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Kotobukiya 2016 ArtFX+ “Pre-Veals”

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Kotobukiya’s ARTFX+ rendition of “Batman Vs. Superman” much anticipated face off. (Photo courtesy of Kotobukiya)

kotobukiya, batman vs. superman, dawn of justice, dc comicsThe Toy Industry Association’s 2016 New York Fair is just a month away and things are heating up in Toyland. That includes some interesting “pre-veals” that have recently found their way into the SkeletonPete mailbox.

Punch Brothers…
We just received a communique from collectible figure artisans Kotobukiya unveiling their spectacular Dawn of Justice tableau with DC Comics icons Superman and Batman locked in combat. The ARTFX+ creation, scheduled for May 2016 release, is actually two individual 1/10 scale statues that fit together at the base to form the battle scene.
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How Suite It Is: 2015 Toy Insider Event Grows in Scope

sweet suite 15, toy insider
New York City’s Chelsea Pier complex was the site for the 2015 Sweet Suite event designed to alert traditional press outlets and the exponentially expanding blogger community to the play industry’s newest goodies. This season’s gathering, mounted by the folks at Adventure Publishing Group (APG) (Toy Insider, The Toy Book, The Licensing Book) was the biggest ever, encompassing the wares of almost 100 vendor/sponsors. See the link loaded list of participants on the Sweet Suite Sponsor List.

Sweet Suite 15 was a sensory riot with so many wonderful items vying for deserved attention. To document the afternoon APG president and Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht conducted on-site interviews with the industry sponsors and attendees were banging out Tweets, Instagram pictures and videos posts by the hundreds (thousands?) It was especially cool to find The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark providing the live soundtrack performing songs from the group’s Are We There Yet album.

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Toy Insider’s Laurie Schacht meets a brace of WowWee Rev’s gesture controlled MiPosaurs.


As an information gathering excursion co-editor Adriana “Andy” Melendez and I have found the invitation-only opportunity to be invaluable, often leading to months worth of pre-holiday roll-out features about the newest toys.

It’s also a perfect platform to explore new products and have an easy-going tet a tet with their creators. Heck, I got so “toy-tipsy” I was even cajoled into donning an “Amy Poehler” wig for the gals at the Goldie Blox booth. Do blondes have more fun? I can’t say for sure but it likely beats being a balding 60 year old guy in a baseball cap.

What caught our collective eye? I know Andy was particularly taken with the I Am Elemental action figures and their empowering message for young ladies. I zoned in on Crayola’s “Color Alive” Easy Animation Studio and Hexbugs’ newest Vex Robotics kits (including an operational Zoetrope). Both were still in early development when first spied at the New York International Toy Association Fair last February.

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Just a few of the new items Andy and Pete will be reporting on in depth. I Am Elemental Action Figures (left,) HexBugs’ Zoetrope (top right,) Crayola’s Easy Animation Studio (bottom right.)


I also enjoyed a thorough demo and up close look at the eye-popping next-gen graphics of Activision’s Skylanders SuperChargers multi-platform game. Anki Overdrive’s track hugging robotic race cars promise to be an exciting experience, and Madame Alexander Doll’s mirthful Muppets will be available just in time for ABC’s Muppet TV relaunch.

Also ready to launch in the vanguard of inevitable Stars Wars mania is Build-A-Bear Workshop‘s Darth Vader and Chewbaca bears.

Expect us to be reporting on those items and many other products in depth as they reach their release dates in the coming weeks. In the meantime enjoy this teaser gallery of pictures from the event.

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Toying with Success: 2015 Toy of the Year Winners

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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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Green With Envy: Mezco Lagoon Creature Living Dead Doll Revealed @ NYTF 2014

Mezco Toyz, Living Dead Doll rendering of The Creature From the Black Lagoon at the New York Toy Fair 2014

Mezco Toyz, Living Dead Doll rendering of The Creature From the Black Lagoon at the New York Toy Fair 2014


It was great to get an early look at Mezco Toyz’ newest products as outlined in my previous post. Even so, one key piece was missing from the 2014 press preview. The prototype for the upcoming Creature From the Black Lagoon Living Dead Doll was not on view. With the catalog photo as a tantalizing tease I was dying to see it “in the flesh,” but it was unclear if “the creach” would be ready for exhibiting. As you might guess I was thrilled to find him grandly displayed, arms outstretched in his classic pose, at Mezco’s Toy Fair booth today. Now I’m dying to own one.
Mezco_Creature_LLD14_02
I’m a fan of Mezco’s stylized spin on iconic figures and I think they’ve done a fabulous job of translating the scaly stalker into an LDD. I love how this sculpt manages to imbue the monster with the Living Dead Dolls’ signature child-like look without blunting its inherent menace. The Creature’s amphibian “jumpsuit” covers a fully articulated body approximately 8 inches tall. I think this is easily my favorite of the LDD Universal Monster series so far.

Creach collectors can look to Fall of 2014 for its release.
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Alicia Keys Cuts Ribbon to Open 2014 New York Toy Fair

Alicia Keys and Toy Industry Association executives greet NY Toy Fair attendees at opening ceremonies.

Alicia Keys and Toy Industry Association executives greet NY Toy Fair attendees at opening ceremonies.


Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter Alicia Keys headed the commencement of the 111th American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javitts Center in New York City on Sunday February 16th. Surrounded by Power Rangers, a brass driven rhythm band, and thousands of attendees, Keys cut the ribbon to officially open the annual Toy Industry Association (TIA) gathering. Toy Fair brings together creators, licensors, vendors and buyers from all over the world. This year’s gathering, the biggest ever, will span over 400,000 square feet of the sprawling event center.
Alicia Keys explains the concepts behind her App's interactive play.

Alicia Keys explains the concepts behind her App’s interactive play.

Keys was onboard to announce Mookie the second installment of her Journals of Mama Mae and Lee Lee project, a downloadable digital App. Aimed at teaching youngsters life lessons through music, storytelling and journaling the interactive play is driven by the bond between the title characters, a grandmother and granddaughter, inspired by Alicia’s own familial experiences. Within the virtual walls of Lee Lee’s room children can play her piano, notate a journal or read a book. Via Mama Mae’s multi-cultural parables Lee Lee learns how to cope with the social and moral challenges all youngsters face on their path to adulthood. The Mookey tale, which takes place in India, specifically deals with social bullying.

Keys’ original music is part of the app experience and Mama Mae is voiced by veteran actress Della Reese. There are versions for iPad, iPhone and Android devices available. Follow this link to the official App site for more information