Posts Tagged ‘toy photography’

Split Personalties: LearnPlay’s HalfToy Dinosaurs

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Better By Half…
I first saw the wonderful HalfToys creatures at The Toy Association‘s New York ToyFair back in 2017 and instantly fell in love with the look as well as the concept. So I was especially pleased when early in October this year LearnPlay (the exclusive United States distributor of HalfToys) reached out to solicit the first wave of the product line.

Halftoys Dinosaurs line currently presents six of the most well known saurians molded in plastic with a streamlined mellow continence. Each has a special surprise inside. The creatures can be split in half to reveal their skeletal structure. That removable skeleton is further enhanced by being divided into puzzle like sections. Aimed at ages 3+ the toys make for good gross – to – fine motor skills training. The two halves of the toys lock together with a satisfying magnetic snap. The outer shell and skeleton can be played with separately.

The toys’ minimalist design and single matte color of their molded “skin” lends itself to customization. We suggest finding an easily removable art product so that your child can change designs at will with a minimum of scrubbing. A good place to start would be Crayola’s line of washable kid’s paints.

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HalfToys Dinosaurs interior skeleton is also a puzzle.

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HalfToys packaging design makes for an impressive gift.

The Box Rocks…
Andy and I don’t normally obsess about packaging but we are impressed with the lovely design of the HalfToys boxes. Attention to clean lines and simple but effective details, like embossing, spot varnishing, and stickers corresponding to the figure inside give the toys a high end first impression and a very classy feel as a gift.

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HalfToys come complete with card stock diorama constructs.

Into the Fold…
Normally I build my own backdrops to photograph toys, but in this case each HalfToy includes a portion of their “world.” These origami style constructs, printed on card stock, give your toys an appropriate playground when completed. The T-Rex came with a tree, a rock, some terra firma terracing, and even a Flintstones style meaty bone to placate his carnivorous appetite. They also offer an additional level of creative value to the toys. That said, please note that youngsters will need an assist in the building of these dioramas.

Parents with crafting skills will find the task rewarding and not overly taxing. The pieces are well perforated for removal from the backing cards. Slots and scoring are accurate even for the finer connections. The less crafty may have to put on their “patient parent pants” and follow the wordless instructions which offer an order from simplest to hardest task. There is no gluing involved, and tape would be cheating. Take your time, let your kids watch you fail a little bit. Maybe even stretch the completion of the diorama pieces over a couple of sessions.

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Future HalfToys “Worlds” will include land and sea animals, as well as creatures of myth and fable like these 2017 prototypes seen at New York Toy Fair.

Worlds Beyond…
The Halftoys Dinos currently available are  Tricera, T-Rex, Diplo, Ankylo, Stego and Para. Please hit their website for a look at the complete line, and some fun animations.

The HalftToy  biosphere will soon expand with the addition of forestaquatic animals. Expect a spring 2019 release.  A selection of mythical creatures is also in the company’s long range sights. We glimpsed a streamlined design for a club wielding Cyclops and mighty Minotaur amidst the prototypes shown at The Toy Association’s Toy Fair. The majestic Griffin will be a wonderful add to the collection.

SkeletonPete Says…
Dinosaurs and skeletons, kind of a no-brainer for attention around here, but HalfToys/LearnPlay go the extra mile with a really well thought out and beautifully produced set of toys. Which is why we can whole heartedly recommend them.

The T-Rex diorama photos represent my set-ups of the production version of the toy taken just this week. The far background is a painting I did of a Sedona, Arizona landscape several decades ago. I thought the color palettes matched well.

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Terrapin Terrors: Playmates’ TMNT Monsters + Mutants Figures

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Playmates Toys’ TMNT Mickey Werewolf is on the prowl this Halloween

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SkeletonPete’s Yester-Play #1: Star-Spangled Warriors

A SkeletonPete "Yester-Play" Tribute to the War That Time Forgot Series.

A SkeletonPete “Yester-Play” Tribute to the War That Time Forgot Series.

Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yester-Play…
Here’s a photographic homage to those thrilling days of “yester-play.” It’s first in a series I hope to continue as the muses allow. The idea is to periodically root through my old basement toy barrel for inspiration and attempt to artistically photograph whatever I pull out. The first “excavation” yielded this fanciful two-headed Tyrannosaurus and triggered a remembrance of one of my favorite comic book series, Star Spangled War Stories.

