When it was announced that Mattel had wrested control of the Disney license from rival Hasbro, I felt it would be a good thing for my daughter who loves Barbie and also loves the Disney princess dolls. Now they’d be able to swap clothes easily and fit in all of the Barbie vehicles and playsets without issue. I did not stop to consider what it meant for my personal toy buying habits. If the new Disney 100 Minnie and Mickey set is an indication of what’s to come, then maybe I should be a little more excited for the Mattel era than previously thought.
I have made many posts on this blog under the “Toys” subcategory and almost all of them have been action figure related. None of them have been a Mattel product. As someone who just missed the He-Man hype in the 80s, Mattel was rarely on my radar. I can’t, off of the top of my head, even recall if I ever owned a Mattel action figure. I know I had the He-Man power sword from The New Adventures of He-Ma when I was a kid and I think I had at least one figure from that toy line too, though it never sunk its claws in me. In fact, when I role-played with that sword as a kid I would often pretend I was Link from The Legend of Zelda, not He-Man. The other big license Mattel has these days is WWE, but I don’t buy WWE action figures and thus I don’t have any experience there. Rumor has it, there may be a Masters of the Universe x TMNT on the horizon so maybe that will get me to purchase more from Mattel, but for now, this unexpected set is my first experience with a Mattel figure in a long time.
When Disney has some milestone coming up, the company always finds a way to flood the market with new merchandise. There was Disneyland’s 60th a few years back and the company just concluded a 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World that lasted over a year (I managed to catch the start of that and the tail end despite my trips to Disney World being spread over 3 calendar years). The latest money-maker for the company is Disney 100 celebrating 100 years of the Walt Disney Company, or some variation on it. I honestly haven’t dug too deep into the company’s claim so I don’t know how fast and loose they’re playing here, but I always have some degree of skepticism with it considering they don’t even acknowledge the first Mickey Mouse cartoon as being the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. I thought this Disney 100 thing would only lead to new Lego minifigures for me, though that hunt has not gone very well thus far (I only have four), so imagine my surprise when this two figure set popped up on Amazon on a random Thursday. I had no idea it was coming, and it took me all of two seconds to hit “Check Out” on an order for myself. Less than 24 hours later it was in my possession. Say what you will about the practices Amazon engages in (and many are unpleasant), but it always blows my mind when I can order something online and have it on my doorstep just a day later.
Minnie and Mickey come packaged in a nice window box adorned with sketch artwork of the pair and plenty of reminders that this is a Disney 100 tie-in. The first thing that jumped out at me was how big these two are. Minnie and Mickey stand at around 5.5″ to the top of their head stretching to 6.25″ to the tips of their ears. And it’s not just height, they’re just proportionately pretty big. They’re not going to fit in with your Super7 Disney Ultimates or the ReAction figures, but they may look all right mixed with Hero Cross and Beast Kingdom. The height is similar, but even still, the proportions are all together different with Minnie and Mickey having pretty large heads compared with the figures I have. They’re also modeled after their early appearances in the 1920s and 30s, but depicted in color. Mickey has his trademarked red shorts and yellow shoes while Minnie is sporting a light blue, polka-dotted, skirt with red hat and yellow heels. Both feature an all white face with large, black, ovals for their eyes which was the style at the time. My preferred Mickey has always been with a white face and black eyes so this style was right in my wheelhouse for the pair.
The figures themselves are mostly colored plastic. We have black for the bodies with the clothing being these soft, rubbery, overlays. The shoes and gloves are also a soft material and the paint is basically just reserved for the heads. There, Mattel had to paint on the black around the face as well as the details of the face itself. Their portraits are almost the same save for Minnie’s sculpted eyelashes. She has a dash of purple eyeliner as well. Even with just a little paint, it’s not super clean. The eyes look fine, but the black for Mickey’s widow’s peek doesn’t fill in the entire area it’s supposed to. The painted portion also has a slightly matte appearance compared with the shinier plastic, but it’s not particularly noticeable. The rest of the appearance is solid with the only oddity being there’s a different visual quality to the materials in use. The soft plastic bits have a muted look and it’s easy to tell from a distance that they’re made of a different material from the bodies. Minnie looks fine, but I would have liked a little more saturation out of Mickey’s shorts and shoes. Their proportions also strike me as just a bit off-model. The heads, as previously mentioned, are huge and they also have pretty long arms which is not uncommon for cartoon characters. Shrinking the heads maybe 5% and making them just a little less round might have turned out better, but as is, these fit the part well enough.
