Every year I go to Toy Fair, and every year I take literally nearly 1000 pictures with every intention of putting them up in neatly ordered reports on each manufacturer. And every year I don’t do it.
But I did learn a few things at this year’s event that I can share, along with my usual blurry Hipstamatic photos. You know you love them.
So here’s some news, and a little gossip.
- LEGO has updated their Duplo line of beginner bricks with NEW millennial colors! The colors used to be very bright and primary, as older readers may recall. But millennial parents like a different palette.
- Also, LEGO minifigs are getting more and more hirsute in different ways, with what might be called millennial parent facial hair.
DC costumes for little girls continue to outsell Marvel costumes. At Ruby’s, the HQ for kids Halloween costumes, I was told that last year’s extensive line of Captain Marvel costumes had underperformed a bit, but Wonder Woman continues to be a best seller.
They also have a more deluxe line of costumes, like the Thanos one shown below.
- Dark Horse and Funko were the only companies bold enough to show any Game of Thrones merchandise — Dark Horse because they were the company that put GoT merch on the map; Funko because they are Funko. As you might expect, both companies confirmed that sales for GoT had gone off a cliff after the disappointing finale. TBH I’ve never seen anything like the tide turning as quickly as it did for this show. The toys are just as nice as they ever were though.
- McFarlane is making a Bloodshot figure, and it has definitely captured Vin Diesel‘s likeness.
BTW, the fortunes of this film could be very affected by coronavirus. It was expected to do well in China, but if people are still quarantined that could have a huge impact. Fingers crossed moviegoers are healthy and so is the box office, as so much of Valiant’s future is riding on this.
- McFarlane and Spinmasters are the main licensees for DC actions figures now, and as you might expect, McFarlane’s are way more detailed. Spinmaster’s debut line is heavy on the Batman, and really aimed at kids…which is fine. Kids need to play with superhero toys.
6: Nothing could stop Baby Yoda from being the superstar of this Toy Fair….
…unless maybe it’s Stan Lee, who had quite a few figures coming, all in his iconic leaf green v-neck sweater.
- Enesco had a line of deluxe vinyl and resin figures on display, including this magnificent Maleficent which shows that classic Disney character designs are the benchmark by which everything else must be judged for all eternity.
- Twins ARE scary, as shown by this new line of horror figures also from Enesco.
…and Miss Mindy’s new line of DC figures.
- Media availability is changing in interesting ways at Toy Fair. I wasn’t able to go to the Hasbro media day presentation because I was very sick that day (more upsettingly, I missed Rhyhorn Community Day in PoGO and now everyone but me is rocking a fierce 3000 point Rhyperior.) I was told, however that Hasbro’s presentation was butt-numbingly long (3 hours), and even the die-hards were complaining. There was no new news (it all broke at London Toy Fair), and sure they brought out Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman to talk about Ghostbusters, but even that wasn’t enogh to justify the time.
After decades, the traditional LEGO press breakfast was also cancelled for the year — which I have mixed feelings about. In years past I literally woke up at 6 am to trudge through 2 feet of snow to get to this breakfast, so it was a part of my year. On the other hand, I’m glad not to trudge through two feet of snow at 6 am any more.
Playmates also cancelled their Collector’s Night. I guess there are just more media availabilities for all kinds of outlets now and it doesn’t make sense to have special presentations for them? LEGO cited the news and product cycle as the reason to cancel their event, so I guess the times, they are a changin’, and it’s that simple.
- The final thing I learned is that this year Toy Fair was really dinging people for money on badges. Folks who have been going for 20 years were suddenly told that they would now only be eligible for a “Guest” badge and that would be $250 please. I ran into the same problem when I was told my badge had been printed out and I needed to pay $25 for a new one. I said, ‘that’s fine, except I don’t have my badge, and I don’t know who you gave it to after you printed it out, and there is only ONE Heidi MacDonald.’
After a few moments of me flexing a very furrowed brow, the very nice people at the press desk saw things my way and gave me my press badge.
Toy Fair was pretty huge this year, taking up just about the whole Javitz Center, although with just the right amount of people, unlike NYCC. Easy peeing! Food options have also been upgraded to more trendy food items, like Korean BBQ and so on, so there was better eating — although I couldn’t help instinctively salivating at the smell of the Traditional Convention Center Hot Dog, a non-food that has seen me through many campaigns.
I’ll leave you with more of my award-winning photography! Enjoy.