2014: The year of the Tomorrow King


As the clock ticks down the last few moments of the 2014, I look over and note just how overloaded my shelves are with the many goodies I acquired over the year. With my collection expanding and including figures from Hot Toys, ThreeZero, 3A, Hasbro, Sideshow, LEGO, NECA, Figma, Play Arts Kai and more.. this is the first year I’ve had to toss up a few extra shelves just to hold them all. Toys take up a LOT of real estate in my home. No toy company has claimed more of that space than 3A.. and no type of toy than Ashley Wood’s Tomorrow Kings.

This year added quite a few TKs (Tomorrow Kings) to our collection, however we really didn’t write any reviews this year covering them. Historically, I’ve found that writing interesting reviews on Tomorrow King characters can get pretty repetitive as they all share so many similar traits between them. I guess that’s understandable given that they’re supposed to literally be clones of each other as Wood’s convoluted storyline goes.

That said, this past year 3A not only seemed to release TKs hand over fist, they gave them some very unique characteristics that really set them apart from each other. So since we didn’t talk about them along the way, I thought it’d be interesting to take a few shots and write some quick thoughts on each one in an end of the year summary.. Tomorrow King style.

I hope you enjoy.

1.Edo

The Edo 2 pack was the last leg of the first run of the “TK Klub”.  The idea behind the TK Klub was essentially that you buy X number of figures (marked officially as part of the Klub) and you’d get something cool and free when it was over. As part of TK Klub #1, the carrot for the eligible figures landed you a free copy of the “TK Mook”, an artbook chock full of fantastic Tomorrow King related art from Ashley Wood.

The Edo 2 pack was a little annoying for those of us invested in getting the book. For the first time, to stay in the Klub we had to purchase a 2 pack instead of a single figure. This meant a more expensive purchase to some and to others (like myself) it meant doubles of a character I only wanted a single of.
To offset those annoyances, I sold off the 2nd figure in the pack and kept the white EDO, which is what I’m chatting about from here on.

Overall, this figure looks really great. The new molded bits to give him mecha/robo-like appearance are pretty well done. The paint and weathering is decent enough. The articulated fingers are a cool touch and look great with their two tone accents. Even his feet have a toe joint in them if you feel like getting fancy with your posing.

The downside of the minigun is that there’s no ammo drum for the ammo belt to go into. You wind up just shoving one end of it into a bag. It works, but looks less than amazing. Having an ammo drum backpack is something we’ve seen on plenty of previous ThreeA figures and would have gone a long way to make the figure feel a little more fully realized. On top of that, the belt doesn’t fit securely at all into the gun itself. The little rubbery nubs slide into the holes on the gun, but pop right back out with the lightest of nudges. Very annoying when you’re trying to set this guy up.
The other complaint I have is that his fingers aren’t all that versatile despite being articulated. They tend to fall out fairly often and it can be tricky to get him to hold on to his gun very well. Another thing I noticed was that overall, his body is fairly floppy. It’s tough to balance him because the weight of his gun causes his legs and torso to slowly buckle. I can’t tell you how many tries it took me to get him in place on my shelf, steady, balanced with the gun firmly held and bullet chain in place.

Hint: A LOT.

So he’s not perfect. He’s kinda a pain to deal with because of stuff falling off him when I’m trying to pose him. Because of that, he’s regulated to the “set it and forget it” area of my shelf. Despite that, I do like him. He’s very unique to my collection and has garnered more than a few complimentary comments from visitors.
I just have to be sure to say, “Thanks.. NO TOUCHING!”

Pros:

  • Fresh robot take on the Tomorrow King character
  • Nice looking paint and weathering
  • Stands out in my collection with a rad mingun
  • One step closer to snagging a Mook

Cons:

  • Fingers fall out all the time
  • Doesn’t hold his minigun all that well
  • Difficult to balance
  • Wish he came with at least one sword
  • It was a little lame to toss a 2 pack in as a requirement of the TK Klub when all the rest have been singles.

 

  1. Cornelius

Cornelius is one of the brightest TKs on my shelf.  His vibrant orange hair style reminds me of Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy 7… which only made me like the sculpt more. He’s actually pretty unique looking amongst his TK brethren, even if a lot of his gear is borrowed from other existing ThreeA figures. Some of his gear is familiar, but he was the first in my collection to include the newly designed samurai sword/katana (The first figure released with this design was TK Sun) and he gets THREE of them. He includes long, medium and short bladed katana as well as a mess of bright orange grenades. One really cool feature is the fact that there are sewn in loops to hold all his gear.
While I really dug his look right out of the box I had to hold my breath as I moved his joints around. Why?

