Avengers, Spider-Man, GI Joe, Transformers, Battleship and More!
On Saturday, February 11, SuperHeroHype attended Hasbro's 5th Annual Toy Fair Collector-Fan Event at the Times Center in New York City. 2012 is a big year for Hasbro as they have two summer blockbuster movies based on two of their long-running toy lines, a couple of animated television shows and a video game based on a third and are handling toylines for what are expected to be two of the biggest movies of the summer. It was a little hard to be overly-excited going into the event this year because so much had already been released and leaked beforehand, but it's always great to get up close to these toys and see them first-hand since they're so much more impressive when on display in the Hasbro showroom then they are in the product pictures. Below, you can read an overview of this year's presentation and descriptions of some of Hasbro's 2012 toy line that we took hundreds of pictures of while visiting the showroom.
One of Hasbro's biggest 2012 initiatives that wasn't covered in the usual presentation was what Hasbro is doing to update their time-tested board game "Battleship" in conjunction with the Universal movie Battleship directed by Peter Berg (Hancock). They've reworked the standard game so it now has the navy taking on the aliens using pieces that look exactly like the alien ships from the movie, both in standard and electronic versions. As mentioned previously, Activision is developing a first-person shooter console video game for Xbox, Playstation and Wii that will allow you to fight the battle from the movie at sea, on land and in the air, but Hasbro has also been developing a game for the iPad, one that uses patented technology, essentially battleship playpieces, that one uses to interact with the screen. Where Battleship is really expanding heavily is into the world of Hasbro's Kre-O building block toys with lots of vehicles including a full-size navy ship with firing parts and it can be opened up to see the interiors. There's also a lot of corresponding "lifestyle wear" including backpacks and shirts from Rocawear, our favorite one sporting the line "99 Problems But My Ship Ain't One."
You can see a demo of what this looks like in the video below and then check out all the new Battleship-related toys and games in the gallery below it.
Now we'll get into the actual presentation, essentially two hours of Hasbro going through their entire line of toys coming out in 2012, starting with Hasbro Studios President Stephen Davis, who came out to talk about some of the TV shows based on their toylines including "Pound Puppies," "My Little Pony" and "Transformers Prime," most of which air on The Hub. He then showed some stuff from the second season of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and their new show "Kaijudo: Rise of the Dual Masters," and to be perfectly honest, we thought maybe they were starting out with this as a joke, because they must have known this wasn't really the right audience for the older male toy fans who were there more for the action figures.
That leads us into Hasbro Studios' two animated "Transformers" shows on The Hub including the brand-new "Transformers: Rescue Bots," a 2D animated show that's geared for younger kids and will have a corresponding line of toys for kids from 2 to 6 to coincide with the show, some of the larger pieces being the Mobile HQ and Fire Station Prime playsets. The second season of "Transformers Prime" will start on February 18, with the DVD and Blu-ray of Season 1 out on March 6, so they have lots of new toys to go with that as well, part of what Jerry Jivoin and Joshua Lamb from the Transformers team came out to go over next. Hasbro's Transformers initiative is still a big deal for the company without a new Michael Bay movie this year, as seen by the introduction of the "Transformers: The Ride-3D" theme park ride, one which already opened in Singapore, with a second opening at Universal Studios Hollywood in May. Transformers collectors will probably want to get to it since Hasbro is offering a number of exclusives (at least in terms of packaging) through the gift shop.
The smaller-scale Cyberverse line will be introducing a new Maximus scale in the fall starting with a giant Optimus Maximus playstation that will all you to combine all of the Cyberverse toys and vehicles. They'll also be releasing some new Cyberverse vehicles - they're putting out a Star Hamer with Wheeljack and an Energon driller with a spinning drill that includes Knockout from "Transformers Prime."
The next big thing for 2012 is Hasbro's new line of Transformers toys dubbed "Robots in Disguise," the first wave out March 1, which offer new toolings of old favorites with more detail, but the key thing is that they offer moveable features that add to gameplay. They'll include the likes of Ratchet, Arcee, Knockout and Hot Shot, but the larger Voyager series will have Optimus and Megatron with weapons that light up. Starscream and Bulkhead wil come in Wave 2, and then in the fall, they're introducing the even more elaborate Weaponizers, larger bots that have even more spinning objects that come out from them.
