acrossthepond

Its the end of the year and its time to go back and look at what has happened in the UK/Disneyland Paris in regards to Vinylmation.  Its been a very slow year for European Collectors, releases have been erratic with very little promotion and the UK market has dropped off considerably.   Comparing to 2013, the UK has had only 25% of the releases in 2014, until a few days until Christmas when suddenly we had a flurry of last minute releases, many of which were older series.

Here is a list of UK releases:

  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Villains 5
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol
  • Star Wars 4 *
  • Aladdin Juniors
  • Jungle Book
  • Big Hero 6
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • Villains 3 (Re-Release)
  • Marvel Series 1 (Re-Release)
  • Pixar 2 (Re-Release)

Other releases in Disneyland Paris included

  • Olaf
  • Tinkerbell Eachez
  • Cutesters En Vogue
  • Indiana Jones
  • Valentines Twin Pack
  • Animation 5
  • Haunted Mansion & Friends
  • Ink & Paint
  • Finding Nemo Juniors

Comparing the two lists, Disneyland Paris hasn’t had a bad year, plenty of new releases but none of them were made available online, which seems like a mistake.  The collectors are willing to buy but without the internet with its Facebook Groups and eBay, a UK collector isn’t going to be able to enjoy 95% of the new releases.

uk vinylmation may 14The UK stores have continued to dwindle and many aren’t stocking Vinylmations, but this isn’t unlike what is happening in the United States, the Disney Stores just aren’t stocking the same number of series like they used to, I believe the damage done by all the non-Disney sets have been a major reason in why the Disney Store has pulled back on its releases and Vinylmation has returned to being a “Park” item.  Even Disneystore.com has a lot less items than a year ago, I remember the days of seeing close to 200 Vinylmations being available on the website, today its down to 20, though the UK site is now only offering 4 choices.

There was two surprise releases in 2015 that came out in Europe before they were available in the US (101 Dalmatians and Mickey’s Christmas Carol) which were big releases and huge surprises, especially the 101 Dalmatians set which we hadn’t heard anything about since the Imagination Gala).  Disney also threw Big Hero 6 onto the site with out any promotion or banner, which would have been nice to have known about in advance.

Its a shame for international collectors as this is pushing up the cost of collecting, without being able to enjoy simple shopping through Disney directly and without expensive international shipping, prices in the UK have continued to rise.

This brings me onto a different issue within the UK community, over the past year, there has been a wild flux in terms to Vinylmation pricing, with less being released, newer items have generally become much more expensive but many collectors are selling off figures for well under retail, simply to get rid of unwanted figures.   This is especially true for many of the less in-demand figures or non-Disney figures, but I do believe in time, as the releases slow down, prices will have to rise due to shipping costs.  And collectors who got into the hobby when there was lots of bargains, have slowly been leaving the hobby and have been clearing out their collections.  It is however causing issues with trading as less and less people have extras or blind boxes to trade.

4401_cp_FWB_MickeyChristmasVinylmation_06102014Disney have continued their “announcements” by putting up a banner on the main page, which isn’t amazing but even in the US, Vinylmation announcements have slipped away to barely any.

One of the odd releases of the year, was Star Wars 4, which came out almost 2 months after the US release.  I don’t mind extra unannounced releases, but to wait over 2 months is too long for collectors, so many of us ended up buying them from the US , which basically meant Disney shot themselves in the foot.

Vinylmation has gone through a change in 2014, less releases in general have had a drastic reduction on the amount of figures available in the UK and in Disneyland Paris, I don’t expect this to change much in the future.  I would love to see more releases, especially those available in Disneyland Paris being made more freely available.

But honestly, going into 2015, I’m not expecting much, Vinylmation has changed pace and with the UK only getting Disney Store releases, we won’t see too many of these in the future as the hobby moves back to its theme park roots.

What do you think?

