Friday, February 20, 2015

New York International Toy Fair 2015 – Phantom’s Thoughts

Note: Pictures will be somewhat limited in this post. Most of the reference pictures from the weekend came from individuals taking pictures at Toy Fair and I don’t want to steal their work. Where I do have pictures they will be from official press releases that the manufacturers put out. Since they haven’t all done this, there are several items that I don’t have pictures of at all.

I highly recommend you follow ActionFigureAttack on Facebook and Instagram for some excellent press photos. I found that Action Figure Insider had some of the best in-person shots.

Welcome to my initial reactions to what happened at the New York International Toy Fair over this past weekend! I wasn’t there, obviously, because nobody’s going to pay for me to go to New York, but I followed along thanks to the magic of the internet.

Thanks, Al Gore!

This is going to be very stream-of-consciousness and off the top of my head – I just want to hit on the stuff that is of interest to me and get some notes down. This is almost like an outline for the Toy Fair episode of the podcast that we’ll be recording for next week, so consider it a look at the inner workings of Needless Things.

Maybe not so much. But at the very least, this is a look at how my brain perceives toy stuff. I’m writing this all weekend long as each company makes their big reveals online. This is by no means a comprehensive look at everything that happened at Toy Fair, and it may not even include everything I’m interested in – just whatever I have happened to track down.
I have to start with the Batmobile.

DC Collectibles

DC Collectibles is releasing a Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile that is in scale with their six inch scale toy line.

In scale.

This means that it is two feet long.

It also features lights – headlights, brake lights, and turbine. I have not read anywhere that it has sounds. It seems like a shame if it doesn’t, but also I don’t care that much.
This thing looks fantastic. If it’s in line with the aesthetics that DCC have already established with their Animated line (and there’s no reason to think that it won’t be), this will be an incredible toy. I’m as excited for it as I’ve ever been for a toy. The last thing that I can recall beign this stoked about was Hasbro’s Big Millennium Falcon years ago. Sadly, I doubt we’ll ever see a toy like that again.
Side Note: Yes, the AT-AT was great, too. But as cool as it is, the Millennium Falcon is not only one of the most iconic vehicles of all time, it’s also practically a character unto itself. Particularly if you’re an Expanded Universe fan, which I am. So the Falcon wins that one.
The Batmobile is already a contender for 2015 Toy of the Year. Nicely done, DCC. But they didn’t stop there.
Batman: The Animated Toy Line

They need to come up with a name for this line. I think DC Animated Universe would be great, but I get the feeling they don’t want to commit to a larger world yet.
DCC showed four more figures and I’m happy with half of them. Nightwing and Mad Hatter look great (though it’s odd to see a taller Jervis Tetch). I’m very disappointed that we’re getting New Adventures Bane and Scarecrow, though. This is probably my least favorite Scarecrow design of any – I don’t like his size and massive shoulders. And this Bane looks like a gimp. For obvious reasons I prefer luchador Bane over fetish Bane. I’ll actually pass on these two in hopes that they eventually release the Animated Series versions. And if they don’t I’ll just go without. I really don’t care for these designs.
DC Comics Icons

A new line of six inch scale action figures (and accessories) meant to encompass the entire DCU and bring all of its many characters into one toy line and aesthetic style – all designed by Ivan Reis. Basically, DC Universe Classics, but much nicer.
While it makes a ton of sense, this line surprised the heck out of me, for multiple reasons. The first is that out of nowhere DCC already had three waves – thirteen figures – ready to show. The second is that out of those thirteen figures, only one was a New 52 design – Black Adam. 
 
What this says to me is that DC has known for quite some time that they were going to be abandoning the New 52 this Summer, because this line has to have been in development for around a year to be at this point. And up until now there has been a conscious effort to have all in-house product reflect the New 52, even if most licensed merchandise did not (think about it – how many t-shirts, bed sheets, or other mass-market items have you seen with those designs on them rather than the more traditional DCU?).
The figures shown all look beautiful and I like the concept of a central line from DC themselves. If I didn’t already have a massive collection of Mattel’s DCUC figures, I’d probably buy these. As it is I know I’ll at least pick up most of the Bat Family stuff they do. And that Deadman. I also have to wonder if they’ll include Vertigo – Sandman and Preacher. We never did get a full set of the Endless, after all.
DC Television Universe

I love Arrow and The Flash and it’s been tough for me to resist buying these great-looking figures. It’s going to be even tougher now that they’re making a figure of Felicity Smoak. But resist I will, because I really can’t start another line. 
 
