One of the best parts about going to a museum is the ability to look at rare artifacts from across the world — and beyond. The Mini Museum lets you do exactly that, right from your own desk. Available in small (11 specimens), medium (22) and large (33) sizes, each museum is handcrafted, encased in resin, and individually numbered. What's inside? Only some of the craziest, rarest stuff imaginable, including some of the oldest matter ever collected, chunks of dinosaur egg, pieces of the Berlin Wall, and even chips of a T-Rex tooth.
Like the Back to the Future DeLorean before it, Lego's Cuusoo has once again come up with a killer design for a legendary silver screen vehicle. This time, it's the Lego Ghostbusters Ecto-1 making the leap from concept to official set, including details like official Ghostbuster logos on the doors, a removable room, a tracking computer, a trap, and, of course, all four Ghostbusters — Ray, Venkman, Spengler, and Winston — all sporting their own Proton Packs. Lego ghosts not included.
With any luck, winter won't be hanging around too much longer — but just in case it stays a little longer than it's wanted, there's the Kyosho Blizzard RC Plow Vehicle. And while it's not going to be much use for actually clearing your driveway, it is a great way to take advantage of any lingering snowflakes. Built on plastic treads made to tackle some pretty serious snow, this little RC car is more than ready for winter's harshest bits. Comes completely assembled, with two powerful 380 size motors, a snow-proof chassis, and an independently-controlled snowplow.
Parrot's AR.Drone 2.0 has long been the go-to quadricopter for tech-loving enthusiasts, but now you can get into the flying game without taking up a huge amount of space in your home with the Parrot MiniDrone ($TBA). This palm-sized flying toy connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth Smart, and is packed to the gills with sensors that help make it easy to fly. And unlike its big brother, it also includes two ultra-light indoor wheels that allow it to roll on the floor or ceiling before taking back off into mid-air. Coming soon to the airspace near you.
In perhaps the most anticipated pop culture collaboration of a lifetime, everyone's favorite yellow minifigs and the cartoon world's most famous yellow family have finally joined forces. Lego The Simpsons ($200) will take two forms. The first, a Lego set, depicting the Simpson family's home painstakingly recreated in brick form — complete with minifigs of Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Homer, Marge, and Ned Flanders. The second, a Lego-themed episode of The Simpsons planned to air on FOX in May of this year. The set is sure to please longtime Simpsons fans, with plenty of incredible details including the family's car, Bart's skateboard, a radioactive isotope, and much more. We can think of no better way to celebrate the show's 25th year than this iconic partnership. Expect the set in Lego stores this February.
For the uninitiated, Lego Cuusoo is a forum for brick fans to submit, and vote on, potential sets that may one day make it to a Lego store near you. And the fifth set to rise through the ranks of the internet, the Lego Mars Curiosity Rover ($30), is equally as impressive as the initial four. Modeled from a set designed by a real NASA engineer, the rover is ready to tackle any challenges it faces on the Red Planet, with six-wheel suspension, an articulated robot arm, and plenty of places to mount a camera. It's the perfect toy for any space buff, or for the adult collector who couldn't stand to let one of these coveted sets slip through his fingers.
No matter where you wage rubber band warfare — whether it's in your apartment with your buddies, or against co-workers in the office — you can take your game to a whole new level with the Rubber Band Machine Gun ($100). This all-wooden, fully-automatic rubber band gun functions very much like a gatling gun, with sixteen barrels able to hold multiple bands each. An electric motor rotates the barrels around a central axis with each trigger pull, letting you fire as many as 672 bands without reloading. And while reloading would normally make playing a complete pain, an included loader makes it take only minutes.
If you're feeling a little nostalgic for the days when games were simpler, it might be time to go with an original, the Classic Skee Ball Machine ($7,000). Channeling the vintage look of a 1930s skee ball machine, this one features a hand-finished oak exterior with brass details. With a retro flip scoring display, a pull-handle activation lever, and five balls included with the set, you'll feel just like you (or your dad) did playing at carnivals and arcades. [via]
Step up your winter snow sports game with the Arctic Force Snowball Blaster ($30) — capable of making and launching the perfect snowball. This blaster is the ideal tool for when the weather turns white and the competition gets serious, thanks to its removable and reversible built-in snowball maker. Able to make three snowballs at a time, the blaster can launch a snowball up to 80 feet at high velocity (much farther than you ever could with your own hands). The ergonomic design makes it easy to use, carry, and fire, while its blue, white, and orange design is well-suited to your winter get-up.
