A new Sonic Boom toy line, from global master toy partner Tomy International, is now available at Toys “R” Us stores nationwide and at toysrus.com. The line will feature items across best-selling categories including plush, action figures, R/C, vehicles, and more, and will include a 12-inch talking plush and the Sonic Boom Launcher. Additional products will become available next year.
On Monday, Toy State unveiled new branding designs for its flagship lights and sound and R/C product lines, Road Rippers and Nikko. The company is showcasing the new-look product lines and branding at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, and will continue to highlight them at Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair in January.
Toy State acquired Nikko and Nikko Entertainment BV in May. The moves came on the heels of a period of aggressive growth, including new licensing partnerships with Hot Wheels, Transformers, Hello Kitty, and Angry Birds.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the new logos and packaging these leading brands will have when they hit retail shelves in 2015,” said Andy Friess, Toy State’s general manager of U.S. operations and senior vice president of global marketing. “Redefining the Nikko brand was a major design objective following our acquisition, and returning Road Rippers to its signature ‘orange package’ roots provides an exciting refresh for the leader in the lights and sound vehicle category.”
World Tech Toys is teaming up with Marvel for R/C toys based on Avengers, the Amazing Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Avengers characters will include Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk, while the Guardians of the Galaxy lineup will feature Star-Lord, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.
The company has also added Shark Week, and will introduce flying R/C robots based on National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association players. The NFL line-up will include Johnny Manziel and Peyton Manning.
Toy State has secured the worldwide rights to Nikko by acquiring the consolidated operations of its Japan and Hong Kong offices. Toy State has also acquired Nikko Entertainment BV, the European arm of the company’s R/C toy category.
Nikko manufactures R/C toys, from custom vehicles, boats, and flying items to an array of preschool R/C toys. These toys are marketed through licensing partnerships with global automakers, as well as brands such as Transformers, Hello Kitty, Fast & Furious, and Angry Birds.
The acquisition expands Toy State’s presence to Amsterdam and Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, the location of its current headquarters. The acquisition will also serve as a platform for the company’s continued expansion into Europe. Toy State’s U.S. office is located in Boston.
Jakks Pacific Inc. will launch a line of toys based on existing and upcoming Marvel characters and properties. The collection will include R/C vehicles, electric- and battery-operated train and track sets, and handheld 3D character flashlights based on Marvel animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. There will also be toys based on upcoming Marvel theatrical releases, including Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and Marvel’s Ant-Man. These products are expected on retailers’ shelves nationwide next year.
With the growing popularity of 3-D printing, Spin Master offers a custom part for its Air Hogs Heli Cage Armored Edition, a helicopter featuring removable plastic armor. Samples of the part were built using a MakerBot 3-D printer, which creates real 3-D objects by laying down drops upon drops of plastic material and building them from the bottom up. The custom part was also flight-tested by engineers and tweaked for weight balance.
Spin Master now provides an open source 3-D file of the armor part online at the Air Hogs blog. Makers can download it for free and print it using a 3-D printer. For those who do not have direct access to a 3-D printer, Air Hogs recommends Sculpteo, which will print from the 3-D file and ship the part to customers. For the very technically inclined, the 3-D file can be fully manipulated to create a truly customizable piece.
Coinciding with the release of Disney’s Planes in theaters, My Baby Excels and Thinkway Toys have launched an interactive range of high-quality toys and plush of the movie characters including Dusty, Ripslinger, and El Chupacabra. All toys are suitable for kids ages 4 and up.
U-Command Super Charged Dusty: This deluxe infrared remote-controlled Dusty has interactive features including Dusty’s original film voice and phrases, sound effects, and moving eyes and mouth. Kids can control Dusty with joysticks or by pressing the wireless remote to make him talk, move, and turn in more than 1,000 action combinations.
Dusty Bubbles Plane: Thanks to the bubble attachment on his wings, bubbles come out when Dusty is launched into the air. The package includes bubble solution and dipping trays.
Rubber Band Sky Gliders: A combination slingshot sky glider and rubber band launcher. Kids can race their favorite plane among Dusty, Bravo, and Ripslinger, each made from light, soft, harmless materials.
Plush Toys: Kids can cuddle up to their favorite Planes character with 10-inch plush figures of Dusty and Skipper.
The interactive Disney’s Planes toy range is available across leading stores and e-commerce websites.
Quite a few companies are taking on Pac-Man, the character featured in the classic arcade game by Namco. It’s easy to see why, as Pac-Man is the most popular video game of all time, not to mention a global icon that inspired a slew of merchandise during the ’80s. One current toy licensee is Paladone, whose recent Pac-centric products have included the radio-controlled PAC-MAN Racers Set, a plush doll, a candy dispenser, and much more. These toys are based around the basic character design: a yellow spheroid with a missing wedge for a mouth. Other than having eyes (shaped like small Pac-Men) and a handy third dimension, he doesn’t look all that different from Pac-Man in the original game.
I passed on the candy dispenser (it still being swimsuit season), but as for the Pac-Man Racer, it is great fun on smooth surfaces. You control Pac-Man using a remote cleverly styled like an arcade joystick. There is a bit of a learning curve: For example, in order to get Pac-Man to turn, you have to move him forward or backward, and then bank hard left or right after he picks up some speed. Meanwhile, moving him out of certain tight spaces is not so dissimilar from parallel parking with a car (which is potentially good news for adults who need the practice). [Read more...]
As I wandered the R/C aisles at Toy Fair this year, I noticed the hobby-grade trends trickling down into mass market toys. R/Cs were starting to become more focused on flying, instead of only ground transportation. Toy companies were trying to discover how to make quality products, such as those found at the hobby grade level, at a price point that was affordable for toy shelves. And the result is tons of cool R/C products that are unlike anything we’ve seen in this category before.
One of the stand-out companies I saw, and then had the chance to meet with later, was Skyrocket Toys. Skyrocket has three new major R/Cs coming out for this holiday season, and I think they exemplify the movement to increase the quality of product at an affordable price point.
The Sky Viper QuadCopter follows one of the hottest trends in R/C right now—four-blade copters. With hobby-grade precision and computer-controlled, six-axis gyro and accelerometer stabiliazation, the 16-inch Sky Viper is constructed for indoor and outdoor use. The Sky Viper features a foam body and carbon fiber frame that make it lightweight, but still sturdy as it performs stunts with one touch. The 2.4 GHz remote operates the copter with knob that has three different difficulties, so it can be used by flyers ages 12 and up at all skill levels. The rechargeable lithium plymer batter and fast-charging A/C adapter are included. [Read more...]