Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monsters University Updated Release Date

If, like me, you saw this picture of the upcoming Monsters University Series:

You might be wondering why on April 30 we still haven't seen a series that was due for release on the 12th. I have been told that pushing vinyl release dates back is a pretty common thing with Disney Theme Parks Merchandise. I am not desperate to start buying this series, but I was curious where it went.

Monster's University

Well Disney's Official Vinylmation website has said that Monsters University will release online and in D-Streets on June 14. No official word yet as to whether they will feature in Disney Stores. To be honest, it makes a lot more sense to release these on June 14, when the movie releases on June 21. Without seeing the movie, these vinyls really don't mean all that much to me right now, and with everything else that was released in April, this would have been the very last thing on my mind.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - How Does Trading Work?

Blind boxes can seem very daunting for new collectors - how can I get the vinyls I want and what do I do with all my extras? Trading is a solution to that problem and that will be the focus of this post.

There are so many different ways to trade, but one method I endorse is trading at the Disney Parks. I know people have some issues with this, like the same types of vinyls ending up in the box, but for a beginner I think it's great, especially if you have too many duplicates.

There's a video here from Steven Miller explaining how to trade at the Disney Parks that I would recommend watching. One thing Steven doesn't mention in that video that's important to note, is that you cannot trade for a vinyl in the clear trading box, if the vinyl you want to trade for is already in that box.

I would like to point out here, that the rules do vary. Steven covers the basics in that video, and those are the official rules, however some Cast Members will not make you trade your vinyl for the one you pick from the mystery box if you don't like it. Others however will strictly enforce that rule. Some Cast Members will also let you trade from the mystery box more than once, but again, others won't. Sometimes it just depends how busy the Cast Members are.

Clear trade box in Animal Kingdom

If you're not heading over to a Disney park any time soon, there are other ways to trade away from the parks. There are websites solely for trading vinyls, there are trading groups on social media sites like Facebook, people trade over Instagram and there are forums for trading. I do not want to recommend any of these methods without trying them for myself, so I'm, letting y'all know that they're out there but I am not going to put my name to anything specific.

If you're a new collector, I would be prepared that people might turn down your trade offers. I am not trying to crush your spirits, just noting that some collectors have been around for a while, and have A LOT of vinyls in their collection. If your collection is small, you might not have anything they're looking for. Long term collectors will also know the secondary market values of vinyls and might not want to trade vinyls 1-for-1 if they don't have equal value on the secondary market.

Mystery 15 Trading Box

I would also like to mention that you should be careful with these internet methods. I personally have not used any because I'm just too afraid of the worst case scenario. I do not know these people and there's no buyer protection that after I give them my money, they'll send me my vinyl. There's also no guarantee that if I receive the wrong vinyl, or a damaged vinyl that I will receive a replacement or my money back. But, I know plenty of people who have had great experiences from Facebook trading groups, Instagram and trading websites. If you're cautious, you'll be fine!

Whatever method or methods you choose, good luck trading!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - Where can I buy vinyls? How much are they?

Today's VBG post will cover where to buy Vinylmation and the prices you can expect to pay, a particularly useful post (I hope) if you're considering taking up the Vinylmation hobby.

Where to buy Vinylmation
Aside from the secondary market, Vinylmations are available to purchase online at DisneyStore.com and DisneyStore.co.uk, in the Disney Store and at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. However, some series are online exclusives, Disney Store exclusives, or park exclusives. For example, Park Series vinyls are never sold in Disney Stores and some series such as High School are Disney Store exclusives. This might be something to consider when you choose to buy vinyls or decide what you'll collect.

How much do Vinylmation cost?
Prices for vinyls vary, often depending on whether the series is a blind box or open window series, but there can be other factors also such as licensing. But as a rule of thumb, Create Your Owns are usually $8.95, 3" vinyls usually range in price between $9.95 and $12.95 and 9" vinyls usually range between $39.95 and $74.95. Please note that Limited Editions and combo packs do affect the pricing of vinyls, often increasing the price.

