Our fourth doll portrait is of Esti, an ElfDoll Min Del Re, a 14cm tiny doll sculpted by famed Korean doll designer Rainman, who has sculpted many doll styles in sizes from tinies to 63cm.
Min Del Re is the tomboy of a trio of tinies known as the Monnaemi Sisters, the 'middle' sister, whose name means 'Dandelion'. Her younger sister and the first of the three created, Jin Dal Re (Azelea), was modeled from Rainman's daughter, and was originally intended as a one-off. Eventually she was produced, with sisters Min and Bong Sun Hwa (Touch-Me-Not), as three unglamourous girls with beautiful hearts, the 'ugly' sisters.
This ElfDoll photo shows left to right, Bong, Min, and Jin. These are the current limited versions, very similar to the first sculpts but not identical. The features on the new girls have been softened and prettified slightly, but on these tinies, particularly Min, the way the sculpt is painted lends a high degree of individuality to each doll anyway. i've probably seen dozens of Mins in the last two years, and no two are identical. This is not because of sloppy faceups, on the contrary, the faces on these extremely small dolls are miracles of perfection. The character and attitude of Min has made her the hands down popular favorite of the three cuties.
Here is a snapshot of four ElfDoll tinies seated on a Barbie couch. In the center are two Min Del Re dolls, Esti on the right and Francine's Miranda on the left. To the left of Miranda is the ElfDoll Wendy, and on the far right is ElfDoll Adel. All these tiny Elves are about the same height and can wear the same outfits (including Bratz Kidz things you see on the Adel and the first photo of Esti), but Adel and Wendy are a bit curvier and more mature. They all can wear the same swappable hands and feet (bare, boots, sneakers, mary janes, and even high heels). They also can wear most Mattel Kelly shoes. Tinies from Elf come with a basic outfit, varying with the release, and Elf makes cute reasonably priced wardrobes, so in a few months Esti had a little tin packed with clothes, a bigger wardrobe than any of my other dolls.
Elf tinies also have swappable headcaps, which enables the eensy head to wear a variety of wigs securely, either by velcro or gluing directly to a cap. Eyes can be 6mm or 8mm. Though i nearly always change my doll's eyes from the default, after trying new eyes i replaced the Elf default light brown ones because i simply couldn't find better. As far as i know, Elf hasn't produced any of the 14cm dolls in anything but the 'normal' skin.
There is a lot to love about the Elf tiny, but they aren't perfect. See how Esti is leaning against the Suffering Bastard at Trader Vic's? Imperfect hair aside, she's leaning because her legs are... crazy. Kicky and unpredictable. i can make her sit, stand, and even pose cunningly, but a few of those SBs in me, and anything but a lean from her is way over my head. Folks have put pipe cleaners or other thin wires through her delicate, birdlike limbs with some success, but generally i'm content with her kicky self. Restringing these guys or swapping eyes is kind of a pain in the ass, but it doesn't require much muscle. Perhaps because she is something of a mascot doll, often nestled in a glasses case in my purse, she visits places i normally wouldn't take a doll.
As of this writing, i only have two of these really tiny dolls, the other being an Orient Doll. If i decided on another, it might well be an ElfDoll of this size, because i've yet to see better sculpting or character in this type of doll. And the size, if you own SD13, SD, or MSD size dolls, makes a perfect 'doll' for your doll!
Their small size and numerous clothing options make them an affordable entry level BJD, and they take up very little space. They would make an excellent choice as a child's first grown up doll, and in fact my Esti was a gift. Min and her sisters will only be available as special, limited editions in the future, but Elf always has some dolls in this size range available, as well as gradually larger dolls by Rainman and others. Because of her popularity, Min Del Rae turns up fairly often in the resale market, usually to be snapped up within days. If you think you aren't a 'tiny' person, you owe it to yourself to at least check one out at a meetup. You may be surprised.