I love Vinylmation’s, but they aren’t the only Vinyl urban designer toy on the market, there are Dunny’s, Munny’s, Dudebox’s, Unicorns, Kidrobot’s, Bearbricks, Funko Mini’s, POP, etc etc etc etc. Almost every single brand of characters has its own Vinyl figure, be it Disney, DC, Doctor Who, Simpsons, South Park, Street Fighter, Family Guy etc etc. The list goes on and on.
Now for me, I hadn’t really been aware of the Designer Vinyl until I saw Vinylmation in a Disney Store in Times Square a few years ago, it attracted me and I brought some. Which has led to a huge dent in my wallet and a few display cabinets filling up our flat. I was aware through Vinylmation Kingdom of the POP vinyls series but I’ll be honest, something didn’t click instantly in the same way though I love how they cover lots of different brands but as of yet I only have a Superman Pop in my collection.
Over time I became aware of other Vinyl brands and some caught my attention but in general, I really only have enough money and space to focus on one brand. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like trying to keep an eye on what other companies are doing. Dudebox is a UK urban designer toy company that I like some of their designs (which is why I have about half a dozen figures) and I also recently picked up a Batman and Stitch Funko Mini just to see what they looked like in person.
Because I don’t live in a major city, I don’t get much chance to pop into stores to see what things look like in person, but given a chance I always pop in to stores like Forbidden Planet to see what else they have. Usually coming out with a lot less cash in my pocket and a carrier bag full of new goodies. Sadly the Kidrobot store in London closed earlier this year which was a bit of a blow but their figures are still easily available through the internet. In fact there are loads of websites selling loads of different figures for most of the brands. And then of course there is eBay where there is so much choice with all the different brands.
There is a real mix between those vinyls based on well known brands like the Simpsons compared to the Urban Vinyl which is original artwork that maybe doesn’t appeal to the masses in the same way. Vinylmation has had the same issues, sets based on the well known Disney characters just outsell anything non-Disney related and also interest in anything non-Disney related is generally much lower. If you’re a fan of sets such as Urban Redux or Behind the Masks, there are loads of other Vinyl products out there that cover so many other areas of design that something will catch your attention.
With so many different brands and molds, its certainly makes for an interesting collection to have different molds, characters, designs etc. But it does bring in that other question how of how much can you actually display but that’s the beauty of a small figure, they don’t take up much room.
Vinyl Designer toys are picking up their own niche, this year the first ToyCon event was held and they are planning a second one for next year. The event featured many well known and unknown Vinyl artists as well as different toy producers and stores.
The Designer Toy market is a niche industry and one that is very exciting, is it for everyone who collects Vinylmation, probably not. But if your interested in checking out what else is available, especially within the UK, there are thousands of designs out there that represent so many different things.
One of the things I’ve noticed when talking with other Vinylmation collectors, is that many collectors had a dabble into other vinyl brands, but tend to just cherry pick a few of their favourites and the same probably could be said for collectors of other vinyl brands who look at Vinylmation.
Without question, there is a hell of a lot of different designer vinyl toys out there on the market, both in Europe and in the US, some brands are more popular than others. Vinylmation isn’t the only brand out there, Universal have recently launched their own brand of Designer Toys (I know I’m going to pick up a few of these at some point too, especially the Minions).
Your collection is exactly that, your collection, collect what you like. Having a few other brands thrown in there between all those little Mickey’s is a good thing, and while some people like the conformity of every figure being on the same mold, Disney themselves have an eye on what else is on the market. The recent changes to the case sizes for some series, the promotion of variant numbers on the boxes of Urban Redux and the constantly development of different molds. I personally love the variety, things like Park Starz, Monorails, 95’s, Princesses, Popcorns and the new Minnie Mold are a great way of expanding the brand and I myself think the Park Starz series is one of my favourites, which is a complete step away from the original Mickey mold.
As I previously mentioned, your collection is all about what you like…