Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Star Wars Toys

I'm turning something D&D-ish over in my mind and will (hopefully) have up a post about it later today. Oh, and I've got football on the mind (of course), and have a bunch of "play reports" (with photos) from stuff my boy and I were doing over the weekend. But I just wanted to make a quick mention about the new Star Wars film.

About a week ago, I was in a Paraguayan toy store and got to check out the new Star Wars 7 sets for Lego. This was interesting to me because, A) I periodically check up on the SW7 news and hadn't heard anything about these, and B) the sets themselves and the characters that came with 'em. Oh, and C) the fact that they seemed to be actually be real Lego sets.

I don't know much about the Paraguayan toy industry, except what I've observed in various retail outlets. It's not unusual to find the same toys found on U.S. toy shelves except the boxes are crumpled or open and have substantial pieces missing. Toys with (English) blurbs on the package that say "Push button for lights and sounds!" and the button does nothing. Or toys that are obviously just a bunch of random pieces from different toys thrown in a box with a bunch of Korean trade-branding and a rough Spanish translation, combining things like Thomas the Train with Lego superheroes (sans accessories) plastic set pieces...basically remnants from some factory floor in southeast Asia that have been shipped to South America to make an extra buck.

The high end toy stores are usually free of these strange train wreck toys...but you'll pay four to five times the price of what you'd pay in the U.S. (and the price tags are often in dollars), and you still find some strange stuff. Like this Lego-compatible toy company from Poland that makes WW2 sets including sets based on the German army, including panzer tanks with Nazi SS officers. I mean it's jarring to me (and I'm not one easily taken aback) to find Nazi Lego toys. At least the little guys have "mean" facial's just a little weird (especially considering Paraguay's past relationship with the Axis powers and the stories of the country acting as a safe haven for German war criminals). I mean, can you imagine the American Lego company selling a Lego set for a WW2 concentration camp? With little Lego prisoners? Wasn't Auschwitz in Poland?

Well anyway, toys are different down here. For "Invisible Amigos" (the Paraguayan version of "Secret Santa," though done in the Spring for Children's Day...a day that celebrates the country's war with Brazil-Argentina-Uruguay in which 90% of the adult male population was killed off and children were forced to pick up guns), my son received a "Superman" doll that boasted a not-quite-right color scheme and a giant flaming sword. Obviously non-licensed versions of licensed toys and books (Disney, Marvel, Lego, etc.) are par for the course in this town. But these SW7 lego sets were the real deal. Just released a couple weeks earlier than in the USA.

Different rules.

Granted, it was only the new Millennium Falcon and Kylo Ren's "command shuttle" but the packaging reveals quite a bit: like Rey and Finn being the Falcon's new pilots (thus, apparently, taking over the roles of Han and Chewie in the film), or the existence of a new character named Tasu Leech, an apparent leader of the Kanjiklub Gang, and probably played by Yayan Ruhian or Iko Uwais (two Indonesian actors with unspecified roles, per Wikipedia/IMDB).

Anyway, I find this kind of thing interesting. Okay, back to gaming-related stuff (if only so that I spend less time stressing about Kam Chancellor's hold-out).

Reminds me of the old Burger King posters.

[by the way, I am aware that this isn't really "news" as the Lego sets were released in the USA over the weekend. I suppose I could've mentioned it earlier, but it's not like I'm a journalist or something...]

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