Today, I have the privilege of reviewing a 1/6 scale prototype action figure from the fine folks of ThreeZero. This time, it’s a figure based off the 2014 Robocop film reboot, the EM-208. These bots were probably the coolest looking things in the whole flick.. even if they (spoiler alert) were only used in the first half the movie and were basically canon fodder for Robocop.
I actually just watched the film the other day for the first time and while some of it remains close to the original Robocop, it’s certainly not as gritty or near as memorable as the 1987 classic. The entire time I was watching it I kept thinking of all the different ways they could have made the movie so much better… and that ending? OOF!
Eh.. it’s a rental.
That sentiment doesn’t reflect my feelings for ThreeZero’s bot. This being a prototype, some things may change and there’s probably a couple of things that should.. but out of the box, ThreeZero has delivered a highly accurate, articulated toy version of the EM-208 that should definitely please fans!
There’s been few collectibles that I’ve reviewed where I’ve found myself so conflicted as I have with 3A’s Real Steel series.
On one hand, you have the film from which the toys are based. Certainly, far from the worse film ever made.. but just as far, if not further from being anything I’d consider a classic. There’s not a lot of reason to get excited when someone points at a generic box and says, “Hey, that box is full of Real Steel swag! I can’t wait to see what’s inside”, said nobody ever.
On the other hand, you have 3A who have a knack for deftly tackling technically and visually challenging figures. It’s something they do so well, they could probably make action figures pulled from Battleship Earth and people would still be hard pressed to resist picking up a figure of Jon Travolta on account of his. “amazingly realistic alien goatee and forehead weathering!”
And that’s just the thing. There’s a lot of reasons for someone to be interested in these guys. I know some of you out there really enjoyed the film and have been picking up the figures because the franchise and the characters are something you really care about. Just like I know some of you grabbed them because they’re really cool looking robots and you can’t resist a cool looking robot. I’m sure some of you even picked them up because you’d blindly buy anything 3A puts out, banking on quality. Those and all of the ones in-between are all perfect reasons I’d say, to consider adding some Real Steel goodness to your collection. For me, I take them for what they are, great looking and impressive toys.
The final bot (that I know of) from 3A’s run with the Dreamworks franchise is this big purple guy in front of me, the ever-so-glossy, samurai-esque, Noisy Boy..
Remember that time we reviewed a Real Steel robot from the toy wizards at ThreeA? Well, sirs… it’s that time again! Stomping into my living room is the hero of the film, (unless you count Hugh Jackman or the kid.. but who in their right mind would count the kid?) Atom! Dun-duh-duuun!
I won’t drag you through my thoughts on the film itself.. I think I covered that well enough here and here. What I’m going to do, and really, all I need to do.. is talk about this big ol’ robot sitting in front of me.
Image property of Dreamworks Animation
I want to make sure everyone understands a couple things before we jump in.
First, this is a production sample! What that means is that, while it should give us all a pretty good idea as to what we can expect when Atom shows up on doorsteps later in the year, ThreeA is still busy tightening bolts, refining the paint, tweaking the joints and all around making him a bunch better before committing to full-on production. So keep in mind, some things may change between now and then.
Secondly, let me quickly point you to our disclaimer page. I do this because we’ve gotten a few emails and such concerned with whether or not our opinions could be biased in a positive vein towards free samples we receive from toy companies. Let me say that, in short, it’s our strict policy here not to hand out positive reviews simply because a company sends us stuff. I have a lot of stuff.. I absolutely don’t NEED more stuff just for the sake of getting stuff (My wife’s on the brink of disowning me and my stuff as it is). This site, however, is something we’ve painstakingly spent the last couple of years building up and we’re not going to throw away our cred (street or otherwise) just on the passing hope that a toy company will occasionally toss something our way. It’s just not worth it! Of course, we’re fans of these things first and foremost and we have respect for the individuals that have the wherewithal to put these things together, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this.. but if something is not to our liking/standard etc, you’ll be the first to know!
We can’t promise that our opinion on things will be the same as yours, but we can promise that our opinion will always be honest and our own and in no way colored by obtaining free stuff. Continue reading →
Are you ready for round two? Coming out swinging from ThreeA is their latest but definitely not last fighting robot from Dreamwork’s 2011 movie, Real Steel. While Midas won’t be their last bot in the ring, hopefully that will be my last use of boxing metaphors for this review.
I make no promises.
Last year, ThreeA’s Ambush turned out to be a pretty big surprise for me. If you check out the review we did of him, not only was he one of the most detailed toys I’d seen from ThreeA yet, he was a ton of fun to pose and photograph. I enjoyed reviewing him far more than I imagined I would. So much so, that I put him as one of my top toy picks of 2012!
When the postman delivered Midas and I finally got the opportunity to unbox him, I experienced a fairly odd realization. Midas arrived to me with even more of a disadvantage hanging over his head than Ambush had. With our Ambush review, I went into it with only the knowledge that I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie. Thusly, I expected little from the toy. Ambush got the upper hand on me, in no small part, due to the element of surprise. I was sucker punched by his coolness! (Ok, here’s a dollar for the overused metaphor jar) From the second I opened the box I couldn’t get over that guy. I forgot almost completely he had anything to do with a robot fueled b/kids movie (one that 10 year old me would have LOVED, mind you) and was simply enarmored by the incredible work ThreeA had done in making that robot real. I expected nothing and Ambush delivered far more than that. Midas on the other hand, well..
