Monday, September 30, 2013

Exclusives - The Double Edged Sword

For today's Thoughtful Spot post I'm going to talk about how I find Vinylmation "exclusives" a double edged sword and explain why. Maybe you feel the same way?

There are several "exclusive" Vinylmation, such as City exclusives (like San Francisco), Disney Vacation Club exclusives and special event exclusives such as the D23 Expo and 13 Reflections of Evil. I'm not going to talk about whether "exclusive" means exclusive with Disney in this post, although that can be an issue, I'm instead going to talk about the availability of the vinyls on the secondary market and how I feel about this.

For instance, I did not attend 13 Reflections of Evil because I wasn't at Disney World during that time. But I am interested in some of the merchandise, so in a way I'm pleased that although I personally didn't attend this event, it's still possible for me to pick up some of the event's exclusive merchandise from eBay.

But, at the same time, there are some Vinylmation that I wish could stay exclusive. I get kinda sad when I see "DVC Exclusives" on eBay because I like to feel special that I have DVC vinyls because I'm a DVC member. I feel like it's not really a "DVC exclusive" when numerous non-DVC members have acquired these vinyls from friends, or more commonly from eBay.

And that's why exclusives are a double edged sword for me. One part of me wishes they could stay true to their name and remain exclusives, but there's no way to stop people selling these items on the secondary market or trading them, nor do I think Disney should try. Our vinyls, our collection, our freedom. But another part of me is glad that if I wasn't able to pick up a certain exclusive (as opposed to just not wanting to) it's still possible through the means of trades or the secondary market.

Do you have any opinions on exclusives?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Silly Symphony Release

The Silly Symphony series has been released today at D-Streets and the Disney Store online. This is another 8 figure series like Urban Redux #1 and Cutesters En Vogue, instead of a usual 12 figure series. All the Silly Symphony figures were designed by Monty Maldovan and each blind box retails at $12.95

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Headless Horseman

Series: Animation #2
Artist: Casey Jones
Released: January 2012

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Mystery Bakery Seven Dwarfs

For today's Vinylmation Review, I will continue reviewing the "flavors" of the recently released Mystery Bakery series by taking a look at the Seven (well, three) Dwarfs.

Released: July 12, 2013
Blind Open Window

The "Seven" Dwarfs are one of my least favorite "flavors" in this series. Again, I am a big fan of mixing the blind box and open window concepts, and I love and respect the quality and accuracy of the artwork here. It's purely the character choice that I'm not a fan of. Grumpy has been used several times and Dopey has taken vinyl form before also. My personal feeling is that these characters are becoming over-used in Disney merchandising. You can always find a hat, mug, t-shirt, etc with Grumpy on at Disney World and your local Disney Store. (Although the same argument could be made for Stitch in the Vinylmation world, but he's one of my favorite characters. As I said, it's down to personal taste). I would have preferred to see more recent characters such as those from Finding Nemo, but I can appreciate that anthropomorphic characters work better in this series.

I do however think that this particular line in the Mystery Bakery series might be more attractive to some collectors because of the possibility of "bloxing" different characters, as opposed to the same character with different expressions.

So let's get down to reviewing the figures starting with the frosting. I really like the gems on the frosting to reflect the dwarfs' mine, very appropriate and very well done. Not as amazing as the frosting on most of the other figures, such as the Toy Story Aliens, but still done very well. I really like the diamonds and gems on the ears of the three dwarfs. I think it's a great use of the ears (blank ears are one of my pet peeves!) and it looks even more awesome when the ears poke out the top of the frosting. It all blends together really well. The expressions of the dwarfs and their facial appearance is exactly like their animated form, so I love that!

I don't really like that all three dwarfs are all dressed the same in red. In Snow White they each have their own iconic colors and so having them all in red makes them look a little less like themselves. It works with the Toy Story Aliens because they do all dress the same, but I know it wouldn't have worked to have each dwarf in a different outfit or it wouldn't be a mystery. My only other criticism is the same as a criticism I had with Figment: why have green frosting on the dwarfs faces when the frosting is blue? In my opinion it should be blue.

So overall, a good "flavor" for the Mystery Bakery series, just not my personal fav.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday! I didn't get any Vinylmation (or I would have taken a Vinylmation birthday picture) but I'm currently saving for my trip to Walt Disney World next month, where I will make up for it ;) a very merry UN-birthday to everyone whose birthday is not today!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Poster Series Oswald D-Street Release

The Oswald Lucky 13 Poster Art figure that was released exclusively online last week has now been released at D-Streets today. This figure is no longer available for purchase online. Oswald was designed by Maria Clapsis and has a limited edition size of 2,013. This figure retails at $14.95.

