*Review* 3A SGR JC

Intro:

Check out that flow of acronyms in the title! A little like trying to decipher a foreign language, init? Since we toy collectors tend to speak in our own language anyway, I didn’t think anyone would be too put off by it. Today, I’ll be using that acronym, not only to speed along writing out a character’s long-ish name over and over again, but also because the given name of our featured toy has a filthy, naughty, dirty word right smack in the middle of it. We don’t normally print copious amounts of cuss-based brusqueness over here at RtR..  despite the fact that we review a LOT of toys from 3A/Ashley Wood. Even though we tend to cater to an older audience and don’t take issue with the words themselves, we do our best to keep things pretty kid friendly. It’s been surprisingly easy to do up until now. For those of you who are familiar with today’s figure, there’s no mystery here. The acronym works because you already know his name. But for those of you who have no idea about this guy, it doesn’t. So in the name of journalistic clarity, we decided for at least a moment, we wouldn’t worry about censors and flood the next paragraph with a few, well-placed swear words.

Alright children, you’ve been warned. The next couple sentences hold snippets of the kind of language your Fox News marathoning Grandpa yells at the TV every time a Democrat gets elected into office.

Today, we’re reviewing Shit Got Real JC (SGR JC). I ended up with him by pure chance as he was a 3A Thailand Toy Expo exclusive, which you could only snag if you were physically there. The figure I actually ordered was the open-to-all bambaland exclusive version, Dark As Fuck JC (DaF JC). Both look very similar to one another with only slight differences in the shade of their pants and arm bands. The way ThreeA handled it was to randomly toss a SGR JC into people’s DaF JC Bambaland order. It worked out sorta like a chase you have no control over. There was actually a second chase, the PaF JC (the “P” standing for “Pale”) which from the few images popping up on ThreeA’s forums, seems to be a little bit more rare than the other.

I used to own Tracky JC (shown above), but had to part with him about a year ago during a time of needed “emergency” funding.  For a long time, he was my favorite figure due to how easy he was to pose/play with and that great original sculpt. The wrapped fist sketch tee he’s sporting is one of the coolest 1/6 shirts ever and his track suit is baller to this day.  He’s one of maybe three toys I regret selling off to help pay for life necessities.

I’ve felt as though there was a hole in my collection ever since. I even attempted to replace him by purchasing one of the follow up variant releases of JC and it didn’t take. Despite being practically the same figure in a different outfit.. it just wasn’t the same. The promise of a new JC, gave me a glimmer of hope. That being said, a revamped take on a favorite character always brings with it a heavy dose of equal parts, optimism and cynicism.

The question was: Will this new version of JC be ready to rise or better left in his tomb?

The Box:

 

I have to say, the full sized, corner to corner sketch of JC’s face on the front is one of my favorite box art covers in recent memory! Nice and clean with none of that sticker slapped on a white box crap… feels like you’re getting something special. Open up the joint and you’ll see your JC packed nice and tidy in a clam shell, ready to bust out and mash some Zomb face into pieces.

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten a figure from ThreeA that was packaged this way. They’ve been swinging towards the more stripped down (or as they like to call it, “classic”) method of packing a figure by using strips of foam and twisty ties wrapped about it’s neck, ankles, waist and arms. 9 out of 10 of my figures that come that way, arrive loose in the box. Obviously, it’s a cost saving measure and some folks are cool with the cut corners. Me? I’d pay an extra shilling or three to have clam shell packaging protecting all my future toys in transit.

If you ordered a JC from the bambaland sale and are not sure which version you received, SGR JC will have completely different box art than DAF JC… so much so, it actually says SGR on the back of the box. So check that out first and see if it matches the art below and you’ll know what’s what straight away.

A Once Over:

Last year, 3A teased an all new JC featuring a different, gruff and dynamic head sculpt. He had real bandages and lace-up military boots… and to probably no one’s surprise, was a con exclusive. I’d love to get some intel on why o’ why,  3A seems to release exciting new figures as limited con exclusives. What’s more frustrating is that often times, these figures are teased for cons long, LONG before we see a similar variant released to the general public..  not to mention the fact that there are no guarantees that they’ll release one for the general public at all.

I must have not been alone in wanting this new con-exclusive JC in my geek-strong hands because 3A listened and put up DAF JC as a general bamba sale for all to partake. I really wanted the con exclusive (SGR) but was still thrilled at the chance to get a version that at least looked very similar. After the production/shipping wait, imagine my happy surprise to find I pulled the one I originally wanted!

