The Sylvanians

The Sylvanians

The Sylvanians History

At the start of manufacturing, on March 20, 1985, Sylvanian Families were developed and also launched in Japan, which makes use of the idea of doll houses and also human like animal characters. The very first launches of the doll houses as well as various other play sets were constructed from porcelain with the furnishings being manufactured from timber. Nevertheless, later launches changed the products to plastic as well as steel in the manufacturing. The toys were later on launched in The United States and Canada during the same year (1985), yet with various product packaging as well as small distinctive changes to the Sylvanian personalities themselves. The toy line was initially entitled Pleasant Friends of the Forest

In October 1987, the collection generated a computer animated series created by DIC  Animation City and also TMS Entertainment, which lasted for 13 episodes. The series was prominent in the UK as well as in Spain. The name of the TV collection based upon Sylvanian Families was adjusted in various nations. As an example, in Spain it was called “La aldea el arce”. See video below:

It was additionally screened in the very early 1990’s in the United States on Nick Jr.
Later on that exact same year, the success in these markets brought about growth all the way into Western Europe, starting with the UK subsidiary of Tomy obtaining unique legal rights for the brand name in the UK. Tomy presented Sylvanian Families into the UK market in 1987, and the Sylvanians rapidly came to be a bestseller.
By 1988, Sylvanian Family members had actually ended up being a significant success around the globe, winning the British Organization of Toy Retailers honour for “Toy of the Year” 3 years back to back, in 1987, 1988 and also 1989.

In 1993, Tomy, that had actually been dispersing the toys worldwide, lost the legal rights to the name “Sylvanian Families” in Canada as well as within the UNITED STATES.
Tomy then re-established the line under the brand-new name of Calico Critters of Cloverleaf Corners.
The Calico Critters line is presently retailed in the United States as well as Canada by International Playthings, LLC

Decline and Reinvention

By the late 1990’s, Sylvanian Families had actually been discontinued n the UK,  in 1999, they were re-established by Flair. Ultimately, Sylvanian family members have actually been reestablished in Australia and also are ending up being a lot more extensively offered there. Tomy quit offering Calico Critters, and a brand-new business, International Playthings, got the line.

In 1999, the toyline commemorated its 15th anniversary in Japan, with the opening of the themed dining establishment Sylvanian Woodland Kitchen area (シルバニア森のキッチン Shirubania mori no kitchin), which was run and also handled by Epoch. The dining establishment not just offer food, additionally it sold goods and toys based upon the franchise business. The dining establishment sadly closed in February 2011.

In 2004, the franchise business commemorated its 20th anniversary in Japan with the launch of the Walnut Squirrel Family. In July 2004, EPOCH revealed a brand-new tourist attraction in Grinpa, an amusement park taken care of by Fuji Kyuko. The tourist attraction, initially called Sylvanian Village (シルバニアビレッジ Shirubania Birejji) prior to it was relabelled to Sylvanian Gardens (シルバニアガーデン Shirubania Gāden), started its building with Date’s guidance. In 2005, the franchise business held its initial online occasion labelled Sylvanian Families Musical~The Large Commotion Eve Party (シルバニアファミリーミュージカル ~ パーティーイブは大さわぎ ! Shirubania famirī myūjikaru ~ pātīibu wa dai sawagi!) which was held at the Gekidan Kogumaza Theater. It was later on launched on DVD in 2006.

In 2006, the personalities in the Sylvanian Toy line were opted to be the mascots for the National Federation of Workers and Consumers Insurance Cooperativess national mutual aid. By the end of the year, the toys sold a total of 78 million units.

In 2007, EPOCH coordinated with Itochu, Nippon Columbia and also Shogakukan to create a 3D CGI Original Video clip Computer animation collection based upon the toy line generated by Kōji Kawaguchi as well as Yumiko Muriai and guided by Akira Takamura.
All 3 episodes were launched on June 20, 2007. Inning accordance with EPOCH, extra episodes were prepared, however these episodes were never ever produced for unidentified factors.

In the UK, Flair commemorated the franchise business’s 20th anniversary with a picked variety of brand-new products. The most effective of which was an Otter boat, and a reintroduced of the Dalmatian Family who now wore party hats that read “Happy 20th !”.

In March 2009, the collection commemorated its 25th anniversary in Japan with the opening of the Sylvanian Gardens destination in Grinpa. Taken care of by EPOCH, the destination showcases real-life reproductions of Sylvanian houses and also structures from the Sylvanian Toy Series line along with a gallery including an event concerning the background of the playthings. The tourist attraction additionally has a store which markets products which are special to the park. In 2010, the franchise business once more organized 2 musicals, Sylvanian Family’s Amazing Music (シルバニアファミリーわくわくミュージカル Shirubania famirī wakuwaku myūjikaru) and also Sylvanian Family’s Exciting Musical (シルバニアファミリーわくわくステージ Shirubania famirī wakuwaku sutēji), which both ended up being a staple for advertising the toys at conventions.

On June 28, 2013, Flair confirmed that the rights for the toys in the UK will be transferred to the newly formed Epoch UK, and they began distributing the toys from January 1, 2014 on wards.

In the Gallery Below are just a selection of the Sylvanian Families Sets and Accessories that we have for Christmas 2017 at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop.

