Five Things We Learnt At The London Toy Fair 2013
Posted on Friday January 25, 2013, 15:42 by Phil de Semlyen in Empire States
Held in the vast Olympia hall in west London, Toy Fair is a giddifying jamboree that brings manufacturers and retailers together amid a vast array of Scalextric, Smurfettes and snoozing Furbys. It’s also – ssshhh! – a secret trove of plot points and spoilers for the big superhero releases of the year ahead. Last January, the nice people at Hasbro gave us a first peek at their new Hulk, revealing Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk clobber a good five months before The Avengers assembled, while LEGO showed off ‘Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape’, in which a tiny god of mischief and an equally tiny, mind-controlled Hawkeye made off with the tesseract in a 4x4. You know, a bit like in the film.
Needless to say, we were back for Toy Fair 2013 this week, hoping to glean more brick-based hints from LEGO’s Iron Man 3, Man Of Steel and To The Wonder* ranges. Photographs were forbidden and some of the LEGO figures appeared with no markings to protect their identities, so please excuse us an element of speculation. Here’s what we learnt (possible spoilers are in hidden text).
1. Tony Stark will get very wet in Iron Man 3
We had a glimpse of it in the Iron Man 3 trailer
, but two new LEGO sets suggest that Tony Stark will have to add ‘good swimmer’ to that genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist tag. The first sees Guy Pearce’s slick nano-tech whizz Aldrich Killian trying to shake off Iron Man and War Machine in a Miami Vice-looking powerboat
. That set is called ‘Extremis Sea Port Battle’, a clue as to the importance of Killian’s Extremis virus to both Stark and the Mandarin. There’s also a strange, powered buoy marked ‘JC82’ that we can’t shine much light on.
The other kit, ‘Ultimate Showdown’, involves the Mandarin tackling Iron Man in a missile-bristling buggy
. Judging by the box, it’ll be set against a backdrop of shipping containers reminiscent of Batman Begins’ dockland scrap
. A third kit that we didn’t see, ‘Malibu Mansion Attack’, featured a “pale green figure” that Brick Fanatics
say they weren’t allowed to know the name of. We're saying it's Kermit.2. Man Of Steel will feature Black Zero
But which Black Zero? Well, judging by the ‘Black Zero Escape’ that features only Zod, Lois and Superman figures, it’s more likely to be ‘what’ than a who – perhaps the computer virus or Krypton-based terror force, rather than the psycho-molecule-creating uber-bad of pre-Crisis Superman. Still, if the LEGO is anything to go by – and it usually is – Man Of Steel will be a much more heavily weaponised affair than previous movie Supes, with Zod packing some heavy calibres and his own personal army. So what does the Black Zero kit reveal? Well, Lois Lane in a space pod, Supes in the air, and Zod behind some kind of complex control device. A different LEGO kit has Zod in body armour – perhaps that CG suit we’ve been hearing about – and a face mask, which hopefully won’t lead to Bane-like mumbling. “Knnel..fbffrr…zzod!”3. Peter Jackson is now an action figure
PJ is getting the brick brush-up in a ‘Pirate Ship Ambush’ set, a nod to his cameo as a corsair in The Return Of The King’s climactic battle. 4. Gary Oldman looks amazing in LEGO
LEGO’s DC Super Heroes range – previously a callback to the kitschier end of the Bat-past – is now taking in the Nolan universe, so there’s a tiny black Tumbler, a mini-Bane figure (still intimidating, still hard to understand) and, best of all, a little Commissioner Gordon. There are even worry lines etched onto his brick brow. LEGO George Smiley would sympathise. 5*. There is no To The Wonder range
Come on LEGO, we want a Terrence Malick range. Is a ‘Gently Swaying Cornfield’ set too much to ask by the time of his next movie?