Let me begin with some positives. We love Z! We love her face and wig combination, her cute freckle on her check, and her personality is terrific.
Her face mold--Ivy face with the notches--is adorable. She has dark brown pinwheel eyes and her mold seems reasonably even. Some have commented that Z's eyes seem smaller than similar recent offerings, such as TM 54 or 64, but I don't see it. Side by side with my own TM 54, the eye sizes between the dolls seem identical.
Z's face paint is subtle. No glossy lips ala Grace or bright berry lips ala Tenney. Not even the robust orange hued lips of the new BeForever Felicity. Perhaps this is because AG is taking a step back from such brightly painted faces, or perhaps it is merely because it fits Z's fresh and natural style. I think it looks perfect.
Also on the up side is her meet outfit is cute and the quality seems on par with what we can expect from casual wear. The tee is great.
The grey jeans skirt may be prone to snagging. Her shoes are terrific and pretty much identical to the TM version available last year.
However, once we look beyond Z's face and outfit, issues with the quality and construction of the doll itself brings up a long list of concerns.
Z comes with the zip-tie closure at the neck. While this is not a new development, what we see with most of AG's 2017 dolls is the combination of the zip-ties with the new thinner fabric. The combination creates deep gathers and puckers at the neckline.
Z's wig is passable, but just barely. The wig is somewhat sparse and it shows especially in the back of the wig when in the pigtails style. Yes, the short hairs are supposed to be there to help cover the wig cap, but there just isn't quite enough of short hairs or long hairs to make it work.
Additionally, once the hair is out of the ponytails, I discovered her wig is rather thin overall. I had to work a bit to make sure she did not appear to have bald patches on the back side of her head. I would rate Z's wig as somewhat thin. Adequate but not a hair to spare.
On the left is Z and on the right is a TM 54. The wig on Z is longer and is more or less one length. The wig on TM 54 is slightly shorter in length and has some long layers. Color wise their wigs are near identical, enough for me to believe the difference is primarily the quirks of different factory runs of the same product. Z's wig has a smidgen more of a brown tone to it, but I literally mean a smidgen.
And now for the torso.
From the front, the perma-panty does lay flat, but she does has the start of a slight muffin top. But the reverse side...
A final issue to note is vinyl quality. Z has very squishy vinyl arms and her face is also squishy. My Z is on the fast track to getting a full-body transplant swap with a classic (pre-2017) body.
The report card for the construction of the doll known as Z is quite mixed.
Z's face--her eyes, face paint, symmetry: A
Z's wig: C-
Z's torso and limbs: D
Sure, the new Z is still heads and shoulders above many other 18" doll lines. But for $115, the quality has taken a sharp nose dive since the calendar flipped over into 2017. What bothered me the most, surprisingly enough, was the extra thin wig quality. Yes, the perma-panties are an abomination, but I know I can take the time and expense as an adult collector to swap out her body at a later time. But a borderline thin wig is something that feels like an unfair compromise in quality.
Overall grade for Z's construction is a meh-filled C.
Get her if you love her. But I will say this is the first time in 20 years of loving AG that I had to push back my disappointment in the quality of a brand new AG doll.