Archive for the ‘Weird Toys’ Category

Wearable Barbie

barbie jewelry
Barbie necklace

Margaux Lange loved Barbie as a child. As an adult with a bachelor of fine arts degree, she put that obsession to good use and began creating Barbie jewelry. But she went a few steps further than just standard Barbie jewelry. She creates hers by directly incorporating bits of discarded Barbie and Ken dolls.

The liberated Barbie pieces are imaginatively combined with sterling silver and pigmented resins to transform a mass-produced feminine icon into unique pieces of wearable art.

barbie jewelry
Barbie earrings

Her unique creations are sold at art and jewelry galleries and museum stores in the U.S. and as far away as Australia and Russia. They are also available for purchase on Etsy.

Some are quite beautiful and abstract until you look closely and realize that they are, in fact, made from pieces of dolls. Some are a bit disturbing. Some are a bit cutesy and some are quite elegant. A few are a bit provocative, using otherwise clothed sections of the dolls’ anatomy.

barbie jewelry barbie jewelry
Barbie and Ken necklace
Turn the Other Cheek Bracelet

Via Gizmodo

A Doll Emergency

Victoria Cristofis with rescued "baby"

I read a news item on Gizmodo this morning that I found interesting. Police in Workshop, Nottinghamshire, received a call that a baby was left trapped in a hot locked car. They arrived on the scene and saw the baby in the car and smashed the window to get in and rescue… a doll.

The doll they rescued was a "Reborn Doll", named Sam, and was so lifelike it even has anatomically correct veins. Victoria Cristofis bought the doll for her daughter Chanel’s birthday in June and it not only looks like a real baby, it even smells like one (hmmm). This is not the first time Ms. Cristofis has had people mistake the doll for a baby. She’s been accosted by people while shopping and accused of mistreating it because she was handling it like a doll, she’s had people shout at her because she was allowing her daughter to shake her baby, and she’s had people come up to her and touch it, thinking it was real.

Original and "Reborn" doll

But this brought up a bigger question for me. What is a Reborn Doll?

Reborn dolls are realistic manufactured dolls that have been enhanced to be even more realistic. They are also known as "living dolls" or "unliving dolls" (a term which fits best for me). The hobby of enhancing dolls began around 1990 and has grown into quite an industry in recent years with finished dolls selling for as high as thousands of dollars. There’s also an extensive online community. At first doll collectors were purchasing them, but it has expanded to parents and even to women who "adopt" the dolls and treat them as infants. You can even get a doll customized to look like a particular infant.

Consumers can either buy a finished doll, or they can buy a kit to do the enhancements themselves. Manufacturers have responded by creating dolls meant just for the reborn process.

A Closeup of a reborn doll

The process of "reborning" can be quite extensive involving removing the factory paint from a doll, applying layers of paint for realistic skin appearance, replacing eyes, manicuring nails, drilling out nostrils, adding hair, weighting the body with pellets, weighting the head so the owner must support it just like a newborn, adding magnets for pacifiers, etc., implanting devices that simulate heartbeats or breathing. They can also include an umbilical cord, heat packs (so they are warm), and voice boxes, or anatomically correct genitals.

One problem with Reborning is that it runs the risk of dolls falling into the "Uncanny Valley". Meaning that they become so realistic that they become creepy. As human-like features in robots, animation and such become more lifelike we tend to like them up to a point. Once they start approaching truly lifelike features, they become creepy. Apparently for this reason department stores don’t carry the dolls.

Toy Tazer is Not What it Seemed.

shock tazer stun gun toy
The Shock Tazer Toy on my desk

In my previous post about the shock toy Tazer, I made a point that I thought a toy that you could go around shocking people with was inaproppriate. It seemed from the description on Gozmodo and other sites that you pressed it against someone and they received a shock.

Well, I decided to order the Shock Tazer and it arrived yesterday.

I was in for a shock. Literally.

The shock toy tazer does not shock people at the tips of the toy as a real Tazer does. Instead it’s a trick. The person that pushes the button is the one that gets the shock. Just like dozens of other shock toys on the market.

