Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Artist Annemarie's First Official Disney Custom Debuts at WDW

It was a very special moment. Sure I have been a collector (and browser) of fine Disney collectibles for a few years now, but never has it felt like it did when I walked into the Art of Disney at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World on Tuesday.

I had heard that Disney recently put a 9" custom by the artist Annemarie up for sale. It was a completely under the radar release that was not attached to any event WDW was holding (unlike most Disney commissioned customs). This custom was created at the request of Annemarie to Disney to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a cartoon character she loves above all others... Roger Rabbit. So I just had to rush over and check it out.

Over the past few years, Annemarie has become a great friend, not only of Destination Vinylmation, but personally. The funny part is, although I consider her one of my closest friends, we have yet to ever meet face to face. A fact we plan to rectify when I head over to Anaheim for the D23 Expo in August.

This custom is beautiful. Roger Rabbit is painted onto the head of the custom as he and Benny crash through a brick wall. Roger wears his familiar smile as he bounces out of his seat... still grasping the steering wheel in his hands. The bricks break away from the wall in little shaded squares to help give depth and movement to the canvas. They also have a caroony, non linear style to them. Green Dip splatters through the ears and covers the arms.

Benny the Cab is drawn onto the body. His cartoony curves wonderfully match the animated character. Annemarie did a fantastic job capturing the style of the original animated characters and bringing them to life on the nine inch Mickey.

The back features a black silhouette of Roger and Benny as they break through the building. Note the hands up in the air and Roger still sitting in the cab. As opposed to the front position which denotes a period of time that has passed while they traveled through the building.

All artists have their strengths and unique styles. And to a degree, art is in the eye of the beholder. But Annemarie has brought me to a new appreciation of art. I look at things a different way now. And that is a great gift she has given to me. I think all art can be appreciated by different people in different ways, but some art just has something special that makes it aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. Ever read a book about Imagineering the Disney Parks? Nothing is by accident. Everything is planned to elicit a desired emotion in the viewer. That is great art.

When I walked into the Art of Disney and saw Annemarie's custom displayed for sale among other Vinylmation... among other great pieces of art that adorn the walls of this store... I was proud. Proud of a friend who is talented, hardworking and deserves this recognition. I was happy. Happy because I know what seeing her name on placard in a Disney store next to all these other talented artists means to her. I was also excited. Excited that hopefully that gift she has given to me can now be shared with all the guests who view her work. Hopefully there are many more to come.

Episode 129 WDW Road Sign

Ep. 129 WDW Road Sign

This week we review Muppets 3 and talk about all the D23 Expo Vinylmation news including a WDI series, the Blank web series and artist signings. We talk to Vinylmation Exchange about what's hot in the hobby. And we begin a new segment with Matt from Vinylmation Kingdom to get his take on the latest news.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Walt Disney Imagineering Creates Vinylmation Series for D23

The D23 Expo website has posted a signing on the schedule for Walt Disney Imagineering Vinylmation Artists on August 10 from 3 - 4pm and August 11 from 12:15 - 1:15pm. Also, Evilos and Vinylmation World have posted this poster from Mickey's of Glendale, the WDI shop in California that will have a shop at the Expo:

The ideas can be endless here! I love the idea of Disney's Imagineers getting into Vinylmation design. Do you think they will be similar to the park series? Will they document the history of Imagineering milestones? Will they be a whole new platform? Who knows! One thing is for sure... we will finally get an Omnimover Vinylmation!!!!

I could not find any info on David Buckey, but I did find this on Justin Hamana: "Over the past three years, I have created environmental design elements within the Disney theme parks and developed marketing materials including Disney gift cards, banners, posters, and logo designs." I'm excited for this series and can't wait to see the reveal!

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story" Trailer, Website, Review and Release Date

Earlier this week Disney invited media to a screening of "Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story". Unfortunately it was in California and I wasn't able to attend. But Disney has launched a website for the upcoming web series

According to Stitch Kingdom, Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story will premiere its first three episodes (each around three minutes long) at D23 Expo next month before going live online immediately after at The remaining nine episodes will then be released exclusively online every Saturday and viewers are in for a treat.

Stitch Kingdom also wrote up a wonderful review. Here is a piece:
Set in a world that looks a little like Disneyland, Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story follows the journey of two Vinylmation figures, Blank and Bow, that don’t quite fit in with the world around them. In their world, Vinylmations are born blank before being given a paint-job that determines their identity.  
since there was neither the time nor money for computer wizardry such as CGI: the backdrops were constructed using mixed media; the trains — based on the Vinylmation monorail mold — were 3D-printed and painted.
Read the full review here.

It looks more amazing than I could ever thought possible. Here is Disney's official trailer.
There is also a behind the scenes video:

I am very excited to see this web series now. The stop motion animation looks absolutely beautiful.