Another big thing this year is the introduction of the Transformers Universe MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game being done with Jagex, which will debut in September. They showed a trailer which featured the rather distinctive vesions of the Autobots and Decepticons, which one assumes will lead to even further toys from Hasbro.
Another major part of the expanded Transformers world is the Kre-Os building block line that was introduced last year. They showed a funny animated commercial, dubbed "My ride is better yours," that used the Kre-O bricks to do the classic scenario of two cars at a stoplight showing off for each other, except the Kre-O one transforms into a robot and does all sorts of fancy moves. The new wave of Kre-O Transformers toys will include a storyline running between them called "The Quest for Energon" and they'll offer Energon cubes with the models, but the real showstopper is the Kre-O Devastator (right), which is the giant combinor Decepticon made up of six separate Constructicons.
By the way, we're big fans of Kre-O and while you can see our own photos for "Battleship" and "Transformers" in their separate sections you can also see Hasbro's full line of vehicles in the Kre-O Gallery.
Another new take on the Transformers comes with their new Bot Shots battle game, which feature 44 smaller robots which can be launched at each other. When they collide, they explode open into a rock-paper-scissors type game with each bot having power scales that can be used to figure out who wins each battle. These will be launching on March 1 with an online game to coincide with the physical tabletop game, the Bot Shots will be offered at 5 dollars each with special launchers and 3-packes available, as well as special game packs showing that Hasbro really are putting a lot of thought into developing this game.
Lastly, there is Tranformers in the video game world with the Activision/High Moon Studios game "Fall of Cybertron" coming out in September, and Matt Tieger from High Moon coming out to show some new images from the game including some of the new environments like the Sea of Rust and the Insecticon Hives. That led into images of some of the new combiner characters, Blastoff, Swindle, Brawl, Vortex and team leader Onslaught who will combine to form the first playable combiner in the game, the absolutely enormous robot Bruticus. To give us some idea of what it's like playing Bruticus, they showed some gameplay video that was quite impressive, with Bruticus invading a fortress with hundreds of smaller robots and vehicles and guns attacking and using all sorts of means to break through. Bruticus wields a laser blaster but he also can take out enemies by smashing the ground or just punching any adversaries since his fist is almost as big as many of the robots. Vortex's helicopter blades which make up Bruticus' left shoulder also act as a shield.
Watching that video made us think these Cybertron video game characters would make great toys, and sure enough, Hasbro is well ahead of us, having already planned two waves of figures based on the game in their Generations line coming out in the fall, including Wave 2 which offers all of the Combaticons that you can combine into the large-scale Bruticus (left). Hasbro has plans on continuing the line into 2013 with 40 more toys leading up to the 30th Anniversary of Transformers in 2014.
You can see pictures of all the things discussed above in the gallery below as well as images from "Fall of Cybertron" and the new toys here.
Next up was the G.I. Joe team who have an exciting year with the summer release of Paramount's GI Joe: Retaliation, the sequel to the 2009 hit GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, this one focusing on a new team of Joes and a differnet story. Hasbro is offering a new toy line to tie into the movie, although they promised the "Retaliation" line would be a leaner line with roughly 50 figures and 9 vehicles including Comic-Con exclusives. These will hit shelves in late May early June, and one thing that was very clear, especially after they showed the theatrical trailer-there are a LOT of ninjas in the new G.I. Joe movie and much of the gameplay with the new toys ties in with the mountain-side battle that's seen in the trailer.
First up, we were shown some of the new 3.75" Joes including Dwayne Johnson's Roadblock with cannon and new molds of Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander with new helmet. There's also a new Duke, as played by Channing Tatum, Storm Shadow and Zartan with multiple masks. The first wave of troop builders will include a G.I. Joe and Cobra Trooper and the Red Ninjas seen in that aforementioned mountain scene.
Wave 2, out in July, will be more accurate to the movie characters, having Ray Stevenson's Firefly with a weaponized Sled and Flint, as played by D.J. Controna. There will be another figure of Dwayne Johnson called the "Battle-Kata Roadblock" which has special "knuckles" that various weapons can be attached to. There's also a new "Battle Kana" line which are very special weaponized characters we'll discuss below. Wave 2 will also include Ninja Duel Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow with white camouflage and a zipline.
