What’s new in the world of toys

Last week, the American International Toy Fair was held in New York City. At this convention, all of the new toys for 2006 were revealed. It is only open to people in the industry and the press, and I fell into the latter category. There are some companies, though, that produce things that would hardly be considered toys. In fact, I’ll wager that many of my fellow geeks will be purchasing these items. Get ready for This Week in Geek’s review of Toy Fair 2006!

“Family Guy”: Peanut Butter Jelly Time Brian

“Family Guy” is an extremely hot property right now, and you’ve probably seen the action figures in places like Hot Topic and Spencer Gifts. They’re produced by a toy company called Mezco, and the fourth series is currently in stores. I saw hand-painted prototypes of the fifth and sixth series, and there were some really interesting selections, like Peter dressed as Gary the No Trash Cougar and “Greased Up Guy” (who comes with a cage). But if there is any figure that is going to cause excitement, it is Peanut Butter Jelly Time Brian from the sixth series.

Probably the most quoted bit from the show since it returned with new episodes, the figure is pretty simple: Brian dressed as a banana with maracas. However, the expression captured on Brian’s face really helps to recreate the moment in plastic, something Mezco is known for doing. The sixth series should be out some time this summer, with a price tag around $10.

“Lord of the Rings”: 12″ Legolas

While the movies were out, “Lord of the Rings” toys could be found just about anywhere, making both children and adult collectors extremely happy.

However, children are extremely fickle when it comes to toys, and so we haven’t seen any new stuff for “Lord of the Rings” in quite a while.

Sideshow has been putting out high-end “Lord of the Rings” collectibles since 2001. The company is renowned for its attention to detail and use of quality materials. This year, it has started producing 12″ action figures.

They are very articulated, allowing you to put them in different poses, and they have cloth outfits that capture just about every detail imaginable. The figures retail for about $50.

Legolas is a character that guys like because he’s cool, and girls like because Orlando Bloom is supposedly hot or something like that, so I figured this is the one worth mentioning. He’s available right now on sideshowtoy.com.

“Star Wars”: Mara Jade


I am a hardcore “Star Wars” fan, and I knew that this would get just about every other hardcore “Star Wars” fan excited.

There is one character from the expanded universe (to non-fans: things that aren’t in the movies) that is by far the most popular, and it’s Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand and Luke Skywalker’s wife.

Gentle Giant has been making mini-busts of “Star Wars” characters since 2002, and they are just about the hottest thing for collectors (some that sold for about $40 a couple years ago now sell for more than $300). The scanning technology used perfectly captures an actor’s likeness.

This has allowed them to make many of the classic “Star Wars” characters into miniature busts. However, this is the first time that Gentle Giant has produced a character that wasn’t in the movies. I was told that this is going to be an exclusive, meaning that it won’t be available at stores like Suncoast that normally carry them.

I guarantee you at least one person reading this article will have at least one of these things in his or her dorm room by the end of the year!