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Published on February 14th, 2011 | by Sharp-O


Mint in Box #13 – Toy Fair 2011

It’s Toy Fair season and that means we get a showcase of this year’s upcoming figures and collectibles. I put this article off until now because Toy Fair UK 2011 didn’t allow pictures to be taken and I didn’t see the point in talking about the offerings until I could actually show them to you, dear readers. I spent a good couple of hours gathering information and stuffs from the US Toy Fair just so I could give you my highlights of the show!

Cracking straight on with LEGO. Lego was a mainstay of my childhood and I’m glad it’s survived to this day and this year seems to make the license even bigger. They had the usual theme sets as with every other given year but the biggest news is the licensed properties with Pirates of The Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Spongebob Squarepants. The sets look impressive and far more character than sets of my youth but rather than be bitter about it, I’d gladly buy these for my little sister and know she’d enjoy them more than the more generic sets with Space, Egypt or Underwater themes. Build up, me hearties YO HO!

HASBRO had a very strong presence this year with major properties filling their displays and lots of movie tie-in toys. Star Wars had the usual gamut of figures and vehicles, but the interesting thing they had was a Return of the Jedi 12-pack Death Star set. To clarify, that’s 12 figures in a giant Death Star-themed book box. That bulls-eyes my figurative womp rat in collection terms and I don’t even collect Star Wars toys.

Marvel’s output through Hasbro was epic to say the least with movie tie-in toys for both Thor and Captain America while continuing the Iron Man series from last year.

Predictably, even the mighty Norse God of Thunder cannot escape the bane of having figures with ridiculous spring loaded missile gimmicks. That said, there was plenty of variety in the characters on offer and role-play items including Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir, helmets and other play weapons (With THOR emblazoned on most of them. Weird.) So that line should do quite well. No movie version of Beta Ray Bill though. Pity.

Captain America also had a large variety of figures, not just depicting The First Avenger movie characters but familiar comic characters like USAgent and Captain Britain (Dibs!) Again, play value dictates that a lot of these figures have weird gimmicks like shields that shoot discs or have pop-out blades but the one I find slightly endearing is the Cap in snowboarding gear. I don’t know why I like it but I’ll be picking him up when I see him. Role-play items include masks and different play varieties of his famous shield. Oh Captain, my Captain.

The only thing MATTEL had to offer that I gave a damn about was the Green Lantern movie figures but I haven’t been able to find good pictures of their display at the show. Sad face. From the figures I have seen however, the line looks to be in the same vein as Hasbro’s superhero tie-in lines and that’s fine by me. I can’t wait to have so many little figures of some of my favourite superheroes.

BANDAI was pushing the new Power Rangers Samurai figures but since you can pick any Power Ranger figure of the last five years and swap the heads, it seems pretty pointless to me to discuss them. The big deal for Bandai this year though is the return of Thundercats! They’re producing a good mix of classic figures as well as new toys for the new animated series later this year. While the 4 inch figures are generally good, the standout piece for this line has to be the new Thundertank. Look at that beast and tell me that you don’t want it. You can’t. It’s awesome and it knows it judging by the smug grin on it.

HASBRO were also peddling their two biggest franchises, Transformers and GI Joe. Both are a mix of two different lines being released this year. For the Joes, it’s a mix of the standard GI Joe toys that have been excellent for the better part of 4 years and the new Renegades line to accompany the cartoon. The Renegades figures take on a more simple and stylised appearance while still maintaining the basic level of articulation for current GI Joes which is to say they have more joints than an Amsterdam coffee house.

Transformers are having a big year, with the brand new animated show and the final live action movie and both lines couldn’t be more different. Transformers Prime figures continue the baffling stylised figures that made Animated great while mixing in a good chunk of the live action aesthetic. I had my doubts whether or not they could pull it off but I was wrong. Dark of The Moon toys are a strange bunch because they have the usual plethora of well-established characters in the usual size-flavours but they’re also introducing the Cyberverse, which are smaller-sized and come with playsets. It’s an interesting homage to the Micromaster playsets of old and I’ll be interested to get some in-hand.

And there we have it, Toy Fair 2011. I may have to do a second part to this since more images and information may surface with the depths of the interwebs after I put this up so for now, tell me what you’re looking forward to and what’s caught your eye that you didn’t notice. See you next time!

– Richard Sharpe

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The Bearded Toy Reviewer and Tokusatsu Fan.

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