The G.I. Joe figure everyone's going to be waiting for comes with Wave 3 in August and that's Bruce Willis' character, G.I. Joe founder Joe Colton (right), who'll be joined by Lady Jaye as well as more troop builders of Alley Viper, Cyber Ninja and Dragon Ninja. (See what we mean about ninjas?)
Wave 4 takes us full-on ninja with the first toy based on Elodie Young's character Jinx, who actually is called Kim Akashikage in the toy line for legal reasons. She's joined by Blind Master, the character played by Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, and he actually requested that his character have a 9-rings Dynasty Sword and a traditional Chinese martial arts hat. Wave 5's army builders, out in October, will include the Crimson Guard and Night Viper.
There are a bunch of three-pack sets including the Ninja Showdown, which includes Snake Eyes and the Red Ninja, as well as a Night Ops showdown set including agent Mouse and Sgt. Ariborne. Wave 2 will have the Cobra invasion team with Storm Shadow and a Cobra Invasion trooper.
Vehicles have always played a huge part in the popularity of the G.I. Joe world, and this year's offerings aren't going to disappoint with a Wheel-blaster bike featuring Firefly, a Ninja Speed Cycle with Snake Eyes in Wave 1. Wave 2 has a vehicle for Flint, a Cobra Fangboat with Swamp Viper, a Ninja Commando 4x4, and in Wave 2, a Tread Ripper Tank with Clutch. The larger Delta Vehicles including Ghost Hawk II and Cobra Hiss Tank with zipline accessories and a Ninja combat cruiser with Nightfox.
There will also be 10" Ninja Commandos versions of Roadblock and Snake Eyes in June, which play into the Battle Kata motif as both have vests that can be accessoried with their quick-draw weapons, including guns and swords. In the world of roleply, they're offering a Battle-Kata Blaster, Ninja-Chucks (made of foam!) as well as a replica of the Blade of Justice used by Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. They also are offering a Ninja Commando Blaster that shoots out foam darts. Kids who love ninjas can also enhance their play experience with Snake Eyes Ninja Gear, which inclues ninja throwing stars (plastic without sharpened blades, we imagine) and masks of both Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.
Lastly, they showed off some of the variants and exclusives they'll be offering at Comic-Con this year including Kim Arashikage and a combined Joe-Transformers Showckwave HISS Tank with Destro in a purple Decepticon outfit as well as constructicon B.A.T. agent.
We're going to jump ahead to the Marvel Presentation and come back to the new "Star Wars" toys, just because we think those will be of the most interest with Hasbro making toylines around Marvel's The Avengers and Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man this year.
The Avengers toys will start rolling out on March 1 with various figures based on Iron Man, Cap, Hulk and Thor, both in 3.75" movie version as well as in 10" electronic versions with sounds that throw their shields or hammers or other objects. Many people at the presentation were questioning the black-armored Iron Man wondering if Tony Stark might be donning the stealth suit in The Avengers, but nope. A little research made it clear that the black "reaction armor" in the new line is actually part of Hasbro's "concept" series. Wave 3 will finally offer Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson Black Widow figures as well as the aliens from The Avengers that no one can figure out whether they're Skrulls or Frost Giants or something new and different. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury will finally get his own action figure with Wave 4.
Vehicles will include a Cap-centric Assault Tank and an Assault Jet for Iron Man, but the real excitement comes from the introduction of the actual Avengers Quinjet in toy form as well as the enormous S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarier playset (left), which will hit on August 1, and it has enough space to hold just about every single Avenges figure and vehicle.
Again, you can see pictures of all of this in the gallery below.
Besides the usual action figures, they're also offering a number of electronic toys including a remote-controlled "Speed Climbing Spider-Man" that literally can crawl up and move around on walls using vacuum technology, as well as a mechanized "Mega Web Shooting Spider-Man" that shoots webs, both of these available in the fall. You can watch video demos of both of these below.