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We probably have the largest range of Sylvanian Familes and Sylvanian Accessories of any toy shop outside of the Sylvanian Shop itself in Central London, (quite close to where the author of this blog lived at one point in his life)

Also at Silly Billy’s we have a Sylvanian’s loyalty card so if you spend over £15 on Sylvanian Families at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop you will receive a stamp and when the card is filled you will receive a special White Mouse Family for free:
Sylvanians Promotion

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Aquabeads at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop

Aquabeads at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop

Aquabeads at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop

Aquabeads were introduced to Silly Billy’s Toy Shop this year (2017), although many many years ago, before the author of this blog started working there, Silly Billy’s were an Aquabead stockist.
So what are Aquabeads, exactly?
Aquabeads are a craft toy or gift which can be easily used to create breath-taking designs with the simple addition of water (H2O)

Hints & Tips for using Aquabeads

  • When beads do not stick properly, spray some more water on the back of the design and leave to dry.
  • When the back of a bead design is not glossy, spray some more water on the back and leave to dry.
  • If your bead design starts to bend, place the design under a heavy magazine or book and leave it there for a while.
  • If the bead design breaks, simply reassemble and spray with water.

These are the Aquabeads Kits that we have in stock at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop

  • Aquabeads Complete Set Beginners Studio £12.99
    Aquabeads Beginners Studio comes complete with 840 beads in 12 colours, more than enough to create whatever your imagination thinks of!
    The set comes with a handy place to store all of your beads, a bead peeler, and template sheets as well as a bead pen and sprayer
    The Aquabeads Beginners Studio is suitable for those who have just begun their Aqua-beading adventure – it even comes with two double-sided template sheets to inspire you.
    Suitable for children aged 4+. “with colourful Aquabeads, beautiful creations are simply a spray of water away”.
  • Aquabeads Complete Set Rainbow Pen Station £19.99
    The Rainbow Pen Station comes with two layout trays, and a bespoke workstation making it perfect for crafting more Aquabeads creations at once. Slot the beads into the Rainbow Pen, and easily switch between the colours when creating your designs. There are 4 templates to help give you creative inspiration, and to top it all off, the handy workstation will help to keep you organised. With colourful Aquabeads, beautiful creations are simply a spray of water away.
    Just spray water and the beads will stick together! no ironing required.
    Helps to develop hand-eye coordination and memory skills.
    Includes two layout trays and a bespoke workstation.
    Contains 600 beads that come in eight different colours and four templates.
    Not suitable for children under 4 years due to small parts which can be ingested and/or inhaled
  • Aquabeads Complete Sparkling Jewel Box £19.99
    With colourful Aquabeads, beautiful creations are simply a spray of water away!
    Pretty in pink, the Sparkling Jewel Box contains 600 beads in 12 colours, all held within a coloured heart-shaped storage station.
    The Jewel Box comes with a layout tray, key chain, bead peeler, sprayer, two rings, a parfait cup and a sundae cup as well as 2 double-sided template sheets which comprise beautiful bow, cake and animal designs.
    Suitable for children aged 4+


We also have Aquabeads Refills Sets here at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop

  • Dazzling Ring Set £7.99
  • Jewel Bead Pack Refill Set £7.99
  • Mini Sparkle Pack Set  £5.99
  • Bracelet Set, Theme Refill £7.99

Aquabeads Refills

Aquabeads make a great Christmas Gift so come to Silly Billy’s Toy Shop for your Christmas Toy Shopping 2017

Have you seen Silly Billy’s amazing Christmas 2017 Competition yet? Visit this post to learn more 

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Gift Box to Girl in Philippines changes lives

Gift Box to Girl in Philippines changes lives

Growing up, one of my family’s Christmas traditions was filling shoe-boxes around Thanksgiving to donate to Operation Christmas Child.
Churches and organizations all over the nation partner with Samaritans Purse to send small toiletries, school supplies, and toys or activities to children in third-world countries at Christmas.
According to their website, the organization has collected and delivered more than 135 million gift-filled shoe boxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories since 1993.
In the year 2000, 7-year-old Tyrel Wolfe and his family participated in the project. The young boy from Idaho picked out and packed items for a young girl his age, then included a photo of himself sporting his cowboy get-up with a rustic cabin backdrop.Tyrel Wolfe

For Tyrel, the project was just a moment in time.
He’d had fun packing it up and thinking about the kid who would receive it, but once it was returned to the church and sent overseas, it never crossed his mind again. But for one little girl in the Philippines, the gift completely changed the trajectory of her life.

