Archive for June, 2010

Cool Toy of the Day: New Versions of Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz

Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz Version 2

I posted before about the Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz and complained that they didn’t include the new toys from the movie.

Well, I stand corrected (sort of). There are 2 new versions of the Toy Story 3 Bandz and one of them includes the new characters.

Version 2 once again seems to be characters we’ve already seen in previous movies including the Alien, Piggy, Potato Head, Rex, and Buster (or is that Slinky Dog?)

Version 3 includes Lotso and the crew of bad guys from Toy Story 3.

Both versions are selling on Amazon for about $6.00

Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz Version 3

UNcool Toy of the Day: Bazai Falls Original Water Slide

Banzai Falls Original Water Slide

I’ve blogged previously about the Banzai Waterpark and their deceptive advertising.

Today I came across some reviews of the Banzai Falls Original Water Slide.

First of all, let me say that the manufacturer’s images seem to me to be deceptive. I will let you decide, though. Check out their images and those of customers posted here.

It seems like this category of toys is notorious for at least somewhat deceptive photos of their products.

Customer reviews on Amazon and elsewhere bring up another problem with the slide… durability. Some customers had seams ripping out almost immediately, others found that by the second summer, the liner had crumbled and it would no longer hold air. One customer got about 2 hours of use out of the slide before it was shot. Reports include the water hose popping open at the seam, seams coming undone, footholds ripping around the edges,

A more accurate photo of Banzai Water Slide

One customer pointed out that the splash-down pool at the bottom of the slide was far too short and that the kids keeps hitting the edge, sometimes going over it.

The slide carries a 200 lb. weight limit. Users must be careful that this limit is not per child, but overall, so that kids must climb and slide entirely one at a time to avoid going over the limit on the inflatable hilltop.

Reviews almost always said that it was a great item that the kids loved while it lasted. Even though it may not be quite as big as implied by their product shot, it certainly looks fun. But you would have to be prepared for the fact that it may only last a few days or weeks. One summer at the most.

Banzai Falls Original Water Slide lists for $379.00. Oddly enough, between the time I began writing this review and the time I posted it, Amazon no longer had this item available. It wasn’t sold-out, just gone along with all the bad reviews.

Two more user images of the slide

My Favorite Artist in Lego

Lego version of Escher’s Ascending and Descending

I seem to be stuck on Lego lately. Oh well.

Today’s post combines two of my favorite things, Lego and M.C. Escher.

Who would have thought that you could create the wonderful visual illusions of M.C. Escher in three dimensions with Lego? Apparently Andrew Lipson did. He has created some amazing lego versions of Escher’s artwork along with his friend Daniel Shiu. He has used some photographic cheating in a couple of instances, but mostly they are pure models that depend more on the photographic angle for their illusions.

He makes other great things from Lego, but his Escher works are truly masterpieces and I can’t even imagine the amount of time, space, and clutter it must take to plan and construct them. Apparently he has too much spare time.

Scroll down to see some examples of his work and be sure to visit his website to see how they were done and information about construction.

Lego Balcony
Lego Belvidere

Lego Relativity

Lego Waterfall

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!

Cool Toy of the Day: Lego Barechested Prince of Persia Dastan

Dastan Lego Minifigure

Today’s cool toy is the Lego Barechested Dastan Prince of Persia Minifugure.

I have not seen The Prince of Persia movie. But this minifigure character is Dastan, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The princes in the Prince of Persia video game world did not have names, known only as "Prince".

Lego Skeleton
Skeleton Minifig

The Dastan Minifigure is a great likeness of the character. He even comes with two swords! Although at $10.00 he is a little pricey (and this is apparently a reduced price). By comparison the same character with his shirt on is selling for $5.00 and Hassansin
is only 49 cents.

Another great Minifigure from the movie is the Skeleton. I love him and he’s only 25 cents.

The Dastan Minifigure is very cool and is a great example of the incredible variety of characters created by Lego. These little "action figures" are only about 1.5 inches tall, and yet the designers have managed to capture incredible unique traits in them.

Early Lego characters had no moving arms or legs and no facial features. Their character was mostly defined by the hat they wore. They certainly have come a long way since their release in 1974.