Yes, I found this out the hard way. I opened it up and my first though was "I wonder if there are batteries in it already". There were. I pressed the button thinking I might tap the contacts to see if I got a quick shock. But pressing the button is what gives you the shock. I got zapped.

Last evening I left the Shock Tazer toy on the kitchen table and my 18 year old son apparently tried it too. He didn’t tell me about it until much later.

Now, the next question I have about the shocking toy tazer is "How on earth do they sell this thing for $3.50, ship it free from China, and even include batteries?"

Incidentally, Tazers don’t work this way. They shoot out darts with wire leads on them. The better term would be "stun gun".

The shock toy is available at Focalprice for $3.40 with free shipping.

Un-Cool Toy of the Day: Scary Doll

Every year we go to Toy Fair in New York City. And every year we see dolls at Toy Fair. We don’t sell dolls at Dave’s Cool Toys for a couple of reasons. For one, there are just too many choices. Two, you can buy dolls anywhere. Three, I find most of them a bit creepy.

But none have come close to the one I found in a video the other day. The video I saw doesn’t show much of the doll and it seems like she has no bottom-half. But the second video of a very similar doll shows that she’ is lying on her stomach and kicking her feet behind her.

She wouldn’t be quite so creepy if she didn’t scream as if she was being murdered.

Creepy. Check her out.

Toy Tazer: Not a cool toy

toy tazer
Toy Tazer

My first thought when I saw this is "could this possibly be a real toy?" The answer is still a bit unclear.

The "Police Electric Baton Shock/Tricky Toy with Flashlight" is certainly being offered for sale and once I finally tracked down the site where it is for sale they do say that it is an adult toy and not for children or elders, although they do call it a "toy". It delivers 3.6V per shot by touching the baton to your victim’s skin and pressing the shock button at the same time. It also has a built in flashlight which you activate with a different button which is "safe to use if you don’t touch the shock button".

Just because a toy is labeled for adults only doesn’t mean that children won’t purchase or play with them. So if children play with a toy Tazer is this a problem? There are certainly plenty of toys on the market that deliver a shock. My kids had the Lightning Reaction game which shocks the players that are too slow on the draw. When I was a child, I had a shocking lighter
that I tricked friends with all the time. It was eventually stolen by a workman who picked it up and thought it was a real lighter and was made fun of by his friends.

And all these "shocking" games have a lineage that goes back to the original “Surprise Hand Buzzer” which didn’t actually deliver a shock, but which most kids probably wished that it did. Surprisingly it doesn’t seem as if anyone has actually created a true shocking hand buzzer yet.

But there’s a difference between tricking friends to pick up a shocking lighter or pen or playing a game that you know might deliver a shock and "Tazing" someone deliberately. There’s also an issue with the similarity between this toy and a real Tazer that blurs the lines for children a bit too much. But the argument could be made that it’s certainly not as bad as children having toy guns.

My opinion is that it’s just a bit too distasteful and doesnt’ feel right to jokingly taze people, even for adults. Maybe especially for adults.

The Police Electric Baton is available at Focalprice for only $3.40 with free shipping, which seems awfully cheap. Focalprice seems to be a dropshipper located in China and not really meant for consumers, although they do sell one item at a time and still offer free shipping. They mostly sell cell phone accessories and novelties.

Via Gizmodo

Thomas Cane, Santa Catcher!

Santa won’t get past this Chimney undetected

It’s Christmas Eve and you’ve decided to catch Santa once-and-for-all. So you camp out on the sofa and wait for the jolly man. But, you doze off and when you wake up it’s Christmas morning and there are presents under the tree and your milk and cookies are nibbled and sipped. Now you have to wait another year to try again.

Well, Thomas Cane, of San Rafael California had enough of the routine and decided to do something about it.

So he invented "A children’s Christmas Stocking device useful for visually signaling the arrival of Santa Claus by illuminating an externally visible light source having a power source located within said device.

He was serious about it too. On August 19, 1994 he filed a Patent with the US Patent Office for the device. It’s patent number 5,523,741.

Here are a few tidbits from the patent:

"Modern folklore includes many mystical entities such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Etc. The most widely recognized and embraced by young children is Santa Claus—a plump, white-bearded and red-suited gentleman who delivers presents to "good" children at Christmas time."

