Toy Fair 2009 - Part 2 - ToyNews

Toy Fair 2009 - Part 2

ToyNews takes you through what the UK trade has to offer as we head towards ExCel once again for Toy Fair 2009...
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Interplay - SM26

Interplay will be unveiling many new products at Toy Fair this year, with an increase in its existing ranges plus a brand new licensed collection that is ideal for the boys’ market. After launching itself into the world of TV in 2008, Interplay found its brands built quickly thanks to small screen advertising, so much so that more TVRs are planned for 2009.

One range to benefit will be Living World, the nature brand that includes Ant World, Worm World and Triop Volcano. These three products are to benefit from TV advertising throughout the early spring and summer, a move that will increase brand awareness still further and boost sales for the retailer. New lines will also be added to the existing range.

Another TV line will be the new Technokits for Girls. With the Solar Powered Technokit Rainbow Maker, girls aged seven to twelve can create hundreds of real rainbows every time the sun shines. The Solar Powered Butterfly Technokit has everything needed to build a colourful butterfly that gently flaps its wings whilst basking in the daylight on a sunny ledge or window sill.

Completely new and representing a leap into the world of licensed products is a collection for boys of all ages. Drawn from The Dangerous Books for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden, the range consists of science projects and classic model kits that perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the best selling books.

The Dangerous Books for Boys Science Discovery Kits are not quite what they seem. They may look like old fashioned books from the outside, but open them up and you will find an experiment to undertake. There are five to choose from, all of which will appeal directly to fans of the book - whether it’s producing anti-gravitational forces or creating bouncy rocket balls.

To complement the range, Interplay is producing two model kits that reproduce the heavy artillery of the 1st and 13th centuries, again drawing inspiration from the book.

Barnardos - SG60

As a leading children’s charity, Barnardo’s works directly with over 110,000 children, young people and their families.

Every year, Barnardo’s runs 406 vital projects across the UK to help some of the most vulnerable children and young people believe in themselves. Whatever the issue; from family drug misuse to disability; from youth crime to mental health; from sexual abuse to domestic violence; Barnardo’s believes it can bring out the best in every child, and that all children deserve the chance to fulfill their potential.

Padgett Bros - SA39

Formed by Terry & David Padgett in 1996 following a management buy out, the company(formerly Woolman Imports) has expanded to establish itself as one of the UK's leading importers and distributors of value for money consumer goods.

In 2002 Mr David Padgett retired and his shares were bought by Alison Padgett (Terry's Eldest Daughter) and Alex Kenyon, one of the company's salesmen. This move provided continuity of the company's ethos and has proved successful thus far.
Padgett's provides a number of products across a range of areas including pre-school, nursery, interactive play, arts and crafts, Disney toys and traditional toys, as well as radio-controlled vehicles, diecast toys, summer toys, pocket money toys, dolls and accessories, games, and sit and rides.

The company also offers a storage and distribution service which includes pick, pack and dispatch operation, a service that can be tailored to the customer’s requirements by the piece, carton or pallet.

Sionica - GH70

Sionica will be showing off the The Dimension Board series at the show, a new gaming platform that provides playtime at competitive prices. Applicable to any licensed IP, branded gaming franchise or bespoke game designs, the rotating storage base, folding 3D game boards and playing pieces are completely customisable to suit your own needs.

D-Board is launched with the new family trivia IP Qubed3T, where up to four teams manoeuvre playing pieces across the five surfaces (even the sides), spinning the board to play from a different angle.

Game lengths are variable and moves are made vertically or horizontally in four directions according to dice rolls. This flexibility means that teams will always have a chance of reaching their favoured categories: Man Made, Natural World, Sport & Leisure, Entertainment or Word Play. The first team to drop the pieces through the central holes, in any order, is the winner of the game.

Easy to manufacture, cheap to produce and delivering the highest value perceptions, the D-Board series enhances the spirit of fun board play in an entertaining and easy to use technology.

James Galt - SG20

James Galt will be presenting its portfolio of new products for 2009 at Toy Fair, including a variety of lines from its new parent company, Elmer’s. This is the first time James Galt will be showcasing the Elmer’s products to the retail trade.

The range includes a number of ‘no mess’ painting products (a line which Elmer’s is well known for in the US), including ‘Go Paint’ – non-marking paint brushes and colouring book sets, ‘Paintastics’, colour changing paint pens and paint by numbers, and the ‘Squeeze ‘n Brush’ paint sets. Also, from Elmer’s Scientific Explorer range, James Galt will be introducing a selection of My First kits, aimed at children five and over, such as Aeroplane, Chemistry, Dino, Geology and Weather, as well as two other experimental kits, Disgusting Science and Rocket Car, for older children. Completing this range are three kits aimed at girls, Perfumery, Spa Science and the Ultimate Spa and Perfume Kit.

James Galt will also present a raft of new products under the Galt brand. There are four new additions to the First Years range, including Tummytime Playmat, two giant pop-up soft books and a set of soft books. A variety of puzzles – including glow in the dark and sparkle puzzles – enter the catalogue for 2009, along with a refreshed look Activity Pack range with six new items and two new Creative Craft kits.

Finally, completing the line up for Toy Fair 2009, are additions to Galt’s popular licensed ranges, including three new Horrible Science kits, as well as Postman Pat Special Delivery Playnest and Playnest and Gym.

Brainstorm - SK30

Brainstorm has announced its appointment as the exclusive UK & ROI distributor of the Smartlab range of products. Toy Fair 2009 will be the major launch date for this collection of items.

