New releases–what did you buy?

What did everyone think of the new American Girl releases?  I thought there was some cute stuff this time around, but several things were rehashes of previous sets.  Gabriella’s bed looks a bit way too similar to McKenna’s bed to think it was an accident!  At least they changed the color. And a lot of plastic throughout the releases.  😦  However, one item that fits in both of these categories made this gal (and plenty of others I suspect) very, very happy.  What was that?  The Class Pet Hamster set!

I loved this set when it was issued with McKenna’s bedroom set, and it is regularly on Ebay, but at an over-inflated price.  I’ve seen this set go for as much as $100!  In the words of Gru–“I don’t think so.”  That’s just ridiculous.  Apparently someone at American Girl has been paying attention (finally) and gave the fans a set that not only did they want, but they improved upon it.  And for $24, I have a feeling these sets have been flying out the door.  Luckily for me, I had a $20 rewards coupon that I’d been hanging on to in anticipation of the new releases.

Here it is!

I have mixed feelings about these new boxes. I do like the idea of seeing the photo of what it is on the box, but I don’t care for how hard some of the boxes are to get open. I didn’t do so well with this one:

It just didn’t seem to want to pull open after I got the seal off. I don’t save the boxes for most things like some people do. I also bought the boots from the new releases and the box on that…it was totally trashed as the tab to pull out didn’t want to come out at all. Oh well.

Here are all the pieces out of the box, so cute! And the improvements over the prior set? We have faux “bedding” in the bottom of the cage and food in the bowl! The set for McKenna didn’t have anything for bedding and an empty bowl. I do have one complaint about the bedding though, it is very uneven and makes it difficult to keep the wheel in place. I need to get a piece of sticky tack to put on the stand to help it.

Let’s look at the pieces individually. First, the cage itself. Very simple, and I love the little water bottle. I couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be until they make an accessory set that turns this into a hamster Habitrail, and includes one of those balls you can use to exercise your hamster? In the meantime, you can bet I’ll be watching the candy/toy machines at the different stores!

The food bowl is very cute and nice and full, so your hamster won’t go hungry.

The wheel is adorable, it even spins like a real one!

And the star of the show:
   
I was a bit disappointed that the flocking dulled his eyes a bit. I’m tempted to take either a fine point black Sharpie or a dot of paint to make them stand out a little better. Otherwise I think he’s so cute!!!

They even give you a booklet to help you care for your new friend:
 

Here it is all assembled:

I’m so pleased that AG decided to make this an item available for individual sale, long overdue. I’m sure all of those people who paid a ridiculous price for it on the secondary market are kicking themselves! This set is not only cute for all of us doll folks, but I think it would be a great toy for a child who perhaps wants a hamster, or even already has one. I see tons of sales potential for this set–little brothers who have been taken to an American Girl store against their will, hamster enthusiasts, etc. Plus at this price point, it makes a great gift item. I’m hoping this also means we might see more expansion in the pet category, I mean, seriously, not everyone has dogs, cats or horses!

So who is going to get this set out of my crew? That’s a good question! It’s one of the few times I’ve bought something like this without a game plan in place. I do know what his name is going to be–Chum! Anyone who is a fan of the “Mouse and the Motorcycle” series by Beverly Cleary knows where the name is from, and as a child, I had a hamster named Chum as I loved those books. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that I re-read the first book with a friend, I still have an old 1970’s era copy and she had a new one, it was fun to compare the illustrations. If you’ve never read the series, I highly recommend it, such a cute story and it’s probably what sparked my thoughts of “what is going through a pet’s mind”.

Did you buy anything from the new releases?  I mentioned I got the boots and I also got the turquoise sweater.  Not so sure about those dots on it, but I did like the preppy vibe.  And I am in LOVE with #67, she is gorgeous and I’m seeing so many awesome photos of her on Instagram that make me like her even more!  I’m anxious to see a review on her where someone quits gushing long enough to really give a good evaluation on her hair before I make the jump.  Plus I’m waiting for Permapanties to disappear…  😉

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19 thoughts on “New releases–what did you buy?

  1. Good review. I’ve been thinking about a new hamster for Miss LaSalle’s class or someone’s pet. They did start the whole Habitrail thing in the 70s. (I remember the ads on TV). I don’t know if I wanna kill Henry off though. I have to say that some of the new catalog pics are a bit misleading. Where’s the outfit Logan has on in Rebecca’s carnival set? And the lunchroom table in the school pics? It’s nice to make the dolls look more true to life, but I think they should only do it w/ items that people can actually buy. Oh! And setting up 2 of everything like the lockers, carnival set and Kit’s golf set to make you wanna buy more than one is a bit underhanded IMO.

