SECTOR GUIDE: Construction

We take a look at the top offerings in the toy industry's fastest growing supercategory.
Publish date:
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It is the fastest growing supercategory in the business, according to NPD data, up 26 per cent year-to-date, making construction one of the most exciting and vibrant sectors of the moment. ToyNews takes a look at some of the latest products keeping those tills ringing…

Lego 01753 495000

Lego is one of the biggest brands in toys, and the company is promoting several construction lines this year – including Lego City, Ninjago, Friends, Dino, Lord of the Rings and more.

Lego’s City range targets boys aged five-plus and their parents. Products include the brand new City Mining vehicles and minifigures.

The action-focused Lego Ninjago line continues to be extremely successful at retail, with The Epic Dragon Battle one of the highlights for 2012.

Other key lines for this year include dinosaur-based Lego Dino, fantasy-focused Monster Fighters in August and the blind bag Minifigures range which includes a limited edition Olympics set. Minifigures was the number one selling toy of last year, according to NPD data from December 2011.

Meanwhile, the Lego Friends play-sets continue to be a real hit within the girls market, while the Lego Technic brand offers older boys a more challenging build, such as the 4x4 Crawler. Lego Hero Factory buildable figures also allow consumers to battle one another. They come with a unique code which lets kids play the online Breakout game. 

In terms of licensed products, there are Lego Star Wars toys, including Jabba’s Palace, as well as Lego Super Heroes which features iconic characters such as Batman, Superman and The Avengers. The long-awaited Lego Lord of the Rings line is also due this August.

There are even Lego advent calendars, board games and Life of George products available. The latter allows kids to build models and access digital gameplay.
Within the Lego Duplo range of pre-school products, there’s the Creative Cakes food-based line, new Legoville zoo, safari, fire and farm sets, and a 59-piece My First Build pack. There’s also the Disney Princess Lego Duplo range, aimed at girls aged two to five years old, and a Read & Build Collection. There are even tubs of pink bricks available.

Meccano 01869 324956

Meccano’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Gears of War and Rabbids licensed ranges are ready to make an impact at retail in the second half of the year.

The three licences are targeting new audiences for Meccano. The online gaming fraternity is already abuzz with news of Meccano’s Gears of War collection, whilst Rabbids and Sonic the Hedgehog both enjoy huge online and offline fanbases.

The Sonic & Speedstar and Knuckles & Landbreaker (£14.99) comes alongside the Sonic & Green Hill Ramp Play-set (£24.99), Sonic & Casino Street Play-set (£39.99) and the Sonic & Knuckles Chemical Plant Racing Play-set (£69.99).

Meccano’s Rabbids collection starts with the Rabbids’ Racing Trolley (£19.99) and includes the Crazy Toilet (£24.99), Infernal Catapult (£29.99) and Time Washing Machine (£34.99).

September’s Gears of War range, meanwhile, features a selection of models of the C.O.G Armadillo APC (£24.99), C.O.G Centaur Tank (£34.99) and C.O.G King Raven (£39.99), plus a highly detailed diorama – the Locust vs Delta Squad Battleset (£59.99). Gears of War 3 is Microsoft’s best pre-selling game of all time, surpassing pre-sales of Halo with over 1.3 million pre-sold.

Meccano Toys UK country manager, Sue Barratt, says: “Sonic enjoys evergreen popularity. It’s a licence that parents and children both instantly recognise. But it’s not just nostalgia that we’re selling. We’ve taken a step in a completely new direction with the epic game Gears of War – perfect for boys young and old.

“Then there’s Rabbids – a crazy rabbit that’s a big hit in the playground.

“However, whilst the headline grabbers are our new licences, we continue to invest in our core ranges, and we have some exciting new range extensions that will see the continued rise and rise in the resurgence of the construction category.”

All models come with instructions and tools and will be supported through a marketing and PR programme delivered across widespread consumer media.

Mega Bloks 01844 350033

Mega Bloks is strengthening its portfolio with the introduction of a re-branded pre-school range, Mega Bloks First Builders, as well as construction toys based on the colossal computer game World of Warcraft.

Featuring new bags, themed tubs, role-play vehicles and a dedicated girls range, the new Mega Bloks First Builders range continues to promote early development, fun learning and discovery through creative construction play.

