Category Archives: Review

*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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*Review* ThreeZero – The Walking Dead – Michonne’s Pets

Intro:

The toy collector’s mind can be a funny place.

I occasionally find myself asking why something that, to most people, only a kid would be very interested in, is something I so enthusiastically embrace.  Toys were always a huge influence on me, along with cartoons, video games and comic books. These things really shaped my childhood and adult life more than my folks probably imagined they would. 

With those “hobbies” entrenched so deeply into my psyche, I’ll occasionally find myself in the crosshairs of a product that pulls so fully from my inner geek-dom.. that I’m completely powerless to resist.

That’s where I’m at in the case of ThreeZero’s new The Walking Dead license. Not only does this new toy line pull from all the kinds of stuff I busy myself fiddling with, it pulls from the best!

 AMC’s The Walking Dead is one of the best shows on television. The Walking Dead comic series is one of the most engrossing out there (and also far darker than anything AMC’s TV version has ever shown). The Walking Dead video game is absolutely fantastic story telling… and then there’s ThreeZero.

Sure, there’s “other” Walking Dead toys out there already.. but when you hand over that lineage with that caliber of material to a toy company like ThreeZero (Run by Kim Wong who is also the other half of Ashley Wood’s 3A) all you really have to do is wait for something fantastic to emerge.

Despite Kim showing me the early prototype of Michonne’s Pet Walkers (along with a very early Merle) at SDCC 2013 this past year, I really didn’t think we’d be seeing them in front of us so soon. I can’t tell ya how happy I am to have a chance to review these handsome devils!

Grab your crossbows, gang.. we’ve got Walkers.

First Glance:

Whoa. Maybe it’s all the time I’ve spent with Ashley Wood’s stylized Boiler Zombs.. but these two are truly GRUESOME. Visually, incredibly close to their lumbering TV counterparts. Missing jaws, tongues and arms.. leaving behind perceptibly wet, bloody stumps. The sculpt, texture and detail on the skin is really impressive.   

This is actually a big deal for ThreeZero, not only because it’s the first from their Walking Dead license, but because it’s the first toy they’ve produced using a new type of fake skin.  The skin itself FEELS a bit like rubber in that it’s “rubbery” and stretches. But, the skin is actually made using a kind of PVC that is meant to be more durable than the rubber some collectible figures feature. For example, PVC shouldn’t degrade and disintegrate over time like rubber can do.

The paint detail is spot on with the afore mentioned glossy/wet bloody bits and rotting skin. The misty, dead eyes are particularly creepy amid the sunken in rotting skin draped around their faces. A subtle dark wash brings more of the skin wrinkles, rot and pore details out as well.

There’s articulation stuffed inside the limbless torso that lets you bend your pets at the neck and waist. Even their arm nubs have small joints in the shoulders that you can push around a bit to vary the pose.  Their lower half seems to have the same sort of articulation you’d expect from any decent 1/6 scale figure.

The clothing and backpack accessories are up to speed with the best you’ve seen from ThreeZero in the past from various 3A projects. Put simply, they look very real. The jeans, in particular, look fantastically “real world” worn.. and are probably the first pair of 1/6 denim to actually come across that way to me. Granted, they’re riddled with holes and tears that any respectable Zombie/Walker should have.. but even if they didn’t.. the wash and treatment of them make the very true to life, far more so than some other recent high end 1/6 figures can claim.

The other accessory is the thin copper chain leash that goes around each of their necks. I’ll say that they do appear a little daintier than I recall from the TV show version. Doing a google search of them shows that they’re in the ballpark, but definitely a little on the thin side. Now who’s going to hold them?

On Second Thought:

These figures are visually stunning.. as in, they stunned me when I took them out of the box with their nasty gashes and gnarled visages. I was almost afraid to touch the “blood” because it truly looked moist to the touch. While the sculpt is very detailed and the paint looks nice and gory, it does come across a touch cartoony. You’ve probably seen Hot Toys sculpted movie icons that are the spitting image of their onscreen personas and this isn’t that, not saying that it should be. While immediately recognizable, the techniques used to detail these Walkers give them a distinct comic-book look.

