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You Spin Me Right ‘Round: WowWee’s Dual Natured Grimlings

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WowWee’s Grimling Junkyard The Dog in a rude mood.

 

Ruff to Rough

By Edgar Allan Pete

When the lights are shut

Transform this mutt

From playful pup

To something rough

His eyes glow red

His teeth descend

Upon the spinning of his head

 

Too Much Monkey Business…

If over the last couple of years you’ve somehow missed contact with the Fingerlings, WowWee Toys’ uber-cute electronic pets, please rent me a space near the rock you live under. Andy and I first saw them previewed at a New York Play Fair event and immediately knew that they were going to be a huge hit.

Kids and adults alike quickly connected with the playful pastel colored monkeys that could slide over a forefinger or hang upside down by their prehensile tails. Fingerlings’ calm interactive nature and cheerful chirping helped foster a personal connection with youngsters. 

Popularity soared and even required legal action to stem the tide of counterfeits that ensued during the 2017 holiday season. The line was bestowed with the Toy of the Year Award by The Toy Association in 2018. Other characters like penguins, pandas, porpoises and purple sloths followed quickly and continues to grow with franchise exclusives and limited editions driving a fanbase of collectors.

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You Spin Me Right ‘Round, Baby – Grimling Heads rotate 360 Degrees while transforming.

A Mr. Hyde Side…
This year, following the old saw that “into each life a little rain must fall,” WowWee has decided to slip a smidgen of the dark side into the formula. Meet the Grimlings, a nice but naughty addition to the Fingerling family. Yes, they’ll still be your friends in the light of day but once the evening shadows creep out from the corners of your room Grimlings take on a completely different demeanor. Following a 360 degree head spin that would make Linda Blair envious the Grimlings’ fangs descend and their eyes glow red.

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21st Century Schizoid Pup…
We had the opportunity to photograph Junkyard The Dog and had fun learning the toy’s behaviors from panting pup to evil hellhound in the process. Junkyard’s transformation is completed with a reverberant howl more akin to a werewolf than a household pet. It makes me laugh every time I hear it. Don’t fear, Grimlings won’t stay in a rude ‘tude for too long. Shine a little on them – or be a “Grim Whisperer” by blowing in their ear – and all will be well again.

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WowWee’s quartet of Series One Grimlings seen at Toy Insider’s Holiday of Play Event.

SkeletonPete Says…
Grimlings Series One consists of four characters, my new pal Junkyard the Dog, Scaredy Cat, Evil GiGi the Unicorn, and Hip-Hop the Bunny which is a Walmart Exclusive.

All Grimlings are touch and light sensitive. Even in rude mood they’re not too scary for the lower end of the suggested age range, which is 5 years old. Their unpredictable responses and over 30 sounds will keep play sessions fresh.

At $14.99 SRP each they are extremely well priced for the amount of playtime they will inevitably garner. They’ll also make a great choice to bring as a donation to your local holiday toy drive.

Knock N Roll: Knuckle Headz Racers from SD Toyz

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Simple fun game play is a highlight of Skullduggery Toys Knuckle Headz.

Boney Maroney…
Skullduggery Toys, now there’s a company name sure to peak SkeletonPete’s curiosity. So it was a pleasure to meet their representatives at the fall Toys, Tots, Pets and More (TTPM) showcase.

Though Skullduggery is noted for their line of animal, hominid, dinosaur and human skull replicas they are also the makers of the popular remote control race car sets, Max Traxxx, Max Flex and the LED lit Marble Racers. At TTPM Andy and I got a look at the newest entry in their toy automobile line the Knuckle Headz – Head Poppin’ Racers.

No Log-ins, Just Noggins…
Knuckle Headz don’t require batteries, there’s no iPads or smart phone synching or future software updates. Just push the character head into its corresponding car, pull the back on the wheels to crank the “motor” and let go. Zoom, Bang, Pop, Repeat.

Knuckle Headz come in six character styles with appropriate decoration and ironic license plates. You can collect Finn the Shark, Fang the Saber Tooth Tiger, Francis the Gorilla, Snarl the Wolf, Rex the Tyrannosaurus and Stubs the Bulldog in single or two-fer starter packs.

Crash Course…
Aimed at an age range of the 3 plus it’s likely toddlers will enjoy the basic head popping action and begin to build motor skills in order to activate the cars on their own. Older kids can invent games around the varied outcomes and quickly repeatable play. Maybe it’s the head that doesn’t eject that’s the winner, maybe it’s best 3 out of five, maybe it’s the noggin that travels furthest (get out that tape measure). Building homemade ramps and obstacles to add variation to the vehicular excitement is a no brainer. Maybe it’s enough to let ‘em rip and watch ‘em fly.

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There are six crazy Knuckle Headz characters to choose from.

Head(z) in the Past…
Those of a certain age (i.e. geezers like me) will remember a similar experience via the “he knocked his block off” action of Mattel’s Rock’em, Sock’em Robots. It’s a toy my grandparents gifted me with back in the 1960’s and one that truly did provide the promised hours of fun. The motif of outsize heads in tiny autos is also reminiscent of the Weird-O’s and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s creations like Mr. Gasser. A Spotify surf and drag playlist might be appropriate while devising catastrophic Knuckle Headz calamities.

SkeletonPete Says…

Waxing nostalgic is fun but not a necessity to enjoy Knuckle Headz as we witnessed at TTPM when a group of young gents approached the demonstration booth and instantly became engaged in multiple player amusement.

Knuckle Headz can be found at Target Stores this holiday season and beyond.

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– Any number of games can be quickly created around Knuckle Headz’ Crash, Boom, Bang play.

Big Gulp: The Pop Insider Hosts Hasbro’s Planet Devouring Transformer at NYCC19

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Hasbro’s largest Transformer ever. The Unicron met its crowd funding goal during NYCC 2019.

Hasbro Toys’ HASLAB division has officially hit the full funding mark for their War for Cybertron Unicron Transformer. At full conversion it’s the largest Transformers collectible ever produced by the company. This planet eating mega-bot was first introduced in the animated feature Transformers: The Movie back in 1986 and has since held chaotic reign in many versions of the Transformer universe. The toy, if we can actually call it that, has a 30 inch diameter in its Planet X guise and can be un-folded to a massive 27 inches tall in robotic reveal. It’s magnificently detailed down to an interchangeable chin for movie accuracy and will include a Galvatron figure.

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Grim and Grimmer: Classic Fairy Tale Gets Gaiman Re-Spin as Dark Horse Graphic Novel

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“Snow, Glass, Apples”: Author Neil Gaiman and Artist Colleen Doran reimagine Snow White in this Dark Horse Graphic Novel.

Snow, Glass, Apples
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Colleen Doran
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Hardcover: $17.99 US $23.99 CAN
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Duration & Mutation: DC Comics Marks 80 Years of Batman Personas

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Bat Bites, The Batman Who Laughs, from DC Collectibles’ Dark Nights Metal statue set.

Today is officially Batman Day, an 80th Anniversary event that has fandom fixated on the Caped Crusader. While the moving target choice of date is as enigmatic as the Dark Knight himself any excuse to celebrate DC Comics’ venerable octogenarian is OK with me.
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