“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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.