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Rocket in Your Pocket: Monogram’s Cool Key Rings

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust banks

Just a few of Monogram’s Marvel Collectible Keyrings

Monogram International Inc. is noted for their years of creating unique licensed collectibles and novelties, and I’ve been tracking their creations over many Toy Fairs. Their bust banks are particular favorites of mine, and they have created many ComicCon exclusives in this range. Antman and Loki are stand out additions to the line this year.

Key Characters…
Photographing the varied items at their 2015 New York International Toy Fair booth, I quickly became enamored with Monogram’s soon to be released series of 3D Foam Figural Key Rings. Licensing spans the Marvel, Disney, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and DC universes. The 2” characters have a nice chunky feel, soft but not “squishy.” Their super cute wide-eyed designs are fun and inventive and should make them popular with both youngsters and collectors of stylized characters.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

3D Figural Foam Keyring Foil Packs and Display Box.

Chase Scene…
Each keyring series includes 9 standard characters and 2 exclusive figures. Marvel Series 1 includes, Spider-Man, Hulk, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord. The two “chase” characters illustrated on the bag in silhouette appear to be variants of Iron Man and Rocket. They will be sold as foil pack “blind bags.” Inside each package the characters are wrapped in cardboard to discourage the “touchy feely” collectors from trying to divine their purchase in advance. It keeps things honest and trading brisk.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

My Monogram Rocket Raccoon 3D Keyring just hanging out.

The Monogram folks were so kind as to offer Ken Pierce (PiercingMetal.Com) and I a mystery bag each, and of course we opened them immediately. I was happy to find Galaxy Guardian Rocket Raccoon in mine, especially since he was not included in the Monogram display.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

Monogram’s Avengers Paperweight as a work in progress..

Weight of the Universe…
Monogram also unveiled a very early look at their Marvel Avengers paperweight. Shown in unpainted prototype it’s an out of the ordinary collector’s piece, nice for the desk of that comic obsessed executive you know. Standing atop the Avengers logo, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Ultron and the Hulk are all nicely sculpted ranging at what seemed to be 4-5 inches tall. Although not shown at Toy Fair, likely still in the sculpt stage, the company’s product art illustrates The Abomination and Loki as part of the set as well.

monogram international, toy fair 2015, marvel, dc comics, key rings, bust bank

Loki ponders what universe he’s in, as Superman looks on.

SkeletonPete Says…
Though not originally a fan of the mystery box or blind bag collectible model, I’ve come to understand its strengths. Commercially the “thrill of the chase” for your favorite characters certainly drives sales but psychologically adds a layer of fun via anticipation and surprise. That’s not such a bad thing for kids to experience in a world of mostly instant gratification. A personal analogy is how much I enjoyed chasing after 45 RPM’s with Non-LP B-Sides by my favorite musical artists. Now those “bonus” tracks are a click away for download and not truly special at all.

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Toying with Success: 2015 Toy of the Year Winners

toy fair, NYTF15, american international toy fair 2015, toy industry association
The Toy Industry Association‘s 112th North American International Toy Fair 2015 (#NYTF15) got it’s official start with a ribbon cutting event at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center on Saturday February 14, but it launched with advance festivities at the Association’s annual Toy of the Year Awards ceremony the evening before. I’m glad to see several that caught our eye this season took top honors.

toy industry association, american international toy fair 2015, toy fair, toy of the year awards

Spin Master’s Zoomer Dino wins TOTY Best Boy Toy of 2015.


Spin Master’s Zoomer Dino, the remote controlled “Boomer,” was voted Best Boy Toy. Its sleek design caught my eye when I first encountered it at the Big Toy Book 2014 Holiday of PLAY event.

toy industry association, american international toy fair 2015, toy fair, toy of the year awards, hasbro, rebel, dolphina

Hasbro’s Rebelle Dolphina Bow SuperSoaker


Co-editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez (Sylverwhisper) was particularly fond of Hasbro’s Nerf Rebelle archery sets, allowing young ladies to channel their inner Katniss Everdeen in backyard Hunger Games or rival Marvel Avenger Hawkeye for his accuracy. One of the Rebelle line, the super soaker Dolphina Water Bow, took Best Outdoor Toy honors.
crayola, toy fair, NYTF15, american international toy fair 2015, toy industry association

Crayola Paint Maker Kit takes 2015 Activity Toy of the Year Award.


The Crayola Paint Maker won Activity Toy of the Year division. It’s a toy we gifted to my niece this year. Crayola’s complete line of classic to digital creative sets is impressive. I still covet my childhood box of 64 crayons, replete with sharpener but I’m looking forward to reporting on Crayola’s other products, including their interesting camera obscura style drawing apparatus.
toy industry association, american international toy fair 2015, toy fair, toy of the year awards, Disney, Frozen, Princess Elsa
Elsa is Everywhere…
It would seem that Princess Elsa is celebrating her TOTY award by putting NYC in a deep freeze for the next several days. The ubiquitous franchise Disney’s Frozen deservedly won for Property of the Year.

The Complete List…
The Toy Industry Association’s press release offers the complete rundown of winners with an explanation of their voting process.

“TOTY Award winners were selected with the input of consumers (on ToyAwards.org), retailers (mass and specialty), media and members of the toy industry. The five ballots were weighted and used to determine the category winners, with the exception of the “People’s Choice” award, which was selected exclusively by consumers.”

Recognizing an outstanding toy that inspires creative play through various forms of activity, the Activity Toy of the Year was presented to Crayola Paint Maker (Crayola)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for boys of any age, the Boy Toy of the Year was presented to ZOOMER DINO™ (Spin Master)

Recognizing an app-cessory or other physical toy that interacts with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device, the
e-Connected Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® FUSION (LEGO Systems, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play, the
Educational Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Technic (LEGO Systems, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding children’s board, card, CD-ROM or electronic game, the Game of the Year was presented to Simon Swipe™ (Hasbro, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for girls of any age, the Girl Toy of the Year was presented to Shopkins™ Small Mart Playset (Moose Toys)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for infants and toddlers up to 36 months, the Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year was presented to Go! Go! Smart Animals™ Zoo Explorers Playset™ (VTech®)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that combines innovation and play value, the Innovative Toy of the Year was presented to MiP ™ (WowWee)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that is designed for outdoor play, the Outdoor Toy of the Year was presented to Nerf Rebelle Dolphina Bow (Hasbro, Inc.)

Recognizing an outstanding toy developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5), the Preschool Toy of the Year was presented to LEGO® Juniors (LEGO Systems, Inc.)

Recognizing a property that has had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry, the
Property of the Year was presented to Disney’s Frozen (The Walt Disney Company)

Recognizing an outstanding toy that is distributed primarily through specialty toy retailers, the
Specialty Toy of the Year was presented to Gravity Maze™ (ThinkFun, Inc.)

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