Category Archives: Toys

The History Behind Iconic Toys in Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us.

Star Wars toys remain a big draw card for kids and adult collectors.

Every year around early December, it becomes clear that there is that one ‘must have’ toy that needs to under the Christmas tree ready for opening on December 25th. From Furbies to Tamagotchi’s to last years ‘Hatchimals‘ and to this years current fad of ‘LOL Surprise Dolls‘ these toys bring in big money for the toy companies that make and sell them and while hugely popular they may be, they don’t hold the interest or the market nearly as long as some iconic toy lines did in the early 80’s to the mid to late 90’s.

The new Netflix documentary series The Toys That Made Us takes a long hard and sometimes dark look behind a collection of the most iconic toys that helped shape companies like Mattel and Hasbro to what they are today.

The eight episode season one (four episodes are currently live for streaming with the following four to come in early 2018) offers a look at the early stages of mega lines like Barbie, GI Joe, He-Man and Star Wars and the sometimes chaotic and spur of the moment thinking that brought about some of our childhood’s most beloved characters, designs and the brilliant marketing behind these that made these toys still as relevant today as they were when they started out.

Mattel - 2016 New York Toy Fair
Barbie’s origin is explored in depth and it’s quite racy!

Each episode (that runs at about the 45 minute mark) features vintage adverts, interviews with creators, designers and many many others involved with the creation of these toys with each episode (aired so far) showcasing the numerous minds behind these lines and the confusion (or difference of opinion) everyone seems to suffer from on just who should be credited with the creation of these toys.

The next four episodes are scheduled for early 2016 and feature Transformers, Hello Kitty, Star Trek, and LEGO with a second season already in the planning stages though what will be covered is still unknown.

Some suggestions though for season two:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Playmates / 1988 – present.

Original Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Originating as a comic book series, the action figure line by Playmates featuring four ninja trained turtles and their news reporter friend became a mega hit with kids and saw the company hit gold, releasing countless waves of variations of the four main characters and almost every single side character ever featured in the comics, animated series and live action movies.  Today, mint carded original figures sell for big dollars.

The X-Men: Toybiz / 1991 – 1998


 After acquiring an exclusive license to Marvel Characters in 1993, toy company Toybiz set about releasing the first ever in-depth line of X-men and Marvel action figures that featured everything from 6″ figures to 10″ figures, vehicles, playsets and 12″ fashion dolls.  Characters like Wolverine saw 7 different variations, Storm featured a light up lightning bolt on her chest and so big was the line, lesser known characters like Kylun (who featured *barely* in the pages of X-Men side comic Excalibur) were even produced.

Value in original carded figures remains steady – pending the figure – at around the $20-$40 mark.

Celebrity Dolls: Mego / 1976 to 1978.

8861676521_e88590a1e7In 1976, Mego Corporation saw an opportunity to finally take on the massive Barbie market by producing a line of 12″ celebrity dolls with the first two off the ranks being Sonny and Cher dolls to coincide with their hugely popular Prime Time Variety Show.  The Cher doll featured an incredible 32 piece wardrobe designed by Bob Mackie and became the number one selling doll that year.  Off that success, other dolls including Captain and Tenille, Laverne and Shirley, Dianna Ross, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Suzanne Somers were all released.  After shifting their focus to electronic toys in the late 70’s to early 80’s Mego filed for Bankruptcy and closed in 1983.

Original boxed Cher dolls, fashions and playsets can fetch anywhere between $60 to $400.

The Toys That Made Us is now streaming on Netflix Australia.


Toy Review: 2017 Black Label Wonder Woman Barbie


Taking inspiration from the up-coming live action Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot, Mattel are releasing three Black Label Barbie dolls based off three of the characters within the film.  Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta and Robin Wright as Antiope.  The first of the three to be released is Gadot’s Wonder Woman, seen first here in Australia.

While Mattel are still yet to officially reveal any images of the trio, this 2017 black label release has already begun to hit selected stores in Australia.

WW12 has got your first in-hand look at this new doll but note, as I am not a de-boxer, this review will only take in-to account what can be seen without removing the doll from her plastic/cardboard prison!

Releasing as part of Barbie Loves Pop Culture series, this new doll features many similarites to that of the Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman barbie released last year (that was never released in Australia) with the articulated body, the dark rooted hair and Gal Gadot/Wonder Woman facial screening.

The box art is bright and colorful featuring the movies Wonder Woman logo with the outside of the plastic sheet surrounded by a printed gold lasso.  The back of the box showcases a promotional photo of Gadot as Wonder Woman with a short bio of the character.

