It’s been awhile since I’ve been so excited about getting a figure dropped on my doorstep. 3A’s ReVenture Hong Kong 2012 show held host of quite a few exclusives that only those lucky enough to attend the show could get their greedy little mits on. That is, until the remaining tiny allotment was released on bambaland.com about a week after the show wrapped. I was at a friends house, enjoying a cold beverage and some freshly made salsa when the sale went live. I logged into bamba and waited for the first tid bits to load. I knew it was going to be chaos trying to score ANYTHING and that most likely the thing I wanted most (an Old Guard) would also be the most impossibel to get. Exclusives began to trickle onto bambaland.. so far, no Old Gaurd. Each hit of f5 was another spinning beach ball of 5 minute limbo. Finally, the TK box art popped up. I speedily clicked “add to cart” only to be forced into pumping my brakes hard, treated with yet another loading screen some 8 minutes in length. “Come on, come on, come on.. big money.. BIG money.” I’m sure I was muttering something along those lines. Suddenly the message on the screen caused my heart to sink into my shoes. A “server error, server too busy try again later” screen popped up. Knowing how crazy people would be to score one oof these excluves, I knew it was over, that I’d lost out. I failed to score a Tomorrow King.
Just before I closed my screen, I noticed the URL address still read as if it was on my cart page. I decided to hit refresh instead of the back button to see what would happen. After what seemed yet another eternity of waiting, my cart screen loaded up with the stubborn TK still inside! Stunned, I quickly hit the pay/checkout button and watched with delight as my order processed.
Now he’s finally here, my Old Guard. My Tomorrow King.
What TK worth his salt hasn’t come in a lovely illustrated box? OG is no different. The front is splashed with a dynamic AW painting with a color coded dot on the top to indicate whether you received the blue, black, red or yellow TK. I got red. On the back has something ripped from Ash’s sketchbook with kitty purring the word “Exclusive” in bold letters! Yup, it’s legit!
I was hoping for a poster, but I’ll settle on just getting the figure. Sigh.
Brass tax. You get your TK and his single trusty sword.
3A’s Tomorrow King isn’t anything new. Many 3A collectors have at least one in their collection tucked away somewhere. There’s the Oyabun, Heavy TK, 7 Bones and Interloper to name the few. There hasn’t been much description of exactly how the Old Guard truly fit into Popbot lore (the storyline Tomorrow Kings originate from). The original Tomorrow Kings are often referred to as the “OGs” (Original Gangsta’s), so it’s fitting that “OG” in this case stands for Old Guard. It’s a nod to the original Tomorrow Kings that are so cherished and desired by 3A collectors the world over. Given the relative difficulty scoring these guys, that desire is likely not to diminish despite their new car smell.
There’s a definitive simple elegance that’s just shy perfection in the design of the Tomorrow King figures. It’s something most people who don’t collect or own one won’t pick up on. Heck, I didn’t really get it until earlier last year when 3A released (and shipped) the first of their 7 Bones TKs, Wasabi. With their clean, not overly fussy design and punk rock meets japanese ninja ethos, I don’t find it all that shocking that many think the TK is THE perfect action figure.
So while I assume the Old Guard is a return to that simple elegance of the original Tomorrow Kings, 3A didn’t simply sew up a new batch of shirts and send these guys on their way. The Old Guard actually has an all new body (One shared by the forthcoming/currently landing on doorsteps, Rothchild). Most noticeable is his slimmer silhouette with narrow shoulders. I’ve read some refer to it as the kid or teenager body. One even called it the Bieber body. I laughed at that. Here you can see standing side by side with Wasabi just how much of a visual difference it makes.
You can also see from the same pic that Old Guard’s tee is much more fitted than Wasabi’s. I can’t say which I prefer as they both work well for the characters. I may give a slight edge to the new body as it seems to work better visually with the lean, mean fighting machines that TKs are suppose to be. But I like the look of variety between them!
The tee shirt itself is what some may feel is a smidge “porny” while others will claim it simply “art”.. whatever you want to call it.. it’s an image of some sort of visually decapitated women in panties and bandages with her boob hanging out. Honestly, of the four Old Guards it’s not my favorite. I like the red color a lot, but find the design on the black and yellow to be much more in tune with my personal style.
