Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vinylmation Stories - Mariachi Cobre

Mariachi Cobre
Series: Park #12
Artist: John Henselmeier 

Many guests who've visited EPCOT are familiar with Mariachi Cobre, a 12 piece band that plays traditional Mexican music over at the Mexico Pavilion in the World Showcase. I have come to love Mariachi Cobre. I think they are so fun and entertaining to watch, and they really create a good cultural atmosphere in the Pavilion. They play both inside and outside, several times throughout the day. When they play inside, I think they really create the feeling of being at a street market in the evening, where you can enjoy some music, food and shopping.

I think this vinyl is really cute, singing his little heart out under the moon. The musical notes and the stars in the sky are a neat touch in his ears, and I love his expression. When I look at this vinyl, I hear the band's music in my head. I also think this vinyl is a great nod to the Mexico Pavilion, which in my opinion is hard to capture in Vinylmation form. So this little fella made his way into my Vinylmation collection.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Marvel #2 Release

The second installment in the Marvel Vinylmation line, Marvel #2, has been released today at D-Street locations and the Disney Store Online. Breaking the new trend of smaller case sizes, this is a 12 figure set of 11 commons and 1 chaser, which I'm sure many hard core Marvel fans like myself appreciate. This series has a Spider-Man theme and all 12 figures were designed by Thomas Scott. Each blind box retails for $12.95

Donald Han Solo and Goofy Chewbacca Release

The Star Wars Donald Han Solo and Goofy Chewbacca set has been released today at D-Street in the Walt Disney World Resort. This is a two 3" figure set designed by Maria Clapsis. It has a limited edition size of 1,500 and a retail price of $29.95. It will be released a week from today (September 5) at D-Street Disneyland.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Mascot Mickey

Series: Mascots
Artist: Maria Clapsis
Released: June 2012

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - Melvin

Today I'm looking at the backside of the Melvin Vinylmation from the Park #12 Country Bear Jamboree set. Melvin is one of the three talking animal heads on the wall of Grizzly Hall. The Country Bear Jamboree is one of my favorite Walt Disney World attractions, so I instantly loved this set. But I loved it even more when I saw the back of these figures.

On the back of the body, running from the head and ears down to the feet are wooden slats, representing the wall Melvin is hung on. Then on the back of the body, we can see a plaque that reads "Melvin" in what appears to be cross stitch. We can see in the above picture that this plaque sits next to Melvin on the wall.

I love this detail because while it's relatively simple compared to the back side of other vinyls, Monty Maldovan has used all of the Mickey canvas effectively. He could have just left the back painted in one solid color. Adding the planks of wood is a neat touch and the name plaque is spot on in accuracy. It looks just like the sign in the attraction and fans like me don't forget those details! Another back side success.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Park #14 Cranium Command Set Release

The second of two Park #14 combo sets has been released today at D-Street locations and the Disney Store Online. The Cranium Command set is a pack of two 3" figures from the extinct EPCOT attraction: Buzzy and General Knowledge. Designed by Maria Clapsis, this set has a Limited Edition size of 1,000 and retails for $29.95

Park #14 Storyteller Set Release

The first of 2 combo sets for the Park #14 series has been released today at D-Street locations and the Disney Store Online where it has already sold out. The Storyteller set has a 3" Vinylmation figure of Walt Disney and a Jr. figure of Mickey Mouse, depicting the Storyteller statue on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure. Designed by artist Ron Cohee, this set has a Limited Edition of 2,500 and retails for $29.95

Animation #5 Release

Animation #5 has been released today at D-Street locations and the Disney Store Online. It's another 8 figure series, made up of 7 commons and a chaser. The artists who designed this series are: Casey Jones, Ron Cohee, Mike Sullivan, Monty Maldovan, Thomas Scott, Alex Maher and Brian Blackmore. Each blind box retails for $12.95