Well, the big issue with Cornelius is that a large amount of individuals who bought him were saying that his neck would snap off when they tried to move his head around. Heavy weathering that wasn’t dried before the head was attached during assembly and a (unfounded) claim that 3A was testing a cheaper mix of plastic for the body to cut cost was a few of the allegations thrown around. Either way, with some folks reported that he arrived with his loose, decapitated head jingling around in the still sealed box.. I wasn’t going to risk jumping in a twisting his head around like a crazy person.

Turns out, I was one of the lucky ones. Corny’s head moved easily around and I suffered no toy based injuries. If there was one personal con for Corny, I’d say the weathering on his body is a bit much. There are streams of dirty black paint wash running down all the seams on his arms and legs. In fact, if I touch his bare arms, they remain a little sticky from the excess, which is certainly annoying. It doesn’t ruin the figure for me, but I wasn’t surprised to hear about how sticky, excessive “weathering” around the neck was causing joints sticking together and heads snapping off after seeing just how much of it was on the rest of his person.

Other than that, I can honestly say that Corny is one of my favorite TKs in my collection. He’s in the top five for sure! A fun head-sculpt, lots of different sized swords, a cornucopia of brightly painted grenades and all the fun poseablity you expect from a TK.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Pros:

  • Awesome new headsculpt
  • Good looking, bright color scheme
  • Newly designed swords look and feel great and you get three!
  • Fun to play around with
  • Head didn’t snap off the instant I moved it

Cons:

  • I had to worry about snapping the head off instantly upon rotating it. The tension of which I’m sure is familiar with those who diffuse bombs for a living.

 

  1. Search and Destroy TK/TQ

I know this is a “Tomorrow KING” thread.. but in this case, I think including a Tomorrow Queen is absolutely appropriate. Hey, it’s 2014!

A nod to the UK punk days of old, the SD TK/TQ come with all sorts of unique gear that give them a very different vibe than any other TK out. Beyond the completely new respective headsculpts, each figure comes with a several punk elements that’d make Johnny Rotten proud. Leather Jackets, dirty red plaid pants, bandages, Union Jack Tees and an obscure animal tail accessory I’ve seen on kids walking out of Hot Topic.
UKTK came with a couple of the newly designed katanas that fit nicely into a strap hanging from his belt. UKTQ stuck with tradition and brought with her the TQ standard issue short swords. They also come with some very cool looking Union Jack branded grenades.

The only things that felt off to me was the decision to set up the TK with standard issue TK shoes instead of the much more fitting lace up combat boots we’ve seen on various 3A figures from Noms to Adventure Kartel. On the other hand, the TQ comes wearing appropriate footwear for the pit.

Their leather jackets look top notch but they do heavily restrict articulation. Removing them may actually work in your favor since it’d more clearly show off the great Union Jack stitch-job on their tees.

The TQ has a few small problems herself. TQs famously don’t have eyebrows painted on them.. so why would anyone think it’d be a good idea to give her an eyebrow ring? It’s actually a simple thin metal ring that is basically pinching the plastic above her eye. You can take it off if you like or more likely, you’ll lose it because it comes off by itself pretty easily. The other issue is probably mine alone.. while setting up for this photo shoot, her arm fell off! No idea how or why.. it looks in tack. I have to strip her down to see if it’s an easy fix, if not, I’ll be writing a note to CS for further assistance!

*ed’s note – fixed it just fine

These two have a killer Bonny and Clyde… or more fittingly, Sid and Nancy feel to them. They feel like outsiders amongst the other TKs in my collection, yet work perfectly well together and in the group.

You can almost imagine the rude gestures they’d be making whenever you walk by and happen to linger a glance at them a little too long.

Oi!

 

Pros:

  • Fresh designs and colors that look fantastic together
  • Unique, punk-laden headsculpts
  • Some really great clothing and accessories. like the characters or not, they’re great for kitbashing!

Cons:

  • TK really should have come sporting pleather boots instead of boring old TK shoes
  • TQ’s eyebrow ring looks silly since she doesn’t even have eyebrows. It also falls off easily.