What about the secondary market?
There is a lot of variety on the secondary market, places such as Ebay, Amazon, trading/selling groups, etc. This is the only place to get hold of "retired" vinyls that are no longer in production. As for the price of vinyls here, it really does depend on the individual vinyl. I have seen MANY vinyls sell for less than retail, or equal to retail price. However, more popular vinyls (especially variants, chasers, Limited Editions and 9") often go for double or triple the original retail price, with some going for hundreds of dollars. The best thing is to do your research before you plan to buy on the secondary market.

I hope this has made for a useful guide!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Pixar Series #1

Welcome to today's Vinylmation Review on Pixar Series #1

Released: November 17, 2012
Blind Box

This is another series that I'm a fan of! I love the bright colors of these vinyls, how much a lot of them look exactly like their characters, they're cute, fun and neat from an artistic perspective. I can't get over just how much Remy, Mr. Incredible, Chuckles and Flik all look like their animated characters! Kudos to the artists!

I think the Luxo Ball is a really interesting and appropriate choice for the chaser, it makes for a great vinyl! After the Toy Story series, I think it's great they added Chuckles from that franchise into this series. I don't like seeing too many repeats of certain characters.

Reasons to love this series:
  • I don't know about you, but when I watch a Pixar movie, the colors really stand out. Even in WALL-E, which for the most part is dark colors, the brightness of the green plant really sticks out in my mind. Those bright Pixar signature colors really came through with these vinyls
  • It's great to see some "side-characters" like Captain McCrea and Fillmore. I love the way Ron Cohee portrayed Mike, Monsters Inc. is one of my favorite movies and that scene with Mike dressed like that is hilarious!

Not so strong points:
  • The Jackalope is lost on me. I don't know where he's from so for me, he's not all that impressive or desirable. I haven't seen Brave either so I'm not really into King Fergus
  • I love the movie Cars and Fillmore is pretty funny. I still like this vinyl but I do think as a car, he looks kinda weird on a Mickey mold

My verdict:
I decided to go for two of these characters. I was temped by Captain McCrea and Mike Wazowski also, but in the end I decided to get Flik and Nemo, since they are Park related to me and amazing vinyls in my opinion. But the rest I decided to pass on. They're done very well, but I definitely didn't love the others enough to add them to my collection. I'll be interested to see what Pixar #2 brings!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - Vinylmation Dictionary

For today's post, I thought it would be useful for new collectors if I explain some of the words that get thrown around in the world of Vinylmation. When I first started collecting, there were a few words that I wasn't sure about and felt embarrassed to ask.

