China Toy Fair


TIF to Auction Off a Tour of Sesame Street and More

by Alexis Willey

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is launching an online fundraising auction to benefit TIF programs and grants, which help children in need around the world.

TIF partnered with global charity auction site, Charitybuzz, to host the auction—which includes a visit to the set of Sesame Street in New York, tickets to Nickelodeon’s 2015 Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, and private meetings with top toy executives.

Bids may be placed through September 30 at charitybuzz.com/tif.

Spielwarenmesse eG Organizes World of Toys Pavilion at Kids India 2014

by Alexis Willey

SpielwarenmesseegSpielwarenmesse eG once again organized the World of Toys Pavilion at this year’s Kids India international trade fair in Mumbai. Companies from 12 countries displayed their products on Spielwarenmesse eG’s international joint stand from September 18 to 20.

In total, 153 exhibitors from 13 countries unveiled their products at Kids India, which focused on toys, baby products, licensed products, sporting goods, and leisure and hobby products.

Larger Headquarters for Safari Ltd.

by Alexis Willey

safari ltd new logoSafari Ltd. is moving its headquarters to a new, larger location.

The company will call its new 105,000 sq. ft. site in Miami Lakes, Fla., home beginning on September 22. The new building will replace the company’s current headquarters, where it has been located for more than 20 years.

FIRST Lego League Announces Seventh Youth Challenge

First.logoby Alexis Willey

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) has announced the topic of its seventh FIRST Lego League (FLL) task, asking students to explore the future of learning as part of the FLL World Class Challenge.

The challenge asks teams of 9- to 14-year-olds (9 to 16 outside North America) worldwide to research and present original ideas to enrich the current landscape of learning. Teams will also build, test, and program an autonomous robot using Lego Mindstorms technology to solve a series of wisdom-gathering missions based on the theme.

More than 260,000 children in nearly 80 countries are expected to participate in the FLL event, with an additional 27,000 6- to 9-year-olds expected in the Junior FLL competition. Teams of up to 10 children, with two adult coaches, participate in the eight-week challenge, which culminates in high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Past challenges have included topics such as natural disasters, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, quality of life for handicapped and senior populations, and transportation. [Read more...]

The Simpsons Honors 25 Years of Celebrity Guest Stars with Figures, Collectibles

by Alexis Willey

TheSimpsons25The latest line-up of celebrities in The Simpsons exclusive 25 of the Greatest Guest Stars program will include Buzz Aldrin, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Weird Al Yankovic, and Aerosmith.

The limited-edition collection includes figures, collectibles, and more featuring the animated likenesses of 25 of the most celebrated guest stars as they appeared on the TV show. The collection results from a partnership between The National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to celebrate the 25-year history of The Simpsons.

Products from the previous three waves are now available at various retailers, including Toys ”R” Us locations nationwide.

It’s Lego Technic for Your Coffee Table

Lego.Techniccoverby Alexis Willey

Lego takes on an entirely new form in No Starch Press’ latest book, Incredible LEGO Technic.

The San Francisco-based independent publisher worked with Lego master Paweł “Sariel” Kmieć to curate a collection of some of the world’s finest Lego Technic models.

The fan-created models of monster trucks, cement mixers, dragline excavators, bulldozers, power shovels, and more rival their real-life counterparts. Many of the more than 70 models include design notes and cutaway views, offering readers a close-up look at how the experts use differentials, suspensions, and complex gearing to build working models.

DC Heroes and Villains Get a Cuddly Side

by Alexis Willey

BC-ManofSteelBleacher Creatures will launch a line of DC Comics-based plush figures on October 1 under license from Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and DC Entertainment.

The roster of superheroes and villains includes Superman from Man of Steel and characters from the Batman Classic TV series: Batman, Robin, Batgirl, as well as his nemeses Catwoman and The Joker. The Teen Titans, Bat-villain Harley Quinn, and the Green Lantern Corps are also featured.

Other DC-inspired entities, such as Richard Donner’s Superman movies and theatrical releases Green Lantern and The Dark Knight Trilogy, will be given the plush treatment in the future.

TIA and JPMA Enter Information-sharing Partnership

by Alexis Willey

tia_logo[1]The Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) have entered into an information-sharing partnership to better provide safety and product information to their respective customer pools.

jpma_newestlogoAs of September 7, the organizations are working together to “provide trusted and timely information on a wider variety of topics to families with kids of all ages,” according to Joan Lawrence, TIA vice president of standards and regulatory affairs.

Above-average Retail Imports as Longshoremen’s Negotiations Continue

by Alexis Willey

The import of retail merchandise remains above average as negotiations continue between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

In a report released September 9 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, 1.47 million containers are expected to pass through U.S. ports covered by the Global Port Tracker report this month. September has averaged 1.42 million containers for the past five years.

Concerns grew among retailers as the West Coast longshoremen’s contract remained unsettled after its expiration on July 1, which prompted an early import of back-to-school and holiday goods in preparation for a potential disruption on the docks. August saw an all-time monthly record of 1.53 million containers because of these precautions. [Read more...]

Universal Monsters to Include Van Helsing in New Line of Action Figures

by Alexis Willey

UniversalMonsters.VanHelsingDiamond Select Toys has released its newest assortment of Universal Monsters action figures. This year’s selection includes Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the monster-hunter Van Helsing.

New to the line of monsters and ghouls, the Van Helsing figure stands at around 7 inches tall and comes armed with an axe, a sword, a crossbow, and a rifle, all of which can be carried on his back.

All three were sculpted by Jean St. Jean and are sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us locations, with deluxe Select versions available at comic shops and specialty stores nationwide. The deluxe versions include a larger diorama base and are in display-ready packaging.