Even a crippling blizzard couldn’t stop
Toy Fair from another successful show this year. From February 10-13, 2013, this annual industry-only show brought buyers and sellers together at New York’s Javits Center to unveil the latest and greatest toy innovations soon to hit store shelves.
We’ve already offered an
up-close look at the best Disney products the convention had to offer, but across hundreds of booths and four floors, Toy Fair was much more than just Disney. So below we take a further look at our favorites from companies big and small, with highlights including many popular licenses but also plenty of inventive new products from relative unknowns. It was indeed a snow start to Toy Fair 2013, with the streets of New York City turned into a winter wonderland last weekend. But no amount of snow would stop the 110th year of this massive convention. Despite the focus being on children’s toys, no one under 18 is allowed into Toy Fair. It’s not a convention for the general public, instead aimed at exhibitors to show off their latest creations with the hopes of landing plenty of sales. The event kicked off at New York’s famous Plaza hotel with the Toy of the Year Awards in a lavish ceremony. Winning product lines included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, LeapPad2, and Skylanders Giants. But the top honor went to the LEGO Friends line. The Toy Bank was also celebrating an anniversary, 10 years of collecting toy donations for children in need. A small ceremony was held, offering Toy Fair attendees birthday cake. Arguably the most eye-catching booth at Toy Fair once again this year was for Activision’s Skylanders, this time promoting their upcoming Swap Force game due out in Fall 2013. Skylanders Swap Force will introduce at least 24 new characters, including 16 that will allow gamers to separate and swap the top and bottom halfs, creating new combinations. A new portal will also be included. Swappable characters will inherit half of each other’s names and abilities. Also new: the ability to jump! More non-swappable Skylanders characters will be part of Swap Force, including female favorite Rollerbrawl. Not all big exhibits at Toy Fair are as easy to spot as the Skylanders. Many exhibits tuck their products away behind closed doors, open only to those with invitations or appointments. Playmates’ hugely popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line (one of my personal favorites) was one such hidden source of fun. Playmate showed off a variety of upcoming Ninja Turtles figures, including Snakeweed and Leatherhead. Rat King is a particularly gnarly figure. Also shown was Shredder without (shock!) his mask on. To avoid spoilers, I’ve only included that photo in the gallery at the bottom of this post, along with a few other characters and vehicles that haven’t appeared on the Nickelodeon TV show yet. Bebop and Rocksteady join the classic Ninja Turtles line with lots of articulation for making radical poses. And for everyone who wants to exclaim “I love being a turtle!” these shells will soon be on store shelves. Cowabunga! (Or should I say booyakasha?) More Turtles fun could be found throughout Toy Fair, with some of my favorite upcoming items being these little squishy characters. Similar toys will be available for other franchises including My Little Pony and The Avengers. Funko displayed a huge booth with hundreds, if not thousands, of POP! Vinyl figures. These horror icons caught my attention. As did Hannibal Lecter, Alien, and Robocop. Huh huh. Huh huh. These Beavis and Butt-head figures are cool. Yeah. Square-Enix displayed prototypes (not final paint) of upcoming Resident Evil 6 figures. Here’s Leon. More from Resident Evil. Square-Enix was also excited to show off their new highly-stylized DC line, including Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. NECA had an impressive line of upcoming figures including this not-for-sale diorama with soon to be for-sale Alien figures. A massive ED-209 figure will join the Robocop line this summer. With Bioshock Infinite finally being released soon, NECA’s outstandingly detailed figures are already shipping. The Carrie remake has a pair of highly-detailed figures. One of the most impressive new products for 2013 is Spin Master’s Flutterbye Flying Fairy line. Building off of their Air Hogs technology, these original fairy characters are easily launched from a base and hover and float gracefully, gently guided by the wave of a hand. It works astoundly well and Spin Master hopes little girls will bond with their fairies. Spin Master also revealed their DreamWorks