“We are delighted to bring this range of science toys to the UK market,” comments product director Rosanne Kenealy. “All Smartlab kits include books that encourage a child’s natural curiosity and tie directly into the science behind each toy. It is the perfect mix of fun and facts, exploration and education.”

Kids get eye-to-eye with the anatomy of a Great White Shark with the snap-together Shark Model and a book full of gory shark facts. The Human Body kit gives kids a guided tour of the human body, complete with a human body model that has all the squishy bits left in.

Budding astronauts will enjoy the Remote Control Rocket, complete with launch pad, remote launcher and a book full of space information – rocket science and kitchen chemistry combined.

Kids can also enjoy the Voice Changer kit. They can choose between a squeaky, scary, robotic or booming voice, whilst learning about the science of sound. With a book full of information about safes, locks, escapology and more, the Double Security Safe allows kids to build a safe with their own secret code.

Toy Fair 2009 sees Brainstorm launch products developed in conjunction with the Natural History Museum. The Natural History Museum Earth Globe contains a detailed 30cm modern globe and a full colour poster. The poster has a reproduction of a map dating from 1787. On the reverse are details of ten voyages of early exploration with images from the Natural History Museum archives.

The Natural History Museum Tyrannasaurus Rex Scan is a scanner that gives kids an under-the-skin look at a T-Rex skeleton, and includes a colour poster packed with information about prehistory’s most fearsome predator. Also for dinosaur lovers, the Natural History Museum Glow 3D Dinosaurs are huge, scary and glow in the dark, with three styles to choose from.

There is plenty in store for 2009 from Brainstorm’s The Original Glowstars Company brand. Three new Glow boxed sets have been developed to give retailers a higher retail price point, retailing from between £10 to £20. Kids can give any room a galactic make-over with Glow Superstars, which boasts 500 stars and cosmic shapes to launch a bedroom into outer space.
Brainstorm’s Glow 3D range benefits from the addition of three new licenses. Glow in the dark Disney Tinkerbell and Barbie have obvious and immediate appeal amongst younger girls, whilst glow in the dark Hello Kitty crosses all generations, appealing to young kids, tweens and teens.

Brainstorm is also delighted to announce its appointment as the exclusive distributor of the Zipbin range of products – the toy chest that’s also a toy. Each themed bin comes with a toy or toys and has four zips allowing the chest to open up into a playmat – and, when playtime is over, it just zips back up into a storage box. Zipbins are available in three sizes – mini, small and medium and in a variety of themes including dinosaur, cars, doll’s house and fairy castle. Shaped Zipbins available include Country Stable, Train Depot and Wheelie.

Great Gizmos - SN10

At Toy Fair this year Great Gizmos will be debuting craft and science kits aimed at encouraging boys and girls of all ages to get creative whilst having loads of fun.

Its own-brand range of Power Bots and Racers have been successful since their launch in 2008, so much so that the range is to be extended with two new themes – Power Lights and Power Circuits. All the kits use Tech Card Technology ­– a system that takes pre-cut cards, rivets and motorised parts to make tech-projects that really work.

The new Power Lights and Power Circuits kits are all about home accessories and are meant to add to the decorations in any room. First up are three new brushed silver LED light kits. The Light Tube is designed to look like a lava lamp, with only a small, colour changing LED and a tube of frosted paper. The fibre optic Light Fountain and the flashing disco ball style Light Crystal create different effects using the same colour changing LED and hands-on construction methods.

The Power Circuit collection comprises three further kits - a multi positional Desk Lamp, a Desk Fan and even a Door Bell. The Kidzlabs range has also been extended with four mechanics kits joining the collection including two new wacky robots. There’s Doodling Robot, which does exactly as the name suggests and doodles a picture while vibrating around demonstrating its energetic spinning powers. Secondly, there’s Brush Robot, which glides across smooth floor surfaces removing dirt as it goes. Joining them is Amphibian Rover – is it a car? Is it a boat? Well actually it’s both. There’s also the Propeller Racer – easy to assemble and incredibly fast.

Russimco - SG36

Following 2008’s debut of ecotronic toys, Russimco returns to Toy Fair to show off a new take on its electronic toys with no batteries, with the world’s first electronic toys for the bath.
Ecotronic toys were launched with wide media acclaim as they took eco-friendly to a new level, dispensing with the need for the millions of batteries that go from toy to landfill site each year. Toddler toys, character torches, radios and gadgets were all part of the first collection and sold well both at home and internationally.

2009 will see a leap into the deep with a new water range. The initial line includes a classic Tug Boat and Submarine, longtime staples in the bathroom and popular with boys of all ages. But now when a boy plays with his sub in the tub, he can have even more fun as it will come with all the lights and sound effects of the real thing, whilst remaining eco-friendly.

Also joining the new ecotronic toys collection for 2009 will be an extension to the baby and infant toys range including the new eco-remote – a toy available in different colours that will have baby copying dad changing channels. Like all ecotronic toys, no batteries are required and babies will soon learn that to make it work it has to be shaken from side to side. Then, once charged, a press of the buttons will result in a host of educational lights and sounds.

For big kids there will be two radios ideal for the bedroom, including a Robot Head version and a Red Retro Rocket that will add a touch of kitsh to the proceedings.

