“ A weekly magazine distributed by COMAG Magazine Marketing. „
Unless you never watch TV, you will have seen the advertisements for the latest Del Prado magazine ?Scenes of Victorian Life?. Del Prado produces several magazines in this line, and this latest one is all about Victorian Life. The first issue was sold at only £1.99 and came with a beautifully dressed Victorian doll and a child?s rocking horse. The magazine itself has only a few pages, but has many large clear photographs and information about the doll that came with it and other character dolls. There is also a section with detailed instructions on how to make a building as an alternative to display your collection of dolls in. Each week a collectors card shows the doll you have just received, and highlights the position to place it in the suggested display. I was very attracted to this magazine when I saw the adverts, as I have been a collector of dolls houses and miniatures for over 20 years. I bought the first one out of interest to see what sort of quality it was and how it was made. On taking the doll out of the packaging, I inspected the doll itself, and found that the head, arms and legs are made of good quality porcelain. The face is not a doll face, but that of a miniature person. It is absolutely beautifully painted. I have paid many, many times that price for doll parts that are grossly inferior to this one. I noticed that the clothes were very slightly different from the clothes on the doll pictured in the magazine. They seem to have substituted some of the fabrics to a cheaper alternative - not surprisingly really, they must have to do something to keep the costs down and offer them at such a low price. They look extremely good and that probably explains why, when someone (cheekily) put this doll on Ebay auction site recently, it sold for over £10! I was curious as to how the doll was made. I have made up quite a few of my own and wondered if they had used similar techniques. I undressed the doll. Pa
rtly it was curiosity, and partly it was because I wanted to redress it in Regency costume, as this is the era I am working on at the moment. This is when I discovered a few interesting things about them. Firstly, the arms are held together with a rather nasty piece of wire. That explains why the hand fell off while I was undressing it. Arms are usually made of pipe cleaners and the fluffy coating of these helps the glue to adhere to the features. I was surprised to find this wire, as a pipe cleaner would have meant that the arms could have been bent to pose them more easily. Because of the parts being easily removed, they are in no way suitable for young children, although to be fair to the manufacturers they do state that they are ?not a toy?. The magazine states that the dolls are 1/ 12 th scale. The height of this first doll is 6 inches - making her a 6-foot ?person? for a dolls house. (They suggest in the magazine that you can use them in your dollshouse) Had I bought it to put in one of my dollshouses I would have been disappointed. A six-foot man looks ridiculous, let alone a 6 foot lady. In any case, in Victorian times people were much shorter anyway. What I did with my doll, was to remove the body part (a gentle tug did it) and I shortened the legs so that she would fit into my 1 1/12 th scale house. I also replaced the wire arm with a pipe cleaner. The porcelain legs are (unusually) cast right up the thigh, so that it would be impossible to sit this doll down. Still, a few standing dolls are OK. What I didn?t understand is that the plans for a library state that they are 1 1/10 scale, unless that is to allow for the tall dolls! The second issue of the magazine, a baby doll and highchair is out at the slightly reduced price of £3.45 The first edition is still currently available. Subsequent issues will be £4.99 According to the information, the first 7 parts will be available in the shops to buy over
the counter, then its time to think. From then on you can only get it if you order it through your newsagent or take out a subscription. The magazine runs for a mighty 90 weeks which at nearly 2 years is a huge commitment. It needs careful assessing as to whether you can afford the regular bill for such a long time, and whether your interest will sustain for that long. Also how would you feel if you got quite a way into the collection and had to give up - how would you feel about only part of a collection? I am seriously thinking about it myself at the moment, weighing up the different facts. Is it just the love of collecting, or do I really want all these dolls? Where would I display them all? I feel that for anyone who wants to build some showcases of these delightful dolls and wants a long-term project, this is an absolutely unmissable buy. However, if you were wanting to put them in your dollshouse, unless you are prepared to do a bit of work on them, I would think twice. If you have got this far in reading this opinion, then you, must, like me, be a true fan of miniature dolls, and I hope this review will have helped you to make up your mind about it.