Visually, my RVHK score is a slam dunk. I love the orange hair and red shirt. The paint is nice, clothes run or snag free. The new slim profile looks fantastic. Head to toe, I’m digging the orange headed Bieber. So what else do we have here to mess with? Ah yes, articulation!
At first blush, it’d be easy to believe that the articulation is the same as it’s ever been. Knees and elbows are double jointed, wrist spin and twist (a little loosely for my taste). His torso bends in various places and his ankles have those love them or hate them double ball joints. The hands are the same sculpts we’ve seen for years on Tomorrow Kings. One hand molded for gripping the sheath, the other a little tighter to handle the hilt of the sword. Nothing new there.
Or is there? As much as I think the new slim bodies really enhance the overall look of the Old Guard TKs, I did find one little hiccup in it’s execution. I’d even call it a step backwards. Due to the decrease in torso real-estate, the head/neck has less room to wiggle. The head/neck of the OG’s are not redesigned to compensate for the smaller area at the neck joint. What this has done is prevent as full of a range of movement side to side (ear to shoulder) as previously possible.
In the picture above I’ve pushed both heads sideways as far as they’ll go and I think it’s pretty clear how much of a difference that extra space makes. It was probably not worth the effort/expense to 3A to develop an entirely new neck post just for the Old Guards, but it IS kind of a shame it’s even an issue. I guess we’re to believe these guys are warrior ninja’s capable of all sorts of insane giant robot crushing acrobatics and limber twisty turny ninja skill.. as long as they don’t have to crane their necks too far.
Maybe they are much older than they look?
Other than that, I only have a few small nagging complaints here and there. The first, I mentioned before is the incredibly loose wrist joints. My Wasabi has had the same helicopter wrists since day one, so it’s not exclusive to the Old Guard. I’m sure some will have a lucky die roll and get perfectly taught wrists that can manage whatever pose you twist them in. My OG needs physical therapy. The other “ugh” I muttered came when I first put his sword in his hand. I realized that the blue wash used to get into the creases of his gloves was still wet! The paint wiped off the sword fine and there was no noticeable smudging on the gloves themselves, but it’s still a nuisance. This isn’t baked goods, we’re don’t need our toys piping hot still smelling of the oven.. the paint should be dry/cured before it hits our hands. Kyuuketsuki anyone?
I’m all about Tomorrow Kings and am thrilled to have one from 3A’s Hong Kong ReVenture in my possession. Though not my first pick, (that would have gone to blue or black) red looks just fantastic. In fact, amongst the blue and neutral tones of my other TKs, he really stands out.
Posing and snapping shots of Tomorrow Kings is always a lot of fun. The strength of their character really blooms when you find the right light, angle and pose. Their faces are practically without expression but sculpted in such a way that they lend themselves to whatever type of mood it is within your imagery that you’re trying to capture.
I wish I could say, “Everyone should go out and buy one of these guys right now at your local Toy Store!” But you and everyone else knows that’s impossible. The ebay prices are silly.. stupid even. I’ve seen more than one of these OGs up for almost a grand. I find that hard to stomach, not only because it’s a freaking toy!! BUT some of the ACTUAL OG Tomorrow Kings aren’t fetching those kind of prices. Unfortunately, the flip factor for these guys is pretty high and ebay is evidence of that. Douche-McGee’s came out by the truckloads to Hong Kong to buy these guys just to flip for extortion level prices. Instead of supporting these layman of the avid toy collector’s bile ducts, reach out to your favorite toy community. Be patient. Something will come up eventually. I doubt you’ll get a hand out and I’m sure you’ll end up paying a good deal more than the 90 stones or whatever these guys were at retail, but I can almost promise you’ll get better results dealing with collectors community than the sultans of ass-hattery on ebay.
The more I’ve played with this guy the more I realize I’ll probably be right there with you, holding my breath, abiding my time and waiting for that WTS post. Daddy needs a black and blue.
- Classic Tomorrow King design.
- Fantastic toy to play with and shoot photos of.
- Great quality and care throughout
- New slimmer body/silhouette looks fantastic
- Box Art
- Slim body lessens neck articulation substantially
- Loose wrists
- Do to exclusive status, they’re being flipped like there’s no Tomorrow… King. (whamp whamp)