*Review* 3A WWR EMGY Dropcloth 1.5

INTRO

ThreeA, to me, has always been about robots. Even now, with all their Tomorrow Kings, Tommy Mission, Zombs and pointy chested, long legged vixens, big ol’ rusty robots are the first thing that pops into my head whenever the toy company comes up. It was in fact a random image of a WWRp Dirty Deeds Bertie that first caught my attention and led me, cash clinched in hand, to ThreeA’s doorstep. A few purchases under my belt later, still wide-eyed and bushy tailed as one tends to be when their toe is first dipped into ThreeA waters, I set out with the seemingly obtainable goal to get one of each kind of bot in my collection. At first, I was keeping to the smaller, more obtainable bots thinking the larger bot were just too expensive for someone like me who planned to only be a casual collector with a tidy, reasonable collection. Ha! If I only knew then what I know now.

A month or so into my earnest collecting, I accidentally purchased a incredibly well priced, WWR Dropcloth Slaughterhouse. At the time, I didn’t have a solid understanding of the various labels 3A tossed on their various lines, so the lack of the letter “p” generally tagged on the end of the “WWR”, escaped my notice. I foolishly believed it to be another 1/12th bot given the reasonable cost.

Foolishly or not, when the dual hatchet wielding, 1/6 bot arrived on my doorstep, I was thrilled. While a WWRp Bertie reeled me in, it was definitely a WWR Droppie that truly sunk it’s hooks in. Dropcloths were and still are my favorite robots from ThreeA’s arsenal of cool toys. They’re just so pose-able and fun to play around with. Also, their reasonable scale makes them easy to collect and display with a variety of other sized figures. I’ve rotated out, bought and sold quite a bit of my collection over the years for one reason or another, but I have one bot that is securely locked into my “if there was a house fire, grab that” mental category, the WWR EMGY Dropcloth.

In my opinion, he’s simply the coolest looking bot I own, standing front and center on my shelf.

The EMGY colorway is understandably popular. In many cases, it’s rarity seems to be the driving point. But for me, it’s the stark use of  rusty yellow paired with dark black, silver and most importantly, red. Since the first EMGY WWRp bertie (speaking of rare), the EGMY color-way has gone through various changes. Newer bots, like Caesar and particularly Armstrong skipped the red accents altogether. It might seem like such a small thing, but in my opinion, it’s absence caused the newer bots to come out looking a lot less exciting than the original. Even the EMGY grunt, which I think is just a sick figure to have, lacks basically any other color accents at all, leaving him with a color scheme an interior designer might refer to as, “the dirty banana”.

When ThreeA teased us with the first Dropcloth follow up back at SDCC 2012, the Dropcloth 1.5, I was pretty excited.  When it was announced that the EMGY color-way would be among the first available, I was even more excited. Once I saw that the paint app would be a return to EMGY glory days (ie: reds, blacks and silvers) I may have fist pumped the air, shouted, “YEAH BABY!” and held that pose for moment, freeze frame style, in true 80’s tradition.

ThreeA once again made the EMGY drop a random “rare” drop, despite it’s popularity. On the plus side, it was a rare drop seemingly far more obtainable than any other I’ve experienced. In fact, the first time I logged onto bambaland during the sale (which featured Peaceday as the regular drop) I saw EGMY up and purchased him with little fuss. Almost every other time I checked the site, he was still there. I like to think that whoever wanted him at the time had a pretty good opportunity to snag him.

With my personal EMGY history deets out of the way, I am thrilled to finally have EMGY 1.5 in my hands. Keep reading to see how well I think  he stacks up to the OG.

Here we go..
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*Review* 3A WWR Punter Bot Sniper

INTRO

“I have too many Grunts.”

That was my first thought as I unpacked my minty fresh, right off the boat, Bot Sniper. I have EMGY, Jungler, Stealth, DIY and now Punter.

“Why do I keep buying Grunts?”

That was the first thing I asked myself as I unpacked my minty fresh etc, etc…

It’s also a question I already know the answer to. I keep buying Grunts because they are awesome and incredibly difficult to pass up. Historically, all of them have been loaded to the gills (or ghillies? Whamp whaaa..) with gear. You buy just one of them and you have dozens of various load outs and looks you can set up. I think that’s what I like about them so much. Despite their same-ness, they’re all about variety. You can have 4 of the same exact Grunt and have each one look completely different. Gas-mask on/off, helmet on/off, vest on/off, jacket on/off.. you get the idea.

Of all the Grunts, The Punter promised to be the MOST exciting (for me) to date. The words “bot sniper” sent electric pulses from my brain deep into the nerves of my index finger, causing it to twitch over the “buy now” button. I steadied my hand, took a deep breath and as I slowly exhaled, clicked the button.

