In the charming, compulsively playable Japanese iOS game Nekoatsume (aka Cat Collector), you spend a lot of time acquiring virtual toys to attract a coterie of virtual cats to your virtual backyard. But now it seems that there are actual Nekoastume toys for corporeal humans as well, and there's a way to buy them—even if you live outside of Japan.
Hubbyte Toys and Collectibles, a vendor based in the Philippines, posted on Facebook today that it is taking preorders for what appears to be a Nekoatsume playset, complete with a pop-up yard, cats (Manzoku-san, Hoiiro-san and Akage-san specifically), a blue food dish and yes, yes! A yellow ball.
The price is listed at what I believe is 1500 Philippine pesos, which is approximately $32 in U.S. dollars. You've spent so much time giving imaginary toys to imaginary cats. Why not give the gift of real toys based on imaginary cats to yourself? Read the rest
One of my favorite toys as a kid was Creepy Crawlers. Introduced in 1964 by Mattel, it was a kit that let you make rubber insects, spiders, snakes, lizards etc. It came with a set of metal molds, squeeze bottles of liquid plastic called Plastigoop, and an electrically-powered, 390 degrees Fahrenheit open-face hot plate called the Thingmaker to cure the Plastigoop. It's the kind of toy that would be deemed to dangerous today because of the high heat and shocking hazard (the kit came with a mold cooling tray that you filled with water and placed next to the Thingmaker).
I may have gotten a couple of first-degree burns using Creepy Crawlers, but I never regretted it. It would occupy my friends and me for hours at a time. My kids would have loved the Thingmaker as much as I did.
The Fright Factory was an especially cool Thingmaker toy. It was a kit that let you make macabre prosthetics: scars, long fingernails, a third eye, a diseased tongue, fangs, etc.
Nightflight's Bryan Thomas has a good article about the history of the Thingmaker line of toys, with lots of images. And Bob Knetzger wrote a terrific article about Mattel's line of DIY Toys for MAKE.
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Sphero's Star Wars BB-8 is sure to be the Cabbage Patch Kid of this Christmas, the ungettable gift that will spur mall fistfights, eBay price gouging, and plenty of crying kids (and adults). uBreakiFix cracked one open to see how it ticks. Read the rest
The massive museum exhibition "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" will land at Seattle's EMP Museum in November. Read the rest
EverBlock's concept is simple: interlocking plastic bricks at a macro scale.
It's quick and easy to build nearly anything, by stacking and organizing the universal blocks in nearly any shape, pattern, or size.
Anything you've constructed can be taken apart and re-assembled again, and the pieces can be re-used to build other objects, making EverBlock a unique green building method.
Wired's Liz Stinson: "with just three block versions, there are limitations to what you can build with the blocks. Don’t expect a life-size version of Lego’s architecture series just yet"
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If you are traveling through the San Francisco International Airport during the next four months, don't miss the exhibit Classic Monsters, featuring fantastic items from the collection of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, on view in the Terminal 2 gallery of the always-fascinating SFO Museum. The artifacts include vintage movie props, toys, and original paintings by Basil Gogos that appeared on covers Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.
Above: Vampire Armand Tesla’s head before and after it melts in The Return of the Vampire starring Bela Lugosi, 1943.
Below: Frankenstein toys and memorabilia c. 1960s–70s; Wolf Man makeup test bust made for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein starring Lon Chaney, Jr., 1948; Dracula toys and memorabilia c. 1960s–70s; Mummy painting c. 1969 Artist: Basil Gogos.
Classic Monsters: The Kirk Hammett Collection
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The eagle-eyed aviation security humans at Dublin Airport prevented a desperate toddler from boarding a flight while in possession of a Despicable Me Fart Blaster: "We don’t make the rules but we apply the rules consistently." (via Lowering the Bar)
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All profits go to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in Oxford England.
Most of the really great construction sets are rectangular in shape, or they obey rigid angles. Lego, Kapla Blocks, Kinnex, or Zomeworks are fabulous kits that foster open-ended creativity. But they all tend toward very rectilinear structures. ZOOB is the first construction set I’ve seen that encourages organic, free-flowing builds. There are five basic ZOOB shapes centered on a ball-and-socket connection. When you click them together you have full 180-degree freedom in how the connection is oriented, leading to creations that are curvy, complicated, or ones that repeat like vertebrate in a spine, or carbons on a chain, or even amino acids on DNA. I was surprised by how sophisticated you could make the forms; you may need a bit of patience to get complex ones to fit perfectly (note to 8-year olds). In fact the force and precision needed to assemble pieces may be beyond toddlers, but school kids should have no problem. The plastic pieces are largish, unlike lego, so the finished forms can be quite hefty.
Ages 6 and up, 125 pieces
$20 Buy a copy on Amazon
See more photos at Wink Fun. Read the rest
We all have memories of our favorite toys. Sometimes it’s hard to point at just what made them so special. This one, though, is obviously dangerous.
If you have a pool table, or know someone who has one, you need to get one of these Wobbling 8 Balls. Read the rest
Singaporean toymaker Michael Sng made Boudicca, a T1 Training Colossus -- a 3D-printed robot tank with 400 custom parts and servos controlled by an Arduino.
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Frank Kidd, 83, is the proprietor of Kidd's Toy Museum, a private collection of 20,000 antique toys, from cars and trucks to figurines to, Kidd's favorite genre, mechanical banks like the one above. Some of the toys reveal a lot about the era they're from. Read the rest
Some parents are complaining that a Minions talking toy available at McDonald's sounds like it says "What the fuck!" Gotta love audio pareidolia. Read the rest
Collectors Weekly's Ben Marks says, "Schiffer Publishing has just released 'Doll Junk: Collectible & Crazy Fashions from the ’70s & ’80s,' by Carmen Varricchio, who fills almost 200 pages with images of Barbie and Ken knockoffs and the campy fashions that manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe thought would appeal to little girls. Read the rest