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