Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Phoenix's Hobby Bench: Paradise Valley Location Closed

If you are a Playmobil fan and you live in or have lived in Arizona, you no doubt have made a stop to Hobby Bench in Phoenix, AZ at least once. Their biggest selection of Playmobil was at the Paradise Valley Mall location at Tatum & Cactus, and now it is no more.

During a weekend road trip, our crew stopped by the mall only to see a walled-up storefront advertising yet another clothing store would soon be taking its place. This is most unfortunate, as Hobby Bench had been a staple in this mall since the 1980s if not earlier. We've purchased Playmobil, Zoids, action figures, and numerous other toys from this store since we were young enough to remember, and made it a required stop every time we visited Phoenix.

Through further questioning, we were told their lease expired and there may be a chance the store will reopen somewhere near the mall soon. The other two stores don't have nearly the selection of Playmobil as this one, and we realize this will be of interest to precious few of you, but it means America's sixth largest city has lost its best source of Playmobil. There are a few other stores that carry the line, but nobody had anything near the selection of product that this store sported.

It will be missed. Until it comes back, and we're all hoping that it does soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reader Q&A: 5775 Pirate's Attack

Reader Scott asked: Have you ever heard of set 5775? This set has a pirate ship and a fort (awesome)! I saw this set in a coupon when I received a recent order, but the only other place I have seen it is on the Toys'r'us website. Do you know if this set is upcoming or discontinued?

First, when in doubt, be sure to consult the tools you have at your disposal. Checking TOys "R" Us is most useful, but you can also check Google and my personal favorite, eBay. Seeing closed auctions can show you who's selling what, and where.

As far as I can tell it has not yet been discontinued. This particular Pirate's Attack Ship has indeed been out for a while, and in the 5775 configuration appears to be a US mass market exclusive-- which means you probably will only see it at Toys "R" Us or on closeout down the road. I've seen this set come and go at a few Toys "R" Us stores around Los Angeles, but it comes and goes. I'd suggest you hit the road for a good old fashioned toy run-- check your local stores (or call them) to see if the set is available. Due to the fact employees generally have a number of duties to perform, I tend to prefer to just make the drive and stick my head in the store(s) in question.

Happy hunting, Scott! If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment or email me, if I can't find the answer I'll at least leave you with a believable lie. Or the truth. One of those.

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Friday, May 2, 2008 Pick of the Month (Sale)

I just received the new Playmobil newsletter, and two sets are 25% off. This month, it's the 4412 Butcher Shop and the 4400 Post Office. Click here for more information.

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