Category Archives: Toys

Mattel’s Close but no Cigar Barbie Advert.

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Mattel challenging gender stereotypes with brand new Barbie advert

In a first for toy brand Mattel, a new advert for their new Moschino branded Barbie features a young boy playing with the doll, all smiles and winks with his female buddies.  ‘Moschino Barbie is so fierce!’ the boy says to the camera as he holds Barbie’s purse before placing it on her arm.

Check it out below.

Sure, It’s a brave and bold move for Mattel, aiming to bring down the “boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls” stereotypes we’ve been accustomed to for generations and the move in general is a step forward in breaking down those gender stereotypes that we were all brought up with.

While watching the advert for the very first time, I applauded the introduction of a boy into the girl aimed market which acknowledges the fact that yes, there are boys who like to play with dolls too, especially in an time where more and more parents are becoming vocally against toy segregation in shops and more viral videos are popping up showing young boys embracing the Frozen phenomenon, it was great to see Mattel step up  – or at least I thought…

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Close but not there yet.  This Moschino Barbie retailed for $150

See, then it dawned on me, this advert is for a collectible designer Barbie doll that retailed for $150 and not some jewel hair mermaid rocker Barbie that can be found in shops for $20+.  The target audience for this advert isn’t children who ask their parents to buy the dolls for them but for adult collectors who bought out the limited edition of 700 within an hour (and are now re-selling on the secondary market for $400-$800!!).

This advert won’t air on television during programs aimed at the 8-14 year old market or be found in catalogs crammed into mail boxes resulting in no little boys going to find this doll and thinking…”If the boy in the ad is playing with one, then I want it!”

It’s a kind of “the thought was there but we’re not going 100% with it” moment from Mattel.

Doing a bit of research it seems other people took notice of this fact which prompted Mattel to release the following statement to BBC News.

This video parodies iconic Barbie commercials from the 1980’s starring a young [Moschino creative director] Jeremy Scott look alike. The video celebrates how boys and girls alike play with Barbie – it’s all about self-expression, fashion, imagination and storytelling.”  Mattel added that the commercial (or fauxmercial as noted by Mattel) was created by them – but with Mr Scott calling the creative shots.

So yes, let us applaud Mattel/Jeremy Scott for breaking toy based stereotypes and finally including a boy into the world of Barbie doll advertising but let’s not be blinded to the fact that this is a marketing campaign about a designer doll played with by children that was directly aimed at an adult market.

Let’s just wait and see if this is only a  first move by Mattel into breaking down those boys toys vs girls toys barriers.

Oh, and by the way, the video is hosted on Moschino’s YouTube page, not Barbie’s.

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Toy Review: Total Soldier Corps Elite Vs The Curse

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Fans and collectors of the long running GI Joe figures by Hasbro will undoubtedly, during their time, have come across the well known knock-off line “The Corps” figures by Lanard Toys.  It’s pointless in trying to deny it!  We all had them infiltrating our collections at one time or another!  They’re cheaper though less articulated and are more readily available on store shelves than Joes are currently here in Australia.

Though recently, Lanard re-branded the Corps line as The Corps Elite Vs The Curse, released a bunch of brand new vehicles, mega play sets and figures, introduced new characters with better articulation and launched a website featuring bios, artwork and mini comics.  It’s a big and bold move for the company, but a smart one, especially in an age where its competitor in Hasbro’s GI Joe are becoming more and more scarce on toy shelves and collectors are screaming for more releases.

The biggest and best change to the line is the introduction of two female characters, never seen before within the Corps line.  Somehow, over all these years, there has been zero female presence within the Corps line which, looking back, is rather odd considering Lanards influence of Hasbro’s Joe line which contains a strong female presence with characters like Scarlet, Lady Jaye, Baroness, Agent Helix…the list goes on.

