Readers of my adventures here on “The Chronicles” know full well that one of the special events that I love to attend each and every summer is The Toy Insider’s “Sweet Suite”. This affair is a wonderful one and brings together scores of amazing companies and their reps to showcase the “must have” toys and games. If you’re new to these narrative, let me tell you that the folks at The Toy Insider really know their stuff and I was happy to have met them at the annual Toy Fair several years ago. Of course the lay of the land right now is that physical events are pretty much impossible and the need to go virtual is a necessity. Such was the case for this soiree and I’ve culled together some visuals in a fun little overview that begins with a login…..Let’s go.
Now that we’ve successfully logged in, its time to look around the show floor and as you can see its quite impressive. I felt like I was a character in a video game because as you can see the overall vibe you see once “inside the matrix” gives you that sense.
They even had a helpdesk if you needed some quick assistance in being directed to certain things. Considering that I felt I had a proper lay of the virtual land from the onset, I didn’t bother them at all since others might have been really confused if they were not up on technology and things of this nature.
Now its time to offer up some thoughts on the brands that we met or simply touched base with during the Sweet Suite @Home Soiree. This was going to be different but I admit it would be nice to see many of the reps that we have met over the years even if it is only on a Zoom call. Since the images filed alphabetically, I will just feed you the scoop that way too. Let’s go
Bandai: Our friends at Chizcomm handle the PR for Bandai and it was great to catch up. We last saw them at the annual Toy Fair back in February and cannot wait to get our hands on the Dragonball Z and Anime Heroes action figures. If you’re following some of my convention coverage on PiercingMetal.com you already know that I’ve been going to a number of the Anime themed events as much as the conventional comic book and science fiction ones. When I get these you can count on an unboxing or some kind of video from me.
Crayola: Of the numerous products we see and love from Crayola, one of the coolest is the playsets that let you paint these little animal figurines with Crayola colors and then wash them off easily to be done over and over. Of course they also have scores of amazing crayons for you to bring out the artist in your younger circle.
Gund: I didn’t spend a whole lot of time over at the Gund virtual booth but I will point out that they have a lot of cool “Hello Kitty” stuff coming and plenty of items from the hit Anime feature “Spirited Away”. While I am not a collector of creations such as these, I do love what they do and have a few small Gudetama and Pusheen giveaways from Toy Fair’s gone by that I like very much.
Hasbro: Over at Hasbro we saw some really cool new Transformers action figure images and I will be looking into saying something more about that line over on PiercingMetal since we lend our time to that kind of collectible over there. Hasbro is also re-releasing some awesome GI Joe action figures and when you add these to the already amazing Marvel Legends Series of Marvel Comics superheroes and super-villains action figures you will understand why they are one of my top tier favorites.
Hexbug: I just love all of the things coming out from the folks at Hexbug and remember like it was yesterday when I first met them all at the Toy Fair. Their booth is one of the must see places and its always on my list so I love their participation in the Toy Insider events. One of the cooler things coming from them this season are the Junk Bots. They aren’t motorized at all but are these quirky little kits where you make robot characters out of pieces of “junk”. I love stuff like this and the ability to change them around into your own wildest creations only adds to the appeal. I am going to try and get some to do an unboxing and discussion clip when its possible to do so.
Jakks Pacific: It’s been a little bit of time since I’ve talked up the fine folks at Jakks Pacific. That was back in the summer of 2019 when they were offering up a line of toys from the “Godzilla – King Of The Monsters” film. This season they were showcasing a line of blind box collectibles called “Boba Purrista Girls” which were super cute and a hair designing interactive product. That will surely bring out some skills in anyone interested in styling.
LEGO: Based on the scheduling, I wasn’t able to see any of the live demos from LEGO at the virtual event but fortunately I had seen most of what was coming up at the Toy Fair. With this brand, the items that always win me over are the super-hero anything and of course “Star Wars”.
Magformers: The Magformers brand is one that I first met at a Sweet Suite and I always enjoy seeing what they come up with. The most popular product is their series of shapes that are all magnetized and allow for some special creative play. Mostly aimed at a younger audience than I usually address but I’ll gladly showcase them since so many friends have younger generations in their households.
Mattel: This visit found me focusing on the Hot Wheels brand and when in this section I was able to watch some pre-recorded demos of their upcoming coolness. It was a quick hit for me since it was closing in on the time when I had made some one on one appointments with reps. Now our readers might recall that we discussed some of their Barbie special editions like the “Star Wars”, “X-Men” and “David Bowie” premium releases. Though I don’t collect this line, I do admit that the Bowie one is intriguing and I guess they will find me lining up should they release a Darth Vader version of Ken or Barbie and friends done up like the legendary KISS. I do hope they continue the Hot Wheels releases that showcase famous Rock icons. I talked about the Led Zeppelin ones on PiercingMetal and you can see any of these articles by clicking the hyperlinked text in this section.
Nintendo: I briefly popped into the demo room for Nintendo who have without questions a LOT of different games coming out over the next few months. Far too many for me to elaborate on here so I will direct you to the link on the bottom of this brief and maybe in some time will challenge you to a game of Mario anything. Don’t worry I am pretty terrible at these things so it would be a short battle….
Playmobil: Highlights from the Playmobil side of the fence falls on both the Scooby-Doo collection and the “Back To The Future” license. I am going to be hard pressed to choose where I document those two items if I can get my hands on some for product discussion. I grew up on Scooby and loved every single minute of the “BTTF” film series. Good stuff and a great company to be delivering such an item.
