Target Offering Last-Minute Sales During Final Week of Holiday Season

Target LogoWith one week until Christmas, Target Corp. will offer last-minute deals and free shipping on target.com, where orders placed through December 20 can still be delivered by Christmas. Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve, guests can place online orders for store pickup as late as 5 p.m. and have their items ready that day.

Over the next week, Target will offer deals on gifts including the Sony PlayStation 4; select video games and starter packs, including Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, Disney Infinity Marvel, and Skylanders Trap Team; select Disney Junior toys; and the New Bright Mud Slinger R/C Jeep.

Cartwheel, Target’s mobile savings app, is offering 50 percent off a different toy every day until December 24. From now until Christmas, Cartwheel is also featuring more than 150 offers, including discounts off Sony PlayStation 4 bundles.

Target stores are also offering extended hours through the holiday season, with the following days and times: December 16 to 20, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.; December 21 to 22, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.; December 23, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.; December 24, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.; December 26, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 11 p.m., or 12 a.m.; and December 31, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

COMMENTARY: Something in the Air, or, How I Do Drone On

Unmanned aircraft, or drones, have been in the news a lot recently. This past Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the authority to regulate drones, and can fine those who fly them recklessly.

DJI.InspireMeanwhile, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiled a Chinese company called SZ DJI Technology Co., which has created a new commercial drone armed with a high definition camera, among other bells and whistles. From the video footage I watched, what struck me was that the drone only weighs two pounds, and looks a lot like the R/C flyer toys that constantly make their way through The Toy Book offices.

According to the aforementioned NTSB ruling, drones are legally aircraft. So in the eyes of the federal government, they aren’t toys, despite the groundswell of drone hobbyists popping up in places like Chicago, and despite the fact that one can see a clear trail of evolution between these controversial machines and less notorious R/C toys. [Read more...]

The May Cheong Group Announces Licensing Agreement with Ferrari

MCGFERRARIEXCLUSIVEThe May Cheong Group (MCG), manufacturers of die-cast and R/C replica brands Maisto and Bburago, has signed an exclusive agreement with Ferrari. The multi-year deal, which commences in January, grants MCG the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute Ferrari replicas throughout the world.

MCG has had an ongoing relationship with Ferrari for more than 25 years. Bburago, a die-cast brand from Italy that MCG acquired in 2005, and which is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, also has a lengthy history with Ferrari. Next year’s planned launch includes four ranges of products within the Bburago brand: Signature Series, Racing, Race and Play, and Ferrari Kids. [Read more...]

Tomy Debuts New Sonic Boom Toy Line at Toys “R” Us

SonicBoomlogoA 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.

Toy State Showcases New Branding for Road Rippers and Nikko

Toy State New BrandingOn 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.”

Worlds Collide as World Tech Meets the Marvel Universe

WorldTechToysWorld 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 Acquires Nikko and Nikko Entertainment

ToyState.logoToy 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.

The Future of Jakks Pacific Is Looking Marvel-ous

JakksJakks 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.

Spin Master’s Air Hogs Offers Custom 3-D Printed Armor Piece

Feb3.HeliCageArmorWith 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.

COMMENTARY: Toys to Brave the Chilly Weather

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it can also start to get very chilly. I know that in New York City, I’m layering my clothes and bundling up, preparing for (an always windy) winter. Fall for kids means back to school and less outdoor play, which can lead to a bummed out little one. Outdoor play is fun because it’s physical—you run faster, the toys fly higher, and of course there’s always the option of shooting water out of most of those toys. But just because the play is moving inside and becoming a little less physical, doesn’t mean it has to be less fun.

The holidays mean gift-giving, and while guides like our Toy Insider 2013 Holiday Gift Guide are packed with a ton of options, including scooters and flying toys, I’ve also got some suggestions of toys to give that kids can enjoy right away—without having to play in the cold weather.

drawsomethingThe Draw Something Party game, from Hasbro, is a great game for the whole family. Based on the popular app, Draw Something Party allows players to draw on the double-sided, glowing drawing screen with their finger or the stylus included. The person drawing selects one of the three words on the card, holds the glowing screen between him or herself and the guesser, and places the card with the scrambled letter facing the guesser. As the screen glows and the drawer draws, the guesser tries to figure out what is being drawn using the scrambled letters as a guide. And just like in the app, the difficulty of the word yields a different amount of coins when guessed correctly. [Read more...]