Sunday, February 13, 2011

Toy Fair 2011 : Where the F#!$ Are Paul and Heather?

This is the part of toy fair in which Paul and Heather Buckley run themselves into the ground. here's how it's gone so far.

Day 1: (actual day 4 for me since I was the idiot that started toy fair coverage early. Dick.) HASBRO Collector Fiasco, as I've come to call it. This used to be a day of our yearly visit with Hasbro where we'd catch up with friends, get a tour of the showroom section by section and then are let loose to shoot everything with plenty of time to spare. Now we are made to wait in the cold til they are ready for us (a treat that was coupled with snow this year..the kind falling from the sky not still sitting on the ground) and then ushered into another waiting area where somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 "reporters" check their coats. I use douchey air quotes because some of these guys are shooting the show room with a camera phone. This means those of us that came to do serious coverage have to wait while someone slowly focuses, takes a shot, checks it, deems it unworthy, deletes and tries again. They also have no sense of decorum as we all que up waiting for our shot at a busy section like Star Wars..or Transformers..or anything at Hasbro...and these asshats either walk right past you or start in from the other end, whipping out their video phone to do an ultra slow pan of each shelf. Agony.

 OH! Forgot to mention what happens before this special form of torture. We are set up in a lecture hall type room and each brand manager comes out to show us their lines. I'll give allowances for time taken to give respect to two talented men who passed far too young this year from Team Hasbro, but there were moments where they were conducting their own Q&A's for us. THREE HOURS LATER...we are allowed into the showroom and told all 200 of us have an hour to shoot everything we'd like to. Our only respite from the pain? Free Hasbro water (the water of nerf champions) and a free poster on the way out the door. I'd heard that before our press scrum, it was Mommy Blogger Morning; an event in which your writer moms are let around the showroom for a leisurely tour and as they leave, they are gifted with giant bags of loot. I'm no grubber, but they could at least put our press pics on a flash drive so we have something useful to show for our compliance with the state of "Collector Press Day." I thank Hasbro for the opportunity to cover some great toys for all you reading this, but YEEESH. Give a bro a break.

Day 2: aka Night of the Living LEGOs. I say night because I have to get up at 4am to be at LEGO in NY by 7am. On the plus side, they give us coffee, bagels and other foods, orange juice, a very friendly atmosphere like they actually WANT us there..don't over crowd the room AND we get special gifts on the way out. On the minus side...its 7am, i've had 3 hours sleep and now I have to shoot lil tiny LEGO peoples. ..oh and they call it a "party". hehe. Anyway, still fun because we are all punchy and making inappropriate jokes that, while our LEGO friends don't join in, they laugh so we know they got it. The highlight of the room for me was Alien Conquest which has aliens chasing down frightened LEGO humans, attaching brain suckers to their heads and perusing in vehicles straight out of Mars Attacks. I dig that LEGO uses heaping helpings of monsters and skeletons in 80% of their lines; even going so far as to include a Zombie, Dracula, Witch, Mummy and Frankenstein Monster in their lines of MiniFigures! So out the door and at 10am the doors flung wide with Power Rangers coming down the escalator on one end and giant elves with one mocking the escalator scene from Elf coming down the other. Heesterical. We covered Funko, makers of cute versions of Flava Flave, Chuck D, The Ramones and Yoda. We covered Kotobukiya and their army of Stormtrooper vinyl kits, new Marvel statues and sexy Anime super heroines. We said Hi to Shocker Toys who debuted their kick ass new line of Anime Spotlight action figures with characters from Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Dr Slump and Death Note all sharing a series for the first time anywhere. The line up includes ...

- Naruto’s Kakashi Hatake (VIZ) with a variant swapping his head and hands to become Iruka Umino

- Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki (VIZ) with a variant allowing for season 1 and 2 looks as well as battle damage

- Death Note’s L (VIZ)

- Doctor Slump’s The Monster (Toei)

- One Piece’s Nico Robin (Funimation)

- 2 pack with Naruto’s Sakura Haruno and Ino Yamanaka (VIZ)

Awesome, yea? I'm looking forward to some super posable, affordable Anime figures in my future.

The day ended with the MASSIVE collection of Mattel offerings from Green Lantern movie and comic product, DC Universe Classics, Masters of the Universe Classics, Ghostbusters, Cars, Batman, Justice League Unlimited, Barbie, Monster High, Poly Pockets (yes we covered girlie stuff this year) Generator Rex and the returning horrors of SINGAMAJIGS!!! Heather pointed out that this year's crop are holding they are breeding. You've been warned. The Barbie girl showed us Sweet Talkin' Ken that has a feature allowing you to record sweet nothings that replay in ken's voice. We handed this off to Heather who got him to whisper "Give me some Sugar, Baby" along with some other notable lines we'll save when I edit the video. In the collector area, I was amazed by all the excellent Masters of the Universe toys I will have to own, forcing me out onto the street from poverty in 2012, Egon and the Library Ghost in the Ghostbusters line and more figures coming for THE ULTIMATE WARRIORRRRRRR..the greatest wrestler of all time. Sweeet. I'd also like to mention that some of the Batman figures we showed off earlier in the week were on hands, so, I'm at least half vindicated, if I wasn't already by the couple of people that backed me up and said they knew about those lineups already AND the crappy shopped pics that went with them. HALF-VINDICATED!! Members of Fwoosh forums were on hand for the moment. We shared a tearful glance. It was magic. I'll also mention we saw Playmates' Family Guy action figures so I have an excuse to drop a Flickr link. Muaahahahaha. Plot. I'd go so far as to say Playmates is going to attempt another line like their near legendary Simpsons line with figures and playsets.

So..yeaaa. It's only day 3. 3 more days of plastic insanity. Keep watching here and on our Flickr where I'll do my best to dump a load of pics every now and then just to keep you filthy animals satiated. WE'LL BE BACK!!

Note: Above picture is neither Paul Nomad nor Heather Buckley, but it is no less awesome.


  1. Please say you'll be getting some of your great photos of the minimates on display at teh Diamond Select booth!! I am dying here with no news!!!

  2. Yup! Coming as soon as we can get there.