Russimco’s ecotronic collection has changed the course of this West Country company but never forgetting its roots, another collection will be at Toy Fair that offers retailers an entirely different side of things. The Retro Games collection is a myriad of games and puzzles inspired by yesteryear, which includes some classics such as Old Maid and Tiddlywinks as well as a number of lesser known titles that are forgotten treasures of a time when after dinner entertainment was all about a classic board game. Amongst the many new titles for 2009, and reflecting Russimco’s broad range of games, there is the Comical Game of Who?, a game for any number of players and Rolo Polo, a parlour game of balance for all the family.

My Wonder - GH7

When Helen Twigge-Molecey watched her baby daughter enthusiastically tear wet wipes out of their packet for the 100th time, it gave her an idea.

My Wondercube is a new educational children’s toy. It is a cube packed with textile squares that children call pull out one by one – like wet wipes, or a magician pulling scarves out of a hat. The pieces can be pulled apart, stuck back together and rearranged in any order.

The cube comes in two formats, wooden and soft. Care has been taken to organically source materials and still manufacture it at a competitive price, starting at £14.95, with extra fillings from £0.95. My Wondercube has a choice of fillings suited to each child’s needs. Numbers, letters, animals – it’s an adaptable little cube with plenty of options. It can grow with the child from nought to six years.

Le Toy Van - SC10

Tutti Frutti House is one of three new painted wooden doll’s houses from Le Toy Van in addition to seven all-new furniture sets, which are complemented by the doll’s house play mat and a new family of dolls.

With 12 houses and 15 furniture sets, Le Toy Van has the biggest selection of children’s doll’s houses and furniture in the UK. They include a comprehensive range of sizes and options, from fully furnished cottages to large manor houses ready to furnish.

Tutti Frutti House comes complete with the new deluxe furniture set (the set is also available separately) and is fully decorated inside and out. Features include opening shutters and windows, as well as a removable roof section.

Le Toy Van is introducing many new products in other ranges, including the Budkins, an extensive collection of approximately ten-cm high, fully poseable wooden characters that are beautifully detailed and scaled to fit Le Toy Van painted wooden play sets; they make ideal collectables.

Fire engine and fire station sets, along with a hospital and ambulance, are just some of the new Le Toy Van play sets. The hugely popular Honeybake range will be bolstered by a smart new wok set. The award winning garage range features an all new garage and a remarkably detailed car play mat.

All Le Toy Van painted wooden toys are designed in the UK and manufactured in Indonesia.

Lamaze - SE33

Within the Learning Curve nursery brand portfolio from RC2, Lamaze is launching 14 new toys for 2009. Each maintains the developmental features long associated with the Lamaze brand name. These are clearly identified on new, individual packaging with more pronounced age grading and bolder highlighting of product features and developmental stages. Providing value for money, many of the toys have been designed to grow with the baby, satisfying different developmental needs as children progress through the varying stages of learning.

New product highlights include the Dream Screen, for attachment to cot sides. The Dream Screen encourages visual tracking through a dual motion screen that also plays soft music. The Dream Screen can be parent or child activated and is MP3 player compatible, so parents can tailor their childrens early listening habits.

The Pyramid Play House Gym features a reversible play mat containing developmental features on both sides to satisfy baby's ever-changing needs. The mat has a removable play arch plus interchangeable plug and play toys for multi-function, customisable tummy time play. For even greater versatility, the playmat folds up to form an interactive play pyramid.
The Stack, Roll & Crawl Ball is a new 3-in-1 toy can be used as a ring stacker, a ball or converted to a crawl toy for open-ended, extended play. The different coloured, textured plastic rings stack to form a colourful ball with a bead rattle top, making this a highly adaptable toy with plenty of bang for buck. Furthermore, by removing the inner rings, the ball is transformed into a brightcrawl toy.

Also on display is the Lights & Sounds Flower Pot, which has been designed to promote visual tracking through its colourful flower with contrasting petals, bendy stem, music and flashlight features. This soft toy can be easily attached to cot rails or used for on the go fun for parent and child on the move.

JC Games - GH3

JC Games will launch Qb, a travel word game, at the London Toy Fair this year. With a bag, no board and solo and multi-player games, Qb is suited to play at home or away. It can be played on any surface, even one as small as the drop-down tray on an aeroplane, making it ideal for regular travellers.

The novel inclusion of two-letter combinations [e .g. st, ch, ed] helps make and link words to the word-grid. Examples are shown on the demo page of its new website: qbgame.co.uk.
The idea for Qb came to John Chambers whilst travelling to the 2008 Toy Fair to launch his board game, Blackhole. Dozing in the car, bored with the slow moving London traffic, he suddenly awoke and announced to his wife, Fiona, that he had come up with the next game. On hearing about the game, Fiona immediately recognised its potential and said: “Let’s turn round and go home to start development.”

Qb can be played at several different skill levels from a family game to competitions between word enthusiasts. Not only a game, it is also an activity like Suduko and can be played solo for fun and to stimulate the mind.

Qb has a year-round market with a wide variety of potential retailers. It is competitively priced at £12.99 and the small footprint and attractive packaging should prove to be an incentive for retailers to stock it.

Orchard Toys - SC46

Orchard Toys launches new games and puzzles every year, but this year the company is especially excited about the seven it will be bringing to Toy Fair 2009, with six of its latest games and puzzles specifically designed for the pre-school plus age group.

Doodlebugs is a simple card game for children aged three-plus. Players have to match the colour or the quirky Doodlebug character card that the preceding player has played. Because players can see each other’s cards, older players will be able to play tactically, which adds to the strategic aspect of the game. First to discard all their cards by matching them to the previous player’s cards is the winner.

