Friday, April 29, 2011

Vinylmation Odyssey

Although the space shuttle Endeavor never lifted off for it's history flight today, Disney posted a story about a couple Vinylmation that recently returned from a trip to space.
Picture from Disney Parks Blog

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis in May of 2010 brought with them a Park 3 Mission Space and a Create Your Own figure. These well-traveled Vinylmation are now on display at D-Street Orlando. Read all about it here at the Disney Parks Blog.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vinylmation Exchange Report

by Ryan Thompson

Welcome to the very first Vinylmation Exchange Report, or V.E.R. It’s no secret that part of the allure of Vinylmation is the ability to trade for the ones you want; however, sometimes it’s hard to be sure you’re getting a fair trade.

This article, which will be posted every Thursday, will contain reports based on my research from various sources across the web and at the parks. It will give you an idea on the relative trading value of Vinylmation. It will also, to the best of our ability, update you if certain figures are sold out or are close to being sold out.

V.E.R. will cover “Rising stars”, or figures that are increasing in trade value. I will also discus “falling” stars, figures that might be on the way down. I will also inform you about the history, edition size and any other interesting facts about these figures.

Since this is the first article, it would be a great idea to talk about what some people would call the “Holy Grail” Vinylmations, the figures that are the hardest to get your hands on. Although there is no easy answer to that question, it will be fun to take a look at some of the most sought after figures and discuss the reason they are so tough to discover, and what they are worth in trade!


1. Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary “SHAG” 9” and 3” combo

Way back in 2009, when Vinylmation was in its infancy, the artist known as SHAG (JoSH AGle) had a limited edition Vinylmation that was part of an art event in Disneyland. Tickets to the event were expensive, and since those lucky enough to attend were the only ones able to purchase the items, they immediately were trading for only the best Vinylmations, and now is valued higher than any other figure. Since SHAG was signing figures and art at this event, most of the known figures are signed, perhaps the ONLY figure where an unsigned version is worth more than the autographed one.
LE 150 – the second rarest Vinylmation known to date.

2. Park 1 Balloon Chaser 3”

Park 1, the very beginning of Vinylmation, introduced the “chaser” concept to many new fans, but those who were already collecting pins were familiar with the idea that one figure in the set would be harder to find. Because of this, many pin collectors would use the relatively easy-to-find Randy Noble designed Balloon Chaser to bolster their pin collections through trading. No one knew how long Park 1 would last, so when it sold out after Park 2’s release, the flow of Balloon chasers ended, and coupled with a great design, became an instant hit. Only second in value to the SHAG as seen above, a Balloon Chaser is a sign of an obsessed collector!
LE: UNKNOWN – Disney has not, and will not, release the edition amounts of any “limited release” figure, which most of Vinylmation is.

3. Wall-E and Eve 3” combo set

Introducing the concept of the 2 figure set, Wall-E and Eve was a lesson to Disney in Vinylmation’s overall popularity, and a testament to how crazy release days were before WDW opened their own D-street. With only 500 figures to split between both coasts, and several stores across the WDW campus selling Vinylmation, lines were everywhere, with very few figures to sell at each location. Coupled with a warehouse issue that had store managers driving back and forth throughout the day to pick up more figures, this release goes down as the fastest (non online) sellout in Vinylmation history. Those on the Left Coast at DLR had it worse, as the Orlando stores received the lion’s share of this Maria Clapsis created set.  A staple in collectors who started post Park 1, this set was trading for two chasers by the Trade Event that happened on the same night of release.

LE: 500, with a guesstimated 350 being released at the Orlando campus.


1. Park 3 Test Track 9” and 3” combo - Disneyland Version

Park 3 was the beginning of the “big climb” for Vinylmation, where the popularity of each figure was starting to rise, and Disney was scrambling to make enough of whichever figures people wanted. Test Track was a great choice for Park 3, with a fun design by Vinylmation staple Randy Noble, it was an instant hit among collectors, and was likely responsible for bringing a lot of attention to Vinylmation among non-collectors. However, an interesting thing happened upon release – a special “Disneyland” version, sporting an “I-5” 3 inch rather than the regular “I-4” sign was packaged with some sets. The Disneyland version was only made 100 times! What was really odd about this release was that there is no version of Test Track in Disneyland, making it quite the odd choice, but also making it technically the rarest figure in Vinylmation history. Still, despite that title, it’s found relatively easier than the above three figures. And considering the 9” figure is exactly the same among both coasts, there is hardly a demand for it except for those collectors who love to complete everything.
LE: 100, but only on the 3”. The 9” is technically LE 600 (500 for the WDW version and 100 for the DLR version).

