Today the old meets the new! American Girl changed their mini dolls in the last year to an all vinyl body. With the old and new dolls side by side we’ll take a look at their changes and differences.
American Girl releases a mini doll for each Historical Character/BeForever doll and in more recent years for each Girl of the Year doll. They are not as high of a quality as their 18″ look alike but they basically have the same features, hair color, meet outfit and until recently, body construction.
As you see below, the main change to these dolls in the last year is their body construction. The mini dolls changed from having a cloth body like their 18″ look alike to an all vinyl body.
This change has affected:
- The look of the neck and upper shoulders.
- The body shape and how clothing fits.
- The movement and flexibility of limbs.
- The feel of the doll in your hand.
As we take a closer look at the old and new doll side by side we will see the effects from the changes over and over again!
Body Shape and How Clothing Fits
Changing the construction of the doll automatically changed the shape of the doll.
The changes include:
- The look of the neckline.
- The length of the neck.
- Shoulder and hip width.
- Joint changes that affect the position of limbs.
- The length of the doll.
Changing the look of the neckline helps the dolls wear more versatile clothing. Typically the Historical Characters/BeForever dolls wear clothing that covered up the cloth to vinyl transition. With the Girl of the Year doll the neckline on shirts in lower, which shows the fabric transition.
With the change to the all vinyl neckline the new dolls now have a longer neck. When the old and new dolls are side by side it becomes very apparent that the new doll’s necks are too long and the old doll’s necks are too short.
Hopefully American Girl will continue to make changes and arrive at a perfect neck length. While they are taking a look at the neck they may consider the seam/joint for turning the head. To me that seam really jumps out and cheapens the look of the doll.
Body Shape Changes-Shoulders and Hips
The old mini doll has wider shoulders and hips. This is easy to see when you do a little clothes swapping.
Here is the old mini doll Kit in Grace’s dress.
As you can see Grace looks less bulky and boxy with these slight changes.
With the new all vinyl construction the dolls limbs are set differently. This is most noticeable in the legs.
Mini Grace and the other new mini dolls have a wider stance than the older mini’s. This has pros and cons. A pro is how well the mini Grace doll stands. No adjustment was needed, she has a balanced stance.
A con is that you loose the flexibility in the joints for posing the dolls. While Grace has a set stance the old mini dolls can be positioned from a narrow to an extra wide stance.
The old mini’s also have more rotation in their joints. For instance you can position the legs with the toes pointing in or out. It is the same with the shoulder joints. With the increased flexibility in the older dolls there is more options for posing or positioning the dolls.
Speaking of stance another con is the look of the wider stance. Grace and Kit have switched outfits and you can see the way Grace stands is not very flattering with Kit’s outfit. It looks more like the way a young child would stand. Kit’s stance is more natural looking.
Grace and the other new mini dolls stand slightly taller than the old mini dolls. Standing with no shoes I measured an 1/8″ difference.
Getting a Feel for the Changes
Other than the basic ways the dolls look different they also feel different in your hand. The new mini dolls are rigid in your hand and feel more like an action figure or character doll. The soft bodies on the old version of the mini’s are flexible and that feels so different in your hand. It feels higher quality and is truly reminiscent of the original 18″ American Girl Dolls.
Taking It All In.
- The look of the neck and shoulders has improved but there is still room for more improvement with the neck length and neck seam.
- Changes in the size of the shoulders and hips make the mini doll better proportioned.
- When it comes to the flexibility in the joints the new mini doll will be easier for children to stand up because it has such a steady stance. For those who value more ability to position the doll for play or photography this change is a set back.
- As for the feel of the dolls, I know it can’t be both ways but it is disappointing how changing to an all vinyl doll makes the doll loose it’s feel as an American Girl doll. That soft body has become such a recognizable feature of the doll.
Standing the old and new mini doll next to each other I see the changes as generally positive. There are aspects that people may find disappointing. Looking to the future of these mini dolls it can’t be ignored that there are a few areas they still need a few changes and improvements.
I hope you have enjoyed a close up look at the differences between the old and new mini dolls from American Girl. I hope this thorough look may help if you to know more about the dolls if you are looking to add them to your collection!