The doll features shoulder, elbow and wrist articulation along with articulation in the knees – the feet remains unknown as I did not take of the boots.  One hand is molded in a clasping pose to hold her sword while the other is in a fist, so as to hold her shield.  The shield itself is held by the doll via two straps that link over Wonder Woman’s arm.

Wonder Woman’s outfit remains screen accurate with the bodice made out of light plastic in the red and blue signature look with a faux leather pteruges skirt with gold imprinted details.  The bodice and skirt are somewhat flimsy to the touch and I cannot confirm how these are attached to the body.  The faux fur and fabric cape is quite lush and ample in size and while the official description does state there is in-fact a hood, the final product has no such addition to the cloak.  This cloak is held closed by a single button and elastic loop combo with the elastic loop feeling strong and capable of holding with some decent play.

Other accessories include a gold plastic armband, silver plastic bracelets and gold plastic boots with red imprinted details and black elastic.  There’is also a brown faux-leather scabbard with gold plastic hardware, gold cord lasso which appears to be non-removable, gold plastic sword with silver imprinted blade, gunmetal silver plastic shield with gold imprinted details and black elastic bands, and a clear plastic doll stand with black plastic base that is not branded in any form.

The hair is styled in loose ringlets and is held with some form of setting gel leaving parts of the hair feeling dry and ‘crunchy’.

Pre-Order your case of all three dolls from Entertainment Earth here!

The facial screening and mold remains stunning just as it was with last years release.


This black label release comes with a certificate of authenticity and remains an non-numbered limited edition release.

Currently available in selected stores in Australia (David Jones and as of writing this) Wonder Woman Black Label Movie doll is scheduled for a USA release in mid April – though Mattel’s site is stating May 2017.

Also, check out the first look at the Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta black label Barbie below!



First Look at the Black Label Wonder Woman Movie Barbie Doll


The first sneak peek look at one of the new Wonder Woman black label Barbie dolls, based off the up-coming movie, has been leaked the final product looks amazing!  With three new black label movie based dolls due for release, only a blurry image of Robin Wright’s Antiope has managed to make its way online leaving us wondering about Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Connie Nielsens’ Hyppolyta releases.


Prior this is leak, no images, previews or news had been released about these black label dolls – we just knew they were coming and now, a first look of the Wonder Woman black label Barbie has dropped showcasing the new doll with the wonderful Gal Gadot screening as used in the Batman Vs Superman but with the addition of the black woolen cloak Wonder Woman sports in the new movie.

Check out the two images below.

While some of the new movie based action dolls have begun to hit US Wallmart stores (We should expect to see them end of April here in Australia) there is no exact street date (April 4th has been floating around on some collector sites) and the rrp is around the US$50 mark.

Jakks Pacific Joins the DC SuperHero Girl Line


Warner Bros. Consumer Products, in partnership with DC Entertainment are expanding their DC Superhero Girl line to bring Wonder Woman and co to every household worldwide with a global expansion of the brand’s licensing and merchandising program.  The program has seen the line grow to more than 30 categories including toys, costumes, apparel, accessories, publishing and stationery with licenses granted to Funko, Crayola and Pez Candy among others.

Budget toy maker Jakks Pacific has been tapped by Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create a retail line for the DC Super Hero Girls universe and now Jakks seem to have come up with the goods with the first batch of good to be released under the multi-year global licencing deal, revealed for the upcoming 2017 NY Toy Fair.


  • DC Toddler Dolls: Adorable toddler dolls each dressed in an iconic DC Super Hero outfit including, Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl – each doll has rooted hair and comes with accessories such as belts, cuffs, masks, headpieces and shoes.


  • DC Super Hero Girls – Everyday Dress-Up: Girls can now master their super powers with the Everyday Dress-Up assortment. These two-piece outfits include key accessories like masks, headbands, headpieces or arm cuffs.

A line of capes with Wonder Woman, Kitana and Bumblebee, along with designer superhero face applique and temporary tattoo packs are also due for release.

But it’s the announcement of a new line of DC Superhero Girls dolls that have people talking!

The new line-up by Jakks Pacific will include four characters, each measuring a whopping 18″ with 14 points of articulation and will be exclusive to Toys ‘r’ Us with a price point of $34.99 each.  While Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Bumblebee will be fit out in designs very similar to their Mattel counterpart, Batgirl looks set to be given an overhaul, sporting a look very similar to her classically iconic Batgirl ’66 look.

Jakks Pacific will officially unveil all during NY Toy Fair and has stated these products are slated to hit US stores this fall.

Lady Gaga Joins the Monster High Gang

‘Zomby Gaga’ is the newest member of the Monster High Clan.  Image (c) Mattel 2016

Mother Monster AKA Lady Gaga has joined forces with Mattel’s Monster High brand to create the newest member of the Monster High gang known as ‘Zomby Gaga’.

