Guillow’s Model Airplane Fleet Grows by Six New MiniModels

Rockstar.Jet.planeGuillow’s model airplane kits are still beloved by those who enjoy the simple beauty of building, and then flying, a balsa wood toy plane. Guillow will showcase six new miniModels in the company’s 4500 series at the upcoming American International Toy Fair. While Guillow’s traditional toy gliders can be put together in minutes, these miniModels require roughly an hour of engineering.

The 4500 series includes the U.S. Hellcat or U.S. Warhawk, each with red propellers, and a German Fighter with distinctive black markings on its wingtips. Three non-military planes—the Rockstar Jet, V-Tail, and Stunt Flyer—round out the six miniModels.

Guillow’s miniModels need no cutting or sanding to construct. Easy-to-follow 3-D videos can be found at the Guillow website. Each of the six new miniModels is appropriate for kids ages 13 and up, and can be found online and on hobby and toy store shelves next year.

COMMENTARY: Play Me a Song, Sweet Music Kit

rockstarlittleBits,the creator of an open-source library of electronic “Bits,” that snap together with magnets for learning and play, partnered with Korg, a leading global manufacturer of electronic musical equipment, to create a kid-friendly, music-making machine, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action. On November 7, the new littleBits Synth Kit was unveiled at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The collaboration of Korg with littleBits may not seem obvious, but it is actually genius. This new synthesizing kit is perfectly designed for the use of everyone—from professional musicians to hobbyists with an interest in making new sounds and pushing the boundaries in technology and music. Using the kit, music lovers can build infinite customizable sounds from practically anywhere.

littleBitsAt the event, attendees were given the opportunity to play with the brightly colored and multi-functioning Synth Kits, listening to the created sounds through Korg headphones. It was such a neat experience, as I felt like a music master using equipment like that used to produce the innovative sound of revolutionary bands such as The Beatles and The Doors, and modern artists such as The Cure and MGMT. It’s such an awesome way for kids to get involved in music at an early age. Yes, most children are able to utilize musical instruments and their voices, but this is such a unique opportunity for kids to get involved in the music production industry. Little musicians can explore the world behind the music with the sound of the synthesizer instrument. Even better, the “Bits” are interchangeable and can be constructed in different ways for different sounds, so kids can build their own sound machines and choose their favorite outcomes. The Bits modules included with the kits snap together instantly using magnets that create circuits. These circuits are similar to those used in Korg’s analog synthesizers, so the quality of these kits is amazing, truly. [Read more...]

Hobby Store Game Sales Up

Game sales in hobby stores were up from 5 to 10 percent in 2009 despite the worst economy in generations, according to a report in the new issue of Internal Correspondence. The growth was driven by a resurgence in Magic: The Gathering sales and by board game sales up by double-digit percentages. Yu-Gi-Oh! and the return of HeroClix also helped support improved sales. Non-collectible miniature sales were slightly down, and RPG sales were down approximately 10 percent in 2009.