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Winter is Here! And So Are the Holidays: Great Gifts for the “Game of Thrones” Fan

Gorgeous Game of Thrones Busts of Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, and Daenerys Targaryen from Dark Horse – due out in 2018.

“When the snows fall and the white wind blows, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.” – Sansa Stark (George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones”)
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Rare Earth: Safari Ltd. Collectibles 2013

The 3 Headed Hound of Hell Cerebus guards Sarfari Ltd's Mythical Realms

The 3 Headed Hound of Hell Cerebus guards Sarfari Ltd’s Mythical Realms

Birds, Bees, Flowers and the Trees…
Earth Day seemed the perfect time to plant a feature about the wonderful wares of Safari Ltd. since their replicas represent the breadth of Mother Nature’s handiwork from petrified prehistory to current woodland and oceanic fauna. The pruning (umm…editing) of this article took a bit longer than expected, so I’m a couple of days late but still in the spirit.

Miniaturized to Actual-Sized…
It’s always a thrill to enter Safari Ltd’s booth at the annual New York Toy Fair. This year what drew attention to the company’s presentation was a life-sized replica an allosaurus skull, an outsized change up from the dino dioramas that usually greet you. Fear not also on display were the new Dino Babies series. These little guys will surely elicit a smile in return to their own happy go lucky demeanor.

A Few of Safari Ltd's Dino Babies

A Few of Safari Ltd’s Dino Babies

Going Toobular, Your Way…
The recent addition of a fill your own Toob option is a great way to get all the figures you really want. The low to the ground kiosk makes for a fun hands-on experience for youngsters and creaky jointed but adventurous adults like myself. I would seek out stores that offer this option to get your collection started.

Hand Pick the Contents of Your Own Designer Toob.

Hand Pick the Contents of Your Own Designer Toob.

Fact and Fiction…
Safari Ltd isn’t all hard science. They’ve also set their sites on the fantastical world of myth and fairy tale over the last few years. New Mythical Realms figures include a winged ebony stallion called Areion, the three headed gate keeper of hell Cerebus, as well as Hercules in hunting gear.

If you’re feeling your inner Deanerys and want a few weird wyrms to mother, the super popular Dragons line continues to expand with the Golden Dragon and shiny black, red-eyed, Twilight Dragon. There’s also the Thunder Dragon with intrepid rider “Drake” perched upon his neck. The Snow Dragon gets a glow-in-the-dark treatment.

Toob’ed Mini Dragons will be available in a few days and include the Forest Dragon, Ice Dragon, Midnight Moon Dragon, Mountain Dragon, Cloud Dragon. Here’s my shot of the Mini Chinese Dragon. It reminds me of a favorite comic book creature, artist Jack Kirby’s Fin Fang Foom, first seen in Strange Tales #89 in 1961.SafariMacro_01

SkeletonPete Says…
I can’t resist putting these figures to work as models for some fun macro photographic experiments. Their sharp detail lends itself to close-up work. If you missed it, my 1933 King Kong homage, using a couple of Safari’s mini’s, is posted here.

Safari Ltd's Logo Gator Stalks My Home Brewed Bayou

Safari Ltd’s Logo Gator Stalks My Home Brewed Bayou

The complete selection of Sarfari Ltd’s newest collectibles, with release dates and ordering info, can be found here.

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Activision “Skylanders”: Collectible Toys with Gaming Powers

Another really awesome experience at Toy Fair 2011 was getting a sneak peak at Activision’s new “Skylanders, Spyro’s Adventure” video game. Their booth was totally dedicated to debuting the game and featured giant replicas of the game pieces, including the familiar Spyro the flying purple dragon. Developed by Toys for Bob, the game is an imaginative and immersive adventure with puzzle, treasure hunt and battle components. What sets it apart from other games are it’s collectible figures each representing a character from the virtual world. These beautifully rendered miniatures can be “put into play” by placing them on the circular “portal of power”. Each has a unique set of abilities which can unlock different worlds or accomplish different tasks. Most importantly every toy figure has embedded tech which “remembers” its achievements inside the game and those level-ups and experiences travel with the toy.

Players can place a maximum of two characters at a time on the portal and play cooperatively or in battle mode. Characters exit and enter the game simply by placing or removing them from the portal base giving the player an opportunity to call in creatures as needed for their special masteries. It this manner game play varies endlessly based on which characters are in play, what tasks attempted and the level of each game pieces’ achievements. For instance, a friend who owns a character you do not, may be invited over to help unlock a new level or complete a task.

There will be over 30 characters to collect and use in gameplay, including Terrafin, Chop Chop, Gill Grunt, Trigger Happy and Stealth Elf. The game is set for release in fall of this year and will ship with Spyro, 3 other characters and the portal base, which resembles a castle turret. The game is scored by movie composer Hans Zimmer but Activision opted for AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” as the soundtrack to the promo video. While aimed at a younger audience is not hard to believe older siblings and even parents will be charmed by the chance to pop a figure on the portal and take a trip to Skyland.

See PiercingMetal’s Toy Fair 2011 Features here.

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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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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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