There hasn't been much to report on the Lubies front. Unfortunately, those cute, little softball-sized plush animals appear to be no more. You'll still be able to pick up some of the already produced designs...like that sad pug above. But following founder Michael Perry's unfortunate passing in late 2010, we haven't heard anything from Rocket USA.
The Rocket USA and Lubieland websites haven't been updated since September 2010. And we recently received an email from First & Main touting new low wholesale prices on all Lubies.
Unfortunately, this is all a part of the toy business. Companies come and go (often in droves). But there are several layers of sadness that go along with the Lubies story.
If you're a regular visitor of the site, you've probably seen a review of Rocket USA's line of cute and cuddly plushies – the Lubies. Lubies are described as “a break-through line of plush combining clean, charming designs with the irresistible, playable shape of a ball.”
They're currently closing in on over 100 different designs, with probably about half of them unique animals. This time around, we're going to take a gander at six of the newest Lubies – the Grey Wolf, Manta Ray, Octopus, Pug, Unicorn and Walrus.
Animal Lubies Series: Lubies Manufacturer: Rocket USA Artists: Joy Michel and Michael Perry Material: Plush Dimensions: 5” round Designs: Grey Wolf, Manta Ray, Octopus, Pug, Unicorn, Walrus
Each Lubie features a circular tag that features an illustrated version of the animal's habitat on the front. Inside, there's an illustration of the animal on the left side, and a “Did You Know?” factoid on the right.
Let's take a closer look at the six new Lubies individually.
The Grey Wolf is one of the cuter Lubies that have been released. It features a soft, fluffy tail and mane. It's also the first Lubie that I've really noticed its eyes...because they're bright blue.
We've previously seen this same Manta Ray with the Tampa Bay Rays logo embroidered on one of its wings. The coloring is even the same on the two, so if you like the animal – but not the team – you'll probably prefer this one.
The Octopus is another Lubie design that we've previously seen. For Valentine's Day, they released a special red and white version with an embroidered message of love. The color combination is different here, as the standard Octopus is orange with a yellow underbelly and pink around the eyes.
The Pug is probably one of the most recognizable and popular purebred dogs. It makes sense that they'd release a Lubie based on the canine. The focus of the design are the Pug's large, pouty eyes. And I love the material around them to give the look of bags around its eyes.
I believe that the Unicorn is the lone Lubie animal that's not actually a real animal. It features one of the more entertaining – and colorful - hangtags. I had always thought that Unicorns were all white, but adding the pink and purple give the plush a more appealing look to kids.
The Walrus might be my favorite design of this Lubies grouping. He's showing off the two large tusks and has embroidered whiskers and nostrils. But I think the small eyes and furrowed brow are what really makes this sad little plush my favorite of the bunch.
As always, the quality on the Lubies line is top notch. They're safe for youngsters (ages 0+) and fun for adult collectors.
Rocket USA has released the Kiwi, from their popular Lubies line, in three additional sizes variants. Of course, there's still the 5" regular version that we previously reviewed. But they've added a smaller keychain version that's 3" in diameter. It has a rope hoop on the top of its head, which is where the keychain is attached. If you'd prefer the smaller Kiwi as a plush, you could always remove that.
They also released a pair of slightly larger Kiwi Lubies. There is an 8" Kiwi and a 10" Kiwi plush also available. These are nearly pillow-sized...and soft enough to use as a pillow. One thing I noticed is that it looks like the fur on the Kiwi gets shorter the larger the plush is.
These are the first animal Lubies (not MLB Lubies) that I can recall seeing produced in various sizes. And while it might not be cost effective to do this with all of the characters (I'd prefer seeing more characters than various sizes), I think they chose a good plush to start with. The Kiwi is one of my favorite Lubies because of its soft fur and goofy look.
As far as picking one of these up, I've only seen the 8" Kiwi available and that was through Amazon. I'm sure that most of the usual locations will be picking up these Lubies.
The Best Toy Line of 2010 was won by Rocket USA for their Major League Baseball Lubies plush line. Cute, cuddly plushies plus baseball? Can you ask for more?
