Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Strongman Donald

Series: Designer #1
Artist: Miss Mindy
Released: September 2015

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vinylmation Review - Kingdom of Cute

The Kingdom of Cute Vinylmation series was released back in and while it's more Disneyland focused and uses unique molds for each figure, I like it. It's not a favorite series of mine, and I'm not sure that I'll be picking any up because it's based on Disneyland, but I am super happy to see more park themed released. Plus these are super cute designs!

I'm surprised to see 12 figures in this series (plus three variants) because more recently series have included only 8 Vinylmation. I think 12 works here and is the farthest thing from overkill. There are so many great figures here, having 12 I think gives you a better shot at what you want.

Things to love about this series:
  • It's retro - I personally love the retro feel of this set. I'm all about anything retro and this works really well in my opinion. There's a feeling of nostalgia here but several of the figures are still current offering at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, such as Space Mountain
  • It's cute - The designs are cute juts like the box says! I'm not always a fan of cutesy things but these really work and truly are cute. Who knew you could do that with a gargoyle? 
  • Great mix of figures - I love that this set includes attractions (Haunted Mansion, Mad Tea Party), icons (Sleepy Beauty's Castle, the Sword in the Stone) and snacks (Corn Dog, Dole Whip). It's a well balanced collection of many must-have and must-do things at the parks
  • New figures - Sometimes repeats of figures are justified, but not all the time. It's great to see figures in this set that haven't been seen in Vinylmation form before, like the Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty's Castle and the Mint Julep, among others
  • Fantastic Chaser - The Chaser in this series is perfect! So well designed, and a popular and worthy figure to chase
  • The Variants - There are 3 variants in this series (see them here, here and here) so if you're big into collecting variants, you have your work cut out for you! I personally think the last two are unnecessary but I'm not familiar with those attractions at Disneyland so there could be a good reason for those. The Dole Whip variant however makes total sense and is a great idea for a variant! Many people swirl (including me) that it makes a very worthy variant

Things that aren't so great:
  • As a veteran of Walt Disney World, I would find this set a lot more appealing if it were geared toward WDW as opposed to Disneyland. There is some overlap for sure: Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Popcorn, Dole Whip and The Jungle Cruise, but that's not enough for me to blind box these figures with only half the set appealing to me. The Mad Tea Party does not look like Magic Kingdom's version, nor does the Skyway, so those are out. 
  • The price - at $18.99 a blind box, I have even more reason not to gamble with my money by blind boxing these figures. I know Park Starz are that price but they seem to be much higher quality figures, and they come in fancier presentation boxes. These figures are sold in regular paper boxes like 3" Mickey mold figures. I know the Mickey Cartoon series also retails at $18.99 so perhaps that will always be the Vinylmation price point from here on out, but I think that's steep for both series. The former price of $12.95 per box was much more reasonable. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Jarvis

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

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Collector's Space - My Marvel Collection

Recently I posted the bulk of my Vinylmation collection and how I display them (check that post out here). I also mentioned that I have many, many more vinyls than that and I collect in subcollections. The bulk of my Vinylmation are Park figures because that's what drew me to Vinylmation, but other figures started to catch my eye and so began my collecting of other series. Today I want to share one of those subcollections - my Marvel collection.

I grew up reading Marvel comics my whole childhood, which is part of the reason why I love the movies so much. I get to see these comics come to life and remember my happy childhood days reading the comics. My favorites were Spider-Man and X-Men, which were the two I read the most, but I also read Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Captain America.

When Disney released Mavel Vinylmation I had to get some! The series received some criticism because the figures didn't look like the movie characters, but I was pleased that they didn't. I loved that these vinyls were taken straight from the comics I knew and loved! Later duplicate figures were released of some of these characters that were designed to look like their movie counterparts. I passed on those.

I have (left to right) Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, J. Jonah Jameson, Doctor Octopus, The Green Goblin and Electro. I love these vinyls because they're comic accurate, they remind me of reading those comics as a child, and they also remind me of Marvel Superhero Island over at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, where all of my vinyls except Iron Man feature. I think these vinyls are expertly designed by artist Thomas Scott and I love the perfect accessories three of them have!