Joana Marchan-Wolfe

Almost a decade had passed when Tyrel received a Facebook friend request in 2009. It was from a young woman named Joana Marchan, whom he’d never heard of. He ignored the request and moved on.
Two years later, the same woman sent him another request. Curious this time about who she was and why she was interested in being friends with him, Tyrel sent Joana a message asking how she knew him.
She replied, telling him that the shoe box gift he had sent 11 years ago had meant so much to her, she wanted to connect with him.
It turns out, she’d even tried writing him a thank you note years before, but it got lost in the mail.
I was curious as to what he was like now, Joana said. Was he going to college like me?
After being reminded by his mother of his involvement in the project, Tyrel continued his conversation with Joana, which quickly blossomed into an unexpected friendship.
The two shared a number of common interests like their Christian faith, and favorite music. Conversation came naturally, and they corresponded for a full year before they decided to meet in person.
Tyrel graduated high school in May of 2013. By then he had saved up enough money working for his dad to fly to Quezon City and spend 10 days in the Philippines.
I knew I was taking a big risk, Tyrel says. I had never traveled alone, let alone to a foreign country before, and I was meeting people I didn’t know or even knew really existed.
Feeling nervous, anxious and excited, Tyrel could never have guessed that this trip would lead him to his wife.
When I finally got there and saw her, I had to punch myself a couple times because I thought it was a dream, he says. I was immediately attracted to her.
Experiencing how Joanas family lived opened Tyrels eyes to how blessed he truly is.
All eight members of the Marchan family slept on the floor of their 1019-foot house.
Here in America, a lot of people are blessed with a lot of things, and after seeing Joanas home, I’ve gained a different outlook on how people live.
Tyrel returned home after one of the hardest goodbyes he’s ever had to say. But the two stayed in constant communication via Facebook, and Skyped with each other often before Tyrel returned to the Philippines again in November. This time, he stayed for a full month, then asked Joana’s father for her hand in marriage. After another long road of waiting, and some extra convincing from Tyrel’s father, the two became engaged.

On October 5, 2014, Joana and Tyrel tied the knot on the Wolfe family ranch in Idaho.

Joana Marchan-Wolfe

Because of his ability to earn a living and support Joana (and her family) with his job, the couple decided to live full-time in the U.S.
It was a big change and adjustment for me, Joana says. I was raised in the city and now I’m living in the country with much less people and more space, but its a beautiful place.
Today, they still live in Midvale, Idaho, now with their son, who was born in June.
Since saying I do, the couple has been committed to packing a Samaritans Purse shoe box every holiday season. Each one includes a note that tells their story.

We don t want to give them some fantasy, but we do want to show that we care and want to share our love, Tyrel says. We both feel so blessed and grateful that Operation Christmas Child brought us together.
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Brothers’ delight at their Playmobil pirate ship cruising to Scandinavia

Brothers’ delight at their Playmobil pirate ship cruising to Scandinavia

When brothers Ollie and Harry Ferguson launched their toy Playmobil pirate boat into the North Sea, onlookers might have anticipated it to sink without trace in the choppy grey waters.

Eight-year-old Ollie Ferguson and sibling Harry, five with their toy pirate ship prior to setting it on its way Credit: PA

Instead the plastic Playmobil vessel named Adventure has actually taken a trip hundreds of miles from Scotland to Scandinavia, taking in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. To the great delight of the 2 young boys, those who have actually discovered the boat have sent them a message letting them know the Pirate Ship’s newest location before setting it off on its trip again.The remarkable voyage has brought in interest in the Norwegian press and Adventure is now being taken aboard the Christian Radich, a Norwegian fully-rigged ship, which will transfer it down to Cape Verde to be then introduced throughout the vast Atlantic. The siblings’ daddy, stated:
“Everybody that has picked it up has been truly kind and sent us photos and looked after the ship. People are actually really getting into the spirit of the ship’s adventures.”

The boys have enjoyed it and every time we get a message telling us where it has landed we get on the computer and view where the Pirate Ship went, so they are tracking its development on the map and it provides them an understanding of how huge the world is and further Geographical knowledge. With the aid of their daddy, eight-year-old Ollie and Harry, 5, added a counterweight to assist it remain upright then filled it with polystyrene to assist the plastic Playmobil ship in staying afloat.


The Brothers working on the Ship’s Buoyancy

After the Pirate Ship passed trials in a swimming pool, they took it to the coast and released it into the waves. They then stowed on board a message asking anybody who finds the boat to send them a picture and launch Adventure back into the sea.

They launched the ship from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, at the end of May and it sailed about 390 miles to Denmark, where it was found by a household who sent it on its way.Its next stop was Sweden, where it ended up in a tree, but a lady who was sailing in her own boat discovered it and re-made its sails. The toy ship then travelled on to Norway, where it was discovered by nature authorities on a vessel, who sent out the young boys some “gorgeous pictures” of it. Mr Ferguson, 44, stated: “I was concerned that the currents along the coast would take it down the north-east coast of Scotland, so I was over the moon when it made a beeline for Scandinavia. ” A simple  toy Playmobil pirate ship which was sent out to sea by eight-year-old Ollie Ferguson and sibling Harry.

The kids introduced the pirate ship as part of their bucket-list of 500 adventures which they are working their way through, with their exploits charted on this Facebook page.They have performed over 207 up to this point, with one highlight being sending Lego figures  into space:-

” with a high-altitude weather balloon which took the characters 20 miles above the Moray Firth, while they have also been bouldering and made tea from snow.”

Parents MacNeill and Vicki Ferguson developed the concept to offer the boys with enjoyment and interesting alternatives to screen time.The couple, from Turriff, Aberdeenshire, have likewise established The Wonderful Experience Club which offers outdoor knowing experiences for grownups and children.


