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.

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