Adventure Kartel Mumbz

3A
Numerically it is definitely the 3A toys in the ascendency in my collection. In the “Adventure Kartel” line there was a 2013 release of steam-powered mummies (or Mumbz as creator Ashley Wood dubbed them). Released in a four-pack or in blind-box singles I only ordered one because the pictures 3A released prior to the sale were, basically, awful.

Well these turned out to be a whole lot better once they reached us than the promo pictures had suggested. They did a really good job of the paint with nice subtleties between the different colourways and an amazing job wrapping the bandages. And wow! Suddenly one was not enough…
threeA Mumbz
So now the grail is a glow-in-the-dark variant, which definitely seems to be the ultra rare version!

Milk

Covalent

On occasion 3A produces something which doesn’t quite fit in with it’s established line. Sometimes this is a brand new product line or a licensed product from a comic or movie. Very rarely it is something like the Milk Dropcloth.

Dropcloths have been issued in a large variety of colourways and some of these are now very hard to find and potentially costly to buy if you can find a collector willing to part with one. What they all have in common though is that the colourway – the paint and symbols on each – relate in some way to the storyline behind World War Robot and one of the factions fighting in that fictional war.

Except Milk.

Hong Kong Lactose CorpSo far no attempt has been made to explain the presence in a group of fighting robots of a Milkman, complete with scale bottles of said dairy product.

Admittedly he is armed with a pistol, so arguably he could be a covert operative, apparently bringing your daily pint of calcium enriched goodness but really ready to assassinate enemies of the state, or maybe he just carries the sidearm to make bill collection easier going up against feisty housewives (or house-husbands). Alternatively maybe he is out to eradicate the lactose intolerant, but this seems the least likely scenario.

The figure was released in association with a Hong Kong produced magazine called Milk. My understanding is that it is a design related mag, nothing to do with dairy products or farming.

However Ashley Wood the creative mind behind 3A chose to take the magazine’s name more literally and rather wonderfully include not just miniature milk bottles but feature as a design in the Dropcloth fabric itself a molecular diagram  for lactose.

Additionally the legend ‘COVALENT’ is printed on the DC’s left forearm – and my gratitude to Mad and Scott of 3Albion for telling me that lactose has covalent bonds in its chemical make-up and helping me to puzzle out the meaning of the marking.

MKAs to this particular Dropcloths scarcity, well there were apparently only 300 manufactured, which for a toy with a potential global market is a pretty small number. This inevitably increased both its rarity on the market and its resale value. However after many months of waiting for Milk to surface and then watching as the price went beyond my modest budget, finally I was lucky enough to find and secure number 009 of 300.

Almost my first action on receiving him was to reverse his skirt! As distributed the front cloth bears the name of the fictional ‘Hong Kong Lactose Corp’ and a little cryptically C12H22O11 which is the chemical formula (C12H22O11 ) representing lactose – Thanks interwebs for providing that tidbit of info. While the back cloth shows the more intriguing and in my opinion more beautiful aforementioned molecular diagram of lactose. Once that was done I just had to distribute his supply of milk bottles around his various pouches and arm him appropriately to take some quick photos.

I don’t care that he has no official place in the “storyline”, he is one cool robot and maybe the quirkiness of a fighting machine with a milk round is what appeals the most

😀

Zombie Hoard

Early in 2012 the toy company 3A offered a pre-order of figures in a blind-box assortment. Blind boxed toys are a sort of lucky dip where buyers know roughly what they are going to get for their money but not exactly what. This is an established and particularly popular distribution method for many toy makers and artists, with the prospect of pulling a rare (& therefore valuable) variant acting as an incentive for buyers to gamble on a product, often buying multiples to increase the odds of getting something a little special.

In this particular instance 3A fans would receive a random selection of Zombie toys (or “Zombs” Ashley Wood’s name for zombies) from a range of about twelve variants all in the company’s 1/12th scale – referred to as Action Portable or AP. All that was clearly known, based on some rough sketches posted online in advance was that there would be three categories of zombies available – standard, war and robot zombs.

In addition there were two releases where buyers knew exactly what they were getting in advance. A three-pack of Zombs with three different head/hair variations each wearing a different coloured boiler suit and also a single Shadow Zomb all in black available exclusively to 3A Associates (aka ‘members’).

Now an admission. Until this release I just didn’t “get” the 3A Zomb design. In fact in general I’m not a big Zombie fan despite their increasing popularity across many media.

Additionally I made an assumption that like traditional blindbox toys these would be truly random, so ordering say three toys from a range of twelve didn’t guarantee three different variations, the odds make it pretty easy to end up with two or worse three toys all of the same design. In fact it turns out 3A’s fullfillment wasn’t blind at all. It appears that for anyone ordering between two and twelve figures 3A sorted out what was sent in order to guarantee no doubles – a fact it would have been much better for the customers to have known in advance!

