*review* 3A WWRp JEA Heavy Bramble

INTRO

It’s not often that I’m able to point my finger at previous review we’ve posted and say that the one you’re currently reading (enthralled with?) will be essentially a retread of the former.  Yes, it’s 3A WWRp JEA time again. The on-going saga of collecting the JEA colorway at 1/12th scale continues with the just released, retail WWRp JEA Heavy Bramble.

You might detect a few notes here from my previous review of the WWRp JEA MK3 Bertie. Many of the same things I admired and critiqued on that bot are essentially the same sort registered here. If you’ve yet to read it, I suggest you give it a gander after you’ve consumed this tasty meal. If you’ve had it before, then perhaps you’d enjoy a quick revisit.

So while there may be a few woodsy.. perhaps smokey hints that leap off the back of the palette a few moments after you’ve finished a sip. Fear not, there are differences below…

or perhaps just a few finer details.

PACKAGING

Ah yes. It’s good to see the likes of AW paints once again being the focus of a 3A toy’s boxart. WWRp Heavy Bramble features an image of the Bramble Gravedigger, I assume a few moments pre-rocket release, the icons/graphics are minimal, the painting prominent. Definitely worthy of shelf display.

On the back we get a nice quick background story about the Mk3 Bramble. While we’ve seen slivers of story here and there on various 3A packs, this is the first time I’ve seen one that features a bots proposed “specs”. Size, weight, height, it’s all here. It’s pretty cool in a geeky (aka, me) kind of way.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Your Heavy Bramble will come packed tidy with 4 bags and a massive rocket launcher of sorts known as the Aunty Jack 4 Way RPD.  I think of it as 3A’s BFG.

THE BREAKDOWN

It’d be really super crazy easy for me to go down the path of drawing comparisons between little WWRp Heavy Bramble and big WWR Heavy Bramble. I could fill this page with how amazingly close to the two are in terms of paint, weathering, articulation, presence… etc.  On and on I could go until you’ve found yourself reading an exhaustive comparison of each bot’s pinky surface texture. I firmly believe that nobody wants that.

So I’m going to try not to do that gentle reader, because you deserve more. I’ll sum it up real quick and say that yes, indeed 1/6 and 1/12 HBs are practically identical twins, albeit with one wot’s been shrunken by some sort of wonderous toy shrink ray. The bags might be a shade or three lighter on the WWRp version. but beyond that… twinsies!

Instead, I’d like to focus on the WWRp Heavy Bramble and how he relates and compares to the other bots in the WWRp world.  The JEA colorway and otherwise.

Out of the box and at first rub, Mr. HB looks really good. The familiar greens, tans and icons that any JEA fan would appreciate are all here. I’m still amazed at how much detail 3A can squeeze onto their smaller figures. Especially when it’s based off a larger version and manages to remains faithful to it down to the tiny drips of “oil” running off an exhaust. I’m almost convinced that they reverse engineer everything. Simply design a robot for the small scale only to release the giant version first with the sole goal of really impressing us all later. Flecs of rust, soot and oil remind you that you’re looking at a machine.. a machine that’s been places and seen some things.

I love Heavy B’s proportions. The original bramble is one of my favorite toys out of 3A with it’s barrel chest (literally.. a barrel)and has always in my mind been the “muscle” of the squad. The HB takes that idea and runs with it. Just look at those gorilla arms. He makes poor Mk2 look absolutely anorexic by comparison. If I had one complaint with the design it’d be the extended exposed wrist joint. It functions as a tremendous boon when holding the launcher, but aesthetically it does look a little out of place.

Articulation on a Heavy Bramble is essentially the same as it was on the standard MK2 Bramble. The larger shoulders/arms do seem to have a slightly more limited allotment for shoulder movement, but I doubt it’s anything you’d notice or mind if you’re already a fan of the MK2. Other than that the head turns, waist twists, knees bend and fingers open/close. If you were able to get there with the Mk2, you shouldn’t have any issue doing so with the MK3 as well.

Of note is that all the joints (fingers included) on my Heavy Bramble were perfect. Not too tight, not too loose. Each had just the right amount of resistence so I can twist and turn him into whatever pose allowed and he’ll stay put. The fingers don’t flop around like loose erector set pieces, the arms or legs don’t feel as though they may snap in twain while bending them. It could be complete blind luck mine turned out this well, but I’ll take it. However, if by chance there’s a setting on the dremel tool or whatever piece of machinery 3A uses to engineer toy joints.. I’d like to whole heatedly request that they WRITE IT DOWN!

