Monday, February 29, 2016

Tsum Tsum Vinylmation Series Release

The Tsum Tsum Vinylmation series has been released today at the Disney Store Online. This is an 8 figure blind box series featuring 7 commons plus a mystery chaser. Each blind box retails for $12.95

Friday, February 26, 2016

Frozen Elsa Eachez Release

The Frozen #2 Elsa Eachez has been released today at D-Street, Disney Pin Traders and the Disney Store Online. The common figure (pictured left) has 9 in 10 odds of being in the blind box, while the variant figure (pictured right) is seeded at every 1 in 10. There's a very slight diffeence between the two figures, with the variant Elsa showing a bigger smile, not wearing gloves, and having snowflakes scattered across her dress and shoes. (Check out the beautiful hidden Mickeys!) Each blind box retails for $14.95

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Hyacinth Hippo

Series: Disney Store 25th Anniversary
Artist: Jim Valeri
Released: May 2012

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Collector's Space - Free Your Vinyls

There is a popular opinion in the Vinylmation community that vinyls should be kept in their boxes. Not every collector thinks this, and it's all down to personal choice whether or not to take Vinylmation out of their boxes. Many collectors like to preserve how their vinyls were when they bought them. Others keep them "mint in box" in the hopes that they will hold their value, or even increase in value, so that they have the option to sell them later. Some collectors just find it easier to display Vinylmation by being able to stack them in their boxes.

Personally, I'm an advocate of taking vinyls out of their boxes. Firstly, I think it can be hard to see the figures in all their glory when they're boxed. You miss out even more by keeping Vinylmation in their boxes when they have amazing detail on the back. It's harder to see the front, but you miss out on half the design completely by keeping them in the box.

I also think Vinylmation display more nicely when removed from the box. While you can easily stack Vinylmation by keeping them in their boxes (like the picture above) I personally think that can look cluttered and untidy. I also think keeping Vinylmation in their boxes can remove the personal nature of a collection. A display of boxed figures looks more like a generic store display than a hand picked collection of sentimental artwork. The boxes can also blend together in appearance, taking away the individualism of each figure by preventing them from standing out.

Beautiful artwork on the packaging can definitely be a motivation to leave Vinylmation in their boxes. You like the box because of the art, and if you take the Vinylmation out, then what will you do with the box? Despite everything I've just said, recently I've been struggling to take some of my Vinylmation out of their boxes for that very reason.

For the most part, I love the boxes, and by keeping my vinyls in there I get to look at both. But, I display my collection on custom made Vinylmation shelves, which means new additions can't be displayed on my shelves unless they're unboxed. Most of my 9" figures are still in their boxes so that I can stack them in a closet. Regretfully I do not have the space to display all of them all the time.

(Some of my boxed Vinylmation)

As for my boxed 3" figures, I love the artwork on all of the boxes pictured (with the exception of the Dr. Facilier set) which makes it hard to take the figures out. The Dr. Facilier set box is nothing special, so I still don't know why I'm reluctant to unbox him. The packaging is so dark that I know I'm missing out on seeing his incredible design by keeping him in there. I don't know what's stopping me.

In that sense, it would be nice if Vinylmation could easily slide in and out of their boxes like POP Vinyls do, so that you can switch between displaying your Vinylmation in and out of their boxes. Usually I'm able to unbox my vinyls when I think of a way to re-purpose the boxes I like, so I don't have to throw them away.

I'd love to hear if you keep you Vinylmation in their boxes of if you take them out. If you do the former, have you regretted unboxing your figures? If you never take a Vinylmation out of its box, what's your reason?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Vinylmation Stories - Teddi Beara

The Country Bear Jamboree is still one of my favorite shows at Walt Disney World. I love country music, the jokes are hilarious, and the bears are so cute! (Most of them, I also get a kick out of how ugly Liver Lips and Wendell are). I love the Country Bear Jamboree so much that I always try to make it to a show every time I'm in the Magic Kingdom. I know the words to all the songs and I even noticed which songs (and jokes) got cut when Disney shortened the attraction.

There's so much to work with that I think the Vinylmation team could even have gone as far as to create a Country Bear Jamboree series. Nevertheless, after adding Big Al to my collection, of course I wanted to include Teddi Beara when she was released!