 

  1. Underverse Ninja TK Dark

The very recently delivered to my front door Dark Ninja TK is yet another strong contender for my fav. TK of 2014. I’ll get the bad out of the way first. The presale and promo images showed this Dark (operative word) Ninja TK wearing a Dark (operative word again) Hood/Mask.

What we ended up with was this bright, if slightly dirtied, white hood that looks identical to the one worn by the previous Lets Grow Old Together con exclusive, Underverse Ninja TK.

Shame.

If the color doesn’t bother you, it still takes a little bit of finagling to get it sitting right. Out of the box, it looks a bit like a potato sack.

BUT! Once you play around with it for a little bit, what you end up with is a really sweet looking Tomorrow King. The hood is a little problematic and overall, pretty divisive amongst fans but in this case, it might not be a bad thing considering all it serves to do is cover up one of the nicer original TK headsculpts we’ve gotten in the past few years!

One of the first things I noticed was that he has this black spandex-like body suit on under his baggier outer clothing that adds a nice layer to his sneaky ninja look. ThreeA mixed up the materials on his outfit pretty dramatically and the result is pretty spectacular! The mix of materials used between his body suit, over shirt, scarf and pants adds a level of depth to an otherwise simple TK outfit that you wouldn’t expect! The scarf comes packed loose and wonky, however you can untie and adjust however you like. I found wrapping the scarf a little tighter is all I needed to do for this TK Ninja to look the part. The extra large Katana he comes with is in the same vein as the last couple TKs. Some may not be a fan of the new style of blade, but I dig them!

Ninja also comes with a few of the same grenades we’ve seen on almost every TK since Baka. It’s easy to imagine them being something like smoke grenades, and really, who’s to say they’re not.. but it would been cool to see a different design for them to set them apart. Maybe some round grenades can come with the upcoming TQ Ninjas?

I’m really pleased with how Ninja TK came out. He’s cool outfit doesn’t get in the way of him doing any kind of pose you might want to toss him in. Other than the obviously mix up with the hood, he came out top notch. I’ve probably spent more time playing around with him on my desk than any toy I’ve gotten my hands on this year. He can hold poses and balance easily, the color and weathering is on point and the dude oozes ninja coolness.

Pros:

  • Great new head sculpt!
  • Excellent QC  – no floppy joints
  • Just a dang cool Tomorrow King
  • Very lightly weathered and fun to play with

Cons:

  • White hood is obviously a snafu given the dark hood shown in the promo and you know, the whole “Dark Ninja TK” thing

 

  1. 6th TK Mae No Ni

Ahhh the classic Tomorrow King. At one time, these were among the rarest of breed, the most sought after of all. As such, they’re impossibly difficult to hunt down and generally expensive as ballz when you do. Over the years, ThreeA has given small bits of relief to fans with classic flavored TK’s such as the popular 7 Bones member, Wasabi and a few less widely available con exclusives like those from Hong Kong Reventure (Review here) a few years back.

While offering a little relief, ThreeA chooses not to extend a wide open hand with their classic TKs, instead only rewarding those who are quick of f5 and swift of broadband. What made the 6th TK Mae No Ni release even more painful was that ThreeA advertised it as a drop that’d have a specific time and date, moreover an ANNOUNCED time and date.

Instead, they fumbled the ball, only posting the drop information on the Japanese version of ThreeA’s blog, releasing Mae No Ni moments later to a mostly unaware public. In my case, I happened to be reading a forum when someone posted that he was up. It was an easy purchase and it wasn’t until literally 4 minutes later, when he sold out, that I even realized he was a limited drop.

Well, obviously.. this snafu caused a massive ruckus amongst the fans who completely missed their chance at him. It’s a real shame too because he came out looking fantastic. He hits the notes a lot closer than the ReVenture TK or Wasabi and truly heralds back to the simpler and cleaner classics. On the shelf, he stands out from all the others despite being basically the design foundation all the other’s were pulled from.

I want to emphasize how great he looks because his QC is actually pretty weak. His torso is so floppy and his leg/knee joints are so loose, he’s at his best sitting down and only margainly useful in an upright, standing pose. He’s honestly the floppiest figure I’ve ever gotten from ThreeA. Even holding his sword arm extended is a challenge for him thanks to his wrist pegs spinning around freely like a clock. I’m not even sure how that’s possible as it’s the same body and wrist pegs ThreeA has been using for years!

