I remember when Park Starz were first released. I read about the upcoming release of the Park Starz line in a copy of the Disney Files Magazine. The article explained that they were an extension of the Vinylmation brand and previewed the Yeti and Figment. I thought the character choices were awesome, but I wasn't sure about the way they looked. I like how Vinylmation are the same but different, and Park Starz literally broke the mold.
For a long time (even when Park Starz #2 was released) I didn't want to collect them. I loved their unique design and shape, and how they seemed to be a more nostalgic series. They contained many characters from extinct attractions, which meant a lot to me as a Walt Disney World veteran. I missed those attractions and loved how the characters could live on in Vinylmation form. But what drew me to Vinylmation in the first place, as opposed to other Disney collectibles, was how perfectly a collection came together, and I didn't feel like Park Starz did that.
(Not my Vinylmation collection)
I'm a very Type A person - I plan, organize, alphabetize, everything has its place. Displaying certain mixes of Disney collectibles to me would just look like a mess. The great thing about Vinylmation is that each one has a different design, but they are all the same shape, making them easy to display neatly. You can line them up and they look organized and orderly, all the same, but all different at the same time. Your shelf doesn't look like a clutter of Disney themed junk. I love how at first glance, your collection just looks like a bunch of Mickeys. But look closer and you get lost in the individual designs and uniqueness of each figure.
But with Park Starz, I was worried that since they all look different, lining them up on a shelf would look like a messy, confusing mixture of Disney looking objects, which is exactly what I was wanting to avoid. Then of course there was coughing up an extra $6 per figure. Regular 3" figures cost $12.95 a blind box, but Park Starz retail at $18.95 per tin. You can almost buy three 3" figures for the price of two Park Starz. Did I really want to gamble with that extra money?
(Park Starz Display)
Eventually I gave in. I was so excited by all the different Park Starz figures, that I decided to finally get some. However, I didn't really want to gamble with $20 (after tax) to see if I'd get the figure I wanted. It was also harder to trade Park Starz, as when the trade boxes existed, they were only for 3" vinyls. I ended up trading 3" figures for Park Starz with other collectors through trading forums to initially start my collection. Then I moved to eBay to fill in the gaps and got some figures cheaper than their original retail price.
As for displaying them in a way that doesn't give my Type A personality anxiety - I haven't got there yet. My Park Starz are still in their tins waiting for me to figure out a good place to put them. For some reason I expected them to be bigger in person, even though they're still 3" tall. They just looked bigger in all the pictures I saw.
Overall I think Park Starz are a great addition to the Vinylmation hobby, I definitely would not want them to replace Mickey mold figures, but they are fun to compliment and stand alongside the original Vinylmation figures collectors have come to love.
The reason for me buying Wild West Minnie is similar to the story behind why I bought Wild West Donald. When I look at this Minnie Vinylmation, I'm reminded of an aspect of my home state's history that I am very proud of. Minnie was designed to be a Pioneer woman, but I look at her and am reminded of Amish women. Her bonnet and apron are what make me think of the women in Amish communities, although Minnie's bonnet is pink as opposed to white or black,
Here in Oklahoma, we have two prominent Amish communities, despite many people believing that Amish communities don't exist outside of Pennsylvania. I have visited our Amish communities many times, and I enjoy my time there every trip. The Amish are a very welcoming, friendly, and kind people, and their food is delicious!
I had to add Minnie to my collection because of her beautiful design, and because of how much she makes me think of my home state, and the wonderful varied culture we have here.
It's been a long time since I've posted a Vinylmation Beginner's Guide topic. Today I'm going to be talking about the extremely fragile nature of Vinylmation, because I don't think it's inherently obvious. However, just because this is aimed at those who are new to the hobby, doesn't mean it's irrelevant for those who've been in the hobby a while. It took me a couple years before I realized just how careful you need to be with Vinylmation.
Vinylmation might look like plastic action figures and give you the impression that they are suitable for being played with like other toys. But that is not true. Disney describes Vinylmation as "collectible figures" and they mean it. They are not action figures or toys, they are collectors pieces, and there are many ways in which Vinylmation are incredibly fragile.