One Banana, Two Banana is a board game for up to four players that will help the four-plus age group with their counting skills, whilst Fairy Cottage is a busy fifteen-piece puzzle designed with little girls in mind. The Great Britain and Ireland puzzle and poster is an illustrated 150-piece puzzle aimed at five to eleven-year-olds that is full of historical locations, regional foods and people and places. The board game Flea Circus is for up to four players, whose aim is to be the first to build a big top and win performing fleas, whilst Tutan Loot’em again is a card game, this time with Egyptian illustrations for up to four players; finally, Fruit Frenzy will help the four-plus age group with their colour recognition and counting skills.

Gear 4 Games/underground toys - SE30

Gear 4 Games is exhibiting at Toy Fair this year, and is currently the exclusive distributor of Underground Toys’ new range of Star Wars plush. It also has the range of In Your Pocket voice key chains, which now include new titles such as Star Wars, Monty Python, Thundercats and Star Trek. Furthermore, Gear 4 Games has a brand new line of lower priced voice key chains called the Sound Blaster, which will be available for kids licences such as Ben 10, Gladiators, Clone Wars and Scooby Doo.

In addition, Gear 4 Games is distributing the innovative Transformers USB Hubs as well as Transformers plush items and voice key chains. Also, watch out for its Bobbleheads, including Star Wars, Ben 10, Marvel, The Simpsons and Family Guy. As usual, the company will also be showing off some of its more off-beat and quirky properties such as Domo and Skelanimals.

Creativity International - SG25

It is the start of a new era for Creativity International. Toy Fair will see Creativity showcase its extensive new range of licensed craft toys. Fresh from signing new licences with Mister Maker, Postman Pat, Numberjacks, Mr Men and the hit favourites Pingu, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine and Fireman Sam, Creativity International is positioning itself to compete throughout the craft toy sector, as it showcases its new range of licensed craft toys at Toy Fair this year.

Creativity is already one of the largest suppliers of educational craft in the UK. The showcase will feature a range of 25 Mister Maker kits, linked to the children’s arts and crafts series on CBeebies. Mister Maker is a popular pre-school series aimed at helping children develop their artistic skills.

“This is an ideal fit for us as a company, building on our educational heritage,” commented Mark Jones, retail controller at Creativity International. “Anything which can encourage children to engage in craft and stimulate creative play is unbelievably valuable for a child’s neurological development, helping to give them a good start in life.”

The Creativity kits combine imaginative product development with some much loved licensed children’s characters. “All the products are linked to the educational curriculum,” continued Jones. “Our licensed craft helps educate children, but with a fun twist.”

The Creativity range of Mister Maker craft kits include badge making, magnet making, animal masks, sponge painting, finger and hand puppets, jigsaw painting, pen toppers, plus lots more fun activities offering great value and lengthy and fun playtime.

Fiesta Crafts - SK10

Fiesta Crafts will be showing off its Squeeze and Speak hand puppets – Lippy Lion and Snappy Shark – at this year’s show. As the best of friends or as sworn enemies, these two larger than life characters make for a cheeky addition to the toy shelf.

The Squeeze and Speak puppets make a personal gift idea (shoppers can even record a special message to the recipient beforehand) and are competitively priced to offer value for money whilst allowing good margins for retailers. In store, the new Puppets are attractively packaged for shelf or hanging display. ‘Try me’ demonstration samples are also available.

The new puppets join a host of other new items from Fiesta Crafts for 2009 including pre-school role-play toys such as the Bunny Family Holiday Play Set. This toy provides endless play possibilities for an inquisitive tot with its open-top car, pull-along caravan and family of rabbits. The caravan has everything expected of a modern mobile home: beds, kitchen and lounge area, plus a fold-down side for easy access. Both car and caravan can be played with together or separately as children take their Bunny family on adventures in the great outdoors.

Also new for spring are some new titles for the ever-growing Fiesta Crafts games portfolio, such as Match it!, a wooden eight-game compendium. Match It! has a crafted wooden game board with 28 bright wooden pieces. The eight games include variations of classic favourites such as solitaire, bingo and dominoes, whilst matching games are suited to enhancing cognitive and memory skills. This game is suited to all occasions and ages, the recessed board means playing games whilst travelling is made easy, and four wooden racks are included for little fingers to rest their pieces, discreetly shielding them from prying eyes.

NATLL - GH44

The National Association of Toy & Leisure Libraries (NATLL) was created more than 50 years ago to support toy libraries and ensure that a high standard service is offered to all users.
Toy libraries are sometimes considered to be similar to libraries, but they offer the loan of toys rather than books. Many of them also offer play sessions for children and their parents or carers to stay and try out the toys before they borrow them.

The NATLL offers advice to people wanting to set up a toy library and continues to offer training to toy librarians and provide a helpline that answers any questions a toy library may have. The helpline also provides regular helpsheets ensuring that toy libraries are kept up to date with any changes made in the world of childcare and toys.

It also tests toys with children all over England, Scotland and Wales and prints the results in the Good Toy Guide. All the toys in the Guide are tested in several different situations – toy libraries, family homes, schools, children’s hospices and children’s clubs.

This thorough testing ensures that it’s not left to adults to guess what the children will enjoy playing with. All the toys are tested in age appropriate settings by children and young people with a wide range of ability, social background and preferences, so you can be sure the toys recommended in the Guide have been given a valuable stamp of approval.

