Remember that time we reviewed a Real Steel robot from the toy wizards at ThreeA? Well, sirs… it’s that time again! Stomping into my living room is the hero of the film, (unless you count Hugh Jackman or the kid.. but who in their right mind would count the kid?) Atom! Dun-duh-duuun!
I won’t drag you through my thoughts on the film itself.. I think I covered that well enough here and here. What I’m going to do, and really, all I need to do.. is talk about this big ol’ robot sitting in front of me.
I want to make sure everyone understands a couple things before we jump in.
First, this is a production sample! What that means is that, while it should give us all a pretty good idea as to what we can expect when Atom shows up on doorsteps later in the year, ThreeA is still busy tightening bolts, refining the paint, tweaking the joints and all around making him a bunch better before committing to full-on production. So keep in mind, some things may change between now and then.
Secondly, let me quickly point you to our disclaimer page. I do this because we’ve gotten a few emails and such concerned with whether or not our opinions could be biased in a positive vein towards free samples we receive from toy companies. Let me say that, in short, it’s our strict policy here not to hand out positive reviews simply because a company sends us stuff. I have a lot of stuff.. I absolutely don’t NEED more stuff just for the sake of getting stuff (My wife’s on the brink of disowning me and my stuff as it is). This site, however, is something we’ve painstakingly spent the last couple of years building up and we’re not going to throw away our cred (street or otherwise) just on the passing hope that a toy company will occasionally toss something our way. It’s just not worth it! Of course, we’re fans of these things first and foremost and we have respect for the individuals that have the wherewithal to put these things together, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this.. but if something is not to our liking/standard etc, you’ll be the first to know!
We can’t promise that our opinion on things will be the same as yours, but we can promise that our opinion will always be honest and our own and in no way colored by obtaining free stuff.
OK! With all that noise out out of the way, on to the pics and stuff about Atom! I’m excited, are you?
As this was a product sample, the artwork for Atom’s box has not been completed yet. So Atom arrived in a basic brown shipping box adorned with arrows pointing “this way up” and a bunch of handwriting in a language I can’t read but can only assume says, “Warning: big-ass robot inside.”
As with the other Real Steel figures, Atom comes basically accessory free. If you get the bambaland version, (which goes on saletodayover here @ 9am HK time) then you’ll also get the exclusive remote control for him. Unlike the other RS figs, since I don’t have the original box to keep it in, I guess this one will stay on the shelf next to Atom, at least until a Hugh Jackman figure comes along that can hold it.
Of course, you’ll need batteries if you want to partake in all the fancy light antics Atom is laced with. He’s packing more lights than either Ambush or Midas. For the head, you’ll need two very tiny batteries.. AG1, I believe is the type. For his body you’ll need three AAA batteries.
Nada include’, amigos.
Since first having the opportunity to play around with Ambush, I’ve been anticipating how Atom would turn out. He was my favorite from the film (Noisy Boy being a close second). He’s not particularly flashy or pretty, but he’s the hero with a heart and has that sort of Eve from Wall-E glowing eyes thing that warms you up to him. ThreeA’s take on these Real Steel bots has been incredibly impressive since day one. Now with Atom in hand, it’s becoming apparent to me that with each release, they’re raising the ante ever so.
It’s interesting to see how ThreeA has been honing their technique in producing these RS bots. Each new bot seems to borrow from the last, but also adds a little something new. Atom has some larger bulky panels and cool moving gears on his arms that move a lot like Ambush’s did, but he’s also as articulated, if not more so, than Midas.
It makes me wonder if part of the reason ThreeA started things off with Ambush and Midas instead of jumping on Atom (by most regards, the star of the film) first was to build up their own experience and tech to tackle him. I imagine Noisy Boy will be even more advanced.
Atom has several features that immediately set him apart from the previous bots. His face is covered in a “real steel” mesh (whamp whamp), which reminds me a lot of a fencing mask. He also has a few spots of mesh detailing his upper legs.
Another specific feature of Atom is that he has an actual motorized fan (with accompanying lights) built into his body.
He’s the first Real Steel robot to have a motorized element. Popping the three AAA batteries in is a cinch and requires no screws. Just pop off the cover hidden on one side of his body, place the batteries and flip the switch on his other side and you’re in business. It’s a pretty cool effect, but like a lot of these type of things, I consider it more of a cool bonus than something that makes or breaks a toy.
Since I was playing with batteries, I went ahead and slapped the tiny ones into the back of his skull. These are a little tougher to get to as you pop off a cover and then need to unscrew two tiny screws to access the panel. Thankfully, once they’re in there, you have no reason to access the panel again, at least for awhile, as the switch to turn the lights on/off is located externally just below it.
While with Ambush and Midas I felt the eye-lights were basically a fun gimmick, I was really surprised at just how much Atom comes alive with his. I think in part the reason for that is the mesh mask that covers them, hiding his face. With the lights off, you can’t see them and he looks asleep. Atom’s glowing eyes actually add life, and a ton of character to this figure.
You can check out our wee video of the electronics in action below!
In terms of articulation, I’d say Atom falls somewhere between Ambush and Midas. Unlike Ambush and thanks to his generous shoulder joint(s), he can throw just about any type of punch you’d like him to. His hands go a small step forward from Midas, who had some articulation in his finger.. panels(?). Atom actually has three individually articulated fingers, which is of course, fun for the whole family.
