Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Thoughtful Spot - Vinylmation Series Repeats

Recently, the Aladdin series and the Toy Story Jr. series were released. I don't know about you, but when I first saw these new series they looked pretty familiar. Upon closer examination, I noticed that it looks like both series are identical to previous releases, as if the exact same artwork was just printed on to a bigger or smaller figure. I think the Aladdin series definitely looks like more convincing evidence of this theory.

Arguably, there are only so many ways you can translate Rex, Buzz, Woody, Jasmine, Abu and Iago on to a Vinylmation, and the Toy Story Jr. series does seem to have more of a "cutesy" spin on most of the characters. But with Aladdin, things could have been done to spice up the figures, such as positioning Jasmine's hair differently, or have Abu hold something instead of have he same jewels in his eyes. When you look at the pictures below, you'll see that the figures are not in the slightest way different between the 3" and Jr. molds.

(Left: Rex from Toy Story #1. Right: Rex from Toy Story Jr.)

The Aladdin series was recently released as a 3" series, but before that we had an Aladdin Jr. series released in January 2014. With Toy Story, it's the reverse. The most recent release was a Jr. series, but before that a similar 3" series was released in September last year and June of 2010.

In a way, this seems like Disney are being lazy, regurgitating previous releases as a different size - maybe because they knew it was popular before, so it will be a success again, or maybe because they're not sure what else to do and these themes at least tie in with DVD releases. I'm not sure what the reason is for these series "repeats".

(Left: Jasmine Jr. Right: Jasmine 3")

I don't think it's all negative though. For starters, something is better than nothing in this age where many people think Vinylmation is "dying", soon to become a Disney past. At least it's a Disney series, and not a terrible, unappealing set of the Medieval and High School ilk. Secondly (with Aladdin at least) I remember hearing and reading many collectors express their desire to own Aladdin as a 3" series. Now their wish has come true.

There are a few differences between these series: Toy Story Jr. has 2 new characters that are not featured in the 3" series - Sid and the Alien. The Aladdin 3" series has a different chaser to the Jr. series - Genie instead of the Cave of Wonders and Genie Jafar.

(Left: Abu Jr. Right: Abu 3")

Ideally, I would love to see fresh, new series produced. There are still plenty of collectors out there who haven't thrown in the towel (like me, and I assume like you since you're reading), with new collectors still joining the hobby. I think it's less likely that people would want a repeat. Partly because if they bought it the first time around, they probably don't want multiples in their collection. On the flip side, if they didn't like the series the first time, what would change their mind now? But of course, that's not always the case, as I mentioned with Aladdin.

However, these repeats so far have been very well designed, and are still great Disney sets. It could be a lot worse, and at least there have still been recent Vinylmation released. What were your feelings when you saw another Aladdin and Toy Story set?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vinylmation Stories - Tomorrowland Transit Authority

I have always loved the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover! My parents have home movies of me riding it over and over from when I could walk. I love it because it's amazing to a small child - it's powered by electromagnets, but travels much faster than you'd think, still picking up enough speed to give a couple thrills. I still remember how in awe of it I was as a child.

It gives amazing views of Tomorrowland: The Speedyway, Space Mountain, the Carousel of Progress, Astro Orbiter, I could go on. And one of the best parts is the sneak peaks it gives you of other attractions. I still love feeling almost like I'm riding Space Mountain again whenever the TTA travels through it. And I love the unique vantage point it gives you as you pass through Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

I guess I didn't realize until I saw this vinyl, just how much I wanted a TTA Vinylmation, and this figure does not disappoint! Caley Hicks captured every element perfectly! I love how the "tunnel" the vehicle passes through is reflected on the top of the vinyl's head, I love the logo of the ride pictured on the body of the figure, and of course the ride vehicle itself pictured on the head. Which, I might add, is spot on! The silhouettes of the passengers is a neat touch too. Not to mention the great use of the back of the figure with the safety signs portrayed on the back of the body. (More on that later in a Backside of Vinyls post).

This was another one of those figures where I knew I wanted it from the minute I saw it. And that's the story behind why I own the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover Vinylmation.

Friday, September 25, 2015

2015 Food & Wine Festival Swedish Chef Eachez Released

The 2015 International Food and Wine Festival Eachez has been released today at Epcot. The clean Swedish Chef is the common figure (pictured left) while the "messy" Swedish Chef is the variant (pictured right). There's a 9 in 10 chance the common will be in the box and just a 1 in 10 chance the variant will be pulled. Each blind box retails for $16.95

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Zuse

Series: TRON Legacy
Artist: Eric Caszatt
Released: March 2011

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ant-Man Eachez Release

A second Ant-Man Eachez has been released today at D-Street locations. The common figure is Scott Lang as Ant-Man (pictured left), the variant figure (pictured right) is Ant-Man shrinking. Both figures were designed by Thomas Scott. Each blind box retails for $16.95

Disneyland Diamond Celebration Harold Release

The Park Starz #3 Abominable Snowman (nicknamed "Harold") has been re-released today at the Disneyland Resort for the 60th Celebration. Harold has a shiny silver body, with metallic blue hands and face. He has a crystal under his chin. Harold retails for $24.95

Disneyland Diamond Celebration Pirate Release

The Park Starz #1 Skeleton Pirate has been re-released today as part of the Disneyland Diamond Celebration Vinylmation collection. The figure looks to have a silver/blue paint effect, and a crystal in the pirate's eye patch. The figure is now available at the Disney Store Online and retails for $24.95

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Mad Hatter Bot

Series: Robots #3
Artist: Enrique Pita
Released: November 2012

Friday, September 11, 2015

Designer Series #1 Release

The Designer Series #1 by artist Miss Mindy has been released today at D-Street locations in Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort. This is an 8 figure blind box set, with 7 commons, a chaser and so far one variant. Each blind box retails for $12.95

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Sallah

Series: Indiana Jones
Artist: Thomas Scott
Released: January 2014

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Backside of Vinyls - Clapboard

On today's edition of The Backside of Vinyls, I'm looking at the back of the Clapboard Vinylmation from Park #6. While this isn't exactly a direct representation of a Hollywood Studios attraction, I wanted to spotlight the backside of this vinyl for two reasons.

Firstly, it hasn't been left plain black, it's more creative than that. Secondly, what is more perfect for the design of the back of a clapboard than "Lights, camera, and action!"

Something else that I think it neat about this phrase, is that it features around Hollywood Studios. Naturally, being that this is a park based on Hollywood and the movies. As you can see in the picture above, here's one example where the phrase is written across clapboards outside the former Backlot Tour attraction.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Toy Story 20th Anniversary Jr. Series Release

The Toy Story 20th Anniversary Jr. Series has been released today at the Disney Store Online. The series contains 7 common figures plus a mystery chaser. Each blind box retails for $9.95

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Vinylmation Stories - MuppetVision 3D

I know some people are tired of MuppetVision 3D and want to see it replaced, but I still love it! I love the mix between a projected film, animatronics and live action actions. I enjoy the added effects of the bubbles and water too. I always leave singing "Dream A Little Dream of Me" and often find myself quoting the attraction. ("You've got a minute and a half!")

On top of how much I enjoy the attraction, I had to have this figure because I think it capture the attraction in a unique way. Lin Shih didn't choose just one character from the attraction to represent MuppetVision in vinyl form (who could?!), nor was the brick building that houses the show chosen. Instead we have the hot air balloon that sits above Muppet labs.

I think it's a really fun and cute design, way to think outside the box Lin Shih! Plus, I love the bright colors, the Muppets are all about bright, fun colors. The great design, and the nod to one of my favorite Hollywood Studios attractions, made this Vinylmation an instant addition to my collection.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Mike and Sulley Rescue

Series: Park #11
Artist: Eric Caszatt
Released: October 2012

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

9" Mail Day!

Presenting the Empress Lilly from the Florida Project trade event back in 2011.