Review: Pop Life Barbie (Red-Head)
Posted by Lindsay
A few years back, Mattel came out with a new jointed body for collector Barbies. Called the Pivotal Body, the new sculpt has only been used in a few lines, none of which got cheap before disappearing from stores.
I really wanted one of these, too.
I've had my eyes on the Pop Life dolls for a while now, and when I had the opportunity to get one on clearance from barbiecollector.com, I jumped at the chance.
There were three Barbie dolls in this line, plus a super-rare Ken, each unique, but in a similar aesthetic. I had to laugh while opening her up, even her Certificate of Authenticity states that she is "totally mod"!
This is the highest “level” Barbie I've yet looked at; she's Gold Label, which makes her more expensive and rarer than her Silver or Pink Label cousins.
Appearance and Construction: 9/10
This doll cracks me up. I adore her ridiculous hairdo, shellacked to within an inch of its life. I love her mock-vintage giant eyelashes and big green 'ring'. I completely love her white go-go boots and zebra bellbottom jumpsuit.
There are small issues. This hairdo varies a little doll to doll; mine has a bit too much end sticking out of the rolls to be perfect. I go back and forth on whether I think the bangles work. The soles of the boots don't attach well to the tops, which makes them look a bit cheap.
The Pivotal body has a few extra bits of sculpting I'd like to point out here. Her hands and fingernails are more finely detailed than your average Barbie hand.
Even better, she has a visible sternum, and the touch of sculpting right there and on the neck adds a lot.
Overall a beautiful doll, as it should be, for the price!
Packaging and Accessories: +1
Nice clear box, standard collector grade. I love the bright design behind her.
Unlike most Barbies, she does come with an accessory! Each Pop Life doll comes with a different color 60's style chair. The Pivotal joints mean that she can actually sit in the chair, which is nice.
I really like the chair. It is in two pieces, which snap apart to come out of the packaging, and so the seat can turn, if you like. There isn't enough 1/6 scale furniture on the market these days.
Although they did provide the chair in lieu of a stand, which is a problem if you'd like to display the doll standing up. But I'm still giving a point, because the chair is so useful, don't you think?
Play and Display: -1
I know, I'm a mean mean person. Usually I give extra points for any articulation on Barbie dolls. However, there's a special case here. When the first dolls came out with the Pivotal body, Mattel made a big deal about it, and I really wanted one, but couldn't justify the price. I didn't pick up this one until a sale came along. The thing is, a few things have happened since then, the most important being the introduction of a new Barbie play line: Fashionista Barbie.
Here, check out the comparison shot. The Pivotal body is very slightly taller, has the extra sculpting mentioned above and slightly longer arms and legs. Both dolls have ball joints at neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hips, and a partial rocker/crunch joint under the bust. This is a first wave Fashionista, so she has hinge knees, while Pop Life has hinge/post that allows for more rotation.
But the new wave of Fashionistas appear to have the hinge/post knees, as well!
The problem? The Pop Life doll started out priced at between 50 and 60 dollars. The Fashionistas go for $13 at Toys'R'Us. The costume on the Collector Barbie is of course much nicer, but she got those points up under Appearance. Mattel has been mainstreaming more and more articulation for their mid-range dolls, so for their high-end “special articulated” body, I would have wanted ankle joints at the very least, if not an upper thigh and upper bicep cut. Her posability is pretty good, but her shoes combined with slightly loose knee joints mean she can't stand for long in almost any pose, even propped up against something.
If she weren't so expensive, she wouldn't be losing a point here, but them's the breaks.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 9/10
As I said, the Pop Life started out around 50-60 dollars, depending on where you shop, which is pretty expensive. On clearance plus additional sale, I paid $28 plus shipping. That is still a lot for a doll and a plastic chair. She's not a fantastic deal, but if you are into the Mod look, it's not a terrible price.
I like her, but I'm glad I didn't pay $50 when they came out.
The obligatory plug goes here: I write about books at The Blue Fairy's Bookshelf, Erin writes about all sorts of things at The Middle Room.
Neither of us are as Mod as Barbie.
Neither of us are as Mod as Barbie.