Veterans Day

In honor of our veterans, thank you for your service!

America

salute

*The toy shown is 3A’s Jungle Vet – to read the full review click here – > https://radtoyreview.com/2012/05/03/review-3a-jungle-vet/

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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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*Review* IDW’s SDCC 2012 Zomb

INTRO

This year’s SDCC was my first. In previous years, I’d find myself staring and drooling at all the cool exclusives offered at the con. This year I’d actually have a shot at scoring them first hand. The slightly annoying bit is that unlike the past few years, my “want” list was pretty light. A couple prints and two or three toys were all I was after. At the tippy top of that tiny list was publisher IDW’s Zomb from their Ashley Wood created series, Zombies vs Robots.

IDW had a presale a few weeks prior to the con. I was dead asleep when it went live, but through some randomness of chance I woke up in the middle of the night, glanced at my phone and saw the words “SDCC Zombs up for sale!” on my twitter feed. In a half-asleep blur I worked my way through their site and secured my two.

Though blind boxed, the zombs were available in two skin colors with two different colors shirts for a total of 4 different combinations. The boxes themselves were supposed to have a color coded dot on them, but the stickers rubbed off several of the boxes in transit.

The color codes are as follows:

Blue = red shirt, grey skin
Green = white shirt, grey skin
Orange = red shirt, orange skin
White = white shirt, orange skin

(thanks for laying it out dtrain!)

For this review, you might notice my zombs have marker doodles all over their shirts. That’s because I asked Ashley Wood to sketch on them. Rufus Dayglow was standing next to him when he started and used him as a bit of inspiration. Thus the birth of “Rufus Zomb”. On my red shirt zomb he sketched a simple, smiling girl and the words “Fun Girl” underneath.

Like most sketches you’d get from Ash, they’re pretty quick renders and a little on the sloppy side. But I love ’em. Rufus Zomb is da coolest!

PACKAGING

Sweet. That’s what I said when I saw the box art for the first time. ZvR played a huge part in getting me into Ashley Wood’s art (that and his stint on Metal Gear Solid) and the box is smothered with illustrations that call back to that fun comic series.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

3A is apparently making a play to help save the planet by doing away with the toxic plastic bubble shell. Either that or it’s a lot cheaper to wrap toys in torn up bits of cardboard. The Zombs are basically free floating amongst the strips, but the padding works well to keep them safe and snug. The Zombs come accessory/poster/extras free. Just them, you and the room.

THE BREAKDOWN

These are the first Zombs out of 3A (cough, IDW) that actually looks scary. With their pitch black eyes and craggy maw, these are some sinister creatures.

They still have similar stylized hair and the big ears that their Adventure Kartel brothers do, but they feel very different. Far more ferocious. These are the runner Zombs of your horde. Unlike the boiler Zombs who slowly lurk around the shadows, the ZvR Zombs run screaming at you from the alleyway, teeth bared for flesh. The paint app on his head and body are really nice. While the grey skinned Zomb appears grey overall, his skin is mottled with specs of blue, brown and black. In fact, it looks like blue is the base color and the main grey fleshy skin tone is painted over it. Once again, there’s no blood to speak of but the paint is broken up in such a way that it gives off a nice decaying flesh look.

Other than the new head sculpt, most of ZvR Zomb’s getup it borrowed from elsewhere. The slim body is used for the first time on a Zomb which adds to their overall agile appearance. But as expected, it’s the same one we’ve seen on Rothchild and the RVHK TKs. The red chucks (which I really dig) are Tommy Red’s, the cargo’s probably from one TK or another. The hands are actually interesting because they are technically a new sculpt, but we saw them first on Rehel. Thing is, as of this writing, Rehel hasn’t shipped yet. So in some ways, the hands are unique to the zombs and it’s Rehel who’s reusing them.

Whichever came first, the Rehel or the Zomb doesn’t really matter I suppose. The hands sculpts are cool and I doubt these guys, or Rehel will be the last we see of them. The tattered and torn tee-shirts lack the usual front “3A” logo or Ash image. Instead we get a blank front and a brain graphic that reads “brain pie orgy” on the back. That worked out fine for me since I was able to get Ash to doodle in the available space, but I thought it looked a little unfinished before.

I didn’t realize this until posting, but apparently I didn’t get a good shot of the back of his shirt. At this point, I’m too lazy to drag my camera out, pose, light and reshoot him. Thus, I hope you can piece together the general idea between these two images.