A Minnie and Mickey figure set was a surprise, but so was the approach to the accessories. I wouldn’t have expected optional parts, but Mattel surprised me again. Mickey and Minnie can share hands and between the two of them they have a set of gripping hands, a set of gripping hands with the thumbs up, a set of wide open hands, another right gripping hand, and a relaxed left hand. I’m not sure why we got essentially three, right, gripping hands instead of a set of the relaxed hands, but so be it. They also don’t have anything to grip, unless you count Minnie’s hat which slots between her ears. We also get one extra portrait for each featuring the duo in a kissing pose. It’s cute, but I feel like it needs some paint around the mouth. If viewing it from the side, which I think is how it was intended, it’s not as noticeable. Lastly, we also have two display stands with multiple pegs on them to help you pose your figures in case you don’t just want them flat-footed. The stands are all black and say Disney 100. They’re nothing fancy, but can at least provide some piece of mind if you’re worried about shelf dives. There’s also a little card with a sketch of the pair on it that says Disney 100 on the reverse. The packaging also implies the insert (featured as a backdrop in my images) is an accessory, albeit a pretty lame one.
Where I didn’t expect these two to impress is with articulation, and unlike the additional parts, my expectations were basically met. These two aren’t terrible when it comes to articulation, but they’re also not exactly robust. The heads just sit on a ball peg so they rotate and get a little play on that ball. The ears feel like they’re pegged in and there’s some play, but I’m not sure how much of that is intentional. It’s not enough to position the ears for a side profile pose that mimics the impossible ears of these two in animation. The shoulders rotate and there’s a single hinge for each elbow which also rotates. It can be hard to tell which way the elbow is supposed to bend, but since they have rubber hose arms it doesn’t really matter as the hinge will bend in either direction. It’s not going to give you a full 90 degrees though, and the shoulder hinge won’t raise the arms out all the way to the side either. There is a hinge at the wrist, but it sits pretty deep inside the gloves so it doesn’t do a whole lot. The hands can also rotate on the peg. There’s a waist twist at the shorts and skirt of Minnie and at the hips it’s basically another hinged ball peg so you can swivel the leg and then line the hinge up the way you want it to go. Mickey’s shorts get in the way a bit, though Minnie is less restricted. They’re a bit tight and I didn’t really test it too much. There’s no joint for the knee and instead we get another hinged peg at the ankle. Once again, Minnie gets more range here because of her shoe design while Mickey’s can’t do much. There’s no dedicated ankle rocker, though you can manipulate the hinge so it’s going off to the side if you wish. Lastly, we get another hinged ball-peg at the tail which works well enough.
It’s not a ton of stuff, and one can see why some of the more premium imports skip some of these joints in favor of static arms that can be swapped in and out. For what this set is, I think it’s okay. I would have preferred something better at the hips, especially since the joints can be hidden relatively easily with the clothes, but the rest I’m fine with. I also wonder if Mattel would have been better off scrapping the wrist hinge and just doing another ball peg like they did for the head. You will be able to find some poses that look cute for this couple though, be they holding hands, waving, or smooching. The joints are all nice and tight, which is good since these two are a bit top heavy. It does mean there is some degree of trepidation that comes with posing them since the limbs are pretty thin. These figures don’t look or feel like premium items, so there is a cheapness to them in-hand, though I’d hesitate to say they look cheap.
The best thing this set has going for it is affordability. This pair only set me back $42. Basically, getting Mickey and Minnie from Mattel is about the same price as getting two ReAction Minnie and Mickey figures from Super7 and noticeably less than a single Super7 Ultimates release. It’s also less than half of what the Beast Kingdom Donald Duck set me back and I think I like these two more than that figure. There are better figures out there of Mickey, and maybe Minnie, but definitely not ones in this price range. While I think the amount of hands these two came with was probably unnecessary, there are still enough optional parts that make settling on a display quite enjoyable. And swapping parts is easy and I didn’t feel like I was at risk of breaking anything. If you’re interested in an affordable set of Minnie and Mickey figures, I think this will do nicely. Now I’m left hoping Mattel does Donald and Daisy.
Interested in more Disney collectibles? I’ve got you covered:
Hero Cross HMF Donald Duck #006R
I have coveted the Donald Duck figure from Hero Cross for a few years now. If you’re not familiar with the company, Hero Cross is a toy manufacturer based in Hong Kong that specializes in hybrid figures that utilize both plastic and metal. Their main line is called the Hybrid Metal Figuration series, or HMF…Keep reading
Lego 21317 – Steamboat Willie
It was just over a week ago I made a post wondering what happened to the Lego/Disney relationship. Sure, there have been some Duplo sets and the Lego Friends brand has featured some princess characters, but nothing major followed the 2016 release of mini figures and Cinderella’s Castle (based on the structure in Walt Disney…Keep reading
Beast Kingdom Disney Dynamic 8ction Heroes Classic Donald Duck
Few brands are as immensely popular as Disney, which is why it’s a bit surprising that the company’s presence in the world of action figures has always felt a little lacking. It’s thought (and maybe even confirmed by the company) that Disney’s interest in properties like Marvel and Star Wars stemmed from them being unable…Keep reading