Part two of our 2013 New York International Toy Fair coverage
We’re going to wrap up our coverage of the news from the New York International Toy Fair 2013 this week, but this is far from a complete rundown. Rather than bury you under tons of detailed announcements for toys that won’t be seen in stores for months, we’re just going to hit the highlights and then tell you about the new stuff when you can actually go out and buy it…or avoid it. This week we’ll look ahead at what the year will bring in LEGO, Monster High, and several action figure lines.
How LEGO Stacks UP
LEGO announced 250 new building sets at Toy Fair, and here’s the cream of that very large crop: LEGO is focusing on quite a few Classic Building Sets, which offer loose pieces and rough projects. This is a step back to their roots, since the big money sets from LEGO for the past several years have been themed, licensed sets based on hit properties. There are still plenty of those on the horizon. LEGO is also beefing up their Mindstorms robotics line, with a new behemoth of a set that retails for $350.
LEGO City will continue with new sets, as will their girls-oriented Heartlake City, which will add collectible animals into the mix.
LEGO Legends of CHIMA will be joined by LEGO Galaxy Squad, a science-fiction-themed series of sets that will get a TV tie-in later this year.
LEGO Castle returns with five new sets, including Gold Getaway ($19.99) and King’s Castle ($99.99), to build a classic kingdom of knights in shining armor, dragons and treasure for builders ages 5 and up. LEGO NINJAGO, one of the most popular LEGO properties ever introduced enters its third year with six new sets that introduce the Gold Ninja.
Collectors will want to collect 48 never-before-seen LEGO Minifigures ($2.99 each) via three new blind bag series hitting stores throughout the year.
Then we dig into the meat of the line for collectors, LEGO’s licensed sets. New this year are LEGO sets based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the upcoming Johnny Depp version of The Lone Ranger. Returning LEGO kicensed sets include DC Universe, Marvel, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings andThe Hobbit. LEGO’s buildable action figures return with The Lego Hero Factory.
Monster High, Mattel’s fashion doll phenomenon, will introduce two new branches this year, one of them tied to a computer-animated DVD release.
“13 Wishes” tells what happens when Howleen Wolf discovers a genie lantern and turns Monster High upside down. Creature chaos ensues, particularly when Lagoona Blue is turned into a freshwater sea monster. Along the way, the ghouls make two new friends: Gigi Grant and Twyla. Dolls come with pet, diary, brush, doll stand and character-specific accessories.
Gigi Grant is the daughter of a Genie, and so she must grant the wishes of her finder, good or bad. This doll sports a classic genie look with gold detailing and accessories.
Daughter of the Boogie Man, Twyla, is shy and misunderstood, she hides under normies’ beds to capture their nightmares rather than adding to them like her dad. Lacking a mean streak, she wears a cute outfit with ruffled skirt and a bow at her neck.
There will also be a Monster High 13 Wishes Party Doll Assortment, where the ghouls are dressed for a Monster Morroccan Style party. The “13 Wishes” DVD will be released in the fall.
There will also be a new Create-a-Monster set, the Monster High Create-A-Monster Color-Me-Creepy Chamber, and a line of dolls based on a Music Festival that stars Venus McFlytrap, who plays “plunk” music–plant punk. These will be in stores very soon.
Diamond Select Toys, catering to the hobby market and Toys R Us, showed off a broad array of licenses: Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, The Walking Dead, Star Wars, Star Trek, Universal Monsters, The Munsters, Knight Rider, Ghostbusters, Pathfinder, Tomb Raider and Invincible. Products will include highly detailed 7-inch action figures, 2-inch Minimates mini-figures, Femme Fatales PVC statues, Granix art plaques, vehicles, light-up statues, banks, prop replicas, bottle openers, kitchenware, neon signs and more.
