Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where In the World Do You Vinyl?: Hobby Up-turn

When we first set out to start this column, we were in the midst of a very interesting time in the Vinylmation collecting world.  Those of us away from the parks, don’t have as much of a variety in our selection as it is, so when  pretty much every set that was being announced was non-Disney related, it was becoming even more frustrating.  It didn't really have anything to do with the designs, or the quality of the product, in fact for the most part, sets such as Myths and Legends and Under the Big Top are well designed.  The main issue is that they have nothing to do with the Disney characters that we have continued to love over the years.  It’s the reason why many of us got involved in the hobby in the first place.  Well, after a little stretch of frustration and rabid blogging, there appears to be a clear sky up ahead on that horizon.

The last 3 or 4 set announcements hark back to the good old days when Animation 1 was followed by Lion King, followed by Villains 2 etc.   In this next stretch, we have gotten a 3rd Animation series (a set that is very well designed, and in our opinion, leaps and bounds better than A2), which will be followed by 2 movie-centric series in Monsters University and Beauty and the Beast.

In fact, another series that was just released, Mickey’s Wild West, is a step in the right direction, fixing another issue that has plagued the collecting world.  When this set was first rumored, it seemed like a sure thing to be another open window set a la Tunes and Mascots.  Again, nothing wrong with the designs from those sets, but they remained on shelves way past their welcome and suffered the fate of being marked down tremendously; another popular trend lately.  This doesn't seem like such a bad thing when you say it that way, but for the people who spend full price on them right away, it can get pretty frustrating.
Besides, blind boxing really is the way to go with this hobby; it is by far the most fun way to go to about it   Mickey’s Wild West should sell pretty well based on that alone, not to mention there are popular characters that have never been on that Mickey platform before.  I’m talking to you Huey, Duey and Louie.

The cherry on top, in our opinion, has been Disney’s experimentation with smaller case sizes.  Say what you want about the designs of Urban Redux 1 and Cutesters en Vogue (although we happen to like them, including the new Minnie platform), but it seems as though Disney has finally given up on some of its stubborn ways and is listening to fan outcry.
Smaller case sizes mean less filler characters (Kim Possible, John Henry), quicker means of finishing up series, and more opportunities for variants, which have been so much fun to collect lately.

All of this news is especially positive for us living far away from the parks, but it is a great sign overall for all those who collect.  From switching things up in the case size and bloxing ratios with Urban Redux and Cutesters En Vogue, to the reduction of open window and non-Disney related sets, it almost seems as if our voices have been heard by the Disney marketing team.  Do you guys think Vinylmation is getting better, nothing that substantial to see a drastic change, or was there really no issue to begin with? We want to hear from you guys!

Ben and Brendt

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