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