Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Toy Story 2: Custom Wheezy Toy Replica by D-KOP

After almost 22 years...Wheezy the squeaky penguin, as seen in Toy Story 2, joins my Toy Story collection!! Now you would think just by looking at this that it was an officially produced and licensed toy by Disney/Pixar, but no—sorry to break it to you, but after all these years, Disney has still not released a full scale Wheezy squeak toy replica. Why? I have no idea. He would essentially be as expensive to make as a rubber dog chew toy and Toy Story fans young and old would go crazy for him. Seriously, load up a few bins of Wheezy toys and sell them in Toy Story Land for $15 each and they would be sold out in minutes.  

Some of you might be thinking, well what about the "Toy Story On Ice Wheezy"? Yes, that one was technically officially released and sold by Disney Stores, but that was clear back in 2000/2001 (ish) and only in Japanese and European markets (from what I understand). It was also available at select Toy Story 2 Disney On Ice shows overseas, but that's it (I don't believe it ever came to the US in any way, but let me know if you have any further info). At any rate, it was never widely available to consumers and now sells on eBay for typically $200 or more (and oftentimes without any packaging + with scuff marks). Yikes! For a character as prominent as Wheezy, I'm shocked he does not have a proper toy out there.   

Anyway, over the years (through the rise of home 3D printing), fans took the matter into their own hands and began making their own custom Wheezy replicas. I had seen a bunch, but I was never completely impressed with any of them (I certainly wouldn't pay over $100 for them)—that is until I saw this one a few weeks back on Instagram. As soon as I saw it, I knew this was the definitive Wheezy and it was an instant "must-buy". Even if Disney finally releases an official Wheezy after all this time, I can't see it being any better than this one right here.

This custom Wheezy (I hesitate to even use the word custom since it's so professionally done), was lovingly handmade in China by Toy Story enthusiast Qiyu Dong (as known as D-KOP or @kop378454505 on Instagram). If you're interested in owning one of these yourself, please be sure to message him on Instagram in regard to shipping and pricing. I am still in awe with how talented the guy is.
First of all, I have to give a huge shout-out to the packaging. Yes, D-KOP even created a custom box for Wheezy modeled exactly after Wheezy's packaging first seen at Walt Disney World's Toy Story Land in the Slinky Dog Dash queue. The quality and attention to detail is unmatched! Again, this is literally as good or better than anything Thinkway Toys or the Disney Store could ever put out there.
One of my favorite gags on the packaging (which, again, stems from the original box design seen in Toy Story Land) is that he's a"Bath Toy" but "not for use in water". I just think that's hilarious. I also love the Al's Toy Barn logo in the corner, as if it was bought from there.

This Wheezy is mostly modeled after the character in his "toy mode" (when he's not "alive"), with some small liberties taken to make this replica more appealing to collectors. For example, his flippers are a bit more open, which is great, because I think D-KOP assumed us fans would like to have him hold Mr. Mike's microphone in photos and/or when on display. I think that was a good call. Other than that though, I'd say this Wheezy is 97% accurate and truly looks like he jumped out of the screen and onto my shelf.

Wheezy is a movie-accurate size (about 5 3/4" tall), is a quality rubber material and he SQUEAKS! Not only does he squeak though—it's a loud, very impressive squeak. Don't mind me, I'm pretty much still in awe over here. Check him out in more detail below!

And how cool is this? Wheezy even comes with a Toy Story Signature Collection style certificate of authenticity. Really though, does this just not keep getting better and better? This Wheezy does cost some $$$, but he is worth every penny to me. You can tell D-KOP put his heart into it.

Here he is with Mr. Mike!

Follow me on Instagram @danthepixarfan

Lastly, check out my brief YouTube unboxing video below to see (and hear) this Wheezy in action. You won't wanna miss it. What are your thoughts?? Are you as thrilled as I am? Be sure to share what you think and any questions you might have down in the comments.

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