Toys

Tue
17
Sep

The First 60 Inspiring Years: Barbie Forever

Barbie Forever 60 Years

At first blush, Robin Gerber's BARBIE FOREVER: HER INSPIRATATION, HISTORY, AND LEGACY might appear to be another beautifully designed coffee table book, packaged to appeal to fans of the Mattel maven whose fashions and careers have delighted and motivated children for decades -- six of them, to be precise! My expectation was the cursory introduction, maybe four or five pages of text delivering a succinct history of the doll and her creator, and then a veritable book full of photographs of Barbie through the years.

Mon
26
Aug

LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters Combines Two Adventures into One LEGO Movie

Batman Family Matters, LEGO DC

There's a new villain haunting the dark streets of Gotham City -- and he knows the secrets of the entire Bat-family!

Who is this mysterious Red Hood (JASON SPISAk), and how is he so familiar with Batman (TROY BAKER), Nightwing (LOREN LESTER), Robin (SCOTT MENVILLE), Batgirl (ALYSON STONER) and even the latest member, Batwoman (TARA STRONG)? That's the mystery they have to solve before Gotham is blown to smithereens, as the Red Hood has set five bombs to go off in town, each guarded by an Arkham Asylum super-villain. 

Sun
28
Jul

The Great Train Show Chugs Into Belleville for Model Enthusiasts

Great Train Show

The Great Train Show made a stop in Belleville, Illinois this weekend, bringing with it something for train enthusiasts of all ages -- from wooden tracks and LEGO to modern and antique HO scale locomotives.

Vendors displayed their wares up and down the length of the Belle-Clair Expo Center, with something in a price range for everyone. You could pick up display pieces for as little as a dollar, or drop several hundred on a rare engine or a brand new set. And beyond the vendors, several St. Louis area train clubs were on hand with their highly detailed arrays of tracks and scenery, as well as a few surprises we didn't expect, including some video producers who catered to trainspotters with DVDs and Blu-rays.

Click the video below for a virtual experience and meet some of the people behind the event.

Thu
11
Jul

Lost Kitties Collector's Guide Lost on Non-Collectors

I grew up in an era where baseball cards were things to chase, where sealed packs kept you from knowing what you were going to get. The cards smelled like bubblegum and the bubblegum tasted like cardboard.

So the "mystery package" concept isn't new to me as a collector. But the "mystery toy" package is something of a more recent development (said mystery toys found in cereal and Cracker Jack boxes notwithstanding). Hot Wheels has their mystery car concept, and Zerboz delivered mystery plastic superheroes for a while.

The most recent development in this collectible craze is Lost Kitties, from Hasbro. I know this because I have the LOST KITTIES COLLECTOR'S GUIDE, written by Maggie Fisher with design work by Hasbro. That is, from this book's title, I know there are these things called Lost Kitties and that they can be collected. As to how well I am guided in that effort, well, that's another matter.

Mon
10
Jun

Eaglemoss Hero Collector Invites Fans to Build the Original Ghostbusters™ Ectomobile

ECTO 1 1/8 scale Eaglemoss Hero Collectibles

1:8 Scale ECTO-1 Build-Up to Debut at Official Ghostbusters Fan Fest in June

[June 7, 2019 – New York, NY]  Eaglemoss Hero Collector, designers, manufacturers and publishers of high-quality collectibles from across the many worlds of pop culture, gets all spooky in June when it introduces the Build the Ghostbusters Ectomobile subscription program at the first-ever Ghostbusters Fan Fest, presented by Wizard World at the Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, California on June 8.

Sun
07
Apr

Bumblebee: Mining 80s Nostalgia Produces Best of Transformers Series

Bumblebee Blu-ray and DVD

For the first fifteen minutes of BUMBLEBEE, I found myself over-analyzing things. The battle for Cybertron, for instance, was fought between Autobots and Decepticons who transformed themselves into vehicles already. Why? They did not have vehicles there to blend in with, they traveled under their own power, they had programming (in English) that had to have been put in by somebody, and, most distracting, their "mouths" moved when they spoke when their voices were sent through speakers, so there was no reason to use movement to articulate sounds. In fact, being advanced electronics, it was more likely they would communicate directly, wirelessly, through technology akin to Bluetooth.

And then I got it. It wasn't that BUMBLEBEE was cheesy like an 80s movie. It's not that BUMBLEBEE was even an homage to cheesy 80s movies.

Sat
22
Dec

The i-Top Challenge Puts New Spin on Classic Toy

iTop Challenge

Goliath Games proves you don't have to have a completely original concept to introduce an interesting and playable toy. Sometimes, all you need to do is take something that's been around a while--and put a new spin on it.

Granted, it's not the first time someone has set out to renew interest in the basic toy that uses centripetal and centrifugal force (see, it's science!) to entertain children. There have been different takes through the years on the flying disc and the hula hoop.

 

 

 

Of course, this time we are talking about that most primal spinner, The Top!

No, not this classic supervillain from The Flash. The toy you spin and watch. Then spin again and watch again.

It's actually a lot more fun that it sounds.

Thu
22
Nov

Classic Games Make Comeback with Flashback Blast!

At Blast Namco Bandie Flashback Blast!

Retro games have been out on the market for some time now. You can find them in any store's toy aisle, with classic titles like Pac-Man, Asteroids, and others. The catch: they're almost all Plug-and-Play. Which is fine if you don't mind sitting within four feet of the screen.

Enter AtGames and their new line of Flashback Blast!

To illustrate what makes these games different, we ran one of the units through an experienced video game tester.

Wed
24
Oct

Not Just Toys – Just How Important is Merchandising?

