Fab Gear: Toy Insider Names Best in Play for 2016

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Adventure Publication’s Laurie Schacht and the Toy Insider team gave Holiday of Play attendees the lowdown on the latest & greatest modes of play.

Andy and Pete Say…
Once again it was our pleasure to join The Toy Insider team for the annual reveal of their choices for best toys for the holiday season lists. The HoliDAY of Play event highlights products in three categories, Hot 20 Toys, 12 Best Tech Toys, and 10 Best S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Toys.

You probably know “Toy Insider Mom” Laurie Schacht from her numerous television appearances demonstrating the operation of those products. The Toy Insider 2016 Catalog can be found nested inside the current issue of Family Circle Magazine, and you can get comprehensive details on each item at the Toy Insider Website link above.

Things to Make and Do….
There is probably no greater satisfaction for youngsters, really for anyone, than building something that works. That appeared to be the major theme this year at The HoliDAY of Play event. As we’ve seen in the past, from Lincoln Logs to LEGOS, the honing of dexterity skills, deciphering of instructions, assimilation of concepts, peaking of imagination and recovering from missteps, all make the final product a very personal thrill. The accomplishment makes the object all the more valuable to the builder.

What caught our eyes in particular?…
We’ll be diving deeper into the details of individual products in our next series of posts, but for now feast your orbs on our photo gallery of goodies below. Products sure to delight your family and friends this gifting season.

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VEX Robotics displayed a range of toddler thru teen and adult products.

VEX/HEX Robotics…
We’ve long been fans of VEX Robotics and their build them yourself simple machines and classic inventions toys and the ever expanding twists and turns of their popular Hexbugs minis tracks remain high on our favorites list. To those existing in house franchises the company has added the license for BattleBots, ABC TV’s ultimate showdown of robot building prowess. In fact many of VEX’s switches and micro circuits were used in the creation of the real battle bots. Need something a little less combative? Check out the uber cute CuddleBots aimed at toddlers.

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Activision Skylanders Imaginations gives gamers massive control over character building.

Activision Skylanders Imaginators…
The Activision Skylanders franchise newest iteration is called The Imaginators and allows players to create their own mix and match on screen warriors to take on Chaos and protect Skyland. The deep customization of characters’ parts and powers allow for a player’s ingenuity to influence game outcomes beyond the usual button mashing. Of course the hallmark of the system is its integration of physical collectible figures with digital game play.

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Bose’s DIY bluetooth speaker cube kit teaches the science of sound generation.

BoseBuild Speaker Cube…
The Bose Build is a DIY Bluetooth Speaker Cube kit that teaches kids (and “grups”) the physics of electromagnets and sound generation while yielding an impressive wireless speaker system, with a customizable exterior.

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Mattel’s Bloxels promotes the basics of game building skills.

Mattel Bloxels Game Programming…
Bloxels will give kids the skills to digitize their own play levels of scrolling games. The simple to use block and grid methodology affords young users a first step window into programming techniques. The app driven experience affords instant feedback and playability of your level build, and nearly 200 levels can be strung together. An online community will allow kids to share their constructs with others around the globe.

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Thames and Kosmos gear driven, vertical climbing, Geckobot.

Thames and Kosmos GeckoBot…
The GeckoBot from Thames and Kosmos is a gear driven goodie that adds the unique feature of vertical climbing to its skill set. Its suction cupped feet keep the remote controlled, build it yourself, lizard moving ever upward. Yes, he goes in reverse too.

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Crayola’s Air Marker Sprayer is high on SkeletonPete’s personal favorites list. Santa, are you listening?

Crayola Air Marker Sprayer
We’ve been crushing on Crayola’s Air Marker Sprayer kit for a while. Whether using stencils or going freestyle this art tool gives kids and crafters alike an affordable way to add the professional polish of an airbrush to their finished works. A big plus is it plugs in to the AC so you won’t run out of power in the middle of creating your masterpiece.

SkeletonPete Says…
Build stuff with your kids.

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Shared Power: IAmElemental Donates “Courage” to Childhood Cancer Cause

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Core Power Courage embodies all the attributes of IAmElemental figures Series 1 (Photo: Dan Larson toy

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and our friends at IAmElemental, makers of the first line of female action figures aimed specifically at young ladies, are sharing the empowering message of COURAGE with a Buy One, Donate One program. During the duration of the month IAmElemental will give one of their Core Power Courage figures to the cause, for every one purchased via their web store.

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Cold Brew: Hellboy & B.P.R.D. 1954 Series Begins

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Dark Horse Comics “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun” #1, Artist Mike Huddleston

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun #1
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 21, 2016

No Spoilers…

Writers Mike Mignola and Chris Robeson in collaboration with artist Stephen Green and colorist Dave Stewart, bring their most famous creation to an arctic setting. There’s plenty of action and intrigue blended with the deadpan humor we’ve come to expect from our favorite scion of Hades. Fans of 1950’s science fiction will find Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1954: Black Sun an absolute bulls-eye. Issue one is filled with overtones of the John W. Campbell novella “Who Goes There?,” most notably filmed as The Thing from Another World in the 1950’s by Howard Hawks and in the 1980’s by John Carpenter simply as The Thing.

Black Sun issue 1 introduces us to a new B.P.R.D. affiliate, the young cryptozoologist Woodrow Farrier. The character seems named with a bit of a nudge and a wink, as a farrier is a horse shoeing specialist. By the issues’ end the adventure expands beyond a Yeti hunt into unexpected territory.

This Dark Horse Comics series opener skates your way on September 21, 2016.
bellboy, dark horse comics, mike mignolaSkeletonpete Says…
Hmm, as a speculative setting for a third Hellboy movie this might afford director Guillermo Del Toro a gateway to the frosty Mountains of Madness after all .
bellboy, dark horse comics, mike mignola

Figured Out: A Mezco Toyz 2016 “One:12 Collective” Gallery

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Punch Drunk Love: Marvel Comics’ Punisher gets Mezco’s detailed One:12 Collective treatment.

Toyz Story…
I’ll keep the chatter down since this post was promised as a gallery of prototypes for Mezco Toyz‘ burgeoning One:12 Collective series first revealed at their pre 2016 American International Toy Fair event. Take a look, the details speak for themselves. Having had hands on experience with the Dark Knight Batman and the Star Trek Mr. Spock I can say that the production models are as refined as the prototypes.

I recommend you make a point of checking out Mezco’s website for information on each character, it’s accessories, and the pre-order schedule. Many are selling out early.

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Mezco Toyz Space Ghost and Blip One:12 figures have just gone on pre-order. (Photo Courtesy of Mezco Toyz)

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Frank Incensed… Mezco’s 1st Universal Monsters One:12 Figure

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Mezco’s thrilling evocation of Karloff’s Frankenstein Monster enraged.

October 2016 will see the release of the premiere Universal Horror Movie figure in Mezco ToyzOne:12 Collective product line. It’s only fitting that the first to appear should be the cadaverous creation of Dr. Frankenstein. The 1931 film (Frankenstein) launched the now classic series of monster movies that would grow to include Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, The Mummy and eventually The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
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