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Thursday Treasures

October 17, 2013

Something There

By Kelvin Cedeno

Beauty and the Beast Vinylmations

Disneyana collectors have latched onto a great many types of merchandise throughout the years. The elite among them seek out props and elements from Disney Parks that go for quite a bundle. Others settle for snowglobes or Walt Disney Classics Collection figures. All of these vary wildly in price, but there are two types of Disney merchandise that are not only affordable but are also collected to the point of mass hysteria: pins and Vinylmations. In honor of Reuben Week, we'll be focusing on the latter, and more specifically, a series devoted to one of his favorite Disney films: Beauty and the Beast..

Beauty and the Beast Vinylmations

Vinylmations are usually three-inch vinyl figures shaped into a Mickey Mouse mold (sometimes they'll be nine inches and other times an inch and a half, but three is the standard). These figures have poseable arms and heads, but more importantly, each one features a particular design. Disney has released series of Vinyls themed to animation, parks, and even miscellaneous things like the circus or food. What makes Vinylmation so lucrative is that you don't know what you're buying; each figure is hidden away in a sealed foil wrap which in turn is in a sealed box. This practice is called blind-boxing, and it can inspire anything from cheers of delight to screams of anguish. To add even more of an incentive to keep buying, each collection has variants on designs that are part of the main set as well as the elusive chaser - a figure made in fewer quantities and thus made more rare.

Beauty and the Beast Vinylmations

Disney has become more regular in its practice of releasing sets themed to a single film. At the time of this writing, they've devoted lineups to The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (in the 1.5-inch Vinylmation Jr. format), Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast (the subject of this article). The Beauty and the Beast set, released on June 21, 2013, was designed by both Maria Clapsis and Caley Hicks and features the following figures:

Belle (Maria Clapsis)
Beast (Maria Clapsis)
Gaston (Caley Hicks)
Cogsworth (Caley Hicks)
Lumiere (Caley Hicks)
Mrs. Potts (Maria Clapsis)
LeFou (Maria Clapsis)
Maurice (Maria Clapsis)
Phillipe (Caley Hicks)
Monsieur D'Arque (Maria Clapsis)
Green Bimbette (Maria Clapsis)
Yellow Bimbette (Variant, Maria Clapsis))
Red Bimbette (Variant, Maria Clapsis)
Prince Adam (Chaser, Maria Clapsis)

Beauty and the Beast Vinylmations

The set makes clever use of the trademark mouse ears by assigning stained glass icons to each character (a book and a rose for Belle, clockwork gears for Cogsworth, Chip and a sugar bowl for Mrs. Potts, etc.). There are also icons under the feet of the characters next to their name, the series name, and the artist's signature. The character renderings are some of the best done for Vinylmation as they're simple enough not to get horribly disfigured by the Mickey mold and yet on-model enough to be of high, recognizable quality. The Beast and Maurice have cap add-ons to their molds while Lumiere has a cylinder on his head to better give off the candlelight effect. Interestingly, this is not the Beast and Gaston's first foray into vinyldom. The Beast was a standalone nine-inch figure for Animation Series #1, and Gaston was a traditional Villains Series #3.

Beauty and the Beast Vinylmations

A two-pack set was released as a D23 Expo exclusive on August 9th, 2013 as a limited edition of 1,500. Designed by Caley Hicks, the set featured Belle and Beast in their winter wear from the 'Something There' sequence. Curiously, the characters' often-seen formal wear from the iconic title number is nowhere to be found in this collection. Perhaps that's an indication that the characters will appear as such in a future Animation Series.

Vinylmations can be rather hit or miss depending on both the theme and the design. Thankfully, the Beauty and the Beast series is a winner. The popularity of both the film and this collection has caused it to sell out quickly in various venues. One can only hope that Disney will take that as a sign to pursue more series devoted to single films with each figure 'true as it can be.'

 

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