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Row Bots: Hexbug Warriors First Look, Part 1

Collectible Hexbug Warriors Packaging Variations


What the Hex…
Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows I’m a fan of Innovation First Labs Inc. and their line of robotic toys. My favorites are the arthropod inspired Hexbug Nanos. I just love to watch the meanderings of these self propelled creatures along the modular tracks you can design and expand yourself. After a while they seem to take on individual personalities. Needless to say a selection of Hexbugs, tracks, platforms and corrals (as well as the “Battle Bridge” kit) made a great gift for my Godson – and for me as well.

At Toy Fair 2012 Innovation First Labs gave a sneak-peek at their newest spin on the product. They’re called Hexbug Warriors Battling Robots. It was clear from the prototypes and their accoutrements that this was going to be a grand addition to an already fun franchise.

It’s Academic…
Taking a page from Harry Potter and X-Men, as well as real life school robotics competitions Innovation First supplies parts for, the Warriors are back-storied to be the creations of four fictional student “academies” in the year 2087. They are color coded to note each academy. Caldera Prep (Red), Viridia Prep (Green), Bionika Cyborg (Blue), Tronikon Tech (Yellow.) Each of the Warriors can be outfitted for battle with a range of armor and weapons. Saw blades, pinchers, scoop wings, borer cones, side plates and other pieces can be mixed and matched to your desired effect.

Hexbug Warrior Individual Pack


When Push Comes to Shove…
Whereas the earlier Bridge Battle kit pitted Hexbugs against each other in push and shove matches – with losers being knocked off an elevated concave arena – Warriors ups the ante with a “last man standing” motif. This is driven by sensor tech inside the robots. Each Hexbug Warrior has an LED light that signals its current health state in Green, Yellow or Red as it wages battle. Eventually the shock sensor will shut a Warrior down after its maximum number of hits. The ultimate victor is the one still running.

SkeletonPete Says…
This first installment of my review gives you a look at the packaging variations. It will be followed next week by up close images of the individual Warriors, their battle armor and weaponry. The third report will enlist some family members a real world view of game play. My previous coverage of the Hexbugs line can be read here.

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The Dark Knight Rhizomes! Hasbro Potato Personas Abound

Batman gets the Hasbro Potato Head Treatment


Some totally tube(r)ular Mister Potato Head personas have just been released or are on their way. As you can see from these images, Hasbro Toys has plenty of new personalities to adorn your root cellar this coming season. The ability to morph the old spud into a plethora of popular characters has kept the franchise fresh – and tasty.

I Was A Pre-Teen Tator-Tot…
I’m old enough to remember when the kit came minus a potato replica and my parent’s refrigerator was regularly raided for real food to bring the gent to life. Depleting dinner menu items wasn’t really high on most Mom’s lists of great things, but the inclusion of the faux-tato in the early 60’s did limit your ability to make recombinant DNA stlye creations.

Mash-Ups…
The members of rock band KISS are available separately and in a limited edition collectors set that includes 3 parody album covers. Elvis is depicted in both white Las Vegas jumpsuit version and ’68 Comeback Special black leathers. The newly minted Three Stooges were a perfect choice for spud characterizations and come with their own weapons of mass disruption, a wrench, clobbering mallet, and ubiquitous pie. Star Trek’s Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura join the already available Captain Kirk and are an absolute scream. Hasbro has just announced that Superman and Wonderwoman will hit the stores this August.

Battle Ready Batata…
Toy Fair 2012 also afforded a sneak peak at the Batarang wielding Dark Knight which will appear around the time of the third installment of the Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises. Makes me wonder… if Batman is represented in potato form is his alter ego Bruce Wayne being played by Christian Kale?

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Next Hex & Motion Moshi’s: Innovation First @ NY Toy Fair 2012

Hexbug Nano Hive Habitat - Awarded Specialty Toy of the Year

VooDoo Bugs, Slight Reprise…
Toy Fair 2012 was a great opportunity to become familiar with lots of new products scheduled for roll-out over the next year but it was also fun to visit with the representatives of some of last year’s favorites and see their newest product spins. That was certainly the case with the folks at Innovation First who welcomed Ken Pierce and I into their booth for a peak at the latest updates to the Hexbugs universe.

Updates include more modular base plates, allowing for Hexbugs exit/entrance from varied positions of your choice. The plates also have a series of slides and whirly-gigs that make watching the jittery robotic insects even more fun. Clip an optional hook to the back of your Hexbug and watch it slide down guide wire equipped elevations.