DC Prop Replicas

DCC’s prop replica game is strong. They’ve been doing some really cool stuff lately, and now we’re going to see the Helm of Nabu as shown on Constantine and the Reverse Flash ring that popped up just last week on The Flash!
Funko

The first reveals I saw were from Funko, except that they weren’t actually reveals – they were leaks.
Some unsavory individual posted pages from what appeared to be Funko’s catalogue from Toy Fair. Those pages showed the long-rumored Rocketeer and Firefly Legacy figures.
Legacy Collection

I loved Funko’s Game of Thrones Legacy figures. I haven’t bought the second series yet because I’m still trying to convince myself that I don’t need to be collecting them. But they’re incredibly well done figures and any franchise would be lucky to receive the Funko Legacy treatment.
I dig the Rocketeer, but he isn’t a favorite. I have, however, been longing for Firefly action figures ever since the show finally took root in my brain and became my favorite television show of all time (yes – even over Buffy). The ReAction figures didn’t quite work for me. Nothing that came out past the late 80s seems to, as a matter of fact. There’s just some chronological line in my nostalgia factor that the ReAction style of figure doesn’t cross.
These look mostly incredible. I say “mostly” because the crotches don’t quite work for me. They look weird. That style works for smaller scales like GI Joe, but for some reason it seems strange here. It’s not a deal breaker – I’ll definitely still be buying these. And the final product could end up looking better. Or in person it might not be noticeable at all.
Super Shogun

They showed a 24” Shogun Warriors-style Boba Fett. I don’t give a damn how much it is, I’m getting one.
ReAction

WOW. They’re doing Star Trek ReAction figures! They look great and obviously fit the aesthetic. I don’t know yet if I’ll get them because I do already have the original crew from Playmates’ impressively all-encompassing line.
This brings up a significant question – what, exactly, can Funko produce? It appears that Hasbro let the Trek license go, as Mega Bloks are producing building sets this year. Could Funko have the rights to do 6” scale figures in the Legacy line as well as the ReAction figures? Diamond Select is still producing Trek figures, but those are basically statues now, nothing that I consider action figures.
WOW. They’re doing JAWS ReAction figures!
Sorry – I had pretty much the same reaction (HA!) to seeing a big, giant ReAction shark next to a little, tiny ReAction Richard Dreyfuss.
Also pictured were figures from The Boondock Saints, Taxi Driver, Gremlins, Karate Kid, and a TON more Star Trek figures, though I can’t find any good pictures of those (yet). Apparently Funko announced all of this back in December, but I missed it. I’m kind of glad, though, because it’s much more exciting seeing these things in figure form for the first time as opposed to just words.
The Fifth Element figures defy my ReAction standards. I don’t know what it is, but they work in this format. I might have to get them. That’s a movie that’s in my top ten, if not my top five. I hope they do Legacy figures, as well.
Pop!

I don’t usually cover these, but it’s worth mentioning that Funko got the license to do Garbage Pail Kids merchandise and is producing GPK Pop! figures, which I will almost certainly be buying some of.
Vinyl Idolz

Funko has partnered with Vinyl Sugar - the guys that put up a bunch of stylized figures of pop culture icons last year. Once you see them you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I was ready to dismiss these, but they look amazing. If they hit the right property I know I’ll end up buying some. Just the Seinfeld ones are already tempting me.
I also feel like I have to mention Dorbz. Dorbz are a new thing somewhat akin to the Pop! figures, but more simplified. They’re ridiculously adorable. I hope I can find some press pictures so you can see them, but if not just Google “Funko Dorbz”.
LEGO

