Category Archives: Toys

News and information related to toys, action figures, and collectibles.

Funko releasing Pop! Vinyl Ghostbusters in 2014

Who ya’ gonna’ call? Today, it’s Funko, who has announced plans to release the original four Ghostbusters as Pop! style vinyl figures later this year.

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The series will feature Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Slimer (with a translucent dripping ectoplasm base) and a 6″ Stay Puft Marshmallow Man that looks like he is ready to snuggle. This line is scheduled to be released around May 2014.

The initial press release left out a certain fourth ghostbuster however, namely Winston Zeddemore. After this caused a furor on some Ghostbusters news websites, a Funk rep came out and revealed that there would be a Winston figure, and it will come with a Pop! style Ecto-1 vehicle.

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No word on if we will get normal Funko bobblehead figures with caricatures of the actors faces, but I genuinely hope they do since I am not a big fan of the Pop figures, although I am tempted to get these since they look awesome.

The company also teased some Comic Con exclusive items this year, but no news on what they might be (most likely Ghostbusters 2 color variants, although I would be very grateful if it was a Louis Tully figure). What would you want to see as a Comic Con exclusive?

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“Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab” Toy Review

I have always had a fondness for Iron Man, especially for the fact that he shoots laser beams out of his hands. We all want gloves like that, but sadly, not all of us can have shrapnel embedded in our chest so badly that we must be powered by an ARC reactor and can therefore go ‘Pew! Pew!’ out of the palm of our hands. However, the “Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab” from Uncle Milton, another toy in their Marvel Science line, allows kids to harness the power of Tony Stark’s primary weapon and put it on your living room table. Instead of shooting blasts, this item uses air power to suspend spheres in the air that you can create obstacle courses for to understand the science part of what a repulsor ray is. The kids over at Foodie Tots are lending us a helping hand once again on this one, and will give us a real child’s opinion over whether this product is worth your time, or if you should start selling your Stark Industries stocks now.

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Here is a shot of the complete kit from a bird’s eye point of view, out of the box (which is a very colorful package and hard to miss in a store). The kit includes two round balls, three obstacles, and the arm. The pair of spheres are thankfully very soft, made from a foam-like material that is very squishy – so no need to worry about any broken windows with those.

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This contraption would be the magic behind the Repulsor Ray Tech Lab, namely the device that makes the air flow happen. Sporting the traditional red and yellow pantones of ole’ shellhead, the arm-like device rotates in and out of position around the base, which resembles the repulsor rays on the palm of the armored Avenger’s hand. The repulsor ray would seem much cooler and more “magical” if it didn’t sound like a leaf blower, since it is very noisy, but that is also the price you pay for a toy that shoots a steady stream of air out of it.

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Here is a close-up of the three different sized obstacles that you get to navigate your balls through. This trio also alters the difficulty of getting the balls through them, with each one having less space than the others. I wonder if Uncle Milton will offer an expansion pack for this one with more obstacles?

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This is a great toy, but unlike Thor’s hammer and Spider-Man’s web creator which we also reviewed, the box didn’t make a lot of sense to the kids. Foodie Boy was generally unimpressed with it until he opened it up and began playing with it, at which point he had fun with it and began to understand the concept better (keep in mind that he is seven years old at the time of this article, so do keep age in mind when buying this for a child).

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Thar’ she blows! Here is the toy in action, with both Foodie Boy and Foodie Girl giving it a try. The Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab just needs batteries to get it started, no assembly required. You push the blue button to get the air flow going, and from there you can set it to the two different modes that it has, “Tabletop” and “Handheld”, which is created by swiveling the part with the air so that it faces outward. The item also lights up and is recommended to try playing with in dim light (which we did not snap photos of because iPhone cameras are awful at dim light without a flash).

Foodie Girl is operating the toy while Foodie Boy is testing how the air flow works by waving his hand underneath the levitating ball. You can clearly see both kids having a good time now that the product is doing something, and really makes the science aspect of this very enjoyable.

You place it on the air flow and once it’s airborne, you try to move the ball by moving the repulsor ray unit. Once you’ve gotten used to moving it, the next step, or as they call it “phase”, is to move the ball through the energy sphere obstacles. This is where things get really tricky. It’s difficult to master but a lot of fun. The instructions recommend setting up an obstacle course once you get more used to it. Once you master that, they provide instructions on how to make your energy sphere fly through a tube, but that was a science experiment left for another day since the kids were having enough a good time just playing with it as is.

