Optimus Prime Shines As Hasbro Debuts New Goodies At NYC Toy Fair

This was the scene yesterday in New York City outside of Hasbro's 4th Annual Toy Fair showcase.  A spectacular life size version of Optimus Prime, the event's most honored guest, arrived out front as crowds of excited bloggers and media members, myself included, happily snapped photos of Prime as they braved the New York cold.  "It just looks right," one guy in line said to me, "I loved Optimus' look in the movie, but to see him with his trailer again is pretty awesome."  What goes unseen in this picture in when police tried to tell Optimus that he was parked illegally.  They told him if he didn't want a ticket, he had better "Transform, and Roll Out!"  I jest.

But in all seriousness, it is fitting that the huge truck incarnation of Optimus Prime caught everyone's attention immediately.  Just as I blogged at last year's event, when Ironman was hitting the big screen later that summer and was the talk of the Toy Fair, Optimus and the rest of the Transformers brand dominated Bumblebee 3d Cine Mask the proceedings, unveiling some great new products in anticipation of Dark Of The Moon, this summer's third installment of the movie franchise.  It's a film that Transformers brand managers told us was "tailor made for 3-D."  If you don't believe me, you should know that Hasbro is releasing custom made Transformers 3-D glasses (left) so you can enjoy not only this film, but any other 3-D movie with your own pair of Transformers specs!

So with all this excitement surrounding our robot friends, it made sense that I started my tour with them:


Kre-O Poster Transformers Kre-o is a construction initiative that Hasbro hopes will competeKre-O Bumblebee  with the likes of Lego and other quality brick building toys.  This is a project that is being kept pretty under wraps until it's 8/1/11 release date, but I can tell you that kids will get to build their very own Transformers from scratch.  12 sets in all will hit the shelves later this summer.



On May 16th, all the toys associated with Dark Of The Moon will be released to stores in advance of the film's July 1 release date.  Let's highlight a few of the brand's more intriguing lines:

CYBERVERSE shows us how both the Autobots and Decepticons are on their home planet of Cybertron.  Many of the toys on this line are interactive, turning into a robot, a vehicle and a battle station. 

Cyberverse 3 in 1 Bumblebee Cyberverse 3 in 1 Starscream Cyberverse Optimus Prime  Cyberverse Figures 1

Cyberverse Autobot Ark Cyberverse Autobot Ark 2Perhaps the coolest addition to the Cyberverse line is the Autobot Ark.  Many of you fans will recognize that as the spaceship that the Autobots took to earth in the G1 cartoon in the 80's.  It opens up to convert into a battlestation to send the Autobots into battle.  Very cool stuff!

Another fun addition is the HUMAN ALLIANCE line.  It pairs your favoriteMechtech Human Alliance Bumblebee and Sam package Mechtech Human Alliance Bumblebee and Sam 2Transformers with human characters from the film, like Shia LeBeouf's Sam Witwicky and his pal  Bumblebee.  Notice the great detail when the characters transform from average sized vehicles into the giant robots we all know and love.


Mechtech 3 mode Optimus Prime package But possibly the gem of the Tranformers toy line comes out later this fall:  The Ultimate Optimus Prime.  Standing at 22" tall, the impressive looking Optimus comes in three modes; The truck mode, the robot mode, and the mega awesome power up mode that integrates the trailer into the robot for the first time in any Optimus Prime toy.   

Mechtech 3 mode Optimus Prime 

We also were paid a visit by reps from High Moon Studios who, along with Activision, are putting out a follow up Transformers video game to last summer's hit The War for Cybertron.  There aren't many details out on this yet, but we were treated to a little teaser to whet our whistles:


Transformers Prime PosterFinally, as an added treat, Jeff Kline and Mike Vogel, who head the creative team behind Transformers Prime (as well as G.I. Joe Renegades, which we'll get to later), the new hit CG show that premiered recently on The Hub.  They touched on several subjects about the show, including producing an entertaining and highly innovative show ("It's the most complicated CG show on TV") despite the extreme time constraints ("Most CG shows have a two year production cycle.  We had less than a year."), the use of human characters ("There have always been human kids in the Transformers mythology, so it made sense to use them here"), and the reunion of Peter Cullen and Frank Welker to reprise the roles of Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively, together for the first time in 25 years.  "They got into that booth and they didn't miss a beat," Kline said, "It was like a family reunion." 