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In the past couple of weeks we have seen a number of surprise releases at both D-Streets, in the form of the Trading Night 2014 Eachez (Agent P, Alice and Scrooge).  All of which sold out extremely quickly, with Disney just announcing their release the day before, with a low Limited Edition size and a chance of a variant, does increase demand and I wonder, could this be a interesting way of selling and promoting Vinylmation?

Lets say straight away, these Trading Night Eachez are a fantastic idea, a super low LE size, a good design, variant factor and also exclusivity has made these figures one of the biggest success stories of the year.  Disney has hit a home run with the Eachez line and it could be easy for it to get out of control but if handled correctly, they could be even more popular.

IMG_2197.JPGNow, with these Trading Night Eachez, without the actual events taking place, they could have been sent off to the local recycling center but Disney decided to release them anyway.  And why not, they are a great design and more importantly, Disney can make money off these.

To a collector, adding the chase of the variant, along with chance of owning something that is valuable and even exclusive to a local, is what its all about.  While many collectors would love to Vinylmation in lots of different retailers (ie like many of the Funko figures), having them exclusive to the parks, makes them more desirable.

agent p trade night 450Heading into 2015, disregarding the possibility that the Trading Night Eachez could return, I think having these very small limited released Eachez could be a huge hit.  For example, what if every month there was a surprise release at one location, without any notice.  With different locations getting them every month, such as one third going to D-Street in Disneyland, a third going to the other D-Street in Walt Disney World and the final third going to Disneystore.com.  I’m not even going to bother suggesting Disneyland Paris gets some as, it would be nice to get some releases than a chance to get some exclusives.

Some might argue that they should be split between each D-Street and Online, which in an ideal world, would be great but with the lower Limited Edition sizes, its more cost effective to have them all shipped to one location.  Plus I think the exclusive factor would make them more desirable and encourage trading.   I’ve no doubt that this would work, as long as they don’t get Greedy.  The Trading Night Eachez have shown this is a popular idea.  I’m certainly not suggesting every release should be like this, but I believe there is a place in the Vinylmation hobby for a little more “exclusivity” (I use that term loosely with Disney, since it means something different to them).

Do you think this idea would work?

 

acrossthepond

acrossthepondWhen I look at my display case full of row after row of Vinylmation, my little brain started to think about what would make up a perfect series and what series out of my collection would I consider perfect, which I couldn’t really narrow down since almost every series so far has a few minor issues with it.   But coming up with a perfect series isn’t that easy since everyone has different thoughts on what people would consider perfect.

For me, the biggest way to make a perfect series is to have a strong theme that is Disney related, that’s probably the easiest thing to start off with since any series without a strong set of characters generally won’t be as popular.  Strong characters are needed for so many reasons including putting a few major characters on the box and tray to attract customers to buy them.

Leading on from that, having strong characters is very important as the perfect series would one without a few fillers, with the new smaller case sizes of either 5 or 7 main figures, it allows for a much stronger series which is something I think will improve future sets as too many full sets of 12 have suffered from having too many weak links.

Adding lots of different accessories to make different figures stand out is another added bonus, a full set of figures without accessories just doesn’t look as exciting.

Another major way of making a perfect series is to have one of the strongest designs used as a chaser, having a amazing chaser can make a huge difference to the overall attraction of a set to collectors, using off the wall figures or figures that is just a poor design can really kill the buzz on a set.   But maybe the best way of making a chaser even cooler is to make a variant Super Chaser like the Ghost Obi Wan that is perhaps still one of the all time most wanted figures, even years after its release its still one of the most expensive figures and I know one day I will eventually get hold of one.

This leads on to the inclusion of variants, adding variants to blind box series can really increase the amount of buzz a series gets from its collectors as people keep buying blind boxes in the hope of getting variants such as the BATB Bimbette or Park 9 Dapper Dan but with extra variants of variants.  Personally I never got the appeal of variants, if I got hold of one it’s a nice bonus but some collectors go nuts for it.