H Grossman - SJ30

2008 has been an exciting year for H Grossman and the company is promising more to come for 2009.

Having secured some strong licensed products like Ben 10 and Bakugan, the firm will be working with these new lines and will be launching a number of other licensed products at the show. With the opening of the company’s new Hong Kong office/showroom in December and the increased flexibility that this will bring, 2009 looks set to be a busy year for the ambitious firm.

Getretro.com - GH81

Torchwood returns to our screens in 2009 with a brand new series, and the popularity of the last outing has seen it promoted from its most recent BBC2 slot to a prime time BBC1 transmission.

To take advantage of this, Getretro has released the first wave of its brand new five-inch articulated action figures, featuring Captain Jack, Gwen, The Weevil and the Cyberwoman. These are presented on a detachable Torchwood Logo engraved plinth, making them suited to display as well as play.

Wave two of the figures has already gone into production and the next four figures – consisting of Captain John, Ianto, The Blowfish and Tosh – are expected in May/June.

Early Bird - SG15

Educational toy specialist Earlybird has some bright new releases from Gowi and Voilà this year.

Gowi has been around for over 100 years and has seen recessions come and go – the reason being it offers toys with significant product development year on year, all at realistic prices. For 2009 there’s a new collection of traditional tea sets available in different sizes for all manner of tea parties. The Tea Sets start from 18 pieces including a teapot, cups and saucers, sugar pot and spoons, right through to larger dinner sets with 39 pieces including items such as egg cups and plates.

Each set is available in primary colours of red, blue and yellow or the citrus tones of lime green, orange, lemon and pink. They come shrink wrapped for a simple ‘what you see is what you get’ display.

The tea sets from Gowi complement other pieces in the range including Serve ‘n’ Play Trolley, Cook Sets and Mini Kitchens.
In contrast to the bright plastics of Gowi, Voilà is all about traditional wood. Made in Thailand from rubber wood from renewable resources, the Voilà collection has plenty to offer. An example is the traditional Workbench. Equipped with tools, accessories, pieces of wood and a tool belt, the Workbench will enable children to familiarise themselves with the basic techniques of carpentry and construction.

In addition, Voila’s activity range of toys has a number of colourful pull-along animals and vehicles joining the portfolio this year. There is a seal, cow and a pair of mice together with a train, cement mixer and a truck.

These pull-along toys help little ones to focus on developing and refining motor skills and coordination, and will promote concentration and help associate sound and sight with movement.

Clementoni - SC30

Clementoni will have a raft of new product on display, including the Disney Interactive Quiz Puzzle, a giant puzzle and educational game in one. Around the 40x30cm puzzle are a series of pieces which feature questions relating to the puzzle scene. Children can use the musical pen to select yes or no as the answer.

The product is available in five Disney designs, including Disney Princess, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Disney/Pixar Cars, Tigger & Pooh and Wall-E.

A major success in 2008, Clementoni’s Young Learners range for 2009 will feature four products in a new product size. Including a new collection of products for children aged four-plus, the range features Disney Winnie the Pooh, Disney Cars and Disney Princess.

Clementoni’s science and play range goes from strength to strength, too, with ten new product additions. There are four new scientific sets for youngsters age nine and up, plus a completely new Scientific Junior collection which features six products for children aged six and up.

KidKraft - SC40

KidKraft is now available in Europe and will be previewing its collection at London Toy Fair.

Originally formed in 1968 as a manufacturer and supplier to the early-childhood sector, KidKraft began competing in the multi-billion dollar US juvenile retail market in 1996. The company mission emphasises quality, design, dependability and competitive pricing and, as it was founded by engineers, integrity of design.

As a result of increased demand for wooden products from Europe, KidKraft has opened a distribution warehouse in the Netherlands. KidKraft can now ship direct from Rotterdam to leading retailers and can also drop ship smaller quantities to specialty retailers, catalogues and internet sites. All products have been tested to meet the EN71 Toy Safety Standard and there are no minimum orders on the European product line.

KidKraft is a design and development company that not only creates toy and gift items for its own brand, but offers private brand labels too. Since the company was first established, its goal has been to create and manufacture distinctive products that will have an impact on customers and boost sales. KidKraft has stayed true to this vision over the years and has grown into one of the leading manufacturers of wooden toys and room accessories, distributing products beyond the United States and Europe to Japan, Korea, Canada, South America, Australia, Europe, Mexico, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

At London Toy Fair the company will officially introduce the KidKraft Europe product range.

Red Robin Toys - SJ26

After announcing a merger with Postman Pat, Red Robin Toys aims to bring a special delivery of volume sales and healthy margins to all its customers in Pencaster, Greendale and beyond in 2009.

Its range of traditional and fashionable Craft Kits will now carry the Postman Pat brand to further boost sales. The Monsters from the Swamp is another growing brand, with new sets and price points available in the Swamp Monsters range.

Never being a company to break with tradition, Red Robin is still the home of the original Wooden Tool Set, a must for every budding DIY enthusiast. Supplementing its wooden range, the company also offers a Double Sided Chalkboard Easel and a Traditional Wooden School Desk and Chair.

Inspired Gifts and Toys - SM10

Inspired Gifts and Toys is less than two years old and specialises in distributing sporting gifts and toys, such as All About Football, Terry Venables Title Chase and FT Champs.
It will also have construction products such as Cobi and StadiCo, board games like Wheeler Dealer and Cat Attack, and novelty products for the UK market on display.

Schleich - SJ60

Just one of many ranges to be extended this year is the Wild Life collection featuring zebras, giraffes, racoons and other wild animals. As with every Schleich piece, each figure represents the actual animal in its natural habitat, offering educational value.

Farm Life is another range with many new faces joining the line-up this year. There are Swabian pigs and a Simmental bull, cow and calf, together with new additions to Schleich’s already extensive horses range. But farms also need farm hands and a Stable Girl and Riding Instructor will be available complete with tools, together with a new modern-day Farmer and Farmer’s Wife.

One of Schleich’s most popular ranges, the World of Elves, has a number of new figures joining the line-up in the form three Sun Elves – Nimsay, Vialis and Surah. Each figure has striking wings and ornate clothing symbolic of its people. Each Elf comes with its own extra, such as a horse for Surah and a pink lilly pad for Vialis to float on.

Finally, a host of new figures has been added to other collections, too. These include the World of Knights with two fantasy knights on horseback and two foot soldiers dressed and ready to join the battle.

Art Meets Matter - GH89

Bookchase is the world’s first board game about books – according to the firm – which comes with a bookshelf, library card, bookshop and a set of tiny books to collect.

The first player to fill up their tiny bookshelf with six different books and head for home wins the game. Bookchase is a family game designed for anyone from six years upwards.

You can get your books in lots of ways, with players having to answer a question on anything from Homer to Horowitz, Proust to Pilkey, Dahl to Dickens. Easy to play, and lasting anything from 20 minutes to two hours, it’s a game of chance and skill. Each question card is accompanied by a piece of literary trivia, so you are guaranteed to learn something along the way.

Melissa and Doug - SJ50

US traditional toy specialist Melissa & Doug is launching its own UK operation at Toy Fair.

Having established itself as one of the most popular and best selling ranges of traditional toys in the US during the past 20 years, Melissa & Doug is looking to overseas markets to follow its rapid US domestic growth.

The UK was Melissa & Doug’s first entry into an overseas market through a distributor relationship with Flair, five years ago. Brian Bernstein, vice president of international sales, confirmed that Melissa & Doug feels that now is the right time to build the Melissa & Doug range through its own dedicated team, details of which will be announced shortly.

“We thank the Flair team for the successful launch of the Melissa & Doug brand and we look forward to the continued rapid growth of our business as a result of our own dedicated Melissa & Doug team working with a solid customer base established by Flair,” Bernstein commented.

Halsall - SA24

Halsall’s stand at Excel Toy Fair presents the company’s most extensive array of high profile licensed toy ranges for 2009.
Halsall will be showcasing its Toy Story range of wheeled toys, featuring popular characters both old and new. The range will support the new 3D theatrical releases of Toy Story 1 and 2 in cinemas towards the end of 2009 and spring 2010, followed by the highly anticipated Toy Story 3 release in summer 2010.

Consistently in the top three wheeled toy manufacturers in the UK, Halsall cements its competence in this category with brand new wheeled toy designs for Star Trek, the big action adventure movie release coming May 2009, and Hello Kitty, the tween fashion brand taking the girls market by storm. With The Simpsons continuing its reign as the most watched TV series in the world, Halsall also presents new Bart and Lisa scooters and protection.

In addition, there are extensions to existing wheeled ranges such as Fifi and the Flowertots, Baby Annabell and Baby Born, Hannah Montana, Roary the Racing Car, Spider-man, Scooby-Doo, JCB, WWE, Wall-E, Batman and Crazy Bones. With worldwide rights for the JCB brand, Halsall’s JCB range of vehicles, role-play and wheeled toys continues to build for success with many exciting new lines, as well as new girls pink JCB toys.

Halsall also has new musical and wooden toys for the Wonder Pets, the photo puppetry animation pre-school series about three singing classroom pets currently enjoying big ratings on Nick Jr. There are also new Diego and Dora the Explorer wooden toys to explore, as well as new additions to Fifi & the Flowertots prams, musical, wheeled and summer toys.

Another new range on show are the Peppa Pig role-play toys, wheeled toys and dolls prams. Andrew Coplestone, Halsall’s marketing director, comments: “Halsall’s unrivalled expertise as market leaders in dolls prams and pushchairs, as well as our number two position in the pre-school role-play market, has enabled us to develop a fantastic product offering for Peppa Pig which has already excited many of our retail customers. This popular character brand continues to go from strength to strength and Halsall’s innovative, brand-relevant approach is sure to excite little fans as much as watching the series itself.”
Elsewhere, the Chef’s Kitchen features realistic voice phrases, cooking lights and sounds to recreate the excitement of a real, busy chef’s kitchen. Boys and girls can take customers’ orders from the menu included and let chef get to work. With plenty of accessories to cook up a treat, chef can wash food and utensils in the sink with real running water, store ingredients in the play refrigerator, set the oven timer and watch the hob glow. The new Self Service Checkout with chip n pin machine features real scanning technology, interactive sound effects and voice phrases, recreating a real self-service check out. When playtime is over, it even packs away neatly into a compact carry case for tidy away and mobile play. Halsall’s role-play kitchen toys and accessories have been developed under the Belling brand, the number one cooking brand in the UK, providing realistic play value.

Halsall’s fully endorsed Science Museum range introduces many new sets for 2009, including a new Eco-Friendly range of green toys to teach curious minds about environmental issues and provide ways to get involved such as the new Recycling Bin, Eco-Composter, Solar Eco-House and Solar Speed Boat. There’s also a new Smart Electronic Interactive Globe providing a world of informative play, as well as new Exploring Kits to encourage learning with fun experiments to do at home.

