Apr 26, 2011

60th Anniversary of Walt Disney's Cinderella Vinylmation Figure

60th Anniversary of Walt Disney's Cinderella Vinylmation figure at Walt Disney World, the figure was only available at Magic Kingdom Park

This was a 3" limited edition figure and had an edition size of 800 and came in a collectible tin that we just love. Here's a look at the beautiful artwork that went into the creation of the tin: 

Cinderella Tin Art

And here's a look at the finished tin itself:

Cinderella Tin

Walt Disney's Cinderella premiered on February 15, 1950 and ushered in a new wave of Disney classics. It's amazing that sixty one years later the film seems just as beloved as ever.

Apr 22, 2011

9-inch plus 3-inch set released today

Would You Like Some Gum?

We just learned that a new 9-inch plus 3-inch set will be released today via the Disney Parks On-Line Store. Part of the Urban #6 Series, this figure features a Gumball Machine and a boy blowing a bubble. We spoke with Caley Hicks about her work on designing the nine-inch gumball machine figure. 

"The original design for the machine called for way more colors than what was produced," explained Caley. "I had to limit the colors and shading due to the manufacturing process. Yet, I'm happy how the final piece turned out as the simplified graphics look better than I imagined." 

The figure compliements the recently released Disney Ear Hat that resembles a Gumball Machine.

Apr 18, 2011

9-inch Figures from Park #5 Vinylmation Series

Release date: February 25, 2011
Series: Park #5 9-inch figures

Goofy's Barnstormer
This figure pays tribute to Goofy's Barnstormer at the former Mickey's Toontown Fair in Magic Kingdom Park. It was designed by Eric Caszatt. 

Kickin' Things a Little Retro
Monty Maldovan designed this retro-inspired figure celebrating Disneyland Park.

Apr 15, 2011

Released Today: Muppet Series 2

'Pigs in Space' Vinylmation Figures

As a child, one of my favorite segments from The Muppet Show was “Pigs in Space” (followed by “Veterinarian’s Hospital” and the “Muppet News Flash”). I can’t get the announcer’s voice out of my head – “Piiiiigs in Spaaaace!” So, I was super thrilled to see Link Hogthrob, Dr. Julius Strangepork and Miss Piggy come to life as new Vinylmation figures in the second Muppets series. It was more than a year ago when I first spoke with Monty Maldovan, the Disney Design Group Artist responsible for the Muppets Vinylmation figures. I caught up with Monty to learn about what we can expect from the new series arriving at the D-Street locations in California and Florida on April 15, 2011.

“I had so many ideas that spilled over from series one into series two,“ explained Monty. “The biggest difference from the first series is the use of accessories. I actually redesigned several figures to include them.”

Muppet Series 2 Vinylmation Figures

Zoot the saxophone player is one of the figures with an accessory (his hat is removable). I always liked that character probably because I once played the sax. Monty’s favorite character from the series is Dr. Teeth (he still has a fondness for Kermit the Frog though – who doesn’t?).

“Dr. Teeth is very colorful,” laughed Monty. “After seeing the first concept, Thomas Scott, one of the lead artists for Vinylmation, had me reduce the number of colors I selected to help with the manufacturing process. Despite the reduction, he may be the most colorful three-inch figure ever!”

Nine-inch Sam the Eagle Vinylmation Figure
The other big difference in series two is the addition of nine-inch figures. Three words – Sam the Eagle! The nine-inch figures will be released at a future date (not April 15); they include Animal (with drumstick), Gonzo and his chicken Camilla (awesome!) and Kermit the Frog sporting 3-D glasses.

“The Kermit with 3-D glasses design was originally planned to be the 3-inch mystery chaser figure for the first Muppets series,” said Donald Ferro, developer for Vinylmation. “We saved the artwork for series two after we changed the mystery chaser to tuxedo-clad Kermit to celebrate his 55th Anniversary.”

Nine-inch Muppet Series 2 Vinylmation Figures

Monty told me that nine-inch figures were once considered for the first series.

“Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo with Camilla were originally planned to be nine-inch figures for Muppets series one,” explained Monty. “Rizzo became part of a Park series and we saved Gonzo until now.”

