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    There's not really any uniform answers to Steiff identification mysteries, especially when it comes to turn of last century, military inspired felt dolls.  Take a look at this note from Margaret, who asks about one of her recent finds.  Over the course of several exchanges, she shares the following about a vintage soldier doll that in many ways resembles those made by Steiff.  She writes...

    Hi Steiffgal,
    I was very happy to come across your blog tonight. I am an antique bear collector who has many old bears and pull toys, velvet toys, felt toys and so on. I hope you won't mind if I pick your brain. With your experience, you can probably give me some good information, or at least good speculation, about an item I purchased today at an antique store.  

    I have gone through my Steiff Sortiment and cannot find a match to this guy.  He seems closest to "Young Brigade" to me, p. 445, but he is not a perfect match.  He is obviously old, as old as my other Steiff dolls circa 1914.  He stands a hair more than 13" tall. He has a couple of tiny moth holes. He is jointed. He does not have a mohair wig, he has hair that is painted on.  Instead of shoe button eyes or blue glass eyes, his eyes are hand made glass humanized brown eyes, very tiny and pretty and realistic looking. He has a little mustache. He has two proper little felt ears and a little nose. He has a sweet expression.  The seam that goes up his face stops at the top of his nose and re-starts at his hairline.  And his hands are dark felt, obviously meant to look like he is wearing gloves.

    The doll is wearing a uniform, maybe a field coat, made of brownish gray wool. It has little brass buttons on it with a tiny insignia that looks like a pineapple shape. His coat has a little light brown or orange-ish square sewn onto each end of his collar; the coat is fairly long and buttons hold it open at the bottom. It is finely and expertly sewn and kind of gathered in the back. The sleeves have cuffs. The front of the coat has pockets on the chest. The right shoulder has a bit of the same fabric pinned to the shoulder, as if something else might have been there at some time.

    His pants are made of the same wool fabric as his coat and they tuck into the top of his black leather boots. They kind of balloon a little bit (they are not a tight fit). The black boots are leather, the uppers are two pieces, there are eyelets and laces, these boots are very intricately and accurately done. They are as good as human boots, just miniature.
    Is he Steiff, but a variation of the dolls pictured in the Sortiment, so he won't match up perfectly? Is it possible someone else made him? Who is my guy?

    Thank you for any ideas you can provide. 

    From one Steiff aficionado to another,

    Let's follow marching orders and get right down to business in terms of this dolls.  Yes, in many ways, he does share some similar characteristics to Steiff's wide range of soldier and military themed dolls from the approximately 1910 through 1920 time frame. These include his materials, general proportions, detailed clothing, and body construction.  However, there are three key areas that clearly suggest that he was made by a manufacturer other than Steiff.  These are his:
    • Clothing and footwear style and details
    • Facial construction
    • Unusual eyes shape
    If it were just one of these things, then maybe it could be an exception.  But all three suggest the alternative. 
    Steiff's Infantryman from 1914 though 1921
    Let's keep things somewhat orderly by starting with the dolls attire.  Typically, Steiff's military men have very fitted, detailed uniforms that have a "crispness" to them.  The clothing in general does not feature "puffy" or "gathered" details.  Steiff's doll jackets and pants are angular and often have edging and other contrasting stitched details, and simple, plain buttons.  The soldier doll pictured to the left is a good example of this; for more information on him please click hereThe "pineapple" buttons on Margaret's doll are much, much more detailed than the buttons on Steiff's usual military dolls, and his clothing appears too "informal" to have been made by Steiff.  

    Center Seam Face
    Face it, Margaret's doll's facial construction is also interesting - but not typical to Steiff.  Steiff is known for both their center seamed faces (which can run either horizontally or vertically) and their seamless pressed felt faces.  The company worked for over two decades to perfect their pressed felt face techniques, and during that time produced several hybrid prototypes that never went to market.  The pressed felt faced dolls do indeed have almond shaped eyes, but they are painted
    Pressed Felt Face
    or glass eyes embedded into the facial mask - not sewn on the face as it appears in Margaret's case.  It is possible, although not terribly probable, that the face on Margaret's doll is one of those "half and half" experiments with only a partial facial seam.  Steiffgal sees these these occasionally at auction - but they are never noted as Steiff, just as early European felt faced dolls... and they never have a Steiff buttons in their ear, suggesting that they were not meant to leave the factory.  

    Early Scotty, delightful photo from
    Eye veh... and now his handsome eyes.  Collectors probably recognize the soldier doll's distinctively shaped peepers as similar to those seen on Steiff's early Scotties, Selyhams, and Skye Terriers starting in the 1930's.  Steiffgal thinks that Margaret's doll is older than that - probably no later than the early 1920's.  Steiffgal also has never seen soldier's distinctive, 3D almond shaped eyes on any Steiff doll either in person, in the Steiff archives, or in pictures.  Early Steiff eyes used on felt dolls were round black shoe buttons, while later ones were round glass pupil. According to Steiffgal's colleague Lauren Mikalov, a doll expert and columnist for Dolls Magazine, many companies - including Lenci, Chad Valley, and Norah Wellings - used more humanized glass shaped eyes on their early felt dolls.  So there is history and precedent for this design element... but just not with Steiff.     