Setting these guys up with their packs on and chains and then working out the best “zombie walk pose” you can muster is pretty fun.  The articulation under the faux skin is pretty cool and it’ll be interesting to see how ThreeZero uses it in the future. We took a peak under the clothes of one of the Walkers to see how the skin is working and found that it’s basically a thin skin sock over an armless standard 1:6 figure’s torso.

On one hand, this is a good thing because the articulation works basically as expected and the overall effect looks pretty baller. One the other hand, you can’t see the joints underneath so it can be a little tricky to tell what’s doing what.  Which… led me to breaking the neck of one of the Walkers. 

Oops.

To be fair, I was stress testing him, trying to see just how far I could get his head to bend to the side. I actually thought the head just came off the joint, which is why I deskin-socked him so I could see how to pop it back on. Nope, broke right in half. Prototype or not, I wouldn’t recommend forcing anything too extreme, pose-wise.  The stretchy skin overlay makes it easy to forget there’s limitations to the plastic joints underneath.

The reason I was “stress testing” to begin with is because, the articulation has some resistance caused by the “skin” which affects how well a particular joint will hold its position. For example, If I move a joint 100% to a point, the resistance from the overlaying skin pulls them back about to 60%. The other, unbroken Walker’s neck joint actually holds really well, so I’m guessing mileage will vary depending on the stiff/loose factor of your figure’s joints.

I’ll say again, I love the clothing detail and finish. As usual, ThreeZero knocks that out of the park. That being said, I can’t help but wish the boots were faux leather as well. Not only do the stiff molded plastic boots limit articulation, they can’t match the realism of the rest of their gear. I’m also 99% sure that they’re reusing the same boots worn by 3A’s  OG Boiler Zomb… could it be?

The last little critique I have for these figures is that I wish they had just a little more going on. In my opinion, it’s always a little strange when a company releases a secondary or third-ary (Eds note: not a word) character before releasing the key ones. Without Michonne to guide them along, these guys feel a little incomplete. Like having Blackbeard’s awesome, chatty parrot, but no Blackbeard to perch him on.  

So sure.. eventually, once you have Michonne, this set will be amazing and an absolute must-have. But since they’re armless/toothless and there’s not many accessories to speak of (backpack and chain leash) there’s only so much they can do.  It’d been really nice if they included some survivalist supplies or something as they’re only function in the show is to be essentially pack-mules and Walker repellant. A few shovels, axes, ropes, blankets, canteens etc. would have gone a really long way to expand what we can do with them now while we wait for her to show up.

The Final Word:

I’ve been playing with these figures for about three days now and I’m still excited by the mere idea that AMCs The Walking Dead is getting the ThreeZero treatment. Heck, I’ve been excited since my brief preview at SDCC 2013! Despite not being “hero” characters, these will be must-haves for a ton of Walking Dead fans, particularly once Michonne comes along.

The innovative PVC skin definitely adds an extra layer of gross decay essence to these guys. Just moving their heads around and seeing the flesh on their neck stretch and bend is enough to sell me on the feature.  While not 100% realistic, the quality of the gory paint and sculpt is very high and straight-up creepy. Combined with the realism of the clothing and accessories make for some truly fantastic looking figures. If these two are testament to what we can expect coming down the road, Walking Dead and toy fanatics alike have a lot to get excited about with ThreeZero’s take on the franchise.

These guys are on sale now right here at ThreeZero’s store! Dig deep people! Throw out the clutter and clear off some shelf space, The Walking Dead toy apocalypse is coming and you’re going need to be prepared! 

Pros:

  • Fantastic sculpted details and painted gore
  • “Skin” looks great and adds a surprising amount of believability to the Walkers
  • Great looking, highly realistic clothing and backpacks
  • Articulation is as good as an armless action figure could hope to be
  • These guys sets the stage for what’s sure to be a very some very exciting series of figures
  • May scare little sister or boyfriend

Cons:

  • Some caution is needed when posing the figure as it can be difficult to tell how the joint underneath will respond
  • Boots are molded and not as realistic as the rest of the clothing
  • Lack of any real accessories hurts play longevity
  • No Michonne.. yet.