We do not have any of those particular Pirate Ships at Silly Billy’s, though you could try to create a similar experience with a Playmobil Dragons 9244, Drago’s Ship, and if filled with Polystyrene balls or a similarly buoyant product (expanding foam, perhaps) could well sail just as well as the Playmobil Pirate Ship in this article

Why not follow  Silly Billy’s Toy Shop on Facebook and Silly Billy’s on Pinterest

Before you leave, have you seen our Amazing Christmas Competition

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5 Things Star Trek Fans Must Admit About The Film Franchise

5 Things Star Trek Fans Must Admit About The Film Franchise

In case you missed it in the wake of all the hype for that other space movie, the trailer for Star Trek Beyond dropped this time last year.

Did you enjoy that?
If your answer was “OH MY GOD YES!” then we’re going to assume two things about you: You’re not a fan of the original Star Trek, and you probably won’t like what we have to say. We’re sorry about that, and we hope you enjoy this exciting new colour in the garbage rainbow that is the reboot of Star Trek — a superfly mass-murderous series once known for its sci-fi innovation and optimistic space adventures.

To be fair, we’re not saying that the new Star Trek film is guaranteed to be terrible, considering we’ve seen fewer than two minutes of it. But it doesn’t take a Medusan to know where this series is headed, now that it’s been placed in the hands of a Fast & Furious director and peppered with a steady stream of totally relevant ’90s hip hop. Let’s be clear: In NO way does the Star Trek Beyond trailer resemble a Star Trek film. In fact, not a single installment of the rebooted Star Trek movies has come anywhere close to resembling a Star Trek film. It’s almost as if they’re deliberately trying to destroy Star Trek‘s fanbase and replace it with four-quadrant action fans.

… Yeah, that’s exactly what they’re doing. See, there’s no money in genre science fiction. The big bucks are in widely-recognised properties that can be sold to every single person on planet Earth. Which means getting rid of everything that made Star Trek what it was (heady science fiction, diplomacy, and adventure) and replacing it with explosions and constant running around.

So what happened? Well, what we’re seeing is the end result of an unfortunately common assimilation that not even Captain Picard would be able to resist …

#5. The Franchise Was Already In Bad Shape

Back in the mid-2000s, Star Trek was in poor shape. It had been over a decade since the last film based on the original series, and Star Trek: Nemesis marked the depressing, Data-murdering final chapter of the Next Generation movies, which had started out strong and then gradually dwindled into a blight on F. Murray Abraham’s career.

“Just put enough shit on my face so nobody knows I’m in this movie.”

Enterprise, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine reminded fans that there were no more likeable TV shows to adapt to the big screen. The quaint town of Treksville was in hobo shambles — an abandoned shell of a formerly glorious metropolis, left to be wandered by forsaken fans. But then 2009’s Star Trek emerged from the dust, literally glistening like a beacon of hope.

It’s so beautiful.

But that was poison candy, my friends. As fans soon learned when they saw the film and realised …

#4. The Reboots Have About As Much Understanding And Respect For Its Fans As The Star Wars Prequels

There’s a ton of money to be made in playing on nostalgia, as Jurassic World proved this year by simply filming a bunch of people saying “Hey, remember this part from Jurassic Park?” for two hours and becoming the third-highest-grossing film of all time. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek aimed to shamelessly trade in on fans’ love for the original series by bringing us Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest, and throwing in a few fun references for die-hard Trekkies while completely failing to grasp what people liked about Star Trek in the first place.

For example, the heart of the original series is the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and Bones, who are meant to be three sides of the same person. Kirk is the central decision-making part, Spock is the logical side, and Bones is the emotional side. With very little exception, Kirk always has to defer to the two of them before making his final decision, which invariably involves seducing some manner of a female alien.

“No, Jim, I said a female alien!”

Except in the reboot, Kirk is just running around shooting things and Spock is a moody Vulcan. Meanwhile, Bones has been absolutely replaced by Uhura, because the makers of the reboot decided that what Trek fans really wanted to see was a love triangle between her, Kirk, and Spock. Bones says a few funny things and then is barely seen. It’s even worse in Star Trek Into Darkness, in which he appears in maybe three scenes !

Speaking of Star Trek Into Darkness, that installment also sought to cash in some nostalgia chips by making its central villain Khan, the fan-favorite antagonist of the Original Series episode “Space Seed” and the titular angry man from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, which is widely considered the best Trek film ever. But the character in Into Darkness bears absolutely no resemblance to the legendary villain. J.J. Abrams and crew rewrote The Dark Knight and changed the Joker’s name to Khan. The one thing they did manage to keep was casting an actor who is in no way Sikh to play Khan, who is supposed to be a Sikh.

Yeah, neither of these is correct.

The Star Wars prequels absolutely ruin everything we liked about the Jedi with that stupid midi-chlorian nonsense. The Force was awesome because it was this mystical magic, not because it was a freaking mutant power. We liked Yoda because he was this small unassuming creature who was a master of this nonphysical magic Force. The prequels turn him into a break dancing, back-flipping master swordsman. That defeats the entire purpose of Yoda being an ancient, tiny puppet: His mind was his weapon. Boba Fett is a mysterious “man with no name”-type Old West bounty hunter. Giving us his backstory as a creepy orphan space clone ruins his mystique, which is the only reason anyone ever liked him to begin with. He doesn’t do anything in the movies; he merely stands there looking mysterious and cool. And the prequels gave us his entire elementary school history. And this isn’t even getting into the whole quagmire that is the Special Editions of the original trilogy, which is the clearest example of a filmmaker being completely tone deaf as to why people enjoyed his films in the first place.