Santa-detecting stocking

"…there are no such prior art arrangements known to applicant which includes a light transmissive three dimensional hollow recognizable character rendition which is capable of being illuminated to signal the arrival of Santa Claus."

"This is particularly important to young children, providing reassurance that the child’s good behavior has in fact been rewarded by Santa Claus."

This is a good one…

"…the presently preferred embodiment of the children’s device… comprises a Christmas stocking having an enclosure therein to accommodate small Christmas presents/treats. The stocking includes a top portion, a heel portion and a toe portion. The stocking is preferably constructed out of a conventional cloth or synthetic material. As will be recognized by one skilled in the art, the stocking may comprise various conventional pliable materials."

Bascially, the way it works is you string ribbon across the fireplace and attach it to the stocking. When Santa arrives, he inadvertently pulls on the ribbon as he attempts to gain access to your home through the fireplace opening, which pulls on a switch, activating lights on the stockings and electronic music, if you’ve turned on that feature. An alternate version would use Santa cutouts rather than stockings which would move his arms, legs and head, doing a little dance. He has covered other holidays as well in the patent such as a version for the Easter Bunny.

Is Thomas Cane trying to catch Santa Clause? Maybe. But his invention is really meant as a product that "Santa" would purposely activate once the kids have gone to bed and the presents have "arrived", so they can check it when they get up in the morning to be sure Santa was there.

I checked online and found other similar items that are available now such as the Santa Evidence Kit. This kit has items that Santa has "left behind" as evidence to children that he was there such as a torn piece of his suit, a sleigh bell, a stencil and magic snow to create a snowy boot print, and more.

Confirmation of Poop Up Pool

A few weeks ago I posted about “Poop Up Pool” and wondered in the post whether it was a real photo or a photoshop fake.

Yesterday I got a message from a Krissi in Sweden that she’d seen this product, live and in-person in her local store. She took a photo with her cell phone and it’s posted below.

Here is what she said about it:

“This is from a Coop store, one of the major grocery chains in Sweden. It looks like the source from the first photo in your blog post was also at a Swedish Coop, since the price tag is the same. This isn’t the first time that poorly proofread Chinese import products have been on the shelves here…definitely the biggest howler though.

I tried to find this product on Amazon again and the only product that came up was “Dirty Jobs Season 4“. This says a lot about the show.

Poop Up Pool Confirmed!

Cool Toy of the Day: Creepy Magic Monster Toy

Just ran across this terribly disturbing video. After a little research I discovered the little creepy thing is called the Magic Monster. If you find that you really need more information on this strange contraption, check out this website for lots more information on it than I’m prepared to post here (lots of pictures).

I must have one!

What’s the Most Expensive Toy on Amazon?

Jet Service Vehicle from Playmobil

Out of curiosity, and a comment from a friend, I went looking on Amazon for the highest priced toys. What I found stunned me.

The highest priced toy I was able to find on Amazon was the Playmobil Jet Service Vehicle, priced at $100,000,000.00. That’s One Hundred Million Dollars (if I’m reading it right)!

Oh. Plus $5.99 shipping.

So what is the deal with this toy? Is it really selling for this much? I don’t know. I would have to guess it’s a typo or a publicity ploy or something. Or maybe they used the wrong photo and it’s an actual Jet Service Vehicle.

I found the same item on eBay for $13.00, so it doesn’t seem like it’s worth that much. I also found it new for $18.19.

Stephensons Brothers Rocking Horse

The next lowest toy price on Amazon was the 123 Soft Activity Book by Kaloo priced at $39,099.00. I suspect this was supposed to be $39.99.

The first legitimate item I found with a high price on Amazon was an outdoor modular play set for $21,295.00. It’s a lot of money, but it seems at least appropriate for the item.

The first item with the highest price, that’s an indoor toy, and seems legitimate, was the Stevenson Brothers’ Limited Edition Rocking Horse for $7,600.00. Each horse if custom built to customers’ specifications. This limited edition horse is made to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen of England’s Golden Jubilee.

