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Jedi News at the UK Toy Fair 2008

Hasbro, LEGO and lots more!

The UK Toy Fair precedes the US Toy Fair in New York and many of the licencees show their products in closed rooms or do not allow photography so that phased/planned releases can be adhered to with major launches occurring at the US event.  This is unfortunate for the UK as we don’t get to see as much we’d like and when we do, we have to keep tight lipped until the US Toy Fair in about three weeks time.  We’re happy to accept this ‘code of conduct’ and work with companies such as Hasbro that are working under strict guidance from Lucasfilm to ensure that information is released on set dates.

Talking about Hasbro, let’s start with their stand.  We were shown around the Indiana Jones section first by the PR Agency, Mason Williams and were soon joined by the UK brand manager for all Lucasfilm products, Stephanie.  The range consists of figures spanning all four films, in regular and deluxe forms.  There’s some vehicles coming too as well as an Electronic Sound FX Whip.  This iconic whip plays the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and features awesome whip-cracking sounds too.  Adventures Heroes (the equivalent of Galactic Heroes) round off the range. 

The Star Wars merchandise was in a room of its own and is only accessible to UK buyers, so that means no press or media.  We were told of this limitation in advance to ensure that all the information is released worldwide at the time of the US Toy Fair.  We were told to walk past the room slowly and peer into the small glass window (in the door) – we did, and from what we all glimpsed we’ve seen the future and it looks very GOOD!  We won’t have to wait long, only until the US Toy Fair at which time we’ll have all the information.

Unfortunately, we’re not able to take any photos on the Hasbro stand but we hope to have images of all the products, both Star Wars and Indiana Jones, at the time of the US Toy Fair.

Next up is LEGO... When you approach the LEGO stand you’re greeted by a life size Indiana Jones figure made out of LEGO along with smaller LEGO Indiana Jones Mini Figures – they look great.  Playing on the stand in a loop is a reel from the first three Indiana Jones films along with the LEGO game trailer which comes out on the 6th June.  All the current Indiana Jones sets were on display as well as four new sets from the new film.  We weren’t able to take photographs of these but we were very impressed by them along with all of their play features.  When it came to Star Wars we were able to get our cameras out and were able to take photos of all the upcoming Clone Wars sets as well as the currently available sets. 

On entering the Star Wars room we were greeted by a life size breathing Darth Vader as well as the Clone Wars trailer on a continuous loop.  The back wall off the room features huge images of some of the main characters from the Clone Wars including Anakin, Obi Wan, Plo Koon, Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex and Asajj Ventress.  The new Clone Wars sets are simply awesome and the Gunship features so many great play features – we can’t wait to get our hands on these sets, I’m sure you can see for yourself from the pictures.  We also got good box shots of the AT-TE Walker, MagnaGuard Starfighter (including a close up shot of the MagnaGuard too), V-19 and Republic Attack Gunship.

The LEGO Rep let us into a few spoilers including the fact there will indeed be a feature release in early September here in the UK (a couple of weeks earlier in the US), and he also told us about the characters included with these sets – don’t read the next sentence if you don’t want to know!  Rotta is Jabba the Hutt’s nephew or son (there seemed to be some confusion about this) and the first 2 or 3 episodes centre on his kidnapping!  To celebrate the 50th birthday of the LEGO brick as we know it, there was a cake cutting ceremony (the cake was cut by the Danish Ambassador accompanied by a huge LEGO brick!) and we were also given a gold LEGO key ring celebrating the 50th birthday.

IMC Toys are a 'new kid on the block' when it comes to Star Wars and are releasing a variety of products this year.  For starters there’s a Darth Vader inspired TV with a lightsabre remote control.  Next up is a Darth Vader digital camera, followed by a Darth Vader MP3 player.  If you want to be woken up by the power of the dark side there’s a Darth Vader Alarm clock as well as a Darth Vader CD Player (remove his helmet and slot in the CD).  The last two products are an electronic Super Pinball Machine and a drawing Projector.

Gear for Games are picking up the mantle from Cards Inc and take over as the distributor for Kotobukiya in the UK.  There are a lot of new products coming from them and first up is the release of all six Bounty Hunter (one per month); each Bounty Hunter comes with a piece of Darth Vader and when you put all seven figures together the base forms an Imperial logo.  Also new from Kotobukiya are Indiana Jones products and we were able to get a photo of the only Indiana Jones prototype currently in existence.  We weren’t able to photograph the other products but there’s numerous key chains coming as well as lots of other new products exclusively from Gear for Games.  We’ll have more details and images as soon as they’re approved by Lucasfilm.

Amerang are the UK distributors for Sideshow and Gentle Giant.  There wasn’t much new product on display but there’s a lot of product coming from both companies this year.  Gentle Giant will continue their Star Wars products with Classics Bust, Mini Busts, Statues, BustUps! and more as well as adding Indiana Jones products into the mix as well.  Sideshow continues to announce new 12” figures, life-size Busts and dioramas.  There were no new Clone Wars products on display but we expect to see these announced at the US Toy Fair.

Revell continue their very successful Pocket Model range with the addition of six new Easykit Pocket Models for 2008.  The new models include the Snowspeeder, Millenium Falcon, Sith Infiltrator, Republic Gunship, Naboo Starfighter and Jedi Starfighter.  We hope to be reviewing these soon.

Cartamundi continue their range of playing cards by extending their range in 2008 by adding in new decks featuring Star Wars Vehicles, Star Wars Quotes, the females of Star Wars and also Indiana Jones.  The much hyped Star Wars Poker Set is also shipping now.  Again, the products we saw had not been approved by Lucasfilm but as soon as they are, you’ll see them here!

Ravensburger, the best name in Jigsaws, is producing a number of different products from the new Clone Wars TV Series.  Still in the early stages of development and pending Lucasfilm approval, they had on show a few sample images/jigsaws from the Clone Wars.  We expect to see some final images from them in the next couple of months.

Piranha Studios, home to Bad Taste Bears, were showing off their Bogies which include Bogie Won!  For those that don’t know The Bogies are inspired by, erm, err... Bogies!!!  There are over 100 to collect including Harry Snotter, Kung Flu, Johnny Snotten and Bogie Won (inspired by a certain Obi Wan Kenobi).  These are available in various stores including Tesco, Menzies, and others now.

Star Wars Top Trumps continue with a new release of Clone Wars cards based on the TV Series later in the year.

Finally, last but by no means least, was the Corgi stand.  We were surprised to find a few Star Wars products on their stand amongst the new products based on Harry Potter, the Beatles and James Bond (to mention but a few).  They are still importing the Chubbies products into the UK and we were able to photograph the oversized Jumbo Jango Fett.  They will also be selling Star Wars plush's and a Darth Vader pillow too!

And there’s more... we got to go to the Lucasfilm presentation late in the afternoon where they discussed Indiana Jones (unfortunately the trailer was still being tweaked) and also the Clone Wars.  We were delighted to see 8 minutes of episode 6 or 7 as well as being told a lot of information that at present we’ve been asked not to reveal!  The good news though is that we were blown away by the footage we saw and can assure you, it will not disappoint!

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