So that's one of my subcollections that I'm very proud of and is currently sitting on my desk at home.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Tiki Mickey

Series: D-Tour #2
Artist: Caley Hicks
Released: October 2014

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Backside of Vinyls - Red Car Trolley

For this month's installment of The Backside of Vinyls, I'm looking at the Red Car Trolley from the Disney's California Adventure series. I've only been to DCA once (and that was over 10 years ago) but I love the nostalgic, old Hollywood feel of this vinyl even though I've never experienced the Red Car Trolley. 

The most obvious feature on the back of this Vinylmation is Walt Disney's signature in the back of the right ear. I think this is a really cute use of the space even though (to my knowledge) it's not directly related to the attraction. On the back of the head we can see silhouettes of some of the features of Disney's California Adventure. To the far left are palm trees next to a silhouette of the Carthay Circle restaurant. 

Carthay Circle
(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Carthay Circle is one of the more memorable eateries over at DCA and features recognizable architecture that looks great as a silhouette on the back of this vinyl. The next silhouette is California Adventure's Tower of Terror attraction, which is now Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.

Tower of Terror

(Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog)

Adding a silhouette of the DCA landscape to this Vinylmation perfectly compliments the figure and adds well designed and relevant artwork to otherwise wasted space. Great job artist Maria Clapsis!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Snow Cone Stand

Series: Cutesters At The Beach
Artist: Patty Landing
Released: February 2012

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday - July

Series: 2013 Poster Art
Artist: Doug Strayer
Released: July 2013

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Collector's Space - My Vinylmation Displays

I've said in many previous posts that I would share my Vinylmation collection and I never have. But today I finally am! I have over 200 Vinylmation (excluding Jr. and 9" figures) and I don't display them all at the same time. I have sub-collections if you will and my vinyls are organized that way. I don't just mean the series that they are, such as Park or Pixar, but instead by the theme that I'm going for with those figures.

You can also see in this article the main way in which I display my Vinylmation, which is through custom made shelves. 

Magic Kingdom Collection

This first sub-collection is all of my Magic Kingdom themed figures. The first shelf is Fantasyland and Liberty Square, the second shelf if Adventureland (with the exception of the Vulture who with his hat doesn't fit in any other place on the shelf), the third shelf is Tomorrowland and Frontierland and then Frontierland continues on the bottom shelf. You will also see Haunted Mansion Mickey and Friends on that shelf which I placed there to fill the space, along with the "miscellaneous figures" The Colonel, Wet Paint Donald and the Mickey Bar. I probably could have arranged these better, but so far I haven't.

I also have a couple more Magic Kingdom figures not on the shelf, because what I didn't realize was painting the shelf was a TERRIBLE idea! The paint has transferred on to pretty much every figure. If the back of the figure has touched the back of the shelf there is now silver paint on the back of that vinyl's head. Pretty much every vinyl has it stuck to their feet also. I don't want to ruin any more figures so the ones that are already ruined are staying put and I won't add any new figures to this shelf. Thankfully you don't ever see the feet and you rarely see the back, so it's not noticeable, but I know it's there and I paid a lot of money for some of those figures, so it still makes me angry. I can't get the paint off without further damaging the figure.

Animal Kingdom & EPCOT Collection

This shelf houses my Animal Kingdom collection in the ears, and my EPCOT collection in the head. As those of you with a keen eye will see, some of these vinyls are not Park Series figures. The Yeti is from Myths and Legends but there hasn't been a 3" Yeti figure in the Park Series (only 9" and Park Starz, with the exception of the Yeti Mouse, which is ugly) so I got him to represent Expedition Everest since there's not a Vinylmation of that attraction either.

Next to Buzzy is an Urban figure but he looked so much like the guy from El Rio Del Tiempo that I got him and added him there. Finally Nemo is from the Pixar series but he's perfect in this collection given his EPCOT attraction. The first shelf in the head is the Tapestry of Nations parade and the Troll from Norway, the middle shelf is Future World and the bottom shelf is a mix of the two.