2. Tinkerbell 3” News Bureau Vinylmation  

Last May the Vinylmation trading community was abuzz about the first non-traditional Vinylmation figure, one that showed up without any indication what it was for, other than it was some sort of special release. The figure was Tinkerbell’s first appearance on any Vinylmation, but the words “Disney’s News Bureau” were stamped on the front, making it not the first figure that is better displayed backwards, but perhaps the rarest. The trading went sky-high almost instantly, trading for Park 1s and other extremely rare figures before Disney finally released information. Officially this figure was given out as a gift, with a dark clear base (also marking the first use of a clear mold outside of the Clear series… geez this is a figure of firsts, huh?), and Disney has said that there is no edition size, and it can be reordered at any time. Perhaps because of this, the initial buzz died down fast, and while still a rare figure, it trades for much less now than it did a year ago.

LE: UNKNOWN – technically NOT a Limited Edition, although there is no indication how many are in existence, this could very well be the RAREST of mass produced Vinylmation, with a very real possibility that non-collectors who received this threw it away or otherwise disposed of it… why do I have the feeling more than one of these figures became an overpriced dog toy?

3. Park 3  t’s a Small World Chaser 3”

A great design, with a popular artist, from one of the most popular rides in history… and it’s a chaser? Sounds impossible to get, right? Not so fast. Park 3’s chaser, It’s a Small World by Lisa Badeen, has a design borrowed from It’s a Small World’s flora. This figure for whatever reason, did not completely catch the interest in the collectors hearts. Perhaps part of the disinterest was the utter lack of any of the popular “children” from the ride,  but more likely the oversaturation of Park 3 was to blame, as Disney was seemingly experiencing some growing pains, trying to figure how much of one edition was too much. Subsequently the Park 3 set was shelves for over a year, and the abundance of these figures means it can be an easier grab. Be careful trading chaser for chaser on this one, as likely if you’re giving up any recent chasers, they would get more in trade elsewhere.
LE: UNKNOWN.. but a lot. Really.

Well, that wraps up the first edition of V.E.R., but when you’re out there trading, remember what a wise man once told me; Collect what you like. Vinylmation trading is about getting the figures YOU want most, not trading for what’s worth the most. Until next week… make mine Vinyl!

Pirate Mickey Sets Sail for Japan

Update: 4/28/11 The Japan Disney Store exclusive Pirate Mickey Hero of the Caribbean went on sale today and we found some already up on eBay. These pics are from eBay seller hawaiian_seaside. We also now know the artist is Kazuhiro Murase.

Artist Card

Artist Signing

4/13/11 Looks like Japan is getting a great looking Pirate Mickey Vinylmation. yesterday found an ad on the the Japan Disney Store website advertising this upcoming release. According to our translation of the ads, this piece will come out on April 28th and cost 1290 Yen (approx. $15.75).

Pirate Mickey Hero of the Caribbean

Here's the turnaround of our latest hero all the way from Japan. It appears to be using the old mold. This figure's release comes almost a month before the 4th movie in the Pirates franchise hits theaters and more than 2 months before the Pirates attraction based series is projected to hit shelves here in the states. This colorful figure will be sold in a pirate themed tin.
Check out Pirate Mickey's gold tooth and bandanna. The bandanna looks a lot like the one on the Jack Sparrow Pirate Vinylmation we saw last week. Jack is part of the Pirate of the Caribbean Attraction Series. Also notice the scar by his right eye. His eyes are a bit goofy looking.
Look at the bling. The artist gave Mickey lots of jewels and rings. On his left hand are two pieces, one of which looks like a blue Mickey Head.
Here's the bottom of the piece. It says, "Pirate Mickey Hero of the Caribbean" The artist signature is to hard to read, but it looks like it starts with a K. Anyone know who that might be?
Looks like tins are back, or this figure was made before the change, we might never know. We do like the tins, and using it as a treasure chest makes a lot of sense! Lots of detail, including lots of booty, handles to carry it, and a Mickey shaped keyhole in the lock.

