Vinylmation Exchange Report: May 13th, 2011

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by Ryan Thompson

Welcome to the third edition of V.E.R., or the Vinylmation Exchange Report. This week’s article will focus on Park series 9 inch releases. The park series, is of course, Vinylmation inspired by scenes, characters and imagery from the various Disney theme parks, and what a better way to display them than in the larger, more detailed, 9 inch form! From the creepy wallpaper inside the Haunted Mansion, to a trashcan in Fantasyland, the Disney artists have picked their way through the parks… and they still aren’t through! However, just because it’s based on your favorite ride, doesn’t mean it’s worth a lot – this article will discuss the various rarities and values of the Park 9 inch figures.

To keep things interesting, I’ve decided that I cannot pick more than ONE figure from each series in each category… otherwise all the rising stars would be from Park 1!

VER RISING STARS:

1. Park 1 – “Watching You” 9”/3” combo by Dan Howard.

· Haunted Mansion is surely one of the most popular rides amongst the various Disney theme parks, and it became the first figure to have multiple figures based on it when Park 1 was released… and they all concentrated on the wallpaper! Yes the infamous “Creepy Wallpaper” was the subject of both a regular 3” Vinylmation, and this set; which at the time was given a relatively “large” release number of LE500. Despite the “high” numbers of figures this was an early sell out, and still a sticking point for many collectors! This one is rarely traded, and barely makes appearances on eBay, but when it does it outsells even the Balloon chaser and other hard to find figures. One of these in your collection is more than an investment; it’s a status symbol!

· Possible trades: SHAG, Wall-E and Eve, Balloon Chaser.

2. Park 2 – “Mine Mine Mine” 9” figure by Maria Clapsis.

· While this writer doesn’t like to covet over a single figure for very long, I have to admit that this particular figure has given me many headaches; and I don’t even own it! A very hard to find figure from Park 2, “Mine Mine Mine” by Maria Clapsis is one of the earliest Pixar based Vinylmation figures. It’s neat design, which matches almost identically to a line of additional merchandise, and it’s connection to a VERY popular movie mean that this one, like the Watching You set above, was snatched up VERY quickly, and makes rare appearances on trading/selling forums. Looking for it can certainly make you feel like Marlin trying to fine Nemo… but if I ever get my hands on one, I know what I’ll be saying… “Mine… MINE… MINE!!!!”

· POSSIBLE trades: Safari Mickey, Incredibles Set, Wall-e and Eve.

3. Park 3 – “Carnotaurus” by Maria Clapsis

· This is an interesting case, mostly because people might assume I would chose a Disney Cruise Line exclusive for Park 3, as three great figures were released only on the DCL boats, Wonder, Magic and the Castaway Cay 9/3” set. However, because those aren’t “really” in the Park 3 set (they were NEVER sold at a park), we must look beyond those to a red Dinosaur that no one would expect; Carnotaurus. The second Maria Clapsis design to make the list, this one actually did NOT sell out very fast, and was on the shelf for awhile, and even after selling out on both coasts, stayed at a steady value for months. However, in the past year, as new collectors come to Vinylmation looking for relatively “cute” figures (it is a giant scary dinosaur after all), this one is sought after by MANY collectors. Its value goes for 4 to 5 times its retail value, and sometimes much higher as this hard to find figure has been known to set off a bidding war. You have to believe though that its connection to the relatively unpopular “Dinosaur” ride has little to do with its value.

· POSSIBLE trades: Crossroads, Test Track, Creepy Wallpaper 3”.

VER SINKING STARS

1. Park 4 – “Adventures through Inner Space” by Maria Clapsis.

· Here we see Maria entering the other side of the list, in a figure that is well designed, but perhaps in a “why did they make THAT?” kind of way. For those that don’t know, “Adventures through Inner Space” was a ride that debuted in Disneyland in 1967, marked most notably perhaps as the first omnimover ride (that would later go on to power Haunted Mansion’s Doom Buggies) and also narrated by Haunted Mansion’s Paul Frees with music by the duo that created the infamous “Small World” music. The ride would take the guests through a giant microscope and into the wonderful world of micro…whatevers. Something sciency I am sure. Did I mention that the ride closed in 1987 to make way for Star Tours? Anyway, Maria Clapsis did a WONDERFUL job of capturing the feel of a ride no one remembers, but it didn’t help the popularity of this figure, despite the frenzy over every other Park 4 figure.

· POSSIBLE trades: 3D Glasses Mickey, Talespin, Little Green Men from Park 2.

2. Park 3 – “Fantasyland Trashcan” by Jeff Eborsohl

· A great idea, a figure based on a fixture in the parks people often overlook, the surprise part of this 9 inch figure from Park 2 is that it’s readily available for trade/buy. The design is simple enough, but perhaps it’s not as popular as the other Park 3 figures because it uses a decal in the center, a technique no longer used on Vinylmation… the decals would get sticky, and in heat, would even MOVE, ruining or disfiguring the decal. Or it could just be that it’s based on a trashcan, and not many people have an emotional attachment to the place we put our waste. Either way, this is the easiest Park 3 9” figure to collect.

· POSSIBLE trades: Sci Fi Diner, Tiki Room, Drippy chaser.

3. Park 2 – “Epcot Icons” by Thomas Scott.

· Speaking of head scratchers, here is one sinking star I just don’t understand. I like Epcot. I like Vinylmation. I like icons… however combining them all into this figure leaves some to be desired. I think I understand what the infamous Thomas Scott was going for here, but perhaps the paint or paint process took something away from the embossed metal look he was trying to convey. Instead we just get… grey, adorned with 8 symbols in… lighter grey. Boring. Despite being Park 2, this one sells sometimes less than twice its retail, and is easier for those attached to the parks to give up. If you have one keep it, but if you don’t, you REALLY gotta love Epcot to trade for it!

· POSSIBLE trades: Peter Pan, Julius 9/3 combo.

So that wraps up week 3 of V.E.R. IF you’re reading this, pop a note in the comments to let us know what you think, and possibly what areas you’d like to see covered in future V.E.R.s? Remember to collect what you like, and until next time… Make Mine Vinyl.

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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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