This page is about my collection of Asian ball-jointed dolls. What are Asian ball-jointed dolls and what makes them different from any other dolls? Briefly, they are dolls sculpted and cast in Japan, South Korea, and China of polyurethane resin (mainly). They're generally produced in small quantities and as such are kind of pricey. They have a lot of really cool accessories made for them that are scaled-down versions of the sort of things that you might wear or use. For example, I've got a doll-sized flight jacket in my collection that has all of the same details as a person-sized flight jacket, from every snap to the lining to the pockets to the zippers. That is probably my main attraction to collecting dolls: the miracle of clothes and accessories that are the same sorts of things that I'd use every day, but in miniature. Real glasses! Real shoes! Perfect jeans! Pretty dresses! Wow! These are great for details-obsessed people.

I started collecting these dolls in 2004. In the span of four years, I amassed eight dolls and one head, plus a sizable trousseau of clothes, shoes, wigs, eyes, jewelry, and all kinds of other tiny stuff. My self-imposed limit was to bring home no more than 2 dolls a year, to go for the dolls that I feel strongly about, and to aim for a realistic, detailed wardrobe. I fell disinterested in late 2008 and I pretty much abandoned this hobby for other, cheaper dolls, like Pullips and Azone Pureneemo dolls, not to mention Ever After High dolls (delightfully cheap after Super Dollfies). You can take a look at my collection here.

My wishlist contained some of the dolls and stuff that I'd like to get next circa 2008. I haven't updated it. You can actually find a general wishlist of crap that I want here.

Three commonly-asked questions about Asian ball-jointed dolls

Why are they so expensive?

The process of making molds for resin, as well as the casting process, cost of materials, success/failure ratios, atmospheric conditions that can hamper the process of curing resin (such as high humidity) all lead to a very lovely product that is very difficult to make. Resin isn't cheap. Resin is a hazardous substance. Hand-casting resin dolls isn't an easy process, even if it was a process that could be changed to mass-production scale. It's not an inexpensive manufacturing process, and the final price reflects this. Lovely as they are, resin ball-jointed dolls aren't made for altruistic purposes. With such a costly manufacturing process, you need to make money somehow. As such, asking upwards of $500 for a doll that is 60cm tall isn't entirely unreasonable. Asking for a lot of money for a doll that is disproportionately smaller is also not unreasonable: they are time-consuming to sculpt, cast, release from molds, and clean up for sale.

Why aren't there many darker-skinned dolls?

2015 answer: It's gotten much easier to find dolls with tans! It still seems to be hard to formulate, but it's not at all hard to find a dark-skinned doll now.

2008 answer: My answer to this question comes from a friend who works with industrial plastics. Simply put, the darker pigments that would be used in a darker resin don't bond to the resin. Alternately, the lighter pigments may not bond, either, but because resin is white, and the pigments are lighter, it's less noticeable. On a darker-skinned doll, imperfections will be more noticeable. Think back to chemistry class and learning about how some molecules bond and some can't, or have difficulty doing so... that's the problem with making darker resin dyes. I'm not entirely sure, not being an expert in this area. Some companies have come up with solutions, some have not. You'll notice that some companies who sell tanned-skin resin dolls charge more, and you'll also notice that there's a great variation in tones between dolls from the same company that may have not been poured and cast from the same batch of dyed resin. Different dye lots = lots of wackiness. That's also why tanned resin dolls will occasionally be sold for more money than their lighter-sklnned counterparts.

Are there any cheap ones?

2015 addendum: We are now in the age of recasts. The line has been drawn, and you are either for recast dolls or you aren't. I am not in favor of them. I'm not going to lie and say that the devil with pitchforks in me delighted at the idea of getting dolls that have been off the market for a while in a mysterious new color. The neat thing is that I have impulse control because I'm a grown-ass woman. Dolls aren't a necessity. Recasting dolls and charging money for those dolls is against my morals. This isn't Shepard Fairey using an AP photo to make an iconic piece of artwork featuring Barack Obama because he thought Barack Obama was awesome at the time and was excited about the thought of this guy becoming president. This is ripping off two parties: the original creators and the customers. It's not done out of altruism. It's done to make money and take advantage of people. I think it's gross and shitty, and I would not do it or advise it.

2008 answer: That depends what you consider to be "cheap." By and large in this hobby, you get what you pay for. What that means is if you pay a lot for a doll, you can generally expect to be pretty pleased with the end result (for the most part). You can also get something that might have cost less than the competition but makes you just as happy and is absolutely lovely. Sometimes, cheap = exactly what you wanted. Sometimes, cheap = counterfeit goods. Sometimes, cheap = it may as well have been made out of Elmer's Glue and flour. While this can only sound incredibly bitchy, the truth of the matter is that hobbies involving collecting something (baseball cards, glass, comics, spoons, etc) are never really intended to be kept by people living on a shoestring budget. The better question to ask is something like, "Is this the right interest for me to have at this particular stage in my life?" That is one that can only be answered by you!