Toymaster Show Harrogate 2016

These are exciting times for Comaco Toys. We have more suppliers, more lines and more stock than ever before in our history. A couple of weeks saw me heading south to Harrogate for our first visit to the Toymaster show at the Majestic Hotel.

After experiencing the less subtle delights of the London Toy Fair and NEC Spring Show, it was something a relief to find that this was a slightly lower key and less formal event. This is largely due to it being a trade only fair with only fairly limited stand space for the exhibitors.


The venue for the Toymaster show

After a long drive from the north of Scotland, I arrived early afternoon and gave myself a good hour or two to recaffeinate and aclimatise. My pre-booked appointments were all for the following day, so the afternoon was free to browse and explore.

Mutant Ninja Turtles were on display at GP Flair, as well as Shopkins – currently a big seller. Teletubbies (which I once wrote a dissertation on) were making a reappearance at a couple of stands, and Paw Patrol and Angry Birds also had a definite presence. Super Hero Girls looked the business at Mattel.

H Grossman had a range Of Ghostbusters tie ins to come out later in the year, and I had already earmarked Posh Paws Ltd with its range of movie related plush toys. A little different was Stikbot from Brainstorm: fun figures with suction arms and feet who are designed to make simple stop motion animation using a mobile phone app.


Turtles at GP Flair


Super Hero Girls at Mattel

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Papo Marine Life Figures

We love stocking Papo figures. Not only is quality guaranteed but you can always count on some exciting new additions to the range each year.

We’ve made  posts before on Dinosaurs and Knights, so I thought it was high time to highlight the fabulous Marine Life range. Especially since we have recently received three brand new figures for 2016; the Sperm Whale, the Sawfish and the Narwhal. These are now added to the impressive collection of sea creatures available.

The two whales in the range come in at an impressive 30 cm in length and are heavy duty toys. However all the toys – larger or smaller – are fabulously detailed. For an idea of this click on the pictures below; my favourite is the octopus, but I am sure you will have your own! Full dimensions and pricing for each can be found on the main website links.

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Trudi Hand Puppets at Comaco Toys

This is something of a departure for us. We have never particularly gone in for plush toys before, apart from a few Ty Beanies way back. However as a former primary teacher, the use of puppets was one of my stock in trades. I always found them a great way to get younger children engaged, whatever the topic.

And so it was when of our reps offered us this range of luxury plush hand puppets we decided to take to take the plunge. The clincher was quality; they really are lovely to the touch. Also the 20 different models available offer a wealth of choice, and the potential to make up the dramatis personae of any drama you might wish to present with them.

The puppets are produced by Trudi of Italy, already a well known name in the world of plush toys. If these puppets do as well as we hope, then you might well see more of Trudi’s range stocked by Comaco in the near future! Continue reading

Star Wars Toys at Comaco

There’s obviously no need to tell you about the huge hype which surrounded the release of Star Wars The Force Awakens in late 2015. As far I could tell 40 somethings, whose childhoods were indelibly coloured by the original three films seemed to be at least as enthusiastic as anyone from the younger generations.

Needless to say a whole slew of toys and other tie in products have been released. The more cynical amongst us might even wonder if potential merchandising sales were not a major factor behind the new films being produced at all. Having said that The Force Awakens had good reviews and certainly met with broad approval from my family (despite some rather obvious retreading of A New Hope).

Leaving aside the film review, we got some Hasbro Star Wars toys in last November, and our range has been supplemented in trickles ever since. Basically we now have 12″ figures, 12″ figure and vehicle sets, 3.75″ figures and light sabres. Judging by sales, Kylo Ren seems to be the character everyone wants – small Kylo Ren figures and Kylo Ren light sabres all sold out within days of getting them in.

12″ Figures and vehicle sets:

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Peppa Pig Construction Sets

Since Peppa and her family first appeared in cartoon form over decade ago she has gone from strength to strength. Some brand new Peppa Pig Toys just in at Comaco are these great Lego style construction block sets from Big.

