this YouTube iMovie of his Scarlett creations! Found on Scarlett Reverie here.


“This is a compilation of Scarlett ‘O Hara dolls I’ve repainted. I thought of putting them into music and best music that comes to mind in relation to these is Joshua Kaddison’s ‘Beautiful In my Eyes’ — because that’s what they are to me. Hope you like it.”


Our currently available Tonner Doll Gone With the Wind Collection is found here.

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