I would also personally like to take a few ideas from the Urban Redux series, I think adding in some “hand drawn” very limited items added to a series falls into this category of an added bonus but I know some  collectors don’t like this idea but for me it’s a nice added treat.

park7boxObviously the main common figures are the biggest part of having a classic perfect series with variants and the chaser adding extra bonus points into making an amazing set.  But for me, part of a perfect series comes from things away from the actual design such as its production numbers and distribution.

Now this shouldn’t impact on a perfect series but if you think about some of the best series, many people wouldn’t throw the names of series that ended up at the Outlets.  For a simple reason that while many collectors are happy picking up sets cheaply but many collectors want their figures to either retain or increase in value.  Obviously this is a bonus point to many but things like this do have a impact.

redux trayAlso in the same area, there is a very thin line between a series being very popular and selling out too quickly , compared to a series that hangs around for ever and has to be reduced to clear (regardless of the design).  For me a perfect series should sell out and never be reduced, but not sell out so quickly that no one has a chance to get them.  But again these don’t make a series any better to look at but it does improve the perception of a series over time.

A perfect series is a very person thing, which is why Disney release so many different themed sets, While Beauty and the Beast appeals to some, Star Wars might appeal to someone else and a Park set doesn’t appeal to many Disney store customers who have never visited the parks.

This is why a perfect series is so hard to get, there have been many amazing sets that people and I’m sure more sets will be coming in the future, so what would be your perfect series, past and future?

eachez easter oswald

eastereachezIn the past year we have seen a new explosion within the Vinylmation community, the popularity of the Eachez line has been incredible, super fast sell outs, high priced variants and lots of excitement have seen Eachez become a hot property.  And judging from the previews at the Imagination Gala, Eachez are going to continue to play a major part of Vinylmation going forward.

One of the biggest reasons for the success of the Eachez brand is the “chase”, Disney have brought the chase back, by adding the variant factor, people are often buying more than one blind box, resulting in faster sell outs and more cash in the till. The Eachez blind boxes are a perfect fit into special events such as Trade Nights, Star Wars Weekends, D23 Expo’s, as well as for holiday events like Easter or Independence Day.

But it has caused a few issues along the way, often many of the Eachez are only available at the parks of at exclusive events, locals go nuts for them, buying up loads, which is great for Disney but it has left many non-local collectors either paying through the nose or only getting a shot at the common. Often picking up a common figure is extremely easy as they flood the secondary market, locals often can buy in bulk, open them all up, sell the variant for a profit and usually sell the commons for cost or just above (not always).

olafThis has led to many non-local collectors, almost giving up on many of the Eachez variants, but more importantly there are many collectors who think Disney are going to overcook the whole Eachez line. Currently most releases have been pretty successful, they’ve sold well and haven’t needed to been heavily reduced in price. Disney only want to make Vinylmation that will sell, the days of Outlets full of Vinylmation and huge discounts on Disneystore.com are hopefully a thing of the past, but if Disney keep churning out Eachez contentiously, it might go the same way as the 9” or Twin Pack.

I still believe the Eachez idea is a great addition to Vinylmation and adds a level of excitement to buying a “open window” figure, but at some point, the bubble might burst. A few too many releases with too high an Limited Edition size could bring Eachez down with a bump, let alone if Disney produce too many open edition figures such as the Theme Park Favourites.

Disney have a fine line to walk, Eachez are a lot of fun and have been very successful, but it does feel like they have almost abandoned other formats like the 9”, twin packs, boxed sets etc in favor of these nifty little blind boxes. Eachez are also being introduced to the Popcorn’s line to try to save that and they’ve already experimented with a box set (Tower of Terror), so I believe in the future we will probably see a lot more than individual blind boxes.

However, Eachez could be the saving grace of Vinylmation, it could be exactly what it needed, bringing back the chase and just as important, the exclusivity of lower LE numbers and limited availability, but I still have a feeling in a couple of years, it could backfire if not handled correctly.

What do you think?

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Now that the dust has settled on the Imagination Gala, I’ve had time to digest everything we saw previewed at the event. I was so busy over that weekend putting up stories and reporting on the news coming out of the event, some times it takes a little longer for everything to sink in.