We currently have 3 to choose from, but there are more available in the range. The mega size big box sets are the Peppa Pig Hospital Set


…and the Peppa Pig Fun Park:

Both these these sets contain over 100 pieces and include 4 Peppa character figures. The boxes are a whopping 58 x 47 x 12 cm.

If you fancy something a little smaller then there is the Peppa Pig Train Stop Set:

This one is a more modest 15 pieces and includes a Peppa Pig figure. The box size is 18 x 12 x 9 cm approx.

Have fun!

Thomas The Tank Engine Toys

Hi all

We have just received a selection of Thomas the Tank Engine Toys we would like to share with you.

Thomas first appeared in print 70 years ago and the popularity of this little engine and his friends seems to show no sign of waning. Many parents who are now buying the toys and books for their own children will have strong memory’s of Ringo Starr’s distinctive narration in the original TV series.

We have three train sets available. The Fisher-Price Flip and Switch Thomas/ Percy cunningly transforms from one engine to the other – two toys in one!

Meanwhile, also from Fisher-Price we have Thomas’ Double Delivery. Two in one is the theme again, but this time this train set has two different destinations and two areas for cargo play. Children can help Thomas on his journey and raise and lower the crossing gate as they send him on his journey.

Finally there is a 50 piece Mega Bloks construction set: Thomas and Friends Sodor Wash Down. This time Percy is the hero and washing the engine is the name of the game. This smart play set comes in its own tough zip up carry case. Whoo Whoo!

First Post from our New Site!

This is the first blog post from our new website at which went live on Monday 16th November – looking good!

We look forward to receiving your feedback on the new design and functionality. A few tweaks are still ongoing so bear with us if there is the odd glitch. However if something is not working or really bugging you please do let us know!

This is a very short post to begin with, but to wet your appetite here are a few nice Christmas toys newly in stock:

New Website is ready!

A very short post to tell you all our new website is ready and should be launched on Monday 16th November. We would have hoped for a few weeks earlier but these things happen!

The primary domain will now be, although old comacodirect links should still redirect you there. Here is the new simplified logo:

Comaco Toys Logo

You will not have failed to notice we are now very close to Christmas and as always we have lots of great toys in stock. Here are some banners that will feature on the new site:






This will probably be the last post on this site as our new site will feature an internal blog. I look forward to seeing you there!

New Website, New Loch Ness Toys

Loch Ness Toys, the new name for Comaco Toys Direct, Drumnadrochit

Loch Ness Toys Logo

It’s almost crunch time! We are on the verge of ordering up a brand new website with new name and domain to go with it. first though a bit of history about what has brought us to this point. Some time ago we posted about revamping our website at, which is long overdue. We originally setup our own ecommerce site in 2009, 6 long years ago. At the time we were not even 100% commited to selling toys, hence the name Comaco Direct rather than Comaco Toys.

During 2014, I undertook two training courses with John Taylor through Business Gateway on getting results from your website and improving search engine ranking. These were extremely useful, but also somewhat depressing in that highlighted in my mind how much progress needed to be made. Certain deficiencies of the current site immediately came to light with regard to layout, navigation and responsiveness . In addition it was advised that this blog, then newly launched, would need to move “inhouse”. The reasoning being that having so large a number of incoming links from the same external website might actually be looked upon unfavourably by Google – the opposite effect of what was intended!

Later in the year I got in touch with Highlands and Islands Enterprise who eventually signed our business up under their “digital health check” scheme. This involved a brief meeting with an appointed consultant and the subsequent production of a report. The main focus of this was to seek advice about either overhauling of the existing website or setting up a new one with a different provider.

Our consultant, from Alchemy Plus in Inverness, advised us to go one for one of several new ecommerce site providers – Bigcommerce, Volution or Vendio. All of these were large companies offering a range of packages with a choice of off the shelf templates with broadly comparable features. A litttle further research saw us adding one extra name to the list – Shopify – which, although not initially recommended, appeared to be frequently compared  with the others in online guides.

