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This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Power Rangers franchise, and as part of a year-long celebration, many products have been released that throw things back to where it all began... the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. The camp charm of the original series brought forth a host of memorable characters, but no villain has been more suited for the Halloween season than the big bad of the Power Rangers' 1994 "Trick or Treat" episode - the Pumpkin Rapper. While it was The Nightmare Before Christmas that really drove home the title of "Pumpkin King" for Jack Skellington, there's been many Jack-O-Lantern-headed creatures that have terrorizing (or amusing) the masses for years and the Pumpkin Rapper is one of the best! For 2018, Funko brought the character into the Pop! Vinyl range for an exclusive figure available Only at GameStop. I recently bought one at our local GameStop store, and it only seemed right that we took the Pumpkin Rapper with us to the pumpkin patch...

At the inaugural HasCon back in 2017, Hasbro hosted a special My Little Pony VIP fan dinner which included raffle prizes for attendees. The grand prize raffle winners were given a once in a lifetime opportunity – their very own My Little Pony characters that would actually appear in an episode of Friendship is Magic! At the dinner, two winners were chosen - Natalya and Thomas - and this weekend, their Ponies will appear in the Season 8 finale, School Raze. Earlier today, Hasbro sent over a new batch of photos showing off these new Ponies, and you can catch them in action when the new episode premieres on October 13, 2018 on Discovery Family.

Wednesday, October 10 2018 13:28

LEGO Overwatch Launches with Exclusive Bastion...

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Word started circulating earlier this year that LEGO and Blizzard were collaborating on some new sets based on Overwatch, and within the past few weeks the real teasing began. Now comes word that the first LEGO Overwatch set will launch as a Blizzard Store Exclusive. The LEGO® Overwatch Omnic Bastion Building Kit (75987) is a 182-piece entry into a blocky new video game-inspired world. Check this out...

Wednesday, October 10 2018 07:59

Toy Review: PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket

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When I paid a visit to the Just Play showroom at the 115th North American Toy Fair back in February, one of the most exciting offerings was the expansion of their PJ Masks collection. Over the past few years, eOne's animated superhero adventure series has been a big hit on Disney Junior, and likewise the toys have done well for Just Play. The new season has brought forth some new adventures, new villains - and an all-new location: space. In fact, from the moment the first teaser arrived, our youngest daughter was asking when "the PJ Masks spaceship" would be a toy. Featured in my 2018 Holiday Wish Guide, the PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket answers the call, setting kids up for an out-of-this-world adventure packed with fun features.

It's been an incredible (and unusual) year for toys, and as I happened to come across a small selection of FAO Schwarz-branded toys at Kohl's this past weekend, I was reminded that one piece of news that many have been waiting for is the full details on the opening of the new FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City. Today, we know that November 16, 2018 will be the official opening date of the NYC store located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The new store will feature over 20,000 square feet of FAO Schwarz signature toys and items from partners such as Melissa & Doug, Marvin's Magic and Build-A-Bear as well as FAO Schweetz in partnership with IT'SUGAR. But that's not all...

In the midst of the always-unfolding saga of Toys "R" Us here in the U.S., this little bit of awesome flew under my radar until this morning. In a beautiful, 12-minute video that was published just as news was coming in that Geoffrey, LLC was cancelling the IP auction for Toys "R" Us and plotting some sort of return, Sculpture_Geek (Chris Vierra) pays tribute to Charles Lazarus' iconic mascot, Geoffrey Giraffe by sculpting him in Chavant, oil-based clay. After 70 years, was the story really over, or was it just beginning? Check out Chris' impressive work in the video below!

Tuesday, October 09 2018 09:06

BAKUGAN is Back: Will You Answer the Call to Brawl?

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"Imagine if you can, that you are a proud and powerful Gargonoid..."

The 10th anniversary of the original BAKUGAN series is approaching, and now there's news that it's primed for a relaunch. Spin Master, TMS Entertainment Co., Ltd., and Nelvana Ltd., have announced a coordinated project to bring BAKUGAN Battle Planet to the masses. Originally launched in 2008, BAKUGAN was an immediate hit and named "Toy of the Year" and "License Property of the Year" in 2009. Now, a new animated series and all the toys fans could want are on the way...

It's a sad statistic, but research from studies conducted at New York University, the University of Illinois and Princeton University has identified that girls as young as age five start to lose confidence in themselves, and even more disheartening than the research is that I've seen elements of that here at home. Despite the opportunities that my wife and I are tirelessly working to provide for our girls, the questions of self-confidence and self-worth have begun, and we see it often, particularly in our nine-year-old. There's many factors at play, and today a familiar name is taking a big step toward addressing them as Barbie announces the Dream Gap Project: a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and my friends at Disney Store | shopDisney have revealed their 2018 “Top 15 Holiday Toys” list. While hot holiday toy lists have been a regular staple for years, this is actually the very first year that Disney Store | shop Disney has shared one of their own - highlighting a list of must-haves for Disney fans and gift-givers alike. There's a lot to love on the Top 15 list (a companion to their full Holiday Gift Guide) with exclusive toys spanning Disney, Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar. They're also the only place to shop Disney Parks merchandise outside of the theme parks, including the Disney Parks Holiday Train Set and Cinderella Castle Play Set from Walt Disney World Resort. Check out the Top 15 below, and for more gift ideas, be sure to check out The Rock Father's Holiday Wish Guide™.

Monday, October 08 2018 08:12

31 Days of Halloween: Spooky SLIMYGLOOP Mix'Ems!

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If you have kids, there's a solid chance that slime is something of a fixture in your home at this point. Yes, every time I write about the slime craze I'm reminded of the fantastic He-Man and The Masters of the Universe Evil Horde Slime Pit that I once received as a kid but never got to play with (it was taken back to the store after a warning about staining was noted on the box). Decades later, my oldest daughter is all about the slime, from do-it-yourself kits to ready-made tubs. The consistency and texture varies greatly, but one regular purchase has been SLIMYGLOOP from Horizon Group USA. We just recently purchased a DIY Mermaid Slime Kit, but for the Halloween season they have something even better... ready-made Spooky SLIMYGLOOP MIX'EMS.

I feel bad for the small crew that's stayed on at Toys "R" Us (though not as bad as I do for the folks who weren't as fortunate) through the course of their spectacular collapse and extraordinarily unusual bankruptcy proceedings this past year. While the last of their stores closed on June 29th in the U.S., on June 20th the company registered a new trademark for Geoffrey's Toy Box - news that I broke right here on The Rock Father™ Magazine last week. All this time, there has been a crew working on what would emerge as Geoffrey, LLC, and before I go any further, I think it should be made clear that no one should be made to feel at fault for holding onto a job during times of crisis. Though the former Global Resource Center for Toys "R" Us in Wayne, NJ has been stripped-down and largely liquidated itself, there's been a small crew at work, and those folks were placed into a really hard spot - supporting their families while friends and colleagues were let go, and also tasked with trying to reimagine and perhaps revive a brand that they loved. That said, the news of Geoffrey, LLC living on as Geoffrey's Toy Box (branded merch, licensing, perhaps new stores... eventually) has been met with polarizing reaction from those within the toy industry, but tonight it became apparent that whoever decided to pull the trigger on re-activating the Toys "R" Us social networks wasn't counting on public backlash. 

It's been a massive week for the toy industry as the annual Fall Toy Preview has come to a close in Dallas. While the big news has been with Toys "R" Us lenders restructuring assets under Geoffrey, LLC and prepping to launch their Geoffrey's Toy Box initiative, a new opponent has entered the battlefield as retailers position themselves to grab market share left up for grabs following the closure of Toys "R" Us in the U.S. as we head into the holiday season. Go! Retail Group has announced a nationwide expansion of their toy business, and as part of that they're opening a new concept: TOYS EXPRESS. The new stores will open in 13 locations previously occupied by Toys "R" Us Express stores. 

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