The wait is over and he’s here. I’ve had several days to play around with him and take some photos. He’s chilling on my shelf right now, displayed in a relaxed pose on the ledge. He’s part of my ever expanding collection, which as I look it over I find myself saying,

“I have too many Grunts.”

PACKAGING

3A continues their fine tradition of plopping some killer Ashley Wood art on the frontside of their boxes. Most of the time, the front of their boxes sport some A. Wood art  while the rest has some minimalistic design business to fill space. In this case, it seems like they went just a little further with it by adding a fun “bot killing point system” embellishment to the side.

One of my favorite 3A posters from SDCC 2012 also happens to be the graphic for the back of the box. DC target practice!

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Punter seems to come with a good deal less “stuff” than the previous Grunts. No jacket, no shield, no helmet, no backpack(s), no multitudes of guns.. all in all, a little less equipped. Lean and mean. The trade offs in gear include his ghillie suit, boonie hat, pistol and that little sniper rifle you may have to squint to notice at the bottom of the pic.

THE BREAKDOWN

I was super excited to get this guy. In just about any online FPS video game I play, 9 out of 10 I go with a sniper. I think I have an affinity for the sneaky, unseen kill shot. To me, it’s way more fun to find some cozy little nook in a tree or bush somewhere with a clear eye-line than to rush in head first into the fray. Ninjas, snipers and thieves for whatever reason, just resonate with me. So of course that would carry over into the types of toys I collect.

So I unpacked Mr. Punter J. Esquire and immediately attempted to load him up with his bot killing rifle. I was hoping I could kit him out with it in some sort of standing/firing pose like one might when hunting fowl.

Wrong. The dang thing is far to big, heavy and awkward for our proud sniper to hold like that. Were the wrist joints, and all associated joints which run up the length of his arm to his shoulder water tight, you might be able to manage it. As is, this gun was meant for prone shooting or at the very least, propped on the bits and pieces of fallen bots.

I know, I know.. it’s a giant bot stopping sniper rifle meant for static, one shot kills, not a run and gun M16. Still, I can’t help but  wanting the option.

So other than lugging an unwieldy bot killer, what makes Punter so different from the other Grunts? Well sir, not a lot. I’d have loved it if 3A had taken the initiative (and the extra time/expense) of sculpting an all new head for Punter. Giving him a grizzled beard those spec. ops guys always sport or something. But no, Punter has the same odd Charlie Brown-ish one eyed squinting mug as all the others.

It’s not the end of the world, he’s got camo painted on and the boonie hat adds some character to him. Wood said he was intentionally designed to be somewhat generic. “Meat for the Machines” and all that. So it’s a fairly neutral sculpt that you could do quite a bit with if so inclined.

Anyway, if he’s doing his sniping job right, you’ll never have the chance to see his face anyway.

Since I’ve had him, I’ve kept his boonie hat on. Like the 3AA baseball cap, it’s a little small for his noggin. It’s as if 3A thinks hats are meant to be worn “floating” on your scalp, with a gust of wind becoming your greatest concern. With some effort you can squeeze it down on his head to where it doesn’t look so ill-fitted. I think it’s rather dashing. All he needs is some cigarettes or a toothpick.

While Punter didn’t come with a coat or backpack, among other things, he does have an extra vest over the standard issue Grunt vest. I can’t tell if it’s meant to serve any other official purpose but aesthetic, but it adds some nice depth to his gear and looks good. Plus I found another use for it I’ll go over later.

The ghillie suit is a little confusing at first. When laid out it looks a little like an ugly bear skin rug with pieces that extend further than the rest but none that are really even. I’m still not 100% confident I’m using it right myself. There are little ties inside that you can use to secure it to Punter in various spots, though I’ve found simply draping it on him seemed to work just fine for me. I don’t know how accurate it is to real life ghillie suits, having never had one myself. It reminds me a little of a tangled lions mane as though he was about to put on a home-made production of the Wizard of OZ. I like lions, so it’s cool.

Setting Punter up in some appropriately textured shrubbery, suit on and high powered rifle at the ready, he really does almost vanish from sight. The tip of his gun extends beyond the camouflage wrap, sure to give off his position to the most keen eyed of targets but in most cases I’d say the camo is effective.

I have to say, the sniper rifle is a bit of a hassle to deal with. It’s long and bulky. The gun grip is big and just fits in Punters right hand. There’s no place for him to grip the gun naturally with his left hand for added support. The extending legs are a really cool touch, but basically, if you want your sniper to look like he’s sniping you have to wrestle him down into a prone sniping position. There’s no short cuts. Once he’s set up like that, barring available shelf space, you’ll probably leave him that way.

I like to move my figures around from time to time. Sometimes this just means simple adjustments that take a few seconds to pull off, sometimes it incorporates other characters and a half hour. I like the flexibility. Because of that, I’ll probably pose Punter in such a way that doesn’t require him to hold his gun. That in itself has it’s own challenge as there is no built in and defined ways for him to actually carry it. No strap, top handle, nothing. You have to get a little creative.

