A few weeks back The LEGO Group was kind enough to send me a box of their Disney collectible mini figures to review. With the Stuckinplastic #Seattletoyphotosafari just around the corner, I decided to give them away instead of keeping all that LEGO goodness to myself. (If you want to see those same figures in the wild, you can follow their journey with this tag #Seattletoyphotosfari_DisneyCMF.) Well now it’s time to pay the piper, so to speak, and review this series.
I’ll confess the Disney collectable mini figures aren’t as bad as I first imagined they would be. When this latest series was announced (or leaked as the case may be) several months back, I will freely admit I wasn’t impressed. I was stilling feeling burned with not one, but two series devoted to the Simpsons TV show. I’m a mini figure photographer – not a toy collector – which means I’m looking for new characters to tell stories. I’m not interested in re-telling classic Disney stories.
With that said, I will admit that I love the Disney universe. I grew up with all the movies and have been to their theme parks multiple times. I wasn’t sure how a series based on these beloved characters would help me in my own personal mission to tell original (and hopefully universal) stories. I mean, how can you re-invent or re-interpret such iconic creations as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck?
The Simpsons’ mini figures with their pastel colors and sculpted heads are still fresh in my memory. While I many not have been enamored with the specific Simpsons figures, they were accompanied by some awesome accessories. With so many great add-ons, it almost made up for those sculpted heads. As a toy photographer I approached this series, based on classic Disney characters, with some trepidation.
There are certain aspects of this new series that has me scratching my head at the decisions behind it. While there are certainly a fair number of figures that are exciting – Stitch, Maleficent, Cheshire Cat and Ursula – I can’t help but think we’ve already seen the Alien from Toy Story (isn’t it an exact copy?) and Buzz Light Year (the original Buzz had a much better face!). While Genie and the Little Mermaid technically are new to the CMF world, they seem very familiar. Peter Pan is lovely but he doesn’t seem to be good fit in the mini figure world. I can’t imagine Peter Pan without his arms akimbo and his legs apart – two positions that a LEGO mini figure can’t achieve unless he’s computer generated.
Accessories are a big part of the CMF sets. While there are lots of great new hairstyles in this series, several of the figures aren’t accompanied by any accessories at all! The accessories that are included aren’t new to the LEGO universe, unless of course you count hats, bows and skirts. I wonder if this is how LEGO offset their licensing costs? Or maybe the lack of accessories is a tradeoff to such great additions as Alice and Minnie’s skirts. Speaking of strange accessory pairing, why does Aladdin have a lamp? Shouldn’t he be accompanied by his side-kick Apu instead?
One cool detail in this series, is that each character is paired with a counterpart from his or her story line which allows for some awesome play and photographic opportunities, i.e.: Mickey & Minnie, Donald & Daisy, Syndrome & Mr. Incredible. Two notable exceptions are Stich and Maleficent; where is Lilo and Princess Aurora? I would love to know the thinking behind the decision to omit these characters. Is it because they’ll be in the next series? By leaving these two characters without their natural counterparts, it certainly makes a nice lead into the next Disney mini figure series.
While a second Disney series hasn’t been announced, I have no doubt there will be one. These figures have been extremely popular; the love of all things Disney runs deep. My Instagram feed is a steady parade of wonderful photos featuring these figures, plus my local toy store can’t keep them in stock. There is no doubt that Disney and LEGO make a powerful combination.
I will say that for all my misgivings, these figures photograph beautifully. It doesn’t matter if you’re a die hard Disney fan or a casual collector, these figures offer much in terms of play possibilities. If you’re a mini-figure collector or a photographer, you’re going to want a complete set of the Disney collectible mini figures.
What’s your favorite mini figure from this series and why? Feel free to add a link to the best image you’ve taken using one of the figs from this series. I would love to see what you’ve been up to.