    • Logan’s outfit is his shirt and pants from his meet outfit, but the belt is from a plaid western dress (can’t remember the name, only know because I have it). Not sure where the hat came from either! The lunchroom table is from an old set that I wish they would bring back! And did you notice how the lockers are up on risers so they look more like the size they SHOULD be? I agree, they should only be using stuff that they are currently selling for these set ups, especially bad when they use retired items that go for large amounts on the secondary market.

      I have to admit I had a Habitrail for Chum back in the 70’s. He didn’t like it, so we moved him back to his “bird” cage lair.

  2. I do like the hamster set! I had planned to craft one after I saw the first set, but never got around to it. I just couldn’t find a little hamster that fit in . Could you let us know how big the cage and also the hamster is? Thank you.

    • I wanted to do the same thing Linda, but ran into a similar issue. I did find a rat in one of those Toob sets, but now that I see this, it seems a bit large.

      The dimensions are just under 4 inches wide, 2 3/4 inches deep and 3 1/8 inches tall. Those dimensions are without the lid on. The hamster is 1 1/8 inches long from nose to tail. Hope that helps!

    • I saw little erasers somewhere that looked like hamsters that were kind of cute, but most came in sets of weird colors so you had no control over what you ended up with.

  3. I went and checked out the new items at the store and this hamster set is the only thing I bought. I do think that it is still way over priced but I really did want it.
    I agree there is still a lot of plastic in this release. I am hoping that maybe they did not have time to change anything yet. I thought that the hotel was a wonderful idea. I will never buy it though, because of the cheap plastic headboard/footboard of the bed, the same plastic on the bench (really reminds me of Barbie furniture) and the hotel desk/room chest – which looks like it cannot take too many transformations. The luggage rack would have been great if metal instead of plastic.
    I think that Gabriela’s chair at $75 is crazy! The fold up ones at Walmart were as nice and a great price!
    The new locker looks like it could be even shorter than the green one – either way they are ridiculous in size.
    I like Tenny’s performance outfit and will probably buy it later, maybe on sale. I was disappointed in Logan’s performance outfit. The shirt, pants and boots were very nice but I cannot get past the jacket cheap fabric and that large A-G on the front! Compared to Molly’s bomber jacket which does not have ag but a nice patch, nice fabric and a quilted lining!!
    I was glad to see the Starry doll holders back I love these for overflow dolls in the closet!
    Overall I really did not have a hard time walking away from most of this collection.

    • I agree completely with everything you just said! And have you read the reviews on the hotel? There were one or two where they were already having breakage issues, that should not be happening for that price!

      My sister and I had a discussion this morning about the clothing, and we both agreed that the quality is not even close to what it used to be. Plus with so many talented Etsy seamstresses out there, it’s so much easier to get well made clothing that is unique. I love the fact that what my dolls wear isn’t worn by thousands of other dolls across the country!

  4. Yeah, that chair is crazy! I have a Walmart one I’m sure is just as good, if not better. And I wanted to add, why didn’t they just make the new #67 Gabriela, and leave #47 alone? Who’s making these decisions anyway?

    • The Walmart one is mostly metal construction, the AG one looks like plastic! Plus I love that the Walmart one can be folded flat.

      And yes, it would have made way more sense to make #67 Gabriela! Just further proof that it was a last minute decision to smooth the ruffled feathers, but it failed miserably. (To be honest, I’ve actually thought of #67 as my own personal Gabriela should I get her.)

  5. I see what we will be doing when I come up. To make the hamster run look real we need to cut up some shredded paper to cover that plastic supposed to be hamster bedding. Wouldn’t have to be much, but would make it look more authentic. Otherwise I think AG has hit this one out of the ballpark.

    • I thought of that too. I’m thinking tissue paper might work best. I definitely think this was the best thing out of the new releases, but I’m a bit partial!

  6. Love him!! My niece is going to fall in love with him for sure as she has a hamster and loves everything to do with the little critters. Maybe for Christmas. So glad that we can purchase him separately! I haven’t gotten anything from the new releases. I’ve done a lot of eBay purchases lately though so I will have to post all about that. Just no time in the summer!! 🙂

    ginnie / http://www.fakingitmostly.com

    • I’ve wanted this set for ages, so I couldn’t wait to order it! I think that would make a great gift for your niece. This was the only “must have” item out of the new releases, and it didn’t hurt that I had some rewards coupons to use.

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