The Lion King Vinylmation Explained

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Lion King
Release Date: August 21 at D23 Expo; August 29 at Disney Stores
Disney Store Exclusive
Retail: TBA


Released to theaters on June 15, 1994 by Walt Disney Pictures, The Lion King is the 32nd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. The Lion King will be released on Blu Ray on October 4th, 2011 and hit theaters once again for two weeks beginning September 16th… this time in 3D.

“First impression… this set is amazing. The detail on the figures blows me away. Rafiki stands out as my favorite. I’m a little disappointed in Zazu, but can’t place it. I will say I’m a bit disappointed in character selection, but only because I would have liked to see maybe some Lion King landscapes, or other (non main character) animals, or movie scenes. Lion King is a vibrant movie, and that is captured on the characters here, but I would have like the envelope pushed farther. Here is where I get controversial… two Hyenas here? either give us all three or none. Because as much as like New Mold, the Villains 1 Banzai doesn’t fit here. Now that you guys changed my mind this is Banzai here and not Ed, that means the chaser most likely is Ed. They wouldn’t give us 2 Hyenas, with one we already have in Villains 1, and not all 3… or would they? Just one more thing… lots of tails???” – Nick

Mufasa

Voiced by James Earl Jones

King of Pridelands and Simba’s father.

Beautiful colors and great use of the entire mold to give Mufasa a strong presence. I do not agree with the angry roar version depicted here. I think of Mufasa more as a stoic and wise leader. I would have liked to see a friendlier looking version.

Young Nala

Voiced by Niketa Calame

Simba’s best friend and later mate.

A nice clean and simple look.

Young Simba

Voiced by Johnathan Taylor Thomas

Zoe called this one! She calls him “I just can’t wait to be king Simba”. It’s young Simba with the leaves all around his head before he grows up and gets his mane. Great looking figure. I might be blasted for this, but this young Simba looks 20x better than the Animation 1 Combo Topper.

Baby Simba

Voiced by N/A

Simply a brilliant choice. Didn’t expect this one. Thank Zoe for helping figure this one out. He looks perturbed at being shown off around the Pridelands and comes complete with the markings Rafiki put on his little head.

Timon

Voiced by Nathan Lane

This guy and Pumba make this set great. The artist took the fun route with these guys, not just giving you the character, but designing a representation of classic movie scenes. Look at the animation in his mouth as it raises up and back. Perfect.Also, I like the small detail like the light brown color coming down onto the hand uneven, not a straight line at the cuff.

Pumbaa

Voiced by Ernie Sabella

Awesome! Simply a great capture. Look how big his face is. Takes up the whole figure. That’s where the artists excel in this set… using the head for the upper part of the face and extending it down into the body. Then the colors and detail on the bug as well.

Zazu

Voiced by Rowan Atkinson

Why does this one just miss for me? And no mold cracks please. They eyes and body color are captured well. I would argue that the feet need to be an orange as opposed to yellow. Maybe he needs a neck piece? Maybe, like Cruella, he needs to be painted inside the body and not fill out the body? Maybe a profile would have worked better. Big question… Sam the Eagle like tail on back?

Rafiki

Voiced by Robert Guillaume

Best figure in set hands down. Wow! Good job Disney artists. The accessory really puts him over the top. Great facial expression, coloring and placement of art.

Scar

Voiced by Jeremy Irons

Very similar to Mufasa in style, they are brothers, but Scar of course has the more menacing and dark look to him. Again, his features are perfectly captured on the mold. Pairing a roaring Scar with a roaring Mufasa does make sense.

Shenzi

Voiced by Whoopi Goldberg

One of Scar’s three henchmen hyenas.

This one looks good. The tuft of hair on the head. The menacing smile. Nicely done.

Ed Banzai

Voiced by Cheech Marin

One of Scar’s three henchmen hyenas.

Thanks for all you comments changing my mind. I thought this was a total miss as ED, because I couldn’t believe they would put another Banzai in a set after Villains 1… but they did. I’ll say, this one looks better.

Mystery Chaser

What are your guesses? Sarabi? Timon in hula skirt? Ed?

Packaging photos (darn you Disney for making me keep more empty boxes!!!):

Copyright Disney
Copyright Disney
Copyright Disney
Copyright Disney

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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.

33 Comments

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  • Well since the “Ed” shown here is really “Banzai”, my guess is that the Mystery Chaser is ED. :)

  • I had a thought. Possible variant and/or chaser: Mufasa’s ghost/spirit???? Any other ideas for variants or chasers??

  • chaser ideas i’m thinking:
    Mufasa in stars
    Older Nala (altho there wouldn’t be much of a difference)
    Rafiki’s Tree with the Simba drawing he does on it (I would love this as the simba is going to be my first tattoo)
    Pride rock.

    that’s what I think… I am in LOVE with this set and can’t wait to purchase the tray :) TLK was one of my favorite movies and this set takes the cake! :D

  • I agreee with Rafiki. He is the best in the set. I’m dissapointed in Timons translation to the Vinyl. He should have been designed with the Cruella effect (Skinny Body inside the vinyl) The worms are a nice touch though. I also belive that the second Hyena is Banzai and not Ed. They eyes are totally wrong for it to be Ed.

    • Good call on Timon, just for some reason Zazu stuck out more to me… but I agree. And I updated the hyenas. Banzai was my first thought, but I didn’t think they would do that. Thanks!

      • See I think the nose “button” we have very much been in the way on this series and distorted the look of the some of the characters like it does to my Bean Bunny I am looking at

  • I have to agree with you. The new mold does absolute justice on this series. Hands down the best themed series to date.