Halloween Holiday Vampire Stitch Release

The Halloween Holiday 2013 Vampire Stitch figure has been released today at D-Streets and the Disney Store online. This figure was designed by Caley Hicks and has a retail price of $14.95.

Halloween Holiday Scarecrow Mayor Release

The Halloween Holiday 2013 Scarecrow Mayor figure has been released today at D-Streets and the Disney Store online. This figure was designed by Caley Hicks and has a retail price of $14.95.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Scribbles

Series: D-TOUR
Artist: Unknown
Released: January 2012

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Thoughtful Spot - Disney Parks Merchandise Website

I think a lot of collectors got excited when the Disney Parks Merchandise team released a new website with a whole section dedicated to Vinylmation releases and news. The preceding Vinylmation website by Disney left a lot to be desired! Collectors said it would take forever to load and crash their computers (I can attest to this) and it was ALWAYS months, even years out of date.

I like this new website a lot more. It has a clean, modern and fresh look about it, it's very easy to use and it gives information a lot of us want without being too confusing for those coming into the hobby. We get to see 360 pictures of upcoming figures with release date information, edition size (if applicable), the artist(s) involved in the design, where it will be available for purchase and the retail price.

Disney Vinylmation Logo

There have always been some drawbacks, I guess no website is perfect, and Disney have covered themselves with fine print that the information is "subject to change". I'm thinking of the Park 12 Country Bear Jamboree set retailing for $10 above what the official Vinylmation page advertised, and the Park 12 Contemporary set retailing for $5 above what was advertised. It's not detrimental to collectors or the hobby, but when Disney are running the show and give out the wrong information, I think it gives the impression that Disney are not taking enough interest in the hobby, which doesn't exactly inspire or excite the collectors.

But lately I feel like perhaps Disney have been slacking more than usual. I've noticed that on the first day of a new month, take August for example, the next month's releases are up on the official Vinylmation website, which September's was on the first day of August. But now we're on September 17th and there's still no sign of October on the official page. Is this because Disney have been preoccupied with 13 Reflections of Evil? Are there no releases in October? Well with the October Poster Series figure due I don't think that's true. Or will this new website now suffer the same fate of neglect as the last one? Or am I just missing something?

What do you think?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Platform Announced: Meet & Greet Mickey Vinylmation

The Disney Parks blog has announced in this article that another new Vinylmation platform is is being released, and has made its debut at the 13 Reflections of Evil event. "Meet and Greet Mickey" is designed to look like Mickey Mouse in the 1970s and stands at 6 inches tall - twice the size of the regular Vinylmation mold.

The 13 Reflections of Evil Meet and Greet Mickey

The article states that the figure will remain the same with each release, however the colors will change, with no colors being repeated. The first "series" if you will, features an eerie green to "compliment the event theme" where Meet and Greet Mickey is being released. The article also implies that this figure will only be released during special events, such as 13 Reflections of Evil, Festival of the Masters and Official Disney Trading Nights.

Each release of Meet and Greet Mickey will have a Limited Edition of 500 and will retail at $49.95

Friday, September 13, 2013

Poster Series Oswald Online Release

Artist: Maria Clapsis
Limited Edition Size: 2,013

The 10th figure in the 2013 Poster Series has been released today on the Disney Store's Facebook page. This is the first and only figure from the series to have an online release. Oswald retails at $14.95 and will be available to purchase online until September 20, when it will then be available for purchase only at D-Streets in the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Oyster Baby

Series: Alice in Wonderland
Artist: Thomas Scott
Released: November 2011

Monday, September 09, 2013

Vinylmation Review - Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: June 21, 2013
Blind Box Series

I think this series is applauded because many collectors want more Disney movie specific Vinylmation, especially from classic movies like Beauty and the Beast. I think this series was only conceived and released as a result of the New Fantasyland expansion and not because of fan outcry, but it's widely appreciated by collectors regardless. Series like Beauty and the Beast are, in my opinion, the route Disney should take to successfully attract new collectors in to the hobby. Sets like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid are definitely more Disney Store appropriate than High School and Myths and Legends.

I think the Beauty and the Beast Series appeals to most collectors because: it's classic Disney, it's movie based, it links to Walt Disney World with New Fantasyland along with the Beauty and the Beast stage show at Hollywood Studios, and it's an expertly executed series.

