*Review* 3A Real Steel Midas

INTRO

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!

Wow me.

image copyright Dreamworks Animation

PACKAGING

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.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

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.

THE BREAKDOWN

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.

Poor guy.

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)

PROS:

  • 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)

CONS:

  • 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

For more info on our review policies, please check our “About/Contact” section.

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ThreeA’s Epic WWR+WWRp Harold pack presale


Coming our way Feb 6th @ 9am (Hong Kong time so check your time zone) is ThreeA and Ashley Wood’s long awaited new massive bot, Harold. Harold will be available in 15 different color options with each pack including a WWR (1/6th) and a WWRp (1/12th) version of the tread rocking bot.

Price will be $300.00 a piece and he’s expected to be available for 24 hours at http://www.bambaland.com.

Check the chart below for all the color options that are going to be available.

Wallpaper of the Week

Today’s wallpaper is from William Chiok! You can check out more of his stuff on instagram @ williamchiok76.

Thanks William!

click to download

William Chiok

Let us know how we’re doing! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and stay updated!

If you’d like to contribute to Wednesday’s Wallpaper of the Week, send us your images and a little info about yourself to radtoyreview@gmail.com.

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*Review* 3A’s WWR NOM the 4th and NOM Disciple 27

INTRO

Occasionally we’ll throw the switch and review something that came out a few months back. Today is one of those days as we’re tackling both 3A’s Nom 4th and Nom Disciple 27. We somehow let them slip by when they first dropped on our doorstep but still feel that they’re interesting enough to warrant a few mumblings. In fact, if you read our “Top Toys of 2012” post, you already know a little bit how we feel about them!

It was back at SDCC 2012 that I first peeked both NOMs. Nom 4th, Ashley Wood’s revamped take on his iconic Nom De Plume was one of the most exciting items I saw on display at 3A’s booth… heck SDCC! If you like, check out some of the shots we snapped in our beastly Comic Con 2012 coverage article.

The month prior to SDCC, ordering both NOMs was one of the most hesitation-free toy purchases I’d made. After seeing them at SDCC, I was confident that once in hand, these guys would be the jewels of my collection.

Whelp, as it happens..

PACKAGING

Both NOM boxes look great. Ash’s paintings, depicting each character individually, are splashed on two panels of each packs surface which is perfect for displaying if you’re the kind of guy/lady/lady-man-lady who enjoys doing that.  It’s the kind of box art I enjoy the most from 3A/A. Wood.. minimalist design over some fantastic art.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

Both NOMs come with two twin silver pistols, a baton and a spare pistol holding hand. Each figure have a full sized poster featuring the box art packed inside as well.

THE BREAKDOWN

As it was NOM 4th who first caught my eye at SDCC, he was the first I unboxed. I cut open the wrap and flipped open the lid. Ahhhh man, he looked great. The iconic NOM De Plume single red sleeve, the red lenses in the gas mask, even with all the new additions, it’s unmistakable NOM.

The new hoses are nice and flexible. I wouldn’t necessarily call them “soft”, but they’ll most likely adjust to where you need them to. Like them or not they definitely change his look enough to clearly identify him as a separate and unique character. 4th isn’t a quick and easy color swapped NOM. He’s not the same old toy with a new toy’s price. In fact, everything on him is brand spanking new.

Built on a completely new 3A body type, 4th has all new mask and glove sculpts that look really nice. The paint, weathering and tailoring on him looks top notch all around as well.  Weapon-wise, gone is the old school De Plume pistol. It’s been replaced with a larger and much shinier new piece, of which you get two. NOM also comes with a riot baton that looks pretty swanky in it’s very own sheath.

I’m really loving the new boots that both 4th and 27th come with. They have actual laces, a first for a 3A toy and are made of a synthetic leather like material. On top of that, they’re soft enough to not impede any poses you might want to toss NOM into, yet feel sturdy enough to hold up well to bending them around. A definite positive notch for well made durability here.

The weird thing is, 4th comes by default with two relaxed hands installed and a single spare capable of holding a pistol of which, again.. he has two. So the other is for what.. balance, symmetry, personal feng shui? Not including a second pistol holding hand is one of those odd toy manufacturer decisions that you’d swear was simply a case of miscommunication between the floor manager and the guy packing up the pieces to ship out.

