Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - Crossroads of the World

So the back of this vinyl really isn't that much different to the front, but I still love the back because to me it really reflects the Crossroads of the World globe at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Having the view of Crossroads of the World as you're leaving the park on the back of this vinyl, not only brings back memories for me of seeing it again as we left, but also makes the figure look round like the globe. Way better than leaving the back plain!

Here's the globe as you see it when you enter the park

Here it is as you're leaving the park

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Vinylmation Stories - Stitch

Series: Animation #3
Artist: Ron Cohee

I fell in love with this Stitch Vinylmation from the moment I saw it! Stitch has taken Vinylmation form before by Dan Howard in Park #5 and by Doug Strayer in Nerds Rock! but this Stitch by Ron Cohee, I think, blows them both out of the water. There's nothing wrong with the other two vinyls, and other artists have done great renditions of Stitch, but I just could not believe the detail in Ron Cohee's version.

Stitch is one of my favorite Disney characters and Lilo & Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies. But as a primary collector of Park Series vinyls, this amazing figure didn't really fit into my collection at first. But then I thought about how his outfit reminded me of the Stitch's Great Escape attraction at the Magic Kingdom.

Although not one of my favorite attractions (to be honest, one I very rarely visit), this figure did fit in with my Park collection on that basis. Plus, this was once one of my younger brother's favorite attractions when he was smaller, which gave a sentimental aspect to this figure. And so, Stitch was added to my Vinylmation collection.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean #2 Release

Pirates of the Caribbean #2 has been released today at D-Street stores and The Disney Store Online. This is an 8 figure blind box series with 7 commons and a chaser. Each blind box retails for $12.95 and all figures in the series were designed by Casey Jones. (You can check out my video review of this series here on YouTube).

Thursday, April 24, 2014

40% Off Villains #4 & The Little Mermaid Vinylmation

The Disney Store Online is exclusively offering (meaning this offer is not available in Disney Stores) 40% off two Vinylmation series: Villains #4 and The Little Mermaid. The discount applies to purchases of trays as well as individual blind boxes.

Each blind box is $12.95 full price and the code you need to enter at checkout is BONUS40. (Shipping rates still apply). This is a great opportunity to fill some gaps in your collection!

Offer is valid from today until 11:59pm PST on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

Throwback Thursday - Critters

Series: Cutesters #1
Artist: Lisa Badeen
Released: December 2009

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Review & Comparison of Uni-Minis with Vinylmation

Previously, I posted about Universal Studios' version of Vinylmation, which they call "Uni-Minis". (You can check this out here). Today I wanted to give a review and comparison of Uni-Minis with our beloved Vinylmation.

  • I think Uni-Minis are pretty cute. From what I've seen, I think all of them look like the characters they aim to represent which is always good
  • The 3" size, like Vinylmation, makes them easy to display
  • They make a great souvenir from the Universal parks to remember your favorite ride or character by (which is what lured me in with Vinylmation, serving as a 3" memory of Walt Disney World
  • The price point could be considered a positive. Vinylmation collectors are used to paying $12.95 for a 3" figure and since Uni-Minis retail at that same price point of $12.95, I guess they could be considered inexpensive - another positive