Having Punter hold it under arm like a briefcase only worked temporarily, eventually the wieght of the weapon and the relative looseness of his wrists caused him to drop it. Checking out his back pouches for some sort of loop or strap that I could somehow fasten it to, I realized that the extra “over-vest” was sitting pretty loose on him.

Bingo.

If the over-vest is loose enough, you can feed the barrel of the gun through the shoulder loops on his back. To me it looks pretty official, like it was meant to be carried that way. Near nested tree’s be damned.

I’m not saying it’s the best solution or that it’d be practical in real world circumstances, but for now it works as decent hands free option.

What it really comes down to is that I wish 3A had made the gun so that it breaks down in some way; becomes more portable. Punter himself is essentially a stream lined Grunt. Lean and mean. He should be able to get in and get out of a situation. A sniper needs to be able to move with his gear though. As is, Punter would have to ditch the canon if discovered and run off with his bare essentials.

That being said, I sort of like the bare essentials.

Punter comes with a the same trusty side arm his cousins did. I’m not complaining, I like the gun and the fact that it actually fits properly in his hand. The new hip holster it fits in is a pretty nice touch as well.

THE FINAL WORD

I realize I didn’t have a whole lot to say about Punter. For this particular review, I tried to let the pictures do the majority of the talking. The reason is, he’s a Grunt. If you have one, I’ve covered the differences and you know what else to expect out of him. If you don’t have one well, you should remedy that. They’re great figures! Tons of gear, a good deal of configuration options. All and all, a good time and worth the price of admission.

Overall, I’m a little conflicted. Honestly, I wasn’t completely blown away (pun) by Punter (double pun? Does that negate the first?). He’s a Grunt so he’s definitely cool by association. I like his hat, snug as it is. The ghillie suit is a really nice accessory that gives him a unique look thats fun to play with and display. But the main call sign of this particular figure is overshadowed by it’s ridiculous size. In a sense, Punter’s rifle reminds me of the rocket bullet that came with the TK Heavies. It looked cool and at first, I did all I could to pose him with it. After awhile I just got annoyed with the fact it had no real natural place on the TK and it went back in the box. Despite being a good deal more useful than the Heavy’s bullet, I could totally see myself doing that with Punter’s canon just to get it out of the way. Of coures, without the sniper rifle, what kind of sniper would he be? He’s back to being just a Grunt.

The good news is that Punter is still available at several online retailers and sitting at his original MSP. Even on “the bay” you can pick off a few decent prices. If I didn’t already have so many Grunts in my collection, I’d be thrilled with this guy.

As it stands, he’s a solid addition to my army but not one I’m sure was absolutely necessary.

 

PROS:

  • A different “type” of Grunt for your army
  • Ghillie suit makes the character. Very fun to mess around with
  • Boonie hat looks great on him
  • Gun is an impressive piece of hardware and looks awesome when set up right
  • Nice box art

CONS:

  • His rifle is so huge and unwieldy that it severely limits what you can do with it
  • Same Charlie Brown head sculpt as all the other meat for the machines
  • Take away his rifle and ghillie suit and he’s basically a stripped down version of the Grunt you already have.

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*Review* CS Moore Studio’s Alice in Wonderland

INTRO

Today we’re reviewing one of the first toys in a long time from CS Moore Studio and Zenescope Entertainment, Alice. She’s based off the publisher’s popular comic series, Alice in Wonderland.

I don’t get a ton of time to read comics these days, which I consider to be extremely detrimental to my well being. Short of the comic that come packed in with the figure, I’m not super familiar with the storyline backing her up. All I have is my inherent familiarity with the old school Alice of my childhood.

Well I can assure you, this Alice is NOT the Alice from my childhood.

PACKAGING

Alice comes packed in the same type of classic action figure bubble card we’ve all come to know and love. Some vibrant and colorful artwork of Alice from the comic covers the card and some short intro-info is written on the back.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Along with a much more.. uh, mature Alice, you get a couple of cool extras to accessorize with. The most important of them is probably the mushroom covered base for Alice to stand on. The ever-iconic white rabbit is included as a trusty companion of sorts along with a small bottle and mallet. Finally, you get a copy of the 1st issue of Alice and Wonderland to read up on the goings-on in Alice’s world.

THE BREAKDOWN

I first happened upon these figures at the CS Moore Studio’s booth while attending SDCC this year. I was actually scoping out some prototypes of a few of their upcoming Jurassic Strike 5 action figures when I looked up and saw the wall of Alice staring at me. After a brief discussion with some of the staff on site, I learned that Alice is the first in what they hope is a continuing series of figures based off Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales comic series.