Reasons to love this series:
  • There's a great mix of characters here, from the main two characters (Beast and Belle) to some less popular, yet easily recognizable characters such as Maurice and Philippe
  • Despite the chaser being easily predicted, it truly fits the description of a chaser. Beast in human form is a desirable character and coveted figure, making him a great choice for the chaser
  • The accuracy of these figures is incredible! Cogsworth and Lumiere have expressions exactly like they do in the movie. Mrs Potts, Maurice, Beast and Gaston also look identical to their movie counterparts
  • The ears. I don't need to say more, but I will! When I first saw this series I was blown away by the ears! The ears are beautiful, unique to Vinylmation and the stained glass design ties in perfectly with the movie fantastically. There are no blank or wasted spaces on these figures
  • The level of detail is impressive also. I love the clear body for Mrs Potts, the addition of Chip in her ear, the choice of a book for Belle's ear, and the choice of a rose for Beast's ear
  • There's a great use of accessories in this series. I love the accessory used to make Lumiere look like a candle and Maurice's cape is a thoughtful and appropriate touch
  • There's also a great use of variants in this series. Sometimes variants seem bland or "forced", but the yellow and red Bimbette variants are natural variations of the character 

Things that aren't so great:
  • Overall, I do love this series although I personally chose not to buy any, just because I prefer to collect Park Series. However, there are a few things that I think aren't the best
  • I personally do not watch Beauty and the Beast that often and I haven't watched it recently, so Monsieur D'Arque is a character who's completely lost on me
  • Sadly a couple of the human figures fall victim to what I call "new mold syndrome". As a result of the new mold shape, the faces of Beast in human form and also Gaston seem chubby and stretched. They're still great figures, they just don't seem to be in proportion as much as characters like Maurice, LeFou and the Bimbettes

Thanks for joining me for another edition of Vinylmation Review and please feel free to share your thoughts!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Poster Art Series September Release

Artist: Caley Hicks
Limited Edition Size: 2,013

The 9th Poster Art Series figure has been released today at D-Streets. This figure retails at $14.95

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Giraffe

Series: Animal Kingdom
Artist: Dan Howard
Released: August 2010

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

13 Reflections of Evil Exclusive Set - Dr. Facilier & Voodoo Dolls

I'm visiting Walt Disney World a month too late to catch the 13 Reflections of Evil Trading Event. There is one set that makes me REALLY wish I was going! It's an all around great choice, firstly because of the high quality of the artwork, but also because of the uniqueness of the character.

We've seen Dr. Facilier as a Vinylmation before, but for 13 Reflections of Evil, I could guess many figures that might make the merchandise line-up (Chernabog, Maleficient, Ursula and Jafar for example) but I would never have thought of Dr. Facilier. I think it's a great choice! I love The Princess and the Frog, this character has not been exhausted so he's still appealing to collectors, and he's a more modern and fresh character by comparison. I can't express what a great choice Dr. Facilier is!

This set will be released on September 13 to those in attendance at 13 Reflections of Evil. It has a Limited Edition of 500 and will retail for $44.95. Here it is, Dr. Facilier and his Voodoo Dolls:

Vinylmation™ 13 Reflections of Evil

3" Dr. Facilier: I love the eerie greens, the Day of the Dead vibe of Dr. Facilier's face, the smoke swirling is a fantastic use of the ears and I love the hat accessory. He looks just like he does in the movie!

Vinylmation™ 13 Reflections of Evil
Vinylmation Jr. Voodoo Doll

Vinylmation™ 13 Reflections of Evil
Vinylmation Jr. Voodoo Doll

Vinylmation™ 13 Reflections of Evil
Vinylmation Jr. Voodoo Doll

This set just blows me away! I am always a HUGE fan of Ron Cohee's work, it's always accurate and impressive without faltering. When I watched the short scene from The Princess and the Frog that features Dr. Facilier and the voodoo dolls, I could not believe how much homework Ron Cohee must have done to get all four of these figures spot on! (You can see the voodoo dolls at 1:14, 1:35, 3:39 and 4:03, Dr. Facilier is featured at 3:53)

(Photo credit: VinylmationKingdom)

I also love this set because it's different. We're starting to see Jrs used more in combo sets now and I don't mind it if they're done well. Jr Vinylmation were the perfect addition to the recent Park 12 Contemporary Set and they work perfectly in this set also. I'm not usually a fan of Jrs and they rarely appeal to me, so creating figures this amazing and putting them in a combo set is a great way to engage and hold the interest of collectors like me, who would not usually go for Jrs.

I don't think anyone in attendance at 13 Reflections of Evil will be disappointed with the schedule or the merchandise!