New 4-foot axe from Dota 2… plus other Portal 2 & Valve Software products & plush
February 11, 2013

Valve Software’s portal 2, Justin Hillgrove’s imps & monsters and whimwhams trend mashup toys and products debut at toy fair 2013 #TF13

Seattle, Washington  – Gamers, geeks and monster-lovers will be sated with the merchandise A Crowded Coop is unveiling at their booth at Toy Fair 2013 (#TF13) in New York February 10-13th.  Some of what the consumer product agency’s booth will showcase includes:

–          new products from the award-winning Portal 2 video game by Valve Software

–          plush toys bringing artist Justin Hillgrove’s Imps & Monsters family to soft, furry life

–          plus a brand new line of WhimWhams trend mash-up characters that give the proverbial finger to trends like vampires, geek glasses and Abe Lincoln

Joining their already robust catalog of Valve Software game-related merchandise from game titles including DOTA, Portal and Portal 2, A Crowded Coop will debut its new 80’s Logo Aperture Laboratories Messenger Bag.  (The Aperture Laboratories Messenger Bag launched in Winter 2012 is on its third round of reorders with retailers such as Think Geek.)  At the show A Crowded Coop is introducing the Team Fortress Archimedes Plush which portrays the game’s blood-splattered white dove owned by the medic.  In the category of home décor and accessories, the agency will show the new Portal 2 Weighted Storage Cube inflatable ottoman.  Their Weighted Companion Cube string lights sold out over the holidays and the consumer products firm anticipates this home décor game-themed accessory will sell well with gamers and teens looking to personalize their room with affordable, pop culture inspired game motifs.

Collectors of Justin Hillgrove’s Imps & Monsters paintings have been anticipating the release of his first plush toy collection to be rolled-out at Toy Fair.  Since 2005 he’s taken poignant themes like bullying, sharing and overcoming obstacles and artfully conveyed them with a cast of friendly monsters, creatures and imps.  The new line of Imps & Monsters plush toys will include backpack clips, 6 and 12” plush and other toys depicting creatures like Dominic, Slime Monster and Popo.  On Tuesday, February 12 from 10-11:30 Hillgrove will headline a Press and Blogger event at the A Crowded Coop Booth 4884 where he will sign prints featuring his various works and sign up press to receive signed, advance samples of the first plush toys from his collection.

A Crowded Coop founders Brandy Tanner and Mary Olson, veterans of TOY FAIR, will be introducing their own collection this year: Whim Whams.  Each WhimWhams plush toy takes three pop-culture trends and throws them into a blender of silliness.  Look for Yeti, Abe, Bunny, Monkey and Owl—each combined with two other pop culture sensations.

A Crowded Coop is a Pacific Northwest-based marketer and creator of consumer products released globally.  Their product design satisfies consumers in the categories of apparel, accessories, toys, pet and more.  In 2010 Olson and Tanner formed A Crowded Coop which serves clients such as Valve Software with its Portal 2, Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 games, along with Dickies and many more.  More info is at

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




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