This isn’t really my thing, but since my son is collecting LEGO now I can’t help but check it out. As of Saturday morning, they own Toy Fair. There are some incredible sets coming out this year. Which is, of course, where my son has got me right where he wants me. I love building LEGO sets and I love all of the license they’re doing now. Hence, he gets tons of LEGOs.
I’m not going to cover each franchise that LEGO is producing sets for, but I’ll point out my favorite sets:
*Scooby-Doo Haunted Castle (I didn’t catch the actual name)
*Avengers Tower (which is already assembled at home because I managed to snag one early on Amazon)
*All of the Jurassic World sets
*Star Wars Imperial Shuttle
*Star Wars Death Star Final Duel (Palpatine’s Throne Room – it’s awesome)
*Star Wars Boba Fett’s Slave I (this is already out, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to get one for myself)
*LEGO City Space Shuttle
All of those were just really impressive and items that I’m pretty sure Lil’ Troublemaker is going to end up with by the end of the year.
It’s also interesting to note that there were several displays of Minifigures surrounded by miniature version of vehicles and items relevant to the character (a Jawa with a tiny Sandcrawler and some desert doo-dads). I had already noticed similar sets in cellophane bags on Amazon. I think this is LEGO’s sneaky way of selling Minifigures by themselves without getting into trouble with the specifics of their license. If so, good for them.
Bif! Bang! Pow!

I think it was two years ago that BBP had one of the most exciting Toy Fair presentations with their Venture Bros. and Doctor Who stuff, plus a ton of classic licenses. Last year, not so much. But this year – they might be back in the game. At least a little.
Flash Gordon

BBP is launching a line of 3.75” scale figures based on the 1980 movie Flash Gordon. I dreamed of having figures from this movie when I was a kid. This is a big deal. I know somebody (probably BBP) did Mego-style figures a few years ago, but these are more affordable and also hold the potential for those flying jet ski things. Or a playset of that big disc that Flash had to fight the Prince on.
Yeah – I know those won’t happen. But I’m still excited for the figures.
Saturday Night Live

This is the 40th Anniversary of SNL, and BBP is prepared. They have products ranging from action figures to lunch boxes to bobbleheads featuring everybody from the Ambiguously Gay Duo to the just plain ambiguous Seth Myers.
Side Note: I have to admit to being a little baffled by the “Seth Myers” action figure.
KISS

There’s also a pretty wide range of KISS products, because why not? I really like the 3.75” scale action figures. They look crappy and awesome.
NECA

My current favorite toy company and holder of pretty much all of my favorite licenses, NECA’s first reveals were mad strong – an Ultimate T-800 Terminator akin to their Ultimate Freddy (which I still haven’t reviewed) and a figure of John Matrix, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from Commando. These are both must-have figures for me. It was also confirmed via Twitter that they will be producing a Sarah Connor.

And we got a better look at the previously announced Ultimate Leatherface. He's so pretty.
NECA deserves every cent they make off of their ingenious repaint series. I absolutely love the wild-looking color schemes of their comic book and video game figures and it looks like 2015 is going to have some of the best stuff yet, with Predators from the Dark Horse comics and the Predator 2 video game, as well as video game versions of Rocky, a Gremlin, and Rambo. 
 
NECA’s 18” range is apparently very popular, because they’re adding quite a bit this year. They finally displayed the Batman Returns Penguin and he looks incredible. Incredibly disgusting. NECA also revealed an 18” Christopher Reeve Superman. I want to want it, but I’m not crazy about the head. The hair is too big and the face is too severe. I feel like the expression should have been kind and hopeful rather than looking so serious. That’s Reeve’s Superman to me, anyway. We also got a better look at their 18” Arkham Knight Batman. I’m going to be tempted by that one. Must resist.

Same goes for their quarter scale Big Chap from Alien.
 
Diamond Select Toys

HOLY FUCK. Go to The Fwoosh and look at DST’s Ghostbusters. Holy shit.”
That’s what I texted to Jay and Ryan and I meant it. DST’s Ghostbusters put Mattel’s to shame. The likenesses and level of detail are incredible. All of the gear looks unbelievably good. And the kicker is that DST’s are cheaper when you factor in the shipping for Mattel’s. Which you have to.
DST displayed a line of statues depicting the ladies of Batman: The Animated Series on display. These looked fantastic. There was also a statue of Cassie Hack from Hack/Slash.