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While Foodie Boy had a lot of fun with it and even managed to get it through the obstacles several times, it turned out to be Foodie Girl who really loved it. The obstacles were a little too much for her at three years old, but she began to create her own experiments like seeing if she could get two balls to share the air flow at the same time, or seeing what happened if she moved her hand through the flow while the ball was in the air. Perhaps it is a sign for Uncle Milton to find a way to start targeting the young girl market with their science products as well, and offer Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk or Black Widow science kits…

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Overall, our Foodie Tots testers both enjoyed this item, although this is definitely one of the more science-oriented toys in the Marvel Science kit catalog. That does not take away from the joy of it at all, but it is one that would benefit from parents playing with their kids, and may not be meant for kids that are too young to appreciate it. As a toy, it’s a lot of fun, but the educational aspect might be above certain children’s heads, so make sure you parents out there play with your kids with this one, too.

The Uncle Milton Marvel Science Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab is available from Amazon.com for around $15, and is normally in stores for $25. At either price, it’s a great toy that will not let you down, and your kids will have hours of fun experimenting with the air flow and trying different ways to manipulate it.

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Want to read more about what the Foodie Tots are doing, and learn from their parents about how to get kids to eat well and support locally-grown food? Head over to their blog to hear about all of their escapades!

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Bliss Man talks creating cuddly creatures with “Monster Factory”

Who knews monsters could come out of Canada? Bliss Man did, several years ago when her and a group of friends based out of Toronto began making their own line of plush critters that has since brought them to a product line of over 100 unique characters that offer something for everyone – “Monster Factory”.

We first met Monster Factory mogul Bliss Man at New York Toy fair 2013, and saw her again at NY Comic Con later that year. Bliss will not be attending NYTF 2014 due to a prior engagement on that date, but we did get a chance to speak with her about what is new for this year for her company, as well as how things got started and how budding toy developers can get their feet in this industry!

NerdNewsToday: How did “Monster Factory” get started?

Bliss: Believe it or not, the Monster Factory started out as a video production company that Adam started when he was at film school. The logo for his company was a drawing of a monster. At the time, Rhya, who went to the same school, was experimenting with textile art. One day, she made a plush toy that happened to looked like his drawing, so naturally she gave it to him. Adam was inspired by her creation and decided to make some monsters of his own. Luckily for him, he had just started working with me, who was studying fashion design and had access to sewing machines. It turns out he had a special monster making talent. When Rhya and Adam realized they were both making monsters, they decided to join forces. After making a few prototypes, Adam and Rhya realized that they’d need help replicating their designs. They decided to ask me for help pattern making and together we developed a line of 6 monsters we called the Heartbreakers. Five months later, we launched our line of monsters into the world and the rest is history…as they say.

NerdNewsToday: How did you manage to take the company from your living room and into the retail world?

Bliss: When we first started we sold monsters at local art and craft shows in Toronto. It was a lot of fun because we got to see how people responded to the monsters. It was also a lot of work designing and sewing all the time. We couldn’t keep up, so after a year of working in our living room we got ourselves a small studio space and found interns to help us out. A few years later we found a factory in Toronto that could manufacture the toys for us, and that’s when we started to sell to retail stores.

NerdNewsToday: What were the challenges of starting a business in the toy industry?

Bliss: We had trouble finding a local manufacturer for our toys. There were plenty of garment factories, but none of them wanted to make toys. When we finally did find our factory it was great, but expensive to produce still. We needed to find another solution that would allow us to grow the brand and business. That’s when we decided we had to go overseas. Lucky for me, my dad lives in China so I was able to visit him while working with the factory!

NerdNewsToday: When you began, were you hand-making all of the items?

Bliss: Yes!

NerdNewsToday: Are you surprised that it has come along so much in the past decade since you started?

Bliss: Yes and no. I’m proud of what we’ve done, but there’s so much more we want to do!

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NerdNewsToday: What are the challenges of running a business with friends?

Bliss: Communication is key with any working relationship, but it can be even harder when working with friends. We’ve had to navigate each other’s personalities and adjust, but we’ve managed and in the end we always end up laughing together. I couldn’t have asked for better partners or friends. This experience has definitely made us a closer and stronger team.

NerdNewsToday: Tell us about some of your inspirations, both in the world of art and in the plush business?

Bliss: Each of us have different inspirations, but I love Miyaski films because they are fantastical and whimsical. I am also inspired by the people around me whose idiosyncrasies make me laugh.

NerdNewsToday: What is the story of the world these monsters live in?

Bliss: Monsters are just like you and me, so we imagine them living in a world similar to ours, but not quite. We’ve always wanted them to be relatable which is why people love them so much.

NerdNewsToday: What’s the most popular monster that you sell?