Anyway, as a result of my assumption and general “meh” regarding zombies I was pretty happy to pass on this drop and not pre-order anything.

What. A. Fool.

It took the usual number of months after the pre-order date for the Zombs to make it out of production and begin to ship, and when they did and people started posting up pictures of what they had received I realised I had made a big mistake.

These were awesome! A truly cool combination of good design and playability in a perfect pocket size.

So began the hunt to make up for my short-sighted error and chase down some of these Zombs on the secondary market. But of course there was a problem, some of these figures were rarer and therefore always going to be hard (or worse, expensive) to find.

The initial excitement seemed to be about the War Zombs of which there were three variants released. But it soon became clear that two variants with high-top sneakers and slogan’d shirts were possibly rarer – the NYCC Zombs (based on a design previously released in 1/6th scale at the New York Comic Convention).

Then there were the Zombots, human bodies with robot heads only two colourways of these were made. Then the commons, the Boiler Zombs (an umbrella label because of their variety of coloured boiler suits being their most distinguishing feature) with some differences in faces or hair styles.

Finally the non-blind box figures, whilst popular seemed to be significantly less sought after almost certainly because buyers had known much more about what they would be like – only sketches of these had similarly ever been shown but the colourways were at least named ahead of time and the was no random element to what you received.

The other big factor in what made the blind boxed Zombs more sought after was a mistake or possibly some misinformation which happened during the pre-order. It seems many buyers thought they were limited to ordering a maximum of three figures. Why or how this misunderstanding arose I don’t know as I wasn’t ordering any, but later when they shipped it became apparent that many had limited their order to three pieces, but others had ordered more, some as many as ten or twelve figures. The net result come delivery time was a shortage of doubles and worse, even more people trying to get hold of some of the figures they didn’t get within their allocation but now desperately wanted.

The secondary market in the wake of this toy drop was madness, some Zombs were changing hands for three to five times their original cost. Many people were doing straightforward swaps, but because of the perceived rarity of some of the variants trades were not always going to work. The only way to succeed in this situation is patience. Wait for the excitement and feeding frenzy to die down and then pick off bargains or trades when sanity has returned.

So my Zomb collection grew, slowly. Now it is of just enough size for me to name it a hoard (a very modest hoard).

But those NYCC Zombs are still eluding me. I’d be happy with just one of the pair, but for now it’s a waiting game.

 

Nefarious Finger Gang

#7, #10 & King Thumb#10

#7

King Thumb

Hume, Zomb, whatever we own you.

#10

#7

King Thumb

TheFinger Gang blow into town, their boss King Thumb wants some attention from Cherry Shadow, the alter ego of Little Shadow. Apart from Little Shadow being kinda pissed that some lowlife bot wants some, king EMO himself, Tommy Mission (part time boyfriend and nutbag to Shadow) doesn’t take it too well either. rev up the TEARS !

Nefarious 10 Finger Gang

Oh this was a difficult sale, so many figures so little budget! So this ‘gang’ of ten zombots is made up of eleven figures. Gang members 1 – 10 and their leader, King Thumb. The difficult decision facing those of us with insufficient budget to buy all eleven figures was which ones to go for. As soon as I saw King Thumb’s sledgehammer I was pretty sure I wanted him. It looked great in the pre-release images and it looks even better in hand. Given that he also has a pistol and a japanese short sword plus a long coat, there were too many temptations to resist him.

Then it was about choosing a number. They are all different colours, and they pretty much have different weapons. My first instinct was to get #10, in his yellow boiler suit and with four pistols he just looked so cool, and I liked the boldness of #1’s pink colour scheme. But in the end it wasn’t too difficult to make #7 the second choice. I loved the contrast of the red and white, I loved the rocket launcher. In hand he is a great figure, better than King Thumb really despite all his special extras.

Subsequently I decided missing out on #10 Had been a mistake, so having sold on a couple of older non-3A toys I used those funds to buy him on the secondary market, inevitably he was more expensive than he’d have been on release, but not excessively so given that he seems to have been one of the most popular post sale pick-ups – presumably because he fits so well with the EMGY colourway figures…

For the record, given more pennies I’d have grabbed #1 and #3 as well, in that order of preference – although given the disappointing difference in the blue boiler suit between #3’s promo images and the finished figure I may have regretted that. If ever there was a case for re-colouring a figure I’d opt to have made #3 bluer! In fact if I can get him in a trade later I may re-colour the boiler suit myself.