Accompanying the debut of Transformers Prime, take a quick at the corresponding toy line!

Transformers Prime Kids 2 Transformers Prime Optimus Transformers Prime Starscream Transformers Prime Megatron 

Finally moving on from Transformers, I made my way into the Marvel section.  While there were some solid new items from popular Marvel brands like Ironman, Spiderman and the Marvel Universe, this year's showcase was really only about two names in particular.  You see, our robotic friends are not the only brand with a movie coming out this summer.  Marvel will be debuting two legendary heroes on the big screen in the coming months as Thor opens on May 6, and Captain America hits theaters July 22.

Thor is one of the greatest warriors in comic book history.  So it only makes sense that the toy line features plenty of ways for kids to act out their favorite Thor battles.  The collection offers Thor's iconic hammer and helmet, as well as the Asgardian foam sword and the Armor of Asgard.  Memo to children donning these items for battle:  Watch out, no low blows!

Thor Hammer Thor Hammer Packaging Thor Helmet Thor Armor of Asgard 

In addition to role playing options, the Thor line is also equipped with an array of action figures, all with the likeness of Thor star Chris Hemsworth; 3.75" action figures of the film's characters and a stunning 12" Lighting Power Thor, complete with action sounds, fitting for such a great warrior!

Thor Figures Marvel Universe Figures 2 Thor 12 Inch Packaging Thor 12 inch

Captain America Sheild Captain America Mask 
Later in the summer, the next Marvel blockbuster will be unveiled as Chris Evans takes the role as  America's first superhero---Captain America!  And like Thor, this line gives kids plenty of chances to emulate Cap with his trademark mask and patriotic shield.

The figure waves are similar to Thor, with both 3.75" and 12" figures.  The difference however is that because Captain America is a more modern hero than Thor, there is also the inclusion of vehicles in the toy lines- noteably Cap's motorcycle and strikeforce transport!

Captain America Parachute Figure Captain America Figures Captain America Motorcycles Captain America Strikeforce Transport 

Captain America 12 Inch Captain America 12 Inch Package 

In addition to movie based merchandise, Marvel is coming back with its popular Super Hero Squad, aimed at a younger audience.  Kids can collect their favorite characters from across the Marvel universe!

Captain America Superhero Squad 2 Thor Super Hero Squad Ironman Superhero Squad Captain America Superhero Squad 

Ironman Poster Thor Poster Catain America Poster 
With the emergence of Captain America and Thor this summer, coupled with Ironman's popularity from the last few years, the First Avenger, The Mighty Avenger, and the Armored Avenger have all burst onto the scene.  Fans everywhere hope that this gathering of the Avengers will pave the way for an Avengers movie in the near future. 

Avengers Assemble Look for exciting things from the Marvel brand in 2011 and beyond!




The next stop on the tour was a journey to the Star Wars section in a showroom far far away.  I ran into my old friend Obi-Wan Kenobi (left), fresh off season 3 of the animated series The Clone Wars. 

As you could see, he was not in the mood to talk.  But I did learn that Hasbro was coming out with a new round of Clone Wars toys, capitalizing on the success of the show.

Highlights include the Attack Shuttle and the first toy appearance of the bounty hunter El-Les:

Clone Wars Attack Shuttle Clone Wars Figures Clone Wars Figure Packaging

Clone Wars Figures 2 Clone Wars Figures 3 Clone Wars Figures 4

The other piece of news from the Star Wars front concerns the Vintage line, which will continue at least through 2012.  Coinciding with the Blu-Ray release of Episodes 1-6 this fall, Hasbro is putting out commemorative 4-figure packs, one from each episode in the series. 

Vintage Packaging Vintage Packaging 2 Vintage Packaging 3

Vintage Figures Vintage Figures 2 Mace Windu & Yoda

As an added bonus, since the Blu-Ray will contain many never before seen deleted scenes, there will also be corresponding figure releases for those new scenes! 