The addition of  MK3’s thicker arms makes a lot of sense given the size of the RPD he’s equipped with.

It’s huge. Massive even. End to end, almost twice the size of HB himself. I love the design of it with it’s flaps and scope. It’s a bit limiting how Heavy B can hold the launcher. Apparently Rothchild only designed these guys as rightys. The scope is stuck firm and fast on the weapon’s left side, meaning HB has to hold it with his right hand if he wants to hit his target. It’d been cool if the scope snapped on and off so you could move things around a bit more freely, but regardless the HB + launcher is an impressive and imposing sight.

Complaint time.

The side bags are just as annoying as they’ve ever been. I’m probably alone but I’m just not a fan. I’ve always liked the idea of bots sporting bags and you may think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. Just don’t be surprised to find that once again they fly off at the smallest bump as though possessed by a silent robot sack focused banshee. At this point in the evolution of robots/warfare and the men, women and children who play with them, there HAS to be a better way to adhere these things to robots.  Bring back the bertie belts! Those did the job with grande gusto! I know, I know.. adding belts at this juncture when the original 2 year old design didn’t have them would be some kind of toy design heresy. But I’d happily forgive that by chalking it up as an “upgrade”.

Also, the bag straps are all over the place. Untidy to say the least. That is all.

Throwing HB up with the rest of the JEA crew looks great. The cohesive colors and icons speckled throughout the gang looks really nice together. Heavy fits right in while not getting lost in the sea of greens. It could be that massive launcher he’s holding allowing him to stand out, but I’ll let him take the credit

HB’s design elements seem to borrow the most from the MK2 JEA Bramble and the JEA Large Martin. The general overall color scheme is basically swiped from MK2 while many of the updated icons are taken from LM. It’s a good blend I think to tie the squad in a bit more. Thankfully the tones are just right and not like the out of place (though individually cool) blue dominate JEA Armstrong. If having your bots match is important to you, the JEA Heavy Bramble shouldn’t dissapoint ya.

So other than the bags, a criticism arguably based off preference than on true unbiased observation, what other problems/errors/missteps/unforutnates did I find with Mr JEA HB? Well I’ll tell you.

I found two.

As a long time 3A collector my fondest memories go back to some if their earliest bots. These of course are the MK2 Brambles and the MK2 Berties. Not only were they brand new, never before seen highly articulated robots sporting awesome firepower and an intriguing background story, they were painted and detailed with such astonishing care and finesse. The first Bertie I held in my hands was Dirty Deeds. An all black bot with a few simple white icons on him. deceptively uncomplicated. But when you really looked at him the various layers of paint and weathering begin to pop out. As the different shades of bronze and silver rust along with the careful placement of painted wear and tear reveal themselves, you begin to realize that there’s nothing simple about this all black bot at all. In fact, it’s a masterpiece.

Perhaps that’s comparing apples to oranges. A bit too abstract. I’ll go another route. The obvious one. Bramble to Bramble. While they look great together, putting them side by side will no doubt show you very clearly why your brand new MK3 Heavy Bramble is and will always be inferior to your old, dusty, out of date MK2 Bramble. Big arms be damned.

Just look at the scratches of silver metal peaking through on the various ridges and edges on the MK2. Places where the Bramble had obviously scratched itself against something heavy, which took paint as it’s prize. It catches the light and breaks up the muck of oil and drab. To me it’s the one last crucial piece of the puzzle that sells the idea that this is a “metal” robot I’m looking at. The Heavy Bramble doesn’t have that. Without that small touch, the little breaks to his specular profile, he’s plastic.  Really cool looking plastic, but plastic all the same.

I’ve noticed this on the last several 3A bots I’ve collected and I can’t understand why they felt it no longer necessary to apply that level of detail to their new bots.  It’s as though 3A ran out of silver paint.

I understand they’re getting bigger as a company and the demand for 3A toys is unfathomably greater than it was when the MK2 was released, but hire another detail guy (gal) or two and please bring it back 3A!

My only other quibble with this miniaturized robotic giant isn’t a fault of him being WWRp, but fault of the original’s execution which this scale happens to mirror.

Those blasted launcher flaps.