There will also be a Vinylmation set designed by Thomas Scott based on Blank. Here's hoping for one of those Dino looking cranes!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mahna Smahna

(pic posted by Dean Rowland on facebook)
It looks like there is a variant for the Snowth figure in the newly released Muppets 3 set. It's just a mouth change, but, it makes an awesome set of three with the main guy. I gotta have this!

What do you think of this variant?

Urban 4 Photoshoot

We took the Urban 4 series around Walt Disney World for some photos.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Park Starz vs Uni-Minis!

Earlier this year, Universal Studios introduced a themed vinyl collectible of their own called Uni-Minis. While they are similar to the idea of Park Starz, there are many differences that actually equate them more to Funko's Pop Vinyl. But for the purpose of this article, it was more fun to compare the actual characters to Disney's Park Starz.

Uni-Minis are sold in open window boxes for $12.95, so you know what you are going to get. The soft vinyl they are made from is also much closer to Funko Pop than to the higher quality Park Starz figures. Each Uni-Mini is about 3" tall and instead of being pulled from characters made for the parks, they are pulled from cartoons and movies. That being said, most of Universal's park characters are from the screen and all of the figures in this first series can be found in the parks.

So, I thought it would be fun to compare the Uni-Mini, to what I saw as it's corresponding Disney character from either Park Starz 1 or 2. All Uni-Mini photos are from the website Hollywood Gone Geek.

Minion from Despicable Me VS Figment

While there is technically only 1 of Figment, he can obviously become many as shown by the final scene of Journey Into Imagination. Figment also gets into trouble, as a Minion does. They both like using their imaginations and coming up with wild contraptions and both can be equally as annoying.

Woody Woodpecker VS Orange Bird

While they are both birds, there is quite a contrast of character here. Woody is fast and flamboyant. Orange Bird is more quiet and inviting. Woody has a loud, in your face laugh. Orange Bird has a soothing, catchy theme song.

SpongeBob SquarePants VS Jungle Cruise Elephant

I almost went with the Squid here, but decided on the Elephant for one simple reason... playfulness. SpongeBob is all about play. He just wants to have fun under the water. While the Elephant doesn't live under the water, he sure likes to play in it. They both always have a cheerful smile on their face. But only one lives in a pineapple.

Betty Boop VS The Red Head

A pretty easy comparison here. Both are symbols of attractive women that are not real. While Betty Boop kept young boys glued to the screen many years ago, the Red Head has young boys wanting to revisit Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again. You didn't really think it was for the pirates did you?

Chilly Willy VS Ice Gator

This match up was a no brainer. You have two animals that live in ice cold conditions. What makes this duo interesting is the fact that Chilly, a penguin, is always trying to get in from the cold. While Ice Gator, a gator, can't get enough of the ice cold Blizzard Beach slopes.

E.T. VS Rex

Both of these characters come from space, but E.T. has the smarts. I never felt safe as a passenger in a space craft flown by Rex.

Episode 128 Space Mountain Paris

Ep. 128 Space Mountain Paris

This week we talk about the SDCC release of Behind the Masks 2 that was produced using Disney characters. We also discuss the release of the second series of Disney Afternoon and why it may or may not be a success. Robots, Ear Hat Ornaments and customs are also brought up. And Nick makes a big non-vinyl related announcement.
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Where In the World Do You Vinyl?: NYC Specific Figures

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of “Where in the World do you Vinyl” with Brendt and Ben. With this post, we’d like to review a couple of vinyls recently released that are very dear to us, as well as get in a general discussion about vinyls that are released exclusively in certain areas as opposed to others.

The vinyls we would like to review are the new New York City exclusives.  When we saw that these were coming exclusively to Times Square, we jumped with excitement, as we both live relatively close to NYC and rarely do exclusive vinyls get released outside of the parks.  These consist of the ‘Greetings from NYC’ postcard vinyl, as well as 3 new juniors which each represent a profession that are symbolic with New York City.

The ‘Greetings from NYC’ vinyl can only loosely be called an exclusive, however, as it has been released online as well as in Times Square.  Nevertheless, it is a wonderful representation of New York City.  The first image that immediately jumps out is the Minnie version of the Statue of Liberty.  We love how Enrique Pita’s wonderful design lives on in this vinyl.  It’s a nice little homage.

There are other landmarks present; including Union Square, and even the Times Square Disney Store gets a shout out.  The backs of the ears even have little apples painted on!  Down by the figure’s feet is the iconic skyline, which is a darker blue, which looks nice against the red backdrop of the figure.  The one minor gripe we have with this release is the fact that it is presented in an open window case and not a tin.  All of the other NYC, and even other city releases have come in a tin, so why break this streak?  There is something extra special about that presentation, and something a little cheaper about the open window appearance.  Overall a great design by Nacho Rodriguez.

