While wandering every aisle of ToyFair, I spied this display:

Talicor, a U.S. toy distributor

What the…?!  Peanuts?! Construction sets?

At first, I thought it might be counterfeit, as the box design and quality was a bit cheap. (Charles Schulz was known for demanding high quality designs from his licensees.)  A quick glance of the empty box showed the proper trademark notices, so I took pictures of all the boxes displayed.

 

As you can see, these bricks are very much in the same bestiary as Lego. (Lego’s patent has expired, but they now copyright ALL new brick pieces, to discourage copycats.)

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What was most surprising was that such a well-known franchise such as Peanuts was licensed not to Lego, or K’NEX, or Mattel’s Mega Bloks, but to a company relatively unknown in North America. (Cra-Z-Art did produce some sets for The Peanuts Movie in their Lite Brix line, which interconnect with Lego.)

That company is Banbao Concepts Limited, a Chinese company with offices in Quebec. Here’s the PR announcing the licensing deal.

Late Tuesday, I found their booth, and took these pictures.

I thought you were good Charlie Brown… but you’re not good. You’re just another lying ol’ dirty birdy. [1]

The company has a robust line of playsets in a variety of categories. Peanuts has about 30, most of them featuring Snoopy. Snoopy, of course, is the one with imagination, and can easily be adapted to almost any playset. The rest of the Gang is pretty boring…they don’t inspire imaginative play. (This might be the reason why there weren’t many Peanuts character toys in the 70s and 80s.)

The sets are scheduled to be released in 2017. They are not yet available online, but you can view other Banbao sets at Amazon.


Banbao also offers “eco-bricks”…manufactured with plant-based plastics and dyes.

One other interesting line from Banbao is iWallz, white display pieces designed to showcase builders’ creations. The main piece is a smooth baseplate with a frame of studs which can be interconnected as shelves. There are also display boxes and other hardware. (Lego had similar plates, but long ago, before minifigs.)


[1] For another version, Robot Chicken has Sally taking care of Linus.