Without the big budget franchise tie-ins of LEGO, it’s easy to overlook Playmobil, but at this year’s New York Toy Fair they unveiled a strong range of products with innovative motion, lights, sounds and water pumping action.
The emphasis here is firmly on imaginative play rather than leveraging big brands.
I spent some time in the Playmobil booth and was roundly impressed not only at the breadth of the range — from Fire, Sea and Police rescue to Lifestyle apartments and Knight’s battles but also with the attention to detail.
While it’s not uncommon for toy makers to include intricate details in their products if the well observed nature of the Playmobil kits that really got me excited.
From the Amusement Park sets coming in May there was a real sense of fun and freedom that comes from a fairground setting. Balloon Sellers, Tin Can Shooting, Flying Swings and a small Children’s Train each contributed to the scene.
This is then given some real pizzazz with the large crank powered Ferris Wheel with Lights and day-glow Spinning Spaceship Ride. These last two kits are both compatible with the Electric Ride Motor.
Then over in the Modern Living section, coming in two stages during May and August 2015, attention turns to the hum-drum of loft living.
The Modern Luxury Mansion set offers a Hollywood style pad which can then be accessorised with existing Playmobil toys or the bespoke room-centric offerings like the Dressing Room, Bathroom, Loft Bed and Slide and Living Room. Each of these sets is pre-fixed with the word modern, although it’s not entirely clear what that means. Either way the attention to detail was impressive.
Finally I checked out the new sets for the Super 4 TV series based on the Playmobil product. This offers a nice gender mix of heroes while at the same time playing to popular play tropes like castles, agents and fairies.
Good to see a female pirate, although the fairy is (perhaps understandably) female. The sets all work together and will gain momentum from the Super 4 TV show that extends its run to the US this year.