Hollywood Studios Collection

This shelf is mostly my Hollywood Studios Collection. The first two shelves are just a mix, with an Urban figure in there (Popcorn) because I always get popcorn there so it makes me think of Hollywood Studios. The middle shelf is my Hollywood Tower Hotel row with the elevator and ghosts. The fourth shelf are not Hollywood Studios figures but I wanted to display them on a shelf and they fir perfectly there. There's Lagoona Gator from Typhoon Lagoon, Summer Santa and the Snowman from Blizzard Beach, and a DVC Member vinyl that looks like Old Key West. My brother got me that one.

Finally the bottom shelf is another mix of figures most of which are not Park Series. Indiana Jones is from his own series but he's included because I love the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Lightning McQueen and Mater are a two pack from a Pixar series but they're there because of their Hollywood Studios meet and greet. And then there's Chernabog who's from Villains #3 but I love his scene and Fantasmic and that's what he reminds me of so he's there too. I actually have one more to add to this shelf but as you can see, I don't have space.

So there's some insight into how I display my collection! I will be showing off other sub-collections in future Collector's Space posts.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Marvel Spider-Man Eachez Release

To celebrate the release of the new movie Spider-Man Homecoming, a Marvel Spider-Man Eachez has been released at the Disneyland Resort, the Walt Disney World Resort, and at the Disney Store online. This is a Limited Edition of 2,500 and both figures were designed by Disney artist Thomas Scott.

The common figure is Iron Spider (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds of being in the blind box for a total of 2,250 pieces, while the variant figure is Spider-Man 2099 with 1 in 10 odds of being in the blind box, for a total of just 250 pieces. Each blind box retails at $16.99 and may become available later on the Shop Disney Parks App.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Independence Day Goofy

Series: 2014 Independence Day Eachez
Artist: Monty Maldovan
Released: May 2014

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Huey

Series: Mickey's Wild West
Artist: Gerald Mendez
Released: April 2013

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Bear

Series: Animal Kingdom
Artist: Dan Howard
Released: August 2010

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mail Day!

My Marvel Vinylmation collection has grown a little more! I love the accessory on this figure!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Lightning McQueen

Series: Cars #2 Set
Artist: Maria Clapsis

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What Would You Like to See?

Hi Vinylmation fans! This post is a call for your opinions and ideas! I'll admit I'm running out of steam here when writing articles for you all to read. There used to be a lot more happening in the world of Vinylmation. I would share information about trading, Vinylmation events, my reviews on releases (which I still do, these posts are just less frequent given the lower number of releases these days), I'd share my tips and tricks, my strategy for blind boxing, updates on my collection (which again, is happening less as I'm buying less due to fewer releases).

Now I'm not really sure what to talk about. There's not much to report and I don't know what my readers are most interested in reading. So I'd really like your help and input in suggesting topics for me to write about. Please share your thoughts in the comments section or shoot me an email!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Nurse Baymax

Series: Big Hero 6
Artist: Eric Tan
Released: November 2014

Friday, June 02, 2017

Kingdom of Cute Vinylmation Release

A new Vinylmation series, Kingdom of Cute, has been released today at the Walt Disney World Resort, the Disneyland Resort and the Disney Store online. This series moves away once again from the traditional Mickey platform and includes 12 figures: 11 common figures plus one mystery chaser. There have also been a total of three variants discovered. All figures were designed by Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama and each blind box retails at $18.99. Stay tuned for updates on whether this series will become available on the Shop Disney Parks app.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Pongo

Series: Park #2
Artist: Dan Howard
Released: May 2009

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Collector's Space - The Rise and Fall of D-Street

Today I've decided to reminisce about the holy grail that was D-Street. D-Street opened in Downtown Disney's West Side on April 16, 2010, with the Disney Parks Blog describing it as, "The premiere location for all things Vinylmation – 3” and 9” figures, apparel, accessories, and a brand new Create-Your-Own-Vinylmation Experience, the “Vinylmation Creation Station".

The atmosphere inside D-Street was unique. It had an underground basement type feel, but it was filled with all kinds of eclectic Disney items, largely Vinylmation. Merchandise Communications Manager Steven Miller said in a November 2010 interview with Kissimmee Insight, "Vinylmation is our mothership", just like with Disney Pins, there was now a whole store dedicated to all things Vinylmation.