Dragons products. Their leading toy from this line somehow creates a fog effect from its mouth without needing any sort of refills. They wouldn’t reveal the technology behind it, but it’s a must-own for dragon fans. Spin Master also has a fun line of games, including the simple but nerve-racking Boom Boom Balloon, demonstrated during a tour of their behind-closed-doors products. Even their publicist was apprehensive as sticks were poked further and further into the balloon until it popped. Roaming the Toy Fair show floor, we found the surprisingly accurate Ninja Cards. These plastic cards with fun designs and point values come with a foam board to throw them at, ninja star style. It’s way better than tossing playing cards into a drawer or garbage bin and safer than real throwing stars. K’NEX debuted a sister line to their Mario Kart building products themed to the Super Mario Bros series, with all new play sets and characters. Princess Peach finally gets a kart too! Mattel took over the 4th floor of the Javits Center with a highly secretive, invitation-only area. We began our tour during a Matty Collector evening event. The biggest unveiling was a first look at the huge new Castle Greyskull, the crowning jewel to their Masters of the Universe figure line. It was only because of fan pre-orders that Castle Greyskull reached the production phase and it was definitely an impressive sight in person. (Figures sold separately!) Hot Wheels will be coming out with a new Ghostbusters Ecto-1. But the more exciting Ghostbusters debut was a first look at Ecto-1 Goggles, due out this summer. Sadly, this was a non-working prototype but the final product will feature Slimer floating around when looking through. And collectors who also own Matty’s PKE Meter will get the bonus of seeing the Library Ghost too. For the first time ever, detailed toys of the classic Batman TV show are being produced, including figures and the iconic Batmobile. Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under! Barbie and Ken are also getting in on the Batman fun with new dolls. Beyond the Matty Collector products, the Mattel showroom was filled with highly-anticipated toys, including many from the uber popular Monster High line. New 13 Wishes dolls were shown off along with apparel, DVDs, and more. For a closer look at all the Monster High dolls and products, check the slideshow at the bottom of this post. A new interactive Barbie mirror allows girls (and guys?) to apply makeup without really applying makeup. I think this Barbie demonstrator found her Ken. Beyond Barbie, this familiar face stood out among Mattel’s demonstrator’s. You may recognize her as Trisha from SourceFed on YouTube. (She was in our 2012 San Diego Comic-Con gallery too, showing off Mattel’s Back to the Future Hoverboard.) Building off the popularity of Monster High, PlayHut introduces their Mystixx Vampires. The twist, quite literally, on these dolls is that they have two faces on the front and back of their heads, which can be spun around to show the normal side or the monster. Speaking of monsters, check out this incredible season 3 Blu-ray case for The Walking Dead from McFarlane Toys. McFarlane also displayed a working sculpt for an upcoming Carl figure. Figures of Merle, Michonne, and her zombie pets are coming soon too. Fans of the Assassin’s Creed series will gobble up these upcoming figures and role play accessories. Sure to be one of the most highly collectible new products is this Mr Fusion replica, as seen in the Back to the Future series, from Diamond Select Toys. This is an early prototype and no release date or price has been set yet. But it was said that opening it will produce fog and sound effects. Diamond Select Toys is also producing a great light-up Ghostbusters firehouse, only a photo of which was available in time for Toy Fair. Entertainment Earth offered a sneak peek at their upcoming Twilight Zone, Doctor Who, and other product lines and offered a few clues about this year’s many San Diego Comic Con exclusives – somewhere around 40! Factory Entertainment expands its popular shakems bobbling figures with many favorite new licenses, including Jurassic Park. Ghostbusters! (All of their new shakems were prototypes, so likenesses will likely improve.) Who doesn’t want a bobbling man-eating shark? Jaws! There aren’t many figures of Back to the Future characters out there so Factory is surely counting on lots of collector interest with their upcoming shakems. (Again, likenesses should improve as the products move past this early prototype phase.) In addition to Doc Brown, there will be a