  • However I'm surprised by Uni-Mini's $12.95 price point. While that's the current standard in Vinylmation pricing, (with some Disney Store series pricing lower at $9.95 and limited edition figures pricing higher at $14.95, and Park Starz retailing for higher still between $18.95 and $26.95 for a single figure) usually Universal's merchandise is slightly lower than Disney's (take their mugs for example, which range from $9.95-$12.95, while Disney's range from $12.95-$16.95)
  • While I think Uni-Minis make great souvenirs from your trip, especially for children, I don't like Uni-Minis are a collector's piece. Vinylmation has a uniform shape (unless we're talking about Park Starz) but each one is unique in design. The Mickey mold gives every figure something in common, yet the different designs and artwork are the reason to keep buying figures. In my opinion, you need a common characteristic (like the Mickey mold shape) to make something look like a collectible item, because they all share that same similarity. Uni-Minis seem to lack a common characteristic, except for height which isn't really substantial, that unites them as the same collectible item. Therefore I think a collection of them looks more like miscellaneous toys. Uni-Minis don't have a common trait that makes them instantly recognizable as Uni-Mini figures in the way you would instantly recognize a Vinylmation you hadn't seen before as being a Vinylmation
  • I also don't like Uni-Minis as a hobby. Something great about Vinylmation is that you can completely immerse yourself in that world - it's a great form of escapism. There are websites, forums, blogs, videos, communities, release parties, etc. I feel like this all stems from the need to find other collectors to trade with, which is part of the purpose and fun of Vinylmation. Since almost all Uni-Minis are sold open window (which might be the attraction for some people over Vinylmation) there's no need to trade, nor does a trading community or in-park trade box location exist. In my opinion, this removed a lot of the hobby potential of Uni-Minis
  • Since Uni-Minis are still relatively new, there are nowhere near as many figures as Vinylmation in existence or production. I feel for this reason that Uni-Minis don't captivate collectors in the way Vinylmation does, with previews; its own website, marketing, promotions, local releases at Disney Store, the anticipation of releases, etc.

I have yet to buy any Uni-Mins, but my favorites are The Cat in the Hat and E.T.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - World Showcase

What I like about the back of this vinyl is that no World Showcase country was left off of this vinyl. 6 countries' flags are on the front, with the remaining 5 on the back. What's even better is that they blend in so well, the flags don't look strange, awkward or confusing. The flags even more naturally on to the vinyl's arms and feet. A great use of the back of a vinyl.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Vinyl Shake

I just love this video! I didn't think the whole "Harlem Shake" thing was all that funny, but make a Harlem Shake video with Vinylmation and it becomes a lot more funny! This video is very well done and I bet it took a lot of time. Here's The Vinyl Shake by David Kramp:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Re-released Vinylmation Now Available Online

Last month I posted on the re-release of 8 Vinylmation figures and said I'd post again when they were available online, as stated by Disney's Official Vinylmation page. These figures are now available to buy from The Disney Store Online for $12.95 each.

Three of these figures were released as part of the "Theme Park Favorites" series, while others were individual released (Agent P and the US Flag) and figures from the Nerds Rock! series. All 8 of these figures have now been re-released as park of the Theme Park Favorites series. Here's the new box:

I can see these figures hanging around online for quite some time.

Friday, April 18, 2014

3 Year Anniversary

Today marks the 3rd Anniversary of the day I started collecting Vinylmation! Here's an update on what my collection looks like 3 years later...

I currently own:

3" Vinylmation - 113
9" Vinylmation - 1
Jr. Vinylmation - 3
Park Starz - 7

Compared with this time last year my collection has seen some big changes!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Vinylmation Isle!

Today marks the first birthday of this blog! 1 year ago today, Vinylmation Isle was born and it's been a fun year! I can't believe how fast the time went, but I am looking forward to the future. I created this blog as a form of escapism for when I just want to forget the world for a little while. Vinylmation Isle still provides that getaway for me and I love writing here.

Thank you to all my readers who like to stop by, I really appreciate your interest in my site :) I'm always looking for new things to add, so leave me a comment if there's something you'd like to see, or if you have any ideas for the blog.

Throwback Thursday - Easter

Series: Easter 2013
Artist: Billy Davis
Released: February 2013

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Thoughtful Spot: Bring Back More 9" Vinylmation

Recently I've seen a lot of 9" vinyls for sale on eBay and trading groups and it got me thinking - how to bring back more successful 9" Vinylmation. You may have noticed that the numbers being produced have dramatically decreased to almost being non-existent and this might make you sad, like it makes me sad.

Perhaps 9" figures have decreased because like me, not everyone has the space to keep buying them for their collection. Even if Disney released only five 9" figures a year, if I loved them all, I couldn't buy all 5 because I have nowhere to keep them. But I think Disney have reduced 9" production because they've got the wrong end of the stick. Disney have released way too many figures, not all of which were desirable, at ridiculous prices, in excessive quantities, that didn't sell, went to outlet and still barely sold. The message picked up from this wasn't, "What did we do wrong here? How could we improve?" It seemed to have been received as, "I guess these things aren't wanted anymore".


