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Toy Fair ’19: Top 5 General Reactions

Well Toy Fair 2019 has come and gone. And I have no idea where the money is going to come from to pay for all of the things that are coming out this year.

Seriously, did the entire toy industry decide to just wake up at the same time? Who told manufacturers that Toy Collectors have a hidden pot of gold somewhere in their collections?

Runners up:

Mattel

What happened, Mattel? We know all about the divorce between DC and Mattel, so it isn’t surprising that the DC showings were minuscule. However, what you did show off – that would have been your next wave even if you had the line. Maybe a 3 year time-out will give you enough time to think about if you really want to be in the Super Hero action figure business.

Also, you are coming off of a 2018 that had Jurassic World products flying off the shelves. You won awards with this line. And you show up with a handful of repaints and 2 big new dinos? Britt Shotts is saving face for the Jurassic line by posting factory samples of upcoming product on social media, and the Official Mattel social account showed off the amazing Brachiosaurus that will be coming out to Target this fall. These are things that should have been at the show. Kudos on getting a great hype guy though. He knew he was there to talk to retailers – and between all the videos of the event, he didn’t deviate from his script once. A final comment on the Jurassic line – the pricing has been surprising all around on this line. In a good way. Mattel has really been packing in value on dinosaurs that under Hasbro, were 1/2 the quality and 1.5x the cost.

McFarlane

Did it take a Video Game to make Todd realize that articulation is important to Action Figures? I guess Halo is a byproduct of dementia then. You know, the Halo Video Games – the ones you made hundreds of action figures for Todd? They even came loaded with articulation. No? Oh, ok then.

Whatever the reason was for Todd to finally move away from his stupid umbrella hip articulation style, I am glad it finally happened.

Wave 1 of Game of Thrones looks like it will fit in nicely with the previous figures that Funko made. *Hopefully they don’t break as easily as Funko’s.* The Dragons (Drogon and Viserion) look amazing.

Cuphead and Mugman construction figures look pretty cool. There are larger figures coming out from 1000Toys that might scratch that collector itch better of the main two characters, but McFarlane is the way to go if you want a broader collection from that IP.

That brings us to the beginning of the numbered reactions:

5) Hasbro – Star Wars

Digging deep on the nostalgia factor, Hasbro didn’t show off anything New in their Black Series 6″ line, and focused on their classic scale (3.75) both modern and retro. Due to Hasbro’s stranglehold over the Master Star Wars license, Super 7 hasn’t be able to make any Reaction figures for Star Wars. Hasbro must have seen something in the toy aisle that they liked, because they are now jumping into the Retro craze. I hope this is a hit with the target audience, but it seems strange to be pitching this type of thing to mass retailers, and not doing it as a one off convention exclusive.

HyperReal Darth Vader. This is an interesting release because it doesn’t fit in any of the current Star Wars play patterns that Hasbro is supporting. This isn’t targeted at kids, and for the collectors it would be aimed at, Sideshow and HotToys seem to already be filling this market. By making a figure that isn’t in scale with anything collectors already have, is Hasbro setting themselves up for failure? Couple the confusing scale with a lackluster helmet sculpt that already has Vader aficionados crying foul, and you really have to wonder who this product was made for.

The Star Wars Celebration exclusives were announced. Episode 1 Darth Maul and Obi-Wan. Both will have the face printing tech, which should honestly be an industry standard moving forward. Both figures will make it out to the mass market lines: Black Series Archive and Black Series, respectively. Obi-Wan will come with an extra hand in the Celebration exclusive. The Packaging is what is making these two exclusive to Celebration – throwback Episode 1 oversized cards. For future reference Hasbro and EVERY other company out there, this is the perfect type of exclusive. The bulk of the figure is available to everyone, but the packaging or a non-essential accessory is included for the convention exclusive. Also FYI: Han Solo Carbonite Block and Salacious Crumb are NOT non-essential.

Finally, what retailers have been telling us for YEARS went out the window with the announcement of the Jabba’s Palace playset. It looks awesome with the alien head (Tauntaun and whatever that other thing is) trophies mounted on either side of a magnetic base to place your frozen Solo on. Get out there and buy this thing folks, so we can get more of this type of product. With the inclusion of 2 carded figures, it is actually a pretty sweet value as well. Maybe Hasbro saw that you don’t have to gouge customers to turn a profit with the success of Mattel’s Jurassic Line. Jabba’s Prisoner Skiff will also be making it’s way out and really showing that HasLab may have been a bigger success than we know if Hasbro is tying in so much product to the Jabba theme.

4) NECA – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Cowabunga Dude! Thanks to MatthewK we got a Pre-Toy Fair first look at the Target Exclusive 2-Packs coming this Fall. NECA took their SDCC set from a couple years back and chopped it up into digestible sets that can be picked up from your local Target, instead of knuckle crushing F5 mashing on NECA’s site, only for the set to be ripped from your cart during the checkout phase and the stupid site is suggesting a corrected USPS approved address instead of the one you actually typed into the shipping form and all you want is to hit the freaking order now button. There doesn’t appear to be any changes in the deco from the SDCC set, which would have been a perfect opportunity to differentiate the sets from SDCC as well as drop the cell shading affect. Bebop and Rocksteady got announced for Fall with the promise of a lot more to come if the initial sets are successful. My only gripe is that the cell shading is going to continue to be present on the retail releases. I am not sure why an effect to make 2D images appear 3D, is being carried over to the actual 3D product. I can make my own shadows Randy!

