China Toy Fair


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.

Free Super Smash Bros. 3DS Demo Available to Download

SuperSmashBrosNintendo 3DS owners can download a free demo of the upcoming fighting game, Super Smash Bros., in the Nintendo eShop at 9 a.m. PT today. The demo includes playable characters Mario, Link, Pikachu, Villager, and Mega Man. It also features the battlefield stage and the ability to compete in local multiplayer matches with fellow Nintendo 3DS owners who have downloaded the demo to their systems.

A Nintendo Network ID is required to download the demo. More details on Super Smash Bros. can be found at http://www.smashbros.com/us/.

New Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet Available for Pre-Order

FireHDKidsOn Wednesday, Amazon introduced the Fire HD Kids Edition in both 6-inch and 7-inch tablet sizes. This children’s tablet comes with a two-year guarantee, as well as a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which provides access to books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games featuring characters such as Harry Potter, Lightning McQueen, Dora the Explorer, and more.

The Fire HD Kids Edition features a quad-core processor, a vivid HD display, front- and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital audio, and access to Amazon’s content ecosystem of more than 33 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, Android apps, and games. The Fire HD Kids Edition also comes with Amazon FreeTime, which offers parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage screen time.

The Fire HD Kids Edition is now available for pre-order and will start shipping in October.

Special Version of Skylanders Trap Team Launching on Nintendo 3DS

SkylanderTrapTeam3DSThis fall, Skylanders Trap Team, from Activision Publishing Inc., will arrive on Nintendo 3DS with an adventure exclusive to the platform. Developed by Beenox and launching on October 5 alongside the console and tablet versions, Skylanders Trap Team for 3DS will utilize the special features of the system: For instance, after villains are defeated in combat, players can use the bottom touch screen to pull them out of the game and trap them in the Traptanium Vault. Then, once captured, players can use the touch screen and microphone to poke, tickle, and spin villains to make them dizzy.

Using the portal included in the Skylanders Trap Team Nintendo 3DS Starter Pack, players can load Skylanders characters directly into their system. Additionally, two Skylanders characters, Gusto and Barkley, will be available at launch only via the Nintendo 3DS Starter Pack.

Skylanders Trap Team for Nintendo 3DS will also introduce a multi-player version of the card game Skylanders Skystones, which uses wi-fi connectivity.

Hasbro, Disney, and 3DPlusMe Team Up for Super Awesome Me

SuperAwesomeMeHasbro Inc. and 3DPlusMe are introducing Super Awesome Me, a personalized 3-D printing experience that allows kids (and those who are kids at heart) to become Captain America or Iron Man. The initiative provides fans with a customized, 12-inch action figure through an in-store experience. In conjunction with Disney Consumer Products’ Marvel Super Hero September celebration, the Super Awesome Me experience will launch at ten Wal-Mart and two Sam’s Club locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston between September 19 and 28.

Fans visit an in-store scanning station, where a 3-D face scanner captures their likeness to create a 3-D model. Each Super Awesome Me figure, recommended for fans ages 4 years and up, features a traditional articulated plastic action figure body and full-color 3-D printed head. Figures are available for pick-up at Wal-Mart locations or shipped to Sam’s Club customers in four weeks.

More information on the Super Awesome Me experience, as well as a full list of participating Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations, is available at superawesomeme.com.

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.

littleBits Launches bitLab to Help Users Build and Sell Their Own Hardware

littleBits1Today, littleBits Electronics launched the bitLab, an app store for user-generated hardware. This marketplace furthers littleBits’ goal of giving hardware developers the tools and ecosystem to develop and sell their own littleBits modules.

Analogous to software app stores, the littleBits library acts as the platform, the Bits that developers submit are considered the apps, and the API is bitSnap, littleBits’ magnetic connectors. The operating system is the analog electronic specifications.

The bitLab works by allowing anyone to design the Bit of their dreams and has two major components: a hardware component (the HDK) and a web component (the bitLab website). The hardware developer kit (HDK) includes the Proto Module and bitSnap connectors, which makes the prototyping process a snap for developers. By commercializing littleBits’ proprietary bitSnap connectors—which are the magnetic connectors that snap the littleBits modules together and carry communication across modules—prototypes can now be built with any hardware tool and then seamlessly incorporated into the littleBits library. [Read more...]

Innovation First Partners with Tony Hawk for New Circuit Boards Brand and Products

Innovation First International, the creator of Hexbug, is launching a new Tony Hawk Circuit Boards brand and product line, due to hit shelves across Europe and North America this fall.

Kids can choose between two ways to play: traditional fingerboard style, or slapping on the power axle and utilizing the I/R remote control. Users can build the ultimate skatepark and grind the rails, pull off a rock to fakie, or master their own series of tricks with their favorite Birdhouse deck. The initial product assortment available at launch will include 24 Birdhouse and Tony Hawk authentic decks to customize and collect, along with a variety of ramp sets and skateparks.

Hexbug will showcase the new product line by appointment at TIA Fall Toy Preview in October at the Dallas Market Center.

Jazwares Introduces Flick-to-Stick Bungees in Time for Back to School

jazwaresJazwares LLC has launched the new Flick-to-Stick Bungees product line. They offer a unique play pattern that gives kids multiple ways to play by aiming their Bungees at scoring targets, and then flicking their finger.

Bungees features a battleground arena, disk launchers, playing cards, and scoring disks to enhance game play. All 48 Series 1 characters are now available at major retailers, including Toys “R” Us and Walgreens across North America.