China Toy Fair


Lionel Opens New Brick-and-Mortar Store and Headquarters in North Carolina

Lionel.NewStoreThis past Monday, Lionel opened its first retail store in Concord, N.C. The new location will serve as a central station for popular train sets, replicas, and collectibles, as well as store-exclusive gifts and keepsakes.

To celebrate the new store, which will also serve as the company’s new headquarters, Lionel President Howard Hitchcock drove festivities with J. Scott Padgett, the mayor of Concord, and Donna Carpenter, the CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lionel.NewStore2The store will become a terminal for field trips, new product testing, and company announcements. The 1,100-square-foot space will house one of Lionel’s fully decorated layouts, which will feature different trains throughout the year. Kids can control the layout with handheld remotes and test the newest trains.

Lionel has made numerous expansion efforts of late, including partnering with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to debut its first life-sized trackless train ride, The Lionel Train Adventure, earlier this month. The company has also continued to add licenses for new train models through partnerships with DC Comics, Coca-Cola, Crayola, and other brands.

Expanded Partnerships for Lionel Means More Licensed Trains

LionelLionel has expanded its partnerships with Warner Bros., Coca-Cola, and Peanuts. As a result of these agreements, this year will see a number of new G-Gauge and Ready to Run O-Gauge train sets, including Frosty the Snowman, Coca-Cola Holiday, and Snoopy Railways. The model train maker also enjoys a new license with Crayola.

“Lionel Trains is bringing the nostalgia of iconic train sets to the hearts of fans of all ages,” said Howard Hitchcock, SVP/GM of Lionel. “By securing new licenses and expanding partnerships to grow our G-Gauge and Ready to Run O-Gauge platforms, we’re putting trains from familiar and beloved brands into the hands of children of all ages.”

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Brings Godzilla-Sized List of Licensees to Toy Fair

WB Consumer ProductsWarner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) enters this year’s American International Toy Fair with an extensive lineup of global licensees in support of its entertainment properties, milestone anniversaries, and upcoming theatrical releases.

Bandai America Inc. and Jakks Pacific Inc. will each support Godzilla, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, with new toy lines. Jakks’ line of Godzilla products will include an Ultimate Large Scale Godzilla Figure with 12 points of articulation and a length of over 43 inches, making it one of the largest toys in Godzilla history. Other worldwide partners include Rubie’s Costume Co., NECA, and Sideshow Collectibles.

WBCP’s toy partners will also release toys and collectibles based on The Hobbit Trilogy. The Bridge Direct and Vivid Group will support the film series with new figures. Additional partners include Eaglemoss, Funko, Kosmos, and Ravensburger.

The Wizard of Oz will celebrate its 75th anniversary with Mattel‘s new line of dolls for The Wizard of Oz Barbie collection. Enesco, Tonner Doll, and Madame Alexander will each offer collectible figures. Warner Bros. will also continue its There’s No Place Like Home campaign in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Gone with the Wind will also mark its 75th anniversary with new collectible figures from Madame Alexander and Tonner Doll. Mattel will offer an anniversary Barbie collection and Enesco will introduce a stone resin figure. [Read more...]

Lionel Tracks Offers Fans a Central Terminal for Rail-Related Information

LionelLionel Trains, the model train company, has unveiled Lionel Tracks, a digital destination for locomotive enthusiasts. Lionel Tracks aggregates train-related content across categories, from rail culture and history to modeling updates, making it a one-stop site for fans, hobbyists, and collectors of all ages.

It works using a content hub developed by RED Interactive Agency, which tags information, photos, and videos into categories such as culture, history, hobbies, locomotives, and tech. This newest effort allows families and even historians to find news about rail culture around the world.

Lionel Trains to Open Holiday Pop-up Store in Rockefeller Center

According to the New York Daily News, Lionel will debut its first solo store, scheduled to open November 1 through January 4. The pop-up store will be located in New York City, across from Radio City Music Hall. The shop will feature new kid-friendly trains and train products, such as the new 49-piece plastic train set by the company’s new kid line, Lionel Little Lines. The new store will also auction off trains autographed by celebrities, including part-owner Neil Young, with the proceeds going to charity.

More information on Lionel Little Lines can be found in the September/October issue of The Toy Book/Specialty Toys & Gifts.