Saturday, July 4, 2009

Playmobil Sellers: Small Wonders

Name: Small Wonders
Focus: Lots of plush, a little bit of LEGO, dolls, BRIO, etc.
Selection: Lots of specials, numerous retired sets dating back to as far as 1995. Massive wall of product will require you to be tall or be driven by someone who is.
Prices: On par with or slightly above Playmobil direct service
Location: 550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 135
Promenade on the Peninsula
Rolling Hills Estates, California 90274

I haven't seen a store that had Playmobil sets with the "RETIRED" sticker slapped on them in ages, so seeing tons of them in Small Wonders really made my day. Not only is there a pretty great selection of new and recent sets, but the wall o' product has so much blue it'll make you tickled pink. Sorry, that sucked. There's a small amount of pink boxes there too, for those who like the dollhouse line.

I was particularly pleased to see tons of very large sets in addition to a vast quantity of specials and single-figure packs. 2002 sets were present, namely the zoo, and a ton of animal packs were also up for grabs. This is easily one of the best selections I've seen here in Southern California in a while, excepting Puzzle Zoo, particularly because the prices weren't terrible either.

For the record, I picked up a 4667 Magician Special set. Which ain't bad if you decide you need something with a rabbit, top hat, and a magic wand.

[ Small Wonders web site ]

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Playmobil Sellers: Toy Crazy in Malibu

Name: Toy Crazy
Focus: Typical indie toy store-- Breyer horses, plastic dinosaurs, and an extremely limited quantity of normal mass-market toys from Hasbro and Mattel.
Selection: Extremely current Playmobil, few or no retired sets.
Prices: On par with or slightly above Playmobil direct service
Location: 23410 Civic Center Way
Malibu, CA 90265

If you're looking for a nice place close to the beach, they don't come much better than Malibu's Toy Crazy, a boutique with a lot of space, a lot of glass cases, and not much in the Playmobil department. I called them after checking their web site to see if they had a big selection or just a few things, and was told it was a pretty massive selection. It wasn't. Sure, they had a Zoo, a lot of the Nautical Expedition and Dinosaurs sets, and a basked mixed of about 3 specials, but this and a few random sets didn't really impress me in the way some other stores might.

It's well worth a stop if you're in the area, and it's not too far from Puzzle Zoo, which I also visited during this particular toy run.

For the record, I picked up a 4478 One-Man Submarine here for $16, roughly the going rate.

[ Toy Crazy web site ]

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Playmobil Toys "R" Us Sale

There's a sale going on now at most/all USA Toys "R" Us stores. A number of sets are marked down $2-$5 off, including those new pull-back racers and the newly reshipped Skate Park. Selection varies by store, so if you've been putting a few purchases off, now may be a good time to see if there's something of value for you at the toy store with the freakish cartoon giraffe.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

4414 Skate Park Returns to US Retail

While rumors are flying to the contrary, we're happy to report that the Toys "R" Us chain is getting in 4414 Playmobil Skate Park sets once more. They're $29.99 each and seem to be in non-mass-market packaging, which means the sets we saw were not specifically named on the box. Since a number of sellers on eBay are claiming this one is long gone, you might want to hit up your local stores before paying a premium on the secondary market.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tuesday Morning Spot Check: February 2008

Because it's a good thing to do if you collect toys, we hit up the Tuesday Morning stores in our general area. Was it worth it? Yes. All items there are on some degree of closeout pricing, be it a few cents or several dollars cheaper than you may have seen them at your favorite toy stores.

While quite spotty, we actually managed to score some good stuff there today. We don't advise you hit up every last one (unless you've got time/gas to kill) but if there is one in your area, consider hunting some. Your mileage may vary, but here's some of what we found. (In hindsight, we should've written more down.)

3193 Baby Dino Egg $6.99 (rang up $4.99)
3260 Construction Office $11.99 (rang up $9.99)
4402 Bank $9.99 (rang up $7.99)
4421 Off Roader $29.99 (rang up $24.99)
4637 Surfer $1.49 (didn't buy)

There were additional construction sets as well, but most items were ones and twos-- there wasn't a notable amount of stock.

We're also not sure why we picked up 4421. The sign seems like a good reason given that it points to Rabat, Marrakesch, and Casablanca, which makes it seem much cooler than it probably is. We'll know for sure as we crack 'em open.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Playmoblog Tip #1: It Never Hurts to Ask!

As a fairly hard-boiled toy collector, I'm used to making vast treks from store to store in hopes of finding hard-to-find or new releases. You never know when or if you'll find what you're looking for, and in the case of Playmobil, your options are fairly limited in a lot of countries. So what's a toy hunter to do?

Call Playmobil. Over the past two weeks, I've found out that the items on or in their catalogs do not reflect their inventory. You can order a number of sets through their 1-800 number, and if you ask them, they actually have sets that you might not expect. In late January, I called to ask if they had 3191, a set that has largely been out of circulation for a year or two in most markets. It turned out that they had it, and it arrived just a couple of days ago.

So if you're agonizing over finding a set for retail price, you do have an alternative to wasting gas and driving around or overpaying on eBay. Even though it might seem obvious, calling Playmobil isn't something a lot of people do, so give it a shot next time you're in the market for a hard-to-find set!

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