*Review* 3A’s SDCC 2011 Action Portable Boba Fett (prototype)


INTRO

I’d say it’s pretty darn fitting that the day before we leave for SDCC 2012 that we post something awesomely amazing from SDCC 2011. Courtesy my buddy Eric Gant, who very well may be the single luckiest toy collector in the entire world, we’re bringing you something truly special. 

Last year, Ashley Wood and his scrappy little toy company 3A made a small handful of one-of-a-kind Star Wars figures in a bold attempt to get Lucas and his ilk to pay attention. Two of those figures were classic white Storm Troopers while one was the ever so awesome and fan favorite, Boba Fett.

Via some dark wisardry, Eric is now in possessinon of that very same Boba Fett. The only one in the world. I’ll let him tell you in his own words how.

We here at RtR are very proud to be able to exclusively share with you Eric’s in depth review of the one and only, 3A Action Portable Boba Fett. 

I hope you enjoy!

Knives

*most pictures taken by Eric. Some pulled from 3A’s forum

What’s up fellow toy fans; this is Eric.

Check it out: I dig threeA.

I also dig Star Wars.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that these two universes would ever collide. But then, at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con, I witnessed a sight that outright rocked my world: 1:12 scale prototypes of Star Wars figures, produced by threeA!

Ashley Wood: The man behind the threeA + Star Wars concept

There were three figures on display, each pulling in the passing fans like the Death Star’s tractor beam: A pristine-white Stormtrooper, a dirty, weathered Stormtrooper, and one of the most iconic of all Star Wars figures- the Legendary bounty hunter BOBA FETT. Each figure was presented on a blistered card-back that harkened back to the vintage Kenner figures produced back in the 70’s, complete with the old-school Star Wars header & glamor-shot capturing the characters in a kick-ass pose.


Unfortunately, these figures were not for sale. As it turns out, threeA toys was showing the figures in a bid to gain licensing rights to produce the things. Rumor has it that Hasbro & Lucasfilm said “No-Go” to making them in the United States, so Takara was approached in an attempt to release them in the Asia market . This story ends with a huge kick to the nuts:

The deal fell through.

A few months after their debut, one of the figures was offered up by threeA as first prize in a contest held on the official online forum. Up for grabs: The threeA Action Portable Boba Fett prototype! As you can imagine, there were a ton of entries, all equally incredible. Being the Star Wars fan that I am, I threw my hat into the ring as well. I gave it my best shot, but didn’t really expect anything to come of it. But when all was said and done, I was shocked to discover that I’d actually won!

Today, I’m going to attempt to share my love of this figure with a brief review of packaging, paint application, articulation, construction, and accessories. Please excuse me if the pictures are a little lame; I’m still only a yellow belt when it comes to photography.

PACKAGING


All I can say is “Perfect.” The thing that fuels my collecting habit is nostalgia. When a toy is just right, it opens a door to the magic and wonder I felt as a kid. The packaging on this thing takes me right back to my introduction to Star Wars collecting, and with good reason: Its a spot-on homage to the original Star Wars figure packaging. Boba came on a blistered card featuring the famous Star Wars logo, with a huge photo of the Mando himself dominating the card. Of course, since this figure is in 6-inch scale, the card is considerably larger than the cards used for the 3.75 inch Star Wars figures. The cardback is matte black, with the Star Wars and threeA logos sharing space on the bottom. Accompanying them is a disclaimer: “Not licensed, not for resale, sample only.

“The icing on the cake: Ashley Wood, co-founder of threeA, personalized the card with a sketch of one of his trademark characters, Bamba Lad, on the back. On the front, he signed the card, “Best regards from 3A,” along with some simple instructions:

Open Me.”

And so I did.

THE BREAKDOWN

Paint Application

If I had to pick one area in which threeA consistently beats down all competition, it would be paint application. From my first glimpse of threeA’s WWRp Dirty Deeds Bertie, I’ve been regularly blown away by the painstaking attention to detail that goes into finishing the figures. It doesn’t matter how large a figure’s production run is. Each piece looks as though it was lovingly hand-painted by a master craftsman. Boba Fett is no exception.


