Category Archives: Toys

Lego Launches New Forma Models on Indiegogo



To much surprise, Lego is launching the first of a new range of models on Indiegogo. Called Lego Forma, it’s aimed squarely at adults,  “Lego Forma is a premium Lego experience designed for adults looking for a fun, engaging way to reconnect with their creative side.

The first model in the Forma line is a fish. The base model is a koi carp, but cleverly the model can be skinned into a shark, a colourful koi and an “ink” koi. This last one is a skin that you colour in yourself. Yes, Lego is getting in on the adult colouring fad as well. Two for one!

The Lego fish is engineered to move realistically when the crank is turned. Consisting of 294 pieces, it stands 27.9 cm high, 12.7 cm wide and 25.4 cm long. The model costs US$45 with the koi skins priced at $15 and $16 for the shark skin.

There is a Super Box set which contains the Lego fish plus the four skins at US$85. Delivery is expected in January 2019 and is currently only available to US and UK addresses.

This a short-run product, but Lego are still making 20,000 models. Not sure you’d call it a limited edition but it’ll undoubtedly become collectable. There’s a limit of one purchase per backer but I’d still get in quick.

As with all campaigns on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, you’re buying the promise of a product though I’d say there’s a very high chance of delivery on this one.

I’ve ordered mine.


Hasbro Trademarked the Scent of Play-Doh



Hasbro has announced that it has trademarked the scent of Play-Doh. The nostalgia-inducing smell of Play-Doh has become one of the few active scent trademarks in the United States. A news release was posted on the Hasbro website on May 18, 2018.

Today, Hasbro announces that the iconic Play-Doh scent, known and loved by fans around the world, is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a registered trademark of the brand. The trademarked scent, which Hasbro formally describes as a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough, makes the Play-Doh brand one of the few active and certainly most famous scent trademarks in the country.

The news release points out that the Play-Doh brand started in 1956, and that the brand and the Play-Doh scent have become increasingly recognizable among children, parents, and grandparents. The “recipe” for the Play-Doh compound has remained largely unchanged, ensuring that when a container is opened, it has the same scent that many people grew up with.

Hasbro is asking fans of Play-Doh to celebrate its newly registered scent by sharing which favorite childhood memories the smell of Play-Doh evokes for them. Hasbro would like people to use #PLAYDOHSCENT and to be part of the conversation on their Instagram and Facebook.


Shoot-Em Up with the Bitmore AR Gun



Looking for a last-minute stocking filler? Take a look at the Bitmore AR Gun. It’s a Bluetooth-enabled toy gun for a bit of smartphone shoot-em up action. Let’s take a quick look….

The AR Gun is a bright blue wooden toy gun with a smartphone mount on the top. The idea is simple. Put the smartphone in the mount, load up the app, pair the gun with the phone over Bluetooth and start shooting aliens, planes, tanks, spiders, dinosaurs and sharks. What’s there not to like?

Working with both iOS and Android phones, it’s almost as straightforward as it sounds. The app is branded “Geekplay AR Gun” in the Google Play Store rather Bitmore but it’s not that hard to figure out and get it loaded. Mind you, it’s a big app at a little under 300MB.

The gun needs batteries and these aren’t supplied, so you’ll need to have 2x AAAs to hand but once inserted, you’re all set.

The AR Gun app takes care of the Bluetooth pairing within the app itself and the gun goes into pairing mode when the trigger is held down for a few seconds. Once paired, the app offers around a dozen games that are variations of AR and 3D worlds.Unsurprisingly, all involved shooting in some shape or form. A few of the games use the camera (AR) to show the room or space around you and superimpose planes, aliens and fish (not in the same game), whereas other games exist in their own world. Other than that the apps work in the same way: moving the gun moves your point of view or vehicle. Pulling the trigger shoots.

A few screenshots will give you the idea. Click on any of them for a bigger picture.

     

   

The graphics in most of the games are surprisingly good but the app seems to be a little bit of a work in progress. Two of the games didn’t work as they were under maintenance and there were a few features, such as a login screen, that seemed to be there for future developments. Some instructions wouldn’t go amiss too as I couldn’t work out what I was supposed to shoot in the aquarium game – sharks, lionfish, orcas, parrotfish? Who’s the baddy?

The AR Gun itself is a slightly odd mix of high and low-tech, being made from 3 mm sheets of wood, and while I like that the gun is wooden, the grip and the trigger could benefit from being rounded off to make it a little more comfortable to use.

But let’s not overthink this – it’s simply a fun toy. If shooting aliens is your thing, the AR Gun is priced under GB£20 and available direct from Bitmore or Urban Outfitters.

Thanks to Bitmore for supplying the AR Gun for review.


Cleveland Comic-Con 2017



Wizard World’s Cleveland Comic-Con kicked off its third annual show this past weekend, with a pretty good crowd. Fans gathered at the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland to get their fill of comics, art, toys and several celebs. Famous faces included: Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Charisma Carpenter and Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and more. Wizard World Comic Con Cleveland will return, March 23-25, 2018.


Real and Virtual Play Combine with Sam’s Curious Cars



Learning is best done when fun and what’s more fun than play? Sam’s Curious Cars fall right into this sweet spot and Todd gets an interactive demo from Joachim.

Sam Labs have created a series of component-based toys (think chassis, wheels, motors) that can be built up to make a vehicle – in this instance a car. The components are compatible with Lego bricks, so builders can really express themselves.

Once constructed, the car can be controlled by other components, like a switch for power and a slide for left and right. The car can also be controlled by an app and for advanced learners, the cars behaviour can be built up using control blocks in the app. It’s designed to introduce some of the key concepts of programming without actually having to code.

There’s a series of six different sets, priced from US$99 and the Curious Cars are $199. Additional sensors and motors can be bought separately. Available now from the Sam Labs shop and other good retailers.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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RollyCat Pet Toy at Gadget Show Live



RollyCatCats are possibly the laziest animals on the planet but they shouldn’t be completely indolent. They need regular exercise but it needs to be on their terms and most cats won’t go on a lead for walkies. At Gadget Show Live, Raido from Wazombi Labs tells me about RollyCat, the world’s first cat companion and fitness tracker.

RollyCat BallThe RollyCat is small remote controlled ball which coaxes the cat into play. It can work in two modes, one manual and one automatic. In the manual mode, the owner can control the ball from his (or her) smartphone via a RollyCat app. In automatic mode, the RollyCat teases the cat with the occasional movements to encourage the cat to play.

RollyCat AppMuch like any activity tracker, the cat’s play is tracked and recorded in the smartphone app. At the end of the day, the owner can review the cat’s activity and see whether the pussy has been getting enough exercise for the breed, age and weight. The RollyCat learns from the cat’s behaviour to encourage it to play at the most active time.

The RollyCat charges wirelessly via a small pad and communicates with the owner’s smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The ball can go around 4 days between charges.

Regrettably, RollyCat’s Indiegogo campaign didn’t reach its target of $50,000 so the project is on hold. If there’s any further news on the RollyCat, I’ll update GNC readers when I hear.