Top 10 Toys of 2012

It’s that time again people! The end of 2012 brings with it the dawn of 2013, which gives us good cause to levy the hammer and proclaim our picks for the top 10 toys of the year! It was a little tricky compiling this list. For one, I’m slightly touched by a fever.. one in which cowbell has no power and only various heavy doses of sudafed seems to keep somewhat tamped down. For another, I realized going over my shelf that each toy in the list has it’s own set of qualities that seem to outshine some yet are overshadowed by others. While one toy may be incredibly fun to play with, another may look impossibly realistic thanks to an astounding sculpt and/or paint job. What merits equate “Toy of the Year”?

As with any review, 99% of it is opinion. In this case, the opinion happens to be mine. I hope you’ll find some common air here and there but even if you don’t,  I’d love to hear from you and get your thoughts. Let us know what your top 5, 10, or heck, 100 toy list is this year!

To qualify, the toys need to have been shipped/delivered within 2012, though not necessarily released (sold). 

Without further ado, the top 10!

10. 3A x Bandai Zaku Gundam Inspirational Model

I’ll say it now to get it out of the way, I’m a big fan of what Ashley Wood has done so far with 3A’s Gundam license.

The purest may disagree with me. Ashley Wood’s Gundam Zaku creation polarized fans of both 3A and Gundam when it was released earlier this year.  Many fans called foul after seeing that Wood unceremoniously got rid of the mono eye that’s been so inherent to the Zaku character. Others saw it as simply a hybrid of sorts, between 3A/Ash’s own gas mask-sporting Noms and Bandai’s iconic evil robot. While I could understand the disappointment some fans may have felt seeing the design stray so far off track from what was expected, I was more than blown away by just how dynamic the figure came out. As a friend of mine said, “Zaku looks like more of a giant space marine than a Gundam robot.”  So it’s called Zaku, but it doesn’t really look like Zaku? Strangely, I have zero problem with that. I truly hope it’s not the last we see from the partnership.

You can read our full review of Zaku here.

9. Play Arts Kai Metal Gear Solid: Solid Snake

As the only non-3A toy on the list this year, Ol’ Snake is the odd man out. Still, the joy of seeing Square Enix Play Arts Kai releasing such a great quality version of one of my favorite characters in video game history soundly earns him the spot. I can’t WAIT for more classic Metal Gear Solid figures to roll out from this line.

Read our review of Solid Snake here.

8. 3A Action Portable (AP) Zombs

We never did get around to writing a review for these little buggers, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get around to playing with them to our heart’s content. The action portable Zomb infestation was easily one of the most exciting events for 3A fans this year.  With several blind boxed (carded) options to be hunted down, the BST action reached a fever pitch. Ultimately, the excitement died dramatically once they actually started to land on doorsteps. Fairly heavy saturation of certain variants caused their perceived trade/sell value to plummet and many can still be had for a song. Which is awesome, because these brain chompers are awesome!

So ready your vocal chords! The enjoyment of these little guys definitely continues and if you’ve yet to grab any yourself, they shouldn’t be too difficult to track down.

7. 3A HK ReVenture Old Guard Tomorrow King

I hesitated putting this guy on the list since they were relatively difficult to get a hold of. You either had to be one of the lucky souls to actually attend 3A’s ReVenture event in Hong Kong or be lucky at the draw to snag the few “left overs” dripped to Bambaland a few weeks afterwards.

The reason he’s here is because he is a classic Tomorrow King, through and through, the design of which is so near perfect, it’s difficult to explain what makes it so. Somehow, Ashley Wood and 3A have hit the nail squarely on the head with TKs, and fans claw at their screens and jazzercise in unison each time a new one  comes along.

While the red shirt variant wasn’t on the top of my list among the four available, I still count my lucky stars to have scored him. He’s earned a spot both front and center on my shelf, as well as right here in the top ten.

Read our Old Guard TK review here.

6. 3A WWRp/WWR Caesars

Yeah, I combined Caesars in both scales for my number six spot. The massive and mighty 1/6 WWR Caesar is astonishing to see on display. Since I went with an EMGY colorway, mine is set up with my other EMGY figures and he looks amazing. From the paint details to the articulation, everything is spot on. That being said, I don’t ever remove him from display or even try to repose him. He’s a little too cumbersome and tucked back behind other things to easily manipulate. Instead, he sits there to be admired in all his glory from a safe distance.