Vinylmation are easily chipped.
I figured that Vinylmation might chip if I were to drop one on the floor. But that's not all that can chip your figures. I made the mistake of placing my vinyls in small plastic bags (kinda like Ziplocs) and packing them in my carry-on to take to Disney. That was not enough protection. My poor little Nerd Figment arrived home with a chipped nose. So my first tip: if you're going to transport or store Vinylmation, they need to be bubble wrapped.
(My Nerd Figment with his chipped nose)
Vinylmation paint can transfer.
This might sound strange, but I'm going to illustrate my point. If Vinylmation rub against each other, paint can rub off one and on to the other. One figure will have paint missing, while another figure will have the first figure's paint smudged onto it. This can happen in instances like I mentioned above, when Vinylmation are stored together in a box without bubble wrap. In the same way, Vinylmation can pick up paint from shelving and other surfaces you store them on.
(My Constance portrait Vinylmation picked up a blob of silver paint on the back of her head)
One of the custom Vinylmation shelves I had made, transferred paint on to several of my figures. I didn't realize this would happen until it already had. This is a big deal because there's practically no way to get the extra paint off, without taking the original paint off with it. I'll talk about that more later on in this article.
(Constance also picked up silver paint on the bottom of her feet from the shelf)
Don't use Vinylmation Jr. as keychains
Vinylmation Jr. look like the perfect keychain: they're small, Disney advertises them as keychains, and they even include a lobster clasp to easily fasten them on. But if you choose to use them as a keychain, be prepared to watch them get damaged. As they rub against other objects like scratchy car keys, the contents of your purse, or even soft items like a fabric ID case, they will get scratched and the paint will chip off.
(My Goofy's Candy Co. Vinylmation Jr. that I used as a keychain - the chaser no less!)
I had heard this about Jr. figures, but decided that if I wasn't going to use them or display them, it was pointless to own them. So I thought I would minimize damage by attaching one to the inside zipper of a crossbody bag I owned. The only contents I ever had in there was a fabric sunglasses case, a fabric ID case, a fabric camera case, and a packet of Kleenex (because that's all that would fit in such a small purse). The above picture still resulted.
Don't clean your Vinylmation with anything abrasive.
If you find that your vinyl has a mark on it, DO NOT use anything abrasive to clean it! Don't use cleaning products and especially don't use nail polish remover! They will remove ALL the paint from the figure and expose the base of the vinyl. I have read about people using Tide pens and Magic Eraser on their figures, but neither have worked for me when my vinyls have been marked. (I tried on a couple I pulled out of trade boxes that had marks and paint transfers). Those products didn't damage my figures, but they didn't remove the marks or paint either.
I hope this article has helped you to understand the fragility of Vinylmation and given you some insight into how to take good care of your figures. Don't make the same mistakes I did!
Here's a picture of the Tsum Tsum Vinylmation series at my local Disney Store this week. There were just 2 boxes left in the case at the time of my visit. I did not inquire as to whether they had any more cases at the store.
I couldn't tell if this box on the right simply sustained damage, or if someone tried to find out which figure was in the box before purchasing. The latter is something I have not seen for years, but used to be a common problem with the Vinylmation hobby.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens received its own Vinylmation series on its release day. Previous Star Wars Vinylmation series have proved popular with collectors and it seems this series was received with enthusiasm also. The series is even more appealing to those who have seen and enjoyed the latest installment of Star Wars. I actually think this movie had enough going on that this set could have been expanded to 12 figures. I would have included Luke, Maz Kanata, Captain Phasma and General Hux and made this set 12 figures, keeping Han as the chaser.
