Mattel’s Hot Wheels to Attempt World Record at Indy 500

hotwheelsThe Hot Wheels team is headed to the Indianapolis 500 speedway this weekend to build the longest toy track set in history. On May 25, the day before the race, four kids will speed toy Hot Wheels cars through a 1-mile, four-lane oval racetrack in an attempt to set a new world record.

Mattel is calling it the “World’s Best Driver Championship,” and kids can recreate the race with track set pieces exclusively from Toys “R” Us. The entire Indy 500 track will be constructed with 1,494 pieces of Hot Wheels track custom-made from 4,700 pounds of aluminum. A total of 46 people will install the track, which will be coated with powder to increase vehicle speed.

For more information, or to recreate the experience, visit www.buildyourtrack.com.

CPSC Filing Requirements Could Add $18.7 Million Burden on Industry

Proposed changes to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) certificate of compliance requirements could add complexities and significantly alter the way most companies manage their logistics for inbound freight to the U.S., according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The changes could more than double compliance costs for children’s product companies—from an approximate $15 million annual spent to comply with current certification requirements to nearly $34 million annually. Comments on the proposal are due to the CPSC by July 29.

Under the amended rule, companies that import regulated finished products manufactured outside of the U.S. would be required to file product certificates electronically with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) prior to importation in conjunction with other customs entry documents. Additionally, certifications would have to be identified prominently on the finished product, shipping carton, or invoice with a unique identifier and be accessible online without password protection.

TIA will be submitting comments to the CPSC by the deadline regarding the content requirements of the certificate, the economic impact of the certification rule, the logistics of electronic certification, and more. Members may contact TIA’s Rebecca Mond with any feedback to be included in the submitted comments, or to receive additional information about the rule’s impact. Comments on behalf of individual companies may be submitted directly to the CPSC at www.regulations.gov (docket number CPSC-2013-0017).

DC Collectibles Unveils New Lines Based on Upcoming Games

DCBuilding on the success of its Batman: Arkham City and Injustice: Gods Among Us action figure lines, DC Collectibles has announced two, all-new product lines based on upcoming Warner Bros. Interactive games Infinite Crisis and Batman: Arkham Origins.

This marks DC Collectibles’ first depiction of characters from Inifinite Crisis, which begins with the Nightmare Batman and Atomic Age Wonder Woman statues. Infinite Crisis is an all new, free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for PC featuring fast-paced battles, streamlined RPG mechanics, and iconic locations and characters from across the DC Multiverse.

Sculpted by Erick Sosa and available for sale in September, Infinite Crisis: Nightmare Batman measures approximately 10.25 inches tall. Infinite Crisis: Atomic Wonder Woman, sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios, will be available in November and measures approximately 11.25 inches tall.
DC Collectibles also announces series No. 1 action figures based on the designs of the highly anticipated video game, Batman: Arkham Origins with characters Batman and Black Mask, one of Batman’s deadliest adversaries. The appearance of these stunning action figures are based on the early days, before the events of critically acclaimed video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Available in October, these action figures measure 6.75 inches.

COMMENTARY: New Book Constructs Lego Cities

barronseduc_2260_1095264Never in my wildest tinkering with construction toys would I come up with building New York City’s Central Park, London’s Olympic Stadium (complete with a parachuting Queen Elizabeth), or Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral out of Lego bricks. Lego lovers prepare to be wowed. Warren Elsmore’s new book Brick City (Barron’s, 2013) blew my mind with page after page of realistic global landmarks constructed completely out of Legos. The book is a veritable trip around the world for fans of the popular building bricks.

Elsmore, a professional plastic model builder, begins by giving a brief overview of the tools you’ll need to pull off some of the fascinating feats accomplished within the pages of Brick City. Computer-Aided Design software, such as Lego Digital Designer, can help in creating a complete blueprint for any ambitious building project. Elsmore gives tips on finding bricks, customizing minifigures, and other preparations and tips you’ll need to embark on your Brick City journey.

Elaborate landmarks, such as the neo-Gothic Chicago Tribune building, often take some 27,000 or more bricks. London’s Olympic Stadium takes 120,000 bricks! Not all landmarks in the book come with directions. You won’t find a step-by-step guide to building, say, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial or a grand version of Westminster Abbey, but you will get guidance for smaller projects. Build a Brooklyn Brownstone building, Buckingham Palace, the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, or a tiny version of Westminster—all super cool. Readers will also get two glossy posters that feature Lego landmarks.

Brick City is available this month from booksellers and specialty retailers.

For more commentary from Loren, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

WWE and The Bridge Unveil New Construction Toy Line

WWE has signed an exclusive, multi-year agreement with The Bridge Direct to develop and market construction toys based on WWE events and characters. The agreement marks the first time WWE will enter the construction toy category. Targeted to WWE fans between the ages of 4 and 14, the comprehensive line includes figures, accessories, and construction bricks, bringing WWE’s action-packed events and superstars to life. The WWE construction toys are expected to roll out at major mass retailers next spring.