Revenge of the Jedi Package 2A final note in the Star Wars section- Those who aren't hardcore fans of the series might not know that the original title for Epsiode VI was Revenge of the Jedi.  That title was kept right up until the last moment when George Lucas decided that "revenge" did not accurately describe the emotional tone of the Jedis.  Thus, the title was changed to Return of the Jedi.  However, there was still merchandise produced with "Revenge" in the title.  To that end, a terrific collectors set will be released in August with the original Kenner card backs featuring the Revenge of the Jedi title!


There will be a special 12-figure set with two mini bonus figures (Salacious Crumb and the Mouse Droid) also included.  All the figures will be beautifully presented in this amazing Death Star collectors box.  That's one to add to your holiday wish list for sure!
Death Star Packaging Outside Death Star Packaging Inside

30th anniversary sign My final stop was the G.I. Joe holding area.  Despite the fact that my favorite toy and comic book has had a relatively quiet year, G.I. Joe did decide to celebrate their 30th anniversary a year early, to give it the full spotlight.  And there are still plenty of tasty pieces of info to drop about the brand, including the recently released short list of driectors for the G.I. Joe movie sequel.

Renegades PosterA big part of 2011 for G.I. Joe is the continued success of the Hub's G.I. Joe Renegades.  Jeff Kline and Mike Vogel returned to discuss the series origins and what was in store in the future.  "I was a fan of the 12" figures, as opposed to the 80's series, so I wanted to learn the story right along with the viewers," Kline said in response to why the producers chose to make this series an origin story.  Few details were given for the future other than the producers planned a three-year story arc and that we will meet many more favorite characters along the way.


In addition to its success on the air, Renegades will make a splash on the toy front as well this fall, with it's first wave hitting shelves in august.  Also, some Renegades inspired vehicles will be available as well, like the Cobra Black Dragon gunship!

Renegades figures Renegades Duke and CC Renegades Black Dragon Gunship

Also present at this year's Toy Fair is the return of the 12" G.I. Joe figures.  These toys are not a part of the G.I. Joe vs Cobra series, but instead are titled Homefront Heros and will be more geared towards kids.  Included in that group are the Fireman, Police Officer and the ever popular Paratrooper figure.

12 inch homefront heros 12 inch Paratrooper box 

The Pursuit of Cobra storyline, introduced at last year's Toy Fair, will continue in 2011.  The third and fourth waves on this series will feature figures such as Cobra Commander, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Viper & Rock Viper, and the return of the Croc Master...

Cobra Commander Cobra Trooper Cobra Vipers Croc Master  

...and the vehicles include the G.I. Joe VAMP, the always popular Cobra HISS tank and the 30th anniversary G.I. Joe Skystriker (a truly awesome recreation!).

GI Joe VAMP HISS tank 2 Skystriker 

And finally, three outstanding exclusives that will be debuted in July at Comic Con in San Diego:

Indiana-Jones-SDC A 30th Anniversary celebration of Indiana Jones with some great figures!  G.I. Joe and Indiana Jones turning 30 the same year??  I'm starting to feel old.

(Image via InsidePulse.com)


Dreadnock Ladies

Two Awseome Zarana figures! A Dreadnock Zarana and then a bad ass looking Cold Slither Zarana.  Can someone out there confirm this is a reference to the episode of the G.i. Joe cartoon series where the Dreadknocks form the rock band called Cold Slither?  Inquiring minds want to know.





Starscream skystrikerAnd last but certainly not least, the crown jewel of the whole Toy Fair, in my opinion.  It combines two of the greatest Hasbro brands out there in G.I. Joe and the Transformers.  The special edition Starscream Skystriker has a Cobra Commander figure as thepilot, and includes a G1 Megatron gun accessory.  A must have!

(Image via hisstank.com)



After a long day, I left the 4th Annual Hasbro Toy Fair weary, but satisfied.  And while Transformers seemed to be the talk of toy town, there are plenty of exciting things happening in 2011 across all of Hasbro's top notch brands.  I encourage all of you to keep an eye out for great new products headed your way.  Just ask this year's guest of honor....


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