Snake Bite by Lanard Toys. Photo from Actionfigurebarbecue.com
                                         Snake Bite by Lanard Toys. Photo from Actionfigurebarbecue.com

That’s all changed now with ‘Snake Bite’ and ‘Puma’ permanently added to the roster and due to their popularity, could lead the way to even more gals to future Corps releases.  Snake Bite, the red headed Aussie chick and Puma, the gun toting bad-girl brunette feature a brand new head sculpt each though share the same body, but also feature increased articulation on a Corps figure.  The new figures offer 6 points of articulation from hinged knees, ball jointed hips, swivel mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, and a ball jointed head (standard Corps figures usually offer 4-5 points of articulation) which will keep the Joe fans happy.  The paint apps are nice with Snake Bite’s funky side shaved red hair and green/grey camouflage and Puma’s brown pompadour pony-tail and red/brown uniform.  The only miss is Snake Bite is missing her eye under her red fringe.

The brand new three figure packs also offer up a series of weapons (of which the girls have two throwing daggers, a pistol and crossbow each AND with added ports, these girls can hold all their weapons at once!) along with a motorcycle which, judging by the articulation needed to put the figure on, is made specifically for Puma and Snake Bite.

Brand new character Puma
Brand new character Puma

These new Corps figures have been floating around England and the USA for a few months now and have recently begun popping up in Target stores here in Australia oddly branded through Target’s budget Kids Space line (I say odd as Lanard’s website lists KMart as the official Aussie distributor for the line and Kmart confirmed to me that these figures aren’t releasing until Jan 2016) The price point for these figures are pretty neat also with the three pack selling at Target for $8 each (yep, $8 for three figures, a bunch of weapons and a vehicle!) and single carded figures for only $3 each – though, just like everywhere else, Puma and Snake Bite are not sold individually.

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The official figures with detailed card back
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Target Australia’s Kids Space offering

Where Hasbro’s effort with GI Joe being literally non existent on shelves anymore, Lanard’s newer offerings have arrived at the right time and with the right price point.  Affordable, visual, fun and diverse!  You can find the figure packs via Target Australia under their Kids Space budget toy line right now or as the official Corps Elite branding in Kmart Australia in Jan 2016.

Treasure Trove of Vintage Toys go Under the Hammer

Princess Leia, R5-D4 and Klaatu carded figures sold for £260
Princess Leia, R5-D4 and Klaatu carded figures sold for £260

It’s literally ever vintage toy collectors dream….busting into an old abandoned building and finding a gold mine of untouched goods, and that’s literally what happened back in May this year when the old, abandoned and boarded up building that once contained the Frank Beech Toy Shop in North Wales was opened up to find literally thousands of vintage collectible star wars, barbies, action man and GI Joe toys from brands like Hasbro and Palitoy.

The toy shop, which opened 70 years ago (the 1940’s), closed it’s doors in 1999, was boarded up and remained as such, filled with thousands of dollars worth of stock, until earlier this year when discovered by Vectis Auction House who went in to pack up whatever had been left behind when the store closed it’s doors 16 years prior.  Vectis were able to recover 120 pallets of boxed collectible figures, toys, cars, board games and dolls that would make every collector wish they had been the ones to find it.

The auctions, which have been split over a total of nine auctions, are continuing (part four ran last Wednesday October 21st) and are seeing collectors from all over the world from London to USA and to Australia, take part and bid on hard to find and elusive vintage items, most of which are still mint on card or still sealed in original shipper boxes.

Check out some of the items below from parts 3 and 4 actions.

The first auction back in April 2015 only represented about 10% of the items available and raked in over £58,500 pounds with auctions two through four hitting the same amount leaving most expecting the total sale to hit nearly half a million pounds.  One collector paid £200 for four empty cardboard boxes covered in pigeon droppings because they had labels on from manufacturer Palitoy indicating they once contained Star Wars toys.  Speaking with The Daily Post, John Cathrall, a cataloguer with Stockton-on-Tees auctioneers Vectis Auctions, said  “They used to have Star Wars (toys) in them so people wanted them but they were absolutely awful!  The highlight was that we got someone who came all the way from Holywell just to buy two or three lots because it was his childhood Christmas shop.  He wanted to take some back, that’s what we want to see happen with the toys – we want to see them go back to good homes.”

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The empty cardboard boxes that fetched £200 in the Frank Beech Toy Shop auction

The auction house says many of the Frank Beech Toy Shop’s most collectible items were brought back first and are “buried deep” in their warehouse and are most likely to feature in the final auctions.  Mr Cathrall added: “There was a heck of a lot of Star Wars grabbed on that (first) trip!

