British Toy Fair 2005

Toy Fair, held at the ExCeL exhibition centre in the Docklands of east London, is the largest of its kind in the UK, making it the most significant annual event in the UK toy industry's calendar and the only place in the UK to see all the toy trade.

Located in a stunning waterfront setting just a stones throw from Canary Wharf is ExCel, London's largest, purpose-built event centre for conferences and exhibitions.

Split between two large halls, hundreds of toy manufacturers, importers and distributors gather to display their offerings for the next year, to build up retail interest, take orders and promote new lines to the press.

Ranging from small and simple cubicles to huge, ostentatious display arenas, most exhibits are open to all comers from trade and press but a few are by appointment only, and some (including Hasbro UK) had press bans on them. In the case of Hasbro UK this was due to the upcoming International Toy Fair in February, where the Revenge of the Sith will have its first and fullest press review. Check back for Rebelscum's coverage on this event later this month.

Many people believe that the British Toy Fair is just a warm up event for New York's International Toy Fair. This may be true to an extent but it is certainly true to say that there are UK and European items displayed at ExCel that won't be on show anywhere else. This years license holders and licensed distributors included:

Halsall's, founded in 1952, is Britainís biggest privately owned toy and giftware manufacturer and distributor with offices in London, New York and Hong Kong. They have a strong range of high-profile, well established licensed brands such as Barbie, Simpsons, Fimbles, Action Man, Mamas & Papas, Land Rover and JCB. Halsall's have now added Star Wars to their list of licensed products, and are covered to produce wheeled toys and associated accessories such as protective gear.

Since 1943 Revell, originally founded in the USA, has produced quality model kits. Crossing the Atlantic in 1957, Revell opened their German offices and by 1968 they were the largest model company in Europe. Their Revenge of the Sith line consists of 5 snap-together kits, and one deluxe model that requires full assembly and painting.

Rubies has held the license for non-roleplaying costumes and masks since 1999, when Don Post Studios were released from their duties. For both The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones Rubies has produced dress-up outfits, masks, and costume accessories for children and adults. Now they continue with their Revenge of the Sith line, including - for the first time ever - costumes for pets!

For details of the Hasbro Revenge of the Sith toy line, and more, check out Rebelscum's International Toy Fair coverage later in February.