If by some miracle 3A could have found it in their collective hearts to update the launcher to include HINGED launcher flaps, singing birds would have herald their greatness to the heavens, the sky would have turned a pure Bob Ross blue and Apollo would have lifted his skirt.

I might have even cried giant man tears of joy.

But alas, they did not so I did not. None of that stuff happened because they decided to leave them sticking out, thin and gorilla glued. Once more you will have to worry about how you lay the launcher down, placing it hanging over a ledge or if you fancy yourself a brave sou,l standing up right and balanced on end. You must examine daily the very grip of your Heavy Bramble to ensure that it be firm and true so the launcher does not fall foul from it’s fickle grasp.

Because if it DOES, you will without the slightest hint of question have a broken, busted, shattered launcher on your hands. You might as well buy a small tube of super glue the next time your at Walgreens just in case.

Oh, and keep it close.

FINAL SUMMARY

The MK3 WWRp Heavy Bramble is another fine addition to my JEA Squad. I was actually a bit more excited about getting him than I was my MK3 Bertie a few months ago. I just love that classic ol’ Bramble design. If you collect JEA or one of the other WWRp colorways offered by this retail run, I’d recommend scooping up one or two. Even if you don’t, their a steal right now and some great designs to choose from. There’s even some region specific variants for UK, USA and Asia that are only available if you live in the respective area.. or have that thing called internet and can type the word “ebay”. They’re available now at just about all the sexy cool online toy stores. Grab them while you can!

A few 3A purist may discount my claim that the paint on the HB lacks the refinement of the original MK2’s and assume that I’m simply trying to find something to complain about or critique. On the other hand, those who gather speed off 3A’s missteps will probably applaud and take my comments about the paint app to mean the Heavy MK3 “sucks”. Neither are true. Despite my lust for a return of 3A perfection and the few wanted improvements I’ve noted, these guys are really great toys.

I firmly believe that 3A is still delivering above and beyond 99% of anything else out there.. I’d just like to see them nudged back to 100%.

Pros:

  • Another great addition to the JEA squad or the WWRp collector’s shelf in general
  • Great articulation and perfect (at least on mine) joints.
  • Very nice paint that practically mirrors his big brother
  • Colors match the JEA squad flawlessly
  • Huge launcher is BA

Cons:

  • When side by side with MK2 Bramble, the lack of some of the finer attention to details in the paint application on the Heavy are really noticeable
  • Flaps on the launcher are still glued on and fragile.

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*review* WWRp JEA Marine MK3 Bertie

I’ve been downsizing my collection of WWRp for the past year. This is mainly due to space. My WWRp collection shares the same shelf, nay the same real estate (highly sought after and increasingly limited) I have at my disposal for my Action Portable Tomorrow Kings. That plan was emphasised even more when the Yellow Hornets 4 pack, De Plume 2 and De Plume 3 packs came in. Those automatically almost doubling my collection and has left me.. space-less. Edge to edge, there is absolutely no where to put even a single additional 1/12 figure.

Turns out, unless you are tied to the linear this-is-how-it’s-meant-to-be-and-thus-MUST-be type of collector/enthusiast thought process.. having no more available space on your WWRp shelf shouldn’t cause you stress when considering a single WWRp Mk3 Bertie or even three.

I’ll explain myself in a bit, but first…

PACKAGING

The box Mr. JEA arrived in is very reminiscent of his bigger (MUCH bigger) brothers. A few simple graphical embellishments and a rasterized photo of the figure. It’s a very clean presentation, if a bit unexciting.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

MK3 Bertie comes with only a few accessories. A gaggle of bags and a very cool sawed off shotgun make up the lot of it. The bags themselves are really well made, being stiff enough to hold their shape and feature some really nice contrasty panels. The shotgun is an impressive looking weapon right out the box. Even at 1/12th, the reaction you’ll have is probably going to be very much like what it was when/if you saw the 1/6th version … you’ll find yourself saying, “Damn, now that’s a big gun”.

THE BREAKDOWN

Well, I had a plan for this shoot. I wanted to take my new WWRp Mk3 Bertie and some of his buddies out into some nearby woodsy areas and take some cool photo’s where JEA would look right at home. It was going to be the best shoot yet!

