Vinylmation 360

About the Column

The biggest new Disney collectible craze is Vinylmation. These little vinyl figures resemble Disney characters and they're eagerly sought by thousands of folks some of whom know in their sleep the terminology, release dates, and arcane facts necessary to become a Vinylmation master. For the many who aren't so vinyl savvy, Kelly Firth is here to help. Her new column, Vinylmation 360, will indeed provide a full 360 degree experience from the bare basics of blind boxes to the tippy top of cutting-edge tips and teasingly true trivia. Ready? Get your Vinyl on!

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FROM: Vinylmation 360 Published Mondays

Meet The Muppets

Kelly takes a deatiled look at the new 9" Muppet set.


Vinylmation 360: Meet the Muppets! (The 9” Versions)
By Kelly Firth

Vinylmation and the Muppets have gone hand in hand since Park 1 Series. To this day, the original Kermit the Frog 3” is one of the most popular and valuable vinyls ever produced. The Muppets got their own blind boxed series in 2010, with Series 2 following in 2011.

Muppets mania will be continuing throughout 2011, with the new remix album Muppets: The Green Album released in late August, the new theater movie, The Muppets, scheduled for a November release, and a soundtrack release as well.

Over the summer, Disney released the very first Muppets 9” Vinylmations to compliment the Series 2 blind boxed vinyls. Sam the Eagle debuted at the parks in June, while Tourist Kermit, Animal, and the Gonzo and Camilla 9”/3” combo set

Muppets Trio

L to R: Animal, Tourist Kermit, and Gonzo with Camilla.

were all released both online and at the parks in August. Each vinyl was a Limited Edition of 1,500.

Limited Edition Vinylmation

Artwork and edition sizes for the series.

Artist Monty Maldovan really outdid himself with all four releases. I think as a whole, this is one of, if not the best, 9” series collection released to date. Admittedly I am biased, because I have loved the Muppets for as long as I can remember. However, the attention paid to detail is simply fabulous. I will be buying Sam the Eagle on eBay, so I have not seen him yet. The other three vinyls immediately became some of my favorite 9” vinyls ever released. Kermit has his name “stitched” on the back of his Mickey ears, Animal has his very own drumstick (plus his painted on metal bracelets), and Sam has an attached tail. Surprisingly, Gonzo’s nose even turned out well on the Mickey-shaped canvas. I wasn’t expecting that! 

The Muppets have always been about two things to many fans: Personality and humor. These vinyls bring both in spades.

Animal really looks like Animal, and Gonzo and Camilla look like themselves as well. Animation and puppetry (or in this case, muppetry!) by nature are both art forms that should bring characters to life. These vinyls succeeded in bringing their respective characters to life as well. Adults and children alike love them for this reason.

My other favorite thing about the Muppets 9” vinyls? The boxes!

Box Top

Gone but not forgotten, Sweetums left his mark on the 9” Muppets Series 2 boxes. You can find a 3” Sweetums in Muppets Series 1.

The original blind boxes from Series 1 included funny sayings and jokes on them, adding a little something extra to your purchase. Series 2 blind boxes followed suit. Disney didn’t disappoint with the 9” boxes either, adding some typical Muppets wit to the packaging.

Dark in Here

Gosh, it’s dark in here!

Nothing To See

Nothing to see here!

Move Along

Move along.

Box Back

No Chickens Allowed! (Apparently 3” Camilla didn’t get the memo.)

Box Right

See other side (to infinity).

Plainer packaging has its place at times, but boxes like these exemplify what Walt Disney used to refer to as “plussing it.” Instead of just giving collectors great vinyls in plain boxes, Disney gave us great vinyls in really fun boxes. So fun, that I have avoided removing my vinyls from their boxes so far! What makes these jokes even better? If you look closely around Stage One Company Store in Hollywood Studios (next to Muppet Vision 3D’s exit), you will find similar messages on the walls.

Originality is an important concept for all Vinylmation releases, so some collecting purists may not care for a third version of Kermit the Frog in vinyl form. Personally, I own the Park 1 Kermit and Muppets 1’s 55th Anniversary Kermit Chaser, and I had a hard time envisioning another Kermit vinyl being on par with the first two. Yet the 9” is just as fun as the first two, and it has the added bonus of essentially being a Parks vinyl. (Besides the mouse ears, Kermie also wears a Muppet Vision 3D t-shirt and painted on 3D glasses).

The three Kermits prove that it is possible to make multiple vinyls of the same character and still make them unique and high quality. This allows diehard fans of a particular character to collect multiple versions, while newer collectors can own a vinyl of that character without breaking the bank on the first version of it. Investors can still make a nice profit off of the Park 1 Kermit and the Muppets 1 Chaser because, after all, the Parks version was one of the first vinyls ever made and the Chaser was the first Muppets Chaser.  In my opinion, those two will always retain their value as long as Vinylmation stays popular. I hope Disney looks to this trifecta in the future. This is how it should be done!

If you haven’t picked up any of these vinyls yet, do yourself a favor and pick one (or all four) up. You won’t regret it!

Until next week, happy trading and collecting!

On the last Sunday of every month, I'll devote this column to your questions and my answers. You can leave questions here as comments or else send them directly to me.



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