  • Active - a series is described as "active" when it's either still in production and/or still being sold
  • Army - when a collector has numerous duplicates of the same single Vinylmation figure, such as Stormtroopers, Killer Bees, Green Army Men, etc.
  • Blind Box - a sealed, opaque mystery box that does not reveal the Vinylmation figure inside
  • Blox - a colloquialism meaning blind box (BL from blind, OX from box - blox)
  • Bloxing - to "buy blind boxes" without knowing the vinyls you're getting
  • Case - usually a pack of 24 vinyls, containing two of all 11 figures in a series, the series "chaser" and 1 "filler", however with some series such as Jrs, the number of vinyls in a case varies
  • Chaser - the 12th vinyl in a series, designed to be a mystery, unknown figure until you find it. There is only 1 chaser for every 24 vinyls in a series, making it the rarest figure (unless the series has a variant)
  • Chaser Variant - also known as a "Variant Chaser", this is a Vinylmation figure that is both a variant and a chaser, meaning it's a variant of the chaser figure, such as Park #13 Pardon Our Pixie Dust Sign
  • CM - acronym for "Cast Member" this will often be seen when talking about Disney stores or cast member exclusive Vinylmation
  • Combo Set - a set of two or more Vinylmation figures sold together. Combo sets can include Vinylmation of different sizes, for example a 9" and a 3" figure, two 3" figures, a 3" and a Jr figure, etc
  • Combo Topper - this is a Vinylmation figure in a clear box attached to the top of a blind box. Not every series has a combo topper, but the Park Series often does. The blind box contains a mystery figure that may be different each time, but there is only one combo topper figure per series
  • Common - every Vinylmation that is not a chaser or variant
  • Create Your Own - these are blank Vinylmation in both 3" and 9" sizes that come in a variety of colors (black, white, yellow, red and purple). These are a canvas for you to make your own Vinylmation figure
  • Custom - a Vinylmation figure made by an individual, not mass produced by Disney
  • CYO - acronym for "Create Your Own" Vinylmation
  • Dumpster Diver - a slang term that refers to a discarded Vinylmation that has been pulled from the trash. These vinyls are trashed because they do not meet quality control standards during production. This happens for reasons such as being painted incorrectly or painted the wrong color, the figure being a prototype that was not chosen for a set, etc. These vinyls are often discovered by people in China and Hong Kong, who live in close proximity to Vinylmation factories, and are sold as "new", "rare", or "unreleased" on eBay. This word is synonymous with the word "Scrapper"
  • Eachez - the name is strange and inexplicable but here's the concept: Eachez is an individual blind box (a single figure release, not part of a series) that has 1 of 2 possible figures inside, either a common figure or its variant. The odds of pulling each figure will be written on the box. Usually there is a 9 in 10 chance of pulling the common figure and a 1 in 10 chance of pulling the variant figure. Sometimes the number of figures is stated, such as Limited Edition 2500, but sometimes the number of figures is unknown. For example, Independence Day Goofy Eachez was a Limited Edition of 2500, with a 9 in 10 chance of pulling the common figure and a 1 in 10 chance of pulling the variant. The Easter Oswald Eachez did not have a stated number of figures but did have the same odds of pulling the common figure and variant figure.
  • Exclusive - Vinylmations are called "exclusives" when they are only released at a certain location, for example: at the theme parks, online, in a tourist location (e.g. New York) or when they are released only at certain events, for example: The D23 Expo, Festival of the Masters
  • Filler - There are either 16 or 24 Vinylmation in a tray, depending if the series contains 8 or 12 figures. There will be 2 of each vinyl in the tray (making either 16 or 24). However, there is only 1 chaser in the tray, leaving 2 of every vinyl except the chaser. So to get either 16 or 24 Vinylmation in a tray, one of the common figures will be in there 3 times to make up for there being only one chaser. The vinyl that features 3 times is called the "filler" because it fills the tray. The filler is not known until the case is purchased, but it will never be a chaser
  • LE - acronym for "Limited Edition"
  • Limited Edition - the figure or combo set listed as "limited edition" has been produced in a set quantity. When sold out, this figure/set will no longer be produced. Vinylmation are sold in various limited edition sizes, such as 500, 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500
  • Open Window - opposite of a blind box, open window means the Vinylmation is boxed in a clear box that reveals the figure inside
  • Retired - a series is often described as "retired" when it has either sold out or been discontinued
  • Reveal/Conceal - a new concept where two Vinylmations are sold in a combo pack. One figure is unknown in a blind box (concealed) while the other sits in clear packaging on top of the blind box (revealed) like with Combo Topper figures. However, with a reveal/conceal series, every Vinylmation is sold this way
  • Scrapper - a slang term that refers to a discarded Vinylmation that has been pulled from the trash. These vinyls are trashed because they do not meet quality control standards during production. This happens for reasons such as being painted incorrectly or in the wrong color, the figure being a prototype that was not chosen for a set, etc. These vinyls are often discovered by people in China and Hong Kong, who live in close proximity to Vinylmation factories, and are sold as "new", "rare", or "unreleased" on eBay. This word is synonymous with the word "Dumpster Diver"
  • Super Chaser - a second chaser in a series that is more rare than the first. Usually a variant of the first chaser. For example Obi Wan and Ghost Obi Wan in the Star Wars #1 series. Disney do not announce the rarity of super chasers and not every Vinylmation series has a super chaser
  • Topper - a vinyl released in a clear, open window box attached to the top of a blind box. Not every series has a topper. This vinyl is visible and known before purchase, but the vinyl in the blind box underneath is unknown. The blind box vinyl in a topper combo pack does not always have the same figure inside
  • Tray - some people use this term as a synonym for a case (24 Vinylmation), however others use the word tray to mean all 11 vinyls in a series, excluding the chaser. (So in other words, half of a case)
  • Variant - a vinyl that is a slight variation of another vinyl in a series. For example, there is a yellow "Bubbles" vinyl in the Cutesters Too series, but there is also a vinyl almost identical, but purple. This is the variant. Not every series has a variant, some series have more than one variant. Some variants are of commons and others are of the chaser. Disney has yet to disclose the rarity of variants

If I've missed out any words that you'd like me to explain, please leave me a comment!