Atom’s legs in particular have quite a few more points of articulation in them than either previous bot. They also look a lot more complex, which is cool. On the plus side, you can make Atom do just about whatever you want – a split, sit cross legged, nail high kicks while playing bass, etc – he’s a flexible fellah.
On the down side, all that extra articulation running through his legs and his relatively small-ish feet, coupled with his top heaviness, can make him occasionally tricky to balance. He’s still fun to pose, but he’s not nearly as easy to balance as Midas was. (Balancing him is a breeze.. check it here) As this is a prototype, ThreeA let me know that they are actually working on tightening some of the joints in question, to make this less of an issue.
Another trade off with Atom is that, due to the motor that runs the fan and body lights, he has very little torso articulation. His shoulders, arms and head swing side to side (clockwise/counterclockwise) a little bit, separate from his lower torso. For example, he could do a lateral side stretch, but could not do any crunches. He swivels about 90 degrees left and right at his waist and his legs bend all the way to a sitting position. You can still get a bunch of poses out of him, but he’s a little stiff from the waist up.
Another positive worth noting is that there’s very few, if any, design elements on Atom that keep him from using his given articulation to its full potential. Ambush had overlapping plates throughout his torso that would sometimes interlock and collide when twisting him, along with over-sized (appropriately) shoulder and arm plates that inhibited any over-the-body arm motions. Midas had wires built into his waist and legs that hindered some of his otherwise impressive range of motion.
Atom is free to dance however he likes.
Atom has a very muted color palette. As I said before, he’s not particularly pretty. He’s a silver robot with a few copper accents. ThreeA did a nice job of making this dingy rust bucket look like believably beaten steel, but I still prefer Ambush’s color scheme and the application on him stills stands as one of my favorite ever from them. It’s a little tougher to appreciate the weathering, because the contrast between rusted silver paint and silver paint isn’t huge, but what Atom has here looks top notch. The finer weathering around his head and legs looks particularly believable.
Keeping in mind that this is an unfinished sample piece and could definitely change later, if I were to be nit-picky, and I think that’s what I’m here to do, I’d say that it’s a little odd that Atom’s chest plate logo is painted a solid clean red and lacks any of the rusty copper/green patina it has in the film. Also, if I recall the film correctly, towards the end, Atom’s logo gets an update which actually glows. It would have been really cool to see that element make it over to this guy since there’s already a box of electronics dancing around inside him.
Articulated butt discs.
Yup, he’s got ’em. Two of them in fact, one for each cheek. I don’t know what they are for nor do I know if that’s what they’re officially called. All I know is that Atom isn’t afraid to use them. If anything can prove how well ThreeA has managed to match Dreamwork’s onscreen version of Atom, look no further than his big ol’ silver butt discs.
Did I mention they’re articulated? 🙂
It really is a bit of a marvel how well ThreeA is able to take these preexisting complex designs from Real Steel, dissect them down to the smallest bit, then rebuild them into functional, fully articulated toys.
It seems like ThreeA pushes their toy making tech just a little bit further with each one of these more complex releases. You can really see that there is some progression from Ambush to Atom in the types of joints they used and various articulation systems at work. Where Ambush moved decently well, he felt a little clunky (completely acceptable given his size) and parts like his neck, didn’t turn as they should have. Then Midas came along and was so amazingly well balanced, it made Ambush look practically archaic by design. Now Atom is here, and despite some trade-off in torso articulation and balance, he seems even more poseable than Midas was.
Atom, of course, isn’t perfect, his biggest fault being his top heaviness. I definitely wish Atom were as light and easy to balance as Midas. If I was able to choose between having a running fan gimmick, or a more flexible (in the chest), lighter and therefore, more balanced figure, I’d forgo the fan all together. It’s cool and all, but at the end of the day, I’m more concerned with Atom standing up on my shelf than whether or not his fan is spinning.
So, Atom’s pre-sale over on Bambaland.com is coming up very soon (as in Today! 9am Hong Kong time, includes exclusive remote and free world-wide shipping) the big question might be for some of you, “Should I get him?”
I really can’t answer that for you.
I’ll say this: If he interest you at all, you’re on the fence or are thinking you may want to pick him up at some point later, I’d say definitely go for it now. The remote isn’t a massive incentive (at least for me) but the free shipping from Bambaland is worth it’s weight (literally) in gold. These guys are big, so shipping won’t be cheap from 3rd party retailers. Plus, you’ll be more likely to get yours before others as it’ll come straight from the mouth of the beast.
Other than that little slice of advice, all I can do is share with you a little bit about my experience with him, include what I think is cool or not and let the dust settle as it may.
I’ll say that the same thing can be said here as it was with the other Real Steel bots: if you hated the film and wish there was a way to erase its existence from your mind-grapes.. Atom isn’t going to change your mind about that. But as a collectible toy, Atom is a really rad, very well made robot.
Of the three Real Steel releases so far, Atom is definitely my favorite. So if you were to get only one.. well, you know what my vote would be.
- Very nicely detailed, and in places like his feet, to a fantastic level
- Mad articulated, ups the ante
- Love his friendly glowing eyes, adds a ton of character
- The best Real Steel bot so far
- Articulated Butt Discs ™
- Top heaviness due to fan motor/battery compartment can make him occasionally tricky to balance
A massive thanks (and hugs) to ThreeA for getting this guy out to us! We enjoyed the heck out of it!
Also thanks to my wonderful and beautimus wife for taking time out of her day to snap several of these fantasmic photos, Muah!