Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Build Your Favorite Classic Monsters with Lego



Even though the annual Toy Fair will arrive in New York in a few days, the recently held London Toy Fair generated quite a lot of buzz about what we'll be seeing when the so-to-be-release toys come across the Atlantic. Among the most exciting news comes from Lego. Not only will they release new toys under the licenses for DC, Marvel and the Lord of the Rings franchise, but they are also releasing a new line of toys called "Monster Fighters". This line of play sets, vehicles and minifigs will revolve around classic movie monster types such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, mummies and fish men, and it will feature the classic horror characters of Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster.

The relationship between classic monsters and toys goes way back. I remember when Remco, a subsidiary of Azrak Hamway International (AHI), released its own six figure set of Universal Monster figures during the early 80s. It had figures of Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature from The Black Lagoon, and the Phantom of the Opera. Sadly, Remco's line was very limited. It had the same six characters in two different sizes (9 inches and 3 3/4 inch "Mini-Monsters") and in two different versions for the Mini-Monsters (non-glow and glow-in-the-dark versions). There also were only two accessories: a lab table-like "Monsterizer" for both figure sizes, and a cardboard and plastic castle play set/carrying case for the Mini-Monsters.

Remco's Mini-Monster Action Figures.

Even though the Remco toy line was skimpy in its selection, AHI's original line of monster figures that was released a few years prior to Remco's was even skimpier--that line only had five action figures in one size and no accessories at all. Diamond Select has recently released its own small line of classic Universal Monster figures but between their pricing and intricate features, they are much better suited for display than play.

I'm thrilled to see Lego introducing classic movie monsters to kids through toys with which they can play, and Lego's approach is much more fun and creative than most of their monster toy predecessors. Not only will the monsters have vehicles and play sets, but there will also be steampunk-looking monster hunter minifigs with whom they can fight. Earlier monster toys rarely had monster hunters or victims to go with the monsters, which sort of defeated the purpose of having monster toys in the first place. (Aurora tried to add a victim kit to their popular line of classic monster model kits back in 1971, but that didn't go over too well.) All I can hope for now is that kids will love the Monster Hunter line so much that we can finally get a classic monster-themed Lego video game.

A Lego-based zombie survival video game would be AWESOME!



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