In a collaboration between Gaga, her sister Natali Germanotta and Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, Zomby Gaga is the first ‘celebrity’ to join the fashion doll line and dons a tailored black suit with long flowing pink ponytail and ball of bubblegum as worn by the singer in her “born this way” video clip.  An alternate outfit consisting of mesh tights and a sleeveless shirt is also included.

Speaking to InStyle Magazine, Germanotta says “For Gaga, the doll is all about inspiring “kindness, bravery, and acceptance.”  Monster High has also donated to the Born This Way Organization to help support the foundations mission and is encouraging fans to pledge to spread kindness here.

Zomby Gaga is making her way to Australian shores as a BIG W online exclusive, with   pre-orders opening on Tuesday October 18th via their official site.  Please note that any pre-order links are not expected to go live until the day of pre-orders.

Mattel Unleashes SDCC Exclusive She-Ra Figure


With the insanely massive San Diego Comic Con fast approaching, Mattel have been quick to reveal all of their con exclusives ranging from a Ghostbusters themed Frankie Stein Monster High doll to a deluxe Wonder Woman action doll but it’s been their reveal of an 11″ She-Ra action doll that seems to be garnering the most attention.

Relive the glamorous, commanding adventures of She-Ra®, Princess of Power with this 11” highly detailed action figure. The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe features 24 points of articulation, rooted hair, 3 iconic fashions, 2 swords, signature shield, 6 interchangeable hands, a logoed stand, a 12-page mini comic: “The Story of She-Ra”, and a beautiful keepsake box with vivid imagery from the enchanting world of Eternia! Wage epic battle with She-Ra against The Evil Horde for the honor of Grayskull!

Check out some images of the action doll below:


DC Super Hero Girls Spotted on VIC Shelves!

Wonder Woman and Super Girl from Mattel’s DC Super Hero Girls Line

The eagerly awaited DC Super Hero Girls line of action figures and poseable dolls have made a surprise and sudden appearance on shelves in selected Target stores across Victoria and Sydney today catching many fans off guard as we waited to receive any news of their release.  Word floating around was that we could have been waiting until as late as June this year before seeing this new line hit our stores and with the PR company dealing with press for this release for the Mattel created line not able to provide me any exact information regarding store exclusivity or in-store dates, it was a wait and see game that seems to have finally ended.

This morning, posts started popping up on Facebook showcasing Target stores across Melbourne and Sydney beginning to stock their shelves with Wonder Woman, Bumblebee and other characters from the line in their 6″ and 12″ forms.

DC shelves
A Vic based Target store’s display – so pretty!

Target have confirmed to me that the 6″ action figures and 12″ dolls will be available at select Target stores from today with a $19 price tag for the action figures and a not too shabby $32 tag for the dolls and suggested for customers to check and see when their local store is currently stocking the line.  The release has been staggered through Target stores with some already almost sold out and some not yet out for sale to which Target Australia has put down to “unusual shipping delays” to their stores.

Retailer BigW have confirmed they will also be stocking the action figures and dolls in a few weeks time with a similar price point.

The DC Super Hero Girl line has been a massive hit in America where it was first launched in early March this year with stores stocking the line selling out faster than they could replenish the shelves and online, leaving many customers slightly frustrated about not being able to either get their hands on the whole set or buy their child their favorite hero. While the line was generally aimed at the 5-15 year old girl market with their ‘positive influence’ selling point, the 6″ and 12″ figures have been a hit with adult collectors scrambling to collect the set as well.

There is also a budget line of 12″ figures (Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl) coming soon to Target US stores that feature painted uniforms, rooted hair and less articulation than the original released figures.

Budget line “power action” Wonder Woman, Super Girl and Bat Girl!

Recently, Mattel announced a brand new play set to go along with the 6″ action figures which includes a flying mechanism, grappling hook and zip line along with themed accessories which expand the play opportunities for the iconic school setting.  Currently available for pre order through Amazon US, the play set has an October 2016 release date.

Does your local Target have this line?  Have you bought any yet?  Sound off in the comments above!

TV’s Empire Set to Become Dolls by Tonner OneWorld

empire dolls

Recently merged doll companies ‘The One World Doll Project’ and ‘Tonner Doll Company’ (Now called Tonner-One World) have announced a limited edition collector doll series based on this hit TV drama series Empire.

While no details such as releases, edition sizes, characters or doll sizes have been released, it is expected that designer dolls based on Empire’s leads – Cookie Lyon (portrayed by Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) will be the two first dolls released.