Diamond also announced two new licenses at Toy Fair, Lost in Space and Aliens. Lost In Space is the classic 1960s TV show, which updated “The Swiss Family Robinson” for the space age, will receive Minimates and an electronic replica of the B-9 robot along with other goodies, while Aliens sees the toy store return of the 1986 science-fiction classic that drove the Alien franchise to new heights. Aliens will receive Minimates and Minimate vehicles, as well as electronic vehicles of the Colonial Marines’ military transports.
The Ubiquitous House Of Mouse
Monsters University is this summer’s big PIXAR movie, and it’s a prequel to Monsters Inc. Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but this was not always the case. Monsters University tells the story of how these two mismatched monsters overcame their differences and became the best of friends.
Monsters University toys will include action figures, vehicles, playsets, plush figures, preschool and remote control items to help kids recreate key moments from the film through innovative and fun features.
Planes is Disney’s knockoff of PIXAR’s Cars, only with planes. The toy line will actually be integreated into the hugely-profitable Cars toy lines, with die cast vehicles, play sets and the Planes Pilot Pals Dusty Crophopper Remote Control Plane and Planes Sky Track Challenge Track Set from Mattel anchoring the Planes toy line. Planes fans can also recreate their favorite moments from the film with the deluxe remote control Dusty Plane from Thinkway, complete with an infrared remote control feature allowing kids to program this Dusty with action combo sequences.
Disney’s Princess and Fairies doll lines will continue and expand to include new characters. The Princess line will focus on Ariel, from The Little Mermaid, while the Fairies line will center around a new DVD with a Tiki theme.
The Disney Junior series, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, will get a full line of toys at mass market retailers, while another new Disney Junior show, Disney’s Sofia the First, about a young princess-in-trianing, will launch in the spring with a full compliment of toys.
Disney Films is releasing The Lone Ranger, which in addition to the afore-mentioned LEGO sets will also see a line of action figures from NECA, and Oz The Great and Poweful, which will see initial toys sold only at Disney Stores.
The Action In Figures
NECA, in addition to The Lone Ranger, will also offer up Kaiju and Robot figures based on the upcoming must-see movie, Pacific Rim (robots fight Godzilla-styled monsters, who wouldn’t want to see this?). Also coming from NECA are figures based on Kick Ass 2: Again and After Earth.
Mattel has disappointed a large number of 1/6 scale action figure collectors by reviving the excellent Max Steel 12″ line as a cheaply-made, poorly-articulated 6″ action figure. They seem to think that they can duplicate the success of Monster High, but they’re sort of missing the point. Mattel is taking the costly step of creating a CGI cartoon series that will run for at least two years on Disney XD, stating next month, but they don’t seem to understand that the new toys are crap, and that the toy line has a loyal following among collectors who kept purchasing the toys, which remained huge in South America, after Mattel stopped selling them in the US ten years ago. Even if the series is a hit, the toys are unappealing and have little play value.
Hasbro has a better grasp on bastardizing a successful property with ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS JENGA RISE OF DARTH VADER GAME. At least it’s funny and has play value. Hasbro will also release the Anakin to Darth Vader Action Figure, a 13″ figure that let’s kids torture Anakin by making him relive the pain of being transformed into a Dick-Cheney-like monster.
Bif Bang Pow showed off a variety of cool new MEGO-style and/or 3 3/4″ figures based on The Venture Brothers, The Twilight Zone, Six Million Dollar Man, Star Trek Dexter Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who, but they also unveiled a line based on the most offensive show currently on TV, The Big Bang Theory, also known as “Amos and Andy” for nerds.
Bandai will offer a ton of Power Rangers action figures to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise, but there will also be plush, building sets, board games and lots of other tie-in toys. Bandai will also be pushing a new line of action figures based on Pac Man, which seems to be an odd choice.
Playmates Toys continues their long association with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a new line of action figures based on the next generation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line, inspired by Nickelodeon’s hit new CG-animated show. New elements, including the mysterious Ooze substance and Turtle-loving pizza, have been added to the product line.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of toys coming your way this year. Next week the Toybox looks at Hasbro’s new 12″ figures. It should be meaty.