I’m glad I opened him before making the trek, because right off the bat it became clear that someone at the 3A factory had forgotten their super glue the morning my toy was born. The front bag clip had fallen out. Luckily it fell right back into the box I’d just taken it out of or I’d probably lost it in the dust bunnies and fur balls currently inhabiting my living room floor.

So instead of a jungle trek, I settled on the stoop right outside my front door. Also note that for most of the shots, I left the front hook off for fear of dropping and losing it mid shoot. If you like, just try to imagine Bertie wearing a giant fanny pack in the photo’s he’s lacking it in.

OK, back to business. Here’s the MK3 Bertie all kitted up and ready for serious business.

A refresher. MK3 Bertie is the next level/upgrade of the MK2 Bertie. You may see the naming logic there. While the MK2 Berties (who ran around on tiny legs and stood roughly the same height as their human compadre’s) carried a bevy of mini guns, pistols and machete’s/severed heads; the MK3 Berties only have two options: A and B. Mode A come toting the massive shotgun you see JEA with above, while Mode B (click here for a peak) have two ridiculous (aka awesome) shoulder canon’s. So you might hear adjectives like “big” and “massive” tossed around quite a bit when one refers to an MK3. I’m still trying to imagine what a shotgun blast from a shotgun that size would do to.. well, anything.

Out of the box and on the ledge, the first thing I noticed about this guy is just how well done the paint app is on him. I may sound like a broken record here because amazing paint is something 3A can generally do with their eye’s closed (something they unfortunately might have tried last year with the zomb 2.0… ZING!) and I’ve praised it in almost all my reviews. Still, the first MK3 Bertie out the gate aims to please with the quality being right up there with the OG Berties and Brambles. He’s a little grimier but every bit as detailed and awesome looking as his big brother as well. There are a ton of random pops of rust and colors sprinkled all over him that really keeps your eye moving around. There’s parts rusted in one color that didn’t carry over to other parts, breaking up the look even more. It has in spades two of the key things that pulled me into 3A in the first place, a great robot design with amazingly realistic weathering. At this scale it’s pretty astounding how much they were able to cram in there without him appearing muddy, dull or overdone. I dig all the decals too.. yes, even the little black circles/spots.

The articulation is on par with other “cylinder” bots in the 1/12 family (also identical to the 1/6 MK3). Basically his body is made up of several swivel joints with the bulk of actual usable articulation being in his arms and hands. One thing I LOVE on my 1/6 MK3 Berties are their hands. They’re just so easy to get great gestures with. In 1/12th the general idea is the same, but my Bertie’s fingers seemed pretty loose, not tiny-Dropcloth-finger loose, but looser than any of my other WWRp Berties, Brambles or Armstrongs. It’s a minor gripe and not as extreme as the afore mentioned Droppy’s limp digits as well as an issue you may not experience, but it is a gripe all the same. What’s important though is that he can still hold his shotgun well enough without having to worry about it slipping out of his hands at the slightest bump.

The one thing that bothers me about Mk3’s in general is that there really are only so many poses you can do with them. As I mentioned a second ago, all the articulation is in his arms and hands. Waving, pointing, throwing gangs signs and flipping off the camera are par the course with them. Once loaded up with his shotgun, you get yourself a handful of other ways to set him. Pointing the gun, at ease with the gun, resting on the gun, shouldering the gun, using the gun as a golf club, etc etc. But once you’ve exhausted those, you’re done. Set and forget.

Still, just like the MK2 Berties the articulation is completely appropriate here.  A necessary evil courtesy of one of my favorite Ashley Wood bot designs. So I guess that it’s not so much a knock against it but rather a comment on how much more time I spend messing with my other more poseable toys on the shelf. I think on some level I’m just waiting for the Mk4 or another bot (like Caesar?) to come along that’s just as playable as my APTKs or Droplcoths are.

You remember those bags I was saying were so well made at the beginning of this post? Well, now comes the part of the review where I tell you how much I hate them. Yes, they’re well stitched and crafted. Yes, they look really nice with the contrasting colors, working zippers and stitching. Yes, a WWRp De Plume WILL fit in the front fanny pack if need be. These are all obvious positives. What I hate is the way they “attach” to Berts body. You will literally knock these bags off your Bertie  exactly three dozen times a dozen before you even get him from box to shelf. They FLY off. At times lunging for the floor while simultaneously becoming invisible. Sometimes seemingly on their own accord, one will go spinning across the floor behind a dresser impossible to retrieve, lost forever.