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - The Scoop on Vinylmation

Today's VBG post will cover all the basics you need to know as a new collector. What vinyls are, how they're sold, where to buy them, etc.

So you know that vinyls look like this little guy here. But what else do you need to know? Well, these guys come in 3 different sizes: 1.5" known as Jr. Vinylmations, 3" the standard or most common size, and 9" which sometimes come in a combo set with a 3".

Jr. Vinylmation

Secondly, there are several different series of Vinylmation, such as Urban, Park, Animation, Villains, etc. I guess you could describe series as the "theme" of a certain group of vinyls. Park was the very first series and has it's 12th coming up this summer. As of me writing this, the most recent release is Mickey's Wild West (released April 22, 2013).

Mickey's Wild West 3" Series - blind boxed

Next up, you need to know that vinyls are sold in two different ways: blind boxed, or open window. Blind box means you have no idea what's inside until you open it. Open window by contrast is a clear box so you can see what you're buying inside. 3" vinyls are a mix of blind box and open window, Jr vinyls are almost always blind boxed if they're in a series (some individual or dual packs are open window). 9" vinyls and combos are always open window.

Open Window TRON: Legacy Series

If you're wondering why you'd buy a box not knowing what's inside it, that's part of the reason Vinylmation was born. Trading is part of the hobby. If you don't know what you're going to get, you have the fun of chasing what you want, the excitement and anticipation of opening your box to see what you get, and then if you get duplicates - you trade for something you do want. (I will do another post that focuses on trading later).

One important thing to note is that Vinylmations are strictly no refunds. If a vinyl is broken when you buy it, Disney will honor a refund there, but Vinylmations were designed to be a trading hobby and therefore refunds because you don't like the figure or go a duplicate will not be accepted.

Animation 3 blind box series

Several different series are released each year. For example, so far in 2013 we've seen: Myths & Legends, Whiskers & Tales, High School, Urban Redux #1, Cutesters en Vogue, Animation 3 and Mickey's Wild West in the 3" series and so far this year in the Jr. size: Jr. #7 in Space and Jr. #8 Goofy's Candy Co. So there's always plenty of variety and always new releases to collect in the Vinylmation world. To keep up with future releases, check out Disney's Official Vinylmation Website or Vinylmation Kingdom, an unofficial but very detailed, accurate and up to date fan site. (Vinylmation Kingdom also has information on previous releases).

Retired Cutesters Series

Disney makes a certain number of vinyls per series (which they don't announce) and will sell those vinyls until they're gone. At that point, a series becomes "retired" which just means that Disney are not making them anymore. They might still have some to sell but at that stage, the amount is limited. If a series has been retired for a number of years, such as Park #3, the only way to get hold of them is on the secondary market (e.g. Ebay, Amazon, trading, etc).

Brave 3" and Jr Combo Pack

Limited Editions & Combo Packs
Disney also release certain Limited Editions (or LEs) to accompany several series or as an individual release. These are open window and come in sizes of 500, 750, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 and 2500. Combo packs are also released individually or to complement a series. They come as 2-packs, 3-pack, 5-pack, 9"/3" combos and 3"/Jr combos.

So now you should have a firm grip on what Vinylmations are and how they work. Stay tuned for more info and tips on starting out as a new Vinylmation collector!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Collector's Space - What I Collect

If you missed my post on Why I Collect Vinylmation, you might be interested in checking it out. This post will cover which vinyls I collect vinyls or in other words, how I make decisions on which vinyls to add to my collection.