Reasons to love this series:
Character assortment - I think every character you could possibly want from The Force Awakens is in this series. (Okay, you might want Chewbacca but there's already a Vinylmation of him in existence). There's the heroes, the lovable droid, the new villain, C-3PO sporting his new look, and the updated Stormtrooper. Kylo Ren is particularly popular among collectors
Variants - The possibility of a variant is often the incentive collectors need to pick up blind boxes these days, so it's always great to have them in a series, but they only get my vote if they make sense as part of the set. Rey in her desert gear and Finn in is stormtrooper outfit definitely fit that description. (I would have liked to have seen a variant of Finn with his helmet on and the bloody hand print, but perhaps that was too risque?)
Desirable chaser - Some collectors argue that the quality of chasers is starting to decline and thus chasers aren't what collectors chase anymore. I don't think that applies to the Han Solo chaser in this series. Fans were thrilled to see the return of the lovable scruffy looking nerf herder. I think this is a wonderfully designed figure and perfect for the chaser
Accessories - Kylo Ren would not be complete without his 3 prong lightsaber and Rey would not be complete without her staff. Thankfully, both were included as accessories as they look perfect! To top it off, the stormtrooper even has a blaster to make him an even stronger figure
Creativity - I think the way BB-8 was designed is perfect! What a neat and creative way to translate another popular new character on to the Vinylmation mold
Things that aren't so great:
The only criticism I have with this set is the character faces. It is so hard to translate human faces on to the new Mickey mold. Most end up looking chubby and not quite like they should. I think Han (designed by Thomas Scott) is the best at looking most like the actor, but he still doesn't look as good as Thomas Scott's Indiana Jones figure, also played by Harrison Ford. Rey, Finn and Poe all look good, but in my opinion do not look like Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.
Today I'll explain why I added Chernabog from Villains #3 to my collection. If you've been around Vinylmation Isle for a while, you'll know that the Park series was what drew me to vinyls and kept me collecting from there. Despite my love for Park series Vinylmation, you'll notice that Chernabog is not a Park series figure. However, I added him to my collection because I associate him with the parks.
Chernabog comes from the Disney animated film Fantasia, which I am a big fan of. But what made me want this figure was that Chernabog also features as one of the villains in the nighttime attraction Fantasmic at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Not only is this an extremely well designed figure, with an incredible replication of Chernabog's likeness (complete with wings) but every time I look at this figure, I'm transported back to Fantasmic. I hear Night on Bald Mountain and remember one of my favorite Disney shows!
Fantasmic is an incredible attraction that I make sure to see each Disney trip. I love that I've found a figure that reminds me of such an enjoyable show in the absence of there being an official Fantasmic Vinylmation.
The Jr. #14 It's A Small World series has been released today at D-Street, Disney Pin Traders and the Disney Store Online. This is a 12 figure blind box set with 11 common figures and a chaser. All figures were designed by Caley Hicks. Each blind box retails for $9.95.
An unannounced Vinylmation set has been released today at the Disney Store Online. The Star Wars #6 set has a Limited Edition size of 2,500 and contains a 3" figure of Spirit Anakin, a 3" figure of Spirit Obi Wan and a Jr. figure of Spirit Yoda. The set retails for $36.95 and all three figures were designed by Bill Davis. This set will be released at D-Street and Disney Pin Traders on March 11.
I've been in a real Cranium Command mood recently, reminiscing about this incredibly intelligent and hilarious attraction, formerly in existence at Epcot. So that's the figure I'll be looking at in today's installment of The Backside of Vinyls.
This figure is an example of a Vinylmation that has a really neat, subtle touch on the back. It's not so much amazing, intricate detail like some vinyls have, but more of a neat surprise for collectors who choose to remove their figures from their boxes and display them.
The only extra detail on the back of General Knowledge is a chicken in his right ear. I think this is an incredible addition that really makes big fans like me thrilled! It's only a small detail, but it not only prevents space on the figure from being left blank, but it also has deeper meaning to Walt Disney World veterans.
The chicken comes from the Cranium Command pre-show, where General Knowledge says to the new recruits, "if you meatballs can't fly right, you'll wind up piloting one of these!" as he points to the above picture of a chicken. It's a great nod to an extinct Future World attraction, and it really shows how artist Maria Clapsis did her homework and made the vinyl reflect Cranium Command in more ways than one.