Worlds Apart - SA20

Worlds Apart is introducing two brand new play-sets, doubling the size of its existing Dream Town collection. On display for the first time at Toy Fair, the Dream Town Gaskett’s Garage and Crystal Castle complement the existing Rose Petal Cottage and Cherry Blossom Stores play-houses and offer children the chance to experience hours of imaginative role-play entertainment.

Dream Town’s Gaskett’s Garage and accessories provide everything a budding mechanic needs to open their first garage. A double-sided role-play structure, the Garage features a drop-down work bench for storing tools and an air pump to keep tyres at full pressure. Gaskett’s Garage Dream Racer is the main accessory – made from sturdy MDF, the bonnet lifts up to reveal a realistic role-play engine that allows them to check the oil, pull out the spark plugs and remove the oil cap. Additional accessories include a Petrol Pump & Attendant’s Outfit and a Mechanics Tool Box.

Crystal Castle and its accessories is also on show; complete with a princess dress and tiara, the Castle even features in-built fairy lights for a touch of sparkle. Accessory sets include the Silver Sparkle Banqueting Set, Vanity Table and the Sitting Pretty Throne. Both these new Dream Town sets will benefit from strong marketing support including TV advertising and a PR and press campaign.

With the Mr Men licence on board for 2009, Worlds Apart’s new range of Mr Men Sit ‘n’ Giggle Talking Chairs feature Mr Bump, Mr Happy, Mr Tickle, Mr Rude and Little Miss Naughty and produce three comical phrases/sounds when sat on.

The range will also be backed with marketing support. And, with Toy Story destined to be big news from autumn, Worlds Apart has added this licence to its popular range of Ready Room items – Go Glow Light, Go Glow Time, Pop Up Cube Tidy, Cosy Sofa, Flip Out Sofa and Toddler Bed.

Bigjigs Toys - SM29

2009 Toy Fair sees the launch of over 150 new products to the already extensive Bigjigs Toy range.

The Bigjigs Rail selection goes from strength to strength and over 40 new items have been added since Toy Fair 2008. A range of individual engines and wagons are now available. The new Pink engine fills a gap Bigjigs is often asked about.
At the other end of the price scale is the Grand Central Station.

This large item offers excellent play value with extra accessories including four cars and a helicopter for the built-in heli pad. The firm is often asked for a shop rail display stand and this can be seen for the first time at the ExCeL show.
The Baby Bigjigs range has also grown – a new shape sorter and an baby walker will be launched at the show. The walker doubles up as an activity centre.

The market for role-play items is huge and Bigjigs has introduced a number of new food items. The range of Santa products has also been extended and a new range of single items, fruits, vegetables and savories will be available, along with a retail display stand for 30 items.

Hive Entertainment - GH1

Having sold over three million units in the UK last year, TYE’s Gacha Collections – distributed by Hive Entertainment – are showing no signs on letting up in 2009.

These pocket-money priced capsule toys proved to be something of a sales phenomenon over the past 12 months, with the most noted success coming from collections featuring licences such as High School Musical, Pokémon and Hannah Montana.

Toy Fair 2009 will see Hive Entertainment exhibiting a sneak preview into TYE’s release plans for the forthcoming year.
Among these will be new collections featuring Camp Rock, Hello Kitty, Winnie The Pooh and Animal Crossing. There will also be new updated collections on show from existing favourite licences such as Pokémon, Disney Pixar Cars and SpongeBob SquarePants.

GB Eye - SH2

GB Eye has been selling licensed film, music, branded and iconic images for over 22 years. GB’s products include posters, badge merchandise, postcard packs, prints, canvas and newly launched 3D lenticulars.

This latest product is enjoying success with titles from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United Football Clubs, Transformers, Camp Rock, WWE, Harry Potter, Rocky and Batman, plus new images from The Simpsons, Ben 10, Pokemon and more throughout the year.

 GB supplies over 3,500 stores, 2,200 of which have permanent poster racking. It also has exclusivity in all of the leading retail chains – including Asda, Borders Books, Clinton Cards, HMV, Morrison’s, Smyth’s Toys, Tesco, Toys R Us, and Tussauds.

Also for this year, the company has some major releases including Hannah Montana’s first movie, plus Star Trek 11, Transformers 2, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince.

Halilit - SJ10

The firm will be showing its Blue Box and Talentoy nursery and pre-school products on its stand for the first time. Sales of popular lines – including Blue Box Noggins and Clickeroos – have exceeded Halilit’s expectations and additions to the range are being planned.

An extensive line of musical instruments will also be on show, with 2009 seeing the introduction of new gift sets for babies, along with a Conga Drum which doubles up as storage for an assortment of instruments. There is also a CD of playalong music included.

The Edushape range of pre-school and water play products also boasts a number of new additions including the Happy Hippo storage solutoons for bath toys. The Magic Creations line of wet and stick bath products will also be bolstered.

All of Halilit’s products are designed to provide developmental opportunities through play and with the use of colour, textures and ingenious design, according to the company.

Paul Lamond - SE20

2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the Paul Lamond brand.
To celebrate this, the company is launching a new pre-school educational range under the Chimp and Zee Games brand consisting of six games and four puzzles.