    So just who is this mysterious military man?  Without labels, it's almost impossible to tell... and like a good soldier, this one's keeping state secrets.  

    Steiffgal hopes this discussion on early felt dolls has met with uniform appeal.

    Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.  

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    Daily Graffiti

    This crazy Super Mario Bros. 8-bit street art was added to our Geek Graffiti Flickr pool by Starman Super. It transforms electrical boxes into question mark blocks and other familiar objects from Mushroom Kingdom. Neat!

    Check it: The Daily Graffiti Archives
    Follow Albotas on Twitter | Like Albotas on Facebook

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    ToyConUK is about to start in a few short hours' time, and I've essentially posted as much as I am able to … EXCEPT for this quick-sneak-peek at BILLY INSANE from Dolly Oblong! To be made available alongside Billy Brains at Dolly's table (found next to one of the fire exits!) - Best of luck with your scores, folks!

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    Marvel’s Iron Man 3 is coming to town this month and Hot Toys is proud to present the 1/6th scale Mark XLII Limited Edition Collectible Figurine from the Iron Man 3 movie for the MMS Diecast Series. This is only the second collectible to be introduced in our premium Diecast Series. Leading the MMS Diecast [...]

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    Currently on show at Hysan Place in Hong Kong is this "Iron Man 3 Suit-Up" display from Hot Toys featuring holographic projection unto their 1/6th-scaled Iron Man figure, and it looks pretty darn amazing, doesn't it? Click HERE to view more images of the event (via full-screen slideshow / Posted on my IronManFan-blog).



    (via Hot Toys)

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    Lots of PLANES planes are coming … Two from the “Pull & Fly” lineup do not actually fly in the sense that that leave the ground on purpose. Dusty & Bravo are pullbacks so they’ll go racing down a flat surface but fly? Not so much. Not sure how they’re going to spin a lineup [...]

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    Besides being "WOWed" by the holographic display on Hot Toy's Iron Man - currently on display at Hysan Place in Hong Kong - here's a closer look at two figurines on display as well = The "Testing Versions" of "Holographic Iron Man", in two colorways. Created by the Hot Toys Production Team, this figure was "inspired by the scene in Iron Man movie when Tony Stark is testing his armor in his high-tech workshop with the holographic technology."

    Very Gundam-Hobby-Kit, but you know what? Would be awesome if these ever made into production, don't you think? Looks to be 1/6th-scaled too = *GASP*


    (via Hot Toys)

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  • 04/06/13--02:49: ToyConUK Opens!
    Line outside the event location / Setting up the event
    (Images by Kelly Kaiser)

    Time now in Singapore is about 10 minutes to 6:00pm, but in London, the door has since been wide opened for the inaugural ToyConUK at Baden-Powell House! Posted here are snaps of both settingup and finished tables from a variety of exhibitors/vendors/artists, and I would like to thank the internets for the opportunity to see half-a-world away! (and Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and everyone lol). Have an awesome ToyCon Experience and Happy Shopping, folks!

    UME Toys' side of the table (right beside JPK) @richpage
    Jon-Paul Kaiser beckoning you to pick up his Libertas Skull!
    See what PodgyPanda has for sale here! @podgypanda
    The Hang Gang's table with swell exclusives to be had! (Pic by Anna Darnell)
    [Wooper Looper/Spikewad/Mummyboy & Foster/Kaiju Negora/Uamous/Chima Group Dinos]
    Artransmitte's table accepts CASH and CARDS! @artransmitte

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    In addition to my earlier features of Onyx, Jurassic & Gingerbread Editions of Mini Pharaoh Hounds + Mini Tuttz + Sucio from the ever awesome Argonaut Resins, Eric Nocella Diaz further tempts folks with THIS line-up of splendid resins to be had at the weekend MoCCA Festival 2013!
    "The first Pharaoh Hound Mini color ways for Series 1- Edition of 10 showing up at MoCCA with matching Tuttz Mini's and Sucio mice...I'll release the 10th set online after the show." added END.

    Also look out for a custom "Voodoo Circus Sucio" from Clinton Yaws, along with articulated resin colorful "Obots" for sale at table #C90! Tell'em TOYSREVIL sent'ya!


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    We've just gotten word about all of the latest Iron Man 3 toys coming in the Minimates line, the latest of which have have been revealed as three new armors. These will be available exclusively through Toys "R" Us, and you will have to shop around to get all the other figures in the set. 