To stay up with all the awesome stuff that ThreeZero is doing, don’t forget to check out their web and facebook pages!

If you like our reviews and want to keep up with us, please follow Rad Toy Review on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, pictures and reviews! 

A huge thanks to ThreeZero for sending this pair out to us to review! – Knives

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*Review* 3A Real Steel Noisy Boy

INTRO

There’s been few collectibles that I’ve reviewed where I’ve found myself so conflicted as I have with 3A’s Real Steel series.

On one hand, you have the film from which the toys are based. Certainly, far from the worse film ever made.. but just as far, if not further from being anything I’d consider a classic. There’s not a lot of reason to get excited when someone points at a generic box and says, “Hey, that box is full of Real Steel swag! I can’t wait to see what’s inside”, said nobody ever.

On the other hand, you have 3A who have a knack for deftly tackling technically and visually challenging figures.  It’s something they do so well, they could probably make action figures pulled from Battleship Earth and people would still be hard pressed to resist picking up a figure of Jon Travolta on account of his. “amazingly realistic alien goatee and forehead weathering!”

And that’s just the thing. There’s a lot of reasons for someone to be interested in these guys. I know some of you out there really enjoyed the film and have been picking up the figures because the franchise and the characters are something you really care about. Just like I know some of you grabbed them because they’re really cool looking robots and you can’t resist a cool looking robot. I’m sure some of you even picked them up because you’d blindly buy anything 3A puts out, banking on quality. Those and all of the ones in-between are all perfect reasons I’d say, to consider adding some Real Steel goodness to your collection. For me, I take them for what they are, great looking and impressive toys.

The final bot (that I know of) from 3A’s run with the Dreamworks franchise is this big purple guy in front of me, the ever-so-glossy, samurai-esque, Noisy  Boy..

and he’s puuurty.

At First Glance:

(Eds note: Please keep in mind, this is a prototype I’m reviewing and was sent to me wrapped up in a generic cardboard box.. aka, some stuff may change between now and the shipped final)

Noisy Boy hit me square in the jaw with his good looks the second I got him free of bubble wrap and standing on the table. The layers of shiny robo-plateing are impressively structured to create a very dynamic silhouette.  The usual attention to tiny-mech-detail we’ve come to expect from 3A is all here. Tons of small sculpted gears and bolts are hidden under his exterior shell giving lots of visual depth to the figure. Moving pistons and wiring run up and down his legs and into his torso giving him all the looks of a real-life functioning robot.

The paint is stellar! I was curious how 3A would handle the glossy painted exterior as Noisy is the only Real Steel bot they’ve done that isn’t covered in  grime, dirt and rust. My concern was that he’d come across as plastic and toy-like. Instead, the paint is nice and shiny. Even though he’s purple, there’s a lot of hues and color migrations that take place depending on the light. It’s a nice effect.  While not quite car-paint quality, 3A did a great job faking it. The yellow lettering scribed across is clean and perfectly set as well.. no drips, smudges or blurred lines.

One of the things I really like is the use of rubber as the treads of his appropriately large feet. Not only does this keep him from needlessly slipping/sliding on hard surfaces, (something Atom in particular has trouble with) it adds another dimension of realism to him.

Speaking of slipping/sliding, Noisy has absolutely no problem balancing. Unlike his buddy Atom, who was not only top-heavy thanks to a large working fan in his torso, but also had an overzealous amount of joints in his skinny robo-legs which combined, made him a chore to balance on his tiny feet.

NB is incredibly light-weight as well. In fact, when I first picked up the box he was shipped in off my front porch.. I wasn’t sure if there was anything in it or if this was one of those Russian nesting doll-style joke gift-wrap situations.  Midas was similarly light and well balanced, but I think Noisy is even more so.  Thanks in big part to his lack of bulk, pushing poses out of NB is easy and frustration free.

I mentioned wiring that runs throughout Noisy Boy’s body. Well, like the three Real Steel bots before him, he’s got light features you can play with. Downright impressive, light features. You get the eye glow and some LEDs hidden in his torso.. but the real kicker for him is the various kanji(?) messages that animate on his forearms. Much like a 14 year-old pointing at the tattoo they got over spring break, I have no idea what any of them say.. but it’s a very cool looking feature.  Mine came with the batteries preinstalled (and I’ve yet to find out where they install) but I believe all it takes to power this guy is a couple of standard AAA batteries. No hunting all over for some obscure battery type here.

On Second Thought:

Noisy Boy is built pretty sturdy. Despite him being as light as he is and the ribbing of his various armor/robo-skin areas.. everything feels durable and easy to access. He’s probably the most well balanced of all the RS bots.. with Midas potentially edging him out in pose-ability.. though Noisy is no slouch in that area either. He does seem to lack some wiggle-room around his midriff despite having joints tucked in there. Like Ambush, some of his armor layers impede his range of motion, if only a little. The shoulder pads lift freely to allow for a better range in his shoulders, though even with them out of the way, NB can’t quite do the “A” from “YMCA”.

I really love Noisy’s legs and feet. They’re just so intricate and interesting from the rubber to the many sliding pistons and joints. A dramatic use of light sets them off nicely too.

If there was one spot on Noisy that I didn’t particularly like, it’s the rubberized shielding that goes off the back of his head. Like Atom’s neck guard, it feels a little cheap, particularly in contrast to the rest of the bot. I’m honestly not sure why 3A didn’t just make it solid plastic like the rest of NB, perhaps with some sliding jointed elements to allow for just enough articulation to freely move his neck around. Maybe they needed to cut a little cost somewhere and this proved a solid trade-off? The back of mine was warped/crunched inward just slightly. If not for that, I may not have noticed or cared that much about it.. but given the probability that it’s probably going to stay that way, it’s worth pointing out.

One issue that carried over from Atom and Ambush. The pistons still need a little work. They look great and definitely add a little extra realism to the figure. But once again, they have the problem of coming apart (not breaking, as they slide back together) and occasionally popping off. I have no idea how 3A could make them better other than maybe some element towards the end of one end to prevent them from coming apart. This won’t ruin your toy, but do keep it in mind. I almost lost one during the shoot as it popped off next to a storm drain!

While I tend to like my robots, rusty and world-worn.. I actually really like Noisy Boy’s new car look. It’s a nice change of pace from literally every other robot on my shelf. On closer inspection I noticed something I hadn’t before.. there actually IS some very subtle weathering. Various crevices and areas around the feet, knees and elbows have just the slightest collection of grime/discoloration built up. Nice touch!

FINAL WORD

I think the thing I like best about Noisy Boy is that, of all the Real Steel bots 3A has put out, he’s the one that feels the most like a toy you can actually play with. Other than a few small (literally and figuratively) issues with the pistons at his neck coming loose, you could probably give this guy to a kid to mess with for an hour and get him back (mostly) in one piece. The figure itself has enough mass to it that you don’t feel like you’re squeezing thin plastic that could snap into while trying to move a particular joint. His mechanics feel solid and natural enough that you’re not having to fuss with much to pose and well, play with him.

If Noisy Boy really is the last of 3A’s Real Steel romp, in this guy’s opinion.. they ended on a high note.  Noisy is the most balanced and problem free release of them all. From the light features to the articulation and paint, he’s a quality build.

I’m sure there are still those of you out there who’d love to see 3A finish up the full line of Real Steel bots. After spending a little time with Noisy, I have to say, I’m one of them. Zeus, the big baddy from the film has some similar characteristics with glossy black paint and cool light features.  Personally, I’d love to see them tackle Metro with his rusty, dinged up junkyard bits and pieces.  Then again, perhaps it’s time for them to move on. Heck, with  a Valve license tight under their belt we could see Half-Life 2′s DOG come to life at some point! How awesome would that be?