(Outside of D-Street)

Vinylmation fans were really excited for the store to open. D-Street took really great care of Vinylmation collectors in the beginning. Not only could you buy Vinylmation, Vinylmation apparel and accessories, but you could also pick up stickers, markers and other items for designing your own figures. You could even try your hand at the Vinylmation Creation Station within the store and see several examples of creative Vinylmation works throughout the store.

Furthermore, at D-Street you could trade your Vinylmation with Cast Members and other collectors. There was a preview box (the clear box underneath the black question mark Vinylmation in the foreground of the below picture) where fans could take a look at upcoming figures in person before they were released. This got collectors excited about what was to come, knowing what the series would be, what the figures would look like, and the date they'd be released. A big deal was made about upcoming releases, so much so that people would line up outside ready to get their Limited Editions or to be the first to pick up a long anticipated blind box.

(Vinylmation Conveyor Belt)

The shelves were filled with every type of Vinylmation: Limited Edition sets, 3", 9", Jr. figures, Create Your Own, and of course there was every type of Vinylmation merchandise you could think of: bags, phone cases, USBs, clothing, journals, hats, the list goes on. I'm not sure in what order the following occurred, or what the reasoning was, but slowly the prominence of Vinylmation declined. Disney stopped updating their Vinylmation blog promoting releases ahead of time, leaving the releases a surprise and preventing fans from getting excited about future releases. There was no more queuing outside of D-Street, no more online parties where collectors would stay up all night waiting for the online release.

(Inside D-Street)

Disney also slowed down on the number of Vinylmation releases. While they needed to scale back somewhat (in the very beginning a new series was released every Monday and Friday!) there was no consistency to releases. Would there be a release just on Fridays? Just on Mondays? Once a week? Once a month? It was anybody's guess and still is. Trading was removed from the Disney resorts, then the Disney parks and D-Street.

Vinylmation trading nights also became a thing of the past. This separately ticketed event was a weekend extravaganza celebrating all things pin and Vinylmation. There was previews of what would be released over the next year with pictures and even prototypes. There were event exclusive Vinylmation for purchase, Vinylmation trading and even a breakfast for fans to get together.

As the Vinylmation world began to shrink, less Vinylmation were being produced and the stacks of shelves at D-Street couldn't be filled solely with Vinylmation anymore. Other Disney merchandise began to creep in. When I visited D-Street in the fall of 2013, only about half the store was Vinylmation compared to the whole store back in my spring 2011 visit.

The new merchandise was largely Marvel and Star Wars. Initially I was sad to see less and less Vinylmation sold in what once was the "Vinylmation mothership" (to quote Steven Miller) but I was happy that there were still some Vinylmation and I love Marvel and Star Wars so it could share my beloved Vinylmation's space.

Well I guess the Vinylmation section eventually became too small to justify the brand having its own store. I would also imagine that what they were selling the most of was the Star Wars merchandise because in December 2015 D-Street closed and re-opened as the Star Wars Galactic Outpost. All the Marvel merchandise moved to the nearby Superhero Headquarters. D-Street was no more.

(Photo Credit: WDW News Today)

The Star Wars Vinylmation remained at Galactic Outpost, the D-Street artwork moved to the Marketplace Co-Op store in Downtown Disney's Marketplace, and the other Vinylmation figures moved to Disney Pin Traders, also in Downtown Disney's Marketplace.

I don't think any one factor caused D-Street's demise, I think it was a combination of all of the above. However, all the items on that list fall on Disney. I truly think D-Street could have remained just as popular in 2017 as it was in 2010 if Disney continued to put the time and energy into D-Street that they once did. Instead, that focus has shifted to promoting Tsum Tsum like there's no tomorrow. I see a lot of similarities there in the merchandise they're producing and the way in which they're previewing and promoting the new releases. I guess they didn't have the time or didn't think it was worth it to keep promoting Vinylmation in the same way.

