London Toy Fair report: Start saving!
Once again I've braved the near-freezing temperatures and a 2.5hr train journey to bring you LEGO news from the London Toy Fair. Today was the last day of the three day event, which was held at London Olympia. The LEGO stand was just about the biggest in the show and unlike neary all others there it was shrouded in secrecy, completely closed in, entry was by invitation only, and photography prohibited. I'm not really sure why because at the Nuremberg Speilwarenmesse in a couple of weeks it'll be more open and I suspect some photos will emerge.
So, in the meantime, you'll have to make do with my descriptions. I'll go through each theme that's being released in the second half of the year that's of interest to us here.
- Harbour will be the City theme. There will be something like 5 sets including a harbour featuring a grain loading terminal and cargo ship, a marina, a fishing boat, a speedboat and powerboat on a truck. All are said to float.
- The Creator sets are excellent: there's another house with white walls and red roof, a yellow sports car much like previous Creator cars and best of all a Lighthouse which really was excellent, and very different from anything made before.
- Technic was slightly disappointing with only two new sets on show: a flatbed car recovery truck (think car clamping and subsequent removal) which had a very neat Power Functions mechanism and a 'bucket truck': a small American-style vehicle with a raising platform on the back. There are two others slated for release but they were not in evidence at the show.
- There's more Ninjago to come including some very cool looking dragons and other monsters for the Ninja to ride on.
- Alien Conquest looked aboslutely superb. It features aliens and humans and abduction/autopsy seems to be the main theme. The aliens, of which I counted something like 4 variants, have lime green heads and look great. The humans have legs/torsoes made with a new shade of blue. One set featured an archetypal circular UFO with light underneath and a very clever mechanism to abduct any humans it swoops down on. I could tell Mark Stafford had designed some of these: his trademark style was evident all over :-)
- There are four new Kingdoms sets on the way of which two feature 'ordinary medieval village life', albeit with some marauding knights pillaging the place. The big news is that they feature new minifig-scale animals: chickens (in white and brown) and goats.
- The Disney licenced room was shrounded in more secrecy than the rest of the stand and I will respect LEGO's request for confidentiality. Suffice to say that the Cars sets looked great. I was surprised as to how many are being released: something like 15 different sets. They won't appeal to everyone given there are no minifigs in them but they did look quite cute and they feature some neat parts in new colours.
- Pirates of the Caribbean sets were also in there, of course, and the lady on the stand was somewhat surprised to hear that pictures had already been leaked online. The minifigs looked excellent and the 7 or so sets will feature something like 30 different figs. Jack Sparrow appears in them all and in every one he is different meaning that if you're a minifig collector you will need to buy every set...
- There will be three new Harry Potter sets which will include something like 12-15 minifigs of which I estimate half of them to be new.
- Two new SpongeBob sets (yawn...)
- No less that nine Star Wars sets featuring a whole raft of new minfigs 'to die for' including a new Darth Maul, Savage Opress (wasn't he great in the latest episode of Clone Wars!) and Sebulba and Watto which are much improved on their previous incarnation. The Millennium Falcon looked pretty much like the older minifig versions: it still looked a bit rubbish, IMO. However the pod racers (Sebulba and Anakin's) were much improved on the old set. As you may have noticed in the databse there's going to be a Star Wars advent calendar. I'm not going to spoil any surprises and tell you what's in it, but needless to say it was excellent.
- No new Atlantis or Pharaoh's Quest, and loads of more of the same HERO Factory. They'll be up to version 3.0 in the summer...
So that's about it. There's plenty to look forward to and save up for...