PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Toy Fair 2017: The Big Preview Part One

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toy_fair_banner_2017The PopCulteer
February 17
, 2017

As you know if you’ve been reading PopCult this week, I will not be able to attend The International Toy Fair in New York like I have for the past two years. The big show kicks off tomorrow, and I’m going to do my best to cover it from right here in West Virginia.

All weekend long I’ll be bringing you the latest news as it leaks out, and today I’m going to post several long reports filled with all of the last-minute pre-Toy Fair scoops that I can gather. Don’t expect anything resembling a rational organization of topics. This is an avalanche.

So sit back and keep hitting “Refresh,” it’s going to be a heavy weekend at PopCult.

Merge VR HOLO CUBE

gavin_webresNormally I don’t cover tech toys in PopCult. I am not at all well-versed in the ways of smartphone technology, and toys that require phones or tablets just don’t seem like toys to me. However, that’s largely because I’m old. HOLO CUBE, from Merge VR, is so cool that it even impressed me.

Merge VR is a very popular headset that allows people to turn their smartphones into virtual reality devices. It was an instant success last year when it hit the market, and now they’ve developed an augmented reality toy that goes with it.

Rather than try to explain it, here’s the sizzle reel for HOLO CUBE…

The world’s first holographic toy, HOLO CUBE uses augmented reality (AR) technology so users can hold and interact with holograms in new ways.

“Toys are the tools we use for growing up, and our HOLO CUBE offers brand new ways to learn, play,and connect with others,” said Merge VR Founder Franklin Lyons. “Rather than using the typical interfaces of 2D screens, we’re developing physical products that merge the real world with the digital, and creating new ways for imagination and creativity to flourish.”

Merge introduced HOLO CUBE at CES and showed how they bring the cube to life in users’ hands — from drawing with music to caring for a virtual space pet to building a mini-block world. Pairing HOLO CUBE with the company’s marshmallow-soft Merge VR Goggles lets users interact directly with holograms while freeing both hands for a fully immersive experience.

“We want to unlock an entirely new digital world for children that’s always safe, exciting, positive, and playful,” said Merge VR co-founder Andrew Trickett. “HOLO CUBE continues what we started with our revolutionary soft goggles, and it’s just the beginning. We are developing an entire line of products that will create more magical experiences for kids everywhere.”

Merge also unveiled several new colors of its Merge VR Goggles at CES, and will be showing them at Toy Fair this weekend. In addition to the signature purple, they were made available in new colors beginning January 4, 2017 on the company’s website.

CAPTAIN ROAM-E-O

roameopngOWI has fabricated a simple mini solar kit to engage curiosity and awareness.Retailing at less than twenty bucks, CAPTAIN ROAM-E-O is a cool, solar-powered robot that kids build themselves.

Navigating planet Earth on two legs or less is a humanistic challenge. After failing to find love on Mars, OWI’s CAPTAIN ROAM-E-O has landed on our native soil to show us its roving glory. CAPTAIN ROAM-E-O is a romantic all-terrain solar vehicle, equipped with 6-Wheel mechanical suspension and 4-wheel drive system.

After building the 4.13 inch x 2.97 inch x 3.11 inch kit, it is competent to conquer and go beyond boundaries of other solar kits. It is ideal for a do-it-yourself science fair, after-school, or summer workshop project with the bonus gift of learning mechanical transmission and electrical motor theory. Experts believe that the retention of child’s learning experience is multiplied if they can coordinate reading with actual hands on experience. With only 67 assembly parts, it’s a wonderful instrument for the beginner enthusiast 8 years and up, and a gateway to ignite opportunities in fun learning.

CAPTAIN ROAM-E-O has a fantastic planetary gear transmission system and adjustable robotic arms to add more layers of fun. Harnessing the power of the sun, CAPTAIN ROAM-E-O is ready to take you on your next journey. This toy will be available online and wherever educational toys are sold later this year.

New nanoblocks and papernano Building Sets

t700_1db5157a8271becd9a89ba707ab8545dSchylling Inc. launches the latest from nanoblock – the original micro-sized building sets and papernano – micro-detailed, paper building sets this weekend at Toy Fair.

nanoblock is an extremely small building block that is just half the size of a standard block.  The smallest part is a mere 4x4mm! nanoblock has micro-sized precision in its building sets. The blocks have a double-ridged backing system for a perfect fit! nanoblock is a stimulating and entertaining hobby for adults, teens, as well as for children 8 and up. nanoblock’s smaller parts make it possible to create projects with more detail than with standard size blocks.

New introductions in the “Sights to See” series include the Taxi of London, the Minivan and the Kolner Dom. New to the “Mini Collection” series are the Synthesizer, the Pony, the Grizzly Bear, the Hamburger, the Birthday Cake, Sushi and Hot Dog. The “Advanced Hobby”series offers a new “Empire State Building.”

t700_2cb7a5faa6d28d1adb36a1fd16558587papernano has two new exciting sets. They are the Itsukushima Shrine Deluxe Edition and the Byodo-In Deluxe Edition.

“The nanoblock and papernano lines continue to grow with great building sets,” said Paul Weingard, President of Schylling. “The new challenges in building some of these sets, especially the two additions to the papernano products, will entertain construction hobby enthusiasts for hours. The intricacies and details of the models are unique and offer a high level of precision and craft. The care that has gone into the design is unmatched in the hobby world.”

These are terrific sets and you can find them online at Amazon, directly from Schylling, or in toy stores like Toys R Us. We’re showing you images of previously-released sets because the new stuff is still being kept under wraps.

MIke Tyson High-End Figure

scb10021aOkay, this is for the folks who spend big money on their action figures, and don’t mind if the subject matter is a little bit rapey.

MIKE TYSON won his first title fight via a second round TKO against Trevor Berbick for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight championship. Tyson would go on to win the World Boxing Association (WBA) title from James Smith and would later become the first undisputed heavyweight to hold all three major boxing belts when he beat Tony Tucker for the International Boxing Federation “IBF” title.

Storm Collectibles is proud to be the first company to be granted official licenses from the WBC, WBA and IBF to produce their championship belts exclusively for their 1:6-scale Mike Tyson figure. An intricately detailed representation of Mike Tyson in his mid-era boxing career and the 3 major boxing championship belts that he earned in his early ages. This is the collection that all Mike Tyson and boxing fans do not wanna miss.

MIKE TYSON – The Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion 1:6th Collectible Figure set Includes:
• Two Mike Tyson head sculpts
• Brand new developed Seamless-body (material & articulation)
• Official World Boxing Council “WBC” Championship Belt
• Official World Boxing Association “WBA” Championship Belt
• Official International Boxing Federation “IBF” Championship Belt
• Everlast Boxing Trunks
• Everlast Boxing Gloves
• Everlast Boxing Sandbag
• Boxing Shoes Boots
• White towel

This super-deluxe figure will run about three hundred bucks when it’s released in October, and you’ll be able to find it at places like Big Bad Toy Store.

That’s it for the PopCulteer, but the Toy Fair news will continue all day Friday and all weekend, so keep checking back. Our regular PopCult features will be here too.