Movie Merchandising

As kids, we loved new movies not just for the films themselves, but for the inevitable merchandising which would help us reenact some of the thrills at home. Whether through Happy Meals or coloring books, there were dozens of avenues that would help keep us entertained, while building significant profit and interest back in the original property. Often underestimated even to this day, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the most famous merchandising efforts, and the amount of profit and interest they have returned to the starting brand.

Not So Long Ago

Thu
04
Oct

Rainbow Brite Sparkles with Imagination -- But is it Amethyst in a Different Package?

Rainbow Brite 1

Rainbow Brite is one of those pop culture icons of nostalgia that was quite the big deal back in the day, a part of the zeitgeist of the times just as much as Atari arcade games and Rubik's cubes. Where Strawberry Shortcake relied on scents as the selling point, Rainbow Brite was (rather obviously) more color-oriented.

When I saw the Paulina Ganucheau cover, and read the advance promotional material, I hoped this would be a brilliant reboot of the character that would still retain the appeal to an all-ages audience. What I got on the inside was not what I expected, and yet still lives up to my hopes.

Wed
15
Aug

Mego's Peggy Bundy and Nostalgia Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage

Mego Peg Bundy
Mego was the king of action figures in the 70's. The formula was simple: an 8-inch action figure line with soft goods clothing and doll hair for characters who benefited from it. To maximize their reach, Mego didn't specialize in one franchise, they made toys for every brand they could: from Marvel to DC, Star Trek to Planet of the Apes, and Charlies Angels to CHIPS.  If it was on a screen, odds are MEGO made a figure of it.
 
 
Thu
02
Aug

Rooster Teeth Reveals McFarlane Toys RWBY Statue at RTX Austin 2018

RWBY Statue

The Limited Edition “RWBY Alpha Beowolf Battle Statue” Will Be Available This Holiday

RTX Attendees Get Sneak Peek And Exclusive Buying Opportunity At Con

 

Wed
01
Aug

LEGO DC Super Heroes add Jessica Cruz to Minifigure Line with Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis

Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis

With an AQUAMAN movie soon to hit theaters, it makes perfect sense that Warner Brothers and LEGO would want to capitalize on the interest with an Aquaman LEGO adventure. AQUAMAN: RAGE OF ATLANTIS finds the sea king (voiced by DEE BRADLEY BAKER) giving up his crown after his half-brother Orm (TREVOR DEVALL) reveals the fine print of the Atlantean constitution declaring only a full-blooded Atlantean can hold the throne. This comes on the heels of Aquaman's humiliating defeat at the hands of Lobo (FRED TATASCIORE) at a dry lake bed known as Area 52, a military installation designed for the simplification of processing alien weaponry, now gone defunct because the simplification process proved overly complicated causing the entire operation to relocate to Rebirth, New Jersey.

Wed
11
Jul

Atari’s Contribution to Gaming

Atari has been through many ups and downs. The company will hopefully be able to pull itself up and join the ranks of popular console video gaming.

Wed
13
Jun

How to Train Your Robot: The Ozobot Evo

Evo app-connected robot from Ozobot

So here's my childhood: Get up. Watch cartoons. Play. Go to school. Watch after school cartoons. Play. Go to bed, safe in the assurance that when I grew up, I woudln't have to work because we'd have jetpacks, flying cars, cooked food on demand, and robots.

Now that I've left 50 in the taillights, and ponder the weight the advent of microwaves and Uber Eats has put on me, I finally get one more step closer to the future that I was promised in comic books and LOST IN SPACE.

The robots are here!

Yes, they've been here for a while, I suppose. But for the most part, consumer-obtainable robots have been pretty much RC cars with special effects.

Tue
13
Mar

Toys "R" Us: Will Darwinian Economics Claim Another Brick-and-Mortarsaur?

If Tim Burton were to remake THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS as a dramatic modern tragedy, it might come close to the emotions felt across the country as we await word from toy-selling colossus TOYS "R" US that they will be shuttering their stores across the country.

Should expectations bear out, the 60+ year old company will be the latest brick-and-mortar chain to fall victim to online competition, as parents turn to sites like Walmart, Amazon, and eBay for their purchases. Even the suppliers of toys have become competitors against their customer, with companies like LEGO and Mattel offering direct sales through their websites.

In January, TRU CEO Dave Brandon stated on the company blog that the chain would "continue to operate stores in all major markets across the U.S. and around the world." Two months later, that statement seems to have been overly optimistic.

Fri
16
Feb

Hasbro taking over Power Rangers toy line and licensing

A few days ago, we reported that Bandai would no longer be doing the Power Rangers toys.  Today Hasbro released the following press release:

Thu
15
Feb

After 25 years, Saban has decided to cut ties with Bandai!

From Comicbook.com:

Saban Brands is making a big shift in its toy business and has decided to part ways with Bandai.

Bandai America has created the Power Rangers toys for 25 years, but Saban Brands announced today that it will not be renewing its partnership with Bandai as of April 2019. The official statement is included below.

Sat
23
Sep

RC Pocket Racers: A Kid's Review

RC Pocket Racers Fury

It's September, which means the toy industry is in full court press for the dollars of parents who want to be sure they get their kids the hottest toys on the market.

This year one of those toys taking up the airwaves is RC Pocket Racers, a remote-control rechargeable car about the size of your average Hot Wheels or Matchbox car. All that sounds pretty cool, because it would be kind of fun to put such a vehicle on your original designed orange plastic tracks and send a car around it under its own power.

Mon
18
Sep

Funko announces Disney Afternoon line!

Collectible blind boxes have really gotten big in recent years.  I am usually pretty reluctant to buy them, because I am specific about exactly what I want when it comes to collectibles.  My wife is a huge Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, so I had bought her two TNG Blind Boxes...and they were both Deanna Troi.  Not exactly getting my money's worth there.

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