Back in 1977, Star Wars blew the collective minds of the movie going audience by showing something that had never been seen before: A sci-fi space opera that actually looked real. One of the keys to making the Star Wars universe look believable was the ‘run-down’ or ‘used’ look everything had. The ships, weapons, costumes, EVERYTHING was weathered, rusted, and broken-in. Boba Fett exemplifies the Used Universe look. Because if that, he’s the perfect canvas for threeA to work its magic on.


Nearly every detail on this figure is painted and weathered to make it mirror the onscreen appearance of Boba Fett. From the hints of chrome gleaming through the scars marring the matte green finish of his helmet to the sun-bleached yellow of his shoulder pads, everything on this figure screams “Real.” It looks as though two techniques are employed to achieve this look: actual paint layering and chipping, and splatters of painted-on rust. These techniques work best on the helmet, shoulder pads, knee pads, and backpack. On the chest & clavicle armor, this technique is accented by the application of miniscule splotches of ochre-yellow to create the effect of paint-fading.

I kinda dig it!

Construction

This figure uses the same base-body used by all of threeA’s 1:12 scale male figures. The “Action Portable” body is a milestone in small-scale action figures: It has the same articulation as the 12-inch figures produced by threeA, which themselves rival the bodies used by 12-inch figure producers like Hot Toys and Sideshow.

Action Portable Blanc DePlume body showcasing the AP design

The base body features ball jointed hips, joined immediately by a swivel at the upper thigh. Knees are double-jointed, allowing the body to achieve human-like poses. The pelvis, waist, and chest are 3 separate parts, allowing more mobility.


There’s a rotating joint at the waist that is similar to the O-ring joint used by old GI Joe and Mego figures, but uses a spring mechanism to hold the parts together instead of the rubber O-ring. A similar joint is used between the abdomen & upper torso. Together, this set-up allows the figure to twist, bend, and rotate in ways no human ever could.
There is also an ingenious swivel & swing joint at each shoulder, which allows the arms to pivot forward and back, along with a ball joint with a cut above the biceps, double jointed elbows, and ball-jointed wrists.


But enough about the body-construction. What makes this thing special is the covering! To turn the base Action Portable body into Boba Fett, threeA constructed a number of new pieces. Starting off, to capture the look of the actual Boba Fett costume, the wizards at threeA took the direct approach: They constructed a miniature replica of the actual Boba Fett costume. This puppy is sewn together using scaled-down stitches, capturing the look of the suit without the clunky, toy-looking stitch work found in 8-inch Mego style figures.

The suit is made up of several layers. There’s the main jumpsuit, which covers the figure from ankle to neck and extends down to his wrists. Over that is a short-sleeved vest that covers the torso. This piece has a large armor piece on the back which supports the jetpack,
and two pieces of shoulder armor.


It’s topped off by a single piece of armor that covers the upper clavicle area. The upper body is finished off by the chest armor, which is actually made up of four separate pieces that fit together puzzle-like over the chest.


Let’s move to the extremities. Each knee is protected by knee-armor consisting of a molded piece strapped to the leg by a short length of elastic/fabric cording.


The arms terminate in Boba’s patented wrist-armor. Each piece fits over the forearm of the jumpsuit, and has all of the weapons & gizmos faithfully replicated in 1/12 scale.


The helmet is something special. Instead of a single, solid piece of material, the helmet is hollow, and fits over a featureless head.


The feet are perfect replicas of Boba Fett’s boots, right down to the two little spikes protruding from the toes. Simply incredible!


As mentioned before, the Boba Fett uses the same base-body used on all of threeA’s other Action Portable figures. But where they stand at 6 inches tall, Boba comes in at about 6.25 inches. The reason for this is largely due to the way the boots fit on the ankles. So far, we’ve seen two different methods of attaching feet to the AP body: The AP Tomorrow King figures have sneakers which join with the ankle via a pair of tiny double-sided ball-joints. This provides a wide range of motion. The AP DePlume figures get rid of the ball joint and instead feature sculpted boots that fit directly over the ankle stub. Boba Fett’s boots are a hybrid of these two techniques. A ball joint is used, but instead of being double sided, it consists of a single ball protruding from the top of the boot. This slips into the ankle peg, giving the boots a wider range of motion than the DePlume boots, while also increasing the figure’s height by almost a quarter of an inch.

