Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tweet to Win an OYO Figure!

We've got a fast, easy giveaway on Twitter two win an OYO Major League Baseball minifigure!

Just follow @toywizdotcom on Twitter & tweet:

I entered to win an OYO MLB minifigure! Follow @toywizdotcom & retweet to enter! Details:

Entrants MUST adhere to Twitter Terms of Service. Multiple entries (retweets) in a single day will not be accepted. Anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible. No purchase necessary, US Residents only, ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Free figure given away every Wednesday starting 3/28/2012 through contest end date (TBA).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Playtime: Is there an app for that?

Coming out of Toy Fair last month, one thing really struck all of us in the industry: everybody's on the app train this year. A huge number of toys are very cleverly integrated with iPhones and iPads or other devices, and many of the non-app-based toys are still supported by them in various ways. But is that all there is to toys in 2012 - computer and device screens?

AppMATes Disney/Pixar Cars 2
First, there are some amazing app-based toys coming your way. I don't want this post to seem like I'm against app toys because they really are amazing. For example. AppMATes turns an iPad into a virtual world with cars you can "drive" on a moving surface. I love that!

Adventure Time Role Play Sword
But while the news is going to focus on these toys and kids will definitely clamor for them, there are a lot of more traditional toys coming out that aren't plugged-in at all. Sometimes, there is not an app for that, and it's a great idea to balance your smart-toy purchases with some clever-toys: ones that require imagination or activity, the old-fashioned way.

My favorite "analog" toy is from Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. Yes, it's a cartoon, but one that really seems to spark imagination. If your child watches the show at all, get the Role-Play Sword. There's just something about it...hand it to anyone and see if they don't immediately flourish it with a grin. You just can't help it!

Several other franchises are also keeping classic role-play in action. Thundercats, Ben 10, Star Wars, Power Rangers and The Avengers are all hot toy lines with great accessories that let kids BE the hero - not just watch one on a screen.

So a word to the wise: even though kids will be begging for all the latest apps and games, don't forget to add some offline fun to the mix. Some things never go out of fashion, and leaping around your bedroom with a towel for a cape and a shield is as much fun today as it was for your grandpa. Trust's fun even if you're not a kid.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who Else Wants War Machines?

It used to be that to get scale models of this quality, you'd either take up an expensive and time-consuming hobby or pay a model builder to create something for you. But we've got great new stock that's very affordable and features 83 amazing tanks, helicopters and airplanes in exquisite detail.

FORCES OF VALOR is our newest line of collectibles. These military machines are really incredible in detail and accuracy. Most have moving parts and they range from WWI to modern conflicts.

Available in scales from 1:32, 1:48 and 1:72.

Our full selection of 80+ models is available at 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We're Back in Town!

Some of you may have noticed that our blog went offline for awhile. We have switched over to Blogger, and I'm excited to have it all back here!

Of course if you were following our RSS feed, the old one will be dead so please be sure to re-subscribe here. We're going to be bringing a lot of news and action now!

I realize that most of our old images are broken, and I'll be trying to restore those as much as possible. It's time-consuming to relocate them all, so please bear with me there. I'm sorry about that!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Fish, Big Pond: The Newest Big Name in Action Figures to ReleaseMass Effect Series

Ever wish you could go back in time and start collecting the first figures from a top collectibles company? Who were the lucky or prescient early adopters who got the first McFarlane Toys or Sideshow Collectibles releases, and where were you when they launched? There's no sense dwelling on missed opportunities, but we're always on the lookout for the next big maker. We think we've found it. (View Mass Effect figures on our site by clicking here)

This spring, Big Fish Toys is entering the market with a new line of 8 Mass Effect figures. Formed in 2011 with "an A-list of action figure and toy industry veterans," Big Fish has already been working with video game companies, including the amazing Cole figure for SONY's release of  inFAMOUS 2. According to their press release, "When Bioware and Electronic Arts sought to bring previously-developed, yet unreleased Mass Effect action figures to market, Big Fish Toys was able to incorporate the team’s goals and craft a business agreement that allowed the project to move forward."

Not only are we anticipating some top-notch sculpts and paint in this premier series, but we're getting in-game content for Mass Effect 3 as well! A "downloadable content pack" will be included with each figure, and I believe that each content pack will be unique to that figure.  From Big Fish Toys' release, it sounds as though the content might not quite be set in stone yet, but they're shooting for weapons, characters, upgrades and modifications that will have an impact on game play, not just ornamental items.