While we've seen most teams represented, there still are a few stragglers (Astros, Diamondbacks and Rockies). We'll finally check out two of those three remaining teams. Also, we're seeing a number of teams adding slight variations to their previous Lubies...or going the retro route.
MLB Lubies Series: MLB Lubies Manufacturer: Rocket USA Artist: Joy Michel and Michael Perry Material: Plush Dimensions: 5” round Designs: Arizona Diamondbacks (snake); Chicago Cubs (retro - bear); Cincinnati Reds (red pinstripes and black - bear); Houston Astros (longhorn); Los Angeles Dodgers (white - bear); San Diego Padres (retro - bear); Tampa Bay Rays (dark blue - ray)
Like previous MLB Lubies plushies, these all feature an illustrated version of the team's stadium on the outside of the tag. Inside, there's the team's logo on the left side of the tag and a 'Did You Know?' factoid on the righthand side. There's also the official MLB tag to reinforce that these are licensed pieces.
In this grouping of Major League Baseball Lubies, there are a few teams that we've not looked at yet...as well as several alternate designs.
This is the first time we've seen any Lubies from the Arizona Diamondbacks. They chose to use a snake (that's what a diamondback is) with Dbacks embroidered across the chest. This one is my favorite of the group. I mean...doesn't it look like a little snake just swallowed a softball?
This is also the first time that we've seen the Houston Astros Lubie design. It uses the longhorn, which was also used for a version of the Texas Rangers. It's Texas...they have a bunch of cows, right? So I think both teams can use the same animal.
The Chicago Cubs retro styled Lubie features a dark blue bear with a light blue (pinstriped) jersey. Chicago is embroidered across its chest in dark blue. It's a nice, simple and clean design.
Previously, we saw a red Cincinnati Reds Lubie bear. This go-round, they've released a pair of designs that have added a little black to the red and white color scheme. The Tampa Bay Rays also tweaked their previous Lubie slightly. Rather than being light blue on the top and gray on the bottom, this Ray is dark blue on the top and tan on the bottom. They also changed the placement of the team's logo from the top of the head to the wing.
Lastly, those two National League West rivals – the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres – added new Lubies to their stables. The Dodgers had some of the first Lubies released. This version sort of combines their first two – an all white and an all blue – with a blue bear and a white uniform. The Padres went old school with a brown bear and pale yellow accents. Yep...this is from the swinging friar days.
OVERALL: The MLB Lubies line won our Best Toy Line of 2010, so it's fairly obvious that we're fans. Since the Rockies are the lone remaining team to release a Lubie, what will happen with the line? Hopefully we get to see a few variant and/or retro versions of some of the teams. And I'd love to see the Lubies expand to the other major sports leagues.
Wondering if we've reviewed your favorite team's Lubies yet?
In case you didn't know...Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. The day of infamy takes place on Monday February 14th this year. Will you go the flowers, candy, jewelry or stuffed animal route? If you go plush, Rocket USA has got you covered with a pair of brand new Lubies.
There are a pair of Valentine's Lubies that you can present to your loved (or lubbed) one. The Valentine's Octopus and Valentine's Gorilla are just trying to help “Spread the Lub”.
The Valentine's Lubies feature a slightly different tag. It's still circular, similar to the rest of the line. But, on the inside, there is space for you to write who the Lubies are To and From.
I'm not sure if your Valentine's Day “go to” gift for that special someone is a box of chocolates, a dozen roses or a stuffed animal. Hey...maybe it's all of the above.
The Valentine's Octopus features the embroidered phrase "Armed For Hugs" located across its head. It's predominantly bright red with white underneath its tentacles and maroon around its eyes. The octopus is a pretty cool new animal design and features the correct number (eight) of tentacles.
The Valentine's Gorilla sports "Me Lub U" across his white chest. It's, also, mostly red with some gray and white features. I'm pretty sure that this is the first time we've seen the Gorilla Lubie plush character. (There was a Monkey released earlier in the line)
Of the two designs, I am leaning towards the Valentine's Octopus as my favorite. It doesn't really have anything to do with the embroidered message on the plush, it's just that I prefer the Octopus Lubie over the Gorilla Lubie.