And why wouldn’t they? They’re hanging on an absolutely miniscule hook by little, worthless loosey goosey bag loops.

My 1/6 MK3’s bags fall off occasionally, but I think their size alone gives them enough heft to stay put 90% of the time. These wee bags weigh almost less than air. A sincere breeze could probably knock them off. I think I’m going to try and hunt down a spare belt strap from a 1/6 figure of some sort and see if I can fashion a belt similar to the old MK2 style belt. Kick the fanny pack to the curb. I think I like the look better without it anyway.

And that leads me to my final thoughts and the point where I try to make my ramblings in the intro about shelf space a little more crystal. I’m not saying that shelf space won’t be an issue with these guys at all. That they somehow become a negative entity that will equal in space savings to what they are to their ocularly apparent physical dimensions. No.

I’m just saying that unless you really can’t let your food touch, you have quite a few options as to where you can stick this guy… aaannnd that sounded dirtier than it should have.

In WWRp (1/12 scale) he’s the biggest bot on the block. It looks cool and it’s the intended fit.

But check this out, put a 1/6 square next to him and..

Not bad, huh? Almost meant to be. Now look at him hanging out with Jung De Plume and Jungler Grunt. It’s like hes’ made to be there. He’s may no longer be the biggest and baddest but it works pretty damn well, I’d say. Also, posed up next to these guys, his shotgun is almost to a feasible scale.

But where I think the real money might be… facing him off against a horde of Zombs.

(ed’s note: two zombs = horde today)

All we need now is an official (or unofficial) Warbot in that scale and we’ll be good to go. You can put this guy just about anywhere in your collection, wherever you have a bit of free space and he should fit right in.

One thing to keep in mind however is that not all mixing and matching of toy scales will give desired results…

…or does it?

There’s something of a nostalgic factor to the MK3 Bertie. The second I opened him I found myself filled with many of the same feelings and thoughts I had when I first opened my WWRp MK2 Jea Bertie almost two years ago.

“Wow, he looks great.”

“Sweet paint and weathering.”

“Check out that gun.”

“Cool, you can pose the fingers!”

But there was one thing notably missing. The thrill I normally feel when I get a new 3A toy.

It took me a few drafts of this review to figure out why that was. You see, even though I just got him today there’s very little about him that is actually new to me. Not only is he simply a smaller scale version of a toy I’ve had for about 8 months, he’s essentially the same as the first 3A bot I ever purchased. Same articulation, same paint, very similar overall appearance. Overall MK3 is a bigger version of more of the same. You decide whether that’s a good or bad thing.

FINAL SUMMARY

So ends my waxing and waning about WWRp MK3 Bertie JEA. Other than being pretty much a smaller version of a toy I already have, I didn’t find much to grumble about. He compares extremely favorably to his larger brother, so if you have one of those you have a good idea of what to expect. I do wish the bags were on a belt strap or simply had a tighter fit to the clips so they wouldn’t jump to their deaths every 5 seconds. Also the limited amount of articulation is starting to become more and more apparent to me even if it doesn’t detract from the character of the piece at all. Berties are still cool. I may be slimming down my WWRp collection but I’m really glad I picked this guy up. In fact, I regret not also snagging Night Watch mode B when he was available. (Actually I regret selling my entire WWRp NW collection early last year, but that’s a story for another day). The new Berties are just as much fun as the old and I believe thanks to their size, a bit more versatile in where and how you can display them in your collection or play with them in the neighborhood sandbox.

GALLERY

DIY De Plume custom Gallery submission notice

With the wwrp DIY de Plumes finally hitting home for 3A fans I thought instead of trying to do a review that it’d be cool to start a section on this site featuring your custom handy work.

If you’d like to share the ways in which you’ve twisted the already twisted de Plume, please send me a photo or two to radtoyreview@gmail.com. Please include how you would like the image credited and whatever other information you’d like posted along with it.

Click here to check out the gallery.

Thanks and I look forward to your submissions!

Knives

*REVIEW* WWRp Deplume 2 and 3 pack

*REVIEW* WWRp Deplume 2 and 3 pack

Tonight I’m going to take two separate 3A toy packs and review them both in one fell swoop. The WWRp Deplume 2 and 3 pack went on sale back in April of 2011 and are just making land fall into … Continue reading