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Report: Toy Fair 2003 in ExCel London

Written by Darren 'Starscream' Jamieson on January 31, 2003 | Features |

We headed down to ExCel in London for the annual toy fair, hopeful of getting a glimpse of some of the latest Transformers. It’s safe to say that we weren’t disappointed.

Naturally our first port of call was the massive Hasbro stand, but to our dismay it was a closed stand. Unlike almost all of the others we couldn’t just walk in and start playing, we had to make an appointment. Ah well, this gives us a few hours to explore elsewhere.

Sifting through the enormous wealth of toys in front of us we came across a company called Cards Inc, as a massive standee of Optimus Prime and Generation One. Ooh. We gazed in awe at the sticker book and stickers, throwing only a passing glance towards the Buffy the Vampire and Star Wars merchandise that surrounded it. We spoke to a chap from Cards Inc about the sticker album and found that it is due for release here in the UK in March/April time and will be available from all newsagents. This was what we wanted to hear as we’d feared it would be only available on import. Not so.

Another stall we found had the Optimus and Megatron head knockers, together with a few others non TF related. We spoke to them about our frustration in finding a UK seller of these items. Toys R Us don’t stock them, neither do the Entertainer. We were told that Epic Heroes were regular stockists, and that if they prove successful we can expect more Transformers head knockers soon. We were also shown some Matrix Reloaded statues which looked really cool, and some concept art for the still to be confirmed HR Giger range.

Finally it was time to head back to Hasbro for our 2 o’clock. We were shown round in a group of about eight, through the Action Man section and into the Transformers. We went no further! The room was like my bedroom, it was adorned with Transformers logos and cut-outs, there were Armada toys stacked up to the ceiling and there were even some G1 reissues. This was interesting; we had to ask if the G1 reissues were going to be released here in the UK. The chap said that all of what we saw would be available for Christmas 2003, but the reissues would be limited. Despite me trying to convince him that it was the reissues that we all wanted he didn’t really understand. He wasn’t a Transformers fan, just a Hasbro rep that had been stood in the Transformers room all week. He said that Hasbro wasn’t interested in giving a full release to a twenty year old toy. I didn’t think at the time but I could have pointed out that the Star Wars range reissued all of the ships such as the Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing and they did very well. Classic toys never die, they just get collectible. Still we were told that Prime, Magnus, Hot Rod and Starscream would be out for Christmas, so it’s a start.

He even demonstrated the new Armada Prime for us, it transforming by itself of course helped him immeasurably.

Our hearts’ filled with happiness that we would at last get G1 reissues in the UK we headed home, stopping only briefly to play with some Daleks on the way.