It’s been a good run 3A. You took a.. lets be honest.. sub-par movie license and made it seem awesome. Noisy Boy is something special and I think when this guy finally starts landing on his fan’s doorsteps, you’re going to be flooded with pleading letters from them, begging you to finish what you started…

and I’ll be waiting when you do.

PROS:

  • Super legit paint and detail
  • Dynamic bot design, well constructed and ready to rock (play with)
  • Great articulation throughout lets you get plenty of great poses
  • Some truly impressive animated light features
  • Rubber, anti-slip soles!

CONS:

  • The pistons around his neck slip apart and can easily pop off.. and are less easy to get back on
  • Rubber neck guard feels a little cheap/fragile in contrast to the rest of the toy

Follow Rad Toy Review on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, pictures and reviews!

Big thanks to 3A for getting this guy out to us to review. As always, much respect! – Knives

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*Review* 3A WWR EMGY Dropcloth 1.5

INTRO

ThreeA, to me, has always been about robots. Even now, with all their Tomorrow Kings, Tommy Mission, Zombs and pointy chested, long legged vixens, big ol’ rusty robots are the first thing that pops into my head whenever the toy company comes up. It was in fact a random image of a WWRp Dirty Deeds Bertie that first caught my attention and led me, cash clinched in hand, to ThreeA’s doorstep. A few purchases under my belt later, still wide-eyed and bushy tailed as one tends to be when their toe is first dipped into ThreeA waters, I set out with the seemingly obtainable goal to get one of each kind of bot in my collection. At first, I was keeping to the smaller, more obtainable bots thinking the larger bot were just too expensive for someone like me who planned to only be a casual collector with a tidy, reasonable collection. Ha! If I only knew then what I know now.

A month or so into my earnest collecting, I accidentally purchased a incredibly well priced, WWR Dropcloth Slaughterhouse. At the time, I didn’t have a solid understanding of the various labels 3A tossed on their various lines, so the lack of the letter “p” generally tagged on the end of the “WWR”, escaped my notice. I foolishly believed it to be another 1/12th bot given the reasonable cost.

Foolishly or not, when the dual hatchet wielding, 1/6 bot arrived on my doorstep, I was thrilled. While a WWRp Bertie reeled me in, it was definitely a WWR Droppie that truly sunk it’s hooks in. Dropcloths were and still are my favorite robots from ThreeA’s arsenal of cool toys. They’re just so pose-able and fun to play around with. Also, their reasonable scale makes them easy to collect and display with a variety of other sized figures. I’ve rotated out, bought and sold quite a bit of my collection over the years for one reason or another, but I have one bot that is securely locked into my “if there was a house fire, grab that” mental category, the WWR EMGY Dropcloth.

In my opinion, he’s simply the coolest looking bot I own, standing front and center on my shelf.

The EMGY colorway is understandably popular. In many cases, it’s rarity seems to be the driving point. But for me, it’s the stark use of  rusty yellow paired with dark black, silver and most importantly, red. Since the first EMGY WWRp bertie (speaking of rare), the EGMY color-way has gone through various changes. Newer bots, like Caesar and particularly Armstrong skipped the red accents altogether. It might seem like such a small thing, but in my opinion, it’s absence caused the newer bots to come out looking a lot less exciting than the original. Even the EMGY grunt, which I think is just a sick figure to have, lacks basically any other color accents at all, leaving him with a color scheme an interior designer might refer to as, “the dirty banana”.

When ThreeA teased us with the first Dropcloth follow up back at SDCC 2012, the Dropcloth 1.5, I was pretty excited.  When it was announced that the EMGY color-way would be among the first available, I was even more excited. Once I saw that the paint app would be a return to EMGY glory days (ie: reds, blacks and silvers) I may have fist pumped the air, shouted, “YEAH BABY!” and held that pose for moment, freeze frame style, in true 80′s tradition.