Providing endless build and rebuild possibilities for pre-schoolers aged over one year-old, the new eco-friendly PVC-free bags, including the award-winning Big Building Bag, now feature new colour schemes and themes.

Mega claims the range will also feature fresh new branding with better on-shelf presence and a modern packaging design, which was created to be more ‘mum-friendly’, with a stronger focus on product.

Building on its well-established licensed ranges, Mega Bloks is also launching an authentic construction range, based on world’s largest MMO RPG computer game with more than ten million fans, World of Warcraft. The company will bring the property to life with highly detailed customisable figurines, buildable dragons, iconic vehicles and epic battle scenes, allowing boys aged over eight, collectors and gamers to immerse themselves.
With sets including the Sindragosa and The Lich King, Goblin Zeppelin Ambush, and Deathwing’s Stormwind Assault, fans can build and rebuild for hours of interactive and imaginative fantasy play.

Mega Bloks will also launch two of its biggest licences to date later in the year and in early 2013, including the first ever Barbie construction toy range – Mega Bloks Barbie – and Mega Bloks Skylanders Giants toys for boys.
The latter will include collectables, play-sets and puzzles based on the upcoming Activision video game Skylanders Giants.

Flair 020 8643 0320

Geomag is Flair’s unique construction toy concept that aims to stand out from the crowd.

With the magnetic rods, chrome spheres and geometric panels, kids can build anything from shapes and structures to police vehicles.

The latest collection to join this construction range is Geomag Police, which unites an iconic theme with the popular construction play pattern.

Taking to the skies is the Police Helicopter set, complete with intricate details and a spinning rotor blade. The vehicle is easy to smash and rebuild for plenty of construction-based fun.

Alternatively, kids can build the Geomag Police Car. It can be rebuilt over and over again, and can even attach to the helicopter for double the action. A bigger Police Truck is also available exclusively as part of a Police Triple Pack, which includes the car and helicopter for the ultimate in a crime-fighting construction set.

Geomag encompasses a whole range of construction sets, and the entire collection is promoted on TV.

Tomy 020 8722 7300

Tomy’s top construction range K’Nex continues to turn heads and the 2012 collection is bigger than ever.

The simple easy-snap rods and connectors let kids build models of almost anything, from working Ferris wheels to monster trucks. There are sets for kids aged over three, five, seven and nine years old, including a moving amusement park range and chunkier sets for younger kids.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of K’Nex, Tomy is launching the Classic 50 Model Building Set, which includes 700 pieces and comes with 50 building ideas including a hot air balloon and lighthouse. The K’Nex Thrill Rides are new for the summer, and include the three-feet tall, 1,000-piece Super Cyclone rollercoaster.

There’s also a new addition to the best selling K’Nex Mario Kart Wii range, with the Mario & Donkey Kong’s Beach Challenge Building Set. Kids can collect K’Nex Mario Kart Wii sets to build entire tracks from the game, including obstacles and motorized karts.

Fans of Top Gear can tackle the K’Nex Top Gear licensed challenges, which are based on popular vehicles and stunts from the show. New for this autumn are the Stig’s Military Tank/SUV Building Set, Rocket Car Ski Jump Building Set and Stig’s Artic Truck Building Set.

Hasbro 020 8569 1234

Kre-o is a construction toy brand that allows builders aged six and upwards to enjoy Hasbro franchises in a fresh and fun way.

This year, Hasbro is introducing new Battleship and Transformers Kre-o sets. Users can use these to create a robot and then disassemble it to build a vehicle, or vice versa. There are also 16 unique Kreon Transformers figures to collect.

The new Kre-o Battleship comes with an elite crew of military Kreon forces, which can do battle against an alien invasion in a bid to save Earth. It is based on Universal Studios’ summer blockbuster movie Battleship and the toy line features eight different products.

Kreon figures resemble the film’s notable characters including Alex Hopper and Admiral Shane, while providing construction fans with tanks, ships and helicopters.
Hasbro has also teamed up with Disney for a new sponsorship campaign on Disney XD, targeting kids aged eight to 12 years old. The campaign will promote the Kre-o construction range, plus Disney’s animated comedy series Phineas and Ferb.

