Nothing means summer like a good party at a bar full of LEGOs and free toys. When we throw a party for our loyal readers, we go all the way. Most of you are familiar with our big BBQ bashes, if not, check out the previous years (available on the left menu). So let's jump in. Frankly I'm surprised you're reading this and not pouring through the gallery of pictures looking at all the cute girls playing with LEGO. It's a nerd dream, I know. Anyhoo!
The Place We returned to O'Malley's Pub. This is a recently renovated Sports pub in the local Holiday Inn. The layout is great, the atmosphere is perfect, and the food is much better than expected "bar food." This year we had wings and spring rolls as well as some chips 'n salsa and a big veggie platter. We also had a sweet deal on beer that resulted in a few indecent proposals... notice we had a high proportion of pregnant people this year, next year will be crazier! It was pretty hot that day, so we were grateful to be inside in the air conditioning.
All of the LEGO winners
LEGO contest This year was a banner year. In year's past, our LEGO competition was limited to the first 10 people who signed up, this year, we had enough Knight Bus Micro Sets so that everyone that wanted to play, did. The whole crowd got involved. First off, win or lose, you get to take your completed set home. Secondly, we had 12 bigger LEGO prizes for our faster builders. In the order that people successfully completed their set, they got to pick from the pool. It was cool seeing everyone, even non-LEGO enthusiasts, jump in on the frenetic action. Check out the little gallery of LEGO competitors.
R/C Shocking tanks!
Shocking Tanks I couldn't resist, I had to bring back the Shocking Tanks (original review.) Quick rundowntwo remote control tanks... if I shoot your tank, your remote control delivers a mild electric shock. Fun for all! We had a blast setting these up with folks that had never played before. One person was not even informed that the toys do shock you before she started playing. Check out the video podcast (coming 7-24-07) with video of these tanks shocking the bejeezus out of people.
The Main Event! It's not because I'm good friends with these people, heavens no, it's because I give out really nice free toys that these people keep coming back each year. We had a huge number of donations from our favorite sponsors (please visit their sites below. The way it works is real easy... people come up out of the audience one at a time and are handed an unwrapped item. It could be cool, it could be lame. You can go back to your seat with that prize, or take what's in one of the two bags, being held up by Jager. If you choose one of the bags, the audience will help you decide which one you should usurp the unwrapped prize for. Then you open it and we learn whether or not you made out with a good deal! It's that easy! This year we had some prizes that were too big for bags, so we stuck coupons to "pick a bigger prize" in random bags. (These coupons were taped to vats of booger-slime, reinforcing the "pick a winner" mentality, hey it was funny to me.) So let me give you a rundown of what's in the bags!
Play Visions' squishy stuff! I love the squishy stuff from Play Visions. You've seen 'em in our Toy Fair podcast, and at the BBQs in years' past. Play Visions sends us a nice sized box of squishy goodies to hand out, and every year, they're a bigger surprise than I anticipated. I say "bigger than anticipated" because when I'm showing off the booty ahead of time, saying stuff like"Squeeze this cat head and rubber mice ooze out!"most people think I'm nuts for liking this stuff. But when you're in the game, and you open your bag, and it's something squishy and fun, you better believe they all go home. Every year. People love the squishy stuff. The hot item was the light-up molecule ball with anenome things growing off of it. Watch for that in the Main Event Podcast (coming early next week).
BigBadToyStore's goodies! BigBadToyStore is one of our favorite places to shop for overseas collectibles, and hard-to-find collectibles from the good ole U.S. of A. as well. This year, BBTS sent us all kinds of stuff, including a King Kong head-knocker, a 300 hat (reminder: DVD comes out 7/31!), a Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow and a fun-sized Incredible Hulk. Their competitive prices make it easy to shop there again and again.
Tuxxer is lucky!
YouBuyNow.com sent a big load of swag! YouBuyNow combed through their wide selection of toys and odds and ends and produced an impressive box of prizes. There was something for everyone in here. Everything from Japanese capsule toys to plush to Hithhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Brak's Parents were a big hit as well. We got these parachutin' Frog Men (in which we included a squishy frog head that oozes flied!) There was some Batman and even some Die Hard Palz from Palisades back in the day. I wanted to snag the Stikfas Samurai with translucent armor, but it went quick!
Nerd fantasy overload!
SuperHeroStuff.com outifts only the greatest! SuperHeroStuff.com sent us some high quality superhero t-shirts. I love the blue shirt that has just the Superman S rather than a shirt with a picture of Superman. We got Green Lantern, Supes, Flash and Punisher to give out this year. Is there anything hotter than a cool girl wearing a [traditionally] nerd genre t-shirt? Actually it is hotter when they then throw it on the floor... but I digress. One time I was wearing a Superman shirt, and Fakey was wearing a shirt that kinda looked like the Flash's and some dude shouted out in a fake deep, narrator-type voice Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice! when we walked by. No, this wasn't at a comic convention. I swear.
Right now, SuperHeroStuff.com is having a "Because We Love You" SALE!! Celebrating You, our superheroes who keep us busy! $10 off of orders over $70 - discount code: 10loveyou
$5 off orders over $35 - discount code: 5loveyou
Good through Sunday, July 29th. Mix and match items of your choice.
John falls in!
Sideshow Collectibles donates big. Sideshow Collectibles is known for their large format, 12" figures. Each one is highly detailed, fully posable, and comes with loads of accessories. Typically they look great in and out of the box. (And sometimes you don't even have to decide to open or not, with their front-flap design. This year they sent us the sought-after Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the T-1000 from T2 and this talking R Lee Ermey that'll snap you into shape. John here better not think of stepping out of line. How tall are your soldier?
Chris CHOWS the fat
MegaBloks is building a lot of fans. MegaBloks snagged some winners with their licsensed Pirates of the Caribbean series. We got a Black Pearl with Cracken, and Asian show-down set, and a Spider-Man III set (that folds up neatly into Spider-Man's head! People loved getting sets from their favorite summer blockbusters. I have to admit, that rubbery cracken is pretty sweet.
RockStar Games rocks!
Rockstar Games, most known for their Grand Theft Auto series of video games sent us a whole load of cool gear. We got Rockstar hats, t-shirts, key chains, demos, and some shirts for the almost released Grand Theft Auto IV. I can tell you that most of us in that picture just earned an immeasurable amount of street cred with those hard-to-get t-shirts. Look out!
"I got a Yira!"
Freebento.com has lots in store FreeBento.com has a great selection of Designer Toys, plush, and an impressive showing of imports from our friends in the Far East. Their generosity knew no bounds as we received some really nice high end items. People walked away with a Yira from GoHero, an Infantree from Damon Soule, a limited Suckadelic custom, a Pirates of the Caribbean vinyl from Shag, and a sexy schoolgirl complete with sword to kick your butt!! They rounded out the goodies with some minis and stickers for everyone!! If you're looking for a shop to make your next vinyl or plush purchase, check them out. Their prices are great and they ship really quickly!
We're all mellow...
Wheaty Wheat is one of the top producers of Designer Toys
today. Their attention to detail and ever growing artist pool
always impresses. They strive to create the artist's vision
in a three dimensional form and change up their process to
best fit the look. While sometimes this means a little longer
wait for the toy we've been crying for, it's always worth
the extra wait for the quality. We were flooded with an Urbanite
explosion with a regular and Vintage Cleabus and 4 Mellows
(2 original orange and 2 extra special white!). And the first
25 people to sign in and get their wrist band (happy hour
prices all night, yay!) were lucky to grab their newest release:
Brian Taylor's Candykiller– Jack Rabbit keychains! Thanks
Rich and Debbie!!
Jon has to look at these cards every 108 minutes
Inkworks has it in the cards. Inkworks Trading Cards deals in non-sport related collectible cards. They sent us an unopened box of Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Women of Sunnydale" cards and a complete set of LOST trading cards (complete in this collectible binder). Unfortunately it doesn't explain what's up with the invisible dinosaur. Nasser grabbed the Buffy cards, ask him how the rest of his Saturday night went. It wasn't spent with the bunch of us, I'll tell you that.
Jon has to look at these cards every 108 minutes
Movies We also had some great DVDs to giveaway. Spy Game starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, Norbit starring Eddie Murphey, and Primeval, just recently out on DVD. Toy collectors, movie enthusiasts, and general pop culture fans all got to go home with something nice.
Now you've read the article, check out the video podcast! This new page has all three videos in one location! Ka-POD-cast! (ok that's dumb).
Wheaty Wheat StudiosWheaty Wheat has made a reputation for producing some of the highest quality toys in the industry. Check out their site for updates and an online store with exclusives you can't find anywhere else.
BriansToysSpecializing in vintage Star Wars, they have loads of new and vintage toys to round out your collection.
FreeBento.comLooking for Asian imported toys? Look no further. Freebento is also continuing to grow as the place to go for Western Designer Toys by offering some of the hottest toys