Truth in Advertising: Poop Up Pool

I came across this unfortunate typo on a wading pool this morning on the web. It’s made even funnier by the body language of the girl in the pool. At least they got the pricing signage right.

poop up pool
Poop Up Pool

Of course this could be a photoshop hoax. I searched Amazon to try to find this pool, but the closest I found was this one. A search of the Web found the slightly different version shown below, which would lead me to think that maybe it is a hoax.

poop up pool
Another version

Then, I found this one as well. Although in this picture, it doesn’t look like a three-dimensional box.

poop up pool
Another version

Hmmm. maybe some field research is needed.


The Worlds Most Useless Lego Machine

Useless Lego Machine
Useless Lego Machine

In January I wrote a blog post about the world’s most useless machine (I want that).

Today we have a follow-up with a very similar toy made of Lego. I stumbled on a YouTube video of the World’s Most Useless Lego Machine. It’s basically the same machine I posted about before, but this time made of Lego.

The creator made about 10 prototypes before completing the final version shown here. He used a clockwork motor for the action rather than electric, so it has a small hole to wind it.

When I see videos like this I wonder what kind of Lego collection these folks have. A search on Amazon for “Lego” came up with 4,868 items! That’s quite a variety of Lego to build things with.

This type of machine is sometimes called “Shannon’s ultimate machine”. It is named for Claude Shannon, an American mathematician and engineer who had many interests and kept a machine like this on his desk that switched itself off. Interestingly, he also build a machine that could solve a Rubik’s Cube, which we just posted about a Lego version the other day.

Give your dog a mustache with the Humunga Stache chew toy

Humunga stache dog toy
Humunga Stache mustache for dogs

This is one of the greatest dog toys I’ve seen. If it really works as it’s supposed to.

It’s the Humunga Stache Dog Toy. The idea is that your dog holds the ball in his mouth and it creates the very funny illusion that he has a comical cartoon handlebar mustache.

Yes, your dog can look like Snidely Whiplash.

The manufacturer warns that it is not a chew toy and is only a fetch toy (I assume because dogs could chew off the curly-cues on the ends). They also come in different sizes to accommodate most dogs.

humunga tongue dog toy
Humunga Tongue chew toy

And, if the Humunga Stache isn’t funny enough for you, you can get the equally comical Humunga Tongue Rubber Dog Toy It operates on the same basic principle, with a ball that dogs pick up in their mouth, giving the illusion that they have a cartoon tongue hanging out of their mouth.

This is just too funny.

rear gear dog butt covers
Rear Gear

Not weird enough for you? Then maybe you need Rear Gear butt covers for your cat or dog. Yes, you heard that right. It’s a little cover that clips onto your pets tail, hanging down and covering up their butt so you don’t need to see it when they are running around. I swear I am not making this up.

Toy Fair 2010, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

TV Hat
TV Hat being worn by one of the girls in their booth at Toy Fair

We made our annual trek to New York City this past Sunday to attend Toy Fair. We saw lots of very cool things, many toys that are not a good fit for Dave’s Cool Toys, some toys that I don’t quite get, and some that never should have seen the light of day. I also saw some "must have’s", which we’ll be carrying in the near future.

One item we saw that I think fits into the "really?" category is the "TV Hat". Also, apparently, called the "As Seen On TV Hat". This is a visor that you wear. You put your iPod Touch, or iPhone into the far end of the huge visor, turn it on, put the TV Hat on your head, and watch movies through the Magnification Lens positioned in front of the iPod.

OK. As I see it, there are several problems with this device. The first and most obvious is you look like a dork wearing it. The second, is it doesn’t seem to stay on your head right. Third, the magnifying lens didn’t seem to work very well. Fourth, why do you need it? It’s not like watching an iPod is that much work. And the visor covers your field of view, so you can’t really do anything while you’re watching it. As you can see in the picture of the girl selling them at Toy Fair, she is supporting it while simultaneously holding the part around her head taut, indicating that it really doesn’t even fit right. It also seems a little too difficult to get set up and get your iPod or iPhone back out to use it.

TV Hat
The inside workings of the TV Hat showing
the Magnifying Lens.

