American Model Wigged Basic – Collector Review – by Charlie Riley

 We’ve been getting great fan reviews of our doll and figures. Charlie comes back with so much passion for our American Model Wigged Basic, and her great collector’s experience. Enjoy! You can find Charlie on Twitter at @CharlieRiley819 where we find her tweeting about all things dolls, especially in our #dollchat

You can view our available American Model line here.


Review of Tonner American Model Wigged Basic

I’m not usually the pre-order type collector, unless it’s unavoidable. I usually prefer to wait, see some user pics, find out what clothes and patterns will be available, hunt for shoes and accessories. Often this means I barely squeak in for a purchase before a doll is sold out, or have to track down a Grail Doll on the resale market. So please do understand the import when I tell you that I sat in eager anticipation of the pre-order period for the American Model Wigged Basic with inset eyes–what a beautiful face, what lovely eyes, what a gorgeous figure! When I got the word that the doll ordering page was active on TonnerDirect, I hit it so fast that my iPad had to take a second to catch up to me. Don’t ask me how many times I clicked “track my package” when I got the email that she had shipped, it’s rather embarrassing.

When she finally arrived, and after inadvertently convincing the UPS man that I’m nuts, I actually hesitated to open the box. Anticipation can be a sweet thing, and the possibility that she may not be as wonderful as I’d hoped was always there. After a little while, I got my box cutter (also known as the Finger Slayer) in hand and opened the box.

I’m not a box collector, I’m a doll collector, so no rhapsody over packaging here; apologies to those who also love boxes. I will say that I love that Tonner dolls are easy to remove from their boxes while still being securely packaged and cushioned. A couple of untied ribbons, then—The Prize!

I was actually surprised a bit at the American Model’s size. I have some SD sized BJDs, 24” and taller, and a 42” MasterPiece Heather, so I’m used to larger dolls. This girl, though, is substantial. She’s 22’’, well proportioned, and stands straight and tall, making her seem larger than she is.

I love that AM is not a “Skinny Minnie,” as we say in my house. She’s got wide shoulders, an ample bust, nice hips, and a waist that doesn’t make her look like she’ll snap in two. Her legs are in proportion, as well. She looks like a real woman. Imagine that! She doesn’t look or feel fragile, frail, or delicate, nor like an emaciated runway model, and this makes me very happy. I’ve read that that AM’s body is Tyler’s body rescaled—same proportions, just larger—but that resizing makes a difference when I compare her to a Tyler. AM just seems more substantial. Size does matter!

She arrived wearing a lovely long red wig, with bangs, that suits her perfectly; a very pretty beige lingerie teddy with a ribbon tie belt; and shoes. Her eyes are blue and inset, and sized in proportion to a human face, like the classic Tonner fashion dolls. I generally prefer inset to painted eyes, with a few exceptions, because of their depth and relative realism, and this feature definitely influenced my purchase of this doll. Her face and head are lovely, her eyebrows are well-placed (she doesn’t look startled or glowering, just calm and confident), her makeup isn’t overdone, and she has the hint of a smile that makes her overall expression warm and pleasing.

The wig itself is gorgeous, very brushable, and I’ve styled it several different ways. Her head had Velcro already in place (my own preferred keep-your-hair-on method), and the wig has its own Velcro in exactly the right spot. As she takes a standard 7-8 size doll wig, the hair possibilities are vast. I like this a great deal; I was an enthusiastic doll hairplay kid, and that hasn’t changed over the decades (several decades…sigh).

I had bought, from eBay, an older 22” American Model fashion in anticipation of her arrival, a lovely weekend in the country ensemble. Last week I finished an ensemble of blues I made for her for the cooler weather (I actually make most of what my dolls wear). She really rocks her clothes, looking great and put-together and stylish no matter what she’s wearing. Ellowyne Wilde is the only other fashion doll I have who wears clothes this well (sorry, Tyler—you’re in the top 5, though!). Size may matter here as well, as the range of fabric prints, types, and weights that are suitable expands as the doll gets larger.

My only concern with the AM-Wigged Basic is that the shoe choices are limited, especially in the secondary market. I won’t have as much variety as I’m used to with other fashion dolls, but I have to say that the shoes available are excellent. I recently bought the white mesh boots for AM, from TonnerDirect, and they are really sweet very unique shoes. They don’t go with her autumn looks, but at the holidays and in the summer, she’s going to have the best shoes in the house.

Overall, I recommend the American Model Wigged Basic. I don’t think she’s for every collector, because of her size: my vintage Mattel Francie looks like a tiny toy next to her, and she makes Ellowyne look like a hobbit! I’m crazy about her, though, and really looking forward to designing and sewing more outfits for her. She lived up to and exceeded my expectations, and will always have a star place in my very eclectic collection.


One response to “American Model Wigged Basic – Collector Review – by Charlie Riley

  1. I, too, have purchased an American Model Basic from Tonner’s collection of dolls. Of all the Tonner dolls that I have purchased, she is my favorite. She is easy to sew (and knit/crochet) for and, with a change of wig, she could be from any generation. My retirement date is looming and I expect to have many happy hours spent designing and creating outfits for my dolls so my grandgirls will have a legacy from me all their own.

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