Tea & Automatons

Diana Vick's corner of the interweb

Doll Expo

Yesterday I had the honor of being the surprise guest speaker at the banquet at the Pacific Northwest Ball Jointed Doll Expo.  The reason Marie Adair, the Expo Coordinator asked me to speak was that next year’s theme is STEAMPUNK!!!!  This year’s theme was Fairytales and the creativity was simply amazing.
They have contests for the best dressed dolls, best scenes and so on.  There is also a contest for the best photo backdrops and my husband is trying hard not to give in to all the wonderful ideas he has.  I do not currently own one of the dolls, but I have to admit, it is tempting.  They are beautiful and they have such nice clothes and wonderful accessories!  Needless to say, neither of us need any new hobbies, but we are both quite excited for next year’s show.  It will be May 10th 2014 at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton.  I’ll be sure to post when they have the website updated so you can all join us.

I took a few pictures of some of the fantastic dolls.  You can view the gallery here.   Enjoy!

And while they are not ball jointed dolls, I have been collecting images of steampunk dolls that catch my eye over on my Pinterest page.  You can see them here.




Steampunk Dress Up Dolls

My Meez avatar from years ago

I LOVE playing dress up and when I don’t have an outlet for that, I turn to the internet.  I did some major league browsing the other day for online steampunk dressup dolls.  I found quite a few.  I thought you all might like an overview of what I found.  I put them in order from least successful to most successful, using quality of art, ease of use, degree of steampunkitude (or some such) and degree of customizability as my criteria.  I created the most steampunk example of each doll that I could manage in each case for demonstration purposes.  In some cases, the options were so limited that I think I may have come up with the only steampunk look available.  I then took screen caps and each one links to it’s game, so you can go and try them out for yourself.

# 14 - Unknown - Least successful

# 14.  First off there is a really terrible doll, who is garishly cartoony and barely even steampunk. This is really the best look she had.   The customization is fair, but the art is not appealing, to me at least.  I am unable to find the link to her game, which is probably not a great loss.





# 13 - Steampunk Dressing

# 13.  Our next game has incredibly poor mechanics.  It is so hard to use that I nearly gave up.  The art is sub par and it is minimally steampunk.  I think they tried to integrate photos of hats into the art, which failed miserably.  I’d give it a miss.







# 12. - TeddyBlack

# 12.  This is an art piece from Deviantart artist TeddyBlack.  The art is nice.  The doll is a bit stiff and the only customization are two settings for  her face and some different wigs.  Although there are a few pieces of clothing and some accessories that are quite steampunk, there are also a lot of odd or modern pieces that don’t work.  On the whole the clothing lacks movement or something to give it interest.






# 11 - Soulless

# 11. This is a  piece is based off of an existing book series, The Parasol Protectorate. The doll is the main character,  Alexia Tarabotti, so customization is not an option.  The application is very good, but the outfits are strictly Victorian and there is little or no steampunk twist to it at all.  It shares it’s title with the first book, Soulless which could also be a commentary on the images, unfortunately.  For the purposes of this review, it did not make the criteria, although I am sure her fans are fond of the game.




# 10

# 10.  Our next game has acceptable art and application.  The only customization is in a variety of wigs.  Mainly it misses the mark for steampunk and design of the clothing, often just throwing gears on rather than designing anything interesting.  Much more subculture than Victorian.  It also veers off into cyberpunk a bit too far.





# 9

# 9.  This game feels like someone just slapped the steampunk label on it.  It is very similar to many of the dress up dolls and I struggled to find enough Victorianesque clothing to make it work, although I am rather fond of this particular outfit.  The game has pretty much no steampunk elements.  It gets good marks for application, art and customization however.





# 8 - Clockwork Couture

# 8.  This game is called Clockwork Couture and it is the first of these games I ever saw.  The art is rich, but unfortunately the cluttered nature of the set makes it difficult to use.  The doll is not customizable at all nor are any of the clothes.  The clothing is sometimes very steampunk, but often drifts too far into other eras.  I want to like this one more, but I never get a result that I am very happy with.






