Toys “R” Us announces bankruptcy proceedings – the end of an era?

I was eleven years old when I first set foot in Toys “R” Us.  Back then, in the 80’s going to Toys “R” Us wasn’t a shopping trip, it was a pilgrimage.  These days, with millions of toys at your fingertips it’s easy to forget the feeling of walking into that mammoth store, stacked floor to ceiling with nothing but toys.

Imagine being an eleven year old kid, an absolute action figure and toy freak, and going to your first Toys “R” Us.  Action figures were in aisle 7c back then, somehow I knew that, I have no idea how, and I swiftly navigated my way through stacks of diagonal bicycles, frantically looking at the aisle signs, looking for those two precious characters.

It was a life changing moment for young me.

For the whole trip down to the store, I had dreamed of what I would find, and recently becoming enamored with the Silverhawks animated series, I desperately hoped beyond hope that this mythical toy mecca would have them.

They did.

I walked out with a handful of chrome, plasticy goodness (long since sold, I’m afraid to say) and my post-Toys “R” Us life would never be the same.

The retail toy giant announced that they officially filed Chapter 11 yesterday, in hopes for another restructuring and delaying of debts so that they might find a way to continue to survive.  But with this being their second attempt at restructuring in the face of retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon, one must wonder just how much longer they have left, and then the kid in me dies just a little bit inside.

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I can, more or less, go to Toys “R” Us any time I want to now.  It’s an hour drive, but I’m an adult with a car.  It doesn’t quite mean the same thing to me now as it did back then, but I still remember the look on each of my daughters’ faces the first time they set foot in those hallowed halls.  The feeling that generations of children might never experience that same feeling makes me sad.

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Let’s all hope that this announcement prolongs the toy giant’s life and doesn’t lead to yet another downturn in the recently failing brick and mortar retail market.

Toys “R” Us Flagship store in Times Square to close in 2016

It’s a sad day for toy fans everywhere. According to HISSTank.com (via the Commercial Observer) the Times Square Toys “R” Us location is likely to decline renewing their lease for the store, although they are likely to get some other retail space nearby.

I’ve gone out of my way to visit this store every single time I’ve been to the city (which was for about 7 straight years for various Toy Fair events) and I’m very sad to hear of its closing. It wasn’t some “toy mecca” of new product or the latest and greatest toys, but it was a statement of the impact of toy stores on all of us, young and old. With a Ferris Wheel, a lifesized Barbie Dreamhouse, a looming dinosaur, and an environment of out of this world fun, it was a fantastic place to visit, even if it rarely had the newest G.I. Joe toys I was looking for.

I had always promised that I’d bring my daughters to it one day, and I’m sad that this is likely never to come to pass, it’s an experience I’m certain they would have enjoyed, even if their favorite Frozen toys weren’t in stock and ready to buy.

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Two new Kre-O set listings appear in Toys “R” Us Computers

I was just digging through my review of the second wave of Kre-O mini figures when this news popped in my feed appropriately. According to Master Chief over atHissTank.com two new listings have appeared in Toys “R” Us computers for upcoming G.I. Joe Kre-O sets!

The listings are as follows:

GI JOE Kreo Wolverine Tank $29.99
GI JOE Kreo Outpost Defender $12.99

Master Chief has been a long time G.I. Joe fan and has been a very reliable source of information in the past, so I have no reason to doubt his information. This is great news for those of us Kre-O fanatics who have been anticipating some new trickle of information.

According to Master Chief, these sets may even hit in time for the Holiday season!

Sound off below! Are you excited? What do you think these sets will contain?

Personally, I’m not entirely sure if the “Wolverine” will truly be a classic “Wolverine”. The $29.99 price point is a bit higher than something of that size might indicate. I think we might get a more full-fledged battle tank, but I could be wrong.

Regardless, I’m excited to see and hear more! Thanks to Master Chief for the intel.

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All Kre-O sets are Buy 1 get 1 50% off at Toys R Us online and in store

This seems to be a regular occurrence!  Both at ToysRUs.com and at the brick and mortar locations, all Kre-O sets are once again Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off!  Use this chance to get the addiction started, or just continue feeding that addiction by buying more sets!

Check out the Kre-O section at ToysRUs.com, or hit your local store and support this great new iteration of G.I. Joe.  To see my thoughts on the G.I. Joe Kre-O sets, hit up my G.I. Joe Kre-O Review Page.  Also, you’ll want to review the G.I. Joe Kre-O SuperPage to refresh your memory on the blind bag codes and make sure you know exactly what to shop for.

Toys “R” Us Exclusive JOErassic Park figures found at retail!

“JOE”rassic Park… ya like that?  Yeah, I gotta give Chuck from What’s on Joe Mind credit for that one.  He claims that was his invention.  If someone saw it somewhere else, it’s not my fault!

According to gijoefrank from the Terror Drome forums, he found these at retail in a Southern California Toys “R” Us and supplied a nice assortment of images as proof as well.  It’s amazing to me that we just heard confirmation of these two days ago and already retail sightings have begun.  Pretty cool.

New role play item at Toys R Us trains you in the ways of Battle Kata!

Someone correct us if we’re wrong, but Twitziller pointed out this role play item at ToysRUs.com and I think it’s totally new.  At least I don’t remember seeing it before.  It looks like a kids’ version of Roadblock’s now infamous Battle Kata weapons vest.  Allowing the wearer to store their role play weapons in the various pouches and be ready to kick some Cobra ass!

Check it out for $24.99 and take a peek at the images below.

So Toys “R” Us has this computer listing for a Spec Ops Tomahawk and…wait…WHAT?

That was kind of my reaction when this news floated across the Internet this morning, courtesy of HissTank member Master Chief.  His eagle eyes dug into some SKU listings of G.I. Joe product, which I am mirroring below:

 786245 Movie 3.75″ figures $9.99
788551 Movie Delta Vehicle $21.99
786216 Ninja Showdown Set $24.99
786253 Ninja Mask $9.99
786274 Movie Alpha Vehicle $13.99
788535 Blade of Justice $16.99
788640 10″ Kata Battler $21.99
788713 Movie Bravo Vehicle $15.99
788772 Snake Eyes Ninja Set $27.99
788802 Battle Kata Weapon $15.99
863851 Ninja Chucks $9.99
867591 Ninja Command Blaster $29.99

828516 Micro Force Blind Bag $3.99
828613 Micro Force Starter Set $7.99

Now for the interesting items (all are Hasbro items):
655875 Ninja Army Special Ops $3.99
913370 Special Ops Starter Pack $4.99
835442 Special Ops Vehicles $24.99
913230 Special Ops Tomahawk $42.99

As Master Chief says, a lot of this is stuff that we already know, but what is this “Special Ops” stuff?  Sure, it’s the name of the online Facebook game, but I’m not sure that particular corner of the G.I. Joe marketing bracket has really been lucrative enough to garner it’s own branch of toys.

Based on price point above it almost seems like some of these pieces are gaming related.  They don’t appear to be Micro Force, since there’s a separate listing above for Micro Force already.  A low price point on the Ninja Army and the Starter Pack is very interesting…  although perhaps the Starter Pack and the Starter Set could be considered different?

Of course what’s drawing the most attention (as it should) is that listing for a Special Ops Tomahawk.  That certainly sent the G.I. Joe world on its ear today, understandably so.  The Joe design team has mentioned a few times that another classic vehicle was being planned for this year, similarly to the Skystriker, but I’m not sure anyone would have guessed the Tomahawk was a possible subject.  I know I wouldn’t have.  The tooling and expense required for a vehicle like that doesn’t seem feasible under a reasonable MSRP.  But, really, we’ve seen G.I. Joe reuse names a ton over the years…this could be something entirely unrelated.

Regardless of what it is, things are certainly looking a little more exciting for Toy Fair next week.  You can bet I’ll be in attendance to get all of the pics and information that I can!

Thanks again to Master Chief on HissTank for sparking this interesting speculation!

G.I. Joe: Retaliation black Cobra Commander from ToysRUs.com?

Well, put this firmly in the “what the what–?” column.  Apparently that formerly mysterious black Cobra Commander variant that was most recently seen as an Amazon.com exclusive has now started shipping in single pack form from ToysrUs.com.

Toys R Us had opened some G.I. Joe: Retaliation pre-orders a little while ago, and over on HissTank.com solid.wii reports that he received a black single pack Cobra Commander, and another member Rodimus88 confirms the fact.  There are also images of the packaged figure and the receipt, which I’ve mirrored below.

Does this mean this Cobra Commander will be found at brick & mortar?  It seems quite possible, but I guess time will tell.  Thanks to noted author James Kavanaugh from the RAHC Guide for linking this info.

Canadian Joe fans, hit your Toys “R” Us!

I’m hearing from various folks North of the border that Canadian Toys “R” Us stores have a G.I. Joe sale going currently for “Buy 1, Get 1 for $1.00″!  Not only that, but they appear to be stocked pretty well through Waves 4 & 5 of the Pursuit of Cobra.

The direct word I got was from Andrew, who writes from Ottawa, Ontario, but I have also heard that from other folks in Canada as well.

Go out and take advantage!

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra figures Buy 1 Get 2 Free at TRU

Toys “R” Us has released a new sales flyer for this weekend, featuring some “Doorbuster” deals, and among one of those mentioned deals, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra figures are Buy 1 get 2 Free!  Depending on the stock at your local Toys “R” Us, this could be a great time to boost your Rise of Cobra armies, or just clear out some peg space for the eventual arrival of more Pursuit of Cobra stuff.

’tis the time for Toys for Toys as well!  I’ve mirrored an image of the ad below, it can be found on ToysRUs.com.  Big thanks to Compulsive Collector for the information!