Tuesday, March 24, 2015
My Thoughtful Spot - 9" Vinylmation
I've been thinking a lot recently about 9" Vinylmation. I'm not going to talk in this post about the reduced production of 9" figures, which I know has happened, but instead I'm going to write about how I view them as a collector.
Right now I own one 9" Vinylmation from Park #9 and a Create Your Own Vinylmation that my wedding guests signed in lieu of a guestbook. What I love about 9" Vinylmation is how much more detail can be added to them. Several 3" figures have an incredible amount of detail that shocks me on a much smaller canvas. Sometimes that detail can be overlooked because of their smaller size, other times it's just not possible to do as much on a 3" figure. I think for example the detail on the Sci-Fi Dine-In 9" from Park #4 would be extremely difficult to have done on a 3". So I think 9" figures are a great addition to the hobby and popular with fans. However, the nature of them being bigger and more expensive means they need to be released in a different way to 3" figures in order to keep fans interested.
Which brings me to what I don't like about 9" figures. This is two fold. The first aspect is the price tag. Let's compare some of the more recent 9" prices. The Park #8 Contemporary set that was released in 2012, retailed at $89.95. Yes it came with a 3" figure, but I'm not paying $90. Strangely, Toy Story Mania was another combo set released that same year but for the cheaper price of $74.95. I said I wouldn't pay $90 and I wouldn't pay $75 either. I guess I'm not the only one because this set went to outlet. It's easy to pay $12.95 for a blind box, but it's not easy to spend 6 to 7 times that on a 9" figure, especially regularly.
Crush and Squirt from Pixar #1 was a 9" and 3" combo that was released in 2013. It cost $64.95, which is $25 less than the Contemporary set and $10 less than Toy Story, so getting better in price, but still leaning toward the expensive side in my opinion. I would pay $45-$55 for a 9" and 3" combo, depending on the LE. As for individual figures, The Animation #3 Chernabog 9" retailed for $59.95 upon its release in 2013. Only $5 less than the Pixar #1 combo set.
The most recent Park 9" (released in 2012) retailed for $44.95. In terms of 9" vinyls that's cheap! I think $39.95-$44.95 depending on the LE is a fair price. Of course it's still not cheap when you think back to 3" figures, and it definitely affects my ability to purchase 9" figures on a frequent basis. But no 9" price is as crazy as the Animation #3 Dumbo combo set which retailed for a whopping $99.95 when it was released in 2013. I am not at all surprised it went to outlet. I didn't think it was a very impressive figure to begin with, but there's only one 9" figure in existence right now that would make me part with $100.
The second reason for my small collection of 9" Vinylmation comes from a lack of space, not a lack of love for the bigger figures. There are several that I wish I owned and even more that I admire for their concept and creativity.
There are some 9" figures that I just had to have from the first minute I saw them because the artwork blew me away. Then there are figures that are still fantastically designed, but appeal to me more for the memories they encompass, as opposed to exceptional artwork.
I'm secretly happy that I can count the number of 9" figures that are a must-have for me, because I currently don't have the space to display even that handful of figures! I would have to rotate what I display and that makes me sad. But at the same time, I still really like the 9" line and hope it stays in the hobby.
It's great to have a variety of figures out there. Some people love Jr. Vinylmation because they can put them on their keys, their small size makes it easy to collect more of them, and some people think they're cuter than 3" and 9" figures. Other collectors prefer the 3" because they're arguably the easiest to display, they're big enough to get plenty of identifying artwork on there, without taking up too much room in your home. But there are also staunch fans of the 9", who love them for the incredible amount of detail they can hold.
The 9" vinyls that I love (for the most part) include more intricate detail than a 3" ever could (although the artists are really pushing that boundary right now!) However, 9" figures are undeniably more difficult to house and display than their 3" counterparts, so I have to limit myself personally to 3" figures, unless a 9" comes along that I cannot live without. I'm glad to see that contrary to popular belief, the 9" has indeed gotten much more rare, but is not extinct. We will see the release of another 9" combo set for Star Wars Weekends 2015 and for a much more attractive price than some of the sets I've mentioned in this post.