Sea Creatures Vinylmation were released on Friday. They are the first Vinylmation to feature the new mold that will be phased in over time. What follows is my take on it, and a New Mold, Original Mold side by side breakdown of the differences.
My overall opinion of the new mold is positive. From the front, it holds Mickey’s shape, has a broader canvas to show off the design and has a tighter looking fit. From the side, it does look a bit awkward, but I don’t display many Vinylmation sideways. Also, after talking to Disney, the artists, and personal observation, I want to stress an important point: This new mold is not to give the artists themselves an easier canvas to design on, what this new canvas WILL do is allow for the artists’ true conceptual designs to be more accurately represented onto a Vinylmation in the printing process.
From front on, the new mold has a broader body and head. A little bit of the roundness of the head does disappear, but more design will be featured.
Looking at the profile, more of the body sticks out in the rear on the new mold. You can also see the flatter front of the body facing out.
The nose is a much talked about difference and it is striking from the side. Look at the arms, they are much smaller and evenly shaped, allowing for more of the body canvas to be visible. This also allows for less bumps and creases to make the final printing more smooth. The arms are also more squarely placed onto the figure.
A close up of the feet reveal less of a space between the feet.
Again, more design will be visible. The new feet are also more square, less rounded. Take a look at the feet area of the new mold above as compared to the original, there are less creases around the ankles, the body comes down and fills that space above the feet out… these changes, along with detachable feet (see below) allow for a cleaner paint job on the final product. I hope, this design change gives us cleaner lines between the paint colors and less mistakes.
The bottom of the feet shows off the different shape very well, with the new mold more square. Also notice the raised “Vinylmation” logo.
Here is an arms off profile.
You can see the arms on the newer mold are places more squarely on the side of the body instead of toward the rear. The body of the new mold is also slightly shorter from feet to neck, however in a heads on side by side, they look about equal… if anything, the new one taller to the tips of the ears.
Here is a view of the backs, side by side.
Original mold is slightly thiner looking and taller to the neck. Also the head peg is taller, but don’t worry Combo Contest fans, the heads seem interchangeable so far.
You can see how smaller all the features of the new arm are… the arm, fingers and cuff. The new arm is made to hold accessories… no questions about it.
Look at the shape of the top of the head and ears.
The ears are also attached differently. This profile shot shows a striking difference.
The new mold has straight, flat ears. The old ears were curved a bit. As a fan of artists using the ears to create backdrops or doping in symbols that relate to the rest of art, I like this design feature that displays the ears straight toward the viewer.
One feature that helps the artists is the detachable feet. Doesn’t detract from the look of the figure and will hopefully allow for cleaner printing of the designs.
One thing we know we will see now is uniquely shaped arms. Sea Creatures Lobster has a claw, and we know the upcoming Pirates series will have at least one hook for a hand.
When first announced, I was not excited about this new mold. Then I saw it in person, and although I’m still not “excited”, I am hopeful. I can see whey these changes were made, and overall, they seem for the better. I will wait until I get a hands on with the Pirates series to pass full judgement, as it’s hard to tell by these Sea Creatures designs what the new mold really means for the final product. I like the broader front facing canvas, but at the same time, do not like the seemingly squashed figure (although that seems mostly an optical illusion). The figures feel different, obviously smoother, and a bit softer. But the colors and designs printed very well on them. Again, if this change was done for the right reasons, I can’t wait to see what the artists at Disney deliver to us next.