It”s been ages, but finally the dreary dull period of nothingness has come to a sharp and abrupt end. Today, the long cold chain of having exactly zero boxes labeled “3A” sitting at my doorstep has finally been broken. Jungle Vet from 3A’s retail assortment of Adventure Kartel toys has arrived.
Purchasing the full retail run of these guys would be a great start to just about anyone’s 3A collection, however Rad Toy Review was only able to snag one. We’ve been holding our breath since then in hopes our choice was indeed a wise one.
Early opinions from other collectors seemed extremely polarizing as well as fairly consistent. Of the the AK gang, the overwhelmingly positive praise seems predominantly aimed towards Jungle Vet (whew!) and Pneumbra. The lukewarm, comfy room temperature praise to Tommy Red, Lil Shadow and Johnson. While an apparent and almost unanimous negative panning has marred the arrival of the otherwise beloved Hooded Zombs.
Alas, this is NOT a review about Zombs or anything else other than Jungle Vet. So lets get to that.
First let me say that the photos that accompany this review were taken on the first official RtR “field trip”. A field trip to Pearl Harbor. While it’s not the jungle, the seemingly military background of JV lent itself to what we hoped would be an fun and interesting shoot.
It turned out to be both those things as well as a little… surprising.
Ed’s note: My Jungle Vet came from Sideshow Collectibles in a brown Sideshow shipping box. The JV box itself was not shrink wrapped. Don’t be alarmed if your’s shows up the same way as apparently that’s how most of these were shipped out from 3A. It’s normal.
Much like the retail release figure’s afore mentioned opinion polarization, the packaging for them shares the same mark. Unlike the epic paintings that usually grace 3A boxes, we’re left with a simple graphic depicting Jungle Vet. Astute observers might notice that all 3A did was take the initial preview photos of the various AK figures and then toss some vector artwork over it. I think it fits pretty well with this line. It’s lends itself to animation, it’s playful, clean and gets the job done. I’m cool with a little variety in my boxes, but I also know for a fact there are those who feel a little shortchanged with the lack of a true Ashley Wood painting.
On the back you get a little preview of the rest of the collection you can hunt down at your favorite retailer (providing they sell 3A toys) and the Adventure Kartel slogan, “The Adventure continues with you!”
The Adventure Kartel series proper has always come with a poster with a comic on the back giving us a tiny slice of the AK story. Sadly, the retail gang did not get the same treatment. Tis a small thing, but given Adventure Kartel’s track record for including one, I feel the absence is note worthy. It’s also little odd to me because paying retail for these figures is a good deal more expensive than what a similar offering that included posters in the past go for on 3A’s own Bambaland website.
So what do you get? Well, really what you paid for. Jungle Vet himself sporting a gaggle of bags and his (or rather Bleak’s) trusty side arm.
As mentioned above, for this shoot we decided to take Jungle Vet to Pearl Harbor and see what sort of trouble he could get into. A grown man with a group of camera wielding ladies carrying a doll (cough* action figure!) around a historical site which also happens to be a functioning military base, garners more than the occasional stare and sideways glance.
Pearl Harbor has some pretty strict rules about what you are allowed to bring in with you. Bags of any kind are on the list. So how does one smuggle a 1:6 scale action figure into such a locked down establishment?
Like so. Shhhhhh…
So we waltz into the memorial and then take a bus over to the Battleship Missouri Memorial. For those that don’t know, it’s a massive battleship, the last one built by the United States. She was used heavily during World War II and provided fire support during Desert Storm back in ’91. She’s a beauty and a beast.
Once we got on deck and I started to play around with JV, the first thing I notice is probably the first thing you’ll notice. His hands rock! They’re so much fun to pose. The fingers are firm but not tight and I didn’t once worry about any of them snapping off. I know, I know.. they’re basically ripped off an 1:12 armstrong and shoved onto an Ankou body, but fun is fun I say.
I also love the fact that the hands are different colors. It’s as though Ol’ Jungle Vet has seen a few scraps in his time and has required some maintenance over the years. I’ve always had a soft spot for robots that look hobbled together from various tossed away bits. I’m not sure if an Ankou is 100% robot or a man-bot.. or whatever.. but the fond leaning remains.
The paint and weathering on JV are nicely done. His dome is overly rusty with pops of crusty blue paint peaking through. The yellow ring around his eye ties in nicely with his left yellow hand. His right red fist has three black fingers further supporting the “hobbled” together patch work he might have had while on the battlefield.
I’m definitely a fan of the new hooded boiler suit as it just about doubles the different looks you can go for when setting him up on your shelf. The hood itself has an underwire around the brim so you can shape it some, though the suit rests fairly high overall and despite my efforts he always seemed to wind up with one form or another of pointy hat syndrome.
The camouflage on his boiler is the best 3A have done so far. Unlike the more hand painted flecks that appear on Jung De Plume, Pathfinder Ono Oya or the Jungle Grunt, Jungle Vet’s seems to be an actual camo pattern that’s simply part of the fabric. Across JV’s chest is two white “v” marks that call back to military badges and symbolism. The weathering for the boiler suit is what we’ve all seen before, faded and mostly dusty with a few heavier stained touches here and there.