I don’t really consider different color shirts much of a variant so I sort of wish I’d gotten on grey skin and one orange skin, just to have one of each. I say that now, but when I was looking at them at SDCC, the orange skinned Zomb was very orange. The orange read more like a “special” colorway like Shadow, Inky or Blanc than something that can naturally stand with the rest of your regular collection.

One big difference between my zombs and any other figure in my collection is the way their joints work… or should I say, sound? Even though I have Rothchild and a RVHK TK who both share the same slim body as these Zombs do, neither of them feel/sound the same.

My Zomb’s joints pop. As if I’m moving tiny gears, there’s incremental clicks at every major joint point. My buddy Scott was the first to notice this. We never got around to opening his to see if they shared the same “feature”, but I’d assume since it applies to both my Zombs that it’s not a unique trait.

I’ve yet to notice any hinderance caused by this, but it’s a little off putting, especially the first time it happened. Popping, creaking or cracking toy joints do not usually mean things are going as you planned.

Popping joints aside, I’ve had a ton of fun with these two in the short time I’ve had them. They pose and balance very well, they look super cool and there’s just enough new on them to make them feel original.

Going over these guy with a fine tooth comb I did notice one thing that seems to more or less underline the kit-bashy ness of these guys. Taking the new Rehel hand’s and stuffing onto the slim body may have seemed like an easy no fuss idea. The problem is that Rehel’s wrists are a good deal larger than those on the slim body. At some angles, it looks like our boy is wearing flesh colored gloves or zombie Hulk hands.

Without the long boiler suit or tracky jacket to cover it up, I more than once stopped to look it over. I still can’t decide if it actually bothers me or if it’s simply something I noticed looks slightly out of whack. It’s not a deal breaker by any means. A fun toy is fun toy.

FINAL WORD

Zombs are fun. I didn’t “get” the Aventure Kartel line of 3A toys until I got my first Zomb. The classic 3A boiler is among my favorite figure in my collection. The head sculpt on him is probably the best we can expect to see from 3A. The other iterations of the Zomb head designs have been good, but they haven’t been able to hold a candle to boiler’s.

This is the first time a Zomb has come out that I haven’t felt compelled to compare him to the previous Zombs. There’s no need to see how he stacks because he feels so different than the others. While they’re still laced with some 3A charm and maybe the slightest tinge of  classic zomb goofiness, the large majority of what you get with a ZvR Zomb is far more scarier and evil looking than what we’ve seen before.

The ZvR are some of the more versatile 3A (cough, IDW) figures yet. They can mesh with just about anyones collection. They can sit with your AK Zomb horde and represent the faster/vicious/runner Zombs that Tommy and his crew fear running in to. You could throw them up on your Popbot shelf and give your TKs something to chop at. They also work well with the bots in your WWR collection. It can’t really be Zombies vs Robots without robots, right?

I really love the ZvR Zombs. They look great, they’re fun to play with and my pair happen to be doodled on by Ash himself. Admittedly, that may have caused some bias.

A part of me enjoys the exclusive/limited drops, particularly when I score. I’ve been on both sides of the boot so I know how it feels to miss out. I feel super fortunate that I happen to wake up in the middle of the night and lock down my preorders. So many did not and missed completely. As much as I love exclusive toys and “winning” cool limited things, I do hope we see another version of this guy down the road for general release. It’d be a shame to relegate his coolness to the paltry few who via happenstance, got lucky.

Pros:

  • The new head sculpt is really cool/evil/vicious/bitey looking
  • Really like the Zomb/Rehel hands
  • The grey skin has a lot of nice paint texture on it
  • The only SDCC 2012 exclusive I was really excited about and I managed to score it.

Cons:

  • Clicky joints. Slightly terrifying.
  • A little on the kit-bashed side of things
  • Orange skin is a bit too orange.
  • As an exclusive and an awesome one at that, it’d be a shame if the general 3A Zomb collecting population didn’t have a stab at owning at least a variant of him

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*Review* 3AA Membership pack/F-Legion

INTRO

And so it came to pass that in the latter months of 2011, a membership was purchased. This membership offered a prayer of discounted toys and exclusive releases. Verily, as 2012 wore on, the faithful grew restless and sore afraid that their membership might naught appear before year end or worse, 2013.

Hark brethren! I bring good tidings of great joy! The 3AA Membership has arrived and heralds with it a mighty host of geeky goodies!