I’ll be buying that.
They didn’t have much new to show from their Universal Monsters line – disappointing for sure – but there was a female action figure that I couldn’t find a picture of with an identifying placard. She was in front of a Universal Monsters backdrop. I’m not sure if she’s supposed to be Van Helsing’s daughter or something, but I’m going to have to try to track her down. She was a cool looking figure. Update: Lucy Westenra
There were actually quite a few products that were apparently on DST’s top shelves, meaning the photographers couldn’t get good shots of the placards. Among these were three neato figures of the robot from Lost in Space. I can’t tell if they’re action figures or banks or statues, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for them, as well.
Also – BILLIONS of Minimates.
JAKKS

I have to give them credit for doing a great job with their large-scale figures. We have a couple of the Star Wars ones and they’re really neat for the price. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to just buy them all. Not only do they look cool and support surprisingly good likenesses, they are extremely easy to find. I’ve come close to buying that 4-pack they did for Toys R Us a few times.
And then there’s their new deal with Nintendo that apparently covers everything. All of the toys look pretty good, but I won’t know for sure until Samus and the Metroid come out. Super Metroid is one of my favorite games of all time and I’ve been waiting for a good, affordable figure.
In all honesty, it’s nice to see JAKKS getting back into the game. They did solid stuff with the WWF/E license when they had it, but then really seemed to struggle when that goldmine went to Mattel. I’m glad they’re back.
Hasbro

I cannot believe the number of Marvel Legends they announced. Thirty-one figures plus two retailer Exclusive three-packs and an Amazon four-pack. That line must have done amazingly well last year.
Marvel Legends

Wave 2 – Capt. America, Hulk, Spider Woman, Hell Cat, Iron Man mark 43, Batroc, Thanos Build-A-Figure
Avengers Wave 3 – Vision (movie?), Valkyrie, Blizzard, Thundra, Movie War Machine, Marvel NOW! Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Hulkbuster Iron Man Build-A-Figure – Vision and Doctor Strange look great. Valkyrie and Thundra are okay, but not characters I would ever request. I like NOW! Iron Man because I like that color scheme and I like buying Iron Mans. I don’t want another War Machine and that Blizzard is a straight-up dud. But the movie Hulkbuster Iron Man is amazing and a must-have. I think at the end of the year I’ll be throwing a huge lot of Legends up on eBay. 
 
Ant-Man – Movie Ant Man, Wasp, Bulldozer, Tiger Shark, Grim Reaper, Giant Man, Ultron Prime Build-A-Figure – I could live without Giant Man and Tiger Shark, but I like all of the rest. Since I’m collecting MCU figures movie Ant-Man and Ultron are essential.
Amazing Spider-Man Wave 2 – Kraven, White Tiger, Ghost Rider (Classic), Scarlet Spider, Superior Venom, Misty Knight, Rhino Build-A-Figure - This is a great-looking wave. Kraven, Misty, Ghost Rider, and Rhino are fantastic and the others all look good enough for me to buy to get Rhino.
Avengers Target Exclusive 3-Pack – Doc Green Hulk, Ultron, White Vision – Pass. I think the “Doc Green” thing is stupid, That Vision doesn’t do much for me, and I don’t need another Ultron.
Avengers: Age of Ultron Amazon Exclusive 4-Pack –Thor, Bruce Banner, Hawkeye, Black Widow – I don’t particularly want another Hawkeye or Black Widow, but I really dig that Thor and I consider Ruffalo Banner a must-have.
That’s thirty-two new figures, most likely with more to come. 
 
Star Wars

Hasbro had very little to show, but I believe that’s because they’re either going to have their own event or are saving it all for San Diego. I bet we won’t see much product at all between now and September-ish. 
 
I will say that this is the first time I had seen the Black 6” Hoth sets and I want both of them.
I’ve been longing for an update of the Imperial Transport vehicle ever since Kenner relaunched Star Wars action figures back in 1995. It was one of my favorite vehicles when I was a kid and I always felt like an update was warranted. I am tremendously disappointed in Hasbro’s Star Wars Rebels version of the vehicle. It’s too small. Way too small. Figures look straight-up silly in the compartments on the side. This is a case where I would have preferred it if they had just not done the toy. I won’t be buying this one.
Transformers

I don’t collect Transformers anymore. I do still have a soft spot for the G1 stuff and keep an eye on the Masterpiece releases. I would love to have the new Bumblebee and Ultra Magnus figures. And if they ever do a MP Shockwave I will buy it. But mostly I don’t spend money on this brand.
Hasbro showed a new toy that is tempting me. There’s a new Devastator coming out and it looks amazing. Each of the individual robots looks like a full figure, but combined they create the best Devastator I’ve seen. I read somewhere that it’s massive, but I haven’t seen any pictures that display a scale reference yet.
Mattel

It’s interesting how things change. Mattel isn’t even the third most interesting company this year. Essentially all they have to offer that I’m interested in is the Masters of the Universe Classics line. And while it looks like 2015 has the potential to be the best year since 2011, one toy line does not a favorite toy company make.
Batman ‘66

Man. They sure are getting a lot of mileage out of their basic Batman and Robin figures.