The sponsorship activity – developed with Disneymedia+, the ad sales and promotions operation in Disney UK and Ireland – focuses around the ‘Kre-o Big Build Challenge’.
This is a competition offering 25 lucky kids the opportunity to appear on Disney XD and compete in a build challenge.

Ark DIY +353 91 521857

Ark has two construction lines that it is focusing on this year – the DIY-style Red Toolbox and a fresh construction toy for the UK known as Triqo.

Triqo consists of just two plastic shapes – a triangle and a square. With ten different colours and easy-to-connect pieces, kids can build an endless amount of constructions – from small buildings to 3D shapes and objects.

Ark DIY says kids can let their imaginations go wild as there are no rules with Triqo.

The company is also encouraging retailers to launch a Triqo loyalty promotion and help make it become the latest kids’ craze.

Triqo is made in the Netherlands from exceptionally strong and flexible material. It comes in packs of 10 to boxes of 250, so Triqo fans can extend their kit easily and affordably.

Red Toolbox, meanwhile, is all about parents and kids creating, learning and having fun. It offers sets of carpentry tools complemented by a selection of original and real wooden carpentry kits.

The tools are specially designed to suit a child’s grip, and Ark DIY says they are ideal for teaching and applying various skills. The carpentry kits enable children to make items such as a Soccer Table, Go Cart or a traditional Toolbox. 

Innovation First 01925 454093

The hit mechanical Hexbug Nanos are getting a new Construct Habitat System range this August, which allows owners to construct a more customisable playground for their micro robotic pets.

The floor of each Hex Cell comes spotted with attachment points that kids can build from. These can be filled with a variety of playground accessories including pegs, which act as bump points for the Hexbug Nano, and rotatable flags, which direct the Nano towards other obstacles including merry-go-rounds and flags. There are horizontal and vertical rollers for the Nano to pass through and under, and even a seesaw.

Hex Cells also come with removable walls so multiple cells can be connected to one another to create a multi-level environment. There are also four Starter Sets available. Prices in the new Hexbug construction collection range from £12.99 to £34.99.

Innovation First also has the Bobble Bots based on the popular Moshi Monsters licence.

Users can construct their own version of Monstro City and fill it with bobble-head mini robotic pets, which use Hexbug Nano vibration technology.

Besides collecting a variety of Moshlings (£4.99 each), kids can assemble buildings. Available now is the Bobble Bots Moshi Monsters Starter Set (£12.99), House (£29.99) and Assorted Stores (£14.99).

Each product comes with a variety of items to build and customise them as each young builder sees fit. 

Bigjigs 01303 250400

Bigjigs’ range of construction toys are ideal for children who are inspired by creation, building and problem solving. The Bigjigs Toys construction range encourages children to use their imagination while developing motor and hand-eye coordination skills.

For DIY enthusiasts and budding builders, the My Tool Bench provides a fun way for children to participate in home improvements. Bigjigs says the work bench allows kids’ imaginations to flourish, as it comes complete with accessories including tools, vice, nuts and bolts. The construction range also boasts a Carpenters Work Bench, Power Tools Work Bench and various tool belts to make any collection complete.

The Junior Tool Box is a must-have for any budding carpenter and builder wanting an introduction to junior woodworking. The tool box comes complete with spanners, screwdrivers, scythe, saw, hammer and pliers, making it ideal for developing woodwork skills and sparking creativity.

Maps Toys 01483 776 006

Maps Toys says it’s a one-stop shop for construction toys with a difference.

Toobeez allows kids to build on a huge scale. A kit of 57 pieces includes tubes and spheres that connect together to create all manner of structures, like castles, dens and even playhouses. The set also includes fabric panels so consumers can create covered structures too.

For construction on a smaller scale, EZ Fort is Toobeez little brother. Containing 54 pieces, it provides up to 20 metres of end-to-end building.

Maps says both kits build critical thinking skills and help develop the creative thought process.

Bloco is a construction toy that uses high density brightly coloured foam pieces that are uniquely shaped to link together. Once attached together with special connectors, the pieces can be moved to any angle.

Children can collect and make different sets including Dinosaurus, Wildcats and Reptiles. Single creature sets featuring Dinosaurs and Primates are also now available.
And finally, for the little ones there’s Squashblox – large soft ‘construction panels’ that can attach together to build a range of structures. As well as a construction toy, Squashblox also doubles up as a play mat for babies, with storyboards that hold felt figures.