It’s sucks that such a great looking figure lacks so much in the QC area. Especially considering he’s meant to be a call back to the original TKs, let alone the heartache it caused amongst fans who missed out on him due to lack of communication. I’m sure there’s those who scored him who have no complaints and I’m certainly still happy to have him in my collection but, it’s bizarre how “first gen” this figure feels. Far less refined than you’d expect at the point from ThreeA.

Pros:

  • Beautiful, simple, clean, classic TK design

Cons:

  • Terrible drop day snafu that really soured a lot of fans to ThreeA
  • Some of the poorest QC I’ve had on a figure yet

 

  1. TK Shosuke

The design of Undernaut TK from the Underverse, Shosuke was first seen as the GoodSmile exclusive release Kozo, albeit with a different color scheme and head sculpt. ThreeA and GoodSmile have had a business relationship for a long time now and generally that means at least once a year, they get an exclusive ThreeA figure to call their own.

While it’s not terribly difficult to snag a Goodsmile exclusive (you just missed out on the free shipping and 3AA membership perks) it was cool to hear that ThreeA would be releasing another version of the Undernaut TK down the road for the masses. Shosuke is that version.

Unlike the disastrous Mae No Ni TK release, ThreeA did exactly what they said they would and announced the drop time and date in advance of the sale. While still a limited, pre-made release, a lot more fans were able to snag one with little trouble as long a they were where they needed to be when he popped up. It was a good example of how ThreeA could handle limited releases in the future!

Going off the images from the pre-sale, I wasn’t sure I’d take to him. His stark orange shirt and white vest looked a little dorky in the shots, but I gotta say.. I love this guy! He’s easily one of my favorites this year! He basically hits all the marks I look for in a TK. The head sculpt is solid and he comes with a great looking removable mask and tank backpack (*cough. See? It can be done EDO!) that’s a unique feature of the Undernaut TK. Something I was happy to find was that even with the layered clothing and extra gear, he’s superbly poseable. The lighter material of his underverse undershirt (HA!) makes moving him around easy breezy. Another thing of note is the nigh-perfect QC. Tight, but-not-too-tight, joints, great paint and light weathering and full access to all his available articulation! He’s also a lot like the Ninja TK in that he looks great without his mask on, but in this case.. the mask really sets him apart from the rest of the TK gang, so it’s staying on in my cave.

With his trusty short katana and handful of grenades he’s totally ready for.. whatever kind of action an Undernaut can expect out in the Underverse.

Pro:

  • Great headsculpt and awesome looking design
  • Cool mask and tank accessory
  • As close to perfect as one could hope for, QC-wise
  • If we’re going to have limited releases, this is how it’s done

Cons:

  • Some people still missed out due to the pre-made, limited nature of this release. Maybe ThreeA could consider a way to accept pre-orders after a pre-made allotment is spoken for that can simply be made to order and delivered at a later date.

 

TK Ronin Moon (Honorable Mention? Nov/Dec2013)

TK Ronin Moon actually came out towards the end of 2013. I’m talking about him here because his pal TK Ronin Sun came out in early 2014, who I also bought but no longer have. I had just gotten Moon a few weeks before the preorder for Sun went live so I didn’t really need him, but I had to snag him to make good on the TK Klub. Since there were very few notable differences between the figures, I stuck with Ol’ Moon and sold off Sun when he finally hit my doorstep. I decided I’d talk a little about (2013)Moon since I’m not able to show off (2014)Sun as part of our 2014, Year of the TK write up.

TK Ronin Moon/Sun has, hands down, my favorite new head sculpt of a TK yet. My previous favorite has always been Classic Yama.. who’s really just a classic TK head with a (badass) goatee painted on. Now we have Moon/Sun with a sculpted, grizzled beard that’d give JC a run for his money.

With the long puffy coat, baggy pants, huge backpack and the aforementioned grizzled sculpt.. Moon looks straight up homeless. If not homeless, then definitely post-apocalyptic. Everytime I look over at him on my shelf I think of the book/movie The Road. I wish I had a rusty 1/6th scale grocery cart I could pose him with.

