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The following was released on the Vinylmation blog in regards to the new Vinylmation figure shape. 

On Friday, 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.

We spoke with Donald Ferro, developer for Vinylmation, and Thomas Scott and Eric Caszatt, lead designers for Vinylmation, 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.

"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.

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).

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