The Mass Effect line promises to be  amazing. As described by Big Fish Toys:
The fully-articulated figures, ranging between 6 3/8” and 7 ¼”, will be intricately sculpted with collector-level paint decoration. They will be securely packaged in a clam-shell blister card. The figures will be manufactured at a vendor who has produced some of the top collector action figure lines of the last couple decades, and in fact produced the Cole piece for Big Fish. Figures should be available for sale by April 2012. As a bonus, each figure will include a downloadable content pack for the Mass Effect 3 multi-player mode (on PC and XBox) that could include powerful new weapons and new characters. The pack could also include character boosters, weapon modifications, and weapon upgrades to make your multi-player squad stronger.

At ToyWiz, we're anticipating a larger demand than is usual for a new label when these arrive. Pre-orders are available and will ship on arrival, scheduled for April, 2012.

So what do you think - are these figures going to be hot because of the quality we're expecting, because of the Mass Effect franchise, or because it's a ground-floor chance to get in on a collectibles label that might make it big in coming years? For me, all three factors make these a must-buy. But how about you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Action Pics of Action Figures: 9 Questions with Ed Speir!

If you're along with us here, on Flickr or on Facebook, you've already seen the work of Ed Speir, IV - our favorite action figure photographer. He'd tell you he's a hobbyist, but the results are all pro as far as we're concerned, and we can't get enough of his work. The feedback from his images on our site has been great, and a lot of you have been clamoring for more info. Ed very graciously agreed to introduce himself by answering a few questions!

How did you get your start with Photography?

I am a big fan of McFarlane Toys and joined their forum in 2001 or so. I saw posts from other forum members with photos of their new figures and it interested me greatly. I have always collected toys, but never thought of photographing them until joining the Spawn forum. I had a cheap Kodak 3.2 megapixel camera and just started taking random shots of the figures in my collection. At that point I had no lighting, tripod, backdrops, props...I would just take shots from my desk. A few years later I purchased a light tent with two positionable flourescent lights and a Kodak V1003 10 megapixel camera. I still use the light tent and lights, but I recently purchased a Canon T2i DSLR and am just starting to learn how to use it effectively.

How long have you been staging scenes with toys?

I have been taking toy photos for seven-eight years probably..and actually using props and backdrops for six or seven years.

What was the first figure you ever set up and photographed?

I can't remember the exact figure, but I'm sure it was one of the many versions of Spawn by McFarlane Toys.

Do you have specific sources for inspiration?

I don't have specific sources of inspiration per say...although I will say I like my shots a bit on the dark/moody side of things - similar to lighting in horror/sci-fi movies. You will rarely see a brightly lit shot from me. Some have even complained that my shots are too dark, but it adds more atmosphere in my opinion, and that's what I'm going for.

What made you decide to set up these intricate scenes for your figures and post them to Flickr?

The more shots I began taking, the more intricate they became. Instead of just shooting a static figure on my desk, I slowly began incorporating props and backdrops in my shots trying to create "movie scenes". I now have about 20 or so different props that I use in my photos, and I'm always on the lookout for more.

What's your favorite toyline and of that your favorite figure?

That's a tough one...but I've probably got to go with Bandai's S.I.C. (Super Imaginative Chogokin) figure line. These are hyper-detailed figures from the many Masked Rider/Kamen Rider television series that air in Japan. These generally have to be imported directly from Japan, although you can sometimes find them from online stores in the US. My absolute favorite figure has to go to Max Factory's Karas - basically a badass futuristic ninja from the anime of the same name. It happens to be super-rare as well, sometimes fetching $ 400- $ 500 on eBay. Not bad for a seven inch figure....

What was the single most important thing you've learned from this whole experience?

I have a somewhat stressful job...and over the years toy photography has become quite the stress reliever for me. It has a calming effect and lets me forget about work for a few hours and concentrate on the task at hand. That is definitely the most important thing I get out of this hobby.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to make dioramas for their figures?

Go to PetSmart, lol. Seriously, a large portion of my props are aquarium decorations purchased from some moss from craft stores and simple rocks from outside. I use various combinations of these items to get the desired diorama/background I need for the shot. I also use various buildings and other props picked up over the years as well. I will say that none of my "dioramas" are permanent - they are set up for specific photos and then dissassembled and rearranged as needed.

Have you ever considered trying for a photography job at Hasbro or some other toy company?

No, I have never considered photographing toys for a toy company. Quite honestly, I feel my work is too stylized to be used for "product shots" needed by these big companies and I don't think it would be a good fit. However, I definitely wouldn't turn them down if the opportunity presented itself!

Ed's work can be found on his Flickr photo stream, and is also featured on a growing number of product shots for!

Monday, January 16, 2012

5 Very Realistic Pictures of NECA's new Boar Predator Figure!

A HUGE thank you to Ed Speir, IV for these magnificent photos! More are incoming for new releases too, so keep watching! Click the image for a larger view, or click here to purchase one yourself!