On the other hand, the 1/12th WWRp Caesars are the perfect size to pose and play with. While we still haven’t gotten an official review together for them, I’ll go ahead and spill the beans that these guys may be 3A’s perfect 1/12th robot toy. I can’t compare apples to apples as I chose the JEA and RIP colorways for my WWRp opposed to EMGY in WWR, but I can say that I’ve interacted with them a lot more. They look and feel more like toys and so I end up treating them as such.

So at one scale, 3A’s Caesars are astonishingly BA to look at, on another, incredibly fun to play with. In my eyes, it’s a tie. A win – win, whichever way you go.

Read our full WWR EMGY Caesar review here.

5. 3A Jungle Vet

We’re only at the halfway point of this top ten list, yet we also happen to be at the toy that I had the most fun with this year, Jungle Vet. Of the many “sold blind” new Adventure Kartel figures, he was among the most anticipated. I admit, I assumed he wouldn’t warrant such bated breath. Boy was I wrong.

Despite his kit-bashed appearance, the combination of articulated fingers and mono-eye contributed to making Jungle Vet one of the most fun and often posed toys in my collection. The photoshoot for our review lasted all day, and it was one of the few times that it didn’t feel that way.

You may be tempted to shoe-horn in here a member of the Finger Gang or even King Thumb himself as they share many of the same traits as Jungle Vet, but I think JV’s Ankou head with it’s rotating eyeball give him the edge. That and he was first!

JV is a goofy, and most importantly, FUN addition to anyone’s collection.

Read our full review of JV here.

4. 3A Real Steel Ambush

If you had asked me 6 months ago if I’d have a toy based on the Dreamwork’s Real Steel movie in my collection, much less in my top ten of 2012 list, I’d have given you a sideways glance that’d cleave you in twain. The movie was.. well, it was what it was. Big CG robots, punching each other time and time again to the tune of a thin script and a fairly silly plot. The idea of making kids toys based off the line is a no-brainer. On the other hand, the thought of making a high-quality, expensive, designer toy based on the franchise sounded nuts.

3A didn’t see it that way. They played to their strengths and showed the industry how it’s done. They took a mediocre, second rate, movie character and turned into one of the coolest, most surprising and detailed toys in my collection. If you have him in yours, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t, good luck finding one for a reasonable price as they’re pretty scarce. The good news is, it looks like Atom is right around the corner. I wouldn’t miss out if I were you.

Read our full review of Ambush here.

3. 3A Queenie of 7 Bones

The 7 Bones collection from Ashley Wood’s Popbot line is one of the most readily collected amongst 3A fans. To the majority of Popbot aficionados,  it’s hard to go wrong with Tomorrow Kings. They’re basically samurai crossed with jedi in hip, urban gear. So, generally epic. They are assassins and warriors for your showcase that are as fun to play with and pose as they are awesome to have on display. Tomorrow Queens on the other hand, have always been relegated to simply standing there due to their vastly more limited articulation/clothing combination. To many, they come off as glorified if not overly sexualized barbies with bigger boobs and slightly more fire power. Many love them, but the love isn’t nearly as widespread. I’ve had a few in my collection over the years, but they’re always the first to go when some collection thinning is in order.

That all changed with Queenie. Unlike much of what we see out of 3A, from clothing to sculpt, Queenie is/was completely new. As the leader of 7 Bones, Ash thankfully saw it fit to give her a new, more articulated body as well as a bit more dancing room in her pajamas.  She’s also the only 3A figure to carry a bo staff and sport an eyepatch (other than Bleak’s dog, Custard). She’s still curvy and almost awkwardly big boobed, but she comes across as a no-nonsense tough girl who can handle herself on the battlefield.

Queenie feels like an individual and all her own. Among the  multiple variants of Zombs, Tomorrow Kings, Grunts, Dropcloths, Caesars and Popbots, that’s an incredibly refreshing thing.

I’m crossing my fingers that 3A has more unique characters like her in store for us in 2013.

Read our full review of Queenie here.

2. New Noms 4th and 27th

When I saw the new Noms at SDCC this year, I was ecstatic in the confident knowledge that I had broken down just weeks prior and pre-purchased both. Behind the shiny clear glass, they looked amazing. The new Noms consist of Nom 4th, a fit redesign of the orignal Nom De Plume and Nom 27th, a dark all new take on the classic design, under the guise of “disciple”.

