Dollstown is one of those companies that grabbed my attention when I first started looking at BJDs. They are a smaller company with two sculptors. The sculpting is incredibly detailed and it is obvious that the sculptors are familiar with the human body and bone structure. Their style is stylized but because of their familiarity with anatomy there is a distinct realism in the musculature and bones of the faces. Since their craft is so detailed and they only produce a small number of dolls cast by Dollshe, their prices are on the higher end though in my mind justifiably so. As a result I was always tempted by their dolls but do not feel like I could spend the money. Luckily, I have been commissioned several times to paint Dollstown sculpts :)
The sculpts I've been commissioned to paint are two SD sculpts (Estella and Bandi) and one MSD sculpt. (Alina) The quality of the sculpting and casting is very smooth as to be expected from Dollshe. You can see on the Dollstown website that they spend a lot of time smoothing out the sculpt before casting. There are no unexpected rough spots where paint, brushes or pastels can catch so painting these are a wonderful experience. The first thing to notice about the sculpts is that the two SD sculpts show a bit more bone structure and detail than the MSD sculpt. I think that might be due to the difference in sculpting styles of the two sculptors than the size because I've seen MSD sculpts from Dollstown that look very similar to Estella and Bandi. I would be interested to see other Dollstown sculpts to do more comparisons.
First up I have Alina. She's cast in what I think is pale skin since it is quite a bit paler than the fresh skin I've seen. The color is a beautiful warm white, not a paper white but not ivory. The sculpt is clearly hand sculpted since overall it is asymmetrical. It doesn't bother me since ppl are assymmetrical (myself included) but I know this is something that does bother some collectors. The style falls between anime and realistic since the eyes are large but the nose and facial structure is quite realistic. Experience wise, this commission was challenging because the buyer paid for the commission but disappeared for six months ignoring multiple attempts to contact her via etsy and private e-mails. Thus far I have still not confirmed that I should send her back and she has not paid for the lashes I attached. Still, I think the doll is beautiful and it's nice to look at her until the owner contacts me.
The next Dollstown sculpt is SD sized Bandi. She is cast in Oriental skin and at first glance she is very similar to the Dollstown Estella I painted a month before. The immediate difference is that Estella is an open mouthed doll with teeth parts. On closer inspection there are clear differences in the sculpts with a little more definition in Bandi's chin, a wider nose bridge and heavier eyelids. Overall the subtle differences has me preferring Bandi more although I think Estella's teeth parts are incredible. Here are photos of both so you can compare.
The request for Estella was for a Victorian boy. I wasn't sure about the age since this is an SD doll but the description seemed to be for a fairly young adolescent boy. I kept the look very natural but with a bit of sickly blue shadowing under the eye to give him a touch of fragility. The colors are quite warm for this head since the base was already a warm tone. I really love how he turned out and the teeth parts were exceptionally easy to paint since the warm ivory resin was already very realistic.
For Bandi the request was simply for freckles. Considering that this is an SD sized doll, I usually associate this size with adult dolls. Since the request was for freckles I kept her looking natural as well but added a bit of brown/grey eyeshadow with a touch of pink pearl. I left the lips looking bare but naturally flushed. Overall I really like the effect of freckles and in the future will consider adding a slight skin texture as an option for realistic faceups.
Here are the time charts for Alina and Bandi. I painted Estella before I started timing my faceups so I don't have a chart for him.
Here are a few more shots so you can see Estella's teeth parts a little more clearly as well as some close ups of Bandi.
I hope everyone still enjoys these reviews. I find that my interest in BJDs tends toward the more technical and analytical side which isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea. If anyone has suggestions for a way to make my posts more interesting to them please let me know! I will work on more basic how to posts so that I can help those who are just starting out.