Stronghold Group launched their licensed range of 16" centrefold fashion dolls in 2001. Made of softish plastic around a wire frame they foretold the move of companies like Phicen into ultra doll realism. The dolls were based on castings of the real life models - right down to their, er, intimate areas - and retailed for $50. There is a full write-up of the initial launch at the Weekly Standard.
There was initially intended to be four releases a year, with each doll part of a limited edition of 30,000 pieces. This proved to be over optimistic and the edition numbers quickly fell to 20,000, then 15,000, and then 5,000 before the line was discontinued in 2004.
Victoria Silvstedt was 1997 Playmate of the Year, and was the model for the first doll to be released. Jeff Ahlholm, CEO of the Stronghold Group, told the New York Post at the time: "This doll is more detailed than any ever manufactured – it’s realistic down to the lines in the palms of her hands. Each model underwent several castings and artist’s sittings to come up with the realistic prototypes. It’s an exact replica of each centerfold’s anatomy, including her breasts and private parts. The dolls don’t have pubic hair and are made to appear like they’ve been Brazilian waxed."
The doll, released in November 2001, was a limited edition of 30,000 pieces and retailed for $50.
★ Victoria Silvstedt - box front / inner / back.
★ Karen McDougal - box front / inner / back.
McDougal is today better known for her involvement with President Trump, but back in 1998 she was Playmate of the Year. The doll was a limited edition of 20,000 pieces and retailed for $50.
★ Dalene Kurtis - box front / inner / back.
Kurtis was Playmate of the Year for 2002. The doll was released in 2003 as a limited edition of 15,000 pieces, and was based on computer scans of Kurtis' body. I think this is definitely the best of the series - perhaps the face sculpt is helped along by having a closed mouth, but it's much better executed than the others imo.
In 2003 Stronghold released a 'School's Out' version of Victoria Silvstedt, limited to 1000 pieces. The doll and box were the same as that for the first issue, just with a new outfit and a sticker added to the front of the latter.
★ School's Out Victoria Silvstedt - box front / inner / back.
This was followed in late 2003 by a 2,000 piece limited edition Christmas version. The doll had a new festive red box, with a blurb about Victoria's Christmases past and present on the inner flap.
★ Santa's Little Helper Victoria Silvstedt - box front / inner / back.
Ava Fabian was Playmate of the Month for August 1986. The doll was released in 2003 as a limited edition of 4999 pieces, retailing for $99.99.
★ Ava Fabian - box front / inner / back.
Stronghold also tried something a little different in May 2003, announcing a 4,999 piece limited edition Marilyn Monroe doll to commemorate Playboy's 50th anniversary. The doll didn't actually ship until spring 2004 however.
Presumably (hopefully) this one wasn't based on real life castings!
★ Marilyn Monroe - box front / inner / back.
It's not the best version of Marilyn out there, but I did see a picture on Worthpoint of an OOAK somebody had made, restyling the hair and swapping the dress, and it does make a big difference: