Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's regular round-up of all the latest and greatest toy news. This week: Pikachu wants to shock you, Lego returns to the galaxy far, far away with some new helmets, Batman techs up, and...Where’s Waldo? Well, he could be right on your shelf with a new action figure. Check it out!
When you release a line of buildable helmet replicas based on the Star Wars universe, it’s all but assumed that eventually, you’re going to add Anakin’s old man getup to the collection. Why Lego didn’t start with the fallen Jedi is beyond us, but starting in late April you’ll be able to build Darth Vader’s $70 helmet from 834 plastic bricks including a display stand with a name plaque for anyone who just emerged from a cave after 44 years and has no idea who he is. Vader is also joined by a cheaper, 471-piece Lego Scout Trooper helmet that’s not as elaborate, but somehow looks slightly more accurate to the screen-used props.
So spaketh the cycle: when Marvel has itself a new franchise to launch, it is in need of a good Hot Toys. And naturally, the figure maker is already delivering just in time for the start of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, adding the new look for the latter of our two Friends of Captain America (oh my). Bucky naturally comes with his shiny new arm, as well as a host of vibranium and non-vibranium hands for alternate posing, as well as a dagger and a machine gun for when punching someone with your robot arm just isn’t enough. As usual, the timely reveal doesn’t mean a timely release: you’ll have to wait till late 2022 for Bucky to skulk his way into your collection. [Hot Toys]
One of the best reasons to visit your grade school’s library was the Where’s Wally (pointlessly renamed Where’s Waldo in the U.S.) books that skipped words for page after page of gloriously busy illustrations that had you hunting for the striped shirt adventurer. Thirty-four years after they were first published we’re finally getting a trio of excellent Where’s Wally action figures courtesy of Blitzway.
If you’re going all out, the 1/6-scale, 13.75-inch tall Wally is the way to go as it includes a full fabric outfit, loads of travel accessories, a base that looks like a pair of stacked books, and a $189 price tag. There’s also a pair of more affordable 1/12-scale all vinyl Wally figures available: one that comes with all the accessories and Woof the dog for $99, and a version with just a cane and a shoulder bag for $59. They’re all available for pre-order now and are expected sometime in October.
It was a busy week for Lego with a bunch of new sets debuting including a 2,354-piece Space Shuttle Discovery and a couple of new Star Wars helmets featuring the one most fans only care about. They weren’t the only Star Wars releases, however. Up for pre-order on the Lego website for $60 is also a new 683-piece Imperial Probe Droid set standing over 10-inches tall (when attached to an included snow scene base) with posable arms and a sensor-laden dome on top. It’s in desperate need of a highly-detailed Lego Tauntaun and Han Solo to go with it, unless you’re really into reconnaissance droids with minimal screen time.
Embracing one of the few downsides to befriending a Pikachu Pokémon—the endless accidental and deliberate electric shocks—Takara Tomy has turned the franchise’s mascot into a skill-testing game. Pikachu’s yellow tail has been replaced with a conductive wire twisted into a complicated maze requiring players to guide a metal hook along its length without making contact lest they be shocked. Since it’s designed for kids there are no actual electric shocks delivered, just a vibration to indicate failure, but you don’t have to tell them that. The terror on their faces while they play is worth every last penny of its $35 price tag.
Can you ever have too many handheld electronic games? Of course not, what a ridiculous notion! So while everything from your computer to your tablet to your smartphone can play electronic versions of UNO, there’s now a dedicated handheld for that too. Or, more accurately, there’s now an upgraded dedicated handheld for that too because Basic Fun’s new $20 electronic UNO is an update to an older design from Mattel that featured a monochromatic segmented LCD screen and very basic graphics. The new version features a full-color screen which seems vital to actually playing UNO given the colorful cards are part of the gameplay. Up to three computer opponents can be challenged with two different skill levels, although playing a draw four on a computer is admittedly not as satisfying as playing one on a friend or family member.
Just in time for the Caped Crusader’s anniversary next week, Spin Master has released a new look at its 4-inch line of Bat-Tech action figures. The line includes souped-up versions of Batman, Batwoman, Robin, and the Joker (as well as two super-rare color variants for the Dark Knight and his greatest foe), but the intriguing addition is each figure’s accessories. Three come with a figure, each one blind-boxed so you don’t know what you’re getting, whether it’s armor, tech, or weapons to swap and match up between your figures to amp them up to a techy new look. The figures retail for $8 a piece, and are available at Walmart and Target now alongside a $20 “two-in-one” Batmobile for the figures to ride in.
One of the best toys of 2020, a time when most of us were stuck indoors, was the Air Hogs Stunt Shot: a cheap $30 RC car with massive oversized tires made of soft foam that could careen around a home, roll off furniture, and even fall down stairs without sustaining damage or causing any. The follow-up for 2021 is the new Air Hogs Jump Fury which includes equally soft foam wheels but introduces a new self-launch mechanism so the vehicle can perform sick jumps without the need for a ramp or a second floor in your home. It’s a little pricier at $40, but until you get that shot in the arm anything and everything that can make life at home less boring is worth it.
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