ThreeA once again made the EMGY drop a random “rare” drop, despite it’s popularity. On the plus side, it was a rare drop seemingly far more obtainable than any other I’ve experienced. In fact, the first time I logged onto bambaland during the sale (which featured Peaceday as the regular drop) I saw EGMY up and purchased him with little fuss. Almost every other time I checked the site, he was still there. I like to think that whoever wanted him at the time had a pretty good opportunity to snag him.

With my personal EMGY history deets out of the way, I am thrilled to finally have EMGY 1.5 in my hands. Keep reading to see how well I think  he stacks up to the OG.

Here we go..

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PACKAGING

Ah yes. I’m happy to report that we have some beautiful, Ashely Wood art taking up the majority of the front side of the packaging. On the back and side you can see Brent Ashe’s (the lead technical designer for 3A) handy work. It’s a well conceived, nice looking design that embraces and combines 3a’s old and new package art styles and ultimately looks pretty darn handsome on the shelf.

Golf clap, fellahs.

A quirky, cool story is on the back bottom panel discussing the bloody misuse of the EMGY 1.5 bots during a Peaceday parade.. calling back to the original (awesome) story, to get your imagination juices flowing. One can only hope we’ll see a full comic or a follow up to the WWR books someday to really flesh this world out.

You also get a cool weapon load out diagram that lets you know clearly what’s standard and secondary. Seeing that had me lost in thought of just how cool it’d be to play a WWR RTS or FPS game.. oh the fun that could be had. (ThreeA, make it happen.)

WHAT’S INCLUDED

As is becoming more and more the case with WWR releases, EMGY comes LOADED with accessories. One thing that immediately stands out is that all the gear is brand new and unique to the Dropcloth 1.5 line. The standard load-out includes dual (holstered) pistols, a submachine gun, a close-quarters shotgun and a really cool cleaver-esque knife. Unique to ol’ EMGY is the ever cool strapped riot baton (not seen since the OG EMGY Dropcloth) and of course, the infamous riot shield.

Suffice to say, you have a LOT of options to play around with.

Man, I love EMGY.

THE BREAKDOWN

Man, that toxic smell. Some love it, some hate it. I find a sense of nostalgia in it, but dude, EMGY was loaded with it when I unpacked him. Toe to toe with Stinkor from MOTU in odoriferousness. From 3A’s factories to my front door. Here’s hoping there’s some chemical safety regulations at play.. otherwise, in my small office littered with 3A toys, health-wise, I’m screwed.

So first impression, he looks.. friendly? Not what I expected to think right out the box. Those two eyes between the popped metal collar, make him look almost cute in a way. Like, dangerous.. but friendly. In a way, it makes sense. If these are designed to interact with humans, the only point of the eyes is to humanize them and make us fleshys feel more comfortable. It’s definitely a different vibe than I get from my OG EMGY Droppy.

So lemme check out this paint job. Mmhmm.. MmHmm. I think it looks good… great even. The weathering is looking quite nice. It’s something that 3A is known for of course. Upon closer inspection and when compared to my OG Dropcloth, there’s quite a few apparent differences. He’s a LOT more orange, but you can tell there’s more layers at work here. The OG is a bright yellow, with it’s key weathering element being basically rusty sponge marks applied liberally all over the place. A few inky drips and some dark edge work and he’s done. The new 1.5 has what appears to be 3 base layers, a dark “steel” layer, and bright yellow (similar to the OG) followed by the dominant burnt orange layer. There’s still sponge marks, though not as heavy as before, coupled with several cross-hatch like brush marks all over. These are very apparent on his legs, which are almost brown from the amount of heavy weathering.

Some fans may be turned off by the fact that the yellow/orange of the 1.5 doesn’t match the yellow of.. well, ANY of the other EMGY bots, but it’s hard to argue that on his own, he looks really nice. If the 1.5 is an update, then it makes some sense that 3A would attempt to try new and improved methods with their paint application. Whether it looks better or not is going to be completely up to the individual. Even if the off-yellow throws you… the red and silver accents should bring you back in. They look ever bit as cool as you’d want them to and give us the legitimate EMGY color scheme we’ve been wanting since the first time we saw it.