Bliss: Colin is the most popular by a landslide. His characteristics are, “He divides his time between playing video games and fretting about his future”. Sound familiar?

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NerdNewsToday: What are some of the new monsters planned for 2014?

Bliss: We have 3 new monsters that we’d like to release next year: Eli from the Wall Flowers series, Donny from the Buddy and Friends Series, and Clarence from the Captain Freedom series.

NerdNewsToday: Are there plans for an expansion beyond the plushies and into other markets?

Bliss: We are currently working on an app and are in the very early developmental stages of an animated television show.

NerdNewsToday: Any advice to budding toy makers out there looking to break into the industry?

Bliss: If you’re more of the creative type, find a business advisor or mentor at the beginning so that you can start planning where you want to be in, say 5 years. At the end of the day you need to make a buck to keep the business going. We tend to forget that little detail when we’re excited and we have this exciting idea, but you need to have a plan and someone who can help keep you on track.

NerdNewsToday: Who is your personal favorite character?

Bliss: Mr. Jefferson. I like that he’s so competitive and it usually gets the best of him.

You can check out more about the company or order some of their cute products from MonsterFactory.net!

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“Thor Lightning Energy Hammer” Toy Review

What kid would not want to harness the power of the Norse god of thunder? Mattel and other companies have versions of Marvel Comics’ Thor’s hammer on toy shelves around the nation, but Uncle Milton had a different idea. The Thor Lightning Energy Hammer toy from their company combines the fun of Mjolnir and science to make for a perfect balance between plaything and learning toy.

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Who better to wield the enchanted hammer than Foodie Boy, one-half of the Foodie Tots kids from the Foodie Tots blog, a site devoted to teaching kids about proper nutrition and not just eating right, but eating the right way from the right places. When he is not tasting yummy cheeses that make me wish I was not lactose intolerant, Foodie Boy is a big fan of Marvel Comics superheroes. He even has his own Captain America costume, so it only made perfect sense to give him the abilities of a Norse god, too. He also really enjoyed his Spiderman Web Creator kit from Uncle Milton, but that’s a different review!

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This is one of the easiest of the Uncle Milton Marvel Science products to put together and use, as you simply get it out of the very easy to remove box and start using it. The only thing it really requires from you is some batteries to get the hammer to make lights and sounds. The hammer features a magnet within it, so whenever your child finds something that is also magnetic, the two will connect just like your average horseshoe magnet. Most kids love the magic/ science of magnets, but the genius that put a magnet into Thor’s hammer deserves a raise!

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Besides the hammer, this toy also comes with a base for the hammer that also lights up, a plastic coin with Thor on a metal part of it (which fits into the front of the base) to get you started picking things up with it, and a pamphlet on the science that the toy is based on – magnetism. The lights look bright and great when metal is detected, be it from the Thor coin or another source, or when it is put back in the station, glowing with a cool blue hue.

When your child swings the hammer around, it makes a swooshing noise as if you really are using the real Thor’s hammer. One of the best aspects of this particular toy is the lack of set-up and the ease of playability. The science aspect is (literally) built into it and is not a gimmick, but rather, this feel likes a toy with a fun magnetic feature that is not pushing the educational part of it (meaning most kids would not even bother playing with it again).

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You can order the Uncle Milton Marvel Science – Thor Lightning Energy Hammer from Amazon.com for under $15, and is normally $25. At $25, I would have said it was a great toy to buy with no reservations, but at $15, I have to ask why you already don’t have this? This toy is great for the kids to play and learn with, and feels like something that will get a lot of longterm usage, as well. Out of all of the Uncle Milton Marvel science kits, this is the one that truly makes you feel like a superhero, and is the easiest to jump right into using and learning with. This one comes highly recommended from NerdNewsToday, as well as the Foodie Tots!

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Want to read more about what the Foodie Tots are doing, and learn from their parents about how to get kids to eat well and locally? Head over to their blog to hear about all of their escapades!

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Square Enix debuts Robocop figures in old and new styles

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Dead of alive, you’re coming with me… even though your price is more than I want to spend…

Square Enix was at NYCC 2013 with plenty of items that I am looking forward to, but my favorite had to be their trio of Robocop figures. Based on the original 1987 version with Peter Weller and the upcoming 2014 version with Joel Kinnaman, the company is releasing nine-inch figures to make every Robo fan happy. Each figure will come with multiple hands and his infamous gun and will most likely debut around early February to tie in with the release of the new movie.