Someone did no get the memo.

Other than the inability to hold both guns at once, there’s a couple other things design-wise, that seem like oversights with this guy. The hands are made of a very soft rubber. Despite them being supposedly sculpted (and beautifully so) to the specifics of the newly designed hand canons, (or vice versa) the hand’s grip just isn’t firm enough to hold the weapon very well. It can and will, but it’ll fall out just as easily.

Another sadly overlooked thing, remember that cool baton we mentioned a minute ago? Neither hand is really appropriate for holding it. You can sorta wedge it in, where it probably works/looks best in the neutral hand. In practice however, it’s a very loose fit and nothing looks natural about it. It’s odd to have these kind of things in a brand new figure built from the ground up. If anything, this is the sort of stuff that should have been dead-on perfect!

Back to the good stuff! Just look at him! He looks so very cool. Like Tomorrow Kings, A. Wood nailed it when he designed the De Plume. There’s something so very dynamic and appealing about them. It’s difficult to put 4th in a pose that doesn’t flow with character. I literally spent a good hour posing and playing around with him the first day I had him.

Much of what I said about 4th can carry over to 27. The slightly too soft rubber hands, new boots, shiny guns, wicked little baton, multiple hoses and all new sculpts top to bottom. Where the real difference between the two comes in (other than Disciple’s dark complexion) is the hooded shirt.

Characters sporting hoodies are nothing new to 3A, particularly in the Adventure Kartel universe, but this is a first for World War Robot. Some bemoaned the addition as an unrealistic article for someone to wear in battle.

Pssh… I love it!

There’s something so very, I don’t know.. Evil Jedi about the way he looks with all the hoses pouring out from under his shroud. He looks menacing. More a ruthless assassin than a student or disciple. I need to hunt down a spare WWR Caesar knife or TK sword to give him. That seems fitting.

Just like all the NOMS before him, 27 is a mono-sleeved guy. The difference here is that his is tailored in such a cool and unique way. The end flap covers the top of his hands and are hemmed up at a sharp “V” angle to allow for him to hold a weapon unencumbered. It’s a nice look. It kind of reminds me of that goth kid I went to school with that always had his sleeves pulled down over his hands. But you know, way, WAY better.

He may just call back to my love of ninjas, Darth Vader, and Snake Eyes, but even if that’s so, is that a bad thing?

When I ordered him, I only did so because he looked a little different than 4th. I wasn’t really expecting much to get excited about. Even after seeing him first hand (behind glass) at SDCC, I thought for sure that 4th was the hero of the show and Disciple was a sort of bland, dark afterthought.  Nay, nay. This guy is all kinds of awesome. While he shares all of the same short comings NOM 4th has, to my surprise, NOM Disciple has become one of my favorite 1/6 figures.

Back to the topic of shared characteristics, there are a couple other things in the negative column I feel need mentioning. One opinion, one fact.

I don’t love the new guns. They’re bigger, which.. OK fine, but they look like something Dirty Harry would’ve carried. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, but the original NOM pistol is so iconic! It’s the De Plume gun! The new gun just looks a bit more cookie cutter. The shine is pretty off-putting (not to mention a pain to photograph) as well. I guess they’re supposed to look as though they have some sort of  brushed silver plating. But in truth, the effect isn’t very believable and they just look like little silver spray painted plastic toy guns.

The most wide spread complaint I’ve heard about these guys has to do with incredibly loose wrist joints. I hate to say it, but mine both bear the same affliction. I’ve never had joints on a 3A figure this loose. My 4th’s is, for whatever reason, worse than 27.. but both flop around like they’re trying to fly away. When I inspect the joints you can see they have a large gap in between them, when they should be tight. I’ve also heard a few people saying that one or more of their wrist pegs have broken apart right out the box. One has to wonder if the regular wrist peg guy at 3A was on vacation during the production of these figures?

“Ahh, let’s just have Jimmy from custodian services handle this one, it’ll be fine.”

