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SkeletonPete Says Toys & Collectibles

Late Late Show Faves – Folkmanis Puppets @ Toy Fair 2011

Continuing our hunt for fantastical creatures at the February 2011 Toy Fair in New York City, PiercingMetal.com’s Ken Pierce and I found ourselves surrounded by a menagerie of dragons, monsters, and even a pirate peering at us through the canopy of a magical forest. As it turned out they were all the exquisitely crafted puppets created by Folkmanis.

You may already know some of the company’s characters from The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. “CraigyFerg” often opens his show with hilariously unorthodox monologues delivered by several of Folkmanis’ creatures. My particular favorite is the cuddly white bunny (“Sid”) who drives the CBS censors wild with his foul language. Back in December 2009 the puppets took over the show entirely in celebration of the 1000th episode. Here’s a look at some of them in their own habitat.

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SkeletonPete Says Toys & Collectibles

Hexbugs Rule – OK!

New Yorkers may have already had enough of creepy crawlers this season, hosting our own convention of Bedbugs, but I think even the antsiest of city dwellers would make an exception for Innovation First’s phenomenally fun line of micro robotic arthropods.

The company, known for it’s educational Vex Robotics Systems used in upper grade classrooms recently expanded into the toy market with a series of ant, spider and crab replicates called Hexbugs. Each has a unique perambulation. Some are “free-ranging” little buggers guided solely by chance contact with their antennae, others can be controlled with a wireless mini remote, some react to sound and others to light. All are well built, run on watch batteries, and are mesmerizing in action.

The newest – smallest – addition to the product line are called Hexbug Nanos and they are my favorites. While you could allow them to skitter aimlessly and crazily along, adding the modular track system to the picture gives these little jitterbugs a more purposeful existence. Track configurations can be endlessly revised and added to, and there are many kits to select from. Choices include race tracks (“Gentlemen, start your thoraxes”), habitats and elevation spirals for building multilevel bug-scapes. Best of all is the “Bridge Battle” set where multiple Hexbugs compete to push each other over the side of a concave platform. Just introduced is the “glow in the dark” track series in matte black for you heavy metal fans.

The bugs themselves can be individually purchased, come in a variety of colors and finishes, and sport their own constellation based “ink”. I could definitely see the more artistic minded going at these puppies with a paintbrush and some stickers to really customize their creature crew.

Thanks to the gang at the Innovation First’s Toy Fair 2011 booth for giving PiercingMetal.com’s Kenny Pierce and I an informative insider tour. We suggested a product demo on HSN or QVC around holiday time would make for blow out sales. Hexbugs top my gift list for my godson’s up-coming birthday – ’cause I wanna play with them too.

Check out the Promo Videos.

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SkeletonPete Says Toys & Collectibles

Safari LTD. Collectible Fantasy Figures

It was a pleasure to meet the nice folks from Safari LTD at Toy Fair 2011. They kindly gave us free reign to photograph the gorgeous dioramas highlighting their products.

Anyone who has visited a museum gift shop is already familiar with Safari LTD’s expansive line of collectible wildlife and dinosaur figures. They are noted for their detailed sculpture and beautiful hand painted finishes. In addition to the array of scientifically accurate animals Safari LTD. has begun to add a wonderful group of fanciful and mythological characters to their product line.

Under the groupings Mythical Realms, Fairy Fantasies, Once Upon A Time, Days of Old the company offers collectors (young and young at heart) an amazing array of choices. I’m particularly fond of the selection of Dragons, love the mini’s found in the company’s Toobs canisters, and I quickly became a fan of the Cyclops, Medusa and Minotaur on display at the fair.

Check out Piercing Metal’s Toy Fair 2011 Coverage here.

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SkeletonPete Says Toys & Collectibles

Mighty Thor Highlights from Toy Fair 2011

It was a mind-blowing experience covering the sights and sounds of the Annual Toy Fair at the Javitts Center in New York City with Ken Pierce this week. There’s lots to report on and several posts will follow – both here and on Piercingmetal.com – with specifics on some of the items we found most interesting and fun.

To start off I’ve included some images of the varied treatments given to one of my favorite superhero characters, The Mighty Thor. As most of you know the Marvel Comics based film hits theaters this spring and they’ll be a slew of merch to go along with it. Here’s a sampling from the sublime to the bobble-head.

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