Fans in California will have the opportunity to meet Monty on Friday, April 15, at D-Street at Downtown Disney District in California. He will be signing figures from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. that afternoon. For fans in Florida, we are also holding an event on April 15 (sans Monty as we haven’t cloned him…yet. Calling Muppet Labs!). Guests can meet Disney artists Maria Clapsis, Casey Jones, Doug Strayer and Eric Caszatt from 10 a.m. to Noon at D-Street located at the Downtown Disney West Side in Florida.

Apr 13, 2011

Artwork for a Figure from upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean Collection

Dirty Foot Pirate
This collection will be sold in blind boxes and features eleven designs plus a mystery chaser. With all of the characters in this classic attraction to choose from it was hard narrowing it down. Look for more previews showcasing additional characters throughout the week.

Apr 12, 2011

New Shapes for Disney's Vinylmation

Creatures from The Sea

Yesterday, we shared some images from the upcoming Sea Creatures series that is being released on April 22, 2011 at the D-Street locations in California and Florida. This will be an open window box series featuring 12 different creatures from the sea. The figures were designed by Florida-based illustrator Billy Davis. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks as Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager, has an interview with Billy about the new series. 

Today, however, we wanted to discuss one thing that some of you may have noticed about the figures. They are the first series to use a slightly modified Mickey Mouse shaped canvas. For example, see the Blacktip Reef Shark image below. 

Blacktip Reef Shark
Donald Ferro, developer for Vinylmation, and Thomas Scott and Eric Caszatt, lead designers for Vinylmation, has talked about the form. 

"We are always striving to make the best possible figures," explained Donald. "The first form was introduced in November 2008. As the artwork has become more complex, there were elements of the first form which made it challenging from a manufacturing perspective." 

The team showed us the Hawksbill Sea Turtle figure as an example of how this form allows for improved art application. The colors and design really pop when applied to this form. 

Hawksbill Sea Turtle
"We have learned much since the introduction of Vinylmation," said Thomas Scott. "We can draw anything, but the art has to translate into printing pads and spray masks, so there are limitations. And since we are not present at the manufacturing facilities, we can't always predict how they will choose to execute our designs. This revised form addresses a few of those more challenging areas to apply artwork. One challenging area was the space where the underside of the belly and top of the feet meet. The feet are now removable which leaves the door open for improved artwork and future accessory opportunities." 

We disassembled the Maine Lobster figure to give you an idea of what to expect. 

Main Lobster Parts Main Lobster

Eric Caszatt shared with us a look at an upcoming figure that also illustrates the reason the form evolved.
Dirty Foot Pirate
"Continuous improvements are part of our Disney philosophy," explained Eric Caszatt. "We are excited to use this form as it combines the root of Vinylmation - the Mickey Mouse shaped canvas - with design enhancements that will make future figures look even better than today."

The team shared with us a look at an upcoming 3-inch figure designed by Casey Jones. It features that classic pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean® Attraction - the dirty foot pirate. The thing we noticed the most is how the details on the figure really shine - the facial expression, the clean lines, the colors and more. We wants this figure! 

Finally, the team explained that you will begin to see this form used for future series. Yet there may be a combination of the original form and the newer form over the next year (based on where the figures were in development process).

Apr 11, 2011

The All New Sea Creatures Series

Today, we are excited to announce the release of Vinylmation™ - Sea Creatures on Friday, April 22. This new open window box series will be released at the D-Street locations in California and Florida. Here are a few previews of some figures and packaging for the series.

Three Figures
Three figures from the Sea Creatures series. 
Box Front
The front of the Sea Creatures box.

Side of Box
The left and right sides of the Sea Creatures box.

We love the use of a clear head for the Jellyfish figure. Awesome!

Apr 10, 2011

"I ºoº New York" Vinylmation Released Today at the Times Square Disney Store

The Times Square Disney Store released today an exclusive 9" figure:
New York City
This Vinylmation™ Figure was designed by Marcella Lau an has an edition size of 1540.

Apr 8, 2011

Mystery Chaser figure for Vinylmation - Star Wars Series #1

This is the Mystery Chaser:

And this is the SUPER Mystery Chaser:

As to how many of them were made, let's just say they are more rare than the Mystery Chaser.

