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Trendmasters Starcastles & Vintage Polly Pocket

Updated on May 21, 2013
A Bratz Doll flaunts her short shorts and knee-high boots.
A Bratz Doll flaunts her short shorts and knee-high boots.

I was recently buying a present for my niece, and so I went into a toy store. I was surprised at what I saw. While there were some scooters and bikes in the back corner, the majority of the stuff they were peddling was video games, and I could see barely any toys I recognised from my own childhood. Barbie was still there, but she was hardly recognisable in her barely there skirt. Next to her were other brands of dolls, all sluttier than the next. I could hardly distinguish between them all, because they all had the same features. Big boobs, heavy layers of makeup, skimpy clothes and waists so thin they were in danger of disappearing.

An online bio of one of the Bratz dolls (on the official Bratz website) described Cloe (not a typo, that's how you spell it) as "flirty" and told of her love of "Beauty products and glittering make-up". Cloe is not the kind of role model I want for my six year old niece. I walked out of the shop empty-handed.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Everywhere, little girls are playing with similar dolls. Right from the very beginning, they are receiving unrealistic messages of what they are supposed to look like and dress like. I frequently walk past a primary school near my house, and one day the children were wearing casual clothes. I was astonished at what I saw. All the little girls, right down to the little preps, had taken fashion advice from their dolls. There were short shorts and skirts everywhere, and I saw two girls wearing high-heeled shoes.. They were also wearing make-up. It wasn't well put on. Most of them seemed to have done it themselves with a shaky hand. But it was still there.

While looking closer, I did see some girls wearing clothes of a decent length and style. But these were the minority, and the injustice is that even if their parents have the presence of mind to not let them play with the terrible dolls, they still learn the stuff at school from the other girls.

One of my Starcastles: the Cinderella Starcastle. Made in 1995.
One of my Starcastles: the Cinderella Starcastle. Made in 1995.

Anyway, I've gone off-track. Talking about the terrible lessons the new dolls are teaching our youth was not meant to be the point of this article.

I wish to talk about my favourite childhood toy: Starcastles. One of these brilliant toys is what I wanted to buy my niece, but unfortunately they don't seem to make them anymore. A starcastle is a plastic castle filled with brightly coloured rooms, hidden nooks and crannies, and many things that open and close. One of mine from when I was little included a library, with a secret room hidden behind the book case. Whenever assassins would come in the house, my royal family would hide in there.

My parents would be a little surprised when I told them what was happening in the game, but that was the brilliant thing about starcastles! They encouraged imagination. All the figurines were different in their age. Some were pretty, some ugly. They had different fashion styles. Even though all my friends had the same sets as me, none of us had the same game play experience. All of us imagined different things.

Starcastles fostered my understanding of money. I created a currency of marbles for my little people, and gave them all jobs. A friend of mine made one of hers a marriage counsellor, who would help Aladdin & Jasmine, Cinderella & Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty & Prince Charming work out their issues.

Star Castles TV Commercial

A Polly Pocket Mini House
A Polly Pocket Mini House

In 2002 Trendmasters were bought out by another company, which made a couple of Disney Castles.

To your left is one of my numerous Bluebird vintage Polly Pocket toys. This one says it was released in 1993. These Polly Pocket toys are not starcastles, but if you are as fascinated as I by the idea of creating a miniature world of which you rule everything, you may need to incorporate these into it, because they seem a lot easier to find than Trendmasters Starcastles. Below is a Jasmine and Aladdin Castle also made by Bluebird.

Jasmine and Aladdin Star Castle, given to me in around 2003 by my grandfather.
Jasmine and Aladdin Star Castle, given to me in around 2003 by my grandfather.

Star castle toy


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    • profile image

      Laura 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for posting this!

      This was the best toy I owned growing up as a child. I had so much fun! You're absolutely right about toys nowadays. I'm going to buy one and save it for when I have kids of my own.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Oh a starcastle would be nice to have in our preschool! :D Congratulations, your hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets. Bring your starcastle over and read and vote!

      The Hubnuggets forum:

    • kwade tweeling profile image

      kwade tweeling 6 years ago from USA

      Good article.

    • SueShepard profile image

      SueShepard 6 years ago from USA

      I have great memories of a Playskool castle I once had. Great Hub!

    • Doctor Kristy profile image

      Kristy Callan 6 years ago from Australia

      Alison- I've provided some links in the article to some star castle related products on amazon.

      If none of those strike your fancy, I would suggest searching on eBay with search terms such as "polly pocket castle", which gets a lot more results than "Starcastle".

      I have not seen any products like them recently in toy stores, so that's probably it.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      awesome , , ,I will keep this in mind when Christmas time comes around , , ,

    • profile image

      Alison 6 years ago

      can you purchase star castles form anywhere?

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad you posted this hub expressing your dismay at the focus today's children have on glitz and glamour. I've done a little writing about what modern society has done to the thinking of so many precious little ones. mcrawford is right, and it is sad to see children's childhood being stolen from them at ever younger ages. Toddlers are now wearing some of the slutty clothes you mentioned. So sad.

      There are still some good sources of baby dolls and fire engines, and age-appropriate clothes, but it takes some effort to locate them. It's time well-spent, though!

      Maybe you could be the founder of a movement with the theme of, "Take your children back from the culture!"

    • mdlawyer profile image

      mdlawyer 6 years ago

      Interesting discussion. VOTED UP! Rated Beautiful!

    • mcrawford76 profile image

      Matthew I Crawford 6 years ago from Greeley, Colorado

      Unfortunately I think the toys of today are a reflection of the degradation society has suffered over the last sixty years. Morality, modesty, purity, virtue, these words don't mean anything to most of the world anymore.

      Sorry, I went off topic too, but I never played with Starcastles. But I agree with your first point. : )

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      a lovely hub