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LEGO Friends & the return of Polly Pocket

The LEGO hobby is so satisfying and absorbing that LEGO fans can sometimes get a bit isolated from what’s happening in the rest of the toy world. This is especially true for adult LEGO fans who mostly consider LEGO as a creative medium rather than a toy. However, in my experience, it’s a good idea to occasionally walk down the toy aisle of your favorite department store, just to see what other toys are popular. 🙂

While LEGO is clearly the leader in the construction toy industry, they still have to compete with other toy brands to get the attention of children. Knowing trends in the toy industry can help LEGO fans understand some of the decisions the LEGO Group makes that otherwise may seem random. For example, notice the similarities between the new Polly Pocket animated characters (see image above) and the LEGO Friends characters redesigned for 2018 (see image below).

With that introduction, today I wanted to talk about the return of Polly Pocket. While Polly Pocket is not a construction toy, and thus not a direct competitor to LEGO, their re-launch can have an effect on the LEGO Friends and other mini-doll lines. In fact, when the LEGO Friends mini-dolls were first introduced back in 2012, many people thought they looked like Polly Pocket dolls.

In case you are not familiar with Polly Pocket, the tiny, less than one-inch dolls and their equally tiny dwellings were originally designed by Chris Wiggs for his daughter Kate in the early 1980s. By the late 1980s, Bluebird toys licensed the concept, and the first Polly Pocket sets appeared in stores. Polly Pocket became immensely popular with girls growing up in the 1990s, and those early dolls are now highly valued collectibles (see image above). In 1998, Mattel bought Bluebird Toys, and they gradually replaced the original tiny dolls with larger versions of the Polly Pocket characters. These 3 3⁄4-inch dolls came with special “Polly Stretch” rubbery plastic clothes that could be put on and removed. The Polly Pocket craze eventually died down, and the line was discontinued in the USA by 2012, and the rest of the world by 2015.

But now, Polly Pocket is back! And, interestingly, Mattel re-released both the larger 3 3⁄4-inch Polly Pocket dolls, and the original micro Polly Pocket dolls (they are now just a tad over an inch tall). This news has been taking social-media by storm, as moms who grew up with Polly Pocket in the 1990s are excited to introduce the dolls to their own children. Below is an introduction of the new Polly Pocket line from the toy fair earlier this year.

The story of Polly Pocket is that she got a special amulet from her grandma, which can make her and her friends shrink. Having both the larger and smaller versions of each character, allows kids to play out the transformation. In fact, some of the sets include both the larger dolls and the micro Polly Pocket dolls at the same time.

Just like previously, the large dolls can be dressed in rubbery garments (they work surprisingly well), and they also come with various accessories. Their articulation is pretty basic; head can turn, arms can go up and down and in and out, and legs can move independently back and forth. The knees and elbows do not bend, the hands can’t hold anything, and the dolls can’t stand very well without leaning against something. The faces of all the dolls are super cute. So far, sets include Polly and her friends, Shani, Lila, and Nicolas. It seems from the official Polly Pocket website that there are plans to also release Polly’s big brother Pierce, little brother Paxton, their parents, their grandma, and the baddies Gwen and Griselle.

While the larger Polly Pocket dolls are adorable, the real excitement is for the micro versions of the same characters. As I mentioned, they are just a bit over an inch tall. Their torso, arms, and head are made of hard plastic, while their legs, feet, and hair are a soft rubbery plastic. This allows the dolls to bend their legs in any direction, cross their legs, and even sit in a chair (sort of). The bottom of their feet suppose to be sticky (because of the rubbery material), which is advertised as a special feature, but it doesn’t really work. The dolls can stand pretty well on their own though, so this is not a big deal. They all come with an amulet that includes their dwelling – just like how the original dolls were packaged. While the dolls have been updated with modern clothing and accessories, the shapes and colors of the amulets have a real retro feel to them. The faces of the small Polly Pockets are ridiculously cute, which is an impressive achievement on such tiny dolls.

If you are Polly Pocket fan, and you are interested to check out the new Polly Pocket sets, they are currently available at Wal-Mart exclusively, but I have also seen them listed on Amazon. Packets with individual large figures, or tiny figures and an amulet are less than $5. There are also larger combo sets, which are priced accordingly. You can see the listings on Amazon here: 2018 POLLY POCKET SETS ON AMAZON

As far as what the return of Polly Pocket means to LEGO, there could be some competition with the LEGO Friends and similar LEGO mini-doll based sets. I expect that the two brands will cover similar topics and interests. It’s also possible that LEGO will introduce a small child version of the mini-doll, just to compete with the adorable size and cuteness of the micro Polly Pockets. The micro Polly Pockets actually do make pretty good younger brothers and sisters for LEGO Friends mini-dolls. Below is a comparison picture for those who are curious.

