Chelsea CustomSomething small for today!

Since Dolltopia could well use one or two younger characters, but the Mini Pullips are not especially useful for that since they pose badly and don't look like children, I went looking for a different doll to match. Barbies' youngest sister Chelsea seemed like a good candidate to me. She's available in various skintones and hair colours and with all kinds of accessoires, even with faerie wings. Additonally, a regular version costs less than 10 Euro and is easily available.

Unfortunately, her posability is also rubbish, the models with a bent arm even more so, and while my first Chelsea only had her panties printed on, the second one also comes with a shirt that's moulded directly onto her body. That made her very boring for the photo story in her original state.


So I decided to create a hybrid. Chelsea's head was to go on a 11cm Obitsu body. Sadly that makes the girl shrink by ca.2cm, but there was no way to help that. With a 21cm body her head would be much too small compared to the Pullips, and it would also have made her much older than desired.


Chelsea CustomOur local shop had four or five Chelsea's in stock. Although I chose the one with the lightest complexion and dark hair she was still very obviously darker than the white Obitsu body. Crazy world, when it's usually so hard to get a doll with darker skin! Barbie is doing very good work in that regard, but sadly Obitsu doesn't, so I had a problem.

Chelsea CustomApart from the size and skin there wasn't much hard work to do. The waistline measures almost the same for both dolls and the skirt had a rubber band anyway, so the skirt fit right out of the box. The feet are also of the same length, but the Obitsu feet are considerably wider and more chunky.

Chelsea CustomI was still able to stuff the doll into the boots with only minor problems, which made me very happy, since for some reason the golden boots are incredibly cute to me. The only thing I had to do was to deepen the slits on the back down to the heels with a scalpel. I also rounded the slit a bit to keep it from ripping. That way the shoes aren't closed all the way in the back, but I don't think that's a problem since it looks like that all the time with regular doll boots too, e.g. Barbie, Monster High or Taeyang. The boots sit way too tight to fit socks into them, though, but that goes for the Chelsea body too.

So that problem was out of the way and there was only the head left to take care of. Chelsea has a simple ball joint neck, so it was easy to get her head off with some light tugging. It also fit snugly on the pre-fixed Obitsu neck joint with just some prodding, but I wanted to do something about the colour difference first.

Chelsea Custom Chelsea Custom


To do so, I used pastel chalk in English red, yellow and white and scraped fine powder from them with a scalpel, with white being the main colour. I would have added a tint of blue if I had some... The powder was mixed with a toothpick.

Chelsea CustomThen I prepared Chelsea's head. First she got a good bath and scrub with warm water and some washing up liquid to get rid of any kind of fat residue, whether from the casting process or from handling her. Then I tied up her hair, wrapped it in some foil and used masking tape all around her face. Next, she got a layer of Mr. Super Clear matte varnish to have a base for the paint.
I rubbed the powder all over her face with my fingers until it took no more colour. Then I removed loose powder with a soft make-up brush, sprayed on another layer of Mr. Super Clear and repeated the process. I did this until she stopped getting lighter and before the layers of paint became too thick and obvious (Overall I added three or four layers, I think). She recieved a final sealing of Mr. Super Clear for durability.

Sadly she was still darker than her body, but the difference was much smaller and it was good enough for me. One of the blonde Chelseas might have been an even better match, but I fell in love with this one's dark hair. Perhaps she'll get a friend in the future or I'll modify my other Chelsea too. In that case I'll let you know how it worked out, he he.

Due to all the pastel layers her make-up didn't look so swell anymore, so I repainted parts of her eyes and also the eye brows and mouth with acrylic colours and added some additional light reflexes while at it. That was sealed with another last layer of Mr. Super Clear, then the foil and masking tape were removed and the head mounted on its new body.


Chelsea CustomLast but not least I made her a first rough shirt from a piece of scrap fabric so she doesn't go barechested. The fabric was a bit too thick and stiff for such a tiny doll, but at least the sewing pattern turned out fine and dandy.

This customization took me less than four hours, and that includes the drying times of the varnish, so I was able to do other things inbetween. Making the sewing pattern was probably the most time-consuming thing and that only had to be done once. With just a little bit of work I now have a child character for Dolltopia.
If you want to do this yourself and feel adventurous, you could also use micro-grit sandpaper on the Obitsu neck, make the powder mix slightly darker to match her face and give that a layer or two too, but there's a danger that the neck will never have the same shine again as the rest of her body has, so I would not advise it.


Next time, what would I do different? I would either look for an even lighter Chelsea, try the "regular" (not "white") Obitsu body or grab some FIMO and try to sculpt a head myself. That's preferable to tinkering with a blank Obitsu child head, I find those very squishy and devoid of facial features.
I would love to also sculpt a extension for her shanks, like male Obitsu bodies have, because it's sad that she's so small now, especially since the Obitsu body is very bulky and not as elegant overall. That way she does fit Pullip's manga style quite well though, since small children are typically depicted even smaller in comics than they would be in real life. So in that department I'm okay with my result. Once she gets a nicer shirt she'll be cute, and thanks to her high posability she'll be a good asset to Dolltopia. Her wider form also has another positive - Obitsu bodies can stand on their own much better than Chelsea.

I'm aware that the doll mostly looks like nothing changed about the colour on the photos above. That is partly due to sadly very different lighting conditions between the photos and partly due to artificial light. A doll's various kinds of plastic hardly ever look the same in all kind of light. So for comparison, here's a collage of two photos that were taken on a sunny day by daylight, one in the middle of the room and one at the window. In this light head and body match WAY better than they originally did before the customization.



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