PACKAGING

What is this packaging you speak of? Essentially, the 3AA pack IS the packaging. It shows up in your standard issue 3A brown box, but inside there’s no artwork, no real “packaging” at all. Just the messenger bag wrapped in plastic with everything else stuffed inside.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

The first and most important item included with the 3AA pack, isn’t an item at all but the 15% discount you get on each and every purchase you make at bambaland. If you’re a member for 2012 (and have had any interest in the drops thus far) you’ve been enjoying that as well as a sprinkle of 3AA exclusives for about six months now.

The excess includes a messenger/laptop bag, baseball cap, membership card and 3AA’s first 1/6 offering, F-Legion.

THE BREAKDOWN

I’m going to start with the “extras” before I talk about F-Legion. For some, all this stuff is “extra” and the membership is all about the year long 15% discount and the 3AA exclusives you have access to. For me, it’s about the discount/exclusives AND the included 3AA figure. The rest of this stuff is the extra sauce that some will savor, some will spit out. The laptop bag surprised me. I’d heard many a negative rumble about it weeks before I’d even gotten mine in so I had very low expectations. I heard everything from it being “too small” to “cheaply made” to simply being “crap”.

Maybe I’m alone, but I like it. Don’t shoot me.

I’ll just address the three common complaints directly. Too small? Really? What the heck are you carting around crazy people? I can easily fit my wife’s larger, clunkier, older 15 inch macbook pro and it’s charger. I’ve also put in there a Wacom tablet, standard sketchbook, an iPad, a couple of backup drives and some light reading material. Even with a Zomb tossed in, I still have room for extra chargers and a PSP or Vita if I felt so inclined. All you peeps with 17′ plus laptops need not apply.. but come on, “too small”? I simply can’t agree with that.

“Cheaply made”. I’m no laptop bag connoisseur, but I’ve had my share of good and bad bags. Currently I have a really lovely hand made leather bag that will only fit the bare essentials as well as a tried and true (though currently at the forefront of falling apart) booq bag I got a few years back. The 3AA bag isn’t made of kevlar, but it seems to be of the normal kind of quality that you’d find on low to mid range bags at your local Best Buy. There’s large clips on straps and velcro inside to safely secure your laptop as well as a few extra zipper pockets to hide your stuff. The 3AA logo adorns the inside of the flap which some will dig if you’re down with the font choice. I think it looks nice enough. Two faux iron on patches decorate the front flap. Both make stabs at accurately portraying Mr Woods sketchy art style and do so well enough. However, you might shield your children and grandmother’s eyes if you fear they’ll be shocked by what looks like an eight year old’s rendition of a topless buxom babe.

So yeah! I think the bag’s cool. Useful even! I’ll probably even carry it around SDCC this year since my booq is failing me.

Le’ hat on the other hand…

It’s not that the cap is all that terrible or anything, it’s just that it strongly favors those with tiny heads. It’s fitted (not elastic) so there’s zero wiggle room. It will either fit you or it won’t. Most likely it won’t.
I haven’t sported a ball cap in years. It’s just not my jam/style. So even if it fitted me perfectly, it’d wind up in the back of the closet collecting dust.
I suggest you just give it to your kid or the neighbor’s and call it.

Honestly, this is what I’d consider the most useless piece of the whole kit: the membership card. It is cool that it has some nice Ash artwork on the front as well as your name and member number pressed into it. I guess there’s a sense of “now it’s official” but the actual real world usefulness is nil since you’ve already been experiencing the benefits of being a 3AA member for the past 6 months without it. For those that trip out over getting theirs year after year, I can only assume it’s a little like slowly building a collection of annually released baseball cards. Next year you’ll have 5!

Now we come to the meat and potatoes of the pack, F-Legion. The name for our friendly neighborhood 3AA fig comes from a rather sorted past. Some say it was A. Wood’s response to “haters” on other forums, people questioning his work ethic, personality or quality of his toy line. Others have said that it came from a misunderstanding concerning a Facebook based ThreeA BST page, where Wood thought his newly dropped toys were being bought and flipped for 3 times their original price. Many have taken some small amount of offense to it, believing that it’s essentially an “F you!” to the opinionated and dedicated fans who helped make Wood the success story he is. On the other hand, it could just be an obscure unrelated nod to the ever growing “3A Legion”.

I don’t know what to believe nor do I really care. F-Legion is here regardless of the why or the inspiration behind his existence. And as it turns out, he’s actually an alright dude.

When you first open F-L up, he’s zipped up head to toe with a hoody and balaclava on. From the initial preview pics I was really excited for the balaclava simply because it looked sorta Batman or Casey Jones cool. A crime fighter in a street thug mask. I dug it. The execution of it is terrible though. The eyeholes don’t line up at all and the zipper forms some sort of odd mohawk like shape over his dome.