In a sense, this decline in production is good to protect the hobby. Over production means they don't sell and then it looks like collectors don't want what Disney are selling. I purchased The Land 9" from Park #9 for a high retail price of $44.95 plus tax. The price bugged me, I think that's a pretty high price, but I gave in because I loved the figure. Despite being Limited Edition of 1,000 (which is on the low side considering Disney's 2,500 LEs) this figure went to outlet. Granted, that happened over a year later, but it still made me mad to see it for $18.95.

This is why the hobby needs protecting, especially when it comes to 9" figures. High prices deter the collector from buying. Don't even get me started on the $74.95 combo set prices!! All these high priced figures like Pixar #1's Crush and Squirt and Park #9's Toy Story Midway Mania went to outlet. I saw the former for $18.95 and the latter for $22.95 in a Florida outlet mall last October. Over production makes vinyls worthless.

I'm glad Disney have cut back, but I think they've cut back too far. My suggestion would be to limit the production of 9" figures to being released only with a popular series - like Pixar, Animation, Star Wars and the Park series. Within that, I would suggest only 1 or 2 figures per series, with a maximum limited edition of 1,000. Preferably 500-800. Then finally, stop with the crazy prices!! The most I want to pay for a 9" is $39.95 for a single figure, $44.95 for a combo.

Do you collect 9" Vinylmation? Are you glad Disney have cut back?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - It's A Small World

I like the back side of the vinyl almost as much as I love the front. The front of this vinyl depicts the outside of the It's A Small World attraction, while the back shows the inside of the ride. On the back of the figure's head we see some of the ride's singing and dancing dolls. On the back of the body of the vinyl, we can see various scenes from the ride.

France scene

Holland scene

Italy scene

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vinylmation Stories - Wild West Donald

Wild West Donald
Series: Wild West
Artist: Gerald Mendez

As it's been a year (almost to the day) since the release of Mickey's Wild West, I thought I'd share the story of how Wild West Donald joined my collection. I live in the beautiful state of Oklahoma, where we have the second highest Native American population in the country. I've attended a couple of Native American events such as Pow Wows and been to other events on Indian land. I'm very proud of our state's Native American culture.

The Wild West series completely shocked me with how surprisingly amazing it was! I still think the level of detail in the figures is unbelievable. But Donald especially blew me away: his outfit, his classic fierce Donald expression, the scenery in his ears and of course his headdress accessory. Since the state I live in is so rich in Native American history, and I loved Wild West Donald so much, he was an instant addition to my collection - breaking my Park series only rule, but for a great reason. And that's the story behind my Wild West Donald.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - "Scrapper" Seller Warning

I'm writing this as a Vinylmation Beginner's Guide post because I think it's particularly important for new collectors who aren't quite as savvy on fake Vinylmation (not to cause offense there, that was me just over a year ago) but there are still seasoned collectors out there who aren't aware of "Scrapper" issues, which I'm discovering more and more.

First off, just what is a scrapper anyway? This isn't an official term, hence the quotation marks before, but this is a name given by collectors. Scrappers are Vinylmation figures that have not passed Disney's quality control. Perhaps they're missing an accessory, have been painted wrong, or the design was cancelled and the figures were not produced, leaving some discarded prototypes.

When these figures are thrown out, people trying to make a quick buck will scavenge for them, find some, and sell them on eBay. Sometimes this is obvious, but in other cases it's harder to tell, as I'm about to show you.

All of the figures below have been listed by eBay seller mangoflavorcm who's registered in Hong Kong. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS SELLER!!! By no means are scrappers always from Hong Kong, nor does that mean scrappers can't be sold from other locations. However, 99% of the time scrappers do come from Hong Kong sellers, because the figures are made in China and are therefore easy for them to get hold of.


