A SHORT time ago, in a Gunwharf Quays not so far, far away, Iain Morgan began selling radio-controlled toy helicopters.
Now, Mr Morgan’s firm Bladez Toyz is based at the Portsmouth Technopole and it has landed a milestone contract with Lucas Licensing, which gives permission for Star Wars toys to be made.
Iain, 34, and his team are now finalising a jumbo-sized ‘pump and play’ inflatable R2-D2 – the bin-shaped silver droid and faithful counterpart to golden robot C-3PO in George Lucas’s hit films.
Bladez Toyz’ self-righting R2-D2, operated by a handset, rotates 360 degrees and can navigate steps. It is tipped to be toy of the year, and is destined to be on many a Christmas list. In fact, it was named number three on the list of Christmas toys for boys by the UKMums.TV Mums’ Choice Award. The toy is called pump-and-play, because all a child needs to do is pump it up and then let the fun begin.
Iain, an ex-pupil of Mayfield School in Portsmouth, said: ‘It was clear to us that the global market for pump-and-play remote control toys was untapped, and our development focus led to a licensing deal with Lucas Licensing, which is like gold dust, as you can imagine.
‘Star Wars merchandise still has the power to thrill young and old.
‘We felt R2-D2 would be widely liked because of his iconic shape, personality, memorable sound frequencies and the fact he is one of only four characters to appear in all six Star Wars films.’
Bladez Toyz will be rolling out the product from September in the UK, with France, Belgium and Luxembourg next. They also have plans to roll out in the USA and Australia.
Iain added: ‘Part of Bladez Toyz’s success is down to the supportive environment that is Portsmouth Technopole, which is why we’ve stayed put.’
Bladez Toyz has also been granted a licence by Google to develop an inflatable remote control green robot, based on the Android phone icon.