"Childhood ponies getting final brush out before going into storage indefinitely. I feel like a mortician. " - Freindship Is Magic creator Lauren Faust tweets her G1 My Little Pony collection. [more inside]
The true secret of Easter - but are toys replacing candy (or, more awfully, live animals) as the traditional Easter gift? And is that a bad thing?
What It Takes to Build a Lego Hobbit [cached version] - How Lego's An Unexpected Gathering was designed from the 2,700 pieces of the modern Lego "system of play", which remains compatible with a brick design that goes back to 1958. Despite worries that the stacking brick system has become less creative, a persistant series of complaints that have spawned their own bingo card, it remains hugely popular, in part through quality control and clever licensing. The Lego Bag-End house also comes in a life size version.
UnNerfed - the Nerf dart blaster overclocked to 500 rounds per minute.
Just over sixty years ago the Reverend W. V. Awdry told his sick son a series of stories based on real life incidents with trains, which he later wrote up as the Railway Series. Now Thomas the Tank Engine and the other engines of the Isle of Sodor (somewhere between Barrow-in-Furness and the Isle of Man) are a global phenomena, with toys, books and of course the TV series - filmed using model trains on more than 70 1:32 scale 16-by-20-foot sets, and voiced by the likes of Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. 2008 has been a rough year for Thomas: George Carlin, who voiced the series in the US up until 1998, passed away (previously), as did David Mitton, who had written and directed over 180 episodes (and who has previously worked on the special effects for Thunderbirds). There's changes ahead for Thomas as well - this year saw the faces of the engines, which had previously been cast in silicone and attached with double sided tape, replaced by CGI faces, and from 2009 onwards Nitrogen studios in Canada will be taking over production with an entirely CGI Thomas. Meanwhile a group of British students continues the tradition of model engine-based storytelling with their YouTube based British Railway Series.
Playmobil Online Archiv - Playmobils archive of every toy they've ever produced, from it's start in 1974 onwards. It's only available in German, but even non-German speakers can appreciate gems like this awesome tiger tamer or these Mexican bandits, odd anachronisms like the chimney sweep or the figures for recreating the American civil war. [more inside]
Barbie vs Bratz: Mattel sues MGA, claiming the Bratz designs were created by a Mattel employee and smuggled to its rival.
Superstar Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is about to tear the DC Universe apart again with Final Crisis, the latest in a series of apocalypses and world ending events he's inflicted on various comics worlds over the years. But there was a time before fame when he wrote the tie-in comic for ZOIDS, the robot dinosaur children's toy. So what did he do? Ushered in the apocalypse, in the form of THE BLACK ZOID.