The 1990 Movie figures are continuing in both the Quarter Scale and the smaller 7″ scale. It sounds like more product is heading to GameStop and the wave 1 turtles should be easier to get in the coming weeks. The SDCC exclusive this year sounds like it is going to include some BRAND NEW figures not previously released in Quarter Scale as well as ones that have. I wonder if we are getting Trenchcoat Raph and possibly Casey Jones in 7″? Please Please Please Randy. The Quarter Scale Shredder and Foot Soldier look amazing. If I had a mansion, one of the rooms would just be filled with Quarter Scale foot soldiers all doing everyday things: reading a newspaper, playing catch with a baseball, training a cat to use the litter box, being served divorce papers because he has a room full of Quarter Scale Foot Soldiers in a 2 bedroom apartment.

3) Diamond Select Toys – Potpourri

pics via Bri_2J from Yay Toys Plus and innercitygeeks.com

No, not the kind from your Grandma’s house. The action figure kind. The John Wick, Westworld, Nightmare Before Christmas kind. The John Wick figures look awesome. On display were both a Movie 1 and Movie 2 look (he changed his shirt from white to black, put on a fancy vest, and slicked his hair back). If you are looking for an action figure of Keanu Reeves, either one will look great on your shelf. The articulation scheme looks great, but I think the face paint could benefit from the digital printing techniques that are gaining traction in the industry. The Westworld figures also look great from the neck down, and hopefully the production figures improve from the hand painted samples that were one display. Right now if you were to ask me if the likenesses were of the actors, I might be tempted to respond with, “It doesn’t look like anything to me”. Nightmare Before Christmas also showed that it is going strong with not 1, not 2, but THREE additional waves on display. This is great as it allows the line to continue to update figures from NECA as well as add new characters never done before to the line. I was happy to see the Vampire Brothers and the Witches will be on the way this year.

2) Hasbro – Marvel Legends

Wowza! Marvel Legends alone is threatening to bankrupt me this year. The line is clearly going strong and Hasbro is taking full advantage of interest in Marvel Legends by attempting to make every figure necessary for your collection.

While I am going to gravitate to the MCU figures, a LOT of the comic figures are knocking it out of the park as well. Hyrdo Man, Scorpion, Spider Woman, Outback Dazzler, Mr. Sinister, Nightcrawler are all figures that I would classify as “the last I will ever need” type figures.

I love all the MCU attention that Marvel Legends is throwing out as well. Homecoming MJ is a stand out for me, as well as First Avenger Peggy Carter. Luis with “mobile lab” needs a deco once over to really nail the Michael Peña likeness, but the Ghost he is packed with looks awesome. Skurge with an updated Hela is a nice touch, but where the hela is my Heimdall Hasbro? I need an Idris Elba for my shelf. I’ll take two, by the way.

All told, Hasbro debuted 43 new figures for 2019, and there is a lot more on the way. No Endgame figures debuted at the show, but Hasbro does have plans to release them both in the traditional Build a Figure waves, and you know there will be multi-packs a plenty. There are also figures left to debut that will be completing the comic waves that were shown at Toy Fair.

The 80th Anniversary sets did an amazing job of getting definitive figures out for the main Avengers as well and continuing the MCU10 sets from last year. If this “expression” of figures continues for years to come, that would be mightily appreciated. I am ok with the focus on brand new sculpts, premium paint apps, and losing a Build a Figure piece for this line. I don’t want an across the board change, but for this line, I can manage.

For the record Hasbro, Nightcrawler not having a bendy tail is not an issue. Doc Ock not having bendy tentacles is. Also, stop using the 6 arm Spidey/Dopleganger buck please. Man-Spider needs a brand new sculpt when you get around to it.

1) NECA – Bob Ross

Absolutely my biggest surprise of Toy Fair, and hands down more exciting than anything else at the show, was the announcement of a Bob Ross action figure from NECA. 99 times out of 100 I would have just written any action figure off due to having soft goods at a 6 or 7″ scale. My eyes just see over-sized fabric and stitching when I look at soft goods. Even on the most premium figures from Sideshow or Hot Toys. Soft goods just don’t “lay right” and have the same sense of weight or texture that a well sculpted figure achieves.

In this very rare instance, I think NECA nailed it. When I look at this figure, I see Bob Ross. The face sculpt is amazing and the paint work is perfect – even if it isn’t printed on.

When they debuted the Golden Girls, I would have thought about picking up a set, until I saw the soft goods outfits that looked like were suffocating the figures. For Bob Ross, they found the right materials because I don’t have a problem. Would I have preferred a fully sculpted figure? Of course. But until someone can point me to all the Bob Ross figures that are being made and I can pick and choose between them, I am going to be perfectly satisfied with NECA’s figure.

The best news about Mr. Ross is that he should be available in Q2 this year.

That wraps up my thoughts on Toy Fair 2019. Be sure to let me know what I got wrong or how my opinion doesn’t matter in the comments below or in the forums.