Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vinylmation Beginner's Guide - Handle With Care

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.

(Photo Credit: Destination 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.

(Photo Credit: Destination Vinylmation)

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!


  1. Very good article with great tips and information!

  2. Oh how frustrating! Thanks for the information...I was actually thinking of picking up a keychain one but now that I know how beat up it will get I will have to really think hard on it!

    1. I'm pretty sad :( but at least most of them aren't completely ruined. I hope I didn't put you off collecting Vinylmation! If you're careful with them, they will hold up. My Jr. that I used as a keychain got like that after weeks of continuous use. From now on I add my keychains to things like outside zippers of fabric clutch purses that I carry, which minimizes their exposure to damage. I'll add them and remove them from time to time also

  3. I got a Toy Story Jr Woody recently and I was going to use him as a keychain but ended up removing the keychain part entirely and displaying him with my other vinyls. Now I'm glad I did! Very good, informative article! :)

    1. That's a cute vinyl! Thanks for reading, I'm glad this article helped you! It's unfortunate that they can't really be used as keychains. I don't think you'll regret displaying him with your other Vinylmation :)