I think Teddi Beara was a great choice because she's so memorable. Who could forget the bear that swings from the ceiling? And she's been designed wonderfully. She has a great facial expression, her hat accessory also includes a feather that extends in to her right ear, she has her feather boa, and designer Maria Clapsis even included the flowers from her swing in Teddi's left ear.

I was lucky enough to pull this figure from a Park #12 blind box and I'm so happy I did! I will never get tired of this show, and when I can't watch it, I get to look at my Teddi Beara Vinylmation and think of her singing "Heart, We Did All That We Could".

Friday, February 19, 2016

Movieland Series Release

The Movieland series has been released today at D-Street, Disney Pin Traders, and the Disney Store Online. This is an 8 figure blind box set featuring 7 commons plus a chaser. The series was designed by artists Caley Hicks, Casey Jones, John Henselmeier and Thomas Scott. Each blind box retails for $12.95

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday - WDW Puzzle

Series: Urban #3
Artist: Maria Clapsis
Released: January 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Thoughtful Spot - The Current State of Vinylmation

It's been 1 year since trade boxes became a thing of the past at the Walt Disney World Resort, hot on the heels of an announcement that there would be no annual Vinylmation trade event last year, this amalgamation of news caused many collectors to proclaim that Vinylmation was "dead" and gone. I want to reflect on the current state of the hobby with that in mind.

I've written before why I disagree that Vinylmation is nearing the end, and how I think they're simply moving the focus of their marketing and promotions to Tsum Tsum - the latest Disney craze, instead. (You can read that post here). Obviously there has been change in the hobby, but for now I think it's mostly good.

While I'm sad that there are no trade boxes at the parks (and I do worry about the long term effect that will have on the hobby) part of me thinks less reputable collectors are at least partly responsible for that change. I won't go too deep into that because I've said it before, but to recap briefly: the majority of collectors had only bad things to say about the trade boxes because the quality of the figures in them was so bad. Collectors complained about outlet figures, damaged figures, figures missing their accessories, and being forced by Cast Members to trade their $12.95+ figures for these undesirable vinyls. I can see why Disney would think "no one likes trade boxes anyway, it's more effort than it's worth, let's get rid of them".

Having said that, I did enjoy trading at my local Disney Store, where I never saw outlet figures. It was great to be able to buy new release figures in store, and trade them there too. I would visit a couple times a month or more. The opportunity to trade Vinylmation brought me to the store when I wouldn't otherwise have gone. The Cast Members seemed very knowledgeable on Vinylmation and I had a great time. It still upsets me that the trade boxes were removed from Disney Stores too, without notice.

So trading has gone, but Vinylmation hasn't. We are still getting consistent releases - at least one series each month since trade boxes were removed, plus other releases like twin packs and combo toppers. Thinking back to the horrors of series like Behind the Mask, High School and Nursery Rhymes, I would like to think that Disney are learning from their past mistakes and releasing more appropriate Vinylmation series, on a more realistic schedule. We can't have a release every single week, or several sets a month, because collectors can't keep up, and even the most brilliantly designed sets will become outlet fodder.

I am still not too concerned by the changes in the Vinylmation. They're just changes. Depending on the day, there are equal or fewer pin products on than there are Vinylmation products, yet pins still seem to be going strong. I think Vinylmation will continue also. Duffy isn't being pushed as hard anymore either. The Duffy the Disney Bear social media pages seem to be abandoned, fewer Duffy items are being sold online, Duffy had his Epcot meet and greet removed recently, yet in October the ShellieMay line was released, which goes to show that Duffy is still an ongoing and viable product.

There have been huge success with Vinylmation, such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty And The Beast series, plus collectors still go nuts for Eachez. While it's profitable, Disney will continue to do it, and I think that goes to show that Vinylmation is still popular, in demand, and therefore profitable. Sure, some will go to outlet, everything does. Disney mugs, plush toys, clothing items, backpacks and accessories all go to outlet from time to time - but Disney doesn't stop making them just because they go to outlet. Why should Vinylmation be any different?

