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“Stand Up And Shout” Fund: Ronnie James Dio Remembered

The 1st anniversary of the passing of rock legend Ronnie James Dio sent me back to my photos from the 2011 NYC Toy Fair for a look at the beautifully rendered tribute figurine produced by Knucklebonz. These officially licensed resin cast statues are meticulously hand painted and limited to 3000 worldwide. A portion of each sale goes to the “Stand Up and Shout” Cancer Fund created in honor of Dio. The fund, started by Ronnie’s wife/manager Wendy, has already raised $450,000 dollars for early cancer detection and treatment. Later this year over 100 musical instruments donated by Tony Iommi, Slayer, Eddie Van Halen, Metallica, Aerosmith, Slash, Sting and Rush will be auctioned through Christies Auction House with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the fund. More info on how you can help is here.

As you can see Knucklebonz produces a wide variety of equally detailed “Rock Iconz”, including Dimebag Darrell and Randy Rhoads. The company has recently added licensing deals for Jim Henson Studios characters from both “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth”, as well as The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”.

Check out Piercing Metal’s 2011 Toy Fair Features 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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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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