I've written before about the decline in production for 9" Vinylmation figures and how I want them to still be made but in a more realistic and appropriate manner. I have been extremely happy to see 9" figures accompany the Star Wars Weekend Vinylmation for the past 3 years, especially last year's Death Star 9" combo. This week Disney Parks Merchandise announced that although Star Wars Weekends are gone for good, there will be another Star Wars 9" Vinylmation released this May!
The upcoming 9" Vinylmation is Wicket from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. We don't know yet which artist created this figure, but I think this vinyl has been designed wonderfully! Wicket looks almost fluffy, with his cute little expression and adorable eyes! What I love the most is the nighttime Endor scene in the ears. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you're probably sick of me griping about artists wasting space in the ears of Vinylmation - not the case here! Absolutely beautiful detail!
I hope this is a sign 9" Vinlmation will continue to be released. Even one 9" figure a year prevents the platform from becoming extinct, although this will be the second 9" released in 2016 after Hipster Mickey. Plus, one or two figures a year will create a higher demand, and prevent 9" figures from being moved en masse to outlets. Due to the higher price point of 9" vinyls coupled with the bigger size, there's just no way collectors can keep up with numerous releases a year, leading to 9" figures becoming outlet fodder, which is what caused their withdrawal in the first place. It seems as if Disney are moving in the right direction by keeping the 9", but keeping releases very low.
Retail price of the Wicket 9" is being advertised as $59.95, the same price as last year's Death Star 9". This is a more realistic price to entice collectors to buy. Go too low and you'll find locals stocking up to resell on eBay, go too high (some 9" have been priced as high as $99.95) and you'll still find 9" going to outlet, with sellers refusing to pay no matter how amazing the figure.
The only downfall I can foresee with this figure, is the Limited Edition size. I assume there will be one, given that the last few Star Wars 9" figures were LE 1000. However, it didn't appear that Hipster Mickey was a Limited Edition so we'll see. If the size is too high to meet demand, there may still be the outlet issue.
The artwork on Wicket is fantastic and I'm happy to see a 9" figure designed with a purpose. With artwork this good for such a popular brand, I can see this figure being a success. If we only get Star Wars 9" for a while, that's fine with me! It seems as thought, for the moment at least, Star Wars might be what's keeping 9" figures alive, I am all for it!