Fogetaboutit!
The good news is, it’s just a wrist peg and a wrist peg is easily swapped out with another. The bad news is, ironically, no spares come packed in. I think every 1/6 figure I’ve gotten from 3A in the last year have come with spares. Of all the figures for 3A not to include extras with.


A wee DIY pro-tip: If you don’t have a spare wrist joint or two on hand, you can try dabbing a little super glue or clear nail polish on the peg itself (remove it from the hand and body first). Make sure to keep the joint moving while the adhesive sets in, otherwise you’ll have a stuck joint. Add as needed and after a bit, a thin layer will build up and stiffen the joint to a more workable level. Easy peasy.

THE FINAL WORD

With NOM the 4th and NOM Disciple 27, you’re getting completely newly fabricated figures, head to toe. While some of the newness isn’t necessarily an upgrade, I think you’d agree that the highs do outweigh the lows.

NOM the 4th is that iconic figure we missed out on years ago, that most of us could not afford today. He truly stands out on even the most crowded shelf and harkens back to the day many of you started collecting 3A. His colors pop and the impact his very presence brings to a toy collector’s shelf is undeniable.

I thought I’d share a notion I had about Nom 4th that isn’t either negative or positive, but moreso something a bit of late night writing coughed up. An observation about the growing and changing goings on with WWR.

When I finally had 4th unboxed and out in front of me, I found myself saying, “Hmmm, no one would ever wear that to battle.”

That’s when it occurred to me, I’m not so sure that 4th naturally fits in with the direction 3A and Ashley Wood have taken the WWR line. Over the years things have grown grimier, grittier and honestly, a bit more drab. The last De Plume’s, Fantome and Barguest were grungy ghost white and murky death black respectively. You could see them trading fire on the battle field and slipping behind their foes, relieving them of the burden of breath. All of the WWR Grunts are dusted in murky, muted tones and are sporting attire fairly appropriate for a war. Same could be said for the bot snipers.. not to mention the bots themselves. NOM the 4th is a little dirtier than NOM De Plume was, a little less art toy and maybe a few shades more action figure.. but to me, he feels like more of a symbol of an important 3A icon than part of the current, ever expanding, World War Robot universe.

The NOM Disciple, with his Jedi good looks, has become one of my favorite 1/6 figures. When I ordered him, I really only did so because he looked a little different than 4th and my other De Plumes. I wasn’t really expecting much to get excited about. 4th was supposed to be the hero of the show, right?  Maybe to some, but to me, the NOM Disciple takes it by a knife’s edge and is all kinds of awesome.

I think the reason I can forgive such glaring QC issues is that despite their mutual shortcomings, you still feel like you’re getting something of quality. From the box art and poster to the stitching on the new laced up boots, these NOMs feel special.

These two figures really are some of the nicer pieces out of 3A in the past year and can still be had for a song or two on the aftermarket. If I had to choose one, I’d probably go with NOM 4th despite digging on 27 a good deal more. Mainly because as a 3AA 2013 member, we’ll be getting NOM Blanc, who’s essentially a grey/dirty white version of NOM 27, as part of the package.  Even if you didn’t snag 3AA this year, NOM the 4th is “the last” of his kind.. or so they say. If that holds to be true, he’s your last chance to grab a classic style De Plume. In the end, either one would be a great choice that I think you’ll be more than happy to have on your shelf.

PROS:

  • These are some fine looking gentlemen with great weathering, paint and tailoring
  • The De Plume redesigns are a solid step forward and feature all new parts, ceiling to floor
  • The new boots are really well done and look fantastic
  • NOM 27’s hoodie adds so much menace and mystery to the character.. it’s truly awesome sauce
  • Love the baton and sheath
  • Your chance to own a classic 3A icon. (sort of.)

CONS:

  • Weak, limp wrist pegs that you’ll want to patch or replace right out the box
  • Only includes one pistol holding hand (but comes with two guns) and no baton holding hand
  • The pistol holding hand is very soft and doesn’t firmly hold NOM’s gun
  • The new gun design, while not necessarily bad looking, is a bit more  generic than the original and iconic De Plume pistols

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