There is also a large community of Minifigure enthusiasts that not only collect the little guys, but modify them through the use of painting, decals, mixing and matching pieces, or even remolding them. For the collector, you can even buy Minifig Stand (in various colors) for displaying your favorite characters.

One of my favorite items is a poster of the anatomy of a Lego Minifigure.

Lego Minifigure Anatomy

Scan Toys reveals the inner depths of toys

Toys exposed by x-ray

Have you ever wondered what mysterious mechanisms might inhabit the depths of your favorite toy? If you recall my earlier post about the book Bears with simple images of teddy bears turned inside out to reveal their inner workings you’ll know that I have.

Modern toys often have lots of electronics, batteries, gears, and motors to discover. But even older toys had hidden mechanical workings such as dolls who’s eyes close when they lie down. I must admit I’ve always wondered how those actually work.

Scan Toys is an exhibition of x-rays taken of toys at the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires. But it’s far more than just a collection of x-rays. It transforms common toys and their inner workings into art.

I don’t recognize some of the toys and I haven’t been able to find much explanation of each individual image. Some of the images also have non-toy items in them as well. But each one is beautiful and fascinating.

Don’t think you’ll be getting to Buenos Aires anytime soon? No problem. There is a wonderful Flickr set of at least some of the images.

Via Gizmodo

James May’s Toy Stories Debuts on BBC America

Jame’s May’s Lego House

What would you build if you had an unlimited supply of Lego? How about a house?

James May, one of the hosts of Top Gear, has done just that.

It’s part of his show, James May’s Toy Stories, which examines some iconic toys and "embarks on some ludicrously ambition adventures and feats of engineering" with them.

One of the goals of the show is to motivate children to put down their Wii remotes and get out and play again (an idea that Dave’s Cool Toys can get behind).

James May’s Toy Stories is a British series, so some of the terms used were unfamiliar to me, but the toy guide on the BBC America website made it more clear. For example, Airfix was a term I wasn’t familiar with, but they are plastic model kits.

A Lego house is quite ambition, but so is creating a real bridge out of Erector Sets, recreating an actual train route with model trains, or building the world’s largest model plane (life size!).

Plasticine Tree

For one episode, they have created an entire garden out of 2.5 tons of plasticine in 24 colors at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea show. The garden drew attention, both good and bad. Many critics felt the garden shouldn’t be at the show because it had no actual living plants. But people from all over England contributed to the garden and it eventually won a "gold" medal. The medal was made of plasticine. The judges were in a spot because his garden broke the rules of the show by not including any real plants, but they liked it enough to reward it anyway.

And that’s not the only accolade the show has earned. They created a "Scalextric" slot car track at the original circuit at Brooklands, the birthplace of British motorsport, using 20,000 sections of track, stretching 2.75 miles. Guinness World Record

Unfortunately, their attempt at a world record scale train track failed because vandals placed pennies on the track, shorting it out and stopping the trains.

James May’s Toy Stories premiers on BBC America on June 28 at 10:00 p.m. Don’t miss it!

The show aired last year in Britain.

There is also a book, James May’s Toy Stories, available. The only DVD I could find was coded for Britain.

Cool Toy of the Day: Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz

Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz

I recently posted about the most popular toy on Amazon, Silly Bandz. Today’s Cool Toy is Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz . Yes, you too can wear your favorite Toy Story 3 characters on your wrist. Although, I have to say there don’t seem to be any new characters from the 3rd movie in this set. They don’t even include Lotso. Oh well, they’re still cool.

Apparently these are actually called "Logo Bandz" rather than "Silly Bandz". Although the package calls them "Character Bandz"

Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz, $6.94 on Amazon, 20 bands per pack, 5 different character shapes, in 4 different colors. Officially licensed by Disney.

Toyz Noize video remix from Toy Story

Since Toy Story 3 opens today, here’s a video I stumbled on this morning that takes vocals and chords recorded from Toy Story
and remixes it into clips from the movies. Great video! For more of these, check out the Pogo YouTube channel.

Check out this Pixar mosaic video promotion for Toy Story 3

It’s here! Toy Story 3 arrives in theaters today.