DKL Marketing 01604 678780

DKL is the exclusive distributor of the Mic.o.mic construction models and Miniland Educational toys in the UK and Ireland.

Mic.o.mic offers a diverse selection of Build & Play models produced using textured plastic in primary colours.
They promote a child’s logical thinking skills by engaging them in the unique clip and pin system. Mic.o.mic toys can be taken apart and re-assembled again and again.
The Small Vehicle Range includes the Water Plane and Bi Plane, which is catered towards kids aged over three. The Racing Car and Locomotive are aimed at the slightly older child, with more intricate parts. New products for 2012 include the Jet Plane A380, the Mini Jet Plane and Tractor.
Then there is Miniland Educational’s Super Blocks.

They come in a set of 32 or 64 pieces along with a carry storage box.

The sets are made of strong plastic bricks, featuring characters and wheels which can be used to create vehicles. Packaged in a large storage tub is the 120 Blocks Kit.

Giantte is a unique stacking game, performed by building colourful cups numbered one to ten. It can be used for sand or water play. Buni Construction contains 32 easy to assemble pieces with rounded edges, presented in a practical box.

Mic.o.mic and Miniland Educational are supported by an in-store programme, marketing campaign and point of sale materials.

John Adams 01480 414361

John Adams is expanding its construction range with the introduction of the creative ProDeck Workshop, which allows boys and girls to design and make their own laminated mini deck skateboards.

Complete with enough material for ten boards, this five-in-one workshop enables kids to laminate, bend, sand, seal and add trucks and wheels to create unique personalised boards. The set also includes storage draws to keep all the tools and equipment safe. Available now, ProDeck Workshop will be supported by TV advertising and PR in the autumn.

Also heading up John Adams’ construction range is the Real Power Workshop. The ultimate six-in-1 workshop helps budding wood workers build three great projects and inspires creativity for users to make their own authentic models.

The workshop features plenty of realistic tools, including a jigsaw, circular saw, sander, lathe, drill and table vice. It also includes an illustrated leaflet with a step-by-step guide on how to build each of the projects. These include replica versions of a jet plane, castle and pirate ship.
The Real Power Workshop will also be TV advertised.

Playmobil 01268 548111

Playmobil has a wide range of toys for children to construct this year, for both boys and girls.

One of 2012’s stars is the brand new Pirate range.

The large Pirate Ship lets kids build everything from the enormous hull to the masts and the cannons.

There’s a skull and crossbones flag, of course, as well as a crows nest at the top.

The ship also includes several soldier figures in a Redcoat Battle Ship. And, like all Playmobil boats, both ships float, meaning that children can play with the toy in the bath or paddling pool.

There is also a Soldier’s Fort and Dungeon, which includes includes cells and a trap door.

There are a host of traps to avoid in The Pirate Adventure Island, which features a maze to navigate and its own swamp, as well as a secret staircase and a coin-collecting puzzle to solve.

Get the puzzle wrong, and the booty stays hidden in its secret cave, and large rocks will come tumbling down upon the unfortunate player.

Each Playmobil set comes with easy to understand instructions which, if lost, can also be downloaded from the firm’s website.

Revell 01442 890285

Revell has been producing toys since the 1940s, and today it continues to innovate with its Easykit series.

New for 2012 are several Star Wars Easykit models for kids aged eight and over. These can be snapped together to form a space ship, such as the 52-part Millenium Falcon (£39.99), 39-part Obi-Wan Jedi Starfighter (£12.99), 36-part ARC-170 Fighter (£18.99) and the 39-part Anakin Jedi Starfighter (£12.99).

Other new Star Wars Easykit models include the 35-part General Grievous’ Starfighter (£22.99), the 54-part Republic Attack Shuttle (£26.99) and the 64-part All Terrain Tactical Enforcer (£26.99).

If that’s not enough, there’s also the Sith Infiltrator, Anakin’s Podracer, Tie Fighter, Boba Fett’s Slave I and Imperial Star Destroyer models to build.

Moving away from the licensed Star Wars range, there’s also an official Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car set, as well as Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes F1 and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. For vehicle fans who are looking for something a little more traditional, there are London Bus, London Taxi, Mini Cooper, RMS Titanic and Micro Wings products available.