Fast forward to today and I’ve managed to pry open the bubble pack and get a closer look at how CS Moore Studios did with the debut. First thing I noticed was how incredibly well done the paint is… OK, the FIRST thing I noticed was how “breezy” our heroine is dressed for her day out in Wonderland. The quality paint job was second, a strong close second.

Hopefully you can see from the pics I’ve taken just how nicely detailed Alice is. There’s actual gradients and variance in the shades of her skin, along with finely painted details around her skirt. They took care not to let much, if any paint creep over onto neighboring surfaces. With the help of the underlying sculpt, they also managed to paint an attractive female face without making her look walleyed or man-ish. Two things that tends to plague female action figures at this scale.

Speaking of sculpt, Moore did a great job at capturing the likeness of the sexy comic vixen. Yes, she is definitely curvy and long leggy.. wearing something that  would probably be more appropriate for sleep wear than adventure wear. All in all, she’s basically a 35 year old.. AHEM! I mean, a 13 year old boy’s comic book girl dream.

I really like the little white bunny Alice comes with. Most toy companies would have been happy with simply casting a bunny in white plastic and being done with it.. at most giving it a quick grey paint wash. But just like Alice, he’s really nicely painted right down to the highlights in his eyes. The little “drink me” bottle fits nicely in his paws.

As I mentioned before, the mushroom laden stand is the most important accessory you get with Alice as she cannot stand without it. Oh high heels, how’s a girl supposed to go on epic adventures? Thankfully, it looks good and Alice’s feet fit the pegs perfectly. The necessity of the base will serve as my segue to discuss Alice’s articulation or rather, if articulation was necessary on figure like this. Alice is referred to as an action figure. She’s herald as the first in 8 years from CS Moore and camp. The thing is, her articulation is so basic I can’t really imagine a situation in which anyone would play with her as such.

The minimal amount of moveable joints on Alice was probably more of an aesthetic choice than anything. Much like every line a comic book artist adds to a female’s face adds age to the character, adding a bunch of seams and joints to a female figure tends to take away from her feminine charm. Alice has shoulder swivel joints, a waist and neck swivel joint and leg swivel joints. The arms and waist look fine when moving them around and don’t detract too much from the figure. The neck joint is a little difficult to turn due to the hair sculpt draping over her shoulders. The real reason for my ire comes from the leg joints. Since the joints are angled and sit high on her hips, her leg swivels up/back and way out. I can’t think of anything PG13 or below that would benefit from that motion. Sitting for Alice is even a bit on the racey side.

Once you’ve moved her legs from their default position, it’s nearly impossible for her to steadily stand in her mushroom base. So what do you do? You keep her legs exactly where her grandmother told her to keep them, together and down. So you’re back to square one. You’re back to her default, out of the box pose. Moving Alice’s legs more than a few millimeters makes her look awkward and uncomfortable. Moving them at all makes it nigh impossible for her to stand. I managed to get her into a decent walk pose, but she fell after a few moments. Stupid gravity.

To add to the awkwardness that is her semi-poseable legs, the cool little mallet she comes with, doesn’t really fit her hands in the traditional sense. She can’t hold it as a weapon. You can find ways to wedge or prop it.. but it’s obvious that the intended way to display her with it is back in her default, out of the box pose.

So much works so well as long as Alice stays in her default pose. Which causes me to question, why is Alice an action figure at all? Kotobukiya have been doing amazingly well with their Bishoujo line of cute and sexy static super heroines. Static vinyl has got to be less expensive to produce than articulated action figures. I’d be just as happy with Alice if she just came in a dynamic or even simple pose, with no articulation at all.

FINAL WORD

Aesthetically, Alice looks great. That was clear to me before I even opened the package. Moore sculpted an attractive, bubbly and sexy toy. Pop her out of her package, put her on the mushroom stand and set her on the shelf. She looks great!

Much like her comic book counterpart, I think Alice may have fallen through a magical action figure door that bends reality and asks the question, “what is an action figure?”  I’m so used to heavily articulated toys at this point, it’s a little difficult for me to take Alice at face value and accept her as one. On the other hand, tell me she’s a beautifully crafted, static display piece and I’ll bite completely. If you’re in the market for a really well sculpted, nicely painted and sexy action figure, sans “action” to add to your collection, Alice may just fit the bill.

Pros:

  • CS Moore did a fantastic job with the sculpting and paint application on Alice. She’s attractive and true to the source material
  • All of Alice’s accessories are painstakingly detailed
  • Love the bunny!

Cons:

  • With her limited articulation, Alice isn’t really much of an action figure
  • Alice’s one “weapon” doesn’t actually fit very well in her hand. Looks better when propped.

A big thanks to Shelley Moore of CS Moore Studio for supplying us with Alice for review! 

 

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Wednesday’s Wallpaper of the Week

 

 

 

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