# 7 - Steampunk Girl

# 7.  This  is a very stylized piece.  The art is nice if a bit odd.  High marks for the amount of color customization allowed, but the clothing comes in chunks that are less than optimal.  This gives less freedom to mix and match.  Overall  it is a fairly fun doll but I really feel it had more potential.







# 6 - Steampunk Wedding

# 6.  This is the only game  that I found in which you had two people to design.  While they call it Steampunk Wedding, very few of the options would be suitable for a wedding.  It contains some very steampunk pieces and the customization is good.  The art is highly stylized and might not be to everyone’s taste.





# 5 - Candy's World

# 5.  This is Candy’s World.  The art is gorgeous but the doll seems bit stiff.  The steampunk score is quite high.  The application works well.  The customization could use a lot more variety and more color would be appreciated.









# 4 - Azalea's Dolls

# 4  Azalea’s Dolls.  The art is a bit anime but decent if a bit simplistic.  The clothes are mostly appropriate and there is some customization.  Overall this application is very good and easy to use.  I just wish for more variety and customization on this one.








# 3

# 3.  The art is very anime, which I happen to like.  The application is good.  The clothes are fairly steampunk except for some modern pieces that would be more subculture of steampunk than genre.  There could be more customization and color choice.  Also the clothing comes in sections not pieces, so it is less than optimal for mixing and matching.






# 2 - Steampunk Nation

# 2. This  is Steampunk Nation which is again very anime.  This is the only game in the review that allows you to make a male or female character.  There is a good amount of color customization on the doll, but not so much for the clothes, usually just a choice of two or three different sombre color versions.  The application makes the options a bit small to see making it hard to choose. There is a complete lack of skirts.  None at all and I find this to be frustrating.




# 1. Costume Creator by Ammatu

#1.  Lastly there is a doll by Ammatu.  The art is gorgeous.  Full marks for steampunk clothing and accessories.  The application method is good although the details can be quite small.  A very small amount of customization is available, which I feel is this doll’s biggest drawback.





Victorian Butterfly



I only reviewed dolls that were actually labeled steampunk, but I do have three more that are outside the box, if you will that I found to be fun.

Victorian Butterfly is as the title implies just Victorian.  The art is a bit anime but I thought the clothing choices were wonderful.  With just a bit of steampunk content added this could fit in quite well.  It had a great application, lots of customization and I loved the ability to change the wallpaper as well.

I am appalled to find that when I looked at dolls labeled Victorian, they almost never were, so this one was a happy find.


Ocean Fashion

Ocean Fashion

Ocean Fashion lends itself more to modern day or cyberpunk looks but I found a few options that I felt could be applied to more fantasy based steampunk looks.  It’s application is fabulous and the customization is quite extensive, although I did wish for a bit more color choices.  The art is really nice.  I hope someday this artist will attempt a steampunk doll.

Robecca Steam Dance Class




Lastly I give you Monster High’s automaton, Robecca Steam.  Why?  Well, because it was this doll that started me off on this quest.  It’s a well done app, with pretty art, but for the most part there is a very small range of steampunk stuff.  The designers at Mattel have done a pretty good job on the actual dolls, but this one needed a bit more.

So there you have it.  I am sure there are more out there, but that is what I found.  If you know of some, drop me a note?  I did learn that Tea Girls artist Brian Kesinger is planning on doing steampunk dolls, although I am not sure if they will be paper dolls or virtual.  Either way they are sure to be gorgeous, so I am definitely looking forward to seeing them.  I hope you enjoyed my little review.  I do apologize for the black hole of time that I have just introduced you to.  You will pop out the other side eventually.

About The Author

Diana Vick

I am an illustrator, writer, costumer and steampunk enthusiast.
I have done illustration for comic books, animation and collectible card games such as Magic the Gathering and Legend of the Five Rings. Currently, I do art for my own line of cards and gifts in my Zazzle shop.