First off, that mug is killer and one only a mother could love. We find he’s gotten a little more raggedy since we saw him last.  JC hasn’t slowed down to mop the blood and spittle from his face. With the sculpted, blood spattered nose bandage, under-eye tat and a beard which doth flow-eth longer, I think he looks absolutely awesome.

Going along with his tough-as-nails visage, his entire person is covered with a scrambling of tattoos.. most with religious nods. JC’s a tortured soul, hellbent on redemption and taking out as many zombs as he can while breath still hides behind his beaten and bloodied lips. Despite some stylized anime-esque exuberance with his hair, he’s the hardest looking 3A Adventure Kartel figure, make that, 3A figure PERIOD, I’ve ever seen.

Side note: I want to see someone cosplay as this guy at comic con this year!

When I first saw the arm bands, I thought.. “Yay!” Then I tried to move his wrists and realized the bands locked them into whatever position the guy who’s task it was to wrap bands at 3A’s hatchery had decided to wrap them, so I thought.. “Boo!” Then, I fiddled with them for awhile, holding my breath as I twisted his wrists with significant force. They suddenly loosened up and his hands were free to swivel as desired. Once again, I thought..  “Yay!”

I guess one could worry that their JC may show up and not have the same graciously giving wrist binds and be stuck with the tough decision of leaving, cutting or unwrapping them completely. I’d like to believe that there’s a deliberate, by-design split in them meant to allow for some function at the wrist… but I’ve only the one so I have no way to know for sure! So, a heads-up there if you’re still waiting on yours to show up.

If for some reason, you don’t like the look of the bands, they’re probably pretty easy to take off. (Putting them back on.. shudder!) I haven’t done it personally but, I have seen pics of what’s underneath and his fists still sport the same sculpted wraps as the OG JC did. Unlike OG JC, his forearms, while tatted, are smooth and sculpt-free. I think the cloth wraps are a pretty important and unique character trait to this particular figure so I’m leaving mine be.. but to each their own.

SGR JC shown here holding a Bubo/Goat resin bat.

Dem pants, son. I don’t know why Ashley Wood has such a thing for capri man-pants. Most of his Tomorrow Kings have them, a few zombs and now.. Mr. SGR JC. I’ve met and spoken with Ash on a few occasions and he wasn’t wearing them.. I checked.  So I don’t think he’s pulling it from any personal style preferences. Maybe they’re just really fun to draw? I dunno.

I’m not hate’n on man capris. (Though, who would fault me if I was?) I really like the way they look on the TKs. They add a lot of character and seem to fit in with their younger, hip style. But on JC, they look a bit out of place to me. From the original pictures pre-sale, I honestly thought we’d be getting full-length, military style camo cargos, tucked into his boots… but they’re obviously not that. Anyway, it’s a personal preference. Nothing wrong with them, really. I suppose I could think of them as extra long board-shorts. His boots, while not original to him, are awesome. They’re the same, super cool, laced-up, faux leather ones we’ve seen on last year’s NOMs and Merde Missions.

Some may have preferred to see the return of the rad blue tennis shoes that classic JC wore, but I think these boots fit better with the more grizzled and battle-worn JC we see here. The best thing about them is that you lose no ability to pose the guy thanks to the flexibility of the material. Plus, the wider sole aids in giving him excellent balance.

The Final Word:

SGR JC is a winner. While not completely original, I feel like the few things we see on him that were borrowed from previous 3A figures, work really well. He doesn’t feel anything like the countless shadow, inky, GID and color swapped variants we see so often from 3A. No, this JC looks almost.. I stress, almost..  good enough to replace the original.

I wish we saw more of this type of thing. He’s doesn’t feel like a re-release or variant.. he’s a re-imagining or better yet, an evolution of an already awesome character. SGR JC is a great looking figure with just enough originality to make him truly interesting and worth a spot in anyone’s collection. If you don’t have him already, I’d highly recommend tracking him down.

The Good:

  • Great new head sculpt
  • Cool painted details like tattoos and blood splatter
  • Strong evolution of the JC character
  • Perfect figure for getting quick and dynamic poses

The Bad:

  • Some bits re-used from previous figures
  • Bands look cool to me, but may require cutting or rewrapping to allow for any wrist articulation

 

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SDCC 2013 Photos pt 2 – Toy Action!