In that glass case on the showroom floor, Nom 4th was the show stopper. Once the boys finally landed on my porch and I got them free of their packs, Nom 27th took the lead by a nose with his cool hooded shirt and substantially more menacing appearance. I bounce back and forth between which I prefer, thus the shared ranking on the list.

Ashley Wood claims these are the Noms he wished he could have made from the beginning, had money been no object. A generous host of gas mask hoses, actual laced boots, sheathed dual guns and baton as well as some truly lovely stitching support that claim. I still love the classic Nom designs with Jung De Plume being a prize in my own collection, but the new Noms certainly have the character and style befitting the Nom name.

If you missed out on 4th and 27th, don’t loose hope completely.  If you’re interested in grabbing a 3AA 2013 membership, come January, you’ll have a chance to grab Blanc Hunter as part of the deal!

1. Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse Super Set

I knew what my number one was going to be long before I sat down to make this list. There isn’t anything else like it out there. This duo stands out in a room, regardless if they’re stuffed in a crowded display case or set up all Lonestar on top of a bookshelf.

Alone, BC himself is actually one of the more.. muted figures to come from 3A this year. He’s not perfect. His hat is a little on the puffy side and his white shirt lacks the fit that you probably wish it had thanks to a weird velcro strip. He’s also light on a few accessories that could have taken him to the next level. It’s not that he comes bare-arsed or anything. He’s got a gaggle of hand canons strapped around his waist, a cool red poncho draped over him and a dirty bandage covering his scarred visage. He’s got character, it just doesn’t come screaming out at you when he’s by his lonesome.

Paired with his trusty and very dead steed, Ghost Horse, they become a different thing altogether.

Few pieces can match the presence of this set. Toy enthusiast and annoyed wives alike have marveled at it on various occasions.

BC & GH summarize what makes collecting high end designer art toys so satisfying.  It’s a near perfect balance of something to play with and something to admire. You have  the action figure element, with guns and boots and bandages, and then you have the artistically and impeccably executed Ghost Horse sculpt that could make you question what exactly defines something as a “toy.”

If you want to read more about our opinion of this set, you can check out one of the thickest and most picture stuffed reviews out of the RtR chamber to date right here.

As an initially planned one-off, those who missed the set looked left to drink their own tears for the foreseeable future. Luckily for you, 3A decided to release a second run in 2013 dubbed the Dead Equine Super Set , essentially a monotone version of the same set.

That means that those of you chomping at the bit to add the Blind Cowboy Super Set, our official pick for 2012 Toy of the Year, to your collection have a very good shot at making that happen.

That also means that 2013 already has a Toy of the Year nominee!

Some Honorable Mentions:

3A Light and Shadow Oya Set – I’d have tossed this set in the top ten in a second but I feel that since they were gifted/awarded, never available for sale and are incredibly rare, they’re not really a release at all. They’re still awesome though!

3A’s Metal Gear Solid REX – He’s still set to ship out soon. A tiny handful of people somehow ended up getting their orders around the same time we got our review sample, but the official shipment hasn’t gone out and isn’t scheduled to do so until February of 2013. Keep your chin up REX, there’s always next year!

Thanks so much for a great year guys! We really appreciate you guys swinging by and checking out the stuff we’re doing. We have a few new things planned for 2013 that are sure to up the ante around here and we’re excited to show you!
See you in 2013 with more in depth, photo-filled toy reviews!

Happy New Year!

– Knives

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2012 3A ReVenture Hong Kong Video

3A’s epic art/toy show in Hong Kong is one of the most anticipated events for fans of Ashley Wood and 3A. Unfortuneatly, attending the event is a privilege only afforded by a few.

That’s why Rad Toy Review asked S. Ryoma to be our inside man for the event. To truly cover the event, he had his work cut out for him but sitting at almost an hour in length he came through with spades.

Enough of an intro, I’m sure you just want to see the video.

Pull up a comfy chair, grab a frothy beverage and enjoy the next best thing to being there.

video/coverage by S.Ryoma. Thanks brother!

*review* Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse Super Set

“His family killed by a gang of deranged robots, his eyesight taken as payment for someone else’s debt. He now wears the turgid rag which now gives a clarity of vision, a clarity of justice and revenge to the Blind Cowboy. His only friend, a horse named Ghost!”