Besides toys featuring Spider-Man's new costume from the movie, they're also offering a very realistic-looking figure based on The Lizard in Wave 2, which promises more movie-authentic figures. We were particularly intrigued by a Spidey in a black costume with a red mask and chestplate, which is very different from the classic Spider-Man "Venom" costume. Again, this may be a concept design but it's a very cool take on a stealth costume for Spider-Man.
Next we have Marvel Universe, which essentially brings characters from Marvel's comic books into the toy world, and they're on Series 3 of the popular Marvel Universe 3.75" figures. Wave 1 offers Ultimate Spider-Man (with a variant version of the new Ultimate Spidey Miles Morales in his costume), Kraven the Hunter, Beta Ray Bill, the Astonishing Beast and Hulk, while Wave 2 will have the Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Punisher, Kang and the recently-introduced Future Foundation Spider-Man. (The variant version of that will be the little-seen Paperbag mask version of Spider-Man that was introduced to the line on a bet apparently.)
Future waves will include Puck from Alpha Flight with Snowbird, Angel from the X-Men, Hercules, Nova and Nightwing from the Defenders, as well as Professor X, Blastaar and Jubille in Wave 4. They gave a tease of what's to come in 2013 with a sneakpeek at a more obscure Marvel character who apparently was in demand, the Marvel UK character Death's Head. New team packs will finally introduce toys based on The Inhumans with Karnak, Black Bolt and Medusa as well as a new X-Men team pack as well as a number of two-packs.
The next series of Marvel Legends will offer a build-a-figure promotion for Galactus herald Terrax then Wave 2 will offer an Arnim Zola build a figure and it even has a varient piece with a Red Skull on his chest screen. It will include the Big Time Spider-Man (the Tron-like sonic suit), and the Wrecking Crew's Piledriver, with his variant chase figure being Piledriver, plus the Madame Masque will have the variant chase figure of Madame Hydra. This will also be the first introduction of the Grant Morrison-created X-Men character Fantomex (left), a new bald Blade, and Mystique with lots of guns in Wave 3. The sneak peek they gave for the 2013 line is Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme.
Like with the Transformers Bot Shots, Hasbro are introducing trying out new ways of using the Marvel characters which are called Bonka Zonks, tiny playable heads that can be stacked and played with in different ways, but rather than explain them, why not watch them in action below?
You can see some of the Marvel Universe toys below.
Now we'll go back to the Star Wars Team, which is mainly doing figures for the "Clone Wars" animated television series, which is onto its fourth season with the focus being on 3.75" figures with light-up light sabers and new battle packs for the Duel on Naboo and Bespin Battle. The big reveal though was the large-scale Trade Federation MTT (Multi Troop Transport) vehicle which includes 20 Battle Droids—16 that mechanically come out and retract into the MTT—as well as an Obi Wan Kenobi figure. They went through Wave 6 and 7 of the vintage 3.75" figures, which will include realistic versions of Ahsoka and ObI Wan from “Clone Wars” as they might appear in a live action movie.
Hasbro always offers cool Star Wars exclusive at Comic-Con and this year, they're going to create a new "Kenner Lost Line" with six figures in a "Carbonite Freezing Chamber" multi-pack with one figure from each movie. As a Comic-Con exclusive, they're offering a special variant of Jar Jar Binks (the Episode 1 figure), which is a Carbonite-frozen Jar Jar based around the joke created by a fan that ended up living at Skywalker Ranch. The other figures include clone troopers from Episodes 2 and 3, a sandtrooper from Episode 4, Princess Leia from Episode 5 and Darth Vader from Episode 6, all of which will be available at retail (separately) afterwards with the special "Kenner" packaging they've created for the line.
In 2013, Hasbro are finally going to introduce a figure based on Mara Jade Skywalker, Luke's wife from the New Republic, who won the Fans Choice Poll of which "Star Wars" figure fans wanted to see.
Lastly for Star Wars, they're offeing a new way to play Star Wars with the new Amp'd line, which are essentially customized vehicle toys launching with an Assault on Death Star playkit that offers a customizable Tie Fighter and X-Wing fighter with lots of parts and weapons that can be used to create different vehicle options. Future vehicles will include an AAT with Battle Droid Commander, a Jedi Starfighter and AT-RT, and it's a bit like the Kre-Os where there will be roughly twenty different vehicles with different pricepoints.