On the eve of three major Disney Vinylmation sets being released (Vinylmation Park 12, Vinylmation Monsters University and Vinylmation Beauty & The Beast), Disney has decided to grace us with another long-awaited series unveiling: the Disney Vinylmation The Little Mermaid series! As soon as photos of the Vinylmation Little Mermaid series figures hit the net earlier today, some collectors rejoiced while there were also grumblings that some people hated the designs. My thoughts on the series are a little bit of both…
Given that The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Bluray comes out later this year, making a set of The Little Mermaid Vinylmations right now was a total no-brainer from Disney. And while we’ve seen some of the figures in this set before, there’s also several figures that could only really fit in with a Little Mermaid-specific series!
With a few notable exceptions, pretty much every character you’d expect to see in a Vinylmation The Little Mermaid series of figures is present.
From left to right, top row to bottom, the Disney Vinylmation The Little Mermaid figures lineup is: Ariel, Eric, Max, King Triton, Sebastian, Ursala, Flounder, Carlotta, Grimsby, Scuttle, Glut, and the Chaser.
I can hear a few heads scratching already, so just as a refresher: Glut the Shark chases after Ariel and Flounder in the opening of “The Little Mermaid” before getting his head stuck in a sunken ship’s steering wheel and never being seen again.
Carlotta is Prince Eric’s maid, and Grimsby is Prince Eric’s manservant (don’t we all need a manservant?). I probably could have lived without Vinylmation figures of Grimsby and Carlotta, but I do think both figures are rather well-done. Grimsby is one of the few characters who has a design that I think really lends itself to having the “big face” style of Vinylmation.
So far as the Vinylmation Little Mermaid Chaser goes, there are only a few true options to consider. If they aren’t going to be released in a limited-edition two-pack, then Ursala’s eels Flotsam & Jetsam really should be the Little Mermaid Chaser design. They’re a glaring omission from a lineup that includes minor characters like Carlotta and Glut.
If not Ursala’s eels, then the chaser should be Vanessa (Ursala’s human form) or Chef Louis (the crazy French cook who goes ballistic trying to kill and cook Sebastian). To be honest, the scene with Chef Louis is so famous and memorable, I’m a little stunned that Disney didn’t do Chef Louis instead of Carlotta or Grimsby as part of the regular series.
My thoughts on this actual series are mixed. The style on several of the figures in this set is very similar to the style of “big faces” used for the designs in the Villains 2 series. Having a gigantic Sebastian face to stick next to the relatively well-scaled Flounder Vinylmation just plain doesn’t make any sense (at least not to me). For several of these figures, it seems like Disney just took screenshots and image-wrapped them around a plastic Vinylmation figure. Also, does it seem weird to anyone else that there’s a picture of Eric and Ariel’s famous boat ride on Eric’s own ear? Out-of-body experience, anyone?
I think the other three animal sidekicks look spectacular, however. I know there’s some hate for the Vinylmation Flounder design right now, but I think that’s because we only see him head-on. Once we can actually turn him and see the rest of his body, I think he’ll be a really cute figure. Max and Scuttle look outright fantastic, and I love seeing the Furry Friends mold in a regular series on Max.
Finally, the villains (yes, I know King Triton isn’t technically a villain, but he really can be a jerk sometimes). I’m assuming that on the finished product, King Triton’s trident won’t be warped and messed up like the prototype’s. And honestly, I think he looks pretty well-done–no complaints. Ursala looks good with the smug look on her face, but she’s not nearly as fun as her Villains 1 appearance. And Glut the Shark? He’s a character I would have left out of this series, but I totally love him. He looks great, and the picture of terrified Flounder on his ear is awesome.
Overall, I’m not completely in love with the Little Mermaid Vinylmation set in the same way that I am the amazing Vinylmation Beauty and the Beast set, but I definitely think that there are some really fun and worthwhile figures in the series. I don’t pick up every Vinylmation series (as I don’t have Scrooge McDuck’s money bin), but against my expectations, I think I actually like this Vinylmation Little Mermaid series enough to warrant a set purchase.
What are your thoughts on the Vinylmation The Little Mermaid figures, Vinylmation fans? Will you be picking up a set, or are the “big faces” just too much for you to deal with?