The following is what subscribers will receive upon joining the mailing list:

Empire is one of the hottest show’s on television and it is about to get even hotter! The Empire Collector Doll Series is in full development right now and we guarantee you are going to love these dolls!  Hand sculpted and designed by legendary doll designers, Robert Tonner and Stacey McBride-Irby, these one of a kind, limited edition works of art will leave you breathless and [will] be a definite conversation piece.  For up-to-the minute details on what’s new, what’s coming next, promotions, collector’s contests, all things EMPIRE and so much more; be sure to stay connected.

The One World Doll Project are most known for their creation of the hugely popular Prettie Girls! fashion doll line that aimed to create a collection of fashion dolls that were diverse in their culture and ethnicity and also readily available in major department stores along side the blonde Barbie.  Founded in 1991, the Tonner Doll Company has become one of the most known collectible doll companies world wide with their creation of mainly 16″ designer dolls and obtaining the rights to create and release TV and movie collectible dolls including Gone with the Wind, Avatar, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman and many many more.

Mattel Takes on Female DC Super Heroes

Wonder Woman and Supergirl DC Super Heroes by Mattel

Fashion dolls and action figures that come with positive messages have become a major selling point of late and rightfully so!  Companies like IAmElemental and Mattel’s Barbie have recently been introducing female empowered figures and dolls that are all about ‘being the best you’ to the very lucrative 6 to 16 year old female market and now, DC heroines including Wonder Woman and Batgirl are joining those ranks via a new line of fantastic fashion action figure dolls from Mattel.

Among the bevy of empowered and positive female figures hitting stores is the DC Super Hero Girls that will see 6 well-known DC heroines and villains from Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Harlequin and Bumblebee released as collectible action figure dolls with several points of articulation, fabric uniforms and rooted hair.  They are somewhat shapely like Barbie but stand half an inch taller than the blonde bombshell.

The plan to diversify just what toys are offered to girls in toy stores is a big bold move that seems to sit well with both the kids wanting the items and the adults buying them . Mattel’s announcement of new curvier Barbie saw adult collectors snap up the shapelier dolls in the droves and with DC’s legion of fans behind them, Mattel could be sitting pretty knowing a second audience with accessible cash is eagerly awaiting these figures.

A budget or cheaper version of these figures will also be hitting stores along with smaller plastic molded versions of each character.

Hitting Target stores in the US first, word has it that here in Australia, KMart, Target and Big W will be stocking these figures and these could be hitting our shore as soon as March 31st so get your wallets ready!

Depending on the popularity of the line, further releases including Katana, Catwoman and Hawkgirl could be announced.  Find out more about the DC Super Hero Girls here.

Do you have plans to collect the line?  Want to see another heroine not listed released at a later date?  Sound off in the comments above.

IAMElemental Reveals Series 2 Female Action Figures

Wisdom square-logo
Series 2 of IAmElemental Female Action Figures

Hugely popular IAmElemental female action figures with positive messages aimed at providing affirmative and interactive toys for girls, released final images from their highly anticipated second series of figures named ‘Wisdom’.

Series 2/Wisdom is a series of seven 4” articulated action figures based on the Elements of Power – superpowers that already exist inside each one of us,” said Julie Kerwin, IAmElemental’s Chief Elemental Officer.  The first figures, Series 1/Courage, were modeled on Joan of Arc while the ‘muse’ chosen for Series 2/Wisdom is Hypatia, the daughter of the Greek scholar and mathematician Theon who has been praised by Smithsonian magazine as ‘one of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria and one of the first women to study and teach mathematics, astronomy and philosophy.’  She was a STEM pioneer, writing about math, building astronomical instruments, and distilling complicated philosophical concepts into digestible bits that her students could process and understand.

The neutral colored, less busty female figures made a huge impact with their initial announcement back in 2014 via kickstarter which boasted a “more heroine, less hooters” tagline that aimed to show that being a hero is not restricted to sex, bust size or skin color.

Series one was based on courage and featured  a series of 4″ figures plus an exclusive 6″ figure which, the team at IAmElemental confirmed to me, a second 6″ figure will be included in this second series..

Now not needing to rely on kickstarter funding, the figures are being sold through the IAmElemental website and via specialty retailers online with a third series planned for 2017 based on ‘justice’.

Having got my greedy hands on the series one/courage figures, the quality was second to none with each figure being provided with a bio card, sporting great articulation and fun and interactive play with certain elements of these figures being interchangeable among each other. The most noticeable change from courage to wisdom is the color palette with courage featuring deep red skin tones, pink and purple hair and silver/grey uniforms while soon to be released wisdom will feature purple and blue skin tones and hair with gold uniforms and color accents.

Check out the newly released figures below and check out the IAmElemental website!