Hint: It wasn’t this.

Speaking of which, neither the Star Trek reboots nor the Star Wars prequels have any idea what their tone is supposed to be. Star Trek the original series is very much for adults. There’s an inherent goofiness to everything, and some episodes (like “Spock’s Brain”) are downright farcical, but for the most part, it’s heady science fiction. Which is what the state of science fiction was back in the ’60s, before Star Wars came out and turned “science fiction” into “action movie in space.” In fact, the one thing Star Trek absolutely isn’t, is an action movie. The original series, and their subsequent feature films, are all relatively light on action and heavy on plot.

The Trek reboot was made by a bunch of people who grew up loving Star Wars, and so their first order of business was to turn Star Trek into a Star Wars movie. That meant throwing out all the heady plot stuff and replacing it with lots of running and space explosions. There’s a reason Richard Matheson and Harlan Ellison wrote episodes of Star Trek, but were never contacted to whip up a Star Wars screenplay. And Richard Matheson wrote Jaws 3-D.

Seen here.

Meanwhile, it’s impossible to nail down a tone in a Star Wars movie, because the tone of the original trilogy is so inconsistent. The first one was a swashbuckling space adventure, a Flash Gordon / Buck Rodgers copy. The second one is brooding and grim, and the third one is an action figure commercial straight-up designed for children (because by that point, Star Wars was an empire built on action figures). That’s why the prequels feel so uneven: They skipped the first two stages of discovery and went straight for “action figure commercial.” Revenge Of The Sith went more for the Empire tone, but after two films unabashedly made to sell toys to children, it felt out of the blue and strange when the movie’s main character ignites his lightsaber and kills a room full of children.

“Thanks for the money, suckers!”

Despite clearly failing to understand anything their fans enjoyed about their respective franchises, both the Star Trek and Star Wars prequels sold millions of dollars of tickets to loyal fans. This is because …

#3. Fans Tolerate It Because It’s Better Than Nothing

Okay, so the new Star Trek had a lot of awkward lens flare in it and brought us to an alternate timeline in which Kirk’s father died and Iowa is suddenly known for its scenic bottomless pits. But we smiled and nodded along to Beastie Boys anyway, because while it was off-putting to see Kirk introduced with a Dennis the Menace car chase, we were happy that the franchise was being given another shot. And you know what? It wasn’t bad. Despite a few missteps, 2009’s Star Trek did an amazing job at reinvigorating fans while potentially drawing in a whole generation of new ones. Now all they had to do was not screw it up by turning it into a baffling 9/11 truth leading allegory

Space cocks! Paramount is starting to build a franchise out of insufferable throwbacks and references the way a hipster bar in Brooklyn might add fake graffiti in the bathrooms. And we see this in other franchises as well: glimmers of hope for fans that could easily turn out to be reckless pandering. Like these guys:

Thirty-somethings everywhere had to swallow the pale mutant rubbish that was Tokka and Rahzar back in 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, so it’s hard for us not to get a little excited when the new film finally promises a live-action(ish) Bebop and Rocksteady after 30 years of Ninja Turtles movies completely ignoring them. But the thing is, the Ninja Turtles are supposed to be for kids, right? That’s why we liked them — because we were kids at the time. It shouldn’t matter whether a bunch of adults want to come see your children’s movie.

Only it does inexplicably matter, because …

#2. The Studio Made Star Trek Mainstream To Appeal To Everyone

Hey, quick question: Why was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot PG-13, and why did it feature Michelangelo making adult-humour jokes at Megan Fox?

It wouldn’t be the first time Paramount encouraged a bunch of adolescent monsters to slobber over Megan Fox.

The answer is, of course, that they wanted to somehow make a film both for the nostalgic adults and the impressionable children they would bring along.
Much like how Paramount wants to make a Star Trek film that actually generates a profit, little point in being in the movie industry if you are making a loss !

Yep — it turns out that the original Star Trek films didn’t do great at the box office. The highest-grossing one, First Contact, only brought in $140 million on a $40 million budget. While that’s nothing to sneeze at, for an iconic series spanning ten films and five TV series (six if you count the cartoon) over half a goddamn century, it’s not exactly a space king’s ransom.

Now that Trek was being resurrected, the people putting up the money to pay for it would expect to see a return on that investment. And so it needed to be retooled in order to draw in the maximum range of consumers. In other words, if Star Trek was going to be a blockbuster (which Paramount inexplicably wanted it to be), it would have to get with the times. And that meant following the popular trends, like this dumb-ass rumour:

Except now that we’ve all seen the trailer for Star Trek Beyond, we know that dumbass rumor was absolutely true. Beyond looks as much like a Star Trek film as Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit felt like a prequel to The Hunt For Red October and Patriot Games. Which is to say, not at all. Coincidentally, both of these films were made by Paramount, and both feature Chris Pine doing sick tricks on his motorcycle.



Can you tell which one is Star Trek? Because we can’t.

