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Saturday, August 19 2017 20:57

Mark Wahlberg is Headed for HASCON...

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One of the highlights of the year for our family thus far was attending the red carpet premiere of TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT in Chicago. Among the cast and crew in attendance was star Mark Wahlberg, who's played Cade Yeager in the past couple of installments, and now he's headed for Hasbro's HASCON - their first ever "FANmily" event. Happening September 8 – 10, 2017 at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, HASCON will bring Hasbro’s most iconic brands to life, with experiences based around Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, MarvelPlay-Doh. Wahlberg will take part in a special panel devoted to the making of Michael Bay's latest TRANSFORMERS film, followed by a special dinner event. Check out the details below...

You may have seen me post about Zuru Toys' Bunch O Balloons earlier this year - most likely on my social networks, or when I co-hosted a twitter party for them with The Toy Insider. Realizing I hadn't given them a proper feature here on the site from my hands-on experience, it's time to throw down a few words about the water balloons that have been famously touted for the ability to "fill and tie 100 balloons in 60 seconds." Quite simply: they absolutely work.

One of the highlights of this summer's 2017 D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, was the opportunity to shop for exclusive merchandise from across the Disney spectrum. Walt Disney Studios, Disney Animation, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm were all represented in the Disney Dream Store, and for Star Wars fans, one of the most sought-after purchases was the latest from the Disney Parks Droid Factory Build-A-Droid action figure series: R5-D23. This 3.75" scale droid is a perfect companion for Star Wars action figures from the original Kenner vintage series (1977-1985) or the modern Hasbro collections. Having attended D23 Expo myself (as a guest of Disney), I had a chance to stop by the Dream Store, and I picked up an extra R5-D23 with the sole purpose of passing him along to one of you!

Warner Bros.' The LEGO Batman Movie has proven to be one of 2017's biggest hits - a follow-up to 2014's The LEGO Movie, but one with perhaps even more appeal to families that embrace the desire for adventure. Like it's predecessor, our kids have had a desire to take the film with them, and that's something we've seen from the start. When General Motors showed off the Chevrolet version of The LEGO Movie Batmobile at The Chicago Auto Show back in February, my oldest daughter was right there rockin' her LEGO Batman backpack. When a LEGO Batgirl costume popped up at Walmart - the girls had to have it. And by summer, the movie was available on Digital HD, and the girls insisted that it be added to the iPad for the road. In fact, on our June trip to the lake house in Wisconsin, we traveled with a LEGO Batman pack. 

Update - 8/17/17, 8:30am: Looks like someone at Hasbro goofed and perhaps jumped the gun. After being live on their official YouTube Channel for more than 12 hours, three of the four new commercials have been removed. I'll replace them in this article if/when they're restored.  

As we approach the next "Force Friday" event on September 1, the folks at Hasbro have updated their official YouTube Channel tonight with a look at some of the new STAR WARS toys set for release ahead of Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI this December. The big one (literally) has already elicited a verbal "I want that!" from the youngest of The Rock Daughters™, along with a mental of "I want that..." from yours truly. Indeed, Hasbro is releasing a playset, and I honestly can't remember the last time that they did a proper 3.75" playset that wasn't just a fold-out vehicle. In this case, they're releasing a large BB-8 that opens up into a First Order Star Destroyer, complete with four levels of play and figures of Supreme Leader Snoke and an Elite Praetorian Guard. Take a look at the new commercial below!

The world of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES has evolved numerous times throughout the past few decades, and through countless adventures that have sometimes jumped dimensions, the Turtles have occasionally crossed paths with a Ronin rabbit called Miyamoto Usagi, perhaps better-known as Usagi Yojimbo. Created in the 1980s by Stan Sakai, the character has appeared alongside the TMNT crew in several different versions, particularly becoming a cult favorite based on the original 1987 animated series. Now, in Nickelodeon's TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Usagi is back, and a recent three-part story arc found the Ninja Turtles transported to an alternate dimension in which they fight as samurai alongside the mysterious Ronin rabbit. Of course, being back on the radar for a new generation means the right time to be reintroduced to the toy line, and Playmates has stepped-up with a fantastic Samurai-themed collection of new TMNT action figures, a sampling of which arrived here at Rock Father™ HQ for review.

Hasbro's HASCON is fast-approaching, and today the toymaker has issued details on additional entertainment programming for their first ever "FANmily" event. Happening September 8 – 10, 2017 at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, HASCON will bring Hasbro’s most iconic brands to life, with experiences based around Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, MarvelPlay-Doh and more.

This Summer, Zen Studios will will bring Universal Classics Pinball, to their popular Pinball platforms for console, PC and mobile. Based on three classic films from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios, the new collection will feature gameplay inspired byE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, and the Back to the Future trilogy. The Universal Classics Pinball pack will release as a part of the launch of the Pinball FX3 platform on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam and Windows 10 (date TBA), while the themed tables will also be available as individual in-app purchases for Zen Pinball on the App Store and Google Play. Check out the gameplay trailer featuring E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial below!

Every generation has their memorable entry point into the world of video gaming, and for The Rock Daughters™, I know they'll remember theirs as the Nintendo 3DS XL - the first system that they really got into. Now, even as we have the Nintendo Switch and the NES Classic Mini (need to get my hands on an SNES Classic!), their 3DS is the go-to, and for families looking to get into the handheld action, the Nintendo 3DS family of systems is a great entry point into a world that continues to grow, and for those looking for some real value, the new 2DS just may be the perfect starter, and this week brought the announcement of some new games and fun ahead...

They say that "friendship is magic," and with that in mind, Hasbro - makers of MY LITTLE PONY - celebrated International Friendship day by unveiling what they're calling their first "brand anthem" for MY LITTLE PONY, titled ‘Through the Eyes of a Friend.’ It's social experiment that invited parents to hear how their child was doing in school; and surprised them with a report card from their child’s best friend. Check out that video below, but keep scrolling as there's much more...

When Ben 10 launched the first time around, my wife and I were still some years off from becoming parents, and thus the multi-dimensional adventures escaped us for a bit. While the series has evolved over the past decade and a half, 2017 brought the opportunity for a fresh start and a new series of Ben 10 was born - the perfect opportunity for a new generation of kids to enjoy the adventures of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen and their grandfather, Max. With the power of the Omnitrix on his wrist, Ben can transform himself into one of 10 different alien creatures as the family embarks on great adventures in their Rustbucket - a combination RV/laboratory. With a great new show comes some great new toys, and Ben 10 is being handled by Playmates Toys - the same team behind the long-running success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the recent Voltron: Legendary Defender collections. 

As a big kid that plays with a lot of toys, I tend to see a lot of radio controlled vehicles here in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ™. For the most part, it's always the cars and trucks that score the biggest points, with the more unique ones (motorcycles, for example) tending not to live up to expectations, or coming with a learning curve so big that kids lose interest. Sure, they look cool, but I've seen so many R/C vehicles fail to perform as advertised that when the prospect of an R/C skateboard came up, even my wife scoffed at the notion. Now, I'm here to tell you that when it comes to the new XPV Xtreme Performance Skateboard from JAKKS Pacific, there's finally a unique R/C ride that not only works as-promised, but completely blows the expectations right out of the water. Simply put: this thing is badass!

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