Sunday, February 19, 2012

Toy Fair 2012 Part Three

Here's some more Toy Fair highlights and lowlights. Check out Action Figure Insider and Cool Toy Review for images and coverage.

"Sexy Braniac" is a phrase I should never have had reason to type.

Bandai's Thundercats display didn't have anything new to see which has led some fans online to cluck like the sky is falling, but I don't see any need to panic just yet. What Bandai did have on display was stuff that began hitting shelves at the beginning of the year. Technically these are "new" products. I only saw the Armor of Omens in person for the first time this weekend. I still haven't seen the Storm Charger. Some collectors seem to have a "what have you done for me lately" outlook, but the primary purpose of Toy Fair is not in fact to show collectors things they haven't seen before. I bet in a couple of months they'll be a bunch of new toys that trickle out, without any advance warning. For comparison, none of the recent Power Rangers Samurai toys that are now out in stores were at Toy Fair 2011. That's just how Bandai works.

NECA will be putting out new items for Terminator, Aliens, Predator, Gremlins Robocop A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and they're starting new lines for Rambo, Rocky, and E.T. (pictured above). I'm not sure any of these films really needed new toys but they're all big names that people recognize, plus they have dedicated fans who grew up with them and probably have some disposable income to toss around. NECA knows what they're doing.

And NECA is not just trying to mine the pockets of the children of the '80s. They're also trying to milk the fans of the video games of Valve. Now I haven't played much of any of these games myself, but even I'll tell you a Gordon Freeman action figure is long overdue. Some of the other stuff they have in the works are a replica of the gun from Portal, a Boomer and a Smoker from Left 4 Dead and action figures and plushes of the Team Fortress crews. Valve NECA

I'm a little concerned that NECA is acquiring licenses they don't plan do all that much with. For Resident Evil: Raccoon City Chronicles they're doing an action figure of Vector, and only Vector. For Bioshock Infinite they showed off an amazing Columbia statue and a replica of the game's skyhook. Maybe I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth but I'd hope they have more than that planned for the upcoming game.

If I have to single out one specific toy as most disappointing it would have to be the Star Wars Vintage Collection Gran Moff Tarkin. This is a figure I've been looking forward to for a long time. It just looks off, from the likeness of Peter Cushing to the shade of green used for his uniform. I'd also call the skirt piece one of the less than well executed uses of soft goods in Star Wars figures.

Also coming in the Vintage Collection are figures from Star Wars The Old Republic, based on a video game I haven't played. So while I don't have any attachment to Darth Malgus, Shae Vizla and the pictured Jace Malcolm, the designs are so cool I'm tempted to pick them up.

The Star Wars San Diego Comic-Con exclusive is a big improvement over last year's Death Star set mainly because it features seven new figures in contrast to the Revenge of the Jedi repacks. The set includes Jar-Jar Binks, a Clone Trooper Lieutenant, a Shock Trooper, a Sandtrooper, Princess Leia in Bespin gown, and Darth Vader as he's being electrocuted by the Emperor. The figures will come on a cardback design considered but unused for the original line in the '70s. Those carded figures are packaged in a box shaped like the Carbon freezing chamber. Emerging from the top of the package is a Jar Jar frozen in Carbonite which is available exclusively in this set. The other six figures will later be available at retail on standard Vintage Collection cards.

I've spotted a good deal of Hasbro's Avengers toys already for sale at Toys R Us. (The electronic Hulk is more amusing than it should be.) So far it feels too much like a retread of the previous Iron Man, Thor and Captain America toylines. It doesn't help that new characters like Hawkeye and Black Widow won't be out until a later wave. Absent from Toy Fair were the six inch Avengers shown at last year's New York Comic Con. Since Toy Fair is aimed at retailers it suggests those six inch figures aren't intended for general release. They're possibly exclusives which doesn't bode well for my chances of finding them in stores.

The first wave of Habro's relaunched Marvel Legends have been trickling into stores, with series two appearing overseas. At Toy Fair Hasbro displayed U.S. Agent and Blade, pictured above, from the third wave. Announced but not revealed was Mystique. Those are the only three figures confirmed so far for series 3. The fact that the rest of the wave is still under wraps doesn't bother me, but I am bothered by the implication that the third wave is still a long way from being released.

A pleasant surprise was Hasbro's G.I. Joe Retaliation line. It helps that the designs for the movie sequel are a big step up from the first movie. And there's the cast. Fans are understandably excited to get action figures of Bruce Willis as Joe Colton and The Rock as Roadblock, but the one I'm most looking forward to is a figure of RZA as Blind Master.


Gabriel said...

Did NECA make an ET hand "toy"? Forgive the quotations, im not really sure what to call it. Thats a bit disturbing. Maybe not as much as the ET finger around when the movie first released.

Anthony said...

Yep that's an E.T. hand complete with light-up finger. Buy it and arm wrestle with someone wearing a Hulk hand.