What It Is…
Some of my earliest comic book encounters came when my parents or grandparents would walk me to the corner candy store to peruse the newsstand and there before my wondering eyes would be a new issue of DC Comics’ Star Spangled War Stories. Why was Star Spangled so special? Well, because in May of 1960 (with Issue #90) DC began an incredible run of stories that mashed up World War II tales with a land-that-time-forgot motif. In other words, G.I.’s versus dinosaurs stories. Usually heralded by spectacular Joe Kubert or Ross Andru/Mike Esposito rendered covers, they launched me into innumerable hours of pitting my John’s Bargain Store green plastic soldiers against an onslaught from my Louis Marx dinosaur collection.

So here for your approval is my imagining of a Star Spangled tale never told. As with my Safari Ltd. “Good Luck Mini’s” tribute to King Kong, this shot was staged as a table-top tableau using bath towels, house plants and garden rocks for the scenery. The really neat metal tank was a serendipitous discovery in the local 99 Cent store, as was the G.I. in the foreground.

This Cover for Star Spangled War Stories #125 Typifies the Dinosaur Island Series.

This Cover for Star Spangled War Stories #125 Typifies the Dinosaur Island Series.

For more information on the original books, here is the Wiki.

All the great covers can be found in DC Comics’ Archive. The “War That Time Forgot” and “Dinosaur Island” stories began with Issue 90 and ended with Issue 137 (March 1968,) after which the book became a vehicle for the Enemy Ace character.
DC Comics recently announced plans to revive the Star Spangled War Stories title with issue #1 arriving in July 2014. Focus will be on a G.I. Zombie character, but I can’t imagine that the temptation to revisit the land of tanks vs. dinosaurs can be resisted.

Rumble in the Jungle: A Safari Photo Fantasy

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SkeletonPete’s Photo Fantasy: Sarfari Ltd Good Luck Minis Prepare for a Rumble in the Jungle to Honor King Kong’s 80th Anniversary

The original 1933 King Kong – toys and miniatures – close-up photography. These are a few of my favorite things, and a bit of serendipity helped me mash them all up all into this one image.

Let Me Explain…
In the process of preparing continuing coverage of the 2013 American International Toy Fair I opened the little bag of goodies Safari Ltd offered to press folks reporting on their product line. Low and behold out fell a Tyrannosaurus Rex and great little gorilla, both part of Safari’s Good Luck Minis collection.

Since this coming weekend marks the 80th anniversary of RKO’s King Kong, I thought I’d have some photographic fun with the two Minis and a Polaroid close-up lens kit I purchased recently. I wanted to see how far I could push these simple screw-on adapters before shelling out for a “real” macro lens. I’ve also been contemplating what my first posting to Flicker’s Toy Photographers Group might be and this seemed a perfect opportunity to create a table-top tableau mimicking the thrilling battle between Kong and the T-Rex.

What It Is…
Using mostly household items, I did my best to recreate the mise en scene of Gustave Dore’s etchings which inspired the art direction of Kong 33’s Skull Island.

Along with the two Safari LTD. miniatures – which measure 7/8’s of an inch tall – there are brown and green bath towels as the foreground, plastic Christmas flowers that didn’t get stored away yet as the canopy, and a few slate drink coasters are the middle ground. A small acrylic painting of the Sedona, Arizona landscape I did twenty years ago is the distant background and some twigs from my front yard complete the effect. A frosted glass candle holder and a clear plastic bag were used to modify the output of a battery powered 126 LED light source.

Shot on a Nikon D300 with 50mm lens and +2 close-up adapter. I think the super-shallow depth of field produced by the adapter helps convey the look of an other worldly jungle. Aside from a slight crop the image is posted as shot, there’s no Photoshop post production.

Calling All Scream Queens…
Along with other “Kong-o-philes”, I’ll be celebrating the king’s birthday at NYC’s Film Forum screening this Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 11AM. The event includes a Fay Wray “scream-a-like” contest which should be a highlight.

What’s Up Doc…
Also see my recent post about Altus Press’s soon to be released pulpy pairing of Doc Savage and King Kong on Skull Island.