Vendio immediately did not seem a good fit, and Shopify only offered pricing options where it charged a direct comission on sales which did not make it an attractive option. Bigcommerce and Volusion both had plenty of good features with similarly priced packages. Of the two, Volusion  seemed slightly easier to set up and import products, it also seemed to have slightly keener customer service with a UK office. One distict advantage with Bigcommerce though was that they offered completely unlimited bandwidth. We found no way to accurately calculate our current bandwidth use and only the most expensive Volusion option offered a monthly allowance that would definitely have been adequate. Unfortunately therefore Volusion also had to be rejected.

And so it was Bigcommerce then?

The big issue when it came down to it was the DIY nature of all these systems. You choose a basic template and it is then entirely up to you to try configure it with your stuff to get it look like a professional website using the basic set of tools you are given. We found this by no means straightforward, even once we had eventually managed to get all our 500 plus products more or less correctly imported. The Bigcommerce front page for example consisted of a huge splurge of text with our many product categories directly under the page title. There seemed to be no way to move this on the several responsive free templates we tried during the trial, and it did not look good. There were further responsive templates you could pay for, but the there was no way of trying these out in advance of signing up which made us reluctant to risk it.

Before giving up entirely with the off the peg solution we did make one more attempt – with a company called Squarespace – which I had only heard of due to some pretty agressive advertising on a science podcast I listen to occasionally. Again a free trial was available and for once manipulations of one of website templates (for a New York restaurant of all things) started to give some quite pleasing results. Sure, there was a long way to go, but at least it looked like something might be possible here. The next step was try importing products and … oh dear, there was no way to do this, unless you were coming from a couple of specific other providers. I couldn’t quite believe they were offering ecommerce without this facility in place (and I did contact to confirm that). The logistics of manually inputting 500 products was enough to scratch this off the list.

So where next?

As mentioned in a previous post, we had heard that Magento and Juplo were the big solutions in ecommerce. However we have now realised that these are not all in one soloutions but just basic platforms. Unless you are a savvy web developer with time on your hands you still need someone to build the thing for you and host it. The way forward would be to approach another web designer for a new bespoke site. A local company would seem to be preferable, however an ecommerce site, as opposed a more straightforward web presence, would seem to be something to be something that sorts the men from the boys in this regard.

More recently I did try contacting our former adviser from Alchemyplus to see if they would be interested to quote for this, or even to just  help with forwarding our existing site to the new domain, but disappointingly I never even received a reply to my messages. Clearly the work was not of interest to them, although I can recall being told on our meeting that setting up an ecommerce site was hardly any more difficult than a standard one.

One thing our advisor had been definite about was severing ties with the existing provider, Easywebstores, since little attempt had been made by them during the years to help keep our site up to date and modern. Although they cannot be 100% blamed for that, it is true that no one has ever made much effort to look after us particularly. I have however been in contact with them to discuss what options there are for an upgrade and we have been offered the set up of a new template which include most of the new features and functionality we need. This has a huge advantage of over the likes of Bigcommerce in that the setup would be done for us and all the products are already there.

Another factor is that Easywebstores would handle the domain redirection, and since they already host and are the registrants of our original domain this ought to make it a much simpler process. The initial idea was just to move from to However recently Loch Ness Toys has now suggested itself as a more exciting alternative.

To be Continued…

plesiosaur Loch Ness Toys

Our current Loch Ness Toy – Papo Plesiosaur. This prehistoric creature has sometimes been thought to be the identity of the Loch Ness Monster!

Jurassic World and more Schleich Dinosaur figures!

jurassic worldJurassic World is now open in cinemas and, since everyone is going dinosaur mad, we have a new consignment of detailed toy figures from Schleich in stock (see our full range of dinosaurs at Comaco Toys).

We have replenished our supplies of the Classic T Rex, Carnotaurus and other favourites featured in our last blog post. However we also have no less than nine other new creatures now in: an alternative T rex, two different Velociraptors, a long necked Apatosaurus, an armoured Saichania, a winged Quetzalcoatlus, a sturdy Triceratops, the bizarre sloth-like Therinzinosaurus and the terrifying Spinosaurus. More than enough species to populate your very own Jurassic Park!

Watch out too for multi figure Megasaur sets on their way into stock from H Grossman.

A scene from Jurassic World

A scene from Jurassic World