For me the previews from the Imagination Gala show that Disney has a plan for Vinylmation. It isn’t going anywhere, but at the same time, I think the term Imagination might be one thing that isn’t being used by the Vinylmation team.

That might sound a little harsh and I certainly don’t mean that the artists Imaginations aren’t in full swing while coming up with designs. Its just when I look through the list of series and figures being announced to the year ahead, there isn’t much we haven’t seen before.

There is however one exception, the Designer Series. Having custom artists take their skills into mass produced Vinylmation is a huge gamble and I really hope it pays off. We don’t know much about this series yet, but it was the only thing from the previews that could be considered “different”.

But taking that series out of the equation, it’s very easy to see that Disney has worked out what was working for Vinylmation and what wasn’t working. Anything non-Disney related seems to have finally gone. There was no mention of Cutesters nor Urban during the previews, and that might not be a bad thing. Both those brands have had a troubled past, with almost everything ending up discounted. And it looks like the Urban brand is being repackaged under the D-Tour name, with a new Mickey and Minnie themed urban feel to them. I like the idea that they are doing something different than just putting characters out and the existence of the D-Tour Series 2 does at least mean there is an alternative to the standard Mickey Mouse Vinylmation.

The Eachez have been a huge success and Disney looks to be running with that idea to the bank along with twin packs. Though the Villainous Duos sets look impressive at LE1500, we could easily have another Afternoon Series 2 or Fantasia series on our hands. And it looks like the 9″ truly is a piece of history with not a single new 9″ being planned, which is a shame. they killed it with poor design choices, too many designs, the horrible new 9″ mold, and high LE’s, meaning that something that is so impressive has wrongly been assigned to the scrap heap.

Both the Marvel and Star Wars franchises are firmly part of the Vinylmation scene now, but on first impressions, I am slightly disappointed that we have another series based on a New Hope and that they are doing an Avengers themed set. With so many Marvel and Star Wars characters, why do we need another Iron Man or Luke Skywalker? When we could have Darth Maul, Jar Jar Binks (yes, him) or characters like Guardians of the Galaxy or X-Men? Again it just feels a little “safe”.  Though at least we have one new character from the new Rebels cartoon coming next year.

Last year we saw the Tower of Terror Eachez boxed set announced which got a huge reaction from the Vinylmation community and it seemed to be a big success when it was released, but there was no mention of another Eachez boxed set.

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see anything new for the Park Starz line, churning out another Park Starz series 1 variant does come across as little uninspired, they are there to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland, it would have been cool to have seen a brand new figure. Popcorns are another line which have been given a second chance with a Eachez element, I love the popcorn brand and overall look of the figures that we are seeing this year and I like how the variants make sense.10600655_10202878500619771_7456454387196209963_n

I think some of the new series like the Mickey Mouse Shorts look very interesting and its great to see a modern take on the classic cartoon and while I don’t watch Gravity Falls, I at least like that they are doing some new characters, even if 4 Mabel figures in as many months seems overkill!.

There is lots for Vinylmation fans to be excited about in the coming year, it could be argued that the next years line up is probably one of the strongest we’ve seen, lots of pure Disney themed Vinylmation with all the less than average junk pushed to the side. I think Disney have been paying a lot of attention to what collectors want and are buying, they have moved away from the items filling up the outlets and we will probably see this trend continuing. They want Vinylmation to be a success for the long run and so do I, but I feel that maybe they’ve got a little too safe, I’m hoping we haven’t seen everything that’s coming in the year ahead and there are at least a few series like Peter Pan, Park 15 & 16 that we know very little about.

10660158_10202878493979605_5919946297452907596_nAs I said, there is a lot of great looking Vinylmations coming in the year ahead and many figures from the Imagination Gala will be joining my collection, but there will be a lot that won’t be because they just don’t excite me, I’ve already got some of the 101 Dalmatians, a Peter Pan figure, a Fairy Godmother, an Iron Man, Luke Skywalker and many other of the characters announced. And for me, that feels a little weird, but maybe that’s it, I just want something new and different to add to my collection?

Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below:

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disneyinfinity2Lets be totally honest, Disney Infinity can be an expensive hobby, you have the starter pack, play sets, accessories, figures, crystal variants and power discs.  If Disney had put every single item in a single boxed set and released it for a few hundred pound/dollars, instead of selling it individually, it probably would have been a huge flop.  And as we head into the next era of Disney Infinity, with version 2.0 with lots more play sets, more power discs, more figures and a few different starter pack options, Infinity could make a large dent in your wallet.

But here are a few tips to save some money.

1) Wait.  Probably the easiest way of saving money on Disney Infinity is to wait, the longer you wait after release, the cheaper it’ll become.  Starter Packs, figures and play sets have all slowly decreased in value since launch and many stores are trying to clear out their stock before all the nice shiny Marvel Super Heroes arrive.  If your not worried about getting them within the first few days or weeks of release, this will save you a fortune.

pTRU1-16760039dt2) Second Hand.  This slightly fits into number 1, if your not interested in having a nice shiny figure in a box on day one and are willing to wait or look around, there are plenty of bargains to be found as people try selling off older and unwanted figures/discs/game etc.  And if your only jumping into Disney Infinity because of Marvel, its worth checking out those auction sites, game retailers and our own Facebook Group.

3) Sales.  As 2.0 comes closer, stores are trying to sell off much of their existing stock to make room for the new items, meaning you can get some good bargains.  Fantastic if you want to back fill in some missing figures or fancy having a go on that Lone Ranger play set you’ve put off buying (honestly its a great play set).   But also its worth looking out for bargains after 2.0 launches, when Disney Infinity 1.0 launched, many retailers had lots of promotions on figures, play sets, power discs and the starter packs, to try to get people hooked on the game.   Also be on the look out for Buy One Get One Free deals, 3 for 2, discounted prices on figures and power discs after launch.

infinity 2 venom preorder4) Pre-Order.  If you are getting Disney Infinity 2.0 straight away, look around for the best pre-order options, many are offering different prices and also different bonuses such as a free figure like Nick Fury, Iron Fist or Hawkeye.   More offers might become available closer to launch as stores try to entice customers to part with more money.

5) Download – A new addition to Disney Infinity 2.0 is that they are introducing a digital download version, which if you are only interested in the Toy Box aspect of the game or aren’t interested in Marvel, download the digital version and you can use your existing figures and enjoy all the latest weekly toy boxes without buying any new figures, play sets or power discs.

Power Disc series 26) Avoid Power Discs – If your trying to do Disney Infinity on the cheap, one way is to avoid the power discs.  Between 1.0 and 2.0, there will be over 150 power discs available, and at $1 to $3 each, that’s a lot of money to be spent on bonus toys such as vehicles, weapons, wallpapers etc.  They aren’t necessary to enjoy the game and while they might only be a couple of dollars/pounds/euros for a blind bag, they do add up.  Alternatively, if you only wanted a few power discs don’t buy blind bags, just pick up the exact power discs you want from the secondary market (like ebay or our Facebook Group).

7) Wait Some More.  I’ve said it a few times, but if your trying to save money with Disney Infinity.  Wait.  Don’t buy everything straight away, eventually the price will drop.

Do you have any Infinity Saving Tips to share?

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20140730-221929-80369148.jpg  2014 has been a different year for Vinylmation, gradually during the year, there has been a huge slow down on the amount of new releases. We have seen the size of a 3” series reduced by a third and even the Juniors have had their case sizes reduced, edition sizes have been cut and there there has only been 1 9” and a few twin packs released, but to counter-balance we have seen dozens of Eachez.

6387000441487-2Its been a big talking point, some people have claimed the hobby was dying, many others enjoyed the slow down to catch up and many used the slow down to sort their collections out. Disney had said they wanted to bring the chase back and only sell what is popular. It seemed liked Vinylmation was indeed in a slow down period, the days of weekly new releases seemed a thing of the past.

Then August hit.