Sometimes in life you make decisions that you KNOW you’re going to regret later. Eating 6 day old leftover-counter-temperature chinese take-out, taking Sally Joe to your senior prom because despite her headgear she supposedly “puts out” and opening your sealed copy of “Death of Superman”.

Hmm… well, two of those three things turned out regrettably anyway.

One other such occurrence transpired several months ago while I sat staring at the order screen on Bambaland.com. Up for grabs was the relatively inexpensive single Blind Cowboy figure from 3A, a central character from Ashley Wood’s Popbot universe. The other choice was the very impressive looking and much more expensive Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse Super Set. The one thing that drew me to the sale in the first place was the “ghostly-ness” (or rather undead zombie-ness) of Ghost Horse with it’s gaunt skeletal features. The Blind Cowboy himself, at least from the preview shots, seemed a little “vanilla”. I neither loved or hated him. Despite these truths, I skipped the Super Set due to my shallow pockets and went ahead and clicked “add to cart” on the single BC.

“I’ll be fine”, I told myself. “This will be enough.”

Last month as the sets began to pop up all over the map and this website started to take on a life of it’s own, I realized that I would need a review to cover this passed over piece of pie. Luckily, an all around great guy Scott Katler (known as 666waystolove on many-a-forum) contacted me and offered to do a proxy review for it. A few days later I had a first draft in my inbox. I read it, looked at the photos he sent to accompany and began to arrange the layout for the site. As I poured over the different images of this massively beautiful steed and admired the various forms and shapes of it’s sculpt, something hit me. I HAD to have it. It would be mine. I simply couldn’t help myself. Of all the collectible toys/games/Garbage Pail Kids/beanie babies/whatever I’ve missed in life.. this one pulled at me above all else. I put the review on hold and spent the next several days looking over various dark alleys and back woods until I happened upon a pretty good deal for the set. Via a series of trades and swaps I was able to secure my own. After delay followed by delay followed by a slight mix up, followed by yet another delay.. I finally have sitting in front of me ThreeA’s Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse Super Set…

and it looks glorious.

Today’s review will be a combination of Scott’s and my own impressions of the set. I want to thank Scott again for helping me out with the review. Without you dangling those shiny pictures/words in front of me, I’d most likely never done the footwork to hunt one down on my own and would be regretting it still to this day.

PACKAGING

The mailman literally looked pissed when he knocked on my door Saturday. “Are you.. ?” He fidgeted to reach for his note pad while struggling to hold the giant box by it’s two plastic tie straps. He was a little guy I’d never seen before and I could tell already he didn’t like me. “Ahem, yes.. that’s me” I said trying to hide my excitement and deflect his eye-bullets at the same time. I scribbled what looked to be the word “Mrooolg” in the signature box, freed the poor man of his burden and quickly went back inside.

I ripped open the shipping box before I took any shots of it, so an image of the art box next to my dog Murphy will have to suffice. The box for this set measures 23″L x 16″W x 12″D and weighs in at 20 lbs. Murphy’s a medium sized rescue who weighs 50 lbs, loves neck scratches and thinks he’s people.

The Super Set has unique packaging that differs greatly from any other 3A boxes I’ve seen before. The box itself is a thick ply and in 2 pieces, similar to a shoebox. On top is a replica of Ashley Wood’s lovely painting of our hero and his trusty steed. I think it’s one of the best cover paintings from Ash yet! It’s a really epic image that sets the mood for what you’re about to experience perfectly. The entire box is really a compliment to the figure itself as you really feel like you’re opening something well made, beautiful and special.

Another bonus to the set was the inclusion of a lovely poster of the box art. I’ll definitely be framing it. Its kind of a shame it wasn’t included with the singles.

Once you slide off the top (which you will do either incredibly fast out of the sheer excitement boiling within or very slowly due to vast anticipation of the inevitable epic-ness) you’ll find that Emit Brown (The Blind Cowboy’s “real” name) is safely packed on a top layer of thick, dark foam shaped a bit like coffin. Lifting the lid on this set had me feeling a little like what I’d imagine that kid across the street from me growing up did when he got the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier and Omega Supreme on the SAME Christmas morning back in ’85.