The Wiggles to Launch Summer Family Concert Tour

After 21 years of entertaining children around the world, The Wiggles will head out on their “Taking Off” family concert world tour this summer.

The Wiggles are an entertaining group of people and characters, including the blue, red, yellow, and purple Wiggle, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog, and Henry the Octopus. For decades fans have been dancing and singing along to favorite songs, such as “Hot Potato” and “Rock-a-Bye Your Bear.”

The new CD includes songs such as “Do the Propeller!,” “Peanut Butter,” “Little Bunny Foo Foo,” and “Emma (with the Bow in Her Hair),” along with some re-worked classics, such as “Get Ready to Wiggle” and “The Shimmie Shake!”

The Wiggles are in the U.S. and Canada for a media tour now through May 16, and will be meeting thousands of fans around North America. Their North American tour kicks off mid-August and runs through October.

K’nex and Fox Consumer Products Announce Family Guy Partnership

KnexK’nex Brands has partnered with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to create a new line of building toys inspired by the animated comedy series Family Guy.

The partnership combines the K’nex building system with characters and elements from Family Guy, including Peter, Stewie, Brian, the Griffin Family station wagon, and Stewie’s time machine.

Family Guy, currently in its 11th season, has dominated TV ratings and garnered support from its fans with more than 52 million followers on Facebook. The new K’nex Family Guy building sets will be available at major retailers next spring.

ASTRA Adding New Resources for Children with Disabilities

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) will present updated information on toys and play for children with disabilities for specialty toy retailers and manufacturers at the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy in Nashville, Tenn. An educational session, Connect Children with Special Needs to Toys and Games on Your Shelves, will be offered on June 16 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and a new publication titled ASTRA Guide to Toys for Children with Disabilities will be available at no charge for ASTRA members at the Marketplace & Academy. Non-members may purchase the publication.

Ellen Metrick of the National Lekotek Center will present the Connect Children with Special Needs session at Marketplace & Academy. The session will focus on helping parents, grandparents, occupational therapists, and teachers select toys and games for the special children in their lives. It will include a basic understanding of some common disabilities and specific features of play that children with these challenges can enjoy. Retailers will learn what questions to ask customers and how to train store employees to serve this very special niche.

The ASTRA Guide to Toys for Children with Disabilities is designed as a handbook for manufacturers, sales reps, and store staff. It summarizes characteristics of common disabilities and types of toys that work well for children who have those disabilities. It also includes ideas that ASTRA retailers can give to parents for adapting toys and play activities to fit the needs and abilities of their children.

Tek Recon Launches Kickstarter Campaign

tekreconTek Recon, from Tech 4 Kids, will be available for the first time through Kickstarter.com on May 9, beginning at 8 a.m. EST. The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to enhance the development of the Tek Recon blaster and the free app, and to get the product into the hands of early adopters and key influencers helping to create the first real-life, online video game.

Through the course of 31 days, fans will be able to fund the project by purchasing product, exclusive rewards, and by bidding on prizes that include appearances in the TV commercial and an all-expenses-paid trip to present at E3. The Kickstarter funding goal is $50,000.

Tek Recon Blasters feature a first-of-its-kind design with real trigger action and specially designed, reusable NRG Rounds that blast up to 75 feet. To optimize the battle and team experience, Tek Recon developed a free “Real-Life Online Gaming” app. Kids can simply connect their mobile device to the blaster to experience video game-styled play through mobile and GPS technology. The free Tek Recon app will be available for iOS and Android devices, enhancing real battle experience through an interactive heads up display, live chat, vision modes, and more.

For more information on this product and the Kickstarter campaign, visit TekRecon.com.

Transformers Prime Earns Emmy Awards, Hub Garners Nominations

TransformersHasbro Studios, the Los Angeles-based entertainment division of Hasbro Inc., received a trio of Daytime Emmy Awards in Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for Transformers Prime from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). The wins were also hailed as achievements by The Hub Network, on which the animated series airs.

Transformers Prime received early victories for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for Character Animation (Arato Kato), Background Design (Jason Park), and Storyboards (Kirk van Wormer).

In addition to its success with Transformer Prime, The Hub Network received 17 Daytime Emmy Award honors, the most ever in its two-and-half year history, with 14 nominations, as announced by NATAS. The Hub Network received the second most nominations of any kids network, behind only Nickelodeon.

For the first time, The Hub Network received three top programming nominations, including two for Outstanding Children’s Series for The Aquabats! Super Show! (FremantleMedia Enterprises and The Magic Store) and R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Series (Front Street Pictures in association with The Hatchery, LLC.), as well as one for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program for Dan Vs. (Film Roman Inc., a Starz Media Company, in association with The Hatchery, LLC.).

The Hub Network also received nominations for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program (Dan Vs.), Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (Curtis Armstrong as Dan in Dan Vs.), Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Direction/Scenic Design (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design and Styling (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program (Dan Vs.), Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), Outstanding Achievement in Makeup (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), Outstanding Original Song—Children and Animation (“If You’re a Guy,” Littlest Pet Shop), Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series), and Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series (R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour: The Series).