Dates are yet to be announced for the rest of the remaining five auctions.

Get Your Own Zack Morris or Screech With New Saved by the Bell Pop! Vinyl Figures

The whole Bayside High gane in Pop! Vinyl
The whole Bayside High gane in Pop! Vinyl

Continuing on with their very cool Pop! Vinyl Television line which currently includes the likes of Orange is the new Black, The Walking Dead, The X-Files and the soon-to-be-released Friends line, Funko have now released the first images from the brand spanking new Saved by the Bell collection!  Everyone from Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) to AC Slater (Mario Lopez) and even Lisa Turtle (Lark Voohries), the whole gang (minus Mr. Belding) is now available for pre-order with a set December 2015 release – just in time for Christmas!

And in a recent twitter Q&A session, Funko also revealed some exciting new lines coming to the pop! Vinyl Television family..

Whilst I await any announcement of a Melrose Place pop! Vinyl line, we can all check out the newest Saved by the Bell pops below!

Pre-orders are up at Entertainment Earth at the following links:

Zack Morris  |  Schreech  |  AC Slater  |  Lisa Turtle  |  Jessie Spano  |  Kelly Kapowski

Marauder Task Force Wave Two Female Figures Kickstarter Goes Live

Concept art for wave two of the figures
Concept art for wave two of the figures

The Marauder Task Force Gaming Figures has to be one of the most successful action figure kickstarter campaigns to date.  Their original goal of $30,000 to produce a line of articulated and customizable 3.75″ action figures was smashed with Marauder Gun-Runners reaching just shy of $255,000 for their campaign.

Wave two of the figures has been announced and has gone live on kickstarter featuring an all-female line called The Valkyries and they’ve already surpassed their funding goal of $34,000 (in less than 2 days) with 36 days (as of this post) left to go.

The first wave of figures were a hit with collectors (they fit in perfectly with GI.Joe) featuring great designs from Boss Fight Studio and a fun modular accessory dynamic that allows for near-total customization with interchangeable heads, protective gear and weapons.

This second wave is aiming to achieve the same effect with the removable headgear & vests having “modular” attachment points which provide the ability to “mix & match” the assorted modular equipment as desired. Also, there are “modular” accessory mounting points ON the actual figure. The figures and accessories will be available in assorted colors.

From the campaign: The Marauder Task Force Valkyries action figures feature articulation points at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, thighs, knees, and ankles. Rather than a “mid-chest” articulation point, the articulation point is in the waist. The swivel waist allows for greater movement and, most importantly, will not interfere with the modular vests when in use on the figures.

With Hasbro copping a whacking from the public over the lack of Black Widow/Scarlet Witch action figures, it’s great to see independent productions like Marauders getting into the female action figure game.  While several earlier kickstarter campaigns featuring similar ideas have failed (Agent AnnikaHumanoid YvonneLeigon XIV) Marauders previous and wildly successful outing has proved to be a winner.

Check out some of the base and stretch goal figures below:

As a big fan of the female GI. joe figures, I’ll be watching this kickstarter very closely.  Check out and back this campaign here!

Hot Toys Adds Pepper Potts to it’s Iron Man Releases

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“I have to protect the one thing that I can’t live without. That’s you.” – Tony Stark

At last count, 1/6 scale toy company Hot Toys have released over 100+ variants of Marvel’s Iron Man (Probably exaggerated but enough Iron Man already!) and now, fans can add their very own 12″ Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts to their collection.

From the Hot Toys press release:

“In the Iron Man movie series, Pepper Potts has been a very important person in Tony Stark’s heart. As the love interest of Tony Stark, and assisting Tony in the defeat of Obadiah Stane and Aldrich Killian, Pepper has been there with the genius billionaire at the most crucial moments in the film series. Fans have been longing for a collectible figure of her and today Hot Toys is delighted to officially reveal the 1/6th scale Pepper Potts Collectible Figure from Iron Man 3!

The movie-accurate collectible figure is specially crafted based on the image of Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in the film featuring a newly developed head sculpt with long straight light reddish-blonde real fabric hair, finely tailored costume, an interchangeable Iron Man Mark IX right arm with LED light-up function, and figure stand!

Pepper Potts will be a great addition to your Iron Man and Tony Stark collection!”