Suddenly, Disney throw a mountain of new releases at us at once, with the following all set to come out in August:

  • Sleeping Beauty (8)
  • Villains 5 (8)
  • Halloween Eachez (1)
  • Halloween Twin Pack (2)
  • Park 14 (8)
  • Park 14 Twin Pack – Cranium Command (2)
  • Marvel 2 (12)
  • Animation 5 (8)
  • Haunted Mansion – Mickey & Friends (6)
  • Star Wars – Donald & Goofy Twin Pack (2)

Not including variants, we have over 57 Vinylmations coming out in a month. That’s a lot.
Throwing over 6 different blind box series at us within a month seems insane at first glance. There isn’t going too many collectors who can go out and buy everything next month, which brings forth many questions, why are there so many out at once?

VM-Haunted-Mansion-Blue-200x116I have a few theories:

Production change-over. This year, Disney has been moving some production of Vinylmation from China to Vietnam, check the bottom of some of the newer releases like Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and you will see it says “Made in Vietnam”. There could be a number of reasons why production has been moved to another country, lower costs, to stop scrappers, increase quality, etc. I think this changeover could be one of the reasons why we have had a slower release schedule, it makes sense to drop back a little during transitional phases and if there have been some delays in production, it might explain why we are getting lots at once.

Holiday. The holiday shopping season is soon to be upon us, stores are slowly getting ready for the busiest time of the year and Disney are loading their shelves with brand new merchandise for this period. Many of these new releases are going to be sat on the shelves for the rest of the year and many appeal to the masses.

Disney Store. Both the Sleeping Beauty and Villains 5 series are Disney Store products, so these could be part of a different schedule to the Park team, now that the two teams share many of the same releases.

20140722-190317-68597366.jpgCertain releases such as the Halloween and Haunted Mansion – Mickey & Friends are tied into events taking place such as the 45th Anniversary and the Not So Scary Halloween Parties, so those could almost be viewed as bonus releases to tie into those events.

Its also worth noting that with the smaller set sizes, it does mean Disney can release 3 new series and actually take up the same amount of space and produce the same amount of figures as 2 full sets. For example, 3 x 8 sets = 24 new figures, so Villains 5, Animation 5 and Park 14 produce the same amount of figures as Animation 4 and Park 12. So it can appear like we have more series but Disney are actually making the same amount of figures.

Other theories include Disney wanting to get out all the figures they announced at last years Reflections of Evil event before this years Imagination Gala, but that is probably less likely.

Personally, I think August is a mixture of a few things, a couple of delays and the desire to stop up the stores at the parks and across the country for the holiday season.
One thing is for sure, people need to prioritise what figures they want and plan ahead, some figures could be around for a while and others might not. If you can hold out, some will eventually be reduced at the outlets or online, but the main thing is to buy what you like and to only spend what you can afford.

What do you think?

acrossthepond

10401814_469214583212711_1818233757_nOne of the most enjoyable things about collecting Vinylmation when you don’t live near a park or Disney Store, are mail days. When the postman walks up with a nice box or package with your latest purchase, nothing really feels better than ripping open the box to uncover the contents. Even though you know, most of the time, what is in the box, its still a pleasant experience.

The majority of my collection have traveled via the postal service and I know I’ve had slightly too many parcels sent to me when the postman knows me (he even once drove by, while I was walking to work, stopped and handed me my latest addition to my collection) and even the staff in the post office know me after the amount of packages I send out. So although I do live in a small seaside town, it still does feel, if the post office know me, I’ve had and sent too many Vinylmation in the post.

When you don’t have the opportunity to pick up Vinylmation in person, having a rare chance of blind boxing is rather fun, though disappointing if you get duplicates, as that will mean some more visits to the post office. Being a collector who is so heavily reliant on the internet does make things tougher and more expensive, but its all the more rewarding when your latest acquisition has arrived.