Pack Up Your Hexbugs in Your Old Kitbag…
I was really happy to see Innovation First Labs take top honors with a Specialty Toy of the Year Award for their Hexbugs Hive Habitat Set. This portable version of the Habitat product neatly folds up into a molded handle carrying case to easily tote your Nanos wherever you go. Like the rest of the line everything is expandable once you reach your destination.

This Means War…
On the horizon are Hexbug Warriors, an extrapolation of last year’s “battle bridge” concept. Warriors can be outfitted with snap on weaponry ranging from buzz-saw blades to drill noses. Open sided concave platforms make for the arena ground and the toys push and nudge each other until one falls to the level below.

Mesmerizing Moshlings
For younger gamers and Mom’s who just can’t stand the sight of bug-like crawlers skittering around the living room floor First Innovations has introduced a series of tiny Bobble Bots. These shaky noggin creatures are based on online “virtual pets” Moshi Monsters, each with their own cool personality. Like Hexbug Nanos, they have a modular environment to traverse with little houses and shops, trees, shrubs, and lamp posts that can be turned into a complete village. Swing away doors allow the critters to bop in and out of the buildings, and their erratic perambulations are mesmerizing.

Tonner Doll Company Reveals Avatar and Tron Figures @ Toy Fair 2012

Captain Jack Sparrow Will Take You To That Special Island

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might remember the Tonner Doll Company article written after the 2011 Toy Fair. It has been one of the most popular postings at SkeletonPete and continues to pull traffic daily. That’s really no surprise because the story and photos highlight the Tonner company’s gorgeous creations; dolls that are acclaimed and cherished all around the globe. They have produced many licensed collectibles of DC & Marvel Comics characters as well as fantasy and classic Hollywood film tie-in’s. So it was a treat when Ken Pierce and I got to meet Robert Tonner himself and have a chat about upcoming designs and figure licensing.

Avatar and Tron Sneak Peek
Mr. Tonner was kind enough to give the OK to photograph and share with readers the prototypes for both the Tron Legacy and Avatar doll series, which at the time were still pending the approval of the licensors. Emily, The Corpse Bride and Ms. Beetlejuice join the Tim Burton inspired line, which also includes his Alice In Wonderland visions. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is represented by a lovely Penelope Cruz as Angelica, and a simply jaw-dropping likeness of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

There are dolls and then there are DOLLS. Robert Tonner’s fashion design background and attention to detail always result in a capital product. He keeps the collector community abreast of new merchandise with a regular YouTube video-blog. A visit to Tonner’s exceptional website will fill you in on the entire product line, including the time honored classics of Effenbee, which celebrated its centennial in 2010 and has been owned by Tonner since 2002.

Flights of Fancy Convention
The 2012 “Flights of Fancy” Tonner Doll Convention, a weekend long gathering of doll collectors, takes place in Lombard, Illinois this coming May. Attendance is limited to 300 and there are special hotel rates available. Check this link for further details.

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Universally Hammered: Monsters Abound @ Toy Fair 2012

Mezco's Creepy Lagoon Creature


Monsters of all kinds were certainly in the mix at The Toy Association’s 109th Industry Conference, simply known as Toy Fair. Always of particular interest to collectors are upcoming licensed figures of their favorite horror characters like the Universal Monsters series from Diamond Select I reported on earlier.

This year toy manufacturer Mezco, who are well known for their “Living Dead Dolls”, are adding classic Universal Films Monsters to their line. As one would expect the company will offer the countenances of The Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula, rendered in the dead dolls cherubic style. Those are slated for September 2013.

In addition Mezco has shown prototypes for a quirky, set of figures sculpted in an expressionist or Caligari-esque mode that we haven’t seen before. Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Creature From The Black Lagoon are presented in skewed proportions that bring out a menace previously unseen in action figures. I really like this concept and particularly love the gangly look of The Creature; think I might have to own this one even with the limited display space I have. Mezco also has a “Big Frankie” style monster, they’re calling the Mega Deluxe Frankenstein, set for November 2012. This 2 foot bruiser has a dead pan demeanor I really like. “Black and White” variants were on display for all the figures.

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Titan Merchandise Adds Hammer Icons to the Collection


Also at Toy Fair 2012 were Titan Merchandise’s newest 3/4 busts, of Hammer horror films characters. Represented are Christopher Lee in his most famous role as Count Dracula, Ingrid Pitt as the sanguinely rejuvenated Elizabeth Bathory (Countess Dracula, 1971) and Peter Cushing as the intrepid Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Dracula / aka Horror of Dracula, 1958.) These missed their originally listed Fall 2011 release dates, and are now scheduled to hit the shelves in mid April 2012, right around even scarier Income Tax time. They are limited to editions of 1000.

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