FuriousPurpose the toy

"Grumpy" FuriousPurpose by Rosemary Beetle

“Grumpy” FuriousPurpose by Rosemary Beetle

I have received the most amazing gift.

A one-off, handmade, custom toy of me as my digital alter-ego FuriousPurpose.

Having just left my job of the past 29 years, the people I worked and traveled with, the friends I have made during those years have gone crazy and spoilt me rotten. Their generosity in word and deed has been very touching.

And a great embodiment of that sentiment is this unique and fabulous keepsake. Credit and thanks for the sculpting and making of this figure goes to RosemaryBeetle [@rosemarybeetle]

Standing three-inches tall, the “Grumpy” edition of FuriousPurpose is based on Frank Kozik’s Smorkin’ MonQee – “The Peoples Soldier” an image of which is my avatar on most digital platforms. Given my propensity for jeans, the tell-tale green garment, plus a pint of real ale, only the abundance of hair leans more in the direction of the look of the toy than the reality!

For some images of how Rosemary Beetle made it, see his Flickr set.

Thanks Andrew.

f-legion 0024491

f-legion0024491Becoming a 3A Associate – joining the club – makes a lot of sense, not least because of the discount on the toys they sell through their Bambaland store.

You also get access to exclusives, most commonly a different colour variant to the main toy being sold. Plus each year there is a membership pack. This year that pack includes a cool messenger bag and cap, but also a unique toy, for members only, f-legion0024491

In 1/6th scale this is part of the Adventure Kartel sector of Ashley Wood’s toy lines, he is a character making his debut in 3-D form.

Here’s the blurb: “A relic from the NORTHERN SUBURB wars, the only remaining member of F-LEGION.”

“F-LEGION were experimental cyborgs designed to help the ADF against the hoards of robots pillaging the northern suburbs of New Andria!”

“0024491 was the only member to return from the mysterious ROBOT ISLAND after an ill-fated assault.”

“0024491 has never spoken of the mission and to this day still carries on his prime directive to protect the northern suburbs from all trouble merchants and shit stirrers.”

This figure seems to offer a number of firsts, apart from being a debut character, he also has sneakers with a new design, jeans, and a zip up fabric mask with eye-holes, for menace or anonymity… who knows?

I don’t think he’s the first AK figure to be armed with a baseball bat, but it is certainly not a commonly featured weapon.

Unusually he came poly-bagged with header card rather than boxed. Again this may not be a first, but it is out of the ordinary for a 3A figure.

I was really looking forward to this figure and on the whole I’m pretty pleased with him. In the pre-release promo images his clothing looked cleaner, and therefore the jacket looked blacker, the grime effect has made this come out as more of a brown than a black. Generally I’m a fan of the dirtied up look of 3A stuff, but this time I think I’d have preferred the cleaner blacker jacket. I’m pretty sure the sneakers looked a different colour too.

However I love the head sculpt, a completely new look with a strong brow and very effective eyes. The jeans are excellent, as is the baseball bat, the wood finish is very well done, although a visible mould seam slightly lets down the overall effect. 3A veterans are quick to suggest that things like this seam are indicators of a lowering of quality control in the production, maybe as a response to increased number of customers and increased output of products. I don’t have enough of the older figures to make this comparison, and I’m left liking this figure too much to worry about a few small shortcomings. bagged

Counting Bodies Like Sheep

WWR CAESAR Gravedigger

3A Lux Caesar. Here we go again.

Caesar’s Gravedigger colour way took a while to grow on me. I was already a fan of the Heavy Bramble Gravedigger, I still have ambitions, if not space, to add the WWR 1/6th version to my collection.

shieldBut in the first previews of the Caesar it seemed like there was too strong an emphasis on the gothic G logo, both on the body and on the shield and the whole seemed over simplified, especially in comparison to some of the more sophisticated use of symbols on other variants.

cross and shovelThen as I started to see more images, as he started to land with new owners across the globe I was struck by both the brilliant use of white parts, a single hand, a shoulder, the fingers of one hand, and the consistent use of the same shade in other markings, stripes on a forearm, the ‘cross’ on the ‘drop-cloth’, the gravedigger’s shovel.

The more I saw it the more I realised this was a cleverly balanced piece with the dominant black/grey emphasised by the use of the white.

Another thing that crosses my mind is that I was maybe unconsciously choosing the opposite of my first choice, Deep Powder Commander. A predominantly white variant, contrasting well with the dominant dark shades of  Gravedigger.

Counting Bodies Like SheepMy preference is obvious, I am no great fan of  the very popular  3A Black & White combo, Nightwatch and Daywatch. Whereas these two have the appeal of weathering, rust, wear and damