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For the girls!

bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
Reading all the love/hate debate about the mini dolls has got me thinking about the other 'girls themes' over the years. Was the scala range from the 90s ever released in the UK? I have no memory of ever seeing it. And what about Belleville? I have one set that I got from a toy shop in Oxford so I assume Belleville was released in UK but again I don't really remember it being around. Are there any UK AFOLS out there that collected either of these RANGES? 
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Comments

  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    This is my one and only Belleville set which I assume I bought because I thought it was cute and I like cats. 
    catwrangler
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 421
    I didn't have either of those, but I do have a couple of the Paradisa sets that a well meaning grandmother bought for me - I believe the extent of her reasoning was "he likes Lego", and they were on a shelf that she could easily reach.

    I remember quite enjoying playing with them at the time, it didn't really occur to me that they were 'girls' sets...
    bookmumBumblepantsKingAlanIcatwranglerSumoLegosnowhitieDontcopythatfloppy
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,569
    edited October 2016
    I never bought any Belville sets when actually in shops but have bought numerous lots from ebay, as they often have interesting parts in colours no longer available now, which I like them adding as quirky details in my MOCs.

    The dolls however I find a bit creepy (the baby on particular). Mini-dolls are wonderful by comparison to them! I used to resell them but now discovered a coworker and her daughter like them so I give them to her now. 

    Never had Scala either, but Yvonne Doyle from Brickish has done quite a few MOCs with Scala dolls. I seem to remember a hospital in particular. Her latest models feature Barbies and Monster High dolls but Scala scale builds, I think. 

    Paradisa, on the other hand, I had several sets of as a kid and still have now. Plus last year I acquired a lovely boxed set of Dolphin Point that eluded me as a child :-) 
    bookmumcatwranglersnowhitie
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    Looking at the pictures of the dolls I think there are up there with the traumatising Victorian dolls that sometimes crop up in grandparents attics! 
  • flordflord CanadaMember Posts: 731
    Toys should just be toys. It shouldn't matter if they are pink or blue, intended for one group or another. If a kid likes it, go ahead and play with it.

    Gender politics and children shouldn't mix.
    gmonkey76DontcopythatfloppyFurrysaurus
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    flord said:
    Toys should just be toys. It shouldn't matter if they are pink or blue, intended for one group or another. If a kid likes it, go ahead and play with it.

    Gender politics and children shouldn't mix.
    good luck putting Pandora back in her box
    KingAlanIFurrysaurus
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,343

    Like @LostInTranslation I have aquired a few bits of Belville stuff for parts, some of the colours are great and with a little imagination some parts have been quite useful (I once used Belville scale Ice Skates on a microscale spaceship test build) However the designs on most of the sets are quite lack lustre to say the least. I would like at some point to build a spaceship at a scale to fit a Belville Doll for no other reason than the thought made me laugh when I had it.

    Another failed "for girls" theme to look up Clikits - which were jewelry building sets. Again as sets they hold no appeal to me, but the parts are connectable to standard system parts so after getting the limited edition Fairy Bricks LCP set and finding out the wand was done with Clikits parts I couldn't help but get a couple of Clikits sets to see what else the parts could be used for.

    flord said:
    Toys should just be toys. It shouldn't matter if they are pink or blue, intended for one group or another. If a kid likes it, go ahead and play with it.

    Gender politics and children shouldn't mix.
    While I agree with the sentiment it was obvious that the OP was asking about themes that had been marketed in this way, which is still a very common practice - yes views are changing but to ignore that it has been done and will likely still be successfully done for some time is naive.
    KingAlanIcatwranglersnowhitie
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @flord I agree in theory but being both a female child (once upon a time way back) and being the parent of a female child I can tell you that it doesn't matter if you label toys 'boy' or 'girl' or not, in general there will always be certain toys that girls prefer and vice versa. I don't know if it's a nature thing or society thing but that is just the way it is and toy companies will always market them that way. Anyway enough sociology lessons can I have some pictures of ugly dolls please. 
    KingAlanI
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,337
    edited October 2016
    Even my Ninjago dragons would run/fly away from that monstrosity, and they are used to fighting ghost ninjas! 
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @Shib I've given you a like but really I want to give you a arrrrrrrgh. 
    ShibLostInTranslationBumblepantscatwranglersnowhitieLego_Star
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    The clickets range sold OK ish in the woolworths I worked in. The thing I remember most about them was the packaging got very bashed easily and the triangle boxes wouldn't stay very tidy on the display shelf. Customers quite often asked for them to be reduced. 
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,337
    You should put her on a dragon. Or between the teeth of a dragon. Or is that animal cruelty?
    bookmumgmonkey76SprinkleOttercatwranglersid3windr
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have started this thread so close to bedtime. 
    Bumblepantscatwranglerwardm
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 813
    I'm not sure about the UK, but in the US, neither Belville nor Scala (1997-2001) were marketed much (if at all) in retail stores.  They were available through LEGO [email protected], and in LEGO Brand Retail stores, but that was mostly it.  I think some of the Belville sets made it to Toys R Us shelves, but not much.  And I don't remember ever seeing any Scala on shelves here.

    However, I recall hearing that Belville actually didn't do too badly in Scandinavia, which is why it stuck around longer than Scala, Clikits, or Paradisa.  They were definitely in retail stores there, although I don't know if it was typically the full lineup or not.

    The Belville and Technic figures are nicely in a similar scale, and I've used them occasionally (as pictured above in the Mini Cooper) as figures for large scale vehicles like the VW Beetle, as well as the UCS X-Wing, and others, where the scale is close enough to be fudged.

    Scala ... I have yet to find a good use for.  Some of the parts were interesting in the girl-targeted lineups, but Scala and Clikits were probably the worst value-wise, considering I'd only want a small handful of the parts.  The Scala "house-building" system is interesting, but it has a very non-LEGO feel to it, since it's so grossly made of pre-fab parts.

    The new stuff's great, though.  I'm not a huge fan of the mini-dolls, but they're not too bad.  They have their uses.  But the rest of the sets are actually chock full of very useful elements, and a nice, bright color palette.  Unlike some Belville sets I own, I've never felt any buyer's remorse for Friends, Elves, or Disney Princess sets.

    DaveE
    stluxLostInTranslationBumblepantsKingAlanIbookmumcatwrangler
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 2,048
    edited October 2016
    I remember seeing them in the catalog but never at stores. I never bought any. (Modern comparisons in parentheses - Now there's a whole aisle of it. I like a lot of Friends.)
    They seemed so stereotypically girly. (Friends sometimes does this, but has toned down the pastels and many sets have nonstereotypical themes)
    The figures do look weird. (I like the realistic look of minidolls; if only they could sit down)
    The sets seem particularly expensive, 20c per piece and up versus the usual 10c or so. (Disney Princess does this somewhat, but around 15c; Friends and Elves are average)
    Paradisa doesn't seem so bad.)
    In general I haven't gone back to old sets unless I had them in my KFOL collection.
    Yes, gender roles often get excessive.
    catwrangler
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    Way back before my lego life began with fabuland, I did have some old lego that I assume came from an older cousin. They were from the Homemaker range (I think it was called). 

    Then a couple of years back I bought a bag of mixed bits and found some newer versions. Would these have been Belville? 

    LEGO_Dad77
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    I've just been looking at some pictures of the scala sets. Out of curiosity does anyone know how big the figures were?
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,854
    I never realised the Belville figures were similarly scaled to Technic ones! I've got a hankering for a Belville witch now, but I see from Ebay that they are NOT cheap - no wonder, since there's so much nice detail in the sets and figures...

  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,743
    I never realised the Belville figures were similarly scaled to Technic ones! I've got a hankering for a Belville witch now, but I see from Ebay that they are NOT cheap - no wonder, since there's so much nice detail in the sets and figures...

    Good luck with that set. It took me the longest time to find the brown pillar from that set...
    catwrangler
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,337
    Yay, it took only 15 years for Belville to become popular! Outwith the target audience. And for the wrong reasons. Every AFOL needs to have a scary witch? Maybe that's why TLG is releasing all those creepy seasonal sets this year...
    bookmumBumblepantscatwrangler
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    In just the day or so since I started this thread I have realised how much I WANT a Belville Baby. I really really want one yet 24 hours ago I was barely aware of them. 
    catwranglerPeteM
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    That picture is brilliant. But I don't know Galidor. I'm just going to to pop across to the main brickset site and check him out. 
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,569
    edited October 2016
    @bookmum - if I still have a Belville baby lurking at home somewhere, you can adopt it. Will check when I get home on Sunday (away for the weekend). 
    stluxcatwranglerkiki180703
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @LostInTranslation cool! 
    @davee123 I have no memory of ever seeing or hearing of this range. I'm guessing it was never released in the UK. 

    He looks quite dishy *in the picture, I'm guessing real life not so great. 

    *for an action figure obviously. 
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 813
    bookmum said:
    I have no memory of ever seeing or hearing of this range. I'm guessing it was never released in the UK. 

    He looks quite dishy *in the picture, I'm guessing real life not so great.
    I ... think it was released in the UK, but I could be wrong.  It was VERY short lived.  I barely saw them in the US.

    That was when LEGO was floundering around, trying to find the new "it" product.  They had a TV show, and some of the toys had electronics in them that "interacted" with the TV while it was on.

    Hobbyists of the time were already bemoaning Bionicle in 2001, and with Galidor in 2002, it was awful.  I guess pretty similar to the backlash against mini-dolls, except NOBODY was defending Galidor!

    DaveE
    bookmumkiki180703Dontcopythatfloppy
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,854
    edited October 2016
    Funny thing... earlier this year I encountered a Galidor figure in a local charity shop. It was still in its packaging, which I guess means someone either got given one they already had, or that the thing was so unappealing it was never opened. I had a brief moment of "Lego rarity! Buy it and flip it on Ebay!" before I came to my senses and realised I'd probably have to pay someone to take it off my hands... I believe they were asking for £5.99 for it. 
  • MichaelSmithMichaelSmith AdelaideMember Posts: 13
    The first Lego marketed towards girls was in the 1960's, when Samsonite released a dolls house furniture set. The first girl's theme was "Homemaker" which started in the early 1970's. Similar to the Samsonite set, the first Homemaker sets were buildable doll's house furniture. Then with the introduction of the Maxifig in 1974, these were added to the Homemaker sets as a kind of buildable Lego doll. From 1978 minifigs also appeared in Homemaker sets as infants. Also in 1978 three doll's house style sets were introduced - a bungalow, a hospital and a hairdressing salon. The Homemaker theme was discontinued around 1980 in most markets apart from the US, where it lasted until 1982.

    The first incarnation of Scala was introduced in 1979, as a line of buildable jewelry. But it only lasted until 1980 before being discontinued. According to Brickset there were only nine sets released.

    Through the 1980's there were no Lego themes specifically marketed to girls, and it wasn't until 1992 that Paradisa, a sub-theme of Town, was introduced. It was kind of an early version of Friends but with minifigs, and was discontinued after 1997. Belville was introduced in 1994, and then Scala (Mk II) appeared in 1997. The second incarnation of Scala was a line of large-scale dolls (and is possibly the only time Lego has recycled a theme name?). It was discontinued after 2001, but Belville lasted until 2008.

    Clikits, which like the original Scala was a line of buildable jewelry was introduced in 2003 and lasted until 2006.
    bookmumcatwranglerkiki180703KingAlanI
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    The little Homemaker bits I had worked ok with my fabuland as a fabuland figure could just about reach the top of the cooker or sink. When my daughter started getting into lego I bunged them in with her collection. One day she has them all nicely lined up on the floor. I asked what she was making "it's Ikea" she said. 
    catwranglerTheOriginalSimonBLostInTranslationricecakePeteMkiki180703stluxkhmellymelToc13
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    I have just been looking at the pictures of the Paradisa sets on the main site. Was there really only 18 sets? Do like the look of that dolphin one. 
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,877
    davee123 said:
    bookmum said:
    I have no memory of ever seeing or hearing of this range. I'm guessing it was never released in the UK. 

    He looks quite dishy *in the picture, I'm guessing real life not so great.
    I ... think it was released in the UK, but I could be wrong.  It was VERY short lived.  I barely saw them in the US.

    That was when LEGO was floundering around, trying to find the new "it" product.  They had a TV show, and some of the toys had electronics in them that "interacted" with the TV while it was on.

    Hobbyists of the time were already bemoaning Bionicle in 2001, and with Galidor in 2002, it was awful.  I guess pretty similar to the backlash against mini-dolls, except NOBODY was defending Galidor!

    DaveE
    Galidor was released in the UK, but it was even more of a flop there than it was in the US and continental Europe, because UK advertising laws kept LEGO from being able to launch the toys and TV series simultaneously. Not that the TV series was very good, but other than the website and Game Boy Advance game, it was basically the only thing giving the characters any kind of context. There are some at the LEGO Group (including Niels Milan Pedersen, who's been a LEGO designer for 35+ years) who still believe Galidor might've been more successful if it had been marketed more strategically and hadn't been rushed to production hot on the heels of Bionicle.

    As a kid who got into LEGO in the early 90s, the girl-oriented theme I was most exposed to was Paradisa. My brother and I would get Paradisa sets ostensibly as gifts for my mom, which is kind of silly in hindsight, because of course we were the ones who ultimately built and played with them, and of course it was our collection the parts inevitably wound up in. We also had a pink LEGO Basic bucket (#1688) and a pink Tyco "Dream Builders" playground bucket. I was aware of Belville from the LEGO catalogs, but didn't have any Belville sets in my collection.

    Scala and Clikits ultimately passed me by. Not only was peer pressure even more intense by that time, but I was too heavily invested in other LEGO themes like Bionicle to pay them much mind.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,877
    I don't really like Paradisa nearly so much in hindsight. In terms of subject matter, it felt very sanitized (all decadent vacation scenarios without much substance or sense of adventure), its builds were simplistic, and its colors were so drenched in pastel that they almost felt bleached or faded. And even without adjusting for inflation, the price per piece was pitiful. In general, a lot of the worst things people say about LEGO Friends much more accurately describe Paradisa.

    However, I still do have a lot of nostalgia for the sets, particularly #6414 and #6416. They're awful by today's standards, but I  have fond memories of playing with them.
    KingAlanI
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 2,048
    I forgot about girly color loose brick sets. I liked those for otherwise rare colors, and the pieces were a good deal in general.
    I have #5585 in my KFOL collection. #4625 and #10694 were two of the few things I bought during my dark age.

    @Aanchir Looking at http://brickset.com/sets/theme-Town/subtheme-Paradisa again - yeah, the prices were way high. By "doesn't seem so bad" I meant the design. It's simple compared to today, but a lot of older sets were, and I kinda like the clean look. #6350 and #6376 are two regular town sets form the same time with similar complexity.
    catwrangler
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    I am very surprised to learn Galidor was released in the UK. That was the era when I was 'the toy lady' at a branch of woolworths. Back then woolies was the UKs biggest toy seller (apparently) and we definitely didn't have Galidor. Well at least in my store and we were one of the bigger ones. We did however sell bionicals by the billion! 
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,854
    edited October 2016
    Aanchir said:
    I don't really like Paradisa nearly so much in hindsight. In terms of subject matter, it felt very sanitized (all decadent vacation scenarios without much substance or sense of adventure), its builds were simplistic, and its colors were so drenched in pastel that they almost felt bleached or faded. And even without adjusting for inflation, the price per piece was pitiful. In general, a lot of the worst things people say about LEGO Friends much more accurately describe Paradisa.
    These are all points I hadn't thought much about, but I think there's something to them - it was quite visually jarring to have the very pale bricks for most of a set, but then something like a palm tree in Lego's usual strong colours. With stuff like Friends or Elves the new colours tend to be brighter and somehow that integrates them more into Lego's overall look. Of course, we also have many more colours available overall, and many of those are more subtle (e.g. the beloved sand green, or brick yellow), but they tend to be associated with more AFOL-oriented sets like the modulars, or else the designers seem to make greater use of strong contrasts between paler and brighter colours than was generally true of the Paradisa theme. 

    If you look at popular girl-targeted toys of the time, pastel colourschemes seem as popular as bright ones, but if you were making, say, Polly Pocket in the mid-90s, it was a new thing and you weren't tied to decades' of people's perceptions of your toy as being mostly primary-coloured, like Lego.

    Perhaps TLG themselves noted the pastel thing; when you look at the sets in release order, it becomes apparent that in the theme's last year, they added magenta elements that brighten things up a little...

    In the end, though, it doesn't seem to have desperately hurt sales, given that the theme went on for five years: these days, we'd call that a success.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,569
    @bookmum - if I still have a Belville baby lurking at home somewhere, you can adopt it. Will check when I get home on Sunday (away for the weekend). 
    @bookmum - I do indeed still have a Belville baby so if you would still like to adopt one, PM me your address and I'll send it out to you. 
    stlux
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @LostInTranslation oh well that is amazing. I'm not entirely sure how I do the PM thingy but I will figure it out. 
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @LostInTranslation I meant oh wow, not oh well. Stupid auto correct. 
    MegtheCat
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @LostinTranslation I just tried to send a PM to you about little baby. I am not entirely sure if I did it right. let me know if you got the message or not. thanks.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,569
    @bookmum - I didn't get it. I'll send you one :-) 
    You should click on inbox then the message with my name on it to reply. In future if you want to start a conversation you can click on the person's profile then 'message'. 
    bookmum
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    @LostInTranslation have replied! My daughter is very excited. I think she is going to tell everyone at school that "my mum is getting a baby" which could create some awkward playground gossip. 
    Toc13khmellymelcatwrangler
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    bookmum said:

    I think she is going to tell everyone at school that "my mum is getting a baby" which could create some awkward playground gossip. 
    Just don't decide to get a dog next week.
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,244
    Strangely enough, I don't ever recall other girl oriented themes until Friends.  Maybe as a child (80's and 90's) I only paid attention to the themes I liked (which were Castle and Pirates).  I don't know any friends who had girl themed Lego either.
    mr.piggles
  • MichaelSmithMichaelSmith AdelaideMember Posts: 13
    Was looking through Brickset's catalogue scans and came across this - a catalogue aimed at girls from 1974.

    It contains the often posted back page text advocating gender neutrality in Lego play (which when posted has always been presented by itself). So that does confirm the page exists and wasn't a photoshop mockup, but looking at the overall context of the catalogue that contains it, it doesn't appear so progressive as it does when presented in isolation. It almost becomes like the "gamble responsibly" disclaimers that Australian betting websites are mandated to include at the end of their ads.

    http://images.brickset.com/library/view/?f=catalogues/c74ukhom

    Also an interesting article I found on Lego and gender https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/05/08/part-i-historical-perspective-on-the-lego-gender-gap/
    AanchirLyichircatwrangler
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    I'm probably letting the womanhood down here but I have just looked at the link and I LOVE that catalogue! 
  • MAGNINOMINISUMBRAMAGNINOMINISUMBRA Member Posts: 993
    Holy Crap! It's GEWINNE! Boys Mum.
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,217
    ^ I have no idea what that means! 
  • KingAlanIKingAlanI Rochester, NYMember Posts: 2,048
    "Genuine. Mother of sons." is my best attempt at translation. :P

    I notice the catalogue is about stereotypical play with general models rather that stereotypically girly models in and of themselves. I guess that's better.
    catwrangler
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