Apr 7, 2011

New Vinylmation Ear Hats with 3-inch Figures as part of the Urban #6 series

2 new Vinylmation™ Ear Hats with 3-inch figures were released on March 18 at the D-Street locations. They are part of the Urban #6 series and were inspired by two 9-inch figures coming in April.

Hat designed by Maria Clapsis and figure designed by Caley Hicks. Edition size is 800 and retail is $49.95. 
Hat designed by Maria Clapsis and figure designed by Doug Strayer. Edition size is 1000 and retail is $49.95.

And here is a look at the 9-inch figures that inspired them.

9-inch figures
Both figures will be released in April. The 9-inch plus 3-inch set made to look like a gum ball machine will be a Disney Parks On-Line Store Exclusive.

Apr 6, 2011

Toy Story Midway Mania!

Up next, a look at an upcoming 9-inch figure inspired by Toy Story Midway Mania! The artwork was created by Lin Shih.

Toy Story Midway Mania

Apr 5, 2011

Tron: Legacy Series

Greetings, Programs!  This is the Vinylmation™ Series featuring characters from Tron: Legacy that arrived at the D-Street locations on March 25. These figures are also available on the Disney Parks On-Line Store!

End of Line.

Let's remember an article about it from November 2010:

Vinylmation – ‘TRON: Legacy’

'TRON: Legacy' Vinylmation Figures

Greetings, Programs! I have added this article to the “Never Thought I’d Be Writing About This” bucket. I actually get to write about my favorite Disney film, “Tron.” I recently took my son to Tron Night in central Florida. We saw about 23 minutes of the new film, “TRON: Legacy,” and all I can say is, “Wow!” It was surreal (and awesome) to see my son pretending to play “disc game” after the preview (seriously, I did that as a kid too!). Speaking of awesome things, we have created some super cool merchandise inspired by the world of Tron (and I get to share it with you). Up first, it’s Vinylmation. I spoke with Eric Caszatt, one of the lead designers for Vinylmation, about these figures coming in 2011.

'TRON: Legacy' Vinylmation Figures

“We are releasing eight, 3-inch figures inspired by ‘Tron,’” explained Eric sitting behind his desk with “TRON: Legacy” wallpaper on his computer screen. “I started designing the figures about eight months ago. At Disney Design Group, I work closely with the Walt Disney Studios to get live action film reference materials. My great partners at the Studios provided me with complete turn-around images of the characters. The film makers reviewed and approved each of [the figures]. That was pretty cool.”

Eric designed six figures featuring characters from “TRON: Legacy” like Sam Flynn, Clu, Quorra and others. Thomas Scott designed the remaining two figures inspired by Kevin Flynn – one from 1982 and one from 2010. Originally, these figures were planned as two different limited edition sets.

“We changed the release of these figures to an open window box,” continued Eric. “We thought it would be a mistake to limit their production as they look outstanding. We believe in them like we believe in the Users [laughs].”

'TRON: Legacy' Vinylmation Figures

I asked Eric if he had a favorite figure from the series.

“I like Clu,” said Eric. “Everything about him turned out perfect – the color, the design, the artwork. [The figure] really pops. The most challenging figure was Castor as he is all white. I added shading to give the figure some definition and adjusted his face to give him an expression. It took several reviews from the Studios’ team before we were both happy with the final design.”

'TRON: Legacy' Vinylmation Figures

As mentioned, these figures will be released in 2011. But coming sooner to the “Game Grid” is a special event on November 21 featuring Noah, a local Southern California artist who is no stranger to Vinylmation. Noah has created 24 custom, 9-inch figures to be released at D-Street in Downtown Disney in California, and 12 custom, 9-inch figures for D-Street in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida. Each figure will retail for $595.00 and comes with a “TRON: Legacy” inspired display case standing 22-inches tall. Noah will be attending the event in California from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to personalize the figures.

I still recall the meeting that Donald Ferro, developer for Vinylmation, and I had with Noah at the end of July in California. Over breakfast, Noah explained his concepts for the figures. Seeing the final custom figures, like that preview of “TRON: Legacy” at Tron Night, blew me away! I just found the number one item for my holiday wish list this year. End of line.
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