And that pretty much sums up my current feelings on the Vinylmation hobby a year on from 2015's announcements. I think Vinylmation will be sticking around for a while longer and I will be sticking around too.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Star Wars Rebels Sabine Eachez Release

The latest Star Wars Rebels Eachez, Sabine, has been released today at D-Street, Disney Pin Traders, and the Disney Store Online. This is a limited release meaning exact quantities are unknown. However, there is a 9 in 10 chance of pulling the common Sabine figure (pictured left) and a 1 in 10 chance of pulling the variant Sabine figure (pictured right). Both figures were designed by Maria Clapsis and each blind box retails for $14.95.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Valentine's Mickey

Series: 2015 Valentine's Day Eachez
Artist: Maria Clapsis
Released: January 2015

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story

With Valentine's Day coming up this weekend, I thought I would share Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story. This short, stop-motion animation film was released for Valentine's Day 2014, but it's still super cute! I particularly enjoyed the cameos from other Vinylmation including the Jr. and Park Starz figures. Enjoy!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Vinylmation Stories - Buddy Boil

When Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor opened, I wasn't sure what to think. I love Monsters Inc., but I didn't know if the show would be a one and done type deal. I was wrong! Because of the audience participation, the show is different every time, and so far it has never failed to keep me laughing! It's now a can't miss attraction for me, so when I saw a Vinylmation of Laugh Floor host Buddy Boil, I wanted him.

I'll admit, at first glance it can be hard to make out this figure, but once you get it you see how well designed it is. The purple line on the bottom of his face might look like his mouth, but it's actually his chin, which to me starts to make his face look 3D. I love how the vinyl's ears have been used for Buddy's big eyes!

I think artist Thomas Scott had a difficult task here, but his design is wonderful. It's a great representation of Buddy that always makes me want to say "Hello humans!" and brings back memories of "that guy". I'm happy to have this little monster in my collection.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mickey Mouse Club Series Variants

The Mickey Mouse Club series has only been out for 1 day, but already all the variants have surfaced. All 8 figures (that means the chaser too) have a colored variant. Here's a look at some of the variant figures:

I really hope his series is made available to purchase online! I think this set will be incredibly popular with so many chances to pull a variant or even a super chaser!

Hipster Mickey 9" Release

The Hipster Mickey 9" Vinylmation has been released today at the Wonderground Gallery in Disneyland. No word yet on whether this figure will be released online or at Walt Disney World. This Vinylmation was designed by artist Jerrod Maruyama and retails at $69.95.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Mickey Mouse Club Series Release

The Mickey Mouse Club Vinylmation series was released today at D-Street in Disneyland, Disney Pin Traders in Walt Disney World and the Disney Store online. This is an 8 figure blind box set with 7 commons and a chaser. There is already one confirmed variant. Each blind box retails for $12.95. Stay tuned to see if this series will become available online.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Throwback Thursday - Cupcake

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

Monday, February 01, 2016

Vinylmation Review - Haunted Mansion Series #2

The Haunted Mansion is a Disney attraction that has remained popular over the years and across generations. Its popularity appears to be growing, and with that comes an increasing demand for more Haunted Mansion merchandise, which we have seen from the opening of Memento Mori and its line of Haunted Mansion decor, clothing and accessories.

The Haunted Mansion Series #1 was a strong set that proved popular, so I think it's great that Disney have released the Haunted Mansion Series #2.

Things to love about this series:
  • The use of clear - it works perfectly for the ghost figures and I can't see how they could have been designed any better than that
  • Good selection of characters - there are so many to choose from in the attraction, and we've already had several released in the first series. I'm glad there were no repeats in the way the Skeleton Helmsman has been repeated across the Pirates of the Caribbean series
  • Popular figures - I think collectors will be thrilled to finally have Ezra to accompany the other 2 hitchhiking ghosts. The caretaker is another character I think collectors will be happy to own, and the skeleton portrait of Master Gracey will go well with the living Master Gracey from the first series
  • Great use of accessories - Ezra wouldn't be complete without his bowler hat, the caretaker definitely needed his baseball cap and lantern, and Madame Leota looks fantastic with her crystal ball accessory
  • Good use of a variant - I think the variants from the first Haunted Mansion series have created an expectation that there would be variants in this series. Collectors won't be disappointed by the variants that were chosen for this series! Again there's a hitchhiking ghost variant and also a variant of Madame Leota

Things that aren't so great:
I don't have any complains about this series. I think the characters are all great choice and the variants will entice collectors to keep buying blind boxes. My personal opinion is that the chaser isn't strong enough that I would keep buying blind boxes for it. I think the Opera Singer is a fun and memorable character, with a well executed design, but I think the portrait of Master Gracey is a more popular and appropriate figure for the chaser.