Here’s part II of our SDCC 2013 coverage. We finally went through the wheat and tossed out all the chaff, leaving only glorious toy photos for your enjoyment. Admit-ably, some of the prototype shots you’ll see in the gallery are no longer prototypes and have since moved on to full-on production. I still think you’ll find plenty here to start building an early Christmas list from. Check thing out after the jump! -> SDCC 2013 Toy Action

As I went through our remaining shots, I realized we didn’t have a ton of content for our “SDCC: Everything Else” category so in the name of efficiency, I decided to go ahead and toss the link for that gallery in this article as well. You can check out a few of the peeps and scenes we ran into at Comic Con last year right here- > SDCC 2013 Everything Else

That’ll do it for our SDCC 2013 Coverage. Maybe one day I’ll have the steeled nerves to revisit the long hibernating video project I started last July and release that. Maybe as an intoxicating siren leading up to this year’s SDCC. Or maybe I’ll just use that time to better plan what we’ll do for our 2014 coverage so it comes around as it should, when it should.

If you missed our last post and dig Cosplay, click the following jump to check out our newly uploaded SDCC 2013 Cosplay photos.

While you’re at it you can jump even further back to check out what sorta antics we got up to at SDCC 2012 

 

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SDCC 2013 Photos pt1 – Cosplay Action!

Alright. So you’re probably thinking, “What is this? It’s been forever since San Diego Comic Con 2013. Heck, the opportunity to grab passes for THIS years SDCC has already come and gone! Why are you living in the past, man?”

Well, I sort of blew it last year with RtR’s intended “epic coverage” of SDCC 2013, I feel bad about it so I wanted to write a little on the topic. “Awww, I’m sorry to hear that, little buddy. What happened?” you, my imaginary friend, asks.

If you sit a spell then I’ll tell ya.. or if you could care less and just want to see the goods.. skip to the end of this article to portal you directly to our Flickr page and you’ll be rewarded by hundreds of newly uploaded SDCC 2013 Cosplay photos.

Day one in San Diego, I hit the conference floor with a brand new camera, a couple of new lenses and a plethora of large, empty memory cards. My goal last year was to not just do MORE coverage of SDCC 2013 than I did in 2012 but to obliterate it with the most picture heavy, video oozing coverage anyone’s ever seen in.. ever.

Well, as it happens when you’re filled with spit and vinegar, shooting from the hip as it were, I found that I overestimated my abilities and overstepped personal physical bounds. Upon returning to my humble abode here in Hawaii, I loaded up the memory cards and their ga-millions of images and videos onto my computer, looked upon it’s grandeur..  and just froze.

In front of me was literally days worth of video footage along with far more images than I can count. All of which would have to be gone through, organized and edited before usable.  I didn’t know what to do with it all. WHAT to do with it all.  For the first few weeks following the con, I ended up doing what I’ve done before when faced with overwhelmingly impossibly odds…

nothing.

“Tomorrow.. yes, tomorrow I’ll knock this stuff out.” That tomorrow never came.

Like the year before, it was such a joyful buzz to roam the conference floor, snapping pics of everything and everyone, chatting it up with superheroes and cartoon characters to my hearts content. There’s always something going on or someone walking by that seems worth the flick of a shutter.  But now with it all in front of me, squeezed onto my computer, I realized putting this thing together was going to require my full-time and attention to actually get it out in any reasonable time frame… and that’s with only a very sub-standard level of spit-shine.. like with just the spit and none of the shine.

Like a lot you out there, I have a full-time job as well as freelance work that eats up the larger portion of my day. So I started to stress out because I had so much content and had planned to do so much with it. Instead of being able to do that, I was suddenly handed the sickening reality that it simply wasn’t feasible for me to do.  I’d bitten off more than I could chew and captured more content than I had the hours to do anything with. After struggling to work through it on and off over some passing months, I finally decided I needed to shelf it and move on.

Fast forward to now when SDCC 2013 is old news and everyone’s steeling themselves for SDCC 2014 and it almost seems pointless to bring it up again. But, even with my free time more askew than ever before, I’d put a lot of time and work in.. and it’s grated on me to know that all this content is just sitting on my computer growing old and moldy. Rad Toy Review’s epic SDCC 2013 coverage may be a bygone promise well past it’s prime, but by golly, in the hash-tagged spirit of throw back Thursday, I’m going to give you whatever I have to give anyway!

While my epic SDCC video project sits in limbo, I did manage to edit  and pair down a fair amount of the photos. You guys deserve to see something and there’s no time like the present! This first part of our SDCC 2013 Photo coverage is all the Cosplay stuff I could get through . There’s more hidden away on my drive, but I think the ones on our Flickr page are the best of the lot. I’ll get the toy pics finished up in a follow up post, which will go up soonly… maybe next Thursday if the spirit moves me.

