Published on February 16th, 2016 | by Wesley Bogan0
Toy Fair 2016
‘It’s Frickin Freezing.’
I say this as a hearty Midwesterner and as someone who has survived several Minnesota winters in my life; it was f**king freezing this weekend at the New York City Toy Fair. Thankfully the event was indoors in the ever accommodating and well-heated Jacob K Javits Convention Center so the sub-zero temperatures and high-yield winds were kept outside. Thank frick for that.
The New York City Toy Fair kicked off this past Saturday with thousands of registered play professionals showing off their toys, games, action figures, and products to the world. Produced by the Toy Industry Association, INC., the Toy Fair is a highly publicized tradeshow where several hundred professional and semi-professional companies woo the crowds and the consumers into learning about and potentially purchasing their products. The estimated 900 members of this year’s show account for almost 90% of the annual U.S. domestic toy market which itself counts for almost $22 Billion dollars.
‘Booth Babes OUT. Biz-Bros IN.’
The Toy Fair is a strictly business affair. While it may be a geek’s wet-dream come true in a 400,000 square foot exhibit hall, the vendors and retailers present are there for one reason and one reason only; to make a sale. The items that are displayed are meant to entice buyers. Individuals in charge of making those purchases happen are sharply dressed, aggressive alpha personalities and they don’t take no for an answer.
While your typical comic con or geek gathering may be slathered with bikini armor and Wolverine costumes, at this year’s Toy Fair there were only tailored suits, well groomed hairstyles, and handshakes that averaged about 1,000 pounds per square inch of force. These ravenous marketing sharks swam the floor searching out sales. I was thankfully spared as my press badge offered them no sustenance on which to feed.
‘Time to Meet Your Maker.’
My press badge did award me the opportunity to meet with industry professionals and talk some shop about their product lines. I was able to meet with several eager and hospitable representatives who allowed me a grand tour of their booths, their wares, and their plans for the upcoming year.
The powers that I represented had a long laundry list of items and designers to check out so I was kept busy. I spent most of my time pin-balling around the Action Figure section of the Fair, roughly 40 booths filled to the brim with busts and figures of popular movie, comic, television, and video game characters. I spent the weekend checking out fantastic new Final Fantasy and Batman v Superman figures from Square Enix, and then sprinting over to the Kotobukiya displays where their new ARTFX+ Marvel statues garnered much attention for their incredible detail. I also made it a point to check out the highly publicized Kids Nation display where a brand new Back to the Future 2: floating DeLorean model bobbed above its magnetic display base. In between my meaderings I managed a meeting or two, one of which was with the ever-busy MacFarlane Toys gang. After I handed over my camera and possibly my soul to Dark Lord MacFarlane, I was allowed backstage to check out their, as of yet, unreleased product line set to come out sometime this spring. Their track record for producing gritty, hyper-detailed figurines continues with new figures coming out for their massively popular Walking Dead series as well as for their upcoming Gears of War 4, Titanfall, and Assassin’s Creed: The Movie line. I also managed to score some quality time with the good folks of Factory Entertainment and was lead around to see their upcoming Monolith Busts super hero series, which are highly detailed and masterfully modeled group busts made after famous Alex Ross prints. Tamashii Nations also managed to impress the crowds with their new Figuarts ZERO Dragon Ball Z series as well as their incredible Movie Realization Star Wars series.
‘Do You Have An Appointment?’
While my press badge gained me access to some fantastic booths and back areas of the Fair, it did not, however, get me everywhere I would have liked to have gone this weekend. The Mattel main stage, the Bandai booths, and even the Lego areas had heavy restrictions on media access as well as a 3 day waiting list for general entry by which point, most of the exclusive features were set to be removed. The Fair, to reiterate, is a marketing show, meant to showcase and entice companies from around the world into buying thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. Needless to say my need of a suit and a decent haircut betrayed my lack of business clout to several booth operators. More than once I was shooed away with a scoff and a sneer. You would think such behavior would be out of place at a trade show of toys that will inevitably wind up in the hands and sometimes mouths of children. But toys are big, BIG business and it takes a lot for a product to get to the shelves. I’m sure I was seen in many cases as an unwanted distraction.
‘A Kid At Heart.’
While people representing the general press like myself may have had a harder time of it this weekend, the Fair did keep the youthful spirit alive with the inclusion of the Fair Play expo, a mini-show marketed as, ‘ a child’s first con.’ The show boasted cos-players, Lego car races, interactive play experiences, visits from actors from popular Nickelodean shows, children’s authors, and more. Perhaps the crown jewel of the Fair Play event was a life size replica of the new Batmobile from the Batman v Superman movie set to release later this year. I spent nearly 20 minutes just staring at it, completely agog at its size and construction. Fair Play was obviously a hit as it sold out completely during my visit on Sunday. While my disappointment at being denied access to some of the more prestigious booths in the main convention hall lingered, I was oddly relived that the Fair Play event was such an overwhelming success.
‘Everyone Likes Lists…Right?’
If you haven’t seen the pictures already posted on Skewed and Reviewed, you should take a few minutes and go look at them. There was plenty to stare at this weekend and plenty of products to take note of. I enjoyed my time this weekend and the pictures should help prove that. To help our S-n-R fans sift through it all a little bit quicker, here is my personal Top 10 List of, ‘Products to Appreciate from Toy Fair 2016.’ Keep in mind, fair reader, this is merely a, ‘IMHO’ List. I highly encourage you all to stay tuned to Skewed and Reviewed for more games, toys, and collectibles to take note of in the coming year. For now, however, I bid you adieu and enjoy.
10.) Kids Logic Back to the Future 2 Floating DeLorean Car and Floating Hoverboard Gang Hoverboards.
9.) Tamashii Nations: Movie Realization Star Wars Ronin Boba Fett Figure
8.) Square Enix Play Arts: Final Fantasy 7 Remastered Figures
7.) Nickelodean and Good Smile Company Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series
6.) MacFarlane Toys 10” Walking Dead Deluxe Figures
5.) Kotobukiya Marvel Now! ARTFX+ Magik Statue
4.) Dark Horse Game of Thrones: Grey Worm Figure
3.) Factory Entertainment Monolith Series: Justice League Alex Ross bust.
2.) Ultimate Source Killer Instinct Hisako Figure
1.)MacFarlane Toys 12” Titanfall BT-7274 (unpictured due to photo waiver)