To top it off, it’s sewn to his jacket. So whether you have F-Legion dawning it or not, you’re stuck with it. It’s a pretty odd/lame move on 3A’s part. In it’s own way it’s still an alright accessory. Pose him with his jacket hood up and over it looks appropriately menacing as long as you don’t’ pay too much attention to the uneven eye holes. Have him zipping it up or down looks pretty cool as well. So there’s stuff you can do with it though worn as intended just looks silly.

You can tuck it up under the hood of the jacket or even roll it back and down behind his back with a little work. That way it’ll become quickly out of sight and kinda out of mind. Just be careful with it. Mine started to fray and come apart at the seams immediately. Literally. It’s cheap, ie poorly made.

We don’t need no stupid odd shaped balaclava anyhoo, F-Legion’s face sculpt is awesome! I absolutely love the menacing little dot eyes and the simple, carved robotic grooves that run down the sides of his head. The tight lipped overbite and clenched jaw make him look like he’s all business, ready to kick some serious Zomb butt. The dark hue of his robo-skin looks really nice too. There’s just the right amount of weathering to give you the sense that you’re looking at something made of metal.

Of course by being robot in origin, F-Legion also is the beneficiary of the same fantastically fun hands that have been a part of 3A toys since almost the beginning. Much like the super sweet/superior Jungle Vet (review here) before him, the amount of character the articulated fingers give F-Legion is difficult to measure. I just put a bunch of gold star stickers all over the place to show support!

Moving on to what covers his would-be naked robo-butt. My man has a newly fashioned jacket with an afore mentioned hoody (and by proxy, annoyingly attached baklava). I really like the way it looks. For some reason it reminds me of a dock worker or something someone working on a ship would wear, so we took a bunch of these pictures on the docks.Where the real intrigue and “hmmmm”s come in for me, is that when the thing is all zipped up F-Legion looks a lot like Bamba-lad, an Ashley Wood character that’s been around as long as I can remember. Bambas have been released since year one from 3A but none have been (very) articulated and that’s something a lot of us have been pining for.

pic credit: ThreeA

In short, the whole deal makes me wonder if Ash/3A have a fully articulated version of the character in the works at some level. It’s all blind speculation, but here’s to hoping! At the very least I can bet we’ll see some talented customizers give the idea a spin.


So the jacket looks rad, but the zipper on it sucks. Much like you’re stuck with the annoyingly sewn in baklava, you also can’t unzip the jacket all the way. Well, you can, just know that if you do, it’s no easy task to rezip. 3A, in their infinite wisdom didn’t include the crucial little part that keeps the zipper from going off the end of it’s track. Heed my words, “DON’T UNZIP THE JACKET ALL THE WAY!”

Another problem with the jacket is the massive pieces of stiff velcro flaps that jut out the sides of his collar. Aesthetically they look terrible. One side has a cloth covering so it looks fairly natural, but the other side is just a big rectangle of velcro. I wish 3A had just used a little snap or something instead because much like a pair of Walmart khakis, obvious velcro just cheapens anything it touches. I tuck the velcro side in for display which helps a little.

As you can see, FL doesn’t have a the obligatory 3A tee that most figures have under their jackets, boilers or hoodies. Instead you get a bare chested decal, ala superman insignia. It works alright with this particular figure because why would a humanoid robot need anything more than the most basic articles of clothing to blend in with everyone else? Still, combine the fact that the jacket isn’t made to be unzipped all the way or taken off with the total lack of an under shirt and it becomes pretty easy to see that the entire figure is the result of character design carefully balanced with cost cutting.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing by the by, it’s just the reality of it.

A cool feature of F’s jacket is the built in holster loops on his back for holding his zomb brain busting baseball bat. I’m not sure how practical it is or even how he’d actually access it, but it sure looks cool.

At first, F-Legion’s jeans were the best we’d ever seen from 3A! They’re fitted enough to look modern, yet loose enough to allow for a ton of movement.  The wear on them looks really believable as well. Things stay pretty sexy right up until you lift F’s jacket and reveal that these things are actually TJ Max mom-jeans in disguise. Who’d-a-thought a BA robot like F-Legion shopped at discount women’s clothing stores.

Keep the jacket DOWN and we’re back to being cool.

The new kicks F-L comes with are super nice! While other Adventure Kartel figs sport chuck tailors or doc martins, F-L gets a pair of vans-esque foot gear. It’s always cool to see some more variety come to 3A’s figures. The detail and sculpt of the shoes are really nice! Also for what I believe is the first time ever, 3A actually painted the laces separately from the rest of the shoe.