Ever since we first watched Robot Wars, we've wished for a fighting 'bot of our own. Our wish has been granted with Attacknids ($70-$80). These roughly one foot-tall robots feature six legs that can move through water and mud up to three inches deep, 360-degree rotating heads, and weapons that fly up to 30 feet. You control all the action via a 2.4GHz wireless remote with a range of up to 200 feet — and don't worry about not being able to tell who won the battle. A direct will cause your armor to explode off your body; three hits and your 'bot shuts down, saving itself for the next fight. Sure, they look a little creepy, but they are based on spiders, after all.
Just because you have a tiny apartment, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice fun in your down time. With the Teckell Intervallo Foosball Table ($5,900) you get a fully-functioning foosball table — albeit a good bit smaller than your average one — that takes up no more space than a coffee or end table. Built with just three wood players on each side, this table features crystal glass construction surrounded with a wood frame. The glass top is removable, letting you access the game inside, as well as functioning as a serving tray.
America's most beloved mustachioed newscaster seems to be everywhere of late, and now he's been immortalized in the form of everyone's favorite toy. The limited edition Ron Burgundy Lego Minifigure ($20), while not an official Lego product, is pad printed on genuine Lego parts, and features everything you love about the highest rated man in news. From his unmistakeable burgundy suit, to his magnificent 'stache, to his well-coifed hair, right down to his bottle of scotch — they got every detail exactly right.
Given the name, you might think the Ralph Lauren Bond Game Set ($4,995) has something to do with 007 — and it does, if you consider that you need secret agent-level funds to purchase it. The set also shares with Fleming's creation a knack for style, as it's built from walnut and carbon-fiber leather, with game pieces made with polished and black powder-coated nickel. It's guaranteed to be the fanciest game of solitaire, chess, checkers, backgammon, or tic-tac-toe you've ever played.
At the intersection of do-it-yourself and playful childhood nostalgia, you'll find the Hot Wheels Car Maker ($40). Just turn on the press, melt down the wax, and form a custom car of your choice using the included molds and rolling bases. Once you're done, you can add decals, stage elaborate race scenes, or just roll them across your kitchen floor. Extend its capability with optional add-ons, including hot rod molds, muscle car molds, and additional wax colors. The only things standing between you and your dream (toy) car are a little bit of imagination, time, and the ability to act like a kid again.
Experience the classic board game of capitalism and real estate like never before with the Monopoly 3D Edition ($500). This special edition game is limited to just 2,000 pieces, and features custom-designed elements depicting New York City from popular three-dimensional artist Charles Fazzino. These elements include six pewter game pieces, money, title deeds, chance and community chest cards, wood houses, hotels, and banker's tray, as well as three-dimensional artwork with embedded crystals and foil accents. The set comes in a two-inch-deep wooden cabinet with a glass top, and each set is numbered and signed by the artist.
While there are plenty of options available if you're considering a good table game for your house or apartment, there are few that look as good as the Post Foosball Table ($6,000). In an effort to preserve elements of historically-significant buildings near their home on the Saigon River, post has reclaimed hardwood sourced from demolished buildings in Vietnam. This table is made from that hardwood, instantly granting it an antique appearance that will look great in your space. Cast irons legs, iron nets, and abstract-looking players lend to its aged look.
Bring games on your mobile device into the real world with Sphero 2.0 ($130), the Bluetooth-controlled baseball-sized robot. Powered by an internal smart robot, this little ball is capable of rolling at speeds up to seven feet per second — so you can drive it at full tilt with your iOS or Android device, jumping it off the included ramps, taking it off-road, and even through water. With dozens of games available in app stores (games like Rolling Dead, Color Grab, and Sphero Golf), you can play on your phone or tablet like never before. Bright multicolor LED lights make playing at night even more exciting, while an available nubby cover gives it the ability to take on the toughest terrain.
Table games don't need to make your home look like the common area of a frat house — they can actually look great, and the District MFG Shuffleboard Table ($5,200) certainly does. Each table is individually handmade with reclaimed oak tops, stitched leather gutters, steel construction, and a powder-coated frame. Display it proudly in your basement, or replace your dining room table with this beautiful piece, it's guaranteed to make more of a statement. Comes with weights and powdered wax.
Combine the tactile nostalgia of paper plane folding with the hands-on enjoyment of RC flight using the PowerUp 3.0 iPhone-Controlled Paper Airplane ($50). This iOS app controlled device is a Bluetooth wireless receiver and a motor connected to a propeller by a carbon fiber shaft that you can attach to nearly any paper plane. Just build a plane out of a piece of standard paper, attach the motor, and open up the app on your phone — it'll fly for up to ten minutes on a single charge. Available this month.