You remove the top foam tray and underneath be the dead horse tucked. I was pretty worried about how safely this set would transit and I’m very happy to say that 3A did a perfect job in ensuring this guy a safe trip. You can see how thick the foam womb is that fits snuggly around GH in the pictures. The packaging of these figures alone must have cost a pretty penny.

All that secure, snuggy foam did have a small (but a 1000% warranted) tradeoff. It took me forever to free GH from the box. His weight (he makes up the bulk of the fat) along with some of the smaller, more fragile bits getting constantly snagged on the packaging had me sweating bullets for a small eternity. My advice, take your time, push/spread open the foam in the area you’re trying to free and slowly work out the tail, followed by the feet (minding the delicate wood slats). The rest should easily follow.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Well there it is. The Blind Cowboy and his undead steed, Ghost Horse. Just awesome.

OK, that’s it! Nothing more to see here. This review is over.

…….

….

..

Ahhh… FINE.. I’ll blather on more to tell you some things you already probably know in your heart of hearts.

Emit includes a cowboy hat, poncho and an extra “neutral” hand with pegs. Ghost has his bridle and saddle along with a rolled up blanket. Really this set comes with few surprises, unless you consider a Blind Cowboy carrying 9(!) six shooters on him a surprise. Emit has a total of 7 guns that he carries on his person with 2 more “just-in-case” pieces attached to the saddle. That’s quite a bit of fire power for a guy with only two hands and no eyeballs.

DESCRIPTION

Where do I begin? If you don’t experience a sense of awe upon unboxing this set, I truly hope your affairs are in order because you are most certainly dead.  Please send my condolences to your family. Seriously, I just sat and stared at these two for a good five minutes before I did much of anything in the way of posing or photographs. There is just so much to take in from the detail in the sculpt and weathering to the various bags, bandages and buckles.

I think the best way to approach a review like this is to cover the individual pieces of the set and break down their various attributes.

So, let’s start with Emit Brown, The Blind Cowboy.

On his own, Emit Brown carries all the swagger of a “real” comic book cowboy. He’s got the bootcut pants, the dirty rolled up sleeves, red poncho and dusty “leather” hat. The afore mentioned sixshooters drape around his waist on a single belt with a shiny, yet simple buckle.  Each gun is in a faux leather holster. The holsters themselves look nice enough, but feel thin and are incredibly tight. The guns themselves have hard edges and points on them so I’m a little worried that after repetitive removal of a gun, the holster material may tear. I’d suggest picking a couple guns for Emit’s hands and just leaving them out of his holster all together to skip that possibility. He looks BA duel wielding anyways.

The Blind Cowboy figure is almost completely original with new sculpts for his head, guns, hands and boots. They all fit the character the he’s supposed to be a part of perfectly. I love the new guns. They look like slightly beefier versions of the six shooting hand cannons everyone from G.Cooper to J. Wayne carried. The best part? You get NINE of them.

His gloves have the folded over look that many of Ashley Wood’s character designs feature. They’re sculpted in a constant state of itchy trigger fingerness. Even though they look identical, my BC holds his gun a good deal firmer in his right hand than his left. I had a few issues getting him to securely handle his firearm as though he were not a truly capable sinstral. This is probably the result of softer material the hands are molded from, warping or stretching during the lengthy production/packaging/shipping process. It’s not really a huge deal as the gun will fit and hold well enough. I just thought it was kind of shame it isn’t absolutely perfect since  his hands/guns were custom made for one another. I’d think there be no fiddling about required.

The boots look great! They reminded me of some my father had when I was growing up in the Texas panhandle. They may not be tennis shoes but the balance is pretty good on them and you can get some fun kooky poses out of him. (electric slide anyone?) That being said, the plastic used for the boots is pretty hard, so despite having double ball jointed ankles, you’re likely to only get the bare minimum side to side/front to back motion.

The manly moo moo, or poncho as they’re known in the West, adds a great deal of effect to the character. It immediately brings to mind Clint Eastwood which automatically brings to mind gunslinging and a bunch of great old westerner movies I need to rent/watch again. I’ve arranged it heavily bundled in the front as though he were riding through a dust storm as well as lighty draped over his shoulders. For such a simple piece (my wife called it an old ripped t-shirt) it makes a world of difference with this character. I’d say it’s the second most important piece next to his eye bandages.