While they all look amazing, even the new movie version (surprisingly), it is worth noting that the figures were accompanied with a small placard warning potential buyers that these figures were pending licensor approval. In other words, the plug could still be pulled on the figures, or their likenesses may change from what you saw at NYCC 2013, but most likely everything should be fine, just like the Hot Toys Robocop figure was.

Expect the price point to be around $80-90 for these immense figures. Stay tuned for more info as we get closer to the potential release date.

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Images courtesy of Comics Alliance (since mine came out really bad)

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“Bravest Warriors” Bendies Figures revealed at NYCC 2013

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Breakout hit from the Cartoon Hangover webseries, “Bravest Warriors” will be receiving an action figure treatment by early next year.

Based on Pendleton Ward’s other immensely popular animated series (the first being “Adventure Time”), these bendy figures will come from Pop Culture Shock Toys, which had them making their world debut at New York Comic Con 2013. On display were Chris, Beth, Wallow and Danny, but sadly no Catbug has joined them just yet (luckily, there already plushies of that adorable insectoid feline). Pop CUlture Shock will also be releasing plush and bobblehead items to join the first quarter 2014 release of these bendies, so stay tuned for more info to be revealed most likely by Toy Fair 2014.

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Transformers 4 Optimus Prime revealed at NYCC 2013

One of the biggest reveals that came out of New York Comic Con this year was for a movie, but not exactly a movie. Rather, Hasbro showed off a sneak peek of a new Optimus Prime action figure, which is based on his appearance in the upcoming fourth transformers movie, “Age of Extinction”.

The figure, which is part of their Leader Class line, does in fact transform, just not as much as other figures can due to the intricacy of the sculpting, and comes with a sword (for some reason) and a bizarrely shaped gun that Rob Liefield would love. No price point has been revealed yet, and an exact release date is not certain, but at the very least we know what we are getting ourselves into now when the next Michael Bay movie comes out. What other characters will be getting makeovers? We can only wonder, but this new Optimus does not look so horrible… for a Bayformer, at least.

Check out more pics of this figure, as well as other new Transformers from the Hasbro Party over at Seibertron!

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Mezco Reveals Limited Edition Test Shot Axe Cop For NYCC 2013

He’s a cop…with an axe…he’s AXE COP!

Mezco’s 1st series of Axe Cop action figures doesn’t hit stores until 2014, but you can get a special Axe Cop early, only at New York Comic Con and MezcoToyz.com.

This is the first time a test shot has ever been released from the Mezco Axe Cop line of figures.

This 4-inch scale Axe Cop figure is a limited edition of 500. He is comes packaged in a poly bag with an information card. As a test shot, he is unpainted and presented in his glorious raw plastic form.

Axe Cop is the internet comic sensation based on a story a five year-old boy narrated to his twenty nine year old brother, who happens to be an illustrator. What began as a simple tale became an award-winning comic, an animated tv series on Fox, and now a super cool collectible.

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Captain America Marvel Minimates Preview

Marvel Minimates Series 54 is Captain America Crazy! At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Diamond Select Toys unveiled the next comic-based series of Marvel Minimates, and it was a Captain America fan’s dream come true! With more Cap friends and foes than you can shake a shield at, Series 54 will surely whet appetites for the next Captain America movie when it hits in early 2013, and here are the first official pictures!

With seven different Minimates to collect, Series 54 will be available at comic shops and specialty toy stores in January in four different two-packs. The first set includes “Fighting Chance” Captain America from Mark Gruenwald’s classic storyline and Robot Red Skull from Ed Brubaker’s acclaimed run on the title. Next up is ex-sidekick the Winter Soldier (with sniper rifle), who comes with his successor the Falcon (with his sidekick Redwing). Finally, classic Cap foe Baron Strucker will come with a caped Hydra Elite and a short-packed variant set will pair the Hydra Elite with Madame Hydra, a.k.a. Viper!

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The Hulk Smashes Through the Ages in His Own Marvel Minimates Box Set

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Fans love the Marvel Minimates “”Through the Ages”” box sets because they offer a chance to collect some of the coolest alternate looks for the character featured in each set. But in Diamond Select’s next box set, “Hulk Through the Ages”, you can collect four of the Hulk’s coolest alternate personalities!

From Las Vegas enforcer Joe Fixit to futuristic despot The Maestro, from the peace-seeking Barbarian Hulk to the rage-filled Composite Hulk, the four Minimates in this set represent the Hulk at his best and worst, and thanks to the Hulk’s unique psychiatric problems, each could be called a different character, and not just a costume change. (Although the Maestro does come with an interchangeable cape and helmet, while Joe Fixit has a interchangeable shirt and hair.)

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