Fun new products from the annual toy show

Consumer Reports News: February 29, 2012 05:16 PM

February may be the shortest month of the year but it packs a pretty heavy punch! There’s Valentine's Day, President's Day, the Super Bowl, and of course my eagerly awaited excursion to the annual American International Toy Fair.

Held in mid-February this year at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, this is the largest toy trade Show in the western hemisphere. It had more than 1,100 exhibitors and introduced more 100,000 products.

I could never have survived such a huge show without my dedicated and playful associate Courtney Pennicook. Here’s a snapshot of what we saw.

The toy fair was huge on movies! To coincide with the release this May of Men in Black 3 Jakks Pacific will be introducing the MIB neuralizer. Maybe it was used on you so you don’t recall that the neuralizer was that device in the movie that erased memory. Although the one from JAKKS can’t do that, it does feature Will Smith's voice as well as other sounds and lights. For $10 it's an affordable role-playing accessory. There’s also an MIB Toy Atomizer and MIB3 Secret Agent Role Play Set (with a badge, toy gun and sunglasses).

The highly anticipated The Avengers movie is coming out this summer. (Can’t wait!) Hasbro is introducing The Avengers Hawkeye Big Bad Bow for $25, the Captain America Brigade Blaster and the Flying Shield for $10.

Jakks Pacific also has dress-up sets for $14. Want to be Spider-Man? Check. Iron Man? Check. Captain America and Hulk too!

We had fun seeing Lego’s line of Super Heroes too—The Avengers mini figures and building sets with a superhero theme like the one shown here.

Battleship is another action-packed movie slated for release this Spring. Hasbro is introducing several Battleship-themed toys. My personal favorite is the Classic Battleship movie edition game—it's a two-player "hit or miss" game that retails for $20. It comes with a hard carrying case that makes it a nice travel game as well. It will be out this April.

Action movies aren’t just for boys anymore! To that end we have Disney-Pixar’s Brave, coming out in June. Brave is an animated movie that stars “the impetuous Merida” who “defies an age-old custom and inadvertently unleashes chaos, forcing her to discover the meaning of true bravery before it’s too late.” Mattel will introduce a line of Merida dolls and play sets this fall for girls to be able to recreate scenes from the movie. The price will range from $15 to about $27.

Ahhh—the classic Star Wars. This month they’re releasing The Phantom Menace in 3D. Hasbro is offering the Ultimate FX Lightsabers to help your kids role-play. Lightsabers have always been a hit with the four boys in my home. The new ones feature “progressive light-up blade with vibrant LED lighting, allowing kids to experience the FORCE in a whole new way” —I predict my kids will certainly use them time and time again. For $35, your kids can use them too.

Lego’s is offering Star Wars fans 12 new sets for 2012 with classic characters (mini figures) and sets from these legendary films. Prices range from $10 for a basic set to $120 for a very substantial one.

If you thought we were done with action movies-think again! Two other highly awaited movies are Batman The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man. This summer Mattel will introduce several movie-inspired figures. The Batman Power Attach Deluxe Figure Assortment impressed us. Each character has its own signature move and comes with a weapon and a villain target card. Suggested price is $15. As for Spidey, this May Hasbro is introducing a collectible figure in his form as well as a larger-scale figure with web-shooting abilities. The Lizard, Spider-Man’s nemesis in this latest film will be introduced as a figure alongside Spidey.

Check out our Buying Advice (free) and Ratings (available to subscribers) for a wide range of products for babies and kids. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
—Ina Gozenpud

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