New York Toy Fair International rolls around every February, giving toy and game companies a chance to promote and sell their wares to Corporate chain store owners, local toy shop owners, and industry professionals. Unlike NYCC, or most any other convention, Toy Fair is NOT open to the public and is meant more for professional attendance, and brass tacks business work to be conducted. As such, i was able to get a first hand look at some of the upcoming toy and game releases set to hit store shelves over the next coming year.
Toy fair is the biggest Toy Convention on the planet, and its the place where the big 3 Comapines, BanDai, Hasbro, and Mattel, come together to show off their newest designs, toy-lines, and even additions to pre-existing toy lines. This year was no different, and I was able to get a first hand look at the toys set to release later this year. So to kick things off, how about we start with the AMERICAN Toy giant, HASBRO!
Hasbro has been knocking it out of the ball-park over the past year or so, especially between their extremely popular My little pony toy Line, and their exceptionally successful Transformers 30th anniversary line. So, how do they plan to follow up their THRILLING 30’s line? WHY, with none other than a GIANT SLEW of Combiner robots, of course! Back during the release of the fall of Cybertron video game, we were treated to the first official TRUE combiner team we have seen in many years, Bruticus. While Bruticus was mostly well received, it did garner some negative criticism for it’s floppy and rickety construction. Hasbro seems to have taken these lessons to heart as they are bringing forth multiple Scramble city combiner teams that feature very blocky, chunky, aesthetics which help to pull off more stable transformations and combiner modes. Hasbro has already released the Superion Combiner team over the past few months, but at NYTF, they pulled out EVERY stop and showed off just how many Combiners they have planned for 2015. No less than 3 other Combiner teams, comprised of 5 to 6 robots a PIECE.
This didn’t even count the new Generation’s LEADER class toys they have begun work on bringing to plastic. After Announcing figures like a Leader class Megatron and Jetfire, as well as voyager toys such as Optimus Prime and Cyclonus, what other character could they bring in to excite the Transformers fanbase? Well, Hasbro KNOCKED it out of the park again as they announced the upcoming Leader class Ultra Magnus, complete with his mini-con true self, Minimus Ambus, which comes packaged with this massive leader class monster of a toy. Seeing Minimus and Magnus in person, the toy look amazingly chunky and easily a good hefty Transformer figure, and a great addition to the slowly growing leader class Generations family
The first Combiner they showed off was one that is almost ready to be released to the public, Menosaur. this monstrosity is made up of the Stunti-cons, and thusly is comprised of stunt and race cars. After him however, we recieved the premiere look at a new combiner team that has not seen hard plastic production since the Glory days of G1. DEFENSOR, guardian combiner comprised of the protecto-bots is coming to our toy shelves in 2015! But this combiner team was not the one to steal the show. OH NO! that honor belongs to the first ever combiner, the original grand-daddy of gestalt transformers, the MASSIVE DEVESTATOR!
Every other Combiner wars set announced so far, including Defensor, have all been comprised of 1 Voyager class Transformer, and 4 Deluxe sized figures, and occasionally a single legends class figure added as a weapon. This is not the case with Devestator. Devestator, made from teh Constructicons, is comprised of SIX, count em SIX VOYAGER CLASS figures! His combined mode easily dwarfs that of his other combiner predecessors. This combined figure is so massive, it is possible it is even comparable in size to Metroplex, the largest transformer ever from 2013.
While this selection is certainly enough to draw eyes, this is not all that Hasbro managed to pull out for 2015. on the Star Wars front, Hasbro has quite a bit to live up to, considering that the new movie Episode VII is fast approaching. what better way to celebrate Star wars, than by allowing one’s kids to beat each other to death with pretend lightsabers? This is exactly what must have been going through some Hasbro exec’s mind as they were developing this years new modular lightsaber toy line.
These lightsabers are designed to work with one another and combine to form several different variations of lightsabers, partiually inspired by the new Tri-saber from the “Force Awakens” trailer. This, alongside a slew of new Star Wars rebels and Black series figures, hasbro is gearing up for the new Star Wars craze that is sure to enrapture the world later this year.
Now, the last 2 major Brands at Hasbro’s disposal, MLP and Marvel. Don’t think that they were ignored this year either. My little pony has slowly been gaining a significant following in it’s sub line of toys, the Equestria girls line. Hasbro has taken note of this, and is even prepping to release a third movie to feature the sub line. Hasbro showed off a brand new trailer for this upcoming film, as well as a slew of “Equestrian games” toys meant to coincide with the movie.
One of the biggest pieces to take note of from these toys, however was the inclusion of a “NIGHTMARE SPARKLE” figure. An evil alternate form of the series protagonist Twilight Sparkle. This is obviously meant to reflect something which happens in the upcoming film, leading fans to believe our favorite pony Princess is set to turn to the dark side of friendship! (yeah that makes no sense)
Lastly, but not least, marvel had a HUGE presence at this year’s Hasbro event. With the upcoming release of no less than 2 feature films, and the recent acquisition of the rights to the Spider-man licence, marvel and Hasbro are ready to capitalize on the hype! Hasbro has been very successful with their “Build a figure” Marvel legends line. While they release rather well articulated figures with great individual qualities, they also provide an added incentive to collecting these figures. Every figure in the series comes with a single piece of a larger figure, usually an oversized character, or Armored robot of some sort.
That tradition continues this year with no less than FOUR new Marvel legends lines. Three of these lines are meant to capitalize on the upcoming marvel films, Age of Ultron, and Ant-man, and the other is a continuation of the separate Marvel legends line from last year prominently centering around Spider-man. The “Build a figure” characters this year are also quite impressive. In the Spider-man line, we are being treated to a fully realized RHINO figure. In the first Avenger’s set, we are also seeing Thanos brought together as a combined figure, which seems appropriate, with the upcoming Infinity War movies. But even more appropriate, is the HULK BUSTER IRON-MAN featured in the second Avengers Legends line. this Is easily the LARGEST “Build a figure” to date and works great as a tie in with the Age of Ultron movie.
All these great toys, and I only barely scratched the surface as to what was shown off this year at Hasbro, but i believe it is time we took a look at what was offered up by Hasbro’s biggest competition, especially in the giant robot and Super hero department. Next time, I’ll share with you the upcoming releases from BANDAI, and their golden children the Power Rangers! UNTIL NEXT TIME, TOY FANS!