Articulation is vastly improved on the 1.5 in almost every conceivable area. Double joints at the neck and shoulders allow just a bit more wiggle room. Droppies feet have two hinges in them to assist in making your “Hey, I’m walking here!” pose that much more believable. The old thumb joint is gone and in it’s place is a much more forgiving ball joint. It’s not new as it’s been seen on a few other bots already, but it’s an update from the original Dropcloths.

On both his forearms, we have two ultra-cool shield. Each shield can also be swiveled around to allow for various load-out and pose options. Basically, if they’re in your way, you can move them. I’d also like to mention how much I like the dark paint on the shields, they feature some of the best weathering on the entire bot.

Probably the biggest update to ol’ droppy is his double-jointed elbows. It’s a little thing, but seems to make a pretty big difference in the sort of poses you’re able to get out of him thanks to their inclusion. It’s a first for a 3A bot and makes the range of the already highly articulated Dropcloth, that much more extensive.

The legs on the 1.5 seem to lack any noticeable difference from those of their older brother’s. What’s there is pretty great already, but I was hoping the area where the leg connected to the hip would have been refined a little bit to allow for a wider stance.

If there was one thing that carried over from the original Dropcloths that I really, REALLY wish 3A would have altered.. it’s the way the bags attach. While some of the dangling ones are nicely attached by (black!) plastic clips, the sacks on his hips have a thin strap that simply feed down through some (very) snug loops sewn into the hip of his (her?) skirt. They’ll stay put probably 99% of the time, but there’s nothing really securing them. The pain comes when one slips out why you’re posing him, or heck, removing a pistol from it’s holster. You literally need a tool(s) to feed the strap back down through the wee loops. On some of my previous Dropcloths, the straps were long enough that I could twist and tie them together to fastened them better, no such luck this time around. It’s a small annoyance that’s unique to Dropcloths and has bugged me since practically day one of collecting 3A.. looks like it’ll continue to do so.

All the accessories look pretty fantastic and are a ton of fun to mix and match for your setup. I’ve heard some complain about the size of the shotgun, but to me it works well. It basically looks like something a SWAT team would use in close quarters combat. Sawed off with a grip to help with the recoil.

The new knife, as I mentioned earlier, is something completely new, looking more like a cleaver than and combat knife. I really like it. If a Slaughterhouse 1.5 is released however, 3A will need to do something to make him stand out more since cleavers are kinda his thing.

There’s also the classic EMGY Droppy baton. I’m pretty sure it’s the exact same one the OG EMGY had, which is a good thing!

You also have a sub-machine gun and some dual pistols at your disposal. I stated earlier that all the weapons were unique and new to 1.5, but the pistols are actually the same ones we’ve come to know and love from the OG Dropcloths. If it ain’t broke..

The accessory that’s probably gotten the most “press” has been EMGY’s shield. A favorite accessory for collectors, many were disappointed when photos of the “new” shield started to pop up. It seems 3A couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to redesign/paint the whole thing.

My first reaction to the photos was the same as a lot of other people’s, “Oh no! What have they done?” It just didn’t look very good. Blotchy yellow paint surrounded by ugly brown smears. A EMGY icon that was seemingly drawn on by a 4 year old. I definitely got why people were getting upset and I found myself siding with the throng of pitchfork wielders.

But then I saw another picture that seemingly displayed a sense of depth and even realism, causing me to question my first take. While waiting on mine to arrive, I’ve seen people’s posted pictures that make the shield look pretty darn great, and others that make it look like it was painted with crayons and baby feces. I decided to reserve my judgement and keep an open mind until I had it in hand.

So finally in hand and out of the box, sitting in front of me I can with all honesty say… “Huh.”

