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Pixar's Tin Toy
MINDStyle

Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle


Every year as I prepare for San Diego Comic Con, I put together a list of the stuff I expect to purchase. Usually, this is various announced exclusives, but it also includes the missing graphic novel or toy that slipped by.

Invariably, the thing I bring home that I end up loving the most wasn't on any such list, but was instead a happy surprise. Such is tonight's review - MINDStyle's Tin Toy, based on the character from the early Pixar short.

I knew nothing of this toy's release prior to seeing it at the show, and even now know almost nothing. MINDStyle's blog has a brief mention, suggesting that it will be available at 'select retailers', and that it's a limited edition of 500. Beyond that, I'm clueless.

In fact, this toy was on the bottom shelf of one of their displays, and I only noticed it on the fourth or filth pass past the booth over the course of the first couple days at the con. Had I not taken the time to ask, I wouldn't have even known that they had them there to sell - that's some serious stealth marketing!

They were $90 at the show, and I suspect that will be the going rate once we hear who the 'select retailer' is. Once I find out, I'll be sure to Tweet about it.

I haven't quite yet gotten a handle on MINDStyle - they've done some nice busts and statues, some nice vinyl...and worked with some very different licensees. But just how they see themselves, or whether they'll become more mainstream is yet to be seen. I do know that while at the booth I asked if more Pixar items were coming, and it seemed that instead they'd be focusing on more mainstream Disney items (Alice in Wonderland, for example), much to my disappointment. How cool would a full line of vinyl figures or statues based on the Pixar's shorts be? I know I'd be buying! 
Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
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Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
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Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
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Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
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Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
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Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle
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Packaging - ***1/2
The colorful box matches the art design of the short itself, and the large window shows off the vinyl figure nicely. It also protects the figure well, and is completely collector friendly, not requiring you to damage a thing when removing the little guy.

Sculpting - ****
If you were expecting this guy to be tin, you'll be disappointed. He's a vinyl figure, but made from very sturdy material. This is part of MINDStyle's ATC line - "art toy collectible". Covering all the bases, eh?

I found it tough to pull good screen caps online for comparison - many looked like they had been taken from a stretched picture, as though the viewer was using the zoom feature on their TV to rid themselves of the black bars. Bad viewer, bad.

Even so, the head does seem a tad rounder than I recall, and that's backed up by some screen shots. Part of this is due to how the head altered with various expressions, and part is due to the simple difficulty in bringing animated characters, even CGI ones, into a three dimensional space.

Any quibbles I have with the sculpt are extremely minor. I trust that this rounder head is really the look they were going for when the toy was in a natural, non-agitated state, and it looks the most appropriate. The proportions from body to head to limbs are all good, and the instruments are about the right size as well.

There's the right amount of detail for a toy of this nature, and all the surface pieces - buttons, his nose, patches, etc. - are sculpted, rather than merely painted.

The 'clips' that would hold the front and back half of a true tin toy together are a tad big, but again, a very minor quibble.

The sculpted base is designed to look like a hard wood floor, just like the floor in the short. Nice touch! It also has a small logo, in case his identity isn't obvious enough.

He's also fairly large, standing about 11" tall at the very top of the adornment on his hat. He's also about 4" side to side, and 9" deep.

Paint - ***1/2
Perhaps the most interesting question here is are the colors right - various screen captures tell different stories. In some, the green accordion is darker, the yellow and blue of the drum lighter, and even the skin tone less yellow. In others, the green appears to be a completely different shade, as does the skin of the drum.

Because the screen caps themselves vary, I'm going to be conservative in docking the score here. They may have gone off the official Pixar color chart, and that may have actually varied on screen. It's not an exact match, but I'm cutting them some slack.

There's the occasional blip in the quality of the edges as well, but these are pretty minor. Some bleed occurs from one color to the next in a few small areas, but overall the general application quality is appropriate for a high end vinyl figure.

I love the high gloss finish, which gives the toy a very tin-like appearance. It would be easy to be confused as to what this figure is made from, until you actually pick it up.

Articulation - **
While I wasn't really expecting any, there are a couple points of articulation. These are there largely to get him standing just right, holding the accordion.

The shoulders are cut joints, which allows you to position the hands to match up with the supports on either side of the instrument. I thought I'd be picking the accordion up off the floor every few seconds, but he holds it much better than I had anticipated.

This also means that you can pose him without the accordion if you wish, since the arms can hang at his sides.

The legs also have cut joints, and this allows you to get the feet positioned to fit inside the larger 'boots' sculpted onto the base. These slippers hold him upright, keeping him standing even with the heavy instruments on his back.  It was a very bright idea, and unlike a foot post, is much less likely to cause long term issues with stability and or the figure's integrity.

A couple other pieces can move - the cymbals are not glued in, attached to the top of the drum with a long post, and the 'feather' on his hat is attached by way of a spring, making it far less likely that you'll break it off - but for the most part, this is a vinyl statue.

Accessories - ***
Because the accordion is a separate piece, and because he can be displayed not holding it, I'm counting it as an accessory. As I mentioned earlier, I'm impressed by the design, and it remains in his outstretched hands much better than the simple method they employed might imply.

There's also the display stand, although he can't really stand without it. While I can do without the logo, I do love the choice of faux hardwood flooring.

Finally, there's the COA, done up in very heavy cardstock and about the size of a credit card. On one side is some of the storyboard for the cartoon, and on the back is the Pixar and MINDStyle logos, as well as the edition number. Mine says SDCC 30, but I don't know if the ones sold later will still say SDCC or not.

Fun Factor - **
While he might be called a tin toy, he's not really a toy. Unlike the wind up counterpart on screen, this guy is meant for a collector's display, not a child's toy box.

Value - **
The vinyl market isn't quite as expensive as it once was, especially when you're dealing with items not produced in the single digits. At $90, this one is pretty steep, and is likely to cause some folks to pause. While I really like the small Certificate of Authenticity, it's not quite enough to get this guy up that extra half star to an average value.

Things to Watch Out For -
Don't go twisting things (like the head) that aren't articulated!

Overall - ***1/2
For me, 80% of my overall impression of a vinyl figure like this is the Sculpt and the Paint. They are the most critical aspects, and leave the greatest impression.

Of the remaining 20%, 18% if all about the Value. And that's where he slips just slightly, since $90 is a pretty hefty price to pay for a vinyl figure these days. The low run size does help a bit, as does the simple fact that the subject matter is awesomesauce. In the end, he's my favorite surprise of this year's SDCC.

MINDStyle should expand on this series - how cool would Knick Knack be, or even a vinyl version of the famous desk lamp? This would be a series I could see jumping in on completely, and I suspect many Pixar fans would as well.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - **
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Other than ebay, I'm not sure where you can pick this guy up, but it's a pretty sure bet that they didn't move 500 of them at the con.

Related Links -
Check out MINDStyle's site for potential updates on this toy and other releases.

Discussion:
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Tin Toy Pixar vinyl figure by MINDStyle


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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