Pixar has created one of the most imaginative "trailers" for a movie that I’ve ever seen. It’s a series of animated mosaics of Toy Story 3 characters created from still images from Toy Story 1 and 2 (including credits). In total there are 16 mosaics created from 640,000 tiles. Each frame of the video took between 30 seconds and 16 minutes to render.

Notice while you’re watching that each mosaic image created by the tiles becomes a tile in a larger mosaic.

Disney/Pixar is also using an innovative Facebook page that lets you find showtimes for Toy Story 3 and coordinate with your friends to go see the movie together. When I visited the page, it automatically listed local theaters and showtimes. You then select a show and invite friends to join you. Very clever.

Crank your sound up, watch in full-screen and high-def if your system can handle it, and enjoy!

OK Go makes another great video for “End Love”

I love OK Go. I like their music. But I love their videos.

One might have thought that their very popular treadmill video would be a one-hit-wonder, never to be outdone. (Not me, of course. I never doubted them for a second.) But they followed that up with their amazing Rube Goldberg Machine video.

Well, they’ve done it again with another amazing video for their song "End Love", which is about the end of a relationship.

The video uses widely varying speeds to compress and expand time throughout. And it’s one single camera shot! Yikes! At one point they compress 24 hours into only 1/2 second and at another point they stretch 1/2 second into 16 seconds.

The video, which runs 4 minutes and 30 seconds, includes a total of 18 hours of the band members performing and 192 hours of the LA skyline at the very end.

The amount of planning that went into this video boggles the mind. This means that the band members had to performs parts of their song very slowly and parts of it very fast so that when the video is compressed/expanded it will fit into the final real-time version of the song. Plus, it has a goose.

One last thing before you watch the video. OK Go is running a contest on Facebook for this video. Download the video for free, then upload it to your Facebook page and get your friends to comment on it. The Facebook user with the most comments in two weeks wins.

Pixel animation with fire! Yes, fire!

I came across this amazing animation with fire this morning. It’s an animation of classic computer games recreated with fire. Actually 320 tealights. It took the creator 2 weeks and a lot of patience to create. It was worth it.

via Gizmodo

World Cup Soccer in Lego, USA vs England

It seems like I have a lot of posts with cool stuff made from Lego. I guess that either says something about me, or something about Lego.

I’m personally not a sports fan, but the folks at Legofussball have been recreating great soccer (football) moments including games from the 2010 World Cup.

Check out the video below of the USA vs England tie game.

“Mommy, where does toilet paper come from?”

As I’ve mentioned before, I get a lot of emails from manufacturers that want us to carry their toys at Dave’s Cool Toy. A few get immediate response from me and we get them in stock as soon as possible. Most are deleted with a quick scan. The one I received today fell somewhere in between, falling more into the "What were they thinking?" category. Check it out below.

To top it off, they used inappropriate language in their add. I suppose that it was translated from Chinese and they didn’t realize that one of the words used was not appropriate in English for a children’s product. I blurred the questionable word in order to include it here.

I particularly like the part "A good decoration item especially in the bedroom." Yeah, what every child needs. A plush puppy pooping tissues.

No, you will not find this product on anytime in the near future.

Tissue Pot Plush Tissue Dispenser
Email for a new product called the Tissue Pot

Wendy’s Pulls CD from Their Kids Meals Due to Racy Lyrics

Banned Wendy's CD
Banned Wendy’s Kids Meal CD

Wendy’s has been distributing several different CDs in their kids meals, but they’ve quietly pulled one from distribution afte they received complaints about racy lyrics.

The CD is the "Karaoke Disco Fever" version that was distributed with the meals. There are other CDs such as "Karaoke Motown for Kids". The song in question is Donna Summer’s "Last Dance". Apparently the song has been recorded with two versions of the lyrics. One version includes the words "I’m so so bad", which is what is written in the printed lyrics that come with the CD. But the song that was included on the CD had Donna singing "I’m so so horny". The CD was marked as being safe for children 3 years old and up (they offered an alternative Raggedy Ann & Andy book for kids under 3).

Wendy’s website currently has the statement "We are no longer offering this Karaoke Disco Fever CD. We’re sorry and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you.

Obviously, if you have one of these CDs, you might wish to refrain from playing it on car trips with the kids. A better place for it at this point might be eBay.

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).

We welcome your feedback and comments.

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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