Before I begin this story, let me say that I have had NUMEROUS people contact me about my fake balloon chaser and that what I have learned has come from them as well as myself. So I want to thank all of those individuals that have been involved in this over the past 24 hours. I am NOT trying to steal anyone’s thunder or jeopardize anyone in posting this article. I feel that this is a serious enough problem that the sooner this information gets out the better it is for every collector out there. It’s been a WILD 24 hours so here goes!
Any Other Day
Yesterday started like any other day. I woke up went for my 2 mile run, came home went through my usual routine. I took my son to basketball camp and then later in the day around lunch time I decided to post my pictures of my GREAT TRADE! After I posted the picture almost immediately I was contacted by someone that said they could tell by my picture that my balloon chaser was a fake. Well of course like any other collector I thought this guy is crazy, I have never heard about fake vinyls before. Scrappers, YES, but a fake vinylmation, unbelievable. So you tell me, can you tell that it’s fake.
The Saga Continues
So as the day went on, several messages, phone conversations, e-mails, looking at many balloon chasers, yes I am still seeing red for more than one reason, I have come to the conclusion that I have my FIRST ever fake vinylmation. So how can you tell that this is a fake, I will tell you what I was told and some things I noticed for myself. The first thing that I noticed is on the front of the vinyl is the DL castle. I had another member of these forums, Travis D, send me some close up pics of his chaser. I noticed on this that there were flags flying at the top of the castle, three to be exact. But if you look at the picture below you will notice that you don’t see the distinct triangle shapes of the flags, just black blobs.
This next thing was brought to my attention by several people. If you take the head off of the vinylmation, any vinylmation for that matter, inside of the head is a number, well on some it is a letter. Believe me I was popping heads off all night. I know what you are thinking, taking the heads off of rare vinyls, but yep I did it and I also checked some Park 3′s and Park 4′s. So here are two pics, on the left is the FAKE and on the right is my Park 1 Figment. Notice that the Figment has a number 1 inside the head. I believe the REAL balloon chaser has a #2.
Now this next thing is something I discovered after looking at close up pictures of a vinyl sent to me and I can’t zoom in close enough on my fake to show you so I will describe as best as I can. On the back of the vinyl inside the Walt Disney World logo, inside the D is a mickey mouse shape and inside that shape there are little squares. There are 4 on the top row and 4 on the bottom row. Here is a pic of the real thing.
Now on the FAKE their are 5 or 6 squares in each row, I wish I could get a pic of it but my camera won’t zoom in as well. There are other ways that you can tell it is FAKE but I won’t go into all of them as these are some of the biggies. I also noticed that when I pulled the head and arms off they almost came off too EASY. As a custom artist I spend A LOT of time pulling the heads and arms off of CYO’s and sometimes they can be downright impossible to get off. Well this one came off really easy.
Fake Cards Too!
I know news broke a while back about fake Park 1 cards on ebay so this is actually not new news, but in case you missed it. The card that my balloon chaser came with is a fake as well. There are a couple of ways to tell it is fake but the easiest one to see and recognize has to do with the disney copyright logo at the bottom of the card. If you look at the logo at the bottom notice on the balloon chaser card how it is away from the edge of the card, then if you look at the figment card you notice that it is much closer to the edge. I looked at all my Park 1 cards and they are all the same, in fact I looked at ALL of my Park cards and they are all the same. The copyright disney is much closer to the edge of the card.
Check the Serial Number Right?
I know in the past people have used the serial number to validate their vinyls. Well let me tell you whoever is doing this has gotten so good that the serial number, artist signature, the art of disney parks logo is all there, check out the picture.
What Does This All Mean?
I can say that I am very disturbed by all of this. Who would have thought that someone or a factory somewhere was able to make fake vinyls. I think that if this is not stopped this is going to RUIN this hobby. People will be terrified to buy or trade for high end vinyls because they don’t know if it is real or not. It happened with pins and now it is starting with vinyls. I hope Disney pays attention to this and gets the wheels in motion to stop it. All I know is from now on if you are trading or buying you better POP the head off of that baby to see if it’s real!
So Now What?
I contacted the person that I made the trade with. I am not accusing him of anything, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He was very understanding and apologized to me for having this happen to me. He has already refunded the money that I had sent him and he is sending back my vinyls that were involved in the trade. So in no way do I want to assume guilt on him or have anyone else do so, with that said please do not send me any messages asking for the identity of the trader.