Just over one year ago, Volks, a company that produces high end ball-jointed dolls, opened up pre-orders for a limited, and quite pricey, Dolfie Deam set of Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee dolls with outfits from the feature film Sayonara no Tsubasa. After longer than a year’s wait, I was finally fortunate enough to receive both of these works of art.
First impressions: Upon opening the shipping container, the first thing that stands out is the size of the packaging. Each box for Sheryl and Ranka is very tall. They both size up at 26” tall. The sheer size of the boxes means a lot of storage space is needed. That said, the figures themselves, along with all the clothing and accessories takes up just about every inch of the box inside. The Dolfie Sheryl stands at 24” with the shoes on, while the Ranka is shorter. It should be noted that the Ranka Dolfie is actually part of the Dolfie Dream Sister line, and is intended to be shorter.
In taking out both of these figures, the first thing I noticed is that the packaging is very well made. Each box has a very stylized and dynamic pose of each figure. If the box does anything, it makes you want to open these up and display them right away. This would seem like a great idea, until you realize that these dolls do not come dressed out of the box.
Upon opening the plastic around the box, and then the box itself, the first thing shown is the figure itself wrapped in bubble wrap and inside of that, plastic wrap. It is tied down by two fabric straps. Underneath the figure and the backing board lies instructions, the outfit, accessories, and the decals for the tattoos that are shown on the preview pictures.
Putting them together: Let me state first, that unless you’re familiar with the Volks line of these style dolls, you will most likely require the instructions. Most reviews of this line and those that collect these, will tell you that they need some time, patience, and ease when putting the outfits on. Putting them on is a task, and doing it completely right is a very hard challenge, especially for someone who is more used to working with mechanical transforming toys than with dolls, clothing, and fashion accessories. Between the accessories and clothing, there are many pieces, and there are certain ways in which some of these MUST BE put on. For me, aside from owning the Yamato VMF Minmay, these are the first of the Dolfie Dream line that I’ve owned (and maybe ever will). The clothing is quite exquisite, consisting of various fabrics, all handmade and sewn to what appears to be strict standards. These clothes fit snug, and just going off of the box pictures, I knew these were going to need careful application. While the outfits are set to 1/3 scale, they are made of top notch quality material and are quite durable (although for the sake of preserving them, I treated them like I was building a paper model. All the buttons snap together, tiny belts have loops and hinges that work, and zippers go up and down as they appear. The colors of both Ranka and Sheryl’s outfits are vibrant and flashy. Colors pop out, and it makes the figures look alive.
While I just put them in their default Sayonara No Tsubasa outfits, the one thing that does require extensive work after the outfits are on, are the wigs they come with. Each figure in the box comes with two. I’m assuming that they both have slightly different styles and may be intended for use with and without the included hats. The wigs require brushing and sadly these dolls do not come with a small brush to do this. Ranka’s hair, being shorter, was a much easier cleanup than Sheryl’s. Volks main webpage, and their U.S. site offer tools and items such as brushes, sprays to preserve the clothes, wigs, and a long list of other things. Below are a few photos I attempted to take of them. I’m not a fashion posing expert, so please forgive the lack of creative shots. This can also be attributed to the fact that these dolls do not come with stands. Stands are absolutely crucial for dynamic posing and the resulting great photos that can often be seen online. They also are not cheap as well. As of writing this, I have ordered just one stand, and with shipping, had to spend over $40 for it. There are sites that offer aftermarket stands that look much nicer as well. The Volks stands for the Dolfie Dream line are mostly relegated to two or three stands.
As far as extra outfits are concerned, I also ordered all the alternative outfits for both Sheryl and Ranka For Sheryl, it was the date outfit with the blue long sleeve shirt and skirt, as well as one of the other concert dresses. For Ranka, the optional outfits were the Nyan Nyan female staff uniform, and the Seikan Hikou one as well. When I finally get display cabinets built into the collection room, I’m not entirely sure which outfit I’ll put them in. I may keep Sheryl’s default one on or possibly use the alternative concert dress. For Ranka, I haven’t decided at all. The pictures shown as samples on each outfit make them all look enticing, so it’s anyone’s guess, including mine at this stage.
In conclusion, there isn’t anything negative I can say about these dolls. They are very high end, and it shows in every aspect of both of these Dolfie Dream releases. While they were very pricey, coming in at over ¥70,000, but to be one of a very few that actually have been able to see and own these personally, I say they’re worth the price. Excellently made dolls, beautiful clothing, great accessories, these dolls have it all. I cannot wait to get these on display and in those great poses they were made to be put in. While not a doll collector at all (let’s face it, I got them because of the Macross franchise alone), I can walk away from this review feeling like the Volks Dolfie line has gained a new fan. I noticed other dolls that came out before these from Fate/Stay Night and Gurren Lagaan, so maybe??? In any case, while there are several items in the entire Macross catalogue that are discussion pieces, these definitely make the cut and I look forward to having fellow fans over to show them off to.