OVERALL: Time is running out for you to get that special someone something special. Plush stuffed animals have been a staple of Valentine's Day shopping, and I doubt that you'll find anything cuter than the Lubies you see here (at least nothing Valentine's Day themed).
If you thought that the Lubies line was all about the Major League Baseball license, you've been missing out. Rocket USA continues to release new animals - some familiar, some maybe not - in that softball shaped plush.
For this review, we're going to take a look at 10 new animal Lubies. The list of animals involved sounds like a zoo exhibit: Beaver, Blue Jay, Bush Baby, Kiwi, Longhorn, Manta Ray, Ostrich, Parrot, Red Fox, and Zebra.
Animal Lubies Series: Lubies Manufacturer: Rocket USA Material: Plush Dimensions: 5” round Designs: Beaver, Blue Jay, Bush Baby, Kiwi, Longhorn, Manta Ray, Ostrich, Parrot, Red Fox, Zebra
The Lubies line has one of our favorite tag designs. The circular tag features an illustrated landscape of the animal's natural habitat. Inside, there is an illustrated version of the animal on the left and a “Did You Know?” factoid on the right hand panel (and there are multiple, random fact tags for each animal).
We have a bunch of new Lubies to look at in this review. Ten to be exact. But we've actually seen three of these designs previously, in the Major League Baseball Lubies series. The Blue Jay, Longhorn and Manta Ray are all the same as their baseball counterparts – minus the embroidered team logos.
Beaver: The Beaver Lubie has its trademark big (felt) teeth and tail. The teeth sort of stick out at a 45 degree angle, but I'm sure you could iron them to point downwards.
Bush Baby: Most people probably have no idea what a Bush Baby is. It's a real animal...and it has big, wide eyes just like this Lubie. You'll also notice the big ears, long, curly tail and the little fingers and toes.
Kiwi: This is another “non-made-up-animal-that-sounds-and-looks-like-it-is”. The Kiwi is quite possibly my favorite Lubie created. The fur they've used is soft...very, very soft. You won't be able to put this little guy down. Is it odd that I'm rubbing a plush against my face as I type this?
Ostrich: This is one of those animals that I didn't think would lend itself well to a softball-shaped plush. Those long, awkward looking legs and knobby knees. But somehow...it works.
Parrot: You have about ten months to plan your next Halloween costume, but if you're going as a pirate...pick up the Parrot Lubie. It's one of the more colorful plushies. Ironic, since it's one of the more colorful birds. And if I had to choose the best Lubie to display in a collection, it would be this guy (he sits perfectly).
Red Fox: Why is it that I thought this would be modeled after Sanford and Son star Redd Foxx? (Redd Foxx died 20 years ago? I feel old.) Actually, this design is my second favorite (after the good old Kiwi) thanks to that super soft fox tail. The ears also have some soft faux fur in them.
Zebra: If you liked the Horse Lubies, then you'll like the Zebra...unless you have something against the colors black and white. They've used the same basic pattern for both Lubies, which makes sense since both animals look alike.
OVERALL: I'm a big Major League Baseball fan, so I was extremely excited when they began producing the MLB Lubies series. But since the inception of the plush line, Rocket USA has continued to release various animal Lubies and not simply focus all efforts on the MLB. While they started out with some of your popular wildlife (bears, lions, cats, etc), I like that they're getting into slightly rarer animals.
Baseball season is officially over, but that only means that the offseason has started. And a lot of the time, the offseason is just as good as the regular season. So it's the perfect time to take a look six more Major League Baseball Lubies from Rocket USA. In this go-round, we're winding down our look at all 30 teams with Lubies from the Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, and an alternate design from the San Francisco Giants.
MLB Lubies Series: Lubies Manufacturer: Rocket USA Artist: Joy Michel and Michael Perry Material: Plush Dimensions: 5” round Designs: Kansas City Royals (Lion); San Francisco Giants (Panda); Tampa Bay Rays (Stingray); Texas Rangers (Horse, Longhorn); Toronto Blue Jays (Blue Jay)
Each of the MLB Lubies features a circular tag with an illustrated stadium scene of the team's actual stadium. Inside, you'll find the team's logo on the left panel and a “Did You Know?” factoid about that baseball team.
Personally, being a Philadelphia Phillies fan, the 2010 baseball season ended in disappointment. The folks in San Francisco might disagree with that. It's somewhat ironic that this group of MLB Lubies includes both the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers – the two teams that battled it out in the World Series.
The Rangers have a pair of Lubies – a horse and a longhorn. While the horse is appropriate – their mascot is a horse named Captain – the longhorn is synonymous with Texas (especially Texas football). The horse has Texas Rangers embroidered across its chest, while the longhorn only has Texas.
The Kansas City Royals Lubie uses the lion plush that we previously reviewed with Royals embroidered on its chest. Oddly enough, The Toronto Blue Jays have chosen to go with a Blue Jay as their Lubie of choice. I like how this version was executed and it's definitely in my top five of the overall MLB Lubies series.
Tampa Bay went with their namesake – a Ray. I like that they chose to put the embroidered logo on the top of plush, rather than underneath (where no one would be able to see it).
Finally, some folks might be saying...what do the San Francisco Giants have to do with a panda. Well, their third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, was given the nickname Kung Fu Panda (from the Dreamworks film). Being one of their more popular players, the Giants released a panda Lubie with their logo embroidered in two spots – SF on the front and the Giants baseball on the back.
OVERALL: This is a great assortment of animal Lubies. We previously saw a number of teams who chose to go with the standard bear design, but many Major League Baseball teams went with their team specific animal (whether a mascot or team name). This is just a solid representation of the entire MLB Lubies line. Now...how about some of the other professional sports leagues? C'mon NFL, NHL and NBA.
Wondering if we've reviewed your favorite team's Lubies yet?
We'd like to thank Rocket USA and Lubieland for sponsoring Day 9 of our giveaways. This time around, we got to choose three winners who will each be receiving three Lubies. And those lucky three are...
Winners...please email us through the Contact Us page with your shipping info and your favorite current Lubie.
Day 9 of Plastic and Plush's 12 13 Days of Xmas Giveaways is brought to you by the fine folks from Rocket USA and Lubieland. We're teaming up with them to give away three 5" round (softball shaped) Lubies to three different winners...and to win them, we're asking you to:
Tell us what animal you'd like turned into a Lubie or your favorite current Lubie
There are two ways to enter (enter both ways to double your chances):
1. Leave a comment on this post
2. Send a Tweet to @plasticandplush and @lubiesfans
This contest runs:
FROM: December 17th 2010 at 10:30 AM EST
TO: December 18th 2010 at 10:30 AM EST
WINNER ANNOUNCED: December 18th 2010 at 8:30 PM EST
The Lubies line wasn't always a licensed Major League Baseball series. They actually started out as a regular plush animal line featuring a handful of different barnyard or jungle animals. In addition to the licensed sports Lubies and the normal animal Lubies, Rocket USA has released several souvenir-style Lubies.
I'm calling these the Destination Lubies because each plush is specific to a tourist/vacation destination. And they use animals that the areas are well-known for. The three designs that we'll be looking at are the Cape Cod Lobster, Florida Flamingo and Miami Flamingo.
Each Lubie sports a tag that has an illustrated scene specific to that travel destination on the front. Inside, there is the destination's logo on the left panel and a Did You Know? factoid on the righthand side.
I'm calling these Destination Lubies because they're what you'd find in souvenir shops at tourist destinations or in airports bookstores on your way to or from the old family vacation. These Lubies are publicizing a specific city or state, using an animal that the area is known for. It wouldn't make sense to have a polar bear with New Mexico across its chest, right?
The Florida and Miami Flamingos are essentially the same, except for the embroidered logo across the chest. But they do feature the same font type and a reverse in colors on those logos. The Cape Cod Lobster (that actually sounds rather tasty right about now) is very similar to the recently reviewed Boston Red Sox Lobster Lubie. It features the Cape Cod logo across the chest, which in this case is on the lobster's underside.
OVERALL: I'm imagining that if you stroll into a shop looking for a good souvenir for the kids, because you want them to fondly remember your family vacation...they'd probably prefer Lubies over a t-shirt or mug. I like that Rocket USA has targeted travel destinations, using Lubies that are indigenous to those specific areas.