If you read my last Collector's Space post, you'll know that seeing Park #4 vinyls is what got me interested in taking up this hobby. You'll also know that I collect vinyls because they mean a lot to me. That's the reason why I exclusively collect Park Series vinyls. I wanted to bring Walt Disney World home with me and Park Series vinyls allow me to do that very easily. Other vinyls might have meaning to me (favorite character for example) but that's not enough for me to want to add them to my collection a lot of the time.

OK, but there are 132 Park Series vinyls released right now... and what about Theme Park Favorites? Park Starz?

I should say more. Also, within the Park Series, I only collect vinyls that I have a connection too and also LOVE. That's an important distinction. I'd like to point out here that whilst I find people who own hundreds of vinyls very impressive, I do not have the money or the space to display so many vinyls myself. I am not aiming to have hundreds of vinyls. I have to be very picky with the money and space available to me. I won't buy a vinyl of Spectromagic Mickey, just because I've seen Spectromagic for instance. I have to have a connection to the vinyl, it needs to mean something to me and I have to love the design. (You will see and hear more about why I've bought certain vinyls in upcoming topics).

Rules are made to be broken...

Having said all of that, if vinyls come along that in my eyes tie in to Parks, that's good enough for me to buy them if I love them. The whole point in collecting for me is to remember Walt Disney World, so if a non-Park vinyl reminds me of WDW, I will buy it if I want it. But that has rarely happened to far and again, I will talk more about that in future posts.

And finally...

I only collect 3". If you've been paying attention, you'll see that I already own a 9" vinyl and 1 Jr. vinyl. They are the exceptions to the rule. I don't collect Jrs simply because I'm not that interested in them. The small size means there's not a lot of detail most of the time (in my opinion), they're not often park related and to be honest I don't understand the keychain aspect. I see them more as collectible keychains, not Vinylmations. As for the 9", I don't have the space (as I've already mentioned) and to be honest, I haven't loved any enough to want to buy them, especially at that price. With one exception, which is how I ended up with a 9". The Jr. came with a 3" and that's how I came to own a Jr.

The Collector's Space - Why I Collect Vinylmation

I want to begin writing on this topic by first explaining WHY I collect vinyls in the first place. The reason I collect them and love them so much, influences every other aspect of the hobby for me and I'm sure the same applies to other collectors also. This post also serves as a "how I found Vinylmation" post.

The first vinyls I ever saw were blank, Create Your Owns (CYO) in a Disney Store. I guess that must have been around late 2010. I thought they were just a fun, artsy activity for kids. Get them some stickers, some Sharpies and they'll be entertained drawing on some Mickey shaped canvases for an afternoon. It seemed like a great idea and I was oblivious to the fact that Vinylmations are so much more than that.

The first blind box series I ever saw, was Have A Laugh. That series was released in June 2010, so it couldn't have been long after I found the CYOs that I saw this series. I didn't realize that there were different series of vinyls, or how that whole thing worked and I had only seen one of the shorts that the Have A Laugh characters came form. Again, vinyls didn't mean much to me at this point.

Then, later that year, in an issue of the Disney Files magazine (a Disney Vacation Club publication for members) I saw a picture of some other Vinylmations - Park #4. There was a picture of Goofy, the Disney Cruise Line Smokestack and most importantly and memorably for me - Colonel Critchlow Suchbench from The Adventurers Club in Pleasure Island. Suddenly, Vinylmation had a huge meaning to me and I wanted in! ASAP!

The Colonel

Thankfully, I had a trip to Walt Disney World coming up pretty quick and it all started there. I bought my first vinyl in April 2011 (I still have the receipt and could tell you the exact date!) and I have been adding to my collection ever since.

The biggest reason why, is that as a veteran of Walt Disney World (I have been taking trips to the World annually since my mom was pregnant with me) I wanted a way to take the Magic home with me. I wanted things to remind me of my trips and all the memories WDW has for me. Now that's a story in itself.

One of my first and most treasured Disney plush toys

I first collected plush toys from every trip, so I could take the magic home. I still have them, but they take up space and it's kinda awkward to be married and proudly display plush toys. I moved on to pin trading when I was about 10. My dad was on business in California and stopped off at Disneyland to buy me a pin lanyard with my very first pin. But I never found a good way to display my pins. They stayed on my lanyard which ended up tucked away in a drawer.