The latter kits are based on RAF and German Air Force aircraft like the Spitfire and the Messerschmitt.
Finally there’s the Animal Anatomy X-Ray products – a range of transparent models that can be snapped together. The Dog and Giraffe toys are both due to arrive in August.

Airfix 01843 233502

Airfix has a number of hot plane construction products which are available this year.

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a Starter Set (£7.99) is based on one of the best known fighter aircrafts ever, and arguably the best-looking too.

With its sleek lines and elliptical wings, the Spitfire will be forever remembered for its role in the Battle of Britain. The 36-piece starter set is an ideal introduction into the world of Airfix modelling.

Then there’s the Red Arrow Hawk Starter Set (£9.99) and the Eurofighter Typhoon Starter Set (£14.99), which give enthusiasts more gorgeous aircraft models to build.

Other planes include the RAF Benevolent Fund Hawk (£11.99), with its Union Jack flag livery. Every sale of the product will donate 50p to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Then there’s the massive 203-piece Type 45 Destroyer (£59.99).

Non-aircraft Airfix models, meanwhile, include the Mini Twin Pack (£24.99) with paints and decals, as well as the British Forces Patrol and Support Group (£39.99), which comes with models of the Lynx, Land Rover and troops.

Marbel 01208 873123

Marbel says Nanoblock is the world’s smallest micro-sized building blocks that construct ‘amazingly detailed and realistic three-dimensional creations’.

Measuring from just 4x4x5mm for a single piece, packs contain between 70 and 5,800 pieces. Subject matter ranges from meerkats to Big Ben.

Nanoblock was first launched in Japan in 2008. It rapidly gained success, building a following through the toy and gift market, and is now enjoying a prominent presence with dedicated display sections in some of the largest chain stores in Japan.

The Miniature Collection Series (including £6.99 to £7.99 models such as the African Elephant, Kola and Electric Guitar) is the ideal starting point, with each model made up from around 70 to 200 pieces. Once this line has been mastered, followers can then progress onto the Sights to See Collection.

This features models such as the Space Center, Taj Mahal and Big Ben, with prices ranging from £14.99 to £16.99, and models varying from 200 to 600 pieces.

Finally, the Advanced Hobby Series offers fans the freedom to create anything up 6,000 bricks worth of monumental accomplishment.

Packs are marked with a level of difficulty from one to eight.

Haba 0161 304 9555

Haba has a huge range of beautifully crafted and innovative construction toys, which range from building blocks for tots to technically challenging projects for pre-teens.

New to Haba’s building systems is the XXL Pack Building Blocks Technics.

The huge 177-piece construction kit features not only colourful building blocks, but also includes propellers and wheels as well.

The Coloured Building Blocks Maxi is a strong introduction to construction play and includes a variety of brightly coloured shapes, including rectangles, triangles, columns and bridges.

Other sets available include the Hall of Mirrors and 59-piece Castle product. In addition to this, Haba’s building blocks can be combined with one another to ensure that each new construction is different and more impressive than the last.

If imaginative play is preferred, kids can use Haba’s Building Block Worlds to create role-play games. The Ghost Tower and Knights Castle includes dragons, horses and mini knights, as well as an 85-piece building set complete with turrets and archway, while Noah’s Ark allows children to construct an ark with 18 animal pairs.

With other top Haba sets available, such as the popular Ball Track Construction Set – winner of a 5-7 Gold Award – and the Basic and Starter Domino Packs, kids can create a wide variety of structures.

Coiledspring Games 0870 446 1515

A new range of Lord of the Rings Wrebbit3D jigsaw puzzles will arrive just in time for the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Fans of the much-loved trilogy can get to work building Saruman’s Orthanc Tower, Edoras Golden Hall and Minas Tirth Citadel. Not only will users have fun piecing together these elaborate puzzles, they’ll have a masterpiece to display afterwards.

The jigsaws are made from a special high-tech foam, meaning that once assembled they stand alone without the need for glue.

Wrebbit has been making 3D jigsaw puzzles for over 20 years, from the Big Ben to the Taj Mahal.
Its latest venture into Tolkein’s enchanted world showcases its excellent design skills. The quality jigsaws are built to last, and promise to inspire and amaze families as they come to life.

