All around toy fair there are these monitors, playing what is called in the industry "Sizzle Reels". Not quite commercials, these short videos promote products being shown at toy fair. As I was giving my aching body a break, I caught one one these Sizzle Reels for a company called Action Sports Toys.
These guys make articulated action figures of what one would call "Extreme" sports - Skateboarding, Snowboarding, that sort of thing. But unlike figures in the past, these figures have a very special gimmick. These have controllers built into the figure that allows you to basically act as a puppeteer for the action figure. This is called the Omni Tech Figure. You can do jumps, ollies, kickflips, and you control it all with the handle. It really is something remarkable and I think revolutionary.
When you meet the creator, Michael Bellon, you can instantly feel his passion for what he does. He's a super nice guy who seems to be bursting at the seams with ideas and enthusiasm.
The first release is an authorized likeness of pro skater Ryan Sheckler. The figure has cloth clothing, a signature skateboard with working wheels and real grip tape, and is fully articulated. It comes packaged on a giant plastic clamshell container. Now here's another inventive idea - once opened, the packaging becomes a skate ramp, with stairs, rails and a quarterpipe. You can fold the paper insert inside out and place it under the packaging to give it depth.
He also had prototypes of a BMX freestyle version and a snowboarder, and both were excellent and well done.
I tried one, and it does take a few minutes to get used to the action system, but once you do, the possibilities are endless. If I had any complaint about the figure, it would be that the handles are not removable and there is no way to display or stand up the figure on its own. This baby is purely for play.
Check them out at http://www.actionsportstoys.com/