I have also taken a comparison picture of Polly Pockets with other small plastic dolls that I collect to give you an idea of different sizes and designs. From tallest to shortest; Polly Pocket large doll, Mega Construx Monster High doll, Mega Construx American Girl doll (blue dress), Mega Construx Wellie Wishers doll (yellow dress), LEGO Friends mini-doll, LEGO minifigure, LEGO child figure (with short legs), Mega Construx World doll (with green hat), micro Polly Pocket, (red) LEGO games figure, LEGO baby figure, and (blue) LEGO trophy figure.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the original Polly Pocket micros, or the later larger versions? And are you excited about their re-release? Do you think Polly Pocket will have an influence on LEGO mini-doll sets? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • LegoMom August 17, 2018, 10:39 AM

    The first two pictures are so interesting! The girls look very similar indeed. The ones with glasses even have the same skin color and same color for the frame of their glasses! The other girls look very similar too. I like the earlier Lego Friends artwork better. Had no idea that Polly Pocket was returning. I like your last picture too with all the different dolls.

  • sammy August 17, 2018, 10:43 AM

    I don’t know much about dolls or even Friends, but is that a clear Lego baseplate?

    • admin August 17, 2018, 1:18 PM

      LEGO did make clear LEGO baseplates, but only in 16×16 stud size, and they have been long discontinued (and they are very expensive on the secondary market). The plate I used for the picture are by Strictly Briks, who make LEGO-compatible baseplates in a rainbow of colors (including various colors of clear ones). They are the same quality as LEGO, and I highly recommend them. You can read more about them in my earlier review: http://thebrickblogger.com/2016/08/baseplates-for-lego-in-a-rainbow-of-colors/

  • brickmaster August 17, 2018, 10:57 AM

    I’m most interested in that girl with the green hat. What line is that? You said it’s Mega Construx. But I have never seen that. Is that something new?

    • admin August 17, 2018, 1:24 PM

      That little girl is from the Mega Construx Yootz (now renamed Mega Construx World) line. It’s a brand new collection, and only four sets have been released so far. The themes are City and Castle. I have all four sets, and plan to get the entire collection. The Castle sets are going to be particularly good with knights, castles, dragons, horses, all in a smaller-than-minifig scale. I really like them. 🙂

  • FrenchToast August 17, 2018, 11:03 AM

    Those Polly dolls are super cute. But I don’t like that they can’t stand or hold anything. If they could just fix that they would be perfect.

    • admin August 17, 2018, 1:28 PM

      The micro dolls actually stand up very well. Amongst the large dolls only Nicolas can stand up reliably because he got bigger shoes. The girls can’t really stand, as you said, and I wish they came with some kind of a stand to put them on. And yeah, none of them can hold anything. They are more like Barbie dolls in this regard rather than dolls from construction toys.

  • waverider August 17, 2018, 11:58 AM

    I have to check these out next time I’m at walmart. How is the consistency and quality of the printing?

    • admin August 17, 2018, 1:32 PM

      The printing quality is great. The colors are vibrant and the lines sharp. However, some of the printing can be slightly off-centered on some of the figures. For example, when I got the large Polly, some of the packs had the heart on her amulet not centered correctly. So, I went through all the packs at the store, and selected the most perfect one. At least on the packs I have seen, the face printing was perfect on all the larger dolls, which is the most important. The micro dolls are all printed nicely, and I didn’t really have to go through the packs. Their faces are very cute. 😀

  • jabber-baby-wocky August 17, 2018, 1:36 PM

    Interesting comparison. Question; who is the tall girl with greenish skin (is that right?) and beautiful eyes and face?

    • jabber-baby-wocky August 17, 2018, 1:37 PM

      I like to see mixed collections like this. Thanks for showing us your doll collection!

    • admin August 17, 2018, 2:00 PM

      She is from the now discontinued Mega Construx Monster High collection. I don’t care for Monster High, but I also really lie their faces and hairpieces. They are compatible with other Mega Construx dolls (like American Girl, Wellie Wisher, etc., and even boyish themes like Call of Duty, Destiny, Halo, etc. I plan to use their heads and hairs for custom figures. 😉

      • Håkan August 17, 2018, 8:50 PM

        I remember Monster High was one of my favorite Mega Bloks themes. I tend to like the more cartoony builds.

  • Tito August 17, 2018, 5:12 PM

    Why is that doll in the yellow dress staring at me???

  • legoed19 August 17, 2018, 5:18 PM

    They also did a boy’s version – Mighty Max, if I remember correctly. I liked them a lot as a kid and they made some good money when I sold them a few years back.

    • DavidH August 17, 2018, 5:21 PM

      Oh, yes, I remember Mighty Max too!

  • DavidH August 17, 2018, 5:20 PM

    It’s a good thing to keep in mind that Lego doesn’t exist in isolation. They still have to compete against other toys. I agree with the article that it’s a good idea to keep updated. If you have kids, this is easy. If not, just walk down the toy aisle of any Walmart. They don’t stock stuff that doesn’t sell.

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