Marty McFly on a Hoverboard. The famous time traveling Delorean is part of the line, of course. But most unique is ’50s Biff Tannen’s car covered in manure. Speaking of unique, bonus points go to the booth for Romper Zombie with their blood spattered couch – a great photo op. The Romper Zombies are child zombie figurines – cute and creepy! Mezco previewed many of its exciting upcoming toys. A series of Mars Attacks figures are based on the original trading card series, not Tim Burton’s film. There will also be a huge 2-foot-tall version of the alien. Mezco’s Living Dead Dolls line adds Psycho. Here’s “mother.” Great expression for that famous shower scene victim. The Creepy Cuddlers plushes have proved to be popular for Mezco, now enlarged to more cuddly versions of Death Mittens and friends. Sometime it’s little novelty toys that are the most amusing, as was the case with these Squeekys. Squeeze them and they make a funny noise while sticking their tongues out. Simply funny. From Get Me Out Pillow comes a unique line of licensed plush characters that turn into neck pillows. Another fun plush item with a big presence at Toy Fair was Stuffies, offering soft cute characters with seven hidden pockets to store, well, stuff in. (They generously let me take Gracie the hippo home.) Hasbro’s showroom was filled with updates to some of the world’s most popular products. Monopoly is making headlines by replacing its old iron token… …with a cat! Also from Hasbro, Despicable Me 2 is inspiring versions of Monopoly and Operation. This trick-or-treating Halloween Minion figurine is particularly amusing. A surprisingly lifelike monkey named Cuddles was debuted from Hasbro, offering many interactive features. Transformers is getting in on the Skylanders fun, aimed at a younger age group with the Beam Box. It connects directly to the TV and allows players to put stylized Transformers figures into a portal of sorts that zaps them up onto the screen to play a variety of mini games. The new Nerf Rebelle line brings a bit of Hunger Games to girls with a bow and soft foam arrows that accurately shoot up to 75 feet. It’s not a licensed product, but judging from this Hasbro demonstrator’s outfit, it’s clear that’s their inspiration. There’s also an impressive mobile app that can connect up to a crossbow for enhanced play. My Little Pony is all about Twilight Sparkle becoming a princess with this highly interactive figure as their leading product. There were certainly plenty of ponies at the Hasbro showcase. Here are a few more. Transformers is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an impressive line of collectible, transformable figures. Among the 30th anniversary line is the biggest Transformer ever, Metroplex, standing over 2 feet tall in robot mode. In addition to hats, T-shirts, and other apparel there will even be adult sneakers. Construct Bots will for the first time allow the creation and customization of Transformers that can still transform. Check the gallery at the end of this post for many more Transformers photos. KRE-O continues to be big with more kits and tiny figures. KRE-O Transformers are simply fun. KRE-O Star Trek is coming soon, as is GI Joe. Hasbro also unveiled Play-Doh Plus, a more malleable version of the classic toy. I made this lovely Play-Doh Plus cupcake during a Hasbro blogger event. Hasbro isn’t the only one with the My Little Pony license. Aurora is one of several companies producing plush ponies. Here’s a closer look at a few of Aurora’s plush ponies. Aurora is also creating tinier ponies in little bags, complete with cutie marks. Meanwhile Ty debuted their upcoming line of My Little Pony beanies. The larger ones were for display only, but the smaller ones will be out this summer. Check out Pinkie Pie’s curly hair in the background. Finally, one of the most noticed products in all of Toy Fair 2013 was My Own Pet Balloon, inflatable little animals that can be pulled around on a leash. At times it seemed like every attendee was pulling a little inflatable pet behind them. Those without them wanted them. This panda was mine. I named him Floaty. These will surely be big hits!
Though Toy Fair 2013 concluded more than a week ago, many of the products previewed here and in our
Disney toy wrap-up won’t be hitting store shelves for months. But they will surely arrive at least in time for the Christmas season, so even if it’s a bit early to start shopping now, don’t be surprised if many of these end up on a list for Santa, from kids and adult collectors alike.
More photos from Toy Fair 2013 (Photos by Michelle Moss and Ricky Brigante