He may be one of my favorite TK’s.. but he’s got some areas that I wish were a little better. For one, the cool looking high-top chucks don’t bend in the least, making that super useful ankle joint all TK’s enjoy for added articulation, completely useless. I wish they’d thought to make them of slightly softer plastic to allow for some give.
Another point of personal protest is the faulty velcro in the thumbhole area of the jacket. That tiny strip of velcro rarely holds together. It’s not a big deal, but it just means I get to spend more time tucking it somewhere as an attempt to hide it. A minor thing sure, but a gripe is a grip is a gripe.

Of course, you’ll lose some articulation with such a big backpack and bulky jacket on him. This normally wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world but those hindrances compound when his ankles are stiff as a brick as well. Basically the most free to pose area on him is his legs. But since his ankles don’t bend, you really only can do so much before he tilts over.

Anyway, all said, he looks great! Limitations aside, I still love my TK Moon. He has more personality than half of the figures in my collection, stiff bones and all.

Pros:

  • Fantastic grizzled head sculpt
  • Homeless/post apocalyptic design looks great
  • Moon drips with unique personality

Cons:

  • Cool looking but restrictive high top chucks keeps his ankles locked in place
  • Lacking velcro on his jacket leaves something to be desired
  • Jacket also severely restricts his articulation.. stiffest TK yet!
  • Not technically a 2014 TK.. but his twin, Sun is!

Summ’n it up!

2014 has been the year of the Tomorrow King.

I remember a few years ago, fans had to beg to get a TK release. Now, their popularity is ever the carrot under collectors nose and ThreeA knows it! This year, I felt like ThreeA collectors were practically bombarded by one Tomorrow King release after another.

*ed’s note – Though, not near as heavily as the flood of Pascha dolls… blarg! “Year of the Pascha” just didn’t have the same ring/personal appeal to it.

My article here doesn’t even cover the TKs that went up for presale this year, set to arrive at some point in 2015. There were also a few I didn’t purchase, such as “Thiddy” the TK with a huge hammer and a weird long sleeves.

The mysteriously teased, Star Wars “inspired” Lonely Star TKs were never officially released despite huge demand. Something that earns an audible, “Awwwwww, MAN!” from me.

QC issues, botched releases, mismatched prototype to final design.. there’s certainly been a fair share of missteps with somethings that will hopefully be improved by future TK releases. On top of QC issues, the most requested style of TK, the OG classic, is once again dangled and fumbled by ThreeA. I can only hope that it’s at least some small comfort to those who missed him, that in my experience, of all the figures released this year, he has of the most QC wonky.

But 2014 has also brought us some fantastic, if not perfect releases as well.

First off, we saw a lot of unique TKs this year. The days of rotating between 2 or 3 of the original head sculpts are over. There’s quite a few in the pot to choose from now. I’m hoping that ThreeA will continue this trend and add even more to it!

It’s a bit of a toss-up as to which one was my favorite of 2014. Edo is a cool idea of what happens when you cross a robot with a TK. Cool minigun and rusty details look choice! Cornelius was the first I received that sported the new katana design… and he gets three!! of them to play with. He has that smirk infused head-sculpt and a rad spiky hairdo along with a great color scheme. The Search and Destory TK/TQ were the closest we got to completely unique tomorrow king designs from the headsculpt down! The Dark Ninja TK mixes things up while keeping things familiar with a great head sculpt, top notch QC and an undeniable cool factor makes him a standout. Finally, Shosuke barrels in with his solid design, outlandish gas mask and tank accessories, equally befitting QC and outstanding poseablity!

While I certainly enjoyed getting such a nice flood of TKs this year, 2015 really doesn’t need to be a repeat. In fact, I’m out out of shelf space (again) so I really don’t know how many more I can handle! Sure, there are some on their way that are highly anticipated by fans and myself… I’m sure I won’t be able to resist a few unexpected surprises. But there’s one TK that could very well be the crown jewel, the “final” TK in my collection whenever his day comes.

The long delayed Archer TK.

Honestly, if he could ever possibly live up to the hype built from YEARS of delay.. if ThreeA really knocks him out of the park.. then I’d be happy if 2015 was simply the year of a Tomorrow King..

A single release.

Easy, just make him the best one yet.

 

Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you for checking out Rad Toy Review! We hope you stay safe and enjoy the holidays with friends and family!

If you haven’t yet, subscribe to our Youtube channel, RadToyReview for sexy sauce video reviews! Also to stay up to date with whatever we’re doing, wherever we are, follow us onFacebook and Twitter

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s