In the existing pre-school area Postman Pat has been updated to Postman Pat SDS and there are three Gruffalo products – two puzzles and a snakes and ladders. The children’s range has six new Rainbow Magic puzzles, an updated Famous 5 range and the great Fundex Skill and Action game When Pigs Fly.

The family area sees the addition of Cacophony, a game of noisy charades, plus In a Pickle and Luck of the Draw, two American games. There is also Revelations, the game where the sins are revealed, but not the sinner.

Family puzzle additions include Where’s Wally, Alex Baird’s Impossible Puzzles and three dragon puzzles from The Dragon Chronicles.

The Murder Mystery Dinner Party range sees the return of Inspector McClue in A Vintage Murder, while the McNaughty range is extended with Sexual Secrets and Legless joining the Paul Lamond veteran, Pass-out.

Paladone Products - SG30

Paladone Products has recently reached an agreement with the Tech Group to distribute its range of paintball-style products. These are aimed at the eight-plus and 14-plus toy and gift markets and feature a range of brightly coloured handheld shooters and air pump action guns. The paintballs themselves are water soluble and bio degradable. The paintball range is sold as target games with each set including a pair of safety glasses and a wipe off target.

The current portfolio of products will be enhanced in the spring by a brand new combat concept with a chalk dart technology called Wipeout. This features a range of guns that fire chalk-tipped darts. The chalk mark wipes off easily, and each dart can be fired over 30 times.

Graeme Carr, managing director of Paladone, comments: “Paladone has built up a strong reputation within the gift industry of developing innovative gifts and delivering an excellent level of service to our customers. We strongly believe that we will be able to offer the toy industry that same level of service with the Tech Group range, as well as offering them our own innovation from our existing ranges."

Mark Bradshaw, chief executive of the Tech Group, adds: “Paladone is the ideal partner for us in the UK with a fantastic reputation with gift retailers and a growing presence in the toy sector. Its reputation for delivering excellent quality of service combined with the strength of the range is just what we need to re-launch in the UK. This allows Tech Group to focus on the rapidly growing US market where the ranges are currently selling tremendously well with both Target and Wal-mart.”

Marbel - SN1

Last year’s Toy Fair was a huge success for Marbel, meaning the company will be returning to the event with a stand that has increased in size dramatically.

The new booth allows Marbel to exhibit the Plan Toys range to full effect. Made from sustainable and preservative free rubberwood, Plan Toys products meet the latest standards and won numerous awards during 2008.

Marbel will be featuring over 60 new Plan Toys products, with this show representing the first chance to take a look. A sneaky peak of the up and coming Plan Toys products that will be released over the next 12 months will also be on offer.

Imagination Games - SM20

Following a successful year of growth, Imagination Games is now looking to expand distribution.

With a packed catalogue of products across all board game categories, the company will spend 2009 further developing its own games whilst maximising sales of licensed products. Its Top Gear board game has been a success in 2008 and a potential new TV campaign for 2009 should further drive sales.
The Planet Earth DVD game continues to be a focus for 2009 as does Catchphrase DVD, Tetris 3D cube and Beat the Parents
 To maximise its presence in the retail market, the company has reviewed its current ranges and pricing to provide a more focused product offering.

It has devised express versions of the Family Trivia Beat the Parents games, while its range of DVD games has now been re-engineered to deliver gameplay for under £10.

 Card games continue to be a focus for Imagination and the range is expanding to deliver gameplay at impulse price points. New games coming through ready for launch at the Toy Fair including Carol Vorderman’s Tribond and Quelf Card Game.

Marvin’s Magic - SJ16

The ever popular Marvin’s Magic Made Easy category has a new look, with many additions especially aimed at youngsters just starting out in magic.

Following the success of Freaky Body Illusions, Marvin’s Magic is launching two more sets in its popular Freaky Illusions range – Freaky Eyeball Illusions and Freaky Finger Illusions. These will retail at around £10 and £15. Both will appeal to those aged eight and upwards, with an innovative variety of special effects and illusions – all highly visual and creating maximum impact.

The Freaky Eyeball Illusions includes incredible eye-popping illusions such as the Hypnotic Eyes, Multiplying and even Floating Eyeballs.

Marvin’s Magic has teamed up with the massively popular BBC TV series The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Following the success of the first series, the second and third long-running series will be aired throughout 2009. The new series starts from January and the third series will be shown from the autumn through until Christmas.

It has a huge following of budding magicians on CBBC and will be given the most popular and prestigious Sunday morning slot on BBC 1. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Magic Kit will feature special tricks from the series. Marvin himself featured in the show as the special guest magician and expert on mind magic. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice follows a group of boys and girls at a special magic school.

Learning Resources - SK15

Learning Resources has over 100 new products on show at this year’s Toy Fair. 2009 sees the launch of new additions to its Pretend & Play range, including a Bakery Set for children to strengthen basic early skills and stir up some cooking fun.

Encouraging role-play and creativity, this set will get children cracking eggs, sorting fruit pie pieces and rolling out pretend cookie dough.

Meanwhile, the Funny Phone is an electronic character packed full of over 300 questions which get children involved in a multitude of activities from tongue twisters to rhyming and singing.

The Gears!Gears!Gears! range always delivers a construction challenge, especially with its new addition – a school-themed set. Children build their creativity and design their own school and playground of colourful spinning gears.

Older children can go head-to-head with Number Knockout, a fast-paced electronic dice game. Children race to knock out numbers and practice mental maths as the game’s cheering crowd and boxing-style announcer add to the excitement.

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