So when I saw Vinylmation, that was it, problem solved! They were around the same price as pins, there are endless ways to display them, they're not too big (if you're collecting 3"), they're not childish, and they bring the magic home! Now I can look at my vinyl display at home and remember all the great times I've had at WDW.

All of this is also the backstory to What Vinylmations I Collect

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vinylmation Review - The Classic Collection

Welcome to my review of the Classic Collection series!

Release: November 9, 2012
Blind Box

I really, really like this series! I personally only collect Park Series vinyls, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate other series and this one is amazing! It's a very nostalgic series for me, because I remember playing old-fashioned Disney video games with my younger brother that featured almost all of the characters in this series.

I love that Disney took a different and unique approach here, by portraying the characters as they looked originally. Someone might look at these characters and think, "That's not Mickey!" because they do look different from their modern day updates, but sometimes I think it's great to take a step back in time.

Reasons to love this series:
  • The characters (at least if you're familiar with how they used to look) are easily identifiable. Don't you hate it when you look at a vinyl and think, "What's that supposed to be?"
  • This series really brings variety into collecting, we've never seen a "retro" series like this before, the black and white works perfectly and really adds to the nostalgia
  • How great do these look as a set?! If there's ever a time to collect a whole series or buy a case, it's with the Classic Collection!

My Verdict:
I do really love this series, but I will not be buying any for myself. The reason is purely because they are not parks and in my opinion, buying one or two would look out of place in my collection. But I seriously considered buying just one or two, for a trip down memory lane, to remind me of all those hours classic video gaming with my brother. I really couldn't narrow it down, so I left it. Maybe another time

Introducing - The Vinylmation Beginner's Guide

I would like to introduce a topic that I will write on fairly often – a beginner’s guide to Vinylmation.

When I first saw Vinylmation, I had no idea what they were and I wasn’t sure what to make of them, so I know that it can all seem crazy confusing to a newbie. It’s also a little difficult to explain if you're into Vinylmation, but you haven’t prepared an answer. Vinylmation Beginner's Guide posts will cover what exactly Vinylmations are, how they work, how much they cost, where you buy them, how you trade them and what those weird words collectors use actually mean.
Select the label “Vinylmation Beginner’s Guide” to read all my posts on this topic.
I hope you find them useful!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy Collectaversary To Me!

(I don't own this vinyl, but it's very celebratory!)

Today marks exactly 2 years since I caught the bug, embraced the obsession, joined the hobby and started collecting Vinylmation! I bought my very first vinyl (Quorra from the TRON: Legacy Series) on April 18, 2011 at D-Street Orlando. Here's to another great year of vinyl collecting!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Introducing - The Vinylmation Review

I wanted to take the time to quickly introduce another topic that I will frequently be posting on - The Vinylmation Review. Here I will be giving my 2 cents on various Vinylmation series, sharing why I love them or why I'm not really a fan.

I welcome your thoughts also!

The Collector's Space - Allow me to introduce myself

Let me start by explaining "The Collector's Space" topic of posts, before I introduce myself. The Collector's Space is simply, the place on this blog where the posts focus on me and my collection. Here I will talk about the vinyls in my collection, my collecting and trading habits and strategies, and give my own personal thoughts about the Vinylmation hobby in general. I will leave posts related more to individual vinyl/series to other topics.

Moving on to the introduction...

Hi, my name is Chloe and I'm a vinylholic...

As of today, my collection stands at:
  • 3" - 56
  • 9" - 1 (and 1 Create Your Own, more to come on that)
  • Jrs - 1

I have been collecting since April 2011 and have no intention of stopping anytime soon! More to come on me and my collection, stay tuned...


I'd like to introduce and welcome you to my new blog, Vinylmation Isle!

As an obsessed Vinylmation fan and an active Vinylmation collector, I love to take a break from the daily grind and immerse myself in the world of vinyls – and so this website was born! I wanted to create a website to share my thoughts, my collection, my pictures, and other vinyl related insights with other fans. Well here it is!
I hope you enjoy yourself and thanks for stopping by!