    The three new armor figures are based on Mark 17, Mark 33, and Mark 41, all three of which will feature removable helmets to reveal Tony Stark's face. The two-packs are arranged as follows: Mk. 42 + Mandarin (specialty stores), Iron Patriot + Extremis Soldier (specialty stores), War Machine + Maya Hansen (comic shops), and Aldrich Killian + Cowboy Disguise Tony Stark (comic shops). 

    By late April, all of these figures should be out in the wild. Check out images in the gallery. 

    Iron Man 3 Minimates are headed your way screenshot


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    set database: LEGO 76006 iron man: extremis sea port battle
    image courtesy of Grogall
    image courtesy of ToysRUs

    set number: 76006
    set name: iron man: extremis sea port battle
    theme: superheroesmarveliron man
    year: 2013
    pieces: 198
    prices: us$20
    minifigs: 3
    new superheroes theme set.
    come with a speedboat and a buoy.
    the boat has a hidden storage and dual missiles.
    the buoy has an exploding function.
    minifigs included an aldrich killian minifig, an iron man minifig with mark 42 armor and a war machine minifig.
    included a comic book.
    great playability.
    overall design is great.
    Bookmark and Share

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    A week and a half ago, we covered a Kickstarter campaign for a USB drive turned action figure called PapaBehr. In a mere 8 days, David Nguyen and company have managed to secure the US$20,000 needed to fund this hardcore storage device. At press time, PapaBehr has garnered nearly US$22,000 with 32 days left to pledge. 

    So, what's left? Well, stretch goals, of course! The first will be met at US$35,000, at which point, anyone who has pledged at least US$100 will receive a limited edition "Destroyed PapaBehr" figure. At the rate the pledges are pouring in, I wouldn't be surprised if they reach this goal within another 8 days. You can see work-in-progress images of this figure in the gallery. 

    Visit PapaBehr's Kickstarter page to see the other stretch goals and to add a pledge of your own!

    Papabehr is 100 percent funded, aims for stretch goals screenshot


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    Kickstart This Shizz: Battle City - A Pokémon Inspired Art Show

    Our friends over at have launched a Kickstarter campaign for a follow-up to their popular 649 Monsters art show. This new show, Battle City, will feature over 100 artists from around the world and the backer incentives include sweet deals like art prints, and even a hardcover book featuring every piece from the show complete with artist bios.

    Campaign video below:

    They’ve already murdered their $2,000 goal by pulling in over $7,000, but there’s still 24 days left to unlock some of the stretch goals. Kickstart this shizz here.

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  • 04/06/13--05:10: 481 Universe Saturday Drop
  • Today (Saturday April 6th 2013) at 8PM ET, 481 Universe will be releasing a huge wave of customs...including "quite a few custom Battle beasts, and a fairly wide variety of different glyos based customs. Some clears, some battle worn and some smooth airbrushed gradiented figures." Set your alarm.

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    Lots of fun choices coming for the little ones … “Mater Tow ‘n Go” - Mater is a floating tub toy wearing his scuba gear of mask and snorkel. His friend Lightening McQueen is a bath squirter. Attach McQueen to Maters tow hook and Mater will pull McQueen up to his back bumper. Great Mater [...]

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    So ToyCon UK has already come and gone, but there's one more thing I forgot to post earlier this week: PodgyPanda's works for the event. They include lots of adorable prints based off his sketches (including his Daily Doodles), on sale for between £15 and £25 depending on the size of the print. I love the Calvin and Hobbes one myself!

    He's also brought with him some of his remaining Podgonaut customs (including the Lotus Bun, Sriracha, Custard and Orange Monkey variants) and some old customs like the Ninjas versus Robots Sketchbot, Octavian, and the Tiny Terrors. Oh, and buttons, too. Anything that didn't sell at ToyCon will be available after the show in his shop, so head on over there to check things out next week!

    Here's what PodgyPanda brought for ToyCon UK screenshot


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    Walmart has reduced the iPad Mini price to $299, making it more affordable for those of you who have been wanting one! Tablets are great for summer travel, which is coming up soon. You can load it up with movies, books, games and all kinds of educational apps for your kids. And since adults (theRead More

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    Disney Pajamas are 30% off at until this Sunday. I was browsing through their selection and all I have to say is…why don’t they have these in MY size? Online Exclusive: 30% Off Kids Sleepwear at Disney Store with CODE: DREAM. Shop Now! From Mickey Mouse and Monsters Inc to Finding Nemo and JakeRead More

    0 0 is offering some fun retro-inspired posters for each episode of the original Star Trek series (they come in sets of 4). Sign in or sign up for HERE. Tweet This Post

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    On April Fool's day some employees of Google customized co-founder Sergey Brin's Tesla Model S and had it customized like a Batman Batmobile. Well, sort of... his car was painted HOT PINK with a Huge  Bat-Symbol Logo on the hood! 

    It also sports some awesome Tail Fins and the headlights were given girlie-style eyelashes! Well, I guess he has a pretty good sense of humor because the photo down below shows him driving it away, ha!

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