Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Out of the Box: Namaste (Madame Alexander Travel Friends: India)

Being a fan of country-representative dolls (I blame the souvenirs relatives sent me from wherever they were living when I was growing up), I'm always curious to hear about new lines of them - even when they come from a company that already has two other distinct lines of international dolls, as Madame Alexander does.

The Madame Alexander Travel Friends line appears to be the playline equivalent to their International Collection (which I have a couple of dolls from)- the dolls are the same size (7inches/18cm), and are intended to represent specific countries (currently represented are India, Kenya, Germany, China, Mexico, Ireland, France, Russia, and Italy).  I was originally tempted to pick up more than one (for a while France, Kenya and India were all in my cart), but temperance prevailed, and I only bought one - "Namaste", the Indian doll (the others are similarly named: the French doll is "Bonjour", the Kenyan is "Jambo" and so on).

The packaging is colourful, but not particularly sturdy - my doll's box was crushed in the mail, and although obviously that's less of an issue for people who pick them up in person, it didn't make for much a first impression.  Still, I can imagine that these would have quite a bit of shelf appeal since the doll is fully visible from inside the packaging.
The box has a plastic window that makes up the front,
top and part of the sides of the box.

The sides of the box are decorated with faux travel stickers, while the back has a artwork that includes the doll and a map of India with a few major cities marked (the text of which is done in a faux-Hindi style, which I'm a little on the fence about - I found myself thinking that "They could at least use faux-Tamil for Chennai!", but I realize that that's probably expecting too much).  There's a blurb about Namaste's love of cricket (which is described as "very much like American baseball"), and of course a "collect them all!" message.

The back of the box.
Considering how simple the outer box is, the doll was rather over-secure on the inside.  There were twist ties at her hands, feet and neck, and her was stitched to the card and her braid was secured with a tie.  And then all of those ties and stitches were taped over as well.  I can easily imagine the dress getting ripped when someone, thinking they'd clipped all of the ties, tried to separate the doll from the card without noticing the extra stitches.

Namaste can strike a variety of poses, but needs
support to balance in most of them.
The doll herself has 9 points of articulation (although the elbow joints look like hinges from the package, they actually only rotate and cannot bend), long rooted hair (rooted in circles, so there are gaps when it's not in a braid or ponytail) and a two-piece outfit (a dress and underskirt) plus yellow plastic sandals (which are held to her feet with elastic).

A clearer view of the jointing: the marks on her upper legs are
from the edges of the hinges from her knees - I can imagine
that they might easily poke through with play.

The outfit is colourful, but a little challenging to get on and off (it's a bit tight
at the waist).  The metallic loops at the neck and arms are an attractive touch
but would rip easily with play (I nearly snagged one on the dolls thumb myself).

Compared to one of the Madame Alexander International
Collection line India dolls.

 Despite not being as impressed by the joints as I'd expected based on the promotional photos, I think the doll is a solid playline alternative to Madame Alexander's shelf-dolls with similar themes.  And while I wish the outfit was a little sturdier, I think this doll could easily share clothing with a variety of fashion dolls, so from a play perspective that's probably not the end of the world.
Namaste in softer light.
I'll be curious to see how the lighter and darker vinyls
of other dolls in this series look in owner photos, since
I found this doll to be more natural-looking than I'd
expected based on the sales photos.


  1. She has a lovely face! Nice outfit too, that little elephant on the top is a nice touch :-).

    1. The elephant is my favourite part of the outfit as well. :)

  2. I agree with Night Owl, that face is just lovely!

    I just don't get her arms though. It seems kind of pointless to have them only rotate.

    1. She is a cute one, isn't she? Baffling arm jointing aside, of course. ;)

  3. She's really cute! I'd have been really frustrated about the arms, though, I can't imagine why they wouldn't have them bend. What an odd choice!

    She is quite lovely, though. :)

    1. It is an odd choice - the rotation allows her to have a fairly natural-looking waving position (or with both arms, a "hands up" position, which is a little creepy), but beyond that it's so limiting that I wonder why they bothered including it at all. I can imagine that kids would easily break the arms trying to get them to bend in the way that most jointed elbows do!

      But then the cuteness does make up for a lot! :)

  4. She's adorable! If they were able to be used with the Barbies (sizewise as kids), I would get a couple. But I'm pretty sure they are too big. Correct me if I'm wrong.