ThreeA Real Steel Atom
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.
Real Steel was the greatest science-fiction action movie of 2011 and a true masterwork of modern cinema. Criticized by the unwashed masses as 'Rock' Em Sock' Em Robots the movie', Real Steel is actually based on the 1956 Rickard Matheson short story, Steel. Steel was also the basis for a 1963 The Twighlight Zone episode of the same name. In Real Steel, generally unpleasant but sometimes lovable people control remote control robots to kick the snot out of each other while an absentee father grows closer to his son and we all learn the true meaning of family. That meaning, apparently, is that directing robots to beat the piss out of each other for sport is better with family.
Atom is the third release in 3A's Real Steel line and the main robot in the film, rescued from a scrap heap and repaired by Hugh Jackman and his not-too-annoying kid. Atom is explained to be an old sparring robot, designed to take a beating but not made to put out much damage. Atom is also special because he has a visual control mode, able to be directed without use of the controller, which plays an important role during the film's climax.
ThreeA's Atom is as premium a production as high-end toys go, oozing with detail and articulation. The fit and finish are great, but not quite perfect. The paint is without fault and incredibly detailed. The actual engineering that went into this toy is insane. I called 3A's Ambush a feat of modern toy engineering, but Atom is far more advanced, featuring ratchet and clicky joints, more lights, greater range of motion, and a far higher parts count. In something of a new trick for 3A, a small number of pre-production Atoms were sent out for review in time for the official release on Bambaland Store, 3A's direct ordering site. The preorder from 3A lists Atom as shipping in 3rd Quarter 2013, but I would assume the figure itself is complete and final.
These prerelease Atoms do not come in official packaging, but rather shipped in nondescript cardboard boxes with shipping notices drawn on the sides in marker. Check out my unboxing video to see this packaging and my first impressions of Atom.
For my full review, check out the HD video above, then read on for the gritty details!
3A's Atom is 1/6 scale, so he stands around seventeen inches tall. He towers over the previous Atom releases by Jakks Pacific which are 1/12 and 1/18 scale, and lousy.
Compared to our standard Glyos figure, Atom is a behemoth.
As the Bambaland exclusive version, Atom comes with a 1/6 scale 'bot controller. It's a nice little add-in with sharp detail and a great screen decal.
The controller looks great held by a 1/6 fellow. If I had a remote controlled friendly robot, we'd do the sickest stuff.
Atom features battery powered gimmicks. The torso has a compartment for three AAA batteries. The door comes out on a double hinge and features a sliding tab to lock closed.
The switch for the torso gimmicks is on the other side. Bonus points to the first person that can actually find it in the photo, the switch is tiny! I actually had to use tweezers on the switch, since I recently cut my finger nails.
The AAA batteries in the torso power the blue lights in the body, but they also power the fan between Atom's shoulder blades. The fan spins at a nice speed to look good, but not crazy fast that it is dangerous or anything. I did notice that from time to time the fan catches on its housing and stops, but I can't quite tell where it is getting hung up. It's no problem to tap it and get the fan moving again, but odd nonetheless.
The back of the head has a removable panel that reveals another battery compartment held in place by two small screws. These batteries are 'AG1' button cells, the same as those used on Ambush. If you're headed to the drug store to buy some, look for ' SR621SW'. These batteries power the eyes.
Atom's boxing glove hands feature articulation at each knuckle, a swivel at the end of the cuff, and a big ball joint in the wrist.
Obviously the glove-looking hands are not super dynamic, but the thumb is on a ball joint and the range of motion is good.
The elbows are one of the most impressive areas on Atom. There are multiple layers of panels and pistons and joints in the elbow and shoulder, providing a high fidelity of detail.
The folding and sliding panels allow for the elbow to bend further than 90°, allowing Atom to get into some tight defensive boxing poses that Ambush could not pull off.
The feet have a downright silly number of moving parts, but are also Atom's one real weak point. There are springs and pistons and two different ankle joints and two foot joints and all sorts of detail. The only problem is that the ankles and mid-foot joints are a little looser than they should be. Atom is top heavy by design, so having less than rock solid feet can be a problem when trying to pose him in more dynamic positions. Fortunately, Atom is built well for having so many parts. My toy took a tumble onto my hardwood floor while shooting the review and I was pretty sure I would be doing the rest of the review on a pile of broken parts, but he actually survived without anything other than a few jointed parts popping off. Still, the ankles could be tighter. Some nail polish on moving parts will probably help.
My favorite detail is Atom's trash can lid-looking butt flaps. They are fully articulated with ball joints and hinged swing arms. Atom has the most dynamic butt cheeks of any toy I have ever seen.
Atom's head, neck, and collar area feature even more crazy detail. The neck is ball jointed at the top and bottom, and the sleeve is made from soft plastic so it does not inhibit motion in any way. The two collarbone parts are on ball joints so they move with the ball jointed and piston-covered shoulder assemblies.
Seriously, there are more moving parts here than I can even keep track of, and nothing feels fragile. I cannot even imagine how much the toolings for the guy cost, considering how many freaking parts there are.
The Atom logo is nicely painted, but I seem to recall that it lit up in the film. That would have been an awesome little detail. The dents in the torso armor are also super convincing.
So, that's all the small stuff. All put together, everything combines to make an incredible package of detail, articulation, and more detail.
This toy looks like a practical film model and still feels like a solid adult plaything. It's the best of both worlds, combining detail with function, and I love it.
Atom can do all sorts of convincing boxing poses, but I don't actually know anything about boxing so this is all you get.
I would be remiss if I didn't do some comparisons of Atom with ThreeA's first Real Steel release, Ambush. I gushed about Ambush back when I reviewed him, but Atom is on another level in terms of engineering and articulation. The lights and fan gimmick are more impressive, and there is so much more motion to Atom. I still prefer the paint job on Ambush, but that's more the fault of the character design. 3A did a fantastic job nailing the rusty bare metal finish on Atom.
The funny thing is, even with the clicky joints on Atom, Ambush is still more stable. 'Bush has thicker legs, bigger feet, and tighter ankles. If Atom's feet were tighter he would be more stable, but Ambush inherently has a more solid stance.
Regardless of all that, Atom and Ambush look incredible together. These are two labors of love for a wonderful underappreciated film. They are beautiful mecha toys, not statues or fragile display pieces.
The next (and apparently last) ThreeA Real Steel release is Noisy Boy. I might have to break down and buy a Midas to do some good fight poses with Noisy.
Atom is available for preorder as of this review directly from ThreeA on Bambaland Store, with a retailer version without the controller to follow. He is selling for $320, which is a lot of cash to drop on a toy of a movie that kind of came and went. I loved the film and think Atom is absolutely worth it. Fans of impressive robot toys who did not see or enjoy the film may still want to give Atom a thought, because he really is that nice of a toy production. Simply put this is a toy made by people who really cared, and it shows.
Of course, if you get one 3A Real Steel figure, you'll need another so they can fight...
Thanks to ThreeA for the review sample!
|Posted 15 April, 2013 - 05:53 by Prometheum5|