Hands On with New Vinylmation Mold; Review and Reaction

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Destination Vinylmation was allowed an exclusive hands on with the new Vinylmation mold this morning at D-Street. We also had the chance to talk to Vinylmation Project Manager Donald Ferro. This weekend on the DV podcast, we will share with you the complete interview with Donald, including Disney’s take on the new mold, but first, here are my first impressions of the new mold after getting to handle it in person.

Side by Side. New Mold on Left
***Please note that the Vinylmation are on a slightly slanted surface; in person, they are the same height.

I was able to view a Sea Creature 3″ (first series to be released on the new mold), a blank white new mold, and blank white original mold. Please note, the New Blank Mold is NOT a Create Your Own… we will talk about that later. My first reaction to seeing the new mold in person was a positive one. The most striking feature is the amount of flat, open canvas the artists will be working on. With the removal of the buttons and the facial contours, artists are left with a noticeably broader, flatter canvas. Donald says artists will now more accurately be able to translate their designs from 2D to 3D. Look at these close ups of the body:

New Mold
Original Mold

You can see the amount of smooth, usable canvas that has been created. The photos do not do this justice and you will instantly see what I mean when you see it in person. The second thing I noticed is something I missed with the photographs Disney released. Take a look at the neck, bottom of head, shoulders and arms. The pieces just fit much better. Cleaner lines. When I asked Donald about this, he said this will all translate into a better looking final printing of the design. The tightness, he said, also allows for a smoother looking design as the art transitions to the the different pieces of the body. I have to say, once you get one of these in your hands, you will notice how tightly everything fits together. Come on, how many of us have figures with loose arms?

New Mold

The top of the head is more rounded. Donald says should be able to more accurately translate things like human characters onto this canvas. The ears are more defined, circular and well spaced. The face is also less chubby. Look how it drops straight down on the sides. Again, the theme here is making it easier, not for the artists to design, but for the artist’s true designs to accurately wrap around the 3D vinyl figure. In talking to the artists at the signing, so many designs are altered because they could not be translated onto the original mold.

New Mold on Left

I’ll be the first one to say, the Vinylmation loses a bit of its “Mickeyness” in the profile view… it actually looks a bit ugly. The shape just seems a odd without the nose, buttons or cheeks to define it. This is one opinion that wasn’t changed in person. Many of you have commented on this as well. Donald answers this concern by saying all the changes that were made will give us a more polished finished product. And he remarks that this is still very much Mickey from straight on… and I can not argue with that. It seems to me a bit of a trade off, lose some definition for a better final product. I will be giving the artists the benefit of the doubt here. After all, according to Donald, it is the artists who initiated this design change. You can see from the profile view above how the head fits more neatly onto the body. Note the forehead, it takes a steeper dip… again, allowing for more visible canvas to be facing you.

New Mold
Original Mold

Next is the arms. They have been made much smaller. The first thing I noticed here is that more of the side body is visible now because of this. Like the rest of the body, Donald says the smaller and smoother shape, again allows for easier wrapping of the design. And of course, the right hand now is more obviously shaped to hold things. Donald says accessories will now be easier to make and fit much better. Like them or love them, they are here to stay.

New Mold
Original Mold

Now down to the feet. We know they are removable, but what does that accomplish? Donald says with the removable feet, the artists are now able to wrap the design around the feet and legs and hide any paint lines. They are very excited about this feature.

New Mold
Original Mold

The feet are noticeable smaller, square and not as deeply indented in between allowing for a more seamless design.

New Mold
New Mold

At first, like many of you, I was very apprehensive about this new design. I didn’t like them taking away some of Mickey’s more defined features in place of a less defined piece of vinyl. But at the end of the day, it’s still very much Mickey Mouse.

New Mold on Left
New Mold on Left

Once you are able to hold one in your hands, you will see what I mean about the tightness of the construction. I can now see how the design will be more seamlessly wrapped around it. I also can not discount the attitude of the artists. They are great people, who I can tell care greatly about their work, and have fun doing it. They want the best possible representations of their designs on the final product. Donald wants people to know that the decision to change the mold was not done lightly. He assures us that the designs to come are remarkable and worth the change. Only time will tell. What I can tell you is that I was impressed. Please believe me when I say I don’t like change. I like my Mickey Mouse and that shape is what makes these collectibles so unique. We are not losing that. I was not happy when I saw the photographs of Sea Creatures Disney released. But seeing it in person and witnessing the excitement that Donald and the artists have, I have every reason to believe this is a positive step. That being said, I don’t think Sea Creatures will be a good first example. The Turtle looked amazing in person, but the shape of these animals lend itself to this new mold very well. Parks, Urbans, and others will be the true test.