10004354_589791294451150_451348408_nAnd its why so many of us collectors share our latest mail days through social media, posting them on Instagram, Twitter and within our own Facebook Groups. Its all part of the experience, part of being in a community and some might call it bragging, but the majority of the time, its just done out of excitement. Sharing mail days is a great way of communicating with other fans and I would always say, share a picture of it, you’ve paid for it and waited for it. So enjoy it.

However, this past year, something has changed. Mail days have become much less frequent, as Disney has slowed down the releases, I know I have much fewer boxes being delivered, (it must be bad if the postman mentioned it today when he handed me a box). The people at work and my family have all commented on the lack of new parcels coming through the door. I have been making an effort to curb my purchases but also having less releases is automatically doing it for me. And I don’t think I’m alone, the amount of mail day photos I see through social media has dropped off.

Which makes having a mail day even more special, it might be a few more weeks before I get another, possibly more. So I say, enjoy the mail day, share the mail day and as Nick & MC would say, Keep on Collecting!

What do you think?

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We are just a couple of months away from the biggest event in the Vinylmation calendar, the Imagination Gala, the day we get to find out what the year ahead will bring us and we get to find out the master plan for Vinylmation. Since the Reflections of Evil event, Vinylmation has gone through many changes, but we haven’t yet seen everything released that got previewed at that event. Also earlier this year, Disney revealed some images of some other future releases, so I thought I’d just remind everyone of some of those series that should be coming soon.

Park 14

park 14We haven’t seen much about Park 14 yet, but we do know there will be a Cranium Command themed twin pack featuring these two figures.

Disney have also announced there will be a Haunted Mansion Mickey & Friends set released in time for the 45th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion attraction (which is in August).  This set looks to be similar to the Topiary series with combo toppers.

 

Another series we were told about at the Reflections of Evil event were a Marvel Series 2 which has a Spider-Man theme, D-Tour Series 2 and a Toy Story Series 2 blind box series.  Plus all those Trading Night Eachez.

And Disney also teased us a few months ago with a special 140 character tweet featuring new characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Star Wars Donald, Fix it Felix and many more.

But not everything announced does get released, as we never saw these two figures ever go into production like this Buzz Lightyear 95″ mold that got previewed at 2012’s Mickey Circus.

What are you excited about?

What Disney Infinity should borrow from Skylanders

What Disney Infinity should borrow from SkylandersI have been hearing about how Disney Infinity compares to Skylanders since I first heard about Disney Infinity and while I have done a bit of research into what Skylanders is over the past year, trying to understand it. There is no doubt that Disney Infinity is directly compared to Skylanders, both games feature toys that the gamer places on a portal to use on screen during the game. And many people compare the two games, especially when it comes to how physical changes have been handled between different versions and even more so since Disney Infinity 2.0 was announced.

One of the biggest discussion points over on our Infinity & Beyond Facebook Groups has been about how Disney Infinity 2.0 will handle moving existing content over from 1.0 and direct comparisons to Skylanders are constantly being used as an argument. Primarily because at the moment, that is the closest thing we can compare this situation to. When (or if) Disney Infinity 3.0 comes out, we will have already gone through one change, so we will directly comparing that to how 1.0 to 2.0 was handled, but at the moment, Skylanders is all we have.

disney-infinity-incrediblesOver the past couple of months, I’ve been doing more and more research into Skylanders to try to understand it better, I’ve been looking at the different figures in the stores, how they have branded their figures for compatibility (such as if the figures will work on Giants or Swap Force), how figures have been upgraded with each generation and more. Because all the previous figures work in the latest game, its easy to see how Disney are going to follow suit with 1.0 games working on 2.0, because Disney have confirmed that the figures from 1.0 will still be in production. Skylanders re-released many classic figures including figures that featured in the original starter pack such as Trigger Happy, Gill Grunt and Spyro, so could that mean we will get single figure releases of Mr Incredible, Captain Jack Sparrow or Sulley?