But the real treasure comes with these juniors.  We never thought we would say this but there are actually juniors that we must have.  In fact, juniors have really taken a turn for the better lately and are definitely becoming much cooler.  The Star Wars droids set was the first time we heard people saying that there were juniors that they had to have, and its nice that another format of Vinylmation is becoming popular.

Anyway, these three figures are some of the most detailed juniors we have ever seen.  Mickey is represented as an NYPD officer, Donald Duck is an FDNY firefighter, and Goofy is a cab driver, all iconic occupations in NYC.  Some of the detail here is outstanding, as the expressions on each of the figures are superb, and Donald even has fire in his ears, as well as a painted skyline in Goofy’s.  Hats off to Enrique Pita for 3 awesome designs.

These 4 new figures got us thinking about how excited we were at the prospect of exclusive vinyls being released at a location near to us, until we realized that this is a regular occurrence for people who live close to the parks.  D-Street is, and will probably always be, the Mecca of exclusive vinyl releases.  Sadly, for us who live away from the parks, we’ll probably always be on the outside looking in.  What’s strange is that for the most part, these D-Street exclusives, remain D-Street exclusives and rarely make it online.  However, many of the city exclusives end up on online and no longer make it exciting to visit these cities.  The whole point of city specific vinyl’s should be making it special to get these vinyls, in the same way that we feel when we travel all that way and visit D-Street.

Needless to say, it doesn't change the fact that there are some great vinyls released elsewhere. New York is just one of many cities that have seen exclusives released that represent them.  So we ask you guys, are there exclusives released outside of D-Street that you absolutely love? Maybe another vinyl in the “City” series? Are you also jealous that you don’t get to partake in the craziness that is a D-Street release? We’re dying to know!!!

Spotlight On: Celeste's Disney Afternoon Villains Series 1

We have followed Celeste's work for a long time now, and she is debuting a brand new custom series this weekend that we wanted to take a closer look at. Celeste sent us a few words about her latest creations.

"Growing up as a kid of the 90's I personally have always been a huge fan of The Disney Afternoon. Especially villains and creating a counterpart set was an idea I wanted to do since the release of the very first afternoon set by Disney."

"The Villains of the Afternoon series, features some of the most iconic Disney Afternoon villains ranging from Gummi Bears to Talespin. The set includes a total of 16 figures with 1 mystery chaser. For the set I wanted to incorporate a wide cast of characters and personalities including some I thought who deserved their own vinyl. At first it was a bit difficult to choose who would be included in the set since there are so many great characters out there to choose from but ultimately I wanted a diverse set fans might enjoy."

The set will be available for purchase this Saturday July 27 at 8pm PST at her online store. (price TBD)

You can always check out more of my work and more info about the set on my facebook page:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spotlight On: Craig Larson's Mickey Jrs

It took a little bit of time, but we finally got to see the final, full series, of Craig Larson's Mickey Jrs. This is an amazing series, perfectly executed. Check it out...

DV: What inspired you to do this series?  
Craig Larson: There are a large number of vinyls I’d love for my collection, but A) I have limited display space; and B) many of my favorite designs are out of my price range.  Plus, I really want to challenge myself to work on small scale to see how much detail I could get done while still maintain it’s core design.  I had a few spare Jr vinylmations and thought “well, if other artists can blow up a 3” design onto a 9” (or 9” down to a 3”), why can’t I go smaller?" Since I wanted them to have a theme, why not choose from various Mickey designs, as there are a plethora of options/designs from artists I greatly admire.  I started with Paint Drip Mickey (PDM) and was so happy with the way it turned out, I did Oopsy and then thought why not do a trio? Turns out, I didn’t want to stop at just three, so I kept going. There are so many options, I already have plans to do a 2nd series, but after I take a break --- holding a Jr to paint can REALLY start to hurt after a while, so I will be working on a few other things while I narrow my list down for Series 2.

DV: Which was your favorite?
While I like all of them for different reasons, I absolutely love PDM, Oopsy, and 25th Anniversary Mickey (complete with glitter).

DV: Which was the hardest to do?
CL: The Spectacle of Lights Mickey proved difficult purely based on figuring out how to show the original design. I actually did two versions of this one; one with larger dots and one with smaller dots. The Poncho Mickey took longer than expected as getting the proportion of the Mickey logo on the back took about 4 tries before I was happy with the size and shape. Runaway Brain Mickey had some issues, but that was mostly because I had some setbacks with his teeth/eyes looking right.

DV: Which one do you think looks better on a Jr?
Romantic Treats Mickey looks like a piece of candy.

DV: Are you selling these or how can people pick them up, if at all?
There are some designs that I won’t repeat as they take too much time to redo (Runaway, Poncho, Spectacle of Lights), but I’d be up to trade for Mickey (or other characters) 3” ones that I don’t have or other customs. Just reach out to me on my Facebook page and we’ll see if we can work a trade.

DV: How can people contact you?

As a special bonus, here is a look at several of Craig's pieces next to their 3" originals.