Roger Martin, director of Coiledspring Games, commented: “We are delighted with the Lord of the Rings 3D jigsaws and are sure they will be enormously popular, especially in the run up to the much anticipated first prequel film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

“More importantly, we hope families really enjoy working together to build these wonderful puzzles.”

Wrebbit3D puzzles will be creating even more iigsaws this autumn based on the world of the Hobbits.

TKC Sales 01380 872 950

TKC is the UK distributor for OGO Sport – a range of outdoor toys and construction kits encouraging active play and exercise with all age groups, from young children to grandparents.

The design criteria aspires to produce safe, quality products that allow for open-ended exploration and experimentation, without the need for batteries.

There’s also OGO Bild – collectable construction kits that are fun and simple to build, allowing kids to create moving vehicles, robots, creatures and sculptures. All attachments are interchangeable, allowing users to set their imagination free. The OGO Sport YouTube channel has plenty of examples of unique structures.

OGO Bild Pod is a separate den building kit, that combines the OGO Bild ball and flexible struts, allowing children to build large, lightweight sculptures with internal space. Simply add a sheet or rug to instantly create a den. The toy is the National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval winner 2011.

All OGO products are designed to encourage play between all age combinations, and can also benefit children with special needs. Prices range from £4.99 to £32.99.

Asobi 01628 200077

Asobi says it is delighted to present Boikido to the trade – a French brand launched back in 2003 that consists of modern, wooden toys that promise to be both well-made and colourful.

Boikido’s collection was created on the basis of the belief that children need simple toys that encourage them to actively use their imagination and develop through active play, stimulation and above all, fun.

Introducing the Boikido Wooden Workbench (£49.95), which allows children to work on their building skills. The product also includes instructions for five different construction projects, allowing children to exercise their imagination. It can also be used as a role-play toy.

The workbench includes a full set of accessories: 13 wooden geometric shapes, four wheels, 14 screws, six nails, 12 nuts, four square nuts, one hammer, one screwdriver and one wrench. Tools can be displayed on the left side of table in three bigger holes, while accessories can be stored on the bottom shelf.

John Crane 01604 774949

The 2012 portfolio for John Crane introduces new collections including Sevi, a range of traditional wooden toys and B, a quirky new line with 100 per cent recyclable packaging.

Spinaroos from B is a 75-piece colourful bristle blocks set that comes in a reusable orange storage box and a booklet full of different building ideas.

Each block fits into another and also pulls apart easily so that different creations can be made, changed and displayed.

The twisty bases give the structures a spin.
The Firefighter Construction Kit from Sevi is perfect for budding young builders. The 53-piece set contains an array of nuts and bolts with wooden pieces to create a fire engine.

The set helps children to create a complex vehicle and there are instructions to help them do so.

Sevi also introduces the Aeroplane Construction Kit and the Construction Box.

Both sets come with a host of brightly coloured nuts and bolts and wood pieces.

The Construction Box comes with a booklet suggesting the different models that can be built.

Great Gizmos 01293 543221

New to the Zoob collection for 2012 is Zac the Zoob Alien Creature, a colossal 200-piece kit that gives kids all the tools they need to build their own aliens. With glow-in-the-dark pieces, light up eyes and specially coloured Zoob pieces, a rocket, UFO, telescope and much more can also be constructed.

Zoob is a different kind of construction toy – a moveable modelling system. Zoob pieces snap, click and pop together in several different ways to form joints which rotate, limbs that extend and axles that spin for open-ended building.

For super speedy kits, the ZoobMobile Fastback H2H is the ideal choice. Kids can create their own vehicle designs, and with two pull-back friction motors included, cars can battle against one another. For ultra-fast vehicles, combine the two motors together and, when pulled back, the creations will zoom a distance of 40 feet.
Keeping with the automobile theme, the Zoob Racer and Zoob Car Designer are quality kits for auto enthusiasts to build high performance cars and trucks.

Or, like with all Zoob kits, kids can construct their own creations and designs. Great Gizmos says that Zoob appeals strongly to both girls and boys, and has a ‘superb variety of kits available’.

Kids@play 01291 635551

Kids@play’s new Bigablock product features bricks measuring a whopping 50cm x 25cm. With over 90 bricks per building pack, children can very easily make a playhouse, and convert this to a dressing table, or even a studio art centre. The design of the Bigablock allows really solid stability for building larger structures.