I see you ThreeA and I know what you’re capable of!
image copyright Dreamworks Animation
Midas comes in the exact sort of packaging that Ambush did. You can expect the same kind of minimalistic design elements with Midas’s insignia hung front and off-center. A nice, large, magnet-fastening lid covers the heavily packed bot inside. Once again, Midas’s stats are laid out for you to brush up on if you like. His aren’t as embarrassingly sad as Ambush’s were. In fact, his background reads more like that of a violent felon. His impressive mohawk is mentioned twice.
A fighting robot doesn’t need a whole lot to make it in the world today. Just like Ambush, Midas comes practically accessory free. Some may find that a bit boring, but you can’t blame ThreeA for it. Fault Dreamworks for not designing him an awesome robo-comb of some-such.
Hmmm.. a deluxe flowbee maybe?
As the version I received from ThreeA is their official bamba version, it did come with a cool little remote control accessory. Like I said in the Ambush review, it’s well done and cool to look at, but with no one to hold it.. it’s mostly just display clutter for me. Back into the box you go, less ye be lost!
Update – 2/07/13: There have been a few comments from folks saying that their Midas did not come with batteries. There’s a chance that ThreeA included them with mine to make it easier for me to get this review together. If so, big apologies for the misinformation.
Update 2 – 2/08/2013: Confirmed that batteries do NOT come with Midas. It was included with my sample to assist in the review. Sorry for getting hopes up if I did. At least the batteries are cheap! 🙂
One thing of note: Midas actually comes with his eye-light batteries preinstalled! Huzzah! I am seriously happy 3A decided to include them this time around. I say this particularly because some battery sizes can be very difficult to find in certain remote regions. “Someone” could spend the larger part of their weekend trying to hunt them down by driving back and forth all over an island in the middle of the ocean looking for them. Just like this “someone” did when he had the opportunity to review 3A’s MGS REX.
I was stoked to find I would be avoiding that hassle this time around.
At first blush, Midas is everything you’d expect him to be. Big, gold, dinged a bit and sporting a ridiculously bright red mohawk.
He’s painted up bright and gold (though it reads more orange/brown in most light) with some red accents. He’s tatted out with all manner of tribal tattoos head to toe, which begs the timeless question of.. on a scale of Ed Hardy to Affliction, just how douchy is Midas? 🙂
Ol’ Midas has been busy too! He has all manner of dings, dents and scratches running all over him. That was one of the things I really liked about Ambush as well,the asymmetry in the weathering and damage. An unfortunate notched mishap on his right arm does not mean the same for his other. It definitely adds to the realism of the character.
I’m not really much for gold, but Midas’s paint is actually really quite good. I wouldn’t say it’s as believable as Ambush’s or that it was as carefully applied like that on MGS REX, but it’s still definitely good. Since Midas is predominately painted gold (or “gold leaf “as the background statistics on his box specifically state) his rusted/damaged areas are pretty much just silver to represent the metal underneath. There are some variations in there, some layers, but they don’t read as clearly since the hues of the marks are so close to that of his top coat. It does the job and looks fine, just not quite as well as Ambush’s scratches and marks.
Ambush gets a leg up, I think, largely because his color scheme lends itself better to reality. He may be bright blue, but with the rust and silver metal showing through, you feel like you may have seen an old pickup truck that looks like him somewhere.
One thing that bothered me about Ambush was that it was difficult to get him to maintain any extreme poses. Some areas, like his arms were fairly easy to sort out and pose however you like. But his overall bulkiness, coupled with is small feet and limited hip range make him difficult to balance in any pose much more creative than his two feet planted side-by-side.
This is where Midas knocks Ambush on his butt.
Where Ambush has shell-like armored bits that need to slide over and around one another just so you can twist and turn him, Midas is basically made up of easy to use, undeterred, ball-joints. Very little gets in the way of moving him around.
His arms have several joints running the length of them which let you easily get Midas into any type of boxing stance you can think of. Midas’s hands are also articulated so you can unclench them if you feel like giving him a break after the big fight. Thumbs are posable too.
Remember to keep your elbows in, knees bent, chin tucked and always watch your opponent’s eyes.
Below is a link to a quick video where I show some of the impressive articulation Midas has at his disposal.
Note: We’re working on bringing more video content to you. We want to get things to a point where it’s as regular around here as all these beautimus photos. We’re still working on getting the quality up, tweaking the video codecs and trying to establish some semblance of quality. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our shiny new RTR video intro! ~ knives
Now just because Midas is easy to move around doesn’t mean he lacks in detail or intricacy. Like Ambush before him, he has a bunch of joints decorated with functioning pistons. Small flexible wires are attached at his elbows, legs and hips. They look cool and seem to be firmly in place, but I am a tad worried they’ll become brittle over time, especially at his elbows. It’s the one element that stands out as “fragile” to me on Midas.