The instruction sheet for the TV Had says "Do not use this viewing device if you are subject to claustrophobia, panic in tight spaces, have spinal or neck injuries, or with heavy phones". It also warns "Do no use while driving, bicycling, running, or in motion". "…discontinue use if you experience neck fatigue, blurry vision, or any discomfort". "Prolonged use may cause fatigue".

The TV Hat retails for $19.95, so at least you won’t go broke buying one.

The TV Hat did have one suggested use that might be worth it. It might be useful for video producers for use with a video camera monitor in bright sunlight when you can’t see the camera viewer. I’m not sure how you would use your iPod for that, but if you can get it to work, it might be useful for that.

World’s Most Useless Machine

World’s Most Useless Machine

I came across this today and thought it was very cool. It is the World’s Most Useless Machine. The guy (I think it’s a guy) who created it built it from scratch. It does only one thing… turns itself off. Check out the video below and if you’d like to have your own, complete instructions are available at

If this machine ever gets commercially produced, we will carry it!

Incidentally, I absolutely love the Instructables site. Unfortunately, they recently went to a "pay" system so that you must become a Pro Member in order to see all images, view all steps on one page, or save a pdf of the instructions. Fortunately, the Pro Membership is fairly inexpensive. They also have very intrusive ads on their site. You know the ones…they enlarge over top of what you are reading until you find the "close" button. Hate that.

Anyway, check out the video below of the World’s Most Useless Machine Ever.

President Obama In Action (Figure)

President Obama as depicted by
the creator of Ren and Stimpy.

This Halloween, I’m sure there will be lots of Obamas coming to our door for Trick-or-Treat. There will be good Obama masks and, I’m sure, very bad ones. I even saw a "Zombama" mask. Obama Zombie mask. Yes, "Zombama". It’s really called that. And yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.

But Obama action figures? Yes. There are a bunch of action figures out there of both President Obama and the first lady. Some are more flattering than others. One example is the Barack Obama Political Toy designed by John K., creator of Ren and Stimpy (shown here).

Sasha and Malia? I’d say so.

For a brief period there were even Sasha and Malia plush dolls from Beanie Baby maker Ty. That is until the First Lady understandably objected and Ty pulled them from their line (officially they were retired). Ty insisted that they did not depict the President’s daughters, but I don’t believe anyone bought that. The TY Girlz Sweet SASHA and Marvelous MALIA Obama Dolls are now available as collector’s items for as much as $1,500.00 on Amazon. I’m sure that doesn’t hurt Ty’s bottom line.

The White House’s official objection to the Ty dolls was that they were using a depiction of private citizens for profit. Certainly true.

Michelle Obama with eight
points of articulation and
three different dresses.

The president, on the other hand, can’t really do much about depictions of him because he choose to be a public figure. That doesn’t make them acceptable, however. I will not show some I’ve seen on my blog because they are not in good taste. Either that or they are just very poorly crafted.

Obama not doing much

But, the very best Obama action figure I’ve seen comes from Gamu Toys. Their website is in Japanese and the best I can get from the poor translation I was able to get is that he comes with three sets of hands, two different heads, a microphone, two ties, a watch, an American flag (with stand), and a wooden stool. His clothes are fully removable as well. I was not able to determine either the size of the action figure or the price. I also haven’t been able to find anywhere that you can actually purchase it. He’s also shown with other accessories that aren’t listed on their website, so I don’t believe he comes with guns or a light sabre. The Obama action figure is actually quite well made and certainly flatters the President. That having been said, it appears a bit like they simply used a generic body that they already manufacture and added the features and accessories (warning, doll nudity on their generic body page). If Obama’s action figure is based on this one, and if I’m understanding their website, it is 1/6 scale, so Obama would be about a foot tall.

If I find any ordering information, I will update this post. In the meantime, scroll down for some pictures of President Obama in action.

Obama pulling his gun
G.I. Obama
Samurai President
As the Gamu Toys website says (translated) "President, enjoy the winter in Japan."
All the accessories a president could want
"If you strike me down, I will become more powerfull than you could ever imagine."

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog
We post news about new toys on our site, new toys in the market, general toy information, or stuff we just thought was cool (usually toys).

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Be sure to check out our toys at Dave's Cool Toys. We work hard to find toys you won't find at the big box stores. Now go out and play!

Dave Ference

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