An alternate version on this release includes a Pepper Potts and The Mark IX Iron Man which includes a Pepper Potts in Mark XLII helmet head sculpt which can be fitted to the suited body.  This solo release however includes the excellent addition of the Mark IX arm she sported in the closing moments of Iron Man 3 – totally my favorite part in the film btw!pepper-potts-with-suit-arm-and-new-powers-l

Check out all the promotional images below:

Ever since Pepper’s scene stealing moment in Iron Man 3 where she finds herself wearing part of the Iron Man armor and blasting evil Guy Pierce away, I’ve been hanging for a Pepper Potts/Rescue figure.  Hasbro teased us of a 6″ release back when IM3 was released but then balked on the figure and there’s been a slew of 1/6 scale knock-offs (they’re really really bad) and this release from Hot Toys finally quenches that thirst – even if these promo images have her stealing Homeland’s Carrie Mathison’s look…..

With numerous Iron Man/Captain America/Thor releases, Hot Toys are starting to make their mark with the female characters with 4 total Black Widow releases, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Gamora and more recently Avengers new-comer Scarlet Witch and Marvel’s Agent Maria Hill which was revealed at the 2015 Toy Fair and is currently available for pre-order.

No word yet on Pepper’s release but keep an eye out at http://www.sideshowtoy.com for the pre-orders like I will be doing!  This one’s a keeper for me!

Dawn of Justice SDCC Exclusives Reveal Wonder Woman Figure

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Warner Brothers have just revealed the first of their big guns they plan on bringing to this years San Diego Comic Con in the form of merchandise for the up-coming Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie.  First there was the Lego Batmobile, then a diecast Hot wheels Batmobile with rubber tyres and now, we’re being treated to some pretty awesome looking figures.

Superman Vs Batman 2 Pack
Superman Vs Batman 2 Pack
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Wonder Woman in 12″ form.

A 6″ Superman and Batman double pack that feature both figures with likeness of Henry Cavil (Superman) and Batman (Ben Afleck), fabric capes and matching bases that when joined, form the movies logo will be available to SDCC goers with a retail price of $30 plus a Wonder Woman Barbie that sadly won’t be available for purchase (but will be on show) until next year with the movie’s release.  The Wonder Woman doll features a brand new face sculpt, rooted hair, jointed body and outfit that resembles the one that will be featured in the upcoming Dawn of Justice movie.

San Diego Comic Con runs from July 8 through 12.

Vintage Toy Talk; Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones

Just some of the released Golden Girls figures.
Just some of the released Golden Girls figures.

In an era when girls toys were pink and feminine and boys toys were guns and trucks, this classic line of action figures tried to break the mold and aim for both target markets.

Easily one of the best and well made action figure lines of the 1980’s to hit the toy stores without the aid of an in-production cartoon series to boost sales, Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones by Galoob was, in reality, a step up in quality to that of Mattel’s She-Ra line – yet failed miserably in comparison of sales.

With both lines aimed at the young female market, Golden Girl and She-ra were created to counteract the dominance of the girly Barbie line and offer girls a chance to play with their brothers when He-Man and Greyskull Castle were brought out to play. Both featured strong, blonde, caped women in charge, a bevvy of sidekicks and a desire to kick some evil guy butt.

But…when comparing the two lines, especially in this day and age, Golden Girl easily beats out the Princess of Power.

Golden Girl tells the tale of ‘Golden Girl’ and her gemstone guardians, whose main aim was to protect the citizens of Argonia from the evil Dragon Queen.

Each Golden Girl figure came displayed in a windowed box with stunning artwork, a reversible cape, an awesome and heavy die-cast metal shield, a weapon with belt, headdress piece and of course, a comb so you can re-set Golden Girls do’ after a nasty battle in the sandpit.

In all, there were 11 figures released in the line – Golden Girl and her cohort of do-gooders including Jade, Onyx, Rubee, Saphire, and Prince Korma while Dragon Queen brought along Moth Lady, Ogra, Vultura and Wild One.

