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Toying With Our Affections

Lord Vader assembles the troopers for another Toy Fair Invasion


The 109th American International Toy Fair
Wow, a year has already gone by since Kenny Pierce and I first reported on the magical realm of The American International Toy Fair. If you’re old enough to remember the Sears “Wish Book” catalog that arrived at your house right after Thanksgiving, offering a mind-blowing plethora of choices for your Christmas list, then think of Toy Fair as a living breathing representation of what was on those pages.

Covering this industry conference is like participating in a media-skewed Olympic event but we’re prepared with energy bars, comfy shoes and a dogged determination to give you an inside look at the great things coming your way in the next year.

If you missed the 2011 postings or just want a re-view, follow these links.

Piercing Metal 2011 Toy Fair
SkeletonPete 2011 Toy Fair

“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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Tonner Dolls Unveils DC Super Heroines @ Toy Fair 2011

Wow, I’m still wading through the massive amount of amazing collectibles encountered at the 2011 Toy Fair. While snooping for fantasy character tie-ins I got pretty much stopped dead in my tracks by the Tonner Doll Company’s display of “DC Stars”. The new line includes comic book super heroines Catwoman, Dove, Raven, Black Canary and a stunning Teen Titans Starfire in sizes from 13 to 17 inches. In addition there is a jaw dropping 22 inch version of Wonder Woman to compliment 2010’s 13 inch model.

Tonner is renown for their beautifully rendered limited edition figures. Their licenses include the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises and my favorite Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” characters. The company also has their own “Sinister Circus” characters with a nice creep factor for the gothically inclined.

Kenny P. and I agreed that we’d love to see Ms. Emilie Autumn and her Bloody Crumpets get the collector doll treatment. Think of the cool accessories – tea cups, rats and candelabra, stilts and some pirate gear for Maggot.

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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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Late Late Show Faves – Folkmanis Puppets @ Toy Fair 2011

Continuing our hunt for fantastical creatures at the February 2011 Toy Fair in New York City, PiercingMetal.com’s Ken Pierce and I found ourselves surrounded by a menagerie of dragons, monsters, and even a pirate peering at us through the canopy of a magical forest. As it turned out they were all the exquisitely crafted puppets created by Folkmanis.

You may already know some of the company’s characters from The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. “CraigyFerg” often opens his show with hilariously unorthodox monologues delivered by several of Folkmanis’ creatures. My particular favorite is the cuddly white bunny (“Sid”) who drives the CBS censors wild with his foul language. Back in December 2009 the puppets took over the show entirely in celebration of the 1000th episode. Here’s a look at some of them in their own habitat.

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