London Toy Fair 2022 Round-Up

This year was the first time I was able to get to the London Toy Fair after it had to take a break for the previous season and it was a little bit difficult to navigate, especially with making appointments beforehand – something which was almost impossible and happened for just 1 company in the end. To be honest this is a big industry event and whilst I didn’t get to speak to any of the big guys selling action figures I was certainly able to catch up with some of the companies in the collectibles market… I would have liked to speak to many more but I still managed to fill my day pretty well.

So here’s what I learned during my visit… See you again next year Toy Fair!

Funko

Funko was the only company I was able to actually get a meeting with and I have to say were one of the main companies I went to see. I have been a long time fan of Funko and have been worried a little over the past couple of years at the rate of their expansion, worrying that perhaps they were doing too much or forgetting their collectors. Have a read at this more in-depth article about these worries and (spoiler alert) how Funko actually managed to remove these worries while I visited their booth.

So, what I will focus on instead is what is coming up soon! One thing which I had seen pictures of and have to say that they do look a bit better in person are the Popsies… although whilst they make a cute gift at £9.99, they’re not something I’m personally going to be collecting. I do like the little gift bags which they had displayed with the Popsies which makes them feel far more like a gift.

There were a few exclusive announcements made, and I already mentioned the E.T. board game and series 3 of the Marvel Battle World range, making a start on the game announcements for this week. Another exciting announcement from the event was that they are expanding the Funkoverse range which actually has its fair share of franchises now – but they are now also adding the Universal Monsters line. This is a very cool franchise which they have done wonders with for the Pop series and also their first children’s book which is based on this character set.

Whilst Universal Monsters sees a full game release for Funkoverse, there was also the announcement of the Peter Pan franchise getting an expansion pack release with this having just the 2 figures (rather than 4), featuring Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

Finally they announced a new colourway for their Loungefly Mickey Mouse sequin mini backpack, with the same general design but the colour reflecting the UK market with a sequin union jack on the front pocket as well as the design being used on the bow, and then finishing the rest of the sequined bag in blue. I think this is actually a very nice product they could market to the tourist trade in London – perhaps even more successfully than the British domestic market.

I Display It

As I walked through from one balcony to the next I was immediately struck by the booth with a couple of 1000% BearBrick figures in gorgeous display cases… As I walked closer I also saw some Lego models, mini figs and an Ecto-1 in a coffee table, so I knew right away that this place was selling the cases. These cases are beautiful and I won’t go in to too much detail as I will be writing a review for the case I just put together, very soon! All you need to know for now is that the cases are gorgeous, they’re just as good in real life and the people who run the company are absolutely lovely with these toys you see in the pictures being part of their collections. This is a British owned, designed and produced product, made by people who care about what you’re putting in their displays.

Watch this space in the next day or two!

Boglins

I managed to have a nice chat with the guy in the Boglins booth, which again was one of the ones I wanted to see. I think many of us collectors had these when we were younger and are either buying them for ourselves again or trying to force them on our own children now! They are still just as cool as they were in the 80’s and 90’s and it’s great to see that the range is expanding. Coming this year are at least 4 new figures, which is the King Topor which was not released in the original 80’s line so is totally new to the Boglins world, as well as the first 3 in their new aliens line.

This aliens line is now expanding on the Boglins backstory which of course in the original Bogologist Field Notes states that they come from a boggy swamp which time forgot… But it turns out that they got to that swamp from space, and that the original Boglins are actually aliens which have come to earth and settled here. This is the first time that we know about this history and are seeing these new sculpts with very bright colours and a new box design to resemble a space capsule. I’ll be honest I prefer the original boxes, but the Boglins themselves are very cool.

I will try to get confirmation about exactly which one is which but there will be one of these as a common store release and 2 of the 3 will be store exclusives, with one of these being Forbidden Planet.

One thing which doesn’t look like it’s on the cards any time soon, which I think is a real shame and hope will change is the return of mini Boglins… I think these as blind packaged toys could be an absolute treat for the collectors market!

Topps

Topps was another one which I wanted to see, just because its a company I already collect from and so have a bit of background for already. They were showcasing some of their new products alongside the I Love Pandas range, with the newest blind toy addition, coming out in the next couple of months, being the Gonkers. These are a really fun little figure with that golden helmeted one there being the rarest find.