    Some of the figures that made this set for what it was musafa, zazu, and rafiki.

    I wasnt necessarily disappointed in the choice of characters because this should be a simple set however the way they did some of the characters were amazing like pumbaa and timon.

    Also, from numerous source this is a highly anticipated set. But the price point makes this all worthy of one of the best deals on the market at 9.95 a blind box. If that is, thank you Disney once again for making this accessible to the average disney enthusiast and gives us some time to relax with our wallets and appreciate what you are putting out there instead of the daunting 12.95 a blind box price point.

    In fact, these are even better than the pirates series hands down. The new mold is here however as of park 7 its a pass for me on the new mold

    Outstanding work, the packaging could just hit the ebay shelves alone its that good.

      • See I think the nose “button” we have very much been in the way on this series and distorted the look of the some of the characters like it does to my Bean Bunny I am looking at

  • My guess for the chaser is: Adult Simba, hello where is he? Or a rap around pride rock scene. Maybe too ambitious for that last idea ha.

  • The reason “Ed’s” a miss for you? It’s not Ed, it’s another Banzai. Weird, I know, but think about it. Why would the artist miss so many MAJOR Ed features, such as Ed having now eyebrows and the tongue hanging out? Not only that, but it kind of looks like Banzai. As for Baby Simba, I believe it may be Simba’s kid from the end of the movie, since the coloring doesn’t look like Simba’s.

    I love Rafiki’s cane, I was worried that it wouldn’t be included or would look bad, but it looks absolutely AMAZING. That is definitely a MUST HAVE for me. As for the chaser, I’d love a Mufasa in stars.

  • Yup I concur. Definitely not ED it doesn’t looks like him at all and has all the same looks as Banzai.

  • I think that the chaser might be a hyena since there were 3 in the film and only 2 are shown above. I also agree that the Ed figure above does look more like Banzai from the villains series. so maybe Ed will be the chaser. any which way I can’t wait and I think they all look nice even on the new mold.

  • I took it as the Nala actually being adult Nala, the baby being Kiara not baby Simba and the second hyena is definitely another Banzai and not Ed.

  • Like many have already said that hyena isn’t Ed but rather Banzai. However he will most likely be in the set somehow, I think it’s too obvious to be a chaser but maybe a varient? If we do have an Ed figure then you can tell difference because Ed will have… very thin eyebrows similar to Shenzi
    pupils small and not looking straight
    most likely have a tongue hanging out
    plus jagged bite marks on ears.

    TSSD :As for Baby Simba, I believe it may be Simba’s kid from the end of the movie, since the coloring doesn’t look like Simba’s.

    Agreed colouring isn’t like baby simba’s and more like Kiara’s although she is still a shade more yellow. But Kiara doesn’t have any clear markings such as simba has (the vertical stripes on forehead as well as dots on arms), so I still belive its a baby simba.

  • Thanks everyone about the hyenas. I thought the same thing about it being Banzai, but just couldn’t believe they would give us another one, or that a hyena would be a chaser. But your right, I thought it looked like Banzai too, but just didn’t think they would do that. I’ll make the change.

    As for the baby… believe me, I spent much time looking and comparing pictures all over the place. The markings look more like simbas.

    Going by color is a bit hard… I think a few of the color shades in the eyes, fur, feet are off.

  • I think that isn’t Baby Simba but Baby Nala (baby Simba isn’t as fair as this), and that Young Nala is Simbas mum Sarabi.
    I wich they had put Ed in as he is my favorite and we don’t need 2 of Banzi. I love Rafki glad he has his stick, and i do like Timon, Pumba, Scar and Zazu

  • The baby is definitely throwing me off. That is the coloring they use for the female lions throughout the movie so I think that it may be Simba’s daughter. I am going to go out on a limb and put my money on it.

    As for the chaser I would prefer the Mufasa in the stars or Pride rock to an adult Simba. Especially if I am wrong about the baby and it is Simba, I would be disappointed with three different Simbas in one set. The most likely choice would be Ed seeing as he is the only big character not in the set which I am really surprised about since there is already a Banzai.

    I can not wait to buy a tray! I am one that keeps harping about how much I hate the new mold but it works with this set. Mufasa is definitely my favorite…. Rafiki is a close second.

  • It’s weird, when I saw these figures on the blog I was in, but when I saw the close up shots on here, I was out. :( I’m trying to like the new mold, I really am! I am still sold on the Cars 2 ones though, so there’s that lol.

  • The vinyl is Ed when he gets angry at the end of the movie, right when the hyenas are attacking Scar. His eyebrows are different than Bonzai from Villians.

  • I have seen and even held these vinyls what you can’t tell from the pics is that they all use clear ears with the ear of the character painted on them to give a true translation of the characters ear. Looks awesome!

  • I buy vinylmations frequently and more than once I have finished a box from the disney store. Does anyone know if the disney store keeps the display boxes or if i could get them somehow? I notice in this post you said “darn you Disney for making me keep more empty boxes!!” Which is what made me curios.

    • I’m not sure, but I can imagine it’s on a store to store basis. If the CM is nice, they might give it to you. Doesn’t hurt to ask. M.C. and I cheat, we split cases and alternate who gets the chaser. This way we get a whole set right away to review and talk about on the site and podcast. And of course that means we have a whole lot of empty cases lying around. We haven’t had to fight over any of them yet… Lion King may be the first. Maybe whoever doesn’t get the chaser? BTW, before this question comes up we have a complicated formula to split variants as well. Supposedly I owe M.C. the next 2 variants (he’s just jealous I got Obi
      Wan Ghost back in the day).

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