New Mold on Right

Please tune into Episode 18 of Destination Vinylmation, to be released this weekend, for a full interview with Donald Ferro. He addresses some of your concerns that you left at our website, tells you from the Disney perspective why these changes were made and how they will affect the final product. He also discuss what this new mold means for 9″ figures and Create Your Owns. After the podcast, we will post an article with quotes from the interview.

About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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Dil-Domine Leonares
Guest
Dil-Domine Leonares

It’s a bit of a turn off for future Vinylmation collection… I wish they kept the old mold.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Yikes. Those two side by side look like development stages of a fetus. I do not like the new mold at all. It’s blobby and strange. The old mold is actually cute on its own. Now, the mold is just ugly on its own.

konrad
Guest
konrad

best. analysis. EVER.

Chris (IndyandMarion)
Guest
Chris (IndyandMarion)

After seeing more detailed photos and reading this article, I gotta say. . . Yeeeeah, still not liking this at all. The buttons I can deal with, but the nose should have remained. The new hands look more like flippers without the defining lines of the figures. Just, no. I’ll buy the “Wrapping the painting will be made easier” part, glad they worked that out, but other than that, no. Finally, why make the “accessory” hand for all of the figures? I’ll just look odd. Like every figure is supposed to hold something, even if it isn’t. Personally, I’d say… Read more »

Nick Jerabek
Guest
Nick Jerabek

Hey Chris. I completely agree with you about the whole nose missing and I’m even ticked off by the disappearance of the buttons. In my opinion, the contour lines are also a huge loss when taken off of Mickey’s face and torso. As far as the arms and hands go, here’s my two cents on why they should stay the way they are. Disney is all about innovation and imagination. They began their vinylmation series with blanks, for customers to customize their own. That branched into what vinylmation is today. Although not a ton of vinylmations have accessories at the… Read more »

Josh
Guest
Josh

I have to say that I still miss the old mold. I guess instead of buying new vinylmations I can use my money to start buying some from previous sets. Just looks like a formless blob. Bye Mickey :(

Chris (IndyandMarion)
Guest
Chris (IndyandMarion)

*Original Vinylmation mold walks in*

Heello traders. Look at your vinylmation, now back to me, now back to your vinylmation, now back to me…

jayproze
Guest
jayproze

it went from being Mickey Mouse with different designs on him to just a blob with “Mickey Ears” on it. don’t like it at all hopefully sooner than later they will realize that it is a bad idea and go back to the old mold

jayproze
Guest
jayproze

does anybodyelse think the new mold looks like a 3in Jr vinyl

DVILLE
Guest
DVILLE

yes exactly! and ugly

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

I’m not happy about it it just lost the all mickey feeling,it doesn’t looks 3″ anymore, but I love Vinylmations and I will continue collecting them even though “I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT ” :(

kelskc
Guest
kelskc

I still don’t like the new mold. It defeats the whole purpose of vm’s in my opinion. Like Jayproze said, its like they basically just have mickey ears. For me the whole idea of VM was to have other designs ON MICKEY, that made it worthwhile and a collectible. Will see hot it goes but I don’t know if I will really be investing money into the new vms if they have that body.

Thanks for the excellent write up though!

VinylTiki
Guest
VinylTiki

Nope still don’t like it – I appreciate the in-depth analysis though, nicely done. But, my opinion remains the same, these lost all the unique features that made it Mickey – it looks a like a cheap knockoff of the original mold that was someone was trying to pass off as real. It’s fantastic that the artists will have an easier time with their designs – but I think the new mold could’ve been made to accommodate that and still retain all the unique Mickey features. Like Josh said – guess all that money I’ll save not buying the new… Read more »

JUSTIN
Guest
JUSTIN

IM TRYING HARD TO LIKE IT, BUT THE BELLY AND THE LONG FLAT FACE ISNT CUTTING IT. I GET THE WHO SMOOTH LOOK, BUT I THINK THE COMPANY ISNT GOING FOR LOOKS, BUT RATHER AIMING FOR AN EASIER PAINT JOB RESULTS CONSIDERING ALL THE CRESES ARE GONE AND THE PIECE JUST GOT FLATTER. I CAN DEAL WITH THE JR LOOK A LIKE HEAD BUT THE BODY JUST LOOKS LIKE A PLUMP CURVE LESS RAT. THE POINT OF VINYLMATION WAS TO DARE TO CREATE AN IMAGE ON A 3D CANVAS OF MICKEY! WTF IS THIS, A TRAINING COARSE IN PAINTING ON… Read more »