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Cactus

Series: Urban #6
Artist: Maria Clapsis
Released: March 2011

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - Mission Space Suit

Mission Space celebrated its birthday on Friday, so I decided to talk about the back side of the Mission Space Suit vinyl from Park #3 in today's post. I think the Mission Space attraction is a great idea for a Vinylmation, but very hard to put into Vinylmation form due to the ride being a simulator. Using a space suit was a great idea by Maria Clapsis, not just because astronauts wear them and this is a space attraction, but because a line of them are visible while you wait and watch the pre-show:

Even Mickey can be seen wearing the same red and white space suit in the Cargo Bay store as you exit the attraction:

The neat touch about the back of this vinyl, is the Mission Space logo. If you didn't already know where this figure was from, now you do, plus it adds that little something extra to what would otherwise be plain white on the back of the figure. It's a pretty cool, futuristic looking logo too.

Sometimes it's the little things that really make a Vinylmation

Monday, August 18, 2014

Villains #5 Release

Today Villains #5 has been released at Disney Stores and the Disney Store Online. This is an 8 figure blind box series made up of 7 commons and a chaser. The artists involved in designing the series are: Enrique Pita, Marvin Lao and Gerald Mendez. For this installment of the Villains line, there appears to be a Pixar theme, featuring characters from: Monsters University, UP, A Bug's Life, The Incredibles, Brave, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo. Each blind box retails for $12.95

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Vinylmation Stories - Chocolate Mickey Bar

Chocolate Mickey Bar
Series: Urban #2
Artist: Lisa Badeen

Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar is one of my favorite foods at Walt Disney World! I eat several each Disney trip and have done for as long as I can remember. I have no idea what it is that makes them taste so much better than other ice cream!

(Photo credit: DisneyFoodBlog)

My love of Mickey Premium bars started when I was very young. When I was young, my mom would bring all these healthy snacks around the parks for me like grapes, apple slices, plain Cheerios, but instead of eating those, my dad would take me to get a Mickey Ice Cream Bar instead. My dad loves them just as much as I do! Not only are these ice cream bars iconic to the Disney Parks, but they're also part of my Disney vacation ritual.

(Photo credit: DisneyFoodBlog)

When I saw the Chocolate Mickey Bar Vinylmation, even though it was from Urban #2, I just had to have it. It truly counts as a Park figure! The figure is an exact representation of the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar that I love so much, right down to the bite taken out of the ear. My love of Mickey ice cream meant this figure just had to join my collection.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Thoughtful Spot - Revealed/Concealed Vinylmation

The "Revealed/Concealed" concept has been a new creation in the Vinylmation world this year, after the introduction of the "Eachez" concept last year. These are both new spins on blind boxing, designed to breathe life into the hobby and increase the excitement and anticipation of blind boxing. In this post, I'm going to share my thoughts on Revealed/Concealed Vinylmation.

The first time we saw this style of blind boxing, was back in March when the Topiaries series was released. In that series, revealed/concealed functioned more like a combo topper, a concept we were already familiar with. The difference being you had to pick up what seemed like a combo topper when you bought a blind box from the Topiaries series.

I liked all of the figures in the Topiaries series, with Donald being my favorite and Sorcerer Mickey being my least favorite, just because I think collectors have had their fill of that platform after the 2013 Poster Art Series and 2014 Sorcerer Mickey. But what I didn't like about Toparies really was the revealed/concealed concept. $12.95 is pricey if you want to blind box most of the figures you want, but with Topiaries, you had no choice but to pay $24.95 per blind box (because you were getting two figures) and you would be guaranteed multiples of Sorcerer Mickey. Even buying 2 blind boxes would leave you with one extra Sorcerer Mickey and you'd have $50 less in your wallet.

I'm still not sure where Disney thought they were going with this. What is more attractive about blind boxing when you have to pick up the same figure over and over just for a chance of getting a new figure at the same time? Everyone who bought more than one Topiaries blind box has a Sorcerer Mickey they don't want, so who can you trade with? Especially if you have several. I really don't think revealed/concealed worked with this series at all. It certainly stopped me from buying any blind boxes. On the flip side, it did make the concealed figures more valuable, probably for that reason. Few people wanted to risk blind boxing. I won't say revealed/concealed ruined this series, aside from that method of blind boxing, the figures are fantastic. But I will say that it was a huge drawback that ended up being a deal-breaker for me. I still don't own any of these figures, as much as I would like them.