It ain’t bad. In fact, I’d probably say it’s more “realistic” than the old shields. There’s depth to it, much like the paint on the EMGY himself, and more layers than you’d expect just looking at the photos. The brown is actually very metallic and looks like good, worn out, rusty metal. The paint that appeared so soft and smudgy to me in photos online, actually makes good visual sense up close. It’s a nice, realistic effect.

So it’s more realistic, but is it better?

In the end, I’ll be placing this guy up with my other EMGY crew, all of who are wielding similarly painted and weathered shields. Right now, it looks harmonious, as most want their crew or colorway of choice to look, but the new shield is going to stick out like a sore thumb.

Even without that concern, standing on it’s own, I think where I find real issue derives from exactly what I was saying earlier.. up close, it looks realistic, up close, you can see the depth, up close, you can tell there’s some great techniques at work. However, take a few steps away, all you can see is a strange, bold and distracting pattern that doesn’t look or feel like anything else in your collection. From three feet away, It reads more like a bad camo pattern, than rust and chipped paint.

In short, where the paint application has gained technique and possibly sophistication, it sorely lacks any harmony and visual congruence. Particularly when paired with any of your other EMGY, shield-bearing, figures.

FINAL WORD

I gotta say, I’m incredibly happy with how the EMGY Dropcloth 1.5 came out. I think 3A knocked it out of the park in the majority of it’s innovations and improvements from the original. It’s hard to compare new to old, because the OG has such a special place in my toy collecting heart, but toy to toy, the 1.5 is probably a “better” toy. Whatever that means.

I feel like the Dropcloth 1.5 is a good example of how ThreeA is working to improve and advance everything they’re doing production-wise. Tweaked and improved articulation, a more detailed and layered paint application and a butt-ton of weapons to fiddle with. It may not thrill everyone that the paint isn’t the exact same or a perfect match with the rest of their EMGY crew, but I almost see it as a necessary evil in the process. It’ll be interesting to see how other well known color-ways will fair, if and when they’re released in the future.

The shield is just something that you’ll have to decide how you feel about it yourself. I know some will love it from the moment they grip it in their eager, balmy hands. I’ve read recent comments from some people who were adamantly and vocally against the new paint work, only to decide they liked it MORE than the old version once they had it in-hand. Of course others stand by their opinion that it’ll only be fit for display once it’s repainted the “right” way. Until then, it shall remain in the confines of it’s packaging, never to feel the sun on it’s blotchy yellow and brown skin.

I’m not exactly sure how I’ll handle mine just yet. I know for sure I won’t be leaving it in the box like some useless or unloved accessory. One of my favorite things about this guy is just how many different poses and combinations are possible with him. The shield alone gives you quite a few! In the long run, I may not display mine front and center along side my current EMGY setup, but I think I’m going to figure out a way to strap it to his back, ala Captain America or something.

All in all, I think ThreeA did a top-notch job with the EMGY Dropcloth 1.5. It’s their most articulated and pose-able bot yet. He’s also loaded up with more unique accessories than any previous ThreeA figure to date.

For those like me who started collecting ThreeA around the same time the original Dropcloths came out, I think the 1.5 heralds back to those days. It should give you that nostalgic tug you were hoping for, while still delivering something fresh. For those who are just starting to get into ThreeA and the 1.5 is the first bot in your collection.. oh the slippery slope you’ve stumbled upon, my friends.

Give your wallet my condolences.

PROS:

  • A very solid and worthy upgrade to one of the most outstanding toy robots ThreeA has to offer
  • Nice weathering and paint application
  • Tons of accessories to mess with!
  • Great “enhanced” articulation over the previous version

CONS:

  • I think the shield paint work is pretty good, but it’s not at all cohesive with the rest of the figure which causes it to stick out like a sore thumb on the shelf
  • While the paint application itself is great on Droppy 1.5, the fact he favors orange more than the traditional yellow of previous EMGY figs will bother some collectors.
  • A few missed opportunities for detail work (ie: EMGY’s eyes are blank, where Peaceday’s were painted and some areas of cloth are untouched by weathering)

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