Redwood: This was a new visit for me, as I didn’t remember ever meeting them at previous events. This is one of the key reasons that I enjoy the Toy Insider affairs because my focus can explore many different vendors than I can at the Toy Fair. At the trade show, I need to do a multiple amount of appointments and most of that stuff falls over to the opinion of PiercingMetal but hey you are not here to learn about my process. One thing I enjoyed seeing at Redwood was the “GoGo Gachas” which were blind packaged little trinkets. Really cute stuff and probably more geared towards a younger girl in your family but hey anyone can collect what they want to IMHO. They were also showing their newest “Smooshy Mushy” collectibles. I love miniatures and if you are in that same mindset you want to look into these offerings.
Schleich: Fans of beautifully sculpted figurines will be drawn to the product lines that Schleich offers up. I met their team at Toy Fair several years ago and some of my favorite items from them are their dinosaurs and their fanciful world of Eldrador. Growing up on comic books, monster movies and science fiction films made this line an absolute hit for me. I’ve embedded a couple of images that I took at Toy Fair for this part of my narrative and you should follow that profile and like as many photos as you can since that algorithm tends to hold us back. Two visuals were from the booth while the last was the goodie bag they offered up. I do want that Golden Lion though as it is super cool.
Spinmaster: With the Spinmaster area, I didn’t join any Zoom calls as I was busy doing three things at once and right now the hot item on my interest list is their new line of Batman action figures. The company acquired the Dark Knight license and to say that we saw a LOT of these offerings at the Toy Fair is an understatement. They have a few different sizes to choose from and these images hail from Toy Fair since I wanted to showcase my own visuals instead of stock photography.
ViacomCBS: The folks at ViacomCBS have a few cool items featuting the famous Blue from “Blues Clues”. That property helped teach a lot of little ones some essential learnings for a good many years and I am happy to know he is still doing his thing. The item that interested me most was the giant aircraft carrier that was something for the upcoming “Maverick” film (the sequel to “Top Gun”) but I had a little problem getting what I needed so that will be some later discovery since I have everyone’s email that I need to follow up with afterwards on my cyber Rolodex.
WowWee: It was great to see our friend Dave from WowWee and a couple of the highlights that he shared with us over a Zoom meeting were the Powertreads and an interactive toothbrush called “Britebrush”. I love what the Powertreads are all about, its this awesome looking vehicle that speeds along a track or any flat surface actually and watch out anything in front of it. Now good hygeine is important and since you always want to brush your teeth after every meal, why now have a little fun with the process as well. If I end up doing some overviews
Now it’s time for me to give a final view of the show expo “floor”, double check back on the notes and I was close to finishing up with this adventure but before I wrap it up here are some of the other highlights that one could participate in.
The folks at the Toy Insider went to great lengths to make this an interesting experience and let’s take a quick peek into some cyber worlds of awesome.
Virtual Photo: Since selfies with friends, vendors and products were not really going to be the same or even possible based on the lay of the land at the moment, they offered up a virtual photo booth. I snapped my photo selfie and sported a sweet face mask that I purchased from Sinister Designs. Its far more dramatic than I actually am IRL and I hope that you like it.
Virtual Press Lounge: Truth be told I didn’t manage to spend any time in the VPL, since I was not sure of the vendors available time slots during my time exploring, I wanted to leave all my free time for them. In the end this worked out better for me for sure. I do love a good press room, as there is generally coffee, some cake or bagels. This time all of the supplies would be my own and I kept a bag of chips and a bottle of water with me. Adventurous I know. Onward we go.
Virtual Stage: Another area I didn’t get to enjoy any time with was the Virtual Stage. That said, the items that were being showcases were mostly out of my main focus today so I was okay with that despite being interested in seeing how they would be presenting there.
YouTube Lounge: I wanted to hit the YouTube Lounge but ran out of time. I’ve been doing my best to use this avenue of approach a little more each and every week. While web traffic has been solid for both of my websites during this pandemic, the social networks are having a little traction trouble but that’s mostly since Facebook changes their algorithm all the time and they own Instagram as well. My PiercingMetal site has a channel (seen HERE) and so does “The Chronicles” (seen HERE). The first has a more defined focus on Metal and older geek interests while the other paints with a broader creative brush based on not sticking to any one thing. Please click those shameless plug links and subscribe because the more people we have behind us, the more options we have as a channel to keep you entertained.
In The End: Closing up I’d have to say that this was an awesome experience and something very different to do. I really didn’t know what to expect and give high marks on the presentation. This has been a strange year for sure with pretty much everything being cancelled since the middle of March and the announcements to that effect still rolling in. As I pen this narrative we are just past the first-ever “Comic Con @ Home” which replaced the physical San Diego Comic Con. There’s been no word yet on the New York Comic Con or Anime NYC yet but since no massive changes in this pandemic have happened, I’ll say that its unlikely that either of these happen during the Fall season. Thanks very much to everyone at The Toy Insider, you did a fine job and I cannot wait to see all of you again in the real. Historically speaking, The Toy Insider team also does a holiday event called “Holiday Of Play” and one has to imagine that this will also be a virtual soiree this year unless any drastic changes come to pass. Let’s cross our fingers and if I attend that one either in person or behind the laptop you will be sure to be taken along for the ride with me via the website. Stay safe out there my readers and remember to follow whatever your local area guidelines specify. “See” you again soon.
The Toy Insider: https://www.thetoyinsider.com/
The Pop Insider: https://thepopinsider.com/
Redwood Ventures: http://www.redwood-ventures.com/