Tayner Ex-Vinylmation Lover Because Of These Changes
Guest
Tayner Ex-Vinylmation Lover Because Of These Changes

Why? Cant Disney know a good thing when they have one and not change it? As someone above mr said, its like a blob with mickey ears. I agree entirely. I spent days trying to convince myself that this is better. I couldnt bring myself to lie like this! Please Disney, change it back! I will now be spending my money on buying previous Vinylmations of the old mold from EBAY, not you Disney. You just lost one customer who has given you thousands in $$ from the old Vinylmations alone. Say good bye to many other like me.

Stacy S
Guest
Stacy S

I agree completely. I bought a cutester 3 and it looks cheap. My husband works with plastic molds etc and compared the two and said that the new design is made out of cheaper materials. The paint job was bad. I just will not buy them anymore. I have 2 daughters who were collecting and they were appalled! They liked the fact that all the old ones were shaped like Mickey!

Erica Barthel
Guest
Erica Barthel

Let’s all boycott the new VM and maybe Disney will revert to the old design! I will be visiting WDW twice this year and will not be purchasing any of the VM. I had begun to collect them but in light of the design change I will discontinue my collecting of them. I might continue to purchase the VM with the original design but definately will forego purchasing the new design. I totally agree with Chris’ previous post. The new design does look like a newly formed fetus. Thanks but no thanks to the new design. I suppose all’s well… Read more »

Claudia
Guest
Claudia

I believe that the artists have the best intentions when it comes to their designs translating onto the new vinylmation mold. However, part of me is also thinking that Disney (corporate) is also trying to save on production costs by making it easier for the factory to print on the new molds. Disney: is it really worth saving a couple of cents to print a vinyl on the new mold and loose thousands of dollars in sales from disinterested collectors?? I think not. PS. I HATE the new hands (they do look like flippers), and totally dislike the new face;… Read more »

Reese Kirchofer
Guest
Reese Kirchofer

reading comments while drinking a glass of classic coca-cola. Man I am enjoying the coke…..the new mold not so much.

Josh S
Guest
Josh S

The new mold is not Mickey. That is what vinylmation is supposed to be. They did a remarkable job with the original mold and it should have stayed that way. Where’s Mickey’s nose or buttons? Take away iconic features of Mickey and you’ve now lost sight of what vinylmation was supposed to be.

doug Macleay
Guest
doug Macleay

First of all I love your site. Keep up the great work. I am also disappointed with the change. Perhaps those who do alot of work with create your own Vinyls will welcome the change. Since I have no talent at create your own vinyls I will totally miss the more Mickey look of the old mold. Like someone else said they now all look like the style of Vinylmation jr’s

Wolfy
Guest
Wolfy

It’s over. I was really starting to get into vinylmations. Disney, if you are reading this, you should know what a colossal mistake you are making. I am inclined to agree with another commenter, if you look at the smoothness of the textures, it looks like it’s all just a cost-cutting measure, plain and simple –which is shocking considering the damn things already cost 10 to 13 dollars minimum and we are buying most site-unseen. Until you switch it back, you’ve lost me, Disney. I don’t say that out of spite… I say it out of disheartenment.

Cesilie
Guest
Cesilie

As much as it may be great for the artist to paint on part of this was made to BE Mickey and create something on him. Not change up the mold because it was “easier”… I’m really disappointed…. obviously the “don’t fix if it isn’t broken” saying wasn’t though of when Disney changed this…. It just looks all wrong. When I see the new mold I see stepping back into what the first vinyls should have looked like versus the original which look like a HUGE improvement. The new mold isn’t Mickey at all. Its a blob with ears. The… Read more »

Brad
Guest
Brad

Thanks Nick for the amazing analysis of the old VM vs the new! I appreciate the way you broke down all aspects of both of them. The comparison did one thing for me: it allowed me to see how much I DO DISLIKE the new design! Sounds like many of us collectors agree that Disney Artists will be able to transfer more creative, detailed designs to the new look VM. On the other hand, I can get a cardboard toilet paper roll to make it easier to apply a more detailed design, but that doesn’t mean I want to collect… Read more »