(D-Street on the way out)
(Photo Credit: WDW Magic)

It upsets me that while Disney doesn't really market pin trading from what I've seen, there still seems to be a steady flow of pin merchandise released, albeit you don't always know what's in the works or when it will be available. The same could be done with Vinylmation, but that's a whole other story. At the very least, if D-Street was too big to solely house Vinylmation, split the store in two and create two stores. Keep D-Street and only sell Vinylmation and have the other half of the store as the Star Wars Galactic Outpost. That would have been my plan.

And so D-Street is no more, but I will always remember how incredible it was way back when. D-Street is still in existence at Disneyland, but what that looks like I can't say having never been. Feel free to educate me on that in the comments below and share any of your D-Street memories!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Pirate Pluto

Series: Pirates of the Caribbean Mickey & Friends
Artist: Mike Sullivan
Released: January 2015

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

D23 Expo Vinylmation Preview

The D23 Expo will be taking place July 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center and a preview has been given of exclusive Vinylmation that will be available to purchase at the event:

Pirates of the Caribbean Eachez
This Eachez celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and has a Limited Edition size of 2500 pieces with two potential figures inside the blind box. The Redhead is the common figure (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds for a total of 2,250 Vinylmation, and the Blue Wench (pictured right) is the variant figure with 1 in 10 odds, for a total of 250 Vinylmation. Each blind box will retail at $16.99.

Marvel Eachez
The Marvel Eachez has a Limited Edition size of 2500 pieces and features a Spider-Man common figure (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds, for a total of 2,250 pieces, and the Masked Peter Parker variant figure (pictured right) with 1 in 10 odds, for a total of 250 pieces. Each blind box will retail at $16.99.

Star Tours Eachez
The Star Tours Eachez celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Star Tours attraction and has a Limited Edition size of 2500. The common figure in this Eachez is a Space Trooper (pictured left) with 9 in 10 odds of being in the box, for a total of 2,250 figures, and the variant figure is Red Rex (pictured right) with 1 in 10 odds of being in the box for a total of 250 figures. Each blind box will retail at $16.99.

Hipster Minnie 9"
There will also be a 9" Hipster Minnie Vinylmation released to accompany the previously released 9" Hipster Mickey figure, designed by Jerrod Maruyama. This 9" piece will retail at $69.99.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Topiary Donald

Series: Topiaries
Artist: Caley Hicks
Released: March 2014

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Diver

Series: Urban #3
Artist: Adrianne Draude
Released: January 2010

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Vinylmation Review - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was recently released in anticipation of the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which opened last Friday. This 8 figure set includes: Gamora, Drax, Star Lord, Mantis, Baby Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Yondu, with Nebula as the chaser. I think movie sets are pretty popular, and Marvel is for sure, so I think this is an appropriate set with a timely release. Thomas Scott designed the majority of these figures, with Jason Peltz designing Rocket and Star Lord.

Things to love about this series:
  • The characters - I haven't seen Guardians Vol. 2 yet, but I would imagine that every character from this movie you could want in Vinylmation form is in this set. We have seen almost all these characters in various trailers for the film
  • The wonderful designs - its always hard to design a human character on the Mickey platform and Disney artists have tried with varying levels of success for years. Although they look a little chubby, which is very difficult to avoid, I think Thomas Scott has really nailed Gamora, Nebula and Drax, who look like actors Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, and Dave Bautista respectively. Baby Groot, Rocket and Star Lord look spot on in design also
  • The variants - if you're big into variants, this series has two: Gamora and Baby Groot
  • The accessories - Gamora, Star Lord and Rocket all have fantastic weapon accessories, and Yondu would not be complete without his amazing mohawk accessory
  • The level of detail - it looks like there's metallic paint on Star Lord's mask, which is awesome! The level of detail on Drax is also very impressive, he might be my favorite in the set

Things that aren't so great:
  • As I previously mentioned, some of the human figures are kinda chubby. I think this is incredibly difficult to prevent, but if you are looking for direct likeness to the actor, Mantis and Yondu are definitely weaker than the other figures
  • The ears - they weren't left completely blank, each figure has the Guardians logo in their right ear, but it is a pretty plain design. While I don't hate it, that can be disappointing compared to other higher levels of detail in other figures
  • Personal preference here, but I think Mantis should have accessory antennae 

Thursday, May 04, 2017