Japan Disney Store Ad
Japan Disney Store Ad

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vinylmation Speculation

Sometimes it's fun to take some Vinylmation info and rumors out there and speculate on what's to come. We know Disney plans to put out an alien Vinylmation after this mysterious picture was posted on the Vinylmation blog yesterday:
Couple this, with the rumor of a Robots series coming to Disney Stores... and you get the weirdest and coolest set made to date:
DV Artist rendering of possible Vinylmation series

We contacted Disney today and they do not have a comment at this time on the rumored Disney Store exclusive Robots or Cutesters Like Us series. We will let you know the details when we hear more.

As for the Alien, he may also be a release at the upcoming Sci Fi Trading Academy at Disneyland on June 24th (Details). So far, only pins have been announced as far as merchandise available at the event. A quick look at the catalog of pins shows that most are Disney or "fun" themed designs... only one came close to the classic alien look of the above Vinylmation concept art.

That pin catalog also gave us peak at a Robot themed pin set, filled with Disney Robots from past and present:
This great looking set includes Aly San San (Star Tours 2), R2-MK (Star Wars Weekends), WALL-E, V.I.N.CENT (Disney's Black Hole), B.E.N. (Disney's Treasure Planet). Might we see a Vinylmation set along the same lines?

What do you think about the Alien? Just an upcoming Urban figure or a Sci Fi set? How about the possibility of a Robots series and another Cutesters themed set? It's fun to speculate on what's to come in Vinylmation and we will be sure to bring you any official news from Disney as we get it.

Villains Invading D-Streets 5/6/11

It looks like the Disney Stores couldn't keep the evil Villains contained. Now it seems that they will be taking over both D-Street stores on May 6th. They even got the California Store to open at 8 AM!

Wedding Wednesday

Last month we did a whole week of wedding related Vinylmation. In honor of the Royal Wedding this week, and in conjunction with @DragynAlly's Wedding Wednesday, we put together some pictures. Weddings and Vinylmation, together forever!

We found this picture over at the Disney Wedding Blog. If I ever get married, you KNOW, that this will be there. Although, I'd rather make it out of ice cream, not just ice!

Photographer Cassie Dyer, from took a picture of her favorite vinylmation, Poncho, with some flowers from her cousin's wedding.

Maria Clapsis’ customs, which we reviewed and compared to the Celebrations set of Bride and Groom.

Lisa and Trace Farry’s custom bride and groom guest book Vinylmation.

Stormtrooper of the Week #8.
With a background from

Jenifer Marie's Bride and Groom set.

To join in on the Royal fun RSVP on Facebook. Then on Friday around 4 AM join them at the Wedding Feed. They will be there all night/day chatting about the Royal Wedding.
Also check out these other sites for more Wedding Wednesday fun!

Stormtrooper of the Week #13

The Empire didn't pay Kelvin enough, so at night he had to freelance.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aliens Attack!

The blog revealed a first look at an upcoming Sci-Fi themed vinylmation. A green skinned alien! No other information was revealed.

Does this have anything to do with Sci-Fi Academy coming to Disneyland? Anyone have any idea the connection to Disney?

Star Wars Signing with Mike Sullivan 6/4/11

As we found on the Art of Disney blog, Mike Sullivan will be signing his Star Wars set on June 4th, 2011. This signing will be at the Little Green Men Store Command in Tomorrowland, Disneyland. This will also mark the re-release of the Star Wars set in California.
Mike Sullivan is a great guy, and we had a lot of fun talking to him the night of the original Star Wars release in Florida. We even got him to sign our boxes!
Please note: "Limit TWO (2) cases per Guest. Limit TWO (2) items signed per Guest. We ask that you bring no personal items to be signed. Event and information are subject to cancellation or change without notice including but not limited to dates, times, artwork, release dates, and retail prices. Merchandise for signing must be purchased on the event day at the event location. Valid Disneyland® Resort receipt may be required. Paid admission is required to enter Disney theme parks."

This looks like it means that you will have to have the receipts and have purchased the Star Wars set that day, instead of bringing a set in from the past.