When you have something valuable to protect in your home, only the best security will do — that's why you need the Spy Gear Lazer Tripwire ($25). It uses invisible LED beams projected from three units, so you can form a perimeter that even Catherine Zeta-Jones can't dip beneath. When an intruder breaks the beam, the receiver unit alerts you with an alarm, so you can quickly assess the situation and respond appropriately.
Relive fond childhood memories of building models out of balsa wood with the Tait Turbo Flyer ($15). These high-flying airplane models are each printed and assembled by hand, and are capable of soaring up to an impressive height of 50 feet. With incredibly-detailed screen-printed designs and one-foot wingspans, they'll look great screaming across the skies. Buy them individually, or get the set of four and compete with your friends on who can stage the best aerial show. They come in environmentally-friendly cardboard cases and are made right here in limited batches in the USA.
Show your solidarity with the original Compton crew when you deck out your rearview with these Hangin' With The Homies Air Fresheners ($10). This first run comes with three air fresheners, featuring Eazy-E and Dr. Dre of N.W.A., and Darlene Ortiz (in her famous pose from Ice-T's Power), scented in apple, black ice, and vanilla, respectively. Even if you aren't from the mean streets of South Central LA, that doesn't mean you can't represent with three of Hip hop's most iconic personalities — and make your '64 smell as fresh as possible.
Anki Drive ($200) is a new kind of racing game — part new-aged slot car, part iOS video game, part exercise in artificial intelligence — it brings the sort of racing interaction usually relegated to the virtual world, into (quasi-)reality. Each set includes two slot cars (designed by the Hollywood automotive artist who brought us the 1996 Batmobile), a vinyl racing mat embedded with special ink the cars can sense, and an iOS app that lets you control and customize your vehicles. The cars are powered by artificial intelligence, with the option for users to steer or fire upgradable weapons. Each car develops a unique character over time, depending on what skills and attributes you choose to upgrade, giving them advantages out on the track. It's the perfect combination of racing, robotics, and interactivity you look for in a game on the screen, but you can play it right on the floor of your apartment.
For obvious reasons, Lego will never make an official Breaking Bad set, so the guys at Citizen Brick have given us the next best thing, the Breaking Bad Lego Lab Playset ($250). Built with stunningly-accurate detail, Gus Fring's industrial laundry superlab has everything you'd expect in a multimillion dollar meth-cooking outfit. This set comes with over 500 pieces, including some with pretty incredible decals, as well as three custom minifigs: Walter White, Gus Fring, and Mike Ehrmantraut. Build it and recreate some of your favorite cringe-inducing scenes — word is still out on whether a box cutter comes with the set.
Relive the glory days of your childhood with this Adult Size Big Wheel ($650). Reinforced for grown-man-sized individuals — 275 lbs max on this model — these puppies feature hardened steel frames, metal flake glossy paint, alloy rims, a fully adjustable seat, and all the power slides you can handle. Oh, and we won't need to remind you to remove the bell and tassels first thing.
While the rest of your friends and co-workers do battle with blasters that can barely throw a dart across the room, you can show up toting a Nerf N-Strike Elite Centurion Blaster ($50). At nearly a yard long, this blaster can launch a mega dart up to 100 feet. It comes with a six-round magazine, and six mega darts to fill it up. A removable bipod stand helps improve your accuracy — especially if you're the sort who likes to camp out and snipe.
Unlike your average set, the Lego Architecture Studio ($150) doesn't come with a step-by-step instruction manual — instead, it comes with a 270-plus page guidebook filled with architectural history, design techniques, and exercises, edited and endorsed by professional architects. It includes over 1,200 white and transparent bricks, slopes, plates and more, letting you focus on your designs rather than color schemes. Recreate famous buildings by Gehry, Wright, Sullivan, or come up with your own masterwork. Your imagination and supply of bricks are your only limitation. [Scouted by Paul]
With Bandit Rubberband Guns ($25-$35), you can build your own arsenal of rubberband-firing shotguns. Each kit comes with laser-cut wood pieces, plastic fasteners (and a package of 130 rubberbands), so you can assemble your gun without glue or tools. Choose from two designs, either the sheriff shotgun, or the outlaw shotgun — or get both and have a duel with your buddy. Both guns have multiple firing modes like single shot, rapid shot, and shotgun blast, and can fire rubberbands up to 25 feet.
"Roads, where we're going, we don't need roads," Doc Emmet Brown famously said to Marty McFly in Back to the Future — and when you build your own Lego Back to the Future Time Machine ($48), you won't need roads either. This set, based off of a Lego Cuusoo submission, has every piece necessary to build all three DeLoreans from each movie in the trilogy. It includes plenty of fan-pleasing details like a flux capacitor, an "OUTATIME" license plate, the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor, and very accurate Marty and Doc minifigs.