The instruction manual shows over 16 different variants, including a play shop, puppet theatre and play supermarket. The Bigablock bricks are light for youngsters to pick up, easy to slot together, and come in various primary colours. The collection will arrive in retailer’s stores from this October.

Citiblocs +1 813 769 9462

Citiblocs Neon Colors is a 100-piece building set which features various bright flashy colours.

Neon has been the hottest colour trend since the ‘80s and the new product from Citiblocs has adopted the funky colours to set itself apart from the competition.

The eco-friendly wooden block set made its debut at Toy Fair this year and hit the ground running by winning Best in Play from Parenting Magazine. The vibrant newcomer then went on to win a gold medal – or an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold.

The Neon Colors set continues Citiblocs’ mission to provide high quality building blocks that are affordable and earth friendly.

As with the previous award-winning building sets by Citiblocs, all of the neon blocks are the same shape and size, requiring no magnets or glue, making them easy to use for all kids ages over three years old. Cleaning up is also a breeze thanks to the handy storage pail.

Users can simply dump the blocks back in and it’s as simple as that.

With a price of £29.99, this has helped the brightly coloured construction product quickly become one of Citiblocs top sellers.

Character Options 0161 633 9800

Character Options’ construction lines are set to go from strength to strength, with Character Building introducing more key licences into its brand portfolio.

Joining Doctor Who, H.M. Armed Forces and Deadly 60 is Ben 10 and two football ranges.

Character has teamed up with Turner CN Enterprises to launch a brand new range based on the hit Ben 10 franchise. Eight collectable construction micro-figures will launch in the autumn, including Ben and popular aliens such as Big Chill, Water Hazard and Ultimate Swampfire.

Each micro-figure will have five or six separate components which can be interchanged with one another. The figures will come in foil bags and include a branded display base and collectors leaflet. There will also be a Kevin’s Car and Azmuth’s Laboratory construction play-sets.

Character has also joined forces with Topps to manufacture an official England FA construction toy range. This is on sale now, and features key members of the England squad as well as Wembley Stadium.

July saw the launch of the anticipated Character Building Sports Stars brand, a fully licensed football range depicting the world’s best players from the English Premier League.

The product will include articulated micro-figures and table top football constructable pitch play-sets.

Character says it sees these launches as a great opportunity to strengthen its position within the construction category. It says the toys appeal to kids, adults and collectors alike.

RMS International 0161 7270711

RMS’ flagship brand Grafix is an extensive range of children’s games, toys and puzzles, as well as children’s construction toys new for 2012.

The products include the Woodwork Construction toy, which features all the tools a kid needs to learn how to craft interesting objects out of wood, and the Builders Activity Box, which helps shows kids how to help their parents with jobs around the house.

RMS’ Metaltech Racing Car comes with instructions that show children how to build their own racing car, while the Blocktech Motor Robot comes to life after the blocks are correctly attached together. The 10 in 1 Construction Team includes ten construction toys packed into a single box and, finally, the Mechtech Copter is a helicopter construction toy for children to build.

Prices range from £1 to £10, and RMS says Grafix appeals to both girls and boys of all ages.

RMS Group MD, Ryan Farber, says: “At RMS we are leaders in product innovation. We’re constantly creating and designing new and exciting children’s toys, stationery, puzzles and craft activities. All of which are on trend, appealing to customers and look great on the shelves.

“Along with our own Grafix brand, we hold several licences for key IPs and can create bespoke items to order, should a client or retailer have something particular in mind.”



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In our second focus on the pre-school sector in 2011, manufacturers are now looking ahead to big new launches and extensions of existing ranges for next year. ToyNews highlights what?s on offer?


SECTOR GUIDE: Wooden toys

Wooden toys continue to sell well, even in challenging financial times. The sector tends to be a favourite with parents and other gift givers and offers a range of traditional, interactive and licensed products. ToyNews found out what's new within the sector.

Featured Jobs


Marketing Director UK

Gameplan I Southeast of England I Salary: Competitive I Date Published Monday 7th January 2019

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Product Manager

Rainbow Designs Ltd I Olympia, London I Salary: Competitive I Date Published Wednesday 16th January 2019