This year’s annual International Toy fair conference has come and gone once again, dropping news and reveals for about every single toy, game, or collectible you could possibly be looking forward to for 2016. This year was a MASSIVE year for some of the bigger companies such as Hasbro and Lego, revealing HUGE new lines and additions to their older lines of toys. today we will be talking about the two biggest building block toy lines on the market, and those best known by collectors, MEGA BLOKS, and LEGO.
Lego has been on an absolute roll in the past few years, between their regular game releases, as well as the amazing kits and sets available from their various brands, they even have gone as far as revive old brands, like the Lego BIONICLE series. But this year, Lego is giving GREAT focus to their Lego Super Heroes, and Lego STAR WARS lines, adding TONS of new sets to add to any collection.
Lego Star Wars was very much in the forefront this year, obvious considering the recent release of episode VII. But Lego is doing more than just releasing tie-in kits to Episode VII, they are also releasing numerous kits centered around fan favorite characters from rebels, and even going back to the CLONE WARS. Lego has NOT released a new clone wars style kit in several years, so seeing them return is rather fun, especially since they will feature mini-figures of 2 fan favorite Jedi characters. Jedi master Quinlan Vos, and Master Luminara Unduli appear in a new Republic Tank Crawler set, alongside a small battalion of clone troopers. Another Clone wars REMINISCENT set comes in the form of a modified clone AT-TE. How is it modified? Well, it is actually no longer meant to represent a Republic crawler, but instead as the retirement home of clone veterans REX, WOLF, and Gregor, as seen in the Star Wars rebels animated series.
Aside from the obvious tie-in kits to episode VII, which we all knew were on their way, Lego is also producing a set of brand new characters and sets relative to a Lego Star Wars special currently in production called “Lego Star Wars: the Freemaker Adventures”
Aside from Star Wars, the Lego Super Heroes lines will also be seeing multiple new additions, thanks to the upcoming Marvel and DC film releases. The DC super heroes line will be featuring multiple sets heavily influenced by the DC films Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad. However, they are not directly tied in with those movies as evidenced by the more comic book aesthetic of the mini figures, as well as their box art. Some sets include new figures such as killer crock, Deadshot, and captain Boomerang, But there are also kits featuring the New 52 version of Harley Quinn in minifigure form, as well as the Batman foil Red Hood.
This is in direct contradiction to the Marvel Superheroes which wholly embrace both comic AND movie interpretations, as they will be featuring sets directly influenced by Marvel’s Captain America: CIVIL WAR, and branded as such. These kits include minifigures of Winter soldier, Black panther, Ant-man, alongside re-issues of previously released mini-figs from the Lego Marvel cinematic super heroes. Also, like DC, Marvel’s Lego superheroes is also expanding on their comic book counterparts, by releasing kits including comic characters such as Kraven the hunter, Scarlet Spider, Captain Marvel, and the mad titan THANOS.
While the DC super heroes line of Legos have been in production for many years already, they are doing something QUITE adding a whole new series to the DC Super heroes line based upon a classic property that is SURE to get the collectors and older crowds on the Lego band-wagon. ADAM WEST’S BATMAN LEGO! These sets include a fully fledged Bat-Cave and classic Batmobile, as well aas HIGHL:Y detailed mini-figures of the classic batman characters, as well as their villains. The first announced villain characters for this line include Catwoman (Julie Newmar), Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Mr. Freeze.
Now, while Lego has basically had a monopoly on multiple movie and comic franchises for their building block sets for many years, one category which has only just hit their radar in recent years is Video games. While Lego has been producing Minecraft Lego sets by the truckload in over the past 2 years, Mega Bloks has been on licensing building block sets based on video game properties for YEARS now.
Under the Mega bloks Banner, sets of building block tanks and vehicles have been produced for YEARS in the licenses of Halo, Call of Duty, and even Assassins Creed. this year however, Mega bloks is showing off a new IP they are adding to their repertoire, DESTINY. Destiny, having only released last year to MUCH acclaim and a MASSIVE surge of fans and players, is a franchise ripe for the taking and making into a Mega bloks line. Its actually ironic, considering the massively popular HALO Mega bloks line was also once a Bungie property, as Destiny Currently is. Two brother franchises being brought together by Interlocking building blocks, its like Marvel vs. DC Legos all over again. These Destiny kits include individual figure sets for the 3 main class types as seen in the game, as well as vehicle and enemy play-sets. The largest set includes the Arcadia, easily one of the more recognizable ships from the game.
Aside from their videogame properties such as Halo, call of duty, and DESTINY, Mega Bloks also like to tackle more kid friendly demographics and IPs in their other sets. In past years Mega Bloks has produced kits based around franchises like the power Rangers, this year, they are getting QUITE creative and covering ALL of their bases. In the use of a SINGLE license, mega Bloks will be rolling out no less than 4 LINES of Mega Bloks sets all revolving around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Mega Bloks is covering every base and every demographic they possibly can in their decision to produce 4 different lines of ninja Turtles themed Mega Blok kits. these kits stretch across 4 different version of the TMNT license. One collection of sets revolves solely around the black and white TMNT comics from their original appearance, and another is heavily influenced by the 1980’s cartoon series version of the turtles. Boht of these lines will be noticed and given much interest by collectors, but what about the modern kids? Will they want monochromatic megabloks? NOPE, that’s why there are also 2 more lines dedicated to the current Nickelodeon based TMNT cartoon series as well as the Michael bay film version of the turtles.
As I stated before, the comic influenced sets will be mostly monochromatic, cast in grey black and white plastics, giving it a very faithful and accurate look. The 1980’s sets are sculpted in very retro cartoon-ish fashion, and feature sets with the Turtle van , and the Technodrome. The sculpting is accurate and well represented across all of the lines, hitting the necessary marks for each required look. Overall, Megabloks looks to be pushing out some decent kits this year to compete with Lego, but who will succeed? Only the fans can decide with their wallets. Personally speaking, this writer is more inclined to pick up some Star Wars and Adam West batman Lego kits.
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