The next time we saw Revealed/Concealed Vinylmation was with the recently released Haunted Mansion Mickey & Friends series. This time around I think the concept worked a lot better. There is still a revealed figure on top and one of four concealed figures inside, retailing for $24.95 each. Mickey and Minnie dressed as Haunted Mansion Cast Members are undoubtedly popular figures, making them perfect as the revealed figures in this series. Many collectors will want them, so having multiple extras will be easy to trade. Furthermore, this time around there are 2 revealed figures. You could pick up Minnie and then Mickey, which makes it possible to buy 2 blind boxes and have 4 different figures, which was not possible with Topiaries. A much better use of $50.

As with a lot of things, I think there's pros and cons to revealed/concealed. I did not like it at all for Topiaries. I don't think it really worked, although perhaps from Disney's perspective it did. Topiaries did sell out quickly online. But I think the quick sell out could be attributed to the wonderful design of the series instead.

However, I think revealed/concealed had more positives in Haunted Mansion Mickey & Friends. You could easily pick up two figures that you want guaranteed (if you like the revealed figures that is) and try your luck at another two concealed figures. Just adding that extra revealed figure makes so much difference to the way the concept works, and can encourage more blind boxing by those who perhaps don't want to take a 1 or 2 in 6 chance of pulling their favorite figure.

I'm interested to see if and how Revealed/Concealed Vinylmation continues.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Park #14 Release

Park #14 has been released today at D-Street locations and The Disney Store Online. This is an 8 figure blind box set comprised of 7 commons and 1 chaser. The artists involved in designing this series are: Ron Cohee, Casey Jones, Caley Hicks, Anne Marie, Maria Clapsis and Lin Shih. Each blind box retails for $12.95.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Starfish

Series: Cutesters At The Beach
Artist: Patty Landing
Released: February 2012

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - Kilimanjaro Safaris

Today I'll be looking at the back side of the Kilimanjaro Safari Truck from Park #8. I really like the neat touches on this vinyl! Let's start with the back of the ears. You can see numerous camping equipment on the back of the figure's ears, which represent the many camping supplies piled on top of the truck, ready for your 2 week safari:

Moving on the to back of the body, we see an animal stripe pattern starting on the back of the head and moving all the way down the back of the vinyl. If you look at the picture above, this exact same pattern features on the hood and sides of the truck, as well as above the windshield.

Now looking at the back of the figure's head, we can see the Kilimanjaro Safaris logo, which can also be found on the driver and passenger side doors of the safari truck:

The Kilimanjaro safari trucks are packed with detail! I think Eric Caszatt did a wonderful job of picking up on these details and beautifully and accurately including them on this figure.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Vinylmation Dreaming - PUSH

A Vinylmation I hope we see in a future Park series is PUSH the talking trash:

PUSH has been making me laugh for years, amusing guests in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. You'd never know when he would appear and it was always fun to watch him startle guests, who were not expecting a trash can to talk to them - or follow them. (Watch a clip of PUSH)

I think PUSH could be designed in a similar way to the 9" Fantasyland Trash Can Vinylmation from Park #3 but on a 3" mold:

Fantasy Trash Can

I think PUSH would be a great choice for a Vinylmation because he's such a memorable theme park character. After PUSH's retirement commenced in February of this year, I would be even more thrilled to see him immortalized as a Vinylmation. I hope collectors will see him soon.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Haunted Mansion Mickey & Friends Release

The second "Revealed/Concealed" series has been released today at D-Street locations at at the Disney Store Online. Haunted Mansion Mickey & Friends is a 6 figure series, featuring two known combo toppers (Mickey and Minnie) as the revealed figures, with one of four concealed figures inside the blind box (Donald, Daisy, Goofy or Pete). The entire series was designed by Ron Cohee and each blind box retails for $24.95. This looks to be a popular series, as it has already sold out online.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Mickey Surf

Series: Hawaii Disney Store Exclusive
Artist: Enrique Pita
Released: June 2013

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Backside of Vinyls - Summer Santa

Today I'm looking at the back side of Summer Santa from Park #12. Summer Santa can be found at the Winter Summerland miniature golf course over at Disney's Blizzard Beach water park.