Just check out those lats! Dude’s totally crushing his morning hot yoga sessions. The photo above (hopefully) illustrates a cool element of Midas’s design. His… I’ll just call them shoulder blades, slide in and out as you move his shoulders around. Details like this make Midas fun to play around with.
Midas also has the coolest Iron Man-esque boots ever. I really love the way they came out. To go with an appropriately snug, yet very forgiving ankle joint, the feet themselves are hinged as well allowing for him to go up on his toes a little, just in case you want to send Midas off to ballet school.
So what else.. what else? OH yeah. This guy can practically do drunken monkey kung fu. Midas is SO well balanced. It won’t take you two minutes to get him standing, Karate Kid style on your kitchen counter. I didn’t get a great shot of the ability, but hopefully enough to get the point across.
Unlike our buddy Ambush, Midas is nimble, lightweight and (at least on the one I got) all his joints give/take exactly how much I need them to. His feet have just enough play to where you can adjust them to support an impressive amount of offset weight. This single feature kicks Ambush’s hiney soundly into next week.
The light up eyes look pretty sweet and thanks to ThreeA supplying the batteries, you can enjoy it from day one.
The eye’s are super cool but I was a little bummed when I read the inside flap of Midas’s statistics and saw that the official movie character featured a “fiber optic mohawk”. A fiber optic mohawk?!! That would have been so awesome to see! While that info was pulled from the movie and was never an advertised feature of the toy, it would have been pretty great if ThreeA managed to pull it off .
Instead, ThreeA used stiff, paintbrush-like bristles, which stand up like something you’d see on a Roman soldier’s helmet. I’m sure there’s some complex engineering mathematics going on behind it that I could never fully understand as being the driving reason they went with the brush hairs instead. I accept that. And don’t get me wrong, it looks sharp as it is. But how cool would it have been to switch on those lights and have his whole mohawk glow a vibrant bright red hue?
Ahhh, C’est la vie.
I actually didn’t know at first that there were already batteries installed so I went through the trouble of hunting down a tinee-tiny screwdriver to see what I could see. Seriously, I’m lucky I have a few of these laying around from my PC building days… what would the average person use to access the batteries? Maybe toy companies should keep in mind the kind of tools the larger majority of consumers keep around their pads before they go slapping screws the size of butterfly teeth on their toys. Tiny screws are fine for holding bits together that you’re not meant to mess with, but for a panel that you may want quick access to, a more common screw size would be appreciated.
THE FINAL WORD
I don’t think I like Midas quite as much as I did Ambush. That being said, I think Midas is, without question, a much better toy than Ambush turned out to be. So what’s the deal?
Midas beats down Ambush round after round (Cha-ching! Another dollar for the metaphor jar!). He’s far more posable and stable. His joints move easier and hold in place as they should. He doesn’t feel near as fragile as Ambush did as he’s made up of mostly solid pieces. On top of all that, he comes ready with the batteries you’ll need to run the lights in his eyes.
In short, his glowing eyes look dope, his paint looks dope, his mohawk looks dope, his boots look dope, his various moving robo-parts look dope, his posable thumb looks dope. I just want to be crystal, this bot is dope!
Honestly, the only things I have to whine about with Midas are mostly aesthetic, meaning, my own personal taste. I mentioned before I’m not into gold and Midas is well.. gold. He’s also covered in terrible tribal tattoos like some weird future robot from the 90’s. He turned out to be completely true to Dreamworks Animation’s original design.
Well, completely true-ish. The character’s mohawk is officially made from fiber optics, not paint brush hairs, but this is the toy and not the movie.. grumble.. grumble.. grumble.
Despite how much better of a toy Midas is than Ambush, I still believe I like Ambush a little more. Mostly it’s his rusty blue pickup truck paint I dig. I just love his paint app and how nice and contrasty his colors are. Plus all those finicky “steel shell” bits that encompass his body, while cumbersome to grip when positioning him, give his form some layers and depth, which I really like as well.
It’s simple really, both are cool. It’ll come down to what you personally prefer.
Quick side note: I never did figure out what the little black plastic flaps on his shoulders are for…
ThreeA has once again done a great job that further cements themselves as masters of their craft. With Midas, The Real Steel/3A union continues it’s impressive journey. They’re two for two, will you be ready for round 3? (*cling! I’m steady filling the jar)
Top notch looking bot with great detail and sculpted damage
Fantastic articulation and balance
Very solid paint application and weathering details
As close a replica to the on-screen version as you’ll ever see
Batteries included!(update – 2/7/13 :possibly.. possibly not) (update 2 -2/8/13: confirmed they are not included)
Some of the body wires hinder movement which means they are more prone to break over time
It’s a shame the mohawk hairs aren’t made of actual fiber optics or a similar material.. that would have been something to see!
Might be a good idea to use more common sized screws on battery access panels
I’m starting to think I need to watch Real Steel again…
A big thanks to ThreeA for getting Midas out to us! Lily ^ thanks you too. ~ knives
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