AP Hatchery vs. Boba height comparison

The other factor contributing to the figure’s height is the helmet. This, along with the boost added by the new boot joint, makes the Boba Fett stand taller than the other Action Portable figures. If we were to scale him up to 1:1 scale, Boba Fett would stand around 6 foot-three.

AP Hatchery with a Boba-Boot Height-Boost

Articulation

With the AP Boba Fett, the faithfulness to the design of the costume and armor is a double-edged sword. It looks freaking INCREDIBLE.

I’ve owned a variaty of 12-inch Boba Fett figures, going back to the first 12-inch figures made by Kenner. Most can’t hold a candle to the AP Boba. Even though its only 6 inches tall, this thing beats most of those bigger figures hands-down when it comes to looks.

The layers of clothing and armor pieces also appear to somewhat limit the figure’s range of motion. I say “appear” because I haven’t worked up the courage to push this thing to the limits yet.

When posing this thing, a voice in my head is always shouting a warning: “Careful; or you’ll break it!”
Because of that, I have to admit that I’m a bit timid when it comes to putting this thing into different poses. But in the grand scheme of things, any limitations in range of motion are far outweighed by the aesthetics of the thing. And it still has more articulation than any 4-inch Boba Fett produced by Kenner or Hasbro, ever.
Accessories


I’m not going to include the removable wrist-guards, knee armor, or uniform in this category. It’s what makes the character who he is. With that in mind, the figure comes with the only accessory that it needs: A handy-dandy blaster!


As with every other aspect of this figure, the blaster is a screen-accurate replica of what Boba carries around in the movies. It appears to be held in place by a tiny dab of glue on the thumb, most likely to keep it in his hand while different prospective license granters passed it around & drooled over it. It would be easy to pry it loose, but I haven’t bothered yet. It’s right where it belongs.


BOTTOM LINE


I feel incredibly fortunate to have this thing. Not only is it my favorite threeA piece, it’s my favorite Star Wars piece. Hell; it’s the favorite piece in my entire collection, period.


Sitting down to fiddle around with this thing brings to mind a famous quote from Return Of The Jedi: “It’s a trap!” What I mean by that is once I start, I find it difficult to pull away and get on with my day. On the card, just looking at it is like being a kid again, and seeing that Millennium Falcon sitting under the tree on Christmas morning.

Out of the package, playing around with the figure is equal parts joy and terror: Joy at the sheer coolness of the thing, and terror at knowing that if something breaks, there’s no way to get a replacement.

Overall, there’s only one downside: The knowledge that for now, there won’t be any other 6-inch Star Wars figures made by threeA.
Thanks for checking out my review. If you’d like to hear a recording of my initial impressions upon first opening the figure, along with some discussion about it with some friends of mine, please check out the threeA radio Podcast, episode 31.
Here’s a link: http://threearadio.podbean.com/2012/07/07/episode-31-the-circle-is-nowcomplete/
-Eric

Eric didn’t do pro’s and con’s, so I made some for him.

Pros:

  • It’s the only Boba Fett made by 3A in the WORLD
  • It’s the most articulated and detailed 1/12 Boba Fett in the WORLD
  • It’s incredibly produced and accurately designed.
  • Again, It’s the only Boba Fett made by 3A in the WORLD

Cons:

  • Lucas and his boys didn’t immediately hand over the license to 3A, no questions asked
  • No one except for Eric and his children’s children will ever be able to hold and play with this Boba Fett
  • The world is a darker place without these in each and every home
  • Nooooooooooooooooooooo!

Thanks again Eric, and remember if you ever get tired of the overwhelming burden of owning the single most incredible 1/12 Star Wars action figure in existence.. he always has a home at Rad Toy Review 🙂 Thanks man!

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4 thoughts on “*Review* 3A’s SDCC 2011 Action Portable Boba Fett (prototype)

  1. Awesome! One minor correction: This isn’t the only one that 3A made. There are at the very least two or three others. Ash had one at SDCC that he signed with red pen, different from the one Eric got. Who knows who was gifted the one signed in red. Also, Ash said at the Con that he was keeping one for himself, naturally. And he also said that samples were sent to Lucas and the licensors that Ash was attempting to woo.

    Great review. There can’t ever be enough photos of this out there.

    Like

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