F-Legion comes with a baseball bat to contribute to all things Zomb bashing related. It’s yet another brand spanking new piece of kit you get with your 3AA exclusive figure.

While It’s definitely a cool accessory for your zomb thwacking army to have, I wish I liked the actual piece as much as I did the idea behind it. The bat “works” for the most part as it looks like a bat, albeit a rather chubby one and F-Legion looks cool swinging it around.

The part that bugs me is that it’s not nearly as refined as it could be. It’s basically a tan piece of plastic with some quick weathering dabbed on. There’s an incredibly visible seam that runs the length of it which makes the whole joint scream “whiffle bat”. If they’d put just a little extra work into it and added some grip tape or possibly a decal, it would have made a world of difference.

Before you go calling me a “stickler “or something that means “unnecessarily picky”, please know that I’ve been slightly spoiled by the fantastic custom work of my buddy Simon (aka. Goatbot) who’s fantastic custom 3A bats have been rocking the scene for several years now. Check his workshop tutorial here if you missed it. He made this bat for me and named it after my wife, which I thought was a fancy touch. It may be cleaner than F-Legion’s, but it’s much more accurately tooled and a heck of a lot bloodier! At the very least his custom piece has shown me that it all comes down to character and while good enough for government work, F’s bat lacks it completely.

The new slim body has been pretty popular of late. The RVHK Tomorrow Kings (review here) and Rothchild (review here) both use it and F-Legion is no different. There’s not a ton to say further about it other than you get to enjoy a very wide range of articulation thanks to it and F’s forgiving attire. It works well with the figure.

FINAL WORD

So there it is, the 2012 3AA membership pack. All laid out in exhaustive detail. It would have been awesome if we had gotten this thing a little earlier in 2012 but I try to think of it as a mid year reward for patience pack. The past two years that I’ve been a 3AA member have been incredibly worth it. The amount of monies the discount has saved me on purchases easily paid for itself. These extras are about the only thing I feel warrant a debate of value at all. The opinion of the computer bag is split. I found it to be “useful” as it fits all my stuff just fine. Others, whom I can only assume are made up of people who mistakenly consider a 17 + inch, water cooled laptop “portable”, have called the bag “too small” and “complete trash”. To each their own. The ball cap falls in the same ball park, if you’ll excuse the pun. I wouldn’t wear it regardless of if it fit my large-ish noggin or not. It’s just not my style. Others might have really enjoyed adding another wearable brim to their entourage.

Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on or how much better you wish they were, let’s be honest, they’re not WHY you bought the membership.

F-Legion is incredibly close to being a classic 3A figure. He hits a ton of the right notes but misses the mark completely on so many others. Like something that’s only beautiful from afar. I ended up really liking him, but only when I didn’t look at him too close..

You’re stuck with the bakaclava since it’s sewn in. You certainly don’t want to unzip the jacket all the way unless you want to struggle for a stupid amount of time rezipping it. By minding that precaution, you’re stuck with the jacket as well. Even if you didn’t care about the jacket ever zipping up again, to tear it off would mean to expose the terrible mom jean tops which F-Legion tries to hide as any decent person who conceals that kind of shame.

As I played around with F-Legion I started to feel like I had to experience the figure as Ashley Wood or 3A intended me to experience the figure instead of how I’d preferred to. It’s a strange thing to say about a toy, particularly one you can move around and change so much, but . Could artistic design which attempts to force user perspective truly be at work here?

Maybe it’s not that grand. Maybe it’s just easier and cheaper to make a toy without fully functioning zippers, weird mom jeans and sewn in partially realized crappy masks. Maybe it’s as simple as that.

Maybe.

F-Legion is a mix of a little old, but mostly new. A blend of a few finely crafted pieces and a couple of half-assed shoddily spit up bits. Like a 4 cylinder engine in a corvette. It’s still cool looking, light and peppy, but there’s so much “why would they do that?” going on it’s impossible to love.

Pros:

  • The new head sculpt is SICK!
  • Once again we get awesome robot hands
  • His overall design works really well
  • Awesome new shoes
  • The jacket is MOSTLY a good thing
  • The jeans MOSTLY rock
  • Another unique and fun Adventure Kartel figure

Cons:

  • The bakaclava is terrible. Mismatched eyeholes and cheaply sewn
  • It’s also sewn to the jacket, which knocks the jackets cool factor down a couple slots
  • The jackets non fully functioning zipper
  • ugh, mom jean tops
  • baseball bat could have been better
 

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