In terms of their cards, the main ones they were pushing was the second season of their cricket cards – go check out my Tik Tok page where I will have one of two unpacking videos of a couple of packs. They’re in the same sort of style as the match attax or slam attax so even though I’m not a huge cricket fan, they should still be an interesting one to open and take a look at. The other trading card feature they had on display is something I badly want for my office – that trading card vending machine. You swipe your card, it takes your hard earned money and then it slowly spits out a trading card pack at you… It was SO cool! At the moment however they only have 2 of these machines in circulation in the UK.

I did learn something while I was there also which I now know was made public at the end of last year, but that I was not aware of, which is that there will be no more Slam Attax, at least not for the foreseeable future as WWE has sold all of the exclusive trading card and sticker rights to Panini rather than Topps. For me I have always found Topps to be a superior company, so it will be interesting to see what Panini make with the franchise, but Slam Attax for me will be sorely missed!

University Games

I’d not looked in to University Games before as I have just a very fleeting interest in all thing board game and puzzle – it doesn’t take a lot for me to become distracted! However walking past their booth there were a number of items which were hard to ignore! Some of their 3d puzzles are absolutely massive like Cinderella’s castle, Hogwarts, the Star Destroyer or Stark Tower. I can’t say too much about them because the booth was busy every time I took a look, but having a close look at them they seem to hold together nicely and whilst they naturally have some more angles than you’d expect from a straight-up model, the quality and attention to detail is beautiful!

If you want an alternative to a PVC figure or resin bust then these puzzles are certainly a great option to look at.

Schleich

Schleich is probably best know for its animal figures, which you see on sale in just about every zoo in the country, so I was surprised to see such a wide variety of fantasy figures. I was aware of the unicorn and fairy range as my son is obsessed with unicorns, but I had no idea that they had a monsters range called Eldrador. Even more so I had no idea that they produced blind bagged figures – with Eldrador being one of the products which has just that as part of their line. These little monsters have 17 in total to collect and the second series is available now.

Bandai

I say Bandai… I mean Tamagotchi – the rest of Bandai didn’t have time to see me which was a real shame as it’s one of the companies I did actually contact beforehand and they were easily one of the most interesting companies there for my content. I did however manage to get in and take a sneak peek at their Tamagotchi line for the year… I mean they had to right? I was wearing my Tamagotchi t-shirt!

I did see some upcoming releases which I wasn’t allowed to photograph and can’t tell you about yet, but let me tell you, they’re very exciting! They’ve got things coming up with some exciting franchises and beautiful colours – all of these are going to be well worth the wait, and hopefully you’ll only have to wait until the middle of the year or so for these to start making their way through. Also coming later this year, although I think it is going to be closer to March time, is that absolutely gorgeous 25th Anniversary edition Tamagotchi I have got a photo of below. The colours of both the packaging and the shell itself are just beautiful – I knew there’d be something special on the horizon for the anniversary!

Of course by now you should already know about the R2-D2 Tamagotchi which has been on sale since the end of last year with both a white and blue version available from retailers like Zavvi for £19.99.

Some of the Other Bits I Saw

While going around the show it was clear to me that I had approached it all completely wrong – although not necessarily due to any fault of my own! I did constantly look through the listings to find contact details and I did email some companies before hand but was only able to secure one actual meeting which was with Funko. So I saw the odd little thing here and there but also spoke to a few other companies along the way.

Before I go through any of the other bits and pieces I saw, I did just want to take a second to mention a company that actually has nothing to do with the nerdier, collectible side of the toy market… But they snared me in with chocolate and smooth talking! It’s a small independent company – family-run based in the UK called Toys Unite. It’s not something that you’re going to rush out and put into your collection, but it’s a very passionate company making an educational product that combines so many different forms of play.

There are plush characters to bring the whole thing to life for your kids, they have a planet with each of them, which you can throw at a board that will then share facts about space depending on where the ball lands. On top of that, there is also an app integration and they’re working on backstories for each of the 4 characters to be made into books or stories to accompany this toy.

So again, it’s not a collectible toy, but they did reel me in and I think it’s a great product for if you’ve got kids. Check out their website here… And that’s the only time I’m straying off my path, I promise!

I had a quick wander around the Star Images booth who are distributors for some of the major action figure companies and it’s nice to see that actually there are people about who distribute Mezco (and NECA, although I feel like, especially down where I am, NECA is far better represented in shops than Mezco) in the UK… Sometimes their products can be so hard to find over here, especially some of their own in house lines like the Rumble Society. I didn’t see anything there that I hadn’t already mentioned over the past few months in Toy News, but its always cool to see some of these products in person… Especially the ones that maybe don’t make it across to the UK quite as often.

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