If you look closely at the picture below, you'll see the golf bag on Santa's back, filled with Candy Cane striped golf clubs and a fishing pole, which has a blue fish on the end. If we take a look at the back of the Summer Santa vinyl, there's the same green golf bag, filled with 3 Candy Cane striped golf clubs and a fishing pole. The blue fish at the end of the fishing pole in the above picture, stretches around to fill the back of the left ear on the Vinylmation.

Finally, the sun in the background of Summer Santa in the above picture, can also be found on the front and back of the figure's right ear. It would have been really easy to leave the back of this vinyl pretty plain, with just the back of Santa's hat and shirt, but I'm glad Thomas Scott incorporated some of the Winter Summerland logo, plus Santa's humorous golf bag and clubs.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Vinylmation Stories - Adventureland Talking Drum

Series: Park #6
Artist: Casey Jones

As a child, I loved the Talking Drums in Adventureland. Many people mistake them for Tiki Gods, but they are actually tribal drums that play music and sometimes spray water. You can find these fellas outside the entrance to The Jungle Cruise and you can listen to their tribal chant here. I was always interested in mythology growing up, especially Native American, Norwegian, Egyptian and Polynesian, so these guys were super cool for me as a child.

I loved to listen to their chant and my brother and I would dart in and out of their semicircle trying to avoid their sprays of water. Many happy hours were spent here for me as a child. When Casey Jones's figure was released, I knew immediately that it was one of the Talking Drums, the first one on the left in both pictures. What a great choice for a vinyl!

Casey has added an amazing level of detail and color to this figure that really impressed me. It looks identical to the drum it's been designed after, especially the facial expression and the top of the head. It's beautiful and really looks like it came straight from Adventureland. The more I look at this figure, the more detail I notice. The awesome choice of figure (I'm sure many people miss the Talking Drums), Casey's fantastic artwork, and the happy memories this vinyl holds for me, are all reasons why this Vinylmation was another of my must-haves.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

Vinylmation Review - Ink & Paint Series

Released: May 19, 2014
Blind Box Series

Ink & Paint is a wonderful retro series single-handedly designed by Enrique Pita. The 8 figure series contains some of the original favorite Disney characters, including the Fab 5, Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle and Peg-Leg Pete. All have been designed to reflect their old-school portrayals. I really like some of the more classic and retro Vinylmation designs along side more modern, new Vinylmation series. I like the progression of the look of Disney characters (in particular the Fab 5) but I think it's great to have newer looks and characters such as the Pixar series, with more traditional Disney series like the Classic Collection or Ink & Paint.

Reasons to love this series:
  • As I already mentioned, the retro look - I just love it! It mixes things up, gives a series that's unique and different to most other series
  • The traditional character designs - it ties into my first point, but it goes a little deeper than that. The characters look different to their modern appearances, Mickey has pie eyes again, Minnie is dressed in the outfit she used to wear back in the 50's, Donald has his old look, etc
  • The accessories - I love Clarabelle's bow, Pete's hat, Goofy's hat, Donald's hat and Minnie's hat with the flower. It's really neat to have these as actual accessories now instead of being painted in the ears
  • The ears - I don't think any space has been wasted here. All of the characters have had great use made out of the ears. The background colors for the ears have been chosen perfectly to correspond with the character, for example green for Pluto's ears to match his collar. This color blending works fantastically (even for Donald's blank ears) and is more appropriate for the look and feel of this series

Things that aren't so great:
  • Character repeats - some collectors might be tired of all the Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Pluto figures especially. Every character in this series is a repeat. However, I think it works well and isn't problematic or off-putting considering the radically different look of these characters from any of their previously released duplicates