When I first started in the doll hobby, I had a small list of characters that I always wanted to have made into dolls. At the tail end of 2013 one of the top characters from one of my favorite series was announced. Belldandy from Aa! Megami-sama (Oh! My Goddess) was getting her very own release. The thing I didn’t expect? She was to be made of resin instead of vinyl, meaning I was about to be thrust into a whole new world. Up until this point, I didn’t have any proper resin girls, let alone any experience with Volks resin. I had no idea what to expect as I went down this path.
After getting Reimu, I fell into a bit of a lull from a doll perspective. Nothing was announced that I really felt like getting my hands on and I came to realize that I wasn’t really doing as much as I wanted to with what I had already. It may surprise some to know that I didn’t purchase a single doll for myself during 2012. My focus went to photography, videography (for work), and a couple figures.
A couple months into 2013, Volks put up their announcements for DollPa 29. On the list was Asuna Yuuki from Sword Art Online. I really enjoyed the series and I decided to try to go for it. Volks Japan had other plans for me, thus the losing streak for International lottery continued.
I had to find a way to bring her home though, meaning it was time to hit the secondary market.
By the time I’d gotten Lily, I’d been in the doll hobby for about a year and a half. I’d been to Japan twice, done a bunch of creative stuff with photography, and had done a little blogging. I could feel things changing, though. I wasn’t as interested in writing about my hobbies as much as I used to and social media content had a significant drop. I had a new relationships and Final Fantasy XIV was taking up a decent chunk of my time.
Even looking back at my photo history, there was a drop in how much I was doing in the second half of 2011. So what did I do to try to save my relationship with my hobbies? It was time to seek out the next girl for my family.
When I started in the doll hobby, I told myself a couple of things. First, spending over $1000 on a doll was crazy (and I’d never do it). Second, I really liked Saber and I probably wouldn’t ever be able to get one. Then in the Fall of 2010, Volks announced a new Saber model, this time based on her design from the Fate/Unlimited Codes fighting game. Her US retail price: $1045. Oh boy. I guess you all can figure out what happened next.
Yup. I had to get myself a Saber Lily. After all, it’s close enough to the $1000 limit I’d set for myself (if you round down). Right…? Right…?!?!?! RIGHT?!?!?!!?!?!
A few years ago, I saw a Linus Tech Tips video talking about the Helios 44-2 58mm lens. It intrigued me a bit at the time, but I never really gave it much thought. The b-roll shots that they used to show off the lens were interesting, but not Earth shattering. I did a little research at the time on them but didn’t take the plunge. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I was browsing Kai Wong’s video backlog (Kai is of DigitalRevTV fame) and he had a video titled “5 Best 50mm Lenses under $100” Once again, the Helios 44 came up and I finally decided to take a serious look at them.
So what does 20+ year old lens from the Soviet Union do that modern glass can’t? With all of the advances in optics, coatings, and electronics, why would I use something that’s older than I am?
When I first started in the doll hobby, I had very little knowledge of how to actually get dolls from Volks. Up until now, the two dolls I had purchased new came from Volks USA. Rin was from a lottery entry while Haruka was made up of off-the-shelf parts. I had no idea that Volks Japan also ran a lottery and sold dolls to the international marketplace. When Sakura was announced, I decided I would branch out and try to get her from Volks Japan!
Almost a year after I got Yoko, I decided to take a stab at doing a custom DD. I’m a pretty big fan of IdolM@ster, so when I saw the Cherry Milk doll outfit for Haruka, I decided that I wanted to have her made. Now, before anyone tries to call me out on the fact that Haruka already exists, I started down the path of my Haruka in 2010, 2 years before the Volks Haruka was released. I even wrote about my plans on July 16, 2010. Take that, Volks!
That being said, most of Haruka’s beginnings are pretty well documented with pictures, so I won’t go too much into that…
What I’ll try to cover are some stories that happened after she was made…