As I learnt more about Skylanders, I came across some cheap Swap Force starter packs and before long I ended up winning an auction on eBay for a second hand PS4 version for under £15 ($25), as I decided that the best way to understand the game a little more, was to dip my toe in and to play the game. And with 2.0 a couple of months away yet, I would do some “research” for our readers and to be honest, I thought it isn’t going to hurt to see what the other company is doing. I did say I had no plans to buy any other figures, but that didn’t last long as I saw some rather cool second hand figures in GAME that were just a couple of pounds. I can see why Skylanders is so addictive.

 

One thing that really stood out is that had both Skylanders and Disney Infinity hadn’t included figures, we probably wouldn’t compare these games as much, but I almost look at the games in the same way as Super Mario vs Sonic the Hedgehog were rivals back in the day. While they are competitors to one another, effectively they are very different and spur each other on to create better games.

Disney Infinity’s Toy Box mode is unlike anything in Skylanders, they can be battle arenas if desired but they have a very different feel to a battle arena in Skylanders. Disney’s Toy Box mode is aiming at Minecraft gamers, which allows Infinity fans to use their imagination to go wild. Something that Skylander’s doesn’t seem to be as interested in.

Without doubt, both games are focused on selling more toys and that’s where the two games go toe to toe, especially on the shop floor, usually the figures are next to one another on the shelves and with more toys coming with Trap Team and 2.0, the competition between the two is going to be under more pressure from Nintendo’s new figures. Disney has an advantage of its characters, but I honestly believe that the stronger the competition is, the better Disney Infinity will get.

Infinity and Skylanders aren’t going anywhere for a while, the competition between the two is good for gamers, but for people’s pockets, it can be tough, especially with the “gotta get them all” mentality. So trying to do the two games at the same time, isn’t going to be easy on the wallet, so getting hold of older series on the secondary market or holding out for discounts is going to be the key if you’re willing to wait.

As I’ve said, comparing Skylanders to Disney Infinity is natural, but there are so many differences, they are very different, going forward many people are trying to pick a side, which is good for the pocket, but remember, you don’t need everything to play these games. Both Disney and Activision would like you to, but its not essential .

What do you guys think?

Check out my VK Diary on Skylanders Swap Force

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vm_nemo_-jr_-marlin_orgOn July 11th, Disney are releasing a new Junior series based on the Finding Nemo movie and what is so interesting about this series (other than the cute little Squirt figure) was that Disney have finally reduced the size of the series, going from 18 figures down to 12, resulting in a case dropping a dozen figures. Instead of 2 chasers per case, there is now just a single chase, moving the Junior case size down to the original 3” layout of two sets of 11 figures plus a chaser and a filler.

Fans have been saying it for years, the Junior series have been too big and too much of a financial outlay as buying over 16 figures at $9.95 that you don’t want, simply put too many people off buying cases and the other big problem with many of the junior series is there were often too many filler figures which weren’t wanted.

This new Nemo Junior series is a very strong line up with lots of mainstream characters that will get people buying into the series, the previous series Aladdin had some strong designs but again, the amount of figures in a series put off collectors from buying too many blind boxes.

I’ve always felt the Junior was overpriced, at $9.95 a figure, seems a lot for something that is half the price of the normal 3” figure, there obviously is some cost in the keychain but when it was sat on the shelf next to other figures at the same price, they didn’t look that attractive.

aladdin jr trayI’m not a huge Junior collector, I have plenty that came with other Vinylmations as part of a package such as the Brave Triples but rarely have I gone and brought too many blind boxes of Juniors, I did have a punt on some Goofy Juniors and Star Wars Droids but after only picking up the “fillers” that I didn’t want, I almost had to give them away as nobody wanted them.

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While this move to make Junior series smaller, I still don’t think they went far enough, since Disney cut the size of the 3” series down to just 8 including the chaser, I thought the Junior series might have matched it and looking at the Nemo series, had they cut out some of the unknown sea creatures, it would have been a very strong series that I think would have been even more popular.

Juniors are a strange thing within the Vinylmation community, some people love them and some people simply don’t bother with them, everyone has a different reason and I’m sure many collectors are happy with the Junior series size being cut, I for one think its a step in the right direction.

What do you think?