Emit’s hat is somewhat at odds with itself. From a distance it does the job and looks pretty good. Up close however, you can see the felt like texture on it which to me, takes it completely out of scale. The overall make of the hat also appears pretty “puffy” as well, giving it more of a frumpy “Cletus the town drunk” look other than a hard nosed Eastwood look. On a good note there’s a wire that goes around the inside of the brim giving you some control for tweaking it’s shape. In the end, you NEED the hat to complete the look. It does the job, I just wish it was a little more refined.

Without his hat we have ourselves a blond. I was a little surprised by this I think mostly because I’ve preconceived notions of BC as 3A’s Clint Eastwood.. sandy brown or even black hair would have fit.. but blond is it’s own thing. It’s not a bad thing, lemme be clear on that. Just something that caught my attention.

So what’s behind those bandages? Well, lets just take a little peak-ah-OHGAAAAAAH! &$%@#!!

The scars look randomly placed instead of artistically thought out. They lack any sort of intentional “cool” that you see on so many scarred characters. I don’t know if that’s what they had in mind of avoiding when they sculpted his face, but I like it.. the randomness/sloppiness of them makes them appear a lot more brutal. Despite the scars and gaunt cheeks, the face is young and less grizzled than I thought it’d be, but I find that to be true with most of Ashley Woods creations (Grunts, NOMs, ROTHCHILD, etc) so it doesn’t  take away from the character at all for me.

Most of what I’ve mentioned so far is a matter of personal taste. You may think his hat looks awesome and his poncho looks like a cheap snot rag. Be that as it may, one thing I think we can all agree on is how completely strange it is that 3A decided to use one giant stark white velcro strip from the bottom of his shirt to the bottom of his chin to hold his shirt together. The result is that it’s always peaking out from the top of his collar. The stiffness of the strip also pushes his shirt up and does not allow for it to rest naturally on his body.

So you’re stuck with choosing between fastening the velcro completely to the top which looks like he’s choking or undoing it a little bit and having it look cheap. Had they used multiple sections of velcro and didn’t run them all the way up to his chin, the result would have looked a million times better. I may have to take out some needle/thread, a pair of scissors and try my hand at improving his situation. If Emit is forced to go through life blind and toothless, the least I can do is let him have a comfortable neck line.

All in all, Emit is really a pretty simple character. His entire “essence” relies on the sum of his parts. With all his gear on, he looks like the bad ass cowboy you imagine him to be. Take off a few things and he looks a tad less intimidating, if not for his scarred up mug (and the ga-gillion guns dangling from his waist)  you might even call him  a little “plain”.

There may be a few things here or there that feel a little less than perfect such as his wonky shirt, but overall I like the way the Blind Cowboy came out. I remember looking at the pictures during the release and having a hard time telling if he was “cool” or not. I’m happy that I can say that he is definitely cool. Messing around with him I realized that even if I’d kept the single and never upgraded to the set, I’d probably still be pretty  satisfied with the figure and have a lot of fun posing him with the other goodies on my shelf.

I say “probably” because.. well.. OMG LOOK AT THIS HORSE!

– Ghost Horse

note: The larger portion of this review will borrow heavily from Scotts original write up with a few musings of my own tossed in for good measure. – Knives

For a company like 3A that is known for it’s highly articulated figures, Ghost Horse is quite the departure. Despite this, he is without question a mind blowing piece of artistic design. The head, neck, legs, and tail are wrapped in a thin bandage like material all lightly weathered. The head and neck are mostly covered by bandages but a few key characteristics are still visible. GH facial features are quite skeleton like. With sunken in eyes and a lack of individual teeth, you can tell this fellah has seen better days.

The sculpture itself is made from poly-stone which you may remember is the same material used to make the labs from Adventure Kartel. The sculpt uses very hard lines to exaggerate the muscle tone and bone structure. For such a simple color pallet, the hard lines and the dark coloring really add a lot of depth and texture to the figure. What’s even cooler is when you add light from any given angle it makes those areas even more dramatic. I also like how they sculpted the neck to lean off to one side instead of being perfectly centered. It gives it quite a different vibe when viewing from the right or left side.

