December 28, 2014

Trademark Updates!

While doing a semi-regular check at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, I came across a few new things hinting at things to come. Most notably, we have an official logo for the upcoming line of K'Nex blasters.

Meanwhile, while searching for Buzz Bee Toys (under "owner name" in the Trademark Electronic Search System), I came across several names filed on December 19th, 2014.
  • Air Tek
  • Ultra Tek
  • Ultra Rapid Tek
  • Wildfire
  • Katbird
Interesting that a named previously used by Nerf, "Wildfire", has now been taken by Buzz Bee Toys. That's what happens when you allow trademarks to die - other people can take them.

Also, Katbird is listed for "G & S: Toys, namely, foam gliders and launchers and other accessories for use with the foregoing". From the sounds of it, it seems similar to the Stunt Darts and Falcon products in the Air Warriors Flying Toys line. Perhaps aimed at girls, like the Wingz line?

December 27, 2014

Majik Shot Skeet Shooting Review

Yesterday at Walmart, in the Sporting Goods section, there was a large display of miniature table and over the door sports sets for kids, produced by EastPoint Sports and labeled under the "Majik" brand. One set was a "skeet shooting" set, consisting of both an electronic target and a foam dart blaster. Obviously, I had to buy one for science.
Evil white people, encouraging black kids to use guns! (I kid, guys, seriously...)

December 23, 2014

K'Nex Enters the Blaster Market!

Earlier this year, a leak from a Nerf Powerpoint presentation in Asia gave us a peek at Modulus, a potential blaster or series involving the assembly of your blaster from different components and accessories. But what if you want to build your entire blaster from scratch? Seems K'Nex has what you're looking for!

In the December issue of ToyNews, it is revealed that among other new lines, K'Nex will soon sell K-FORCE Build & Blast foam dart blasters, with the first products on display January 2015 at the London Toy Fair.

Quoting a spokesman from the company:
“We are so proud of the work that has gone into developing this line. From our research we know that our fans are already hugely interested in utilising K’NEX for this kind of play.

“This coupled with K’NEX’s open-ended creativity will open the door for kids to a world of customisable blasters that previously they could only dream of. This collection adds something completely different for fans of construction as well as those who love blasters – both will enjoy designing and building their own blaster as well as the fun of target practice, and, when they’re finished, it can be taken apart and rebuilt or customised in a new way.”
Given the nature of K'Nex, I wonder about the durability of these blasters. Will rough use snap your blaster into pieces? Then again, it IS K'Nex, so you could just snap it back together...

We'll see next month what exactly is in store. Start the speculating!

December 7, 2014

Toy of the Year Awards Candidates

Every year, the Toy Industry Association (a non-profit that lobbies on behalf of all member toy companies) holds a Toy of the Year competition. Essentially, it's the Oscars of their particular industry. And we have some relevant products among the finalists, if you care enough to vote for them!

Per the Toy of the Year website:
Representatives from any toy-related company are eligible to nominate products and/or properties for the TOTY award categories.

Submitted nominations contain detailed explanations of the product’s play value, creativity/originality, application of new technology, creative manufacturing processes, commentary on how the product is meeting marketplace expectations, and details of outstanding, unusual and/or creative execution of artwork, product/package design, and promotional strategy.  
An unlimited number of products may be submitted per award category, but no more than two products from the same company may appear in an award category on the finalist list.

December 3, 2014

Outsourced: Indian Company Copying Nerf

We've all seen the various flywheel blasters and near perfect copies of blasters coming out of China. Companies like Zecong Toys regularly produce these blasters, often from the same molds as the original blaster products. India, however, seems to have taken this process even further by copying Hasbro's branding strategy to the letter. Meet Mitashi Edutainment Pvt Ltd!

Mitashi's Bang! line of blasters consists of many existing blaster knockoffs, with some recoloring. They were introduced as a promotion for the Bollywood movie "Bang Bang!" in October 2014. More importantly, they have their own versions of the Nstrike and Rebelle brands (Strikers and Electra, respectively).