Episode 019 Oopsy

Ep. 019 Oopsy

In this episode, Nick and MC review the Sea Creatures and the new mold as it looks painted. They also talk about they know about the Pirates and the 6 piece Steam Park set. A new contest is announced. And like always, the newest in news, release dates, and the Mystery Mailbag.

Listen Now:

icon for podbean

Standard Podcasts [59:36m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Jr Trading, in Frontierland

For those of you looking to trade Jrs, Nick found a new place. At Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom, you can trade Jrs in this neat wooden case at the trading post. Now people in Florida have two options, this place, and at D-Street.

How many people have traded Jrs??

New Vinylmation Mold: The Breakdown

Sea Creatures Vinylmation were released on Friday. They are the first Vinylmation to feature the new mold that will be phased in over time. What follows is my take on it, and a New Mold, Original Mold side by side breakdown of the differences.

My overall opinion of the new mold is positive. From the front, it holds Mickey's shape, has a broader canvas to show off the design and has a tighter looking fit. From the side, it does look a bit awkward, but I don't display many Vinylmation sideways. Also, after talking to Disney, the artists, and personal observation, I want to stress an important point: This new mold is not to give the artists themselves an easier canvas to design on, what this new canvas WILL do is allow for the artists' true conceptual designs to be more accurately represented onto a Vinylmation in the printing process.

From front on, the new mold has a broader body and head. A little bit of the roundness of the head does disappear, but more design will be featured.

Looking at the profile, more of the body sticks out in the rear on the new mold. You can also see the flatter front of the body facing out.
The nose is a much talked about difference and it is striking from the side. Look at the arms, they are much smaller and evenly shaped, allowing for more of the body canvas to be visible. This also allows for less bumps and creases to make the final printing more smooth. The arms are also more squarely placed onto the figure.

A close up of the feet reveal less of a space between the feet.
Original Mold

New Mold

Again, more design will be visible. The new feet are also more square, less rounded. Take a look at the feet area of the new mold above as compared to the original, there are less creases around the ankles, the body comes down and fills that space above the feet out... these changes, along with detachable feet (see below) allow for a cleaner paint job on the final product. I hope, this design change gives us cleaner lines between the paint colors and less mistakes.

The bottom of the feet shows off the different shape very well, with the new mold more square. Also notice the raised "Vinylmation" logo.

Top Down. The Feet and Nose differences stand out here.

With the heads off, you can see the body comes up to a thiner neck area on the new mold. There is less head overhang on the new mold, making for a cleaner line.

Here is an arms off profile.
You can see the arms on the newer mold are places more squarely on the side of the body instead of toward the rear. The body of the new mold is also slightly shorter from feet to neck, however in a heads on side by side, they look about equal... if anything, the new one taller to the tips of the ears.

Here is a view of the backs, side by side.
Original mold is slightly thiner looking and taller to the neck. Also the head peg is taller, but don't worry Combo Contest fans, the heads seem interchangeable so far.

Right Arms side by side. 

Left Arms side by side. 

You can see how smaller all the features of the new arm are... the arm, fingers and cuff. The new arm is made to hold accessories... no questions about it.

Look at the shape of the top of the head and ears.
The new mold has a rounder shape in between the ears. The ears are also more nicely rounded. 

The ears are also attached differently. This profile shot shows a striking difference.
The new mold has straight, flat ears. The old ears were curved a bit. As a fan of artists using the ears to create backdrops or doping in symbols that relate to the rest of art, I like this design feature that displays the ears straight toward the viewer.

Bottom of detached head.

One feature that helps the artists is the detachable feet. Doesn't detract from the look of the figure and will hopefully allow for cleaner printing of the designs.

One thing we know we will see now is uniquely shaped arms. Sea Creatures Lobster has a claw, and we know the upcoming Pirates series will have at least one hook for a hand.

When first announced, I was not excited about this new mold. Then I saw it in person, and although I'm still not "excited", I am hopeful. I can see whey these changes were made, and overall, they seem for the better. I will wait until I get a hands on with the Pirates series to pass full judgement, as it's hard to tell by these Sea Creatures designs what the new mold really means for the final product. I like the broader front facing canvas, but at the same time, do not like the seemingly squashed figure (although that seems mostly an optical illusion). The figures feel different, obviously smoother, and a bit softer. But the colors and designs printed very well on them. Again, if this change was done for the right reasons, I can't wait to see what the artists at Disney deliver to us next.