Of course underneath it all is a standard issue white 3A shirt. I understand branding is important, but I really would like to understand how everyone from all walks of 3A toy life has managed to score one of these Ts. Are they the GAP of 3A land? Also, if all the toys have them, why can’t we? Where’s our 3A logo T-shirts? Anyway, it’s there in case you need it, but I preferred the look of keeping his suit zipped.
Again, the hands are just so much fun. I never really warmed to the original Ankou. I’ve had several in the past and have long since sold or traded them off. The mono eye is cool/funny, but I found the clamps too be somewhat restrictive to the character overall. I had a few laughs displaying my old creepy grinning Ankou using his clamps to try and lift Cherry Shadow’s skirt.. but beyond that I never really found a use for them that resonated with me. Others may have had much greater success and wouldn’t trade off their old Ankous for anything but take my word on it.
Jungle Vet is waaaay better than they are.
Jungle Vet as character feels more sneaky than dangerous. There’s something goofy about the Ankou design that keeps you from taking one seriously. I really like that about them. JV continues the feeling of playfulness and in fact might enhance it with the added (and personally much applauded) digits.
So yes, the hands are awesome and the gun JV comes with is awesome. Unfortunately for us, they weren’t made for each other and that’s less than awesome. JV’s gun is originally from Bleak Mission who’s hands are sculpted to fit the hand cannon. Despite JV’s awesome dexterous digits, he’s not as fortunate. He can hold the weapon, but he can’t fire it. As is often times the case when things are retrofitted after the fact.. they don’t technically work together.
Jungle V’s fingers are simply too fat for the trigger gaurd, or the trigger gaurd is too small for Jungle V’s fingers. It’s a small thing but it does add a little more fuel to my one criticism of Jungle Vet and that is the fact that he’s basically the result of company level kit bashing.
Even if you take into consideration the added hood on the boiler suit, there’s really nothing “new” about him. The body is the same old 3A body, the head and boots are from an Ankou, the boiler suit is from Zombs, and his hands are from either a 1:12th Armstrong or a Bramble. The bags and t-shirt are from countless other 3A figs and the gun is from Bleak.
I can’t decide if the fact that so many existing parts were used to build this guy should bother me, or if I should just marvel at how well it all works together.. AGAIN to create a seemingly unique new figure to play with.
This is about the part of the photo shoot where we were interrupted.. or rather, we interrupt others. As we move down the deck of the Missouri, we suddenly and unexpectedly ran into..
Without thinking it through I waved at her with a toy in my hand. She politely smiled and waved back.
It turns out, the day we chose to do our photoshoot also happen to be the day that some of the stars of the movie “Battleship” would be aboard to do some interviews and DVD extra’s shooting. We continued our own shoot and made a quick pit stop by where they were setting up to film to see what we could see.
As they walked pass, I don’t think anyone “got” why a grown man was holding a toy, posing and taking pictures of it. I can’t blame them.
Taylor Kitsch didn’t get it.
Brooklyn Decker gave us the stink eye…
Alexander Skarsgard kept looking over at as with an almost visible “?” above his head.
(editors note: Alex turns out to be a really nice guy. He came over later, shook our hands and took some pictures. I should have had him hold Jungle Vet for one.. but that’d been a little “Dance monkey! Dance!” I think.)
Anyway.. back to the review.
Jungle Vet is a bunch of different bits and pieces of 3A toys cobbled together and sold to us like something brand new. I’d call it snake oil if it didn’t work so totally well together. 3A is already known for putting out high quality, dynamic and highly articulated toys. What we have here is one of the best elements of the WWRp line of bots combined with the flexibility and articulation of the 1:6 human figure line. You’ll be able to squeeze more poses and gestures out of JV than any other figure currently in your collection. That in itself, makes him feel all new. Yes, his gun SHOULD have fit his hand. Though honestly, this is something I’ve learned to accept from 3A. My WWRp Warbots fingers can’t fit his guns and they were MADE for each other. Blind Cowboy’s hands are sculpted to fit his yet they’re a tad big and his grip is a little fickle. I’m not sure why this is, but for whatever reason, 3A’s “gun to fit hand perfectly” ratio is just not very good. Yet I can almost promise you it won’t detract from your enjoyment of this guy.
I enjoyed taking Jungle Vet to the Pearl Harbor memorial and posing him in various locations while snapping pictures like a fiend in front of various tourist and sailors. Despite wagging him raggedly like a goon at Rihanna as she walked by I think the shoot went really well and may be our best yet!
Opinions may be scattered on the quality of the Retail Adventure Kartel collection. Some have said it’s left a bad taste in their mouth and are even questioning whether or not they’ll continue to collect 3A. (Suuuure.. ) But I can assure you that Jungle Vet will live up and perhaps even surpass your expectations. It’s the most fun I’ve had with a toy this year hands down. Seek him out, try not to pay the flipper price and add him to your collection. Should you buy? Yes!
- The hands make the man/machine. Adds a ton to your poses and to his overall character.
- The paint and weathering is up to snuff and sure to please.
- New camouflage is better quality than in the past. Looks to be an ACTUAL pattern instead of a haphazardly painted one.
- My favorite take away from the original Ankou the googley eye, is still fun to play with and good for a laugh
- He’s a near perfect 3A kitbash
- He’s a near perfect 3A kitbash
- Boxart might turn purist off
- Unlike bambaland released Adventure Kartel Figures, no poster or extras are included with the retail released AK
Yeah.. Rihanna didn’t get it either..