To make Star Trek accessible for everyone, Paramount cranked up that Beastie Boys, took out all the unique sci-fi elements and world-building, and replaced it with generic action and hollow throwback references. And the worst part is that it will totally work, despite the fact that ultimately …

#1. By Making Star Trek “For Everyone,” They Alienate The People Who Love It

Here’s a totally insane quote about the making of Star Trek Beyond:

That’s a real quote from Simon Pegg, who wrote the script after quitting the job three times during the process … presumably because the people who hired him to write it didn’t actually want him to write Star Trek. After all, now that J.J. Abrams left, any connection to the spirit of the revival was long gone. And so they were left to do whatever they wanted with the series, which apparently included making it a bizarre piece of Guardians Of The Galaxy/Furious 7 crossover fan fiction that completely alienates Star Trek fans.

That’s not an accident or an unforeseen side effect, either. This was Paramount’s exact strategy: Take a unique property, refurbish it under the ruse that they are giving it back to the fans, and then make it as generic and safe as possible in order to make a bunch of money. Because who gives a shit if a movie has staying power when studios aren’t worried about home video sales? What matters is the immediate payoff … and that audiences will be hyped enough to pay to see it one time and then leave happy enough to see a sequel, never noticing that they just watched a re-dressed Fast & Furious film with worse physics.

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Stocking Fillers Christmas 2017

Stocking Fillers Christmas 2017

Stocking Fillers Christmas 2017

We have written about Stocking Fillers before on this blog, at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop we have a variety of gifts for Stocking Fillers, though the great question would be what is the average cost of a stocking filler present in the UK. So I did some research on this and GoCompare did a survey in 2014 reckoning the average cost of filling a stocking was £37. The author no longer makes stockings for his now teenage children, rightly or wrongly, having a cut-off point when they reached their auspicious youthfulness.

For the benefit of this post I am going to have a stocking filler cut off point of £6 per item, so here are some exciting gifts that you could potentially use as stocking fillers:

These are just some examples of possible stocking fillers that you could purchase from Silly Billy’s Toy Shop in Hebden Bridge. To get a complete idea of what we stock it would be best for you to come and visit us, if you struggle at all with that then there is a very easy to use map of Silly Billy’s on our website.

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Have you seen our amazing Competition for Christmas 2017 

Did you know Silly Billy’s are featured on the recommended Visit Hebden Bridge Website

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Mom finds forgotten 30-year-old ‘Star Wars’ Christmas gift in drawer

Mom finds forgotten 30-year-old ‘Star Wars’ Christmas gift in drawer

In 1982, a present went missing from under Reddit user OMG party’s Christmas tree.

His mom had accidentally misplaced the X-Wing Pilot Luke Skywalker action figure the budding Star Wars fan wanted.

Fast forward 33 years later. This year, the redditor’s mom found the gift lurking in the back of a drawer in her house, still in the box she bought it in with the original K-Mart price tag.

Only now, instead of being a cheap kids’ stocking stuffer, it’s a highly sought-after Star Wars collectible that could be worth hundreds if you could ever part with it. Surprise! Merry Christmas!

“My mom bought this back in the 80’s and forgot about it in the back of a drawer,” The redditor wrote on Imgur. “Today she gave it to me as a Christmas gift! I’m amazed! Going to be holding on to this forever!”

In an email to the Daily Dot, he said:

Back in probably 81 or 82 my Mom bought this for me, knowing that I was crazy about Star Wars toys. Most of my childhood memories are of playing with Star Wars figures. For whatever reason my Mom ended up putting it in a drawer and just held on to it all these years waiting for the right time!

Knowing how excited I was for the new Star Wars film, she decided that this was the year!

So that’s the story! I’m pretty surprised, that’s a long time to hold on waiting for the right moment!

In terms of value, someone on my Facebook feed said $500 but I think that’s most likely WAY WAY over inflated. It’s got some weathering that would keep it from being considered “New in the box” to collectors. Not that it matters, there is absolutely NO way that I would ever sell this. No amount of money is worth it’s value to me as a gift from my Mom!

The X-Wing fighter pilot Luke is one of a series of Star Wars action figures produced by the Kenner toy company between 1978 and 1985. Fans refer to this as “the vintage line.” The X-Wing version of Luke originally debuted with Kenner’s X-Wing model before getting his own box and costume in 1979. As action figures go, this one is pretty iconic.

Since OMG party’s gift is still in its original packaging, known as a 20/21 back card, it’s considerably more valuable as a collector’s item than any of the millions of similar X-wing pilot Luke’s that have been taken out and played with. (In collectors’ jargon, these toys are “loose.”) And since it features a special promotion for Return of the Jedi, it could easily be worth several hundred dollars.

Not bad for a mom who left her son’s present in a drawer for three decades. It’s not every day you get to surprise your kid with an amazing vintage action figure; but then that’s what the magic of Christmas and Star Wars at Christmas is all about.

Photo via Imgur

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Did you know at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop we have LEGO Star Wars Advent calendars and more types of Christmas Toy Advent Calendars in store than ever before!


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Christmas Competition 2017

Christmas Competition 2017

Christmas Competition 2017 – The Big One

This is the biggest competition we have run EVER at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop.

