Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fast Times at Vinylmation High

When the High School mystery box series is released in February (the rumored date is 2/25), it will be just another in a long line of non-Disney related sets from the Disney Store artists.
Let me start out by saying, the Disney Store artists are crazy talented. Their artwork is consistently wonderful. The artist's take on Disney characters in the Villains and Lion King lines are among the best work ever done on the Mickey platform.
Yet over the last 7 months, they have bombarded us with non-Disney related designs.
Although even the non-Disney designs show consistently great art coupled with fun, unique designs, the collectors are craving more Disney related material. Let's take a look at the past 7 months of releases:

  • Under the Big Top 7/21
  • Nursery Rhymes 9/24
  • Extreme Wrestlers of Vinylmation 10/29
  • Robots 3 11/19
  • Zooper Heroes 12/10
  • Myths & Legends  1/7
  • Whiskers & Tails 1/21
  • High School 2/25

Out of the 8 mystery box sets released over that time, only two... TWO had a Disney theme to them. And both Robots 3 and Whiskers and Tales were unique, well executed and popular in the community. I understand the need for and expression of ideas and designs that appeal to a wide audience of collectors and shoppers, but when 6 out of your last 8 sets have nothing to do with Disney, you lose your connection to your core audience. I can only say, "I wouldn't buy any, but at least the artwork is good" so many times. There is a place for sets like Zooper Heroes, I just think they would be better served to sprinkle them among the Disney themed releases.
The Disney Store artists handle Disney characters so extremely well, that I crave to see more. Two releases in the last 7 months make my case as to why we want to see more. In September, the Disney Store released a boxed Cinderella Set that was so beautifully designed and packaged, it became an instant hit among collectors. Then, in October, the Disney Store released the Christmas 2012 Donald Snow Globe. So well received, it is already talked about as a contender for the 2013 Dee Vee Awards.
A secondary issue with these releases deals more to the hard core trading community. The market gets flooded with these figures as people's primary traders. I see list after list full of these non-Disney figures as collectors look to trade for Disney themed figures. Part of the reason is the accessibility of Disney Store figures to collectors who live away from the parks as well as the inevitable Buy One, Get One sales. If there were more Disney themed sets, I think people's traders lists would look a little more attractive.
Overall, I do not know the details as to how sets are approved, produced and scheduled, but I would have to imagine the Disney Store artists have a data base full of Disney themed designs just waiting to be released. Let's see them more often through a calendar year. What is your take on the past 7 months of Disney Store releases?

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