Here's one of the more obvious examples of a scrapper. This vinyl is clearly incomplete, unfinished and pretty dirty. It also looks to me like the arms are the wrong way around. The seller has actually labelled the vinyl as "unfinished" and in "used condition" but has still opened the starting bid at $7.99 for a piece of junk. You may have guessed that this figure is supposed to be the White Rabbit from the Alice in Wonderland Series:

Real Thing

Unfortunately, scrappers get worse. Here's an example of a type of scrapper you can often find, a scrapper comprised of various parts from different Vinylmation figures:


This figure has been listed as an Urban #6 figure, but really it has the body of Urban #6's Sunny Day figure, with the head of a Cutesters Too figure and the arms of something else entirely.

Real Figures

And finally, here's an example of a more subtle scrapper, see if you can pick up what's wrong with this figure:

Scrapper - can you guess why?

If you couldn't spot it, don't worry, I think it's only possible to notice if you're familiar with the original figure. Here's how King Mickey from the D-TOUR series is supposed to look:

Real Figure

Now you can see, he's missing the buttons on his sorts and his crown accessory. What's more, this seller has 99.8% positive feedback with a feedback score of over 4,950. Who would suspect any issues?

When looking for a scrapper, check if the full details of the Vinylmation are in the listing title. For example "Mickey Mouse figure", "Urban Series" or "Holiday 2" as opposed to "Urban Series #3 Cookie Jar". If the details are incomplete or non-descriptive, it's probably because the figure is a mix of figures so they don't want to be specific. Google image search the title or the series to see if the figure for sale matches any real Vinylmation in that series. Or type the title into Chasing Vinylmation (e.g. "King Mickey" or "Urban #6") to see a 360 picture of what the figure should look like. If it doesn't match - it's a scrapper.

Park #5 Scrapper Hybrid: Arms from the Abominable Snowman and body from XP-37 Space Cruiser (with the head the wrong way around!)

I don't actively look for scrappers, but sometimes I see them being sold on eBay when I'm searching for other things. As I find shady sellers, I'll add their names to this list.

Known eBay Scrapper Sellers:
  • mangoflavorcm
  • sinodolls
  • toyhouse6

I hope this post didn't scare you, especially if you're new to the hobby, but I hope it has educated you on some of the shady stuff for sale out there. Don't cut corners assuming there isn't something wrong with that cheap vinyl with free shipping from Hong Kong because it could be a scrapper. Even if they have great feedback, people don't always realize what they're buying! And lastly, please feel free to leave me a comment or email if you have any questions. I'm by no means an expert, but I will help where I can :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Sunny Day

Series: Urban #6
Artist: Thomas Scott
Released: March 2011

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - Carousel of Progress John

When I first saw this figure, I'll admit it looked a little weird. But once you get used to it, you'll notice that this figure was actually designed rather intelligently. Each side of this vinyl represents one of John's outfits from each scene in the Carousel of Progress. My favorite touch on this vinyl is the fan in John's back pocket. The fan is held by John in the second scene and has "Niagara Falls" written on it, but I like how Glenn Winters changed it on the vinyl to show the Carousel of Progress logo instead.

In the first scene, John wears a shirt and sweater, seen on the front of the vinyl and the figure's left arm

In the second scene, John wears a blue shirt and bow tie, seen on the front of the vinyl and on the figure's right hand. He also holds a Niagara Falls fan

In the third scene John wears a red sweater, seen on the back of the vinyl

In the final scene, John wears a blue Holiday sweater seen on the back of the vinyl

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Collector's Space - Enjoy the Downtime

I know that some collectors find waiting for new releases frustrating, especially if there's an upcoming series you're really excited for. I've been there myself sometimes. Vinylmation used to be released way more frequently than they are at present and to be honest, it gets too much. Yes it can be exciting to have so many releases, but if collectors can't afford to buy at the rate vinyls are being sold, they're only going to get canned (meaning Disney will stop producing that series) or the vinyls will end up at outlet. Neither are good outcomes if the series is great, just financially unobtainable.