For this coming year’s SDCC, I’ll make no grand promises of epic coverage. No pie-in-the-sky boasts of videos streaming into your retina’s just days after the footage is captured. Yes, we will be there and yes, we will probably take an obnoxious amount of photos and video. You WILL get your coverage. Exactly what form that coverage takes, remains to be seen. Maybe video will work out this year, maybe not.. either way, I can promise there will be lots of things worth checking out here on Rad Toy Review. We’ll make no promises other than doing the best we can.

Think of these photos of SDCC 2013 as the precursor, a beginning of our SDCC 2014 coverage.

NOT an end.

 

Alright, without further ado.. please check out RtR’s photos from last years San Diego Comic Con!

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THE WORKSHOP: Casting Wooden Bats in Resin by Michael ‘Bubo’ Reilly and Simon ‘Goatballs’ Be

A while ago we posted a step-by-step workshop provided by the ever talented, Simon ‘Goatballs’ Be! To this day, it’s one of the most popular we’ve ever featured. It seems folks can’t get enough of his 1/6 scale wooden bats! Well, today we’re excited to post a follow up, this time by our friend Michael ‘Bubo’ Reilly who worked to cast and produce copies of Goat’s original bat sculpts in resin. 

I’m personally very excited for this little walk-through as it talks about a process that I’ve been interested in for a long while. With a little hand-holding.. I might be brave enough to finally try it myself.

Welcome back to RtR’s  Workshop, and enjoy!

- Knives

Alright, here’s a list of some of the materials you’ll probably want to track down before you get started.

Materials:
  • Foam Core, for building mold walls. You can also use legos, acrylic plastic, or any other non-porous material of your choosing that’s stiff enough to form a wall.
  • 1/8″ thick or thicker wooden (or plastic) boards, to evenly distribute tension on mold when bound.
  • Super Glue (CA Glue), for gluing gates/vents onto model (bat) & onto mold floor.
  • Hot Melt Glue (& gun), for gluing walls of mold together.
  • Toothpicks (or long sharp pokey thing), for getting air bubbles out of silicone mold
  • Electrical tape
  • Disposable cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Monojet Oral 10ml syringes

.. and here’s some of the tools I use, also worth looking into.

Tools:

  • Razor/Ruler, for measuring & cutting mold box
  • Hot Glue Gun, to glue mold together
  • Scale, a gram scale to weigh out materials
  • Air Compressor
  • Vacuum Chamber & Vacuum pump, to de-gas silicone
  • Pressure Pot, a chamber that eliminates any remaining bubbles
  • Old sander or piece of vibrating equipment (to vibrate pressure pot)
  • Flat Chisel & Scalpel (x-acto knife), for cutting mold open

Before we begin, let me say that this is but one of many ways to build a mold. The construction of your mold will depend on the piece you are making a mold of, what kind of process you’ll use to cast it, and what material you will be casting with. For the sake of this project, the item being molded is a toy, it is small and the mold form is very simple.

To kick things off, here’s a shot of Simon Be’s original wooden bat, with an added grip Michael made with medical tape.

I have made my own resin pour spouts by utilizing the discarded remnants of past castings. They were originally built from wood and modeling clay. Note the large cone at the base of the spouts, this feature holds resin above the poured part, and helps provide enough resin to feed the mold under pressure. The first step is to glue the item you’ll be casting to resin spouts and then to a foam-core base. Use Super Glue to bond gates & vents to your item. Gates are used to pour material into your mold, vents let air escape as it fills. Always try to have your vent at the highest point, and your gate at the lowest. In most cases, the mold can be held at an angle or rotated, in order to push the air out while injecting the resin.Use super glue to glue item to mold base.

Now to create your mold -

  • Build mold walls using foam core & hot melt glue. (or legos, acrylic plastic/other non-porous material, etc)
  • Make sure your mold is at least 1/2″ larger than your item (in this case, a bat), and at least 3/4″ deeper than the item is high (to allow plenty of room for silicone above the item).

  • Spray item inside mold with mold release.
 
  • Use your best judgement to gauge how much silicone you will need, measure it out per the directions, and then mix well.
  • Transfer to a second container that is approximately 4-6 times the volume of the material being mixed.
  • Place silicone into vacuum chamber & de-gas until the silicone ‘boils’ up & then collapses back down. There will still be air bubbles, but most should come out.
 