Even though the horse’s mane and tail are hard sculpted, they “splinter” off at the end which ties in great with the legs because the legs have actual wooden splints. A real shocker and a very welcomed addition that adds such a unique touch. It is the little things like this that just amaze me about the piece. I remember looking at the promo image and the wood splints being a big selling point for me. I assumed they would have just been made of vinyl or ABS pieces made to look like wood, not the real deal.

GH also is sporting some fantastic saddle equipment. All of which is made of some pretty believable leather like material. The saddle has two saddle bags and two revolvers, one on each side respectively. The saddle and the bags have really great sewing. There is a noticeable trim going around everything that really helps separate the various pockets or layers in the fabric. On a lot of other figures we just see a thin thread sewn through the fabric which usually goes unnoticed. So it just shows how much extra detail has been put into this set.  The saddle also has some cushioning for when you find yourself roaming through the desert for longer than expected. And just in case you need to take a rest, there is a rolled up canvas tied to the back of it. The overall quality of the saddle makes the whole presentation feel that much more special.The one thing missing from the ensemble is a saddle horn. What is this, an English Saddle? I doubt Ol’ Emit would be caught dead riding english style.

The pose of the Ghost Horse is caught in a constant mosey. At first I was at odds with this chilled out, neutral pose. Most of my characters are in some sort of action or preparing to fight stance which is impossible to achieve with Ghost. It’d also look awfully strange to have BC posed with guns blazing with GH in such a morose meander. But after spending a couple hours positioning them in various manner, I think this works better than an action or running pose might have. There’s a certain sense of purpose to Ghost’s slow, heavy stride. As silly as it may sound, it seems to give the tattered combo a somber story, a weary soul.

For once, I really have no criticism of a figure. It met and exceeded my expectations. Ghost is a beautifully detailed sculpture and the care 3A put into the saddle, wraps, bags and wooden (freak’n REAL WOOD!) slats are incredible. Old Ghosty is currently the crowned jewel of my collection. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when (not if) 3A tops him.

FINAL SUMMARY

Me and Scott agreed that the Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse Super Set could very well be THE toy of the year. While Emit holds his own well enough with almost all new sculpts and clothing, together with the incredibly impressive Ghost they are a true thing of beauty. The fact is, you’re not just getting a couple toys. You’re getting a toy and a legitimate artistic sculpture. People tend to refer to 3A toys as extensions of Ashley Wood’s artwork. Some say the toys themselves are an art as well. I buy into that to a certain degree due to the impressive level of detail and creative work that goes into the majority of their releases, but toys are still toys. This is the first time I can say with a straight and slightly smug face that 3A has created a true piece of art.  When I went aftermarket swimming to hunt down my own set I thought for sure that it’d be worth it. I just had no idea just how blown away I was going to be when I finally had it in hand. I know I sound like I’m fawning over it fanboy style.. but it really is that amazing. I have friends who have never collected toys in their life who are currently looking to score a set themselves because they’re so impressed with it and want it on display in their office. It’ll make a believer out of you.

If you missed out on this fantastic set do yourself a favor and hunt it down. Just pay the ransom and bring it home. With some evil-bay sellers asking upwards of $600 for a set, it can definitely be a pricey endeavor.  Keep an eye out and hopefully you’ll find one within your price range. Either way, I know you won’t regret bringing it home and I can promise that you’ll love it just as much as I do.

Unless of course you’re dead. Which if that be so.. again, my condolences.

Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse were judged on their own merit but rated as a set – Knives

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GALLERY

       

Coming This week!

Alright, we had some great content last week with some super additions to The Workshop! This week, we hope to top that and actually get some more TOY REVIEWS under our collective belt! This is what’s coming this week.

– Yes, yes.. I know I said this last week but this time I PROMISE! The much delayed, yet totally worth it 3A’s Blind Cowboy and Ghost Horse Review!

– The Workshop will get a truly awesome new tutorial that will knock your socks off. Most in-depth one yet with over 30 pics.. stay tuned, you’re going to love it!

– We’re going to do our first ever NON-THREEA toy review! “By the power of Mattel, I have the…”

– Of course Wednesday’s Wallpaper of the Week will have some nice new eye candy for your desktop

– If the gods smile on us, we’re hoping to launch an exciting new regular feature on the site as well. More on that to come.

– Other things to look out for that may or may not actually appear.. sandwiches, mogwai, silly hats and of course, beloved Croatian melodies from the 1920’s and 30’s.

 

– knives