I missed out on the Park Starz #2 Fossilized Carnotaurs that I need to get

Now I really appreciate the downtime in Vinylmation releases and in this post I'm going to explain why. For one thing, I have limited space and a strict budget, as I'm sure other collectors do. If a series was released every week or even two or three times a month that I want to collect, I would not be able to keep up. I have to be really picky about what I actually buy. If I love everything it gets messy because I can't have everything and I'm a horribly indecisive person! The downtime between releases gives me a chance to evaluate my collection and decided what I really want. (Assuming Disney give you notice on what they're releasing and when, which sometimes they don't, but that's a whole other story).

Haunted Mansion Mickey and Friends will be released later this year

Downtime can also be a great time to focus on making trades, saving money for future releases and even to sell those vinyls you decided you no longer love. I use "Vinylmation Downtime" to save money - waiting and saving up for the Haunted Mansion Portraits Set and the Tower of Terror Elevator Ghosts set nearly killed me! I also use it as a time to go back and get vinyls from my want list that I missed out on. Maybe I was waiting for them to drop in price and now's the time to buy, or sometimes when I blox a series there's a couple I wanted but didn't get through bloxing. Spacing out buying vinyls like that really makes me appreciate them more. Plus you get a steady flow of mail days! ;)

So if you're getting frustrated waiting for a series, try doing the same thing. It certainly makes the time pass!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Snapshot Sunday - Our Vinylmation Wedding Guestbook

We bought a pink 9" Create Your Own Vinylmation to use as our guestbook at our wedding. Guests enjoyed writing their names and leaving us messages on the ears, arms, face and belly of Mickey!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Vinylmation Review - The Jungle Book

Released: February 24, 2014
Blind Box Series

I'm happy to see another Disney series released in Disney Stores! The icing on the cake is that this series is so well done artistically and with a good choice of characters. The chaser was predictable, but its predictability is forgiven on the grounds of how well the figure was done. I don't think anyone could predict it would feature clear vinyl and Mowgli being hypnotized.

I will not be collecting any of these just because it's not what I collect, however, I'm sure this series will appeal to many Disney fans and Vinylmation Collectors. Even the artwork on the box is fantastic! Reminds me of the copy of Jungle Book written by Rudyard Kipling that I had as a child. It looked just like the box, down to the gold font.

Reasons to love this series:
  • I think this series is very creative. The characters aren't plain by any means! Shere Khan has his trademark angry expression, Bagheera is being hypnotized by Kaa, Baloo is wearing the disguise he uses at King Louie's palace and Mowgli has his angry face... "I'm not afraid"
  • The use of arms. It's good to mix things up and try new things with Vinylmation, it's even better when it works well. King Louie's arms are perfect! Bagheera's arms from Furry Friends and Whiskers and Tales works wonderfully too. In a similar vein, I'm glad Hathi Junior's trunk is an accessory, it makes the figure so much more desirable than if it was painted on
  • The vultures - how awesome are they?! For a start they are iconic (maybe more so to me as a Beatles fan) and memorable: "what do you wanna do?" "I don't know, what do you wanna do?" I think it's great that they're in this series and in such a creative way: as 4 Jr figures
  • The incredible level of detail. The Shere Khan vinyl looks identical to a movie cell! Mowgli's expression is impressive, it looks just like him and captures his mischief and cuteness at the same time. I'm blown away by how much detail is on each of the Jr. vulture figures
  • Ears, ears, ears! I just love when Vinylmation ears are used to their full capacity. Bagheera's ears feature Kaa hypnotizing him, King Louie's have a banana, Shere Khan's ears have the tall grass, Hathi's have been used as his elephant ears, and Baloo and Mowgli have jungle scenery
  • The characters in this series that we've seen before in other series, have unique takes by different artists in this series. It's great that these repeated vinyls (in most cases) are very different, not slightly different from their preceding vinyls 

Things that aren't so great:
  • I really can't think of a single critique for this series! It really has been expertly executed. All that I will say is that most of the vinyls in this series are repeated characters from other series: Kaa, Mowgli, King Louie, Shere Khan and Baloo. This is not the fault of the Jungle Book artists, and as I've already said, the Jungle Book vinyls are very different. However, the repeats might dissuade collectors who own these characters already, from picking them up again in this series