  • Set your mold on the ground, and slowly pour the silicone from as high as possible. pour in a single, slow, even, thin stream. the thinner the better, as it will force more bubbles to pop on the way to the mold. Pour into a corner, or empty section of the mold and allow the level of the silicone to rise on its own.

  • Once poured, set mold into pressure pot, & put under 60psi. of pressure (or less if your pot will not go that high). I have an old sander permanently attached to my pressure pot stool, and i turn it on at this point to gently vibrate the pressure pot. this helps move air to the surface of the mold. leave for about 3-5 minutes, then release the pressure & pull your mold out.

Important Note: It is imperative that you make sure the surface inside your pressure pot is perfectly level. I sometimes stack objects inside the pot, if the mold is terribly small, so that i have to use less pressure/air to fill it. But i always take a moment to measure & adjust it back to level. This simple precaution will ensure that the bottom of your mold is level, and therefore your resin will vent correctly from the mold while curing the pressure pot.

  • Inspect for air bubbles. If you find any air bubbles, use a pointy stick (toothpick, etc.) to remove them. use a small stirring motion, as if your toothpick were a very small tornado, and the air bubbles will ride the fluid vortex away from your item being molded. Don’t get too frustrated if you can’t get them all, this takes some practice.
  • Put the mold back into the pressure pot & put under 60psi. of pressure again. This is very important step if you plan on using the mold in the pressure pot to make casts – it must be pressurized while it cures. At this point, I usually take a break and leave the mold for at least 12-16 hours.
 
  • After 12-16 hours, remove the mold from the pot & set at room temperature to allow it to cure another 6-8 hours. At this time, your mold should be well cured and you can remove the silicone mold from your mold box. (Your times vary by the thickness of your mold).
  • Using a flat chisel & scalpel (xacto) cut the mold open. Do not cut a straight line, cut jagged, uneven lines. Twist the chisel as you cut so that the walls of the cut-line undulate in and out, back & forth like a saw. The more irregularity you can build into your cuts, the better the mold halves will lock together & not slip on each other. A mold that slips will not align correctly and give you wonky casts. Be careful not to cut your original item.
  • Remove original item, & clean mold of any loose debris. Spray a light coat of mold release into mold & let sit for 5 minutes. Here’s the original & the mold.

  • Now cut two pieces of wooden board (or 1/8th or thicker, plastic etc.) to fit either side of the mold. Put mold halves together and place wooden/reinforcement boards on either side of the mold. Use electrical tape to hold the mold together. Do not pull the tape too hard, as it will stretch & put far too much force on your mold. You want it to be firmly held together, but not squeezed so hard that it deforms.
Mix resin components together, using two separate syringes to measure part A & part B. Mix well for about 30-45 second, spinning the cup while you work, and scrapping the sides & bottom as you stir. transfer resin into a fresh cup & stir for another 5-10 seconds.
  • Use another syringe to suck the mixed resin up, & then to inject it into your mold. using clear silicone means you can watch the resin go in, & trouble shoot any trapped air you might be having.
  • Below is a close-up of the first fill with resin, which was injected using an oral syringe.
  • Set mold into pressure pot & put under 60psi for 60+ minutes before removing from pressure chamber (check the cure-time for your resin being used) and turn your sander back on (for at least a few minutes). Use your stir-cup as a good gauge of how far along your resin is. You want the resin to be firm or hard before removing from the mold, to prevent warping or sagging of the part.
  • Remove from the resin and detached from the spouts, we’ve got our resin copy. You can see every detail of the original, included the wood grain & grip texture. To make more, repeat steps…
  • Resin will still be pliable for another few hours, so take care in how you store your item until then. I built a special bat-rack to house all the resin after it came out of the mold. Hanging them on the rack until fully cured, keeping the bats as straight as possible.
Here’s a close-up of the wood grain & added insignia of a painted up nice resin copy.
 
A close-up of the painted resin copy, in a 1/6th scale ThreeA Zomb’s hand.
Here’s a few more shots of some variants using different materials and painted details.
P.S. For adding different colorants or other materials to the resin, like clear resin & GID powder, please remember that all curing times will vary (and will most always make the curing take longer). Clear resin bats with GID powder take about 12-16 hours to cure in the mold, then another 4-8 days to fully cure.

Thanks everyone!

- Bubo

We hope you’ve enjoyed the workshop and found it helpful to get you on your way to casting your own props!

Please take a peak at this gallery stuffed full of more custom goodness from Bubo’s project. Big thanks to Michael for putting this together and once again to Simon for his legendary bat skillz.. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

*All photos by Michael ‘Bubo’ Reilly
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