There’s a Batman with an assortment of items that I refuse to call a playset:
A three pack with Batman, Robin, and Batgirl:
And a re-release of the Batmobile with Batman and Robin:
Which will come in at over a hundred bucks if each item maintains its MSRP.
Mattel blew it with this line. I’m not saying that the figures they made aren’t nice, but the Batmobile is sub-par and the fact that they are not expanding beyond the small core of characters that they have already produced is shameful. If you want a good Batman’ 66 collection, you’re going to need to get it from Figures Toy Company.
And yeah – they aren’t doing a Batmobile. But from my perspective it’s more important to have Egghead, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, King Tut, and all of the other crazy bad guys that made Batman so special. Obviously that Batmobile is one of the most iconic vehicles in the history of pop culture, but it needs to be done right if it’s going to be done. Check out my review for more.
 
Masters of the Universe Classics

Speaking of doing things right, 2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for He-Man toys.
Matty announced what we were all anticipating – and what Beau called on the Podcast – a 200X subscription. They had Calix, Evil Seed, and the Club Exclusive – a pack of 200X heads – on display and everything looked fantastic. The pack of heads includes Clawful, Buzz-Off, Snout Spout, Roboto, and Cyclonus.
The official website announcement also featured Ceratus, who was teased mercilessly as a child. Oops – I meant teased earlier in the month.
As far as the regular Club Eternia sub, Mattel displayed Mara. Mara is a character I’ve never heard of from New Adventures, but she looks awesome so I’m okay with her. They also displayed Skeletor’s Hover Robots and I want twenty of them. They come in three-packs, so I’ll have to buy seven of those and then throw one robot away.
I am , of course, kidding. I can’t afford seven of anything from MOTUC.
WWE

I say this not to try to take any credit or to say that anybody stole my idea, but I thought of create-a-superstar figures over a decade ago. Except it was create-a-wrestler because that’s what the feature was called in the video games. And my execution was almost exactly what Mattel presented at Toy Fair.
Obviously I never did anything with it and have no claim on it, but it’s one of those things where you’re like, “Damn – I thought of that!” I was in no position to do anything with it anyway, so I’m just happy that it’s being done.
Oh – that’s my whole point here. Mattel is producing a line of WWE Create-A-Superstar figures where you mix and match parts – similar to Hasbro’s Mashers lines – to make your own Superstar. They look like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. And there’s a luchador mask that isn’t Rey Mysterio or Sin Cara.

Mezco

I’m rooting for Mezco to get a bigger piece of the market. I like the innovation that they go for and they definitely pursue interesting licenses. I’m not crazy about the mini statues they’re doing and calling action figures for Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, but clearly some people are.

I do, however, dig the looks of their new Mortal Kombat X figures. These aren't the characters' traditional looks, but they are awesome-looking toys.
What I do love are the comic book figures coming from their One:12 Collective line. The Batmans should have hit by now, but that whole port mess on the West Coast has delayed tons of stuff. Their Batman and Judge Dredd figures look incredible and one of the highlights of Toy Fair for me was the Lawmaster. It’s huge and menacing and looks incredible. I don’t even want to know how much it’s going to cost.
Mezco also had a new Bugs Bunny figure on display. It’s old-school Bugs and it looks really cool.
That's all I've got for now! I'm sure there's plenty of news that I didn't come across over the weekend or neglected to cover, so be sure to tune in to next week's Needless Things Podcast for even more Toy Fair goodness!

2 comments:

  1. Nice overview. Still, you missed the greatest thing anybody showed at Toy Fair: A Dr. Harleen Quinzel action figure. Dr. Harleen. Quinzel! How is that not the greatest thing ever!?

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    1. You're right. She looked great. I also like the Bruce Wayne. Too bad I would have to buy four Batmans that I already have to get him.

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