The figures themselves were taller than She-Ra, more body proportionate, had bendable legs and actually seemed more in-place, aesthetically, with he-man than his sister ever did.  The paint aps on each figure were impressive for the market, especially that of Dragon Queen and Vultura who both featured an impressively evil face-up and made the line feel a bit more edgier.  Even with the addition of a castle playset, two horses, a chariot, coloring books, board game and three series of fashions, Galoob and Golden Girl lost in the battle of female heroines and the line was sadly pulled from shelves only after a year.

What seemed to be one of Galoob and Golden Girls biggest problems was it’s lack of direction in target market when in the 80’s boys played with He-man and girls played with Barbies and there was no grey area.  While it was clear She-Ra – with all her pinkness and femininity was aimed at girls, Golden Girl’s look was (as noted above) edgier and somewhat more masculine and it alienated the female market while the figures rooted hair and toy combs was passed on by the boys (you’ll remember while He-Man characters Teela and Evil-Lyn was given figures, both featured basic screenings and molded hair)

Check out the original Golden Girl announcement advert here

Before the line’s cancellation, there was talk of a second series of figures which included some amazing designs and playset concepts including Dymonda, Spidra, Turquoise, Dragon Queen’s Throne,  and Centura.

The figures, which were sold for a few bucks back in the 80’s, can today, fetch well over $50 for a carded figure, more for the horse and chariot and even more for a boxed play set.  For a line that was some-what confusing as to which gender it was aimed at and that lasted only a year (1984-85), it has now found itself a market with adult collectors who appreciate the grittier design of these vintage action figures.

Check out some very old adverts below!



 

 

Hot Toys Avengers Age of Ultron 1/6 Scale Scarlet Witch First Look

Action Figure vs Real Thing
Action Figure vs Real Thing

When it comes to the world of Avengers and merchandise, it’s a well known fact the ladies who kick ass receive the fewest amount of gear on the shelves.  While Thor, Iron Man and Captain America are littered throughout the toy isles, Black Widow and the newly added Scarlet Witch have seen very little fanfare with the exception of an action figure here or there.

To be sure though, 1/6 figure production giant Hot Toys have stemmed this nasty bleed by releasing four Black Widow figures along the Iron Man/Avengers/Captain America way and have now released the first look of the brand new Scarlet Witch deluxe figure.

“Age of Ultron – the 1/6th scale Scarlet Witch Collectible Figure!  The movie-accurate collectible is specially crafted based on the image of Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in the film featuring a newly developed head sculpt with long curly brown real fabric hair, finely tailored costume, specially created hands with red translucent fingertips and effect accessories to emulate Scarlet Witch using her powers. Ultron’s heart which Scarlet Witch has taken from the robot’s body is also included as a special bonus accessory!”

With Hot Toys offering something like 20 different Iron Man Figures, it’s nice to see someone like Scarlet Witch get some lovin’!

Check out all the photos in the gallery below:

No news of release date or sale price but going off Black Widow’s Age of Ulton figure, one can expect to pay in excess of $280US for her.

Think the likeness to Elizabeth Olsen is spot on?  Think you might add this to your collection?  Sound off in the comments below!

Orange is the New Black and the New Pop! Vinyl.

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I do love me some Pop! Vinyl figures.  While my collection is small (Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon and Injured Daryl Dixon – AHS Coven’s Fiona Goode – Game of Thrones Brienne of Tarth and Orphan Black’s Alison Hendrix) there’s always room to add more and now, some of our favorite Litchfield inmates and prison guards are coming our way in mini vinyl form thanks to the highly popular Pop! Television series by Funko.

That’s right, mini versions of Piper (Taylor Schilling), Alex (Laura Prepon), Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), Red (Kate Mulgrew) and Pornstache (Pablo Schreiber) are currently up for pre-order are and slated for a July 2015 release, which oddly enough, misses the season 3 premiere of the show.

I’m still waiting for my very own Pennsatucky with tinsel halo, bad teeth and wooden cross Pop!

Want your very own Alex or Piper?  Check out the pre-order links below from Entertainment Earth by clicking on each of the images!

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Friends, Seinfeld, Saved by the Bell, Sailor Moon, MacGyver, Once Upon a Time, The Strain, and Clueless are all slated to pop up in Pop! form very very soon though I’m still awaiting a Melrose Place Pop! Television announcement because you all I know I need me a Sydney Andrews as stripper Jungle Jane and Kimberly Shaw with removable wig Pop!