Nom de Plume
Review by Prometheum5
Ashley Wood is an Australian artist most recognized for his Spawn comic book cover paintings, Hellspawn comic illustration work, Metal Gear Solid art, and Tank-Girl work. More recently he has spent a great deal of time on his original properties Zombies vs. Robots (vs. Amazons), Popbot, World War Robot, and the newest, Adventure Kartel, working with ThreeZero toys of Hong Kong to form the toy-making partnership ThreeA, through which Ashley’s original designs come to life. ThreeA toys are most recognizable by their incredible detail and weathered paintwork.
World War Robot is a story currently told through two art books (with a third coming!) by Ashley Wood of a world that develops heavy robotics and some degree of space travel, as 1980’s Earth is at war with its colony on Mars, which has declared independence. Both sides are supplied with their war machines by Rothchild Industries, based in an impregnable facility on Luna. The shadow organization NOM (Not Ordinary Men) is working towards some unknown motive, with their most prolific member Nom de Plume being something of the ThreeA mascot. World War Robot was first a 1/6 scale toy line, but has now been complemented with the World War Robot Portable line of 1/12 scale toys. Both lines exist, with promises that most everything will be available in both lines, but the smaller Portable line allows many more color versions to be released at a time, as well as bots that would be prohibitively large in 12” scale (WWR already features the massive Large Martin, 20” tall, so obviously when there’s talk of a bot too big for WWR, it’s REAL big).
The mysterious Nom de Plume is something of the main character in World War Robot, and the 3A mascot, as well as one of, if not the most popular 3A design. The first 1/6 Nom de Plume came out as one of the first 3A toys, and is beyond impossible to find. There have been multiple variations on de Plume since his debut, including desert and snow versions, a black trench coated version, and a DIY de Plume (Do It Yourself) blank figure only given out as prizes. The 1/6 de Plumes set the standard for 3A’s character figures with their finish and detail, as well as being the most enviable of releases. Fortunately, the new World War Robot Portable line is making de Plumes attainable for us mere mortals in the new 1/12 scale. Unfortunately, you won’t find the standard Nom de Plume shown here, as he was released as the 3A Associates (3AA) exclusive club membership figure. More versions are on the way, though!
Nom de Plume (and future Portable Plumes) comes in a blister pack on a card designed to mimic the classic card backs of the original Star Wars toys. The graphics and painting are well printed, and the design is pure nostalgia. The back shows a range of Portable figures both released and upcoming, including the soon to be released Large Martins in 1/12 scale. One thing to note is that the figure cannot be removed without cutting or tearing the bubble, just like an old-school figure. It took me about ten seconds after mine came to have the bubble cleanly removed with an X-acto blade!
In order to maintain the trademark 3A level of detail, with fully working cloth costumes and 1/6 quality articulation, 3A designed an all new 1/12 action figure body from the ground up. The new 1/12 scale body stands 6 inches tall (duh :P), and the new body is effectively a Hot Toys True Type 1/6 body scaled down to half its size, and I’ve no idea how they did it (or who’s actually making it), but they need to keep doing it. The new figure body is amazing, and lays the architecture for many more 3A character releases based on the 1/6 toys. Someone also needs to license this new body from whoever is actually manufacturing it and make new Spiral Zone toys ASAP.
The Spiral Zone comparison is quite apt, as the new de Plume itself is obviously far more influenced by that toy line than Star Wars-type action figures like the packaging. Nom de Plume features a complete cloth costume including a working belt with opening pouches and a real gun holster. The detail is impeccable, even going so far as to include faux-leather straps on the helmet.
Nom de Plume as a character design is really quite striking, and this figure captures that excellently. Nom’s grim gas-masked visage with that massive breathing apparatus tube makes him a fearsome looking mystery. The 3A shirt with one extended sleeve and combat pants make for an eclectic design that has a little bit of a pop flair, while still fitting in as a mysterious operator in a war torn world.
Thanks to the new 1/12 body, Nom can strike any pose you can think of, and look good doing it! There are no compromises on this guy from a 1/6 figure, and in 1/12 you can handle this guy and have a great time. The body features all of the articulation from the latest generation of 1/6 bodies, including complex multi-axis shoulders and excellent body/waist joints. Nom de Plume can look cool and natural while kicking your butt. The distinctive pistol fits a little loosely in the hand but the hands are very soft, so this could easily be fixed. The figure’s grip is still convincing, and the 1/6 level of articulation allows for some very natural and dynamic poses.
The best part of the new 1/12 character figures is obviously putting them alongside the robots! Having humans to march amongst gives the robots a sense of scale and heft that was missing before. In the fiction, Nom de Plume commandeered the 12 Dirty Deeds Berties en route to their mission to assassinate Rothchild. The bots disappeared for a while, and then reappeared under Nom’s control slaughtering troops seemingly at random: one day they’d support the Martians, the next the Terrans, always to prevent any decisive actions from putting one side closer to victory. I put my Nom with to the Bertie 7-Pack Dirty Deeds figure, since that’s the only DD Bertie I have, and they look great together.
There’s no denying that the exclusivity of 3A toys and their awkward release style can be a turn off. I preordered this set when I joined the 3AA club back in January, and the box only just arrived in July, even though it was initially slated for a March release. I will talk more about the long term preorders direct from 3A and their continuing missing of promised ship dates in upcoming reviews, but it is something to be aware of if ordering direct. Many 3A toys also get sold through retailers like Sideshow toys or Big Bad Toy Store, so if you’re looking to buy some 3A products, those retailers might be a safer bet, since they don’t post preorders until far closer to the supposed release dates. 3A toys are highly limited, but if you are on top of the ball for when a release happens, they are not impossible to get. We should see some more readily available de Plumes in the future, and I’d highly recommend trying to get one. If you’re into the detail and quality of 1/6 figures in general, but not the price, or if you’re into 3A toys, the new 1/12 character figures look to be a great buy if this first one is any indication. And please, someone needs to use these bodies for all sorts of different properties immediately!
|Posted 29 June, 2010 - 22:01 by Prometheum5|