Crapgadget watch: toys of unimaginable ghastliness

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Funny or Die scoured the Web for ten genuinely awful toys that were discovered in the wild -- toys that transcend mere poor quality assurance and enter the realm of non-Euclidean ghastliness that defies all reason. Read the rest

Vtech toy data-breach gets worse: 6.3 million children implicated

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The Hong Kong-based toymaker/crapgadget purveyor didn't even know it had been breached until journalists from Vice asked why data from its millions of customers and their families were in the hands of a hacker, and then the company tried to downplay the breach and delayed telling its customers about it. Read the rest

Pre-mutated products: where did all those "hoverboards" come from?

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Those bowtie-shaped "motorized self-balancing two-wheeled scooters" you see in the windows of strip-mall cellphone repair shops and in mall-kiosks roared out of nowhere and are now everywhere, despite being so new that we don't even know what they're called. Read the rest

Vtech breach dumps 4.8m families' information, toy security is to blame

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Vtech is a ubiquitous Hong Kong-based electronic toy company whose kiddy tablets and other devices are designed to work with its cloud service, which requires parents to set up accounts for their kids. 4.8 million of those accounts just breached, leaking a huge amount of potentially compromising information, from kids' birthdays and home addresses to parents passwords and password hints. Read the rest

Steiff Japan's centaur teddybears

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The Teddytaur is an actual, $400 product, made from alpaca-wool, sold by high-end toymaker Steiff in its Japanese store. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Holiday Makies: careers & outfits for the dolls you design!

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Boing Boing readers already know about MakieLab, the startup where my friends and I make 3D printed, customizable dolls called Makies.

What's inside a "Hello Barbie" surveillance toy?

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Mattel's Hello Barbie has a microphone and a wifi interface, and it transmits the phrases it hears to a central server in order to parse them and formulate a response. Mattel claims that the data isn't being retained or harvested for marketing purposes, and assures parents that they can make Barbie stopping eavesdropping on them at will. But does it work? Read the rest

MAKE: custom action figure head paint job

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Even when action-figure head sculpts are great, the paintjobs can be pretty indifferent, with eyelashes on foreheads. Ibentmyman-thing has, through trial-and-error, come up with a method for priming and painting heads, with gorgeous results. Read the rest

Army dudes in yoga poses: now an article of commerce

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Yoga Joes started life as a wonderful, weird Kickstarter to produce a set of nine "Green Army Men" in yoga poses; having raised over $100K in direct sales at $20/set ($10 for military personnel) Brogamats is now selling them in retail channels at a $28 premium, for all nine: "headstand, meditation pose, cobra pose, warrior one, warrior two, child's pose, tree pose, crow pose, and downward-facing dog." (via Canopy) Read the rest

Is this the most beautiful dragon penis yet?

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In its luminous, rainbow-hued absurdity, the Nox is so delightful that it seems like a dog toy, perhaps, or a wedge of playdoh colors that one's child has only just rolled together.

But it is, in fact, an enormous silicone dragon penis! Read the rest

Mattel hired women to design these action figures for girls

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The DC SuperHero Girls line is aimed at 6-year-olds and the look great. Mattel designer Christine Kim says the action figures are were designed by women for girls, not by men for boys. Read the rest

Playmobil pirate ship includes dark-skinned doll wearing "slave collar"

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Ida Lockett of Sacramento, CA was helping her 5-year-old son put together a Playmobil pirate ship kit he'd been given for his birthday when she saw that the instructions told her to put a shackle around the neck of a dark-skinned figurine in torn clothing. Read the rest

Adorable toys for Nekoatsume, your favorite Japanese cat game

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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

The Thingmaker was the coolest toy ever

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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.

Read the rest

Millennium Falcon quadcopter

Skinning drones with iconic spaceship shells is an absolute natural and I expect to see a lot more of it -- here's a salvo, Air Hogs's Millennium Falcon quadcopter, which hits stores on Sept 15 -- part of a family that includes landspeeders, TIE fighters, X-wings, and speeder bikes. Read the rest

Dissecting Sphero's Star Wars BB-8

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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

Hello Kitty museum exhibit headed to Seattle in November

The massive museum exhibition "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" will land at Seattle's EMP Museum in November. Read the rest

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