Christmas Competition 2017 RULES

We are trying to make the rules as simple as possible, so all you need to do is Like, Share and Tag one friend preceded by the text #SillyBillys on this Facebook Post. So if you are not on Facebook we are afraid you cannot enter.

Names will be drawn at random via an app called Woobox through the Facebook entrants that have followed the correct procedure at approximately mid-day on Sunday 10th December 2017

You can enter from anywhere in the UK and we will post the items to you free of charge if necessary.

This is what you can win, 1 of each of the following:

  • Playmobil Dragons 9247 Astrid & Stormfly
  • LEGO Ninjago 70611 Water Strider
  • LEGO DUPLO 10572 Creative Play All-in-One-Box-of-Fun
  • Altogether with a Total Value at RRP £89.97

We have run Christmas Competitions in the past though none as big as this and we really hope you can take part and enjoy joining in, it really is so simple. In fact Robert A Williams (excluded from this competition as a direct employee of Silly Billy’s) have demonstrated how to take part by commenting on the Facebook Christmas 2017 Competition Post.

Please take part and please tell your friends and help spread the word.

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How risky business bankrupted Toys ‘R’ Us

How risky business bankrupted Toys ‘R’ Us

(CNN)Toys “R” United States stated insolvency previously this month and stated it would rearrange its service to deal with a significantly tough retail environment.

The truth is that the renowned merchant went bust due to the fact that a group of personal equity companies utilized it as a toy in a video game of “Borrow, Overpay and Pray.” They lost the video game, broke the toy and have now moved onto other things while the little individuals (the providers and workers) are made to suffer, consultants make millions tidying up a mess that other advisors made millions producing, and PR-hacks work to deflect the blame by pinning it on Amazon (or is it Walmart?). It’s all quite ridiculous

in many ways.

But after we’ve had an excellent laugh and appreciated the schadenfreude that originates from the devastating financial investments of others, we must review exactly what this ordeal informs us about the damage done when financiers wander off from taking threat, the helpful work of personal equity, into making danger, its sinister doppelganger.
Risk taking happens when a financier presumes threats that currently exist worldwide. A financier taking threat generally does so by putting loan into a business that faces it.
Risk making takes place when a financier produces danger as part of an otherwise unappealing financial investment. A financier makes threat by taking loan from a business, leaving it more vulnerable however juicing the possible returns from owning it. (The most typical method to do this is by requiring business to handle extreme financial obligation to fund its own acquisition.) If anything) in return, the threat associated with the weakened business is mostly borne by its providers, workers and consumers who get little (.

Value of danger taking

Risk taking plays an essential function by enabling business to pursue activities that, while possibly gratifying, bring a great deal of associated functional, technological, market or monetary danger.
This supplies essential direct advantages– revenues for effective business, ingenious and brand-new items, work and understanding– while likewise offering people and organizations the chance to exercise their rights to purchase, offer and pursue their dreams. Start-ups require danger taking financiers, however so too do high-growth business, restructurings and turn-arounds.
By contrast, danger making includes absolutely nothing to our economy. It might be legal, it might be financially rewarding, however it’s a nasty thing to do and an outrageous method to make a living. (If I established an unsafe barrier course and force you to go through it so that I can bank on your time, I am a beast. If financial experts blather on about how these “high-powered rewards” are required to enhance your efficiency, they are fools.)
If threat is a bad thing, why do financiers make it? Due to the fact that in a from another location effective market without threat there’s no benefit. At any given minute, there is a limited quantity of danger out in the world owned by aspects beyond any financier’s control: the state of innovation, the actions and mindsets of big business, the level of entrepreneurial spirit, and so on. As well as when there are threats out there worth taking, some financiers might not have the abilities to discover and assess them.
By contrast, there’s an almost endless quantity of threat that can be produced by smart investors. When their supply of cash goes beyond the quantity of danger they can discover, restless investors can be lured to make more danger to soak up the excess: idle spreadsheets are the devil’s workshop.

Too much threat?

Private equity companies are especially vulnerable to run the risk of making considering that they raise “utilize it or lose it” funds; get 20% of the revenues however bear practically none of the losses; have actually engine spaces filled with young partners and others desperate to join their ranks, under pressure to “do offers”; and do not care if some business they purchase fail offered their portfolio pays as a whole. Provided this, it’s not a surprise that personal equity companies make a lot more threat than is reasonable to trouble those involuntarily along for the trip.
The Toys “R” United States fiasco started in 2005 when personal equity companies purchased the business for $7.5 billion.
Over the last 12 years, this initial “take personal” offer has actually most likely drawn more than $5 billion from the business: $470 million in “advisory” costs and interest to the personal equity companies and $4.8 billion ($ 400 million annually for 12 years) in interest on the acquisition financial obligation plus the 10s of countless dollars in legal charges Toys “R” United States will invest in insolvency. (It’s paradoxical that the financiers who bankrupted the business will not be paying any of these charges.).
Yet in spite of a hard retail environment, Toys “R” United States really made $460 million from offering toys in 2016 however that didn’t assist much because all of it– 100%– went to pay interest on the financial obligation.
A couple of things deserve keeping in mind in this story:
  • The monetary loss to the financiers is most likely rather little. Web of charges gotten from the dedication and the business costs made on the hidden capital, it’s most likely no greater than $800 countless which the companies themselves may just bear $160 million provided the basic 20%/ 80% split of earnings in between personal equity companies and their hidden financiers. Now $160 million looks like a great deal of cash to lose however offered the huge possession base of the financial investment groups, I ‘d think it’s less than a month or more of payment for the partners. Sure it’s humiliating and a couple of folks most likely got fired however economically it’s no huge offer for the financiers who have a portfolio of other financial investments to balance out the loss.
  • By contrast, the personal bankruptcy is a huge offer genuine individuals in spite of exactly what financing theory might state about “smooth recapitalizations.” Unlike the financiers, all their eggs remain in one basket. And the needless suffering of Toys “R” United States providers and staff members is just partly balanced out by the delight felt in Amazon’s head office in Seattle and Walmart’s in Fayetteville as an as soon as practical rival was given its knees.
  • The charges paid by the business given that 2005 have actually contributed to inequality. They were paid to attorneys, lenders and personal equity financiers all easily ensconced in the 1%. We cannot understand how this loan would otherwise have actually been utilized, it’s safe to presume that some of it would have discovered its method to the 65,000 workers and thousands of providers that “are” Toys “R” United States. None of these costs had anything to do with offering toys.
  • Since the interest paid on the acquisition financial obligation was tax deductible, all United States taxpayers were de facto partners in the offer. Why did we concur to do that? Exactly what remained in it for us?

Piling on the financial obligation

The most perverse component of this story is that the financiers had the ability to concern a business with financial obligation without themselves being on the hook. You are on the hook even if your loan provider likewise takes the vehicle as security if you purchase a cars and truck with obtained cash. If you purchase a business it’s various. It’s paradoxical however the restricted liability business structure established in the mid-19th century as a “business veil” to motivate financiers to put cash into business is exactly what enables financiers to take cash out without being on the hook.
The financiers would never ever have actually accepted pay $7.5 billion for Toys “R” United States if they ‘d needed to obtain the cash themselves. They were happy to make the business obtain it on their behalf while remaining securely outside the business veil.
While Toys “R” United States is an unfortunate story, some quantity of danger making is inevitable in an economy where financiers are totally free to take danger. And guidelines to avoid danger making would contravene other things we worth, such as the capability of a business to offer itself to the greatest bidder. Some easy modifications might at least make threat making a little more difficult and thus motivate more threat taking by financiers with money to spare. And the nation frantically requires more threat taking provided its paltry level of brand-n.w.organisation development and the worn out state of its facilities.
Rules versus “monetary support”– typical in some global jurisdictions– might be put in location to restrict the degree to which business can promise properties to money their own acquisition. (Companies might still be obtained with obtained cash however the financier would have to be the one loaning it.)
The tax code might be altered to minimize the tax-advantage of interest over dividends. Under the United States tax code, business can subtract interest paid on acquisition financial obligation as a cost, unlike dividends paid to investors, which can not be expensed. (The tax overhaul proposed by President Trump today would make this modification.)
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Laws might make it simpler to “pierce” the business veil or to bring fits for deceptive conveyance when financiers purposefully deciding that leave a business materially weaker in order to enhance themselves.
Since these modifications will not come at any time quickly, threat making will stay an ever present threat despite the excellent that personal equity might do taken as a whole. If a personal equity financier comes knocking on your business door singing sweet tunes of danger and benefit, be sure he actually is a risk-taker, and not the malicious doppelganger, prior to you let him in. And this Christmas, as you take pleasure in purchasing toys at “failing” costs, remember who to thank.

Original Article:

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A Blog Post each Day Keeps the Stats High

A Blog Post each Day Keeps the Stats High

A Blog Post Each Day ?

As part of a Social Media strategy for Silly Billy’s Toy Shop the author of this site (Robert A Williams) has been publishing a blog post each day which will continue until Christmas Eve 2017. Writing a blog post each day is actually quite a tricky task for a relatively small shop like ours. So we have to resort to re-publishing content some times as you will see on Silly Billy’s Toy Shop blog. This content is re-purposed from various sources on the internet, also we have a clever bit of code on the Silly Billy’s Toy Shop, Toy News Page which allows us to scrape content via PR Newswire.

As well as this useful way of gaining more visitors to the site we also announce new products on this blog, though quite often they will appear on Silly Billy’s Facebook page first. Another innovative way that we have showcased the products available in Silly Billy’s Toy Shop via our Alphabet of Toys page, a slow load speed may impact upon this due to the amount of embedded code so we are considering splitting it over two pages at some point in the future.

Without further ado here are a couple of products that are new to us, though this first one is only available in very limited quantities as it is a Special Edition of a Sylvanian Families Set 5269 released for Christmas 2017.

Sylvanian Families Baby Sleigh Ride Set (5269)

Sylvanian Families Set 5269

Sylvanian Families Baby Sleigh Ride Set 5269 – £17.99

Another exciting new product is the glow in the Dark Alien Eggs. Alien Eggs are very popular at Silly Billy’s and these new glow in the Dark Alien Eggs we are expecting will be a huge hit with the girls and boys .

Glow in the dark aliens

Glow in the dark aliens £1.99

If you are active on Social Media then why not take a look at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop on Facebook and Silly Billy’s on Pinterest

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