Heat Vision's Top Toy Fair 2014 Picks
Turns out you probably weren't imagining those low moans of awe you've been hearing over the past few days. Instead, you were just picking up on the reaction to the many, many new games, gadgets and gimmes revealed at the 111th American International Toy Fair, which officially opened for business Sunday.
The weeklong event showcases everything from upcoming mass market releases to more niche, limited-edition products — and, as you might expect, many of them are aimed directly at the geek market. Here are our picks among what has been revealed at the show so far.
Heat Vision breakdown
With a new animated series coming this fall and a new set of movies on the way, Star Wars had a big footprint at this year’s show. On the classic side, Lego revealed a Star Destroyer and a Creature Cantina set (Greedo, Han Solo and even a Landspeeder are included), and Hasbro unveiled new additions to its Black Series, which features beautifully detailed six-inch figures.
But perhaps generating the most scrutiny was anything to do with Star Wars: Rebels, the Disney Channel animated TV series that is meant to tide us over until the new movies come out. Fans are already debating whether or not to pick up characters with names such as Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Zeb Orrelios, and Ezra Bridger whether in Hasbro’s line of 3.75-inch toys or Lego’s ship sets.
One toy is already emerging as an early favorite, however: the Inquisitor’s double-bladed lightsaber that can also act as two single blades.
Across its various properties, Marvel had a great Toy Fair this year. The focus was undoubtedly on this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy movie, with Lego sets, action figures and Pop! Vinyl figures of Rocket Raccoon, Groot and the rest of the team being on display, but there was far more to see than just those particular space heroes.
Lego unveiled a new X-Men set (complete with a Sentinel) just in time for Days of Future Past, Hasbro announced a second and third wave of "Marvel Super-Hero Mashers, with Venom, Falcon and Ghost Rider among the characters with interchangeable limbs to swap around, and more information about the Marvel Infinite line of 3.75-inch action figures was revealed — including hints of a Deathlok figure by the line's third wave of releases.
There was even a Captain America mask to accompany April's release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but let's be honest — everyone would rather be wearing the Rocket Raccoon mask that goes along with Guardians, right?
One of the heroes at the Toy Fair, as far as many adults were concerned, was Lego. Not for its continuing strong showing of Star Wars offerings and expanding its Marvel line to include Ultimate Spider-Man, and not for the amazing success of The Lego Movie but for bringing Ghostbusters to the brick set.
The cool thing here is that it actually comes from its Cuusoo design project, where fans can create concepts and ultimately get a chance to become an official Lego item. Brent Waller was behind the Ghostbusters item that is getting rave reviews from those who handled it at the toy convention.
All four Ghostbusters — Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, even Zeddmore — are represented with normal faces and scary faces as is the Ectomobile. It’s due to come out in June and it will cost $50.
It's fair to say that a lot of people were looking forward to seeing the various toys tied to this summer's Godzilla movie at this year's Toy Fair — and, it seems, they can continue to look forward to seeing them, as an embargo on the official movie merchandise meant that no photographs were allowed of the tie-in toys at the show.
That didn't mean that there was no Godzilla to be seen for those not at the show itself -- Diamond Select Toys had plenty of Godzilla material available that had nothing to do with this summer's movie, including a suitably adorable Godzilla minimate who looked more friendly than fearsome. If anyone wants to start a Godzookie revival, we know just what he should look like.
DC’s stable of heroes was at the show via Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Collectibles, and while it seemed overshadowed by other brands as the company doesn’t have a big movie this year, it still had some intriguing offerings.
Among the best perhaps was NECA’s high-end fully articulated Batman dolls – Batman Classic (the Adam West version) and the Tim Burton versions (no word on a George Clooney or a Val Kilmer version, but one based on Batman Arkham Origins is on the way). How high-end? The price is in the $80 to $100 range.
Jakks Pacific also showed off its DC Plug It In & Play: Hero Portal video game, which allows a player to swap from a selection that includes Superman, Batman, Flash, and Green Lantern and punch and jump through six levels.
Here's a quick look from DC Collectibles:
There's no way around it: ReAction, the line of figures inspired by the original Kenner Star Wars action figures produced by Funko and Super7, just might be the stuff that dreams are made of. Specifically, the dreams of your seven-year-old self, when you found yourself wondering why every movie you loved didn't have its own toy line that you could mix and match with characters from other movies.
With more than 60 figures planned for this year, the ReAction designers have cast their net wide, choosing characters from movie and TV properties including (but not limited to) The Terminator, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Alien, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Pulp Fiction. Each one comes with packaging straight from the 1980s heyday of Kenner's Star Wars line — and the just slightly wrong sculpts from that same era to boot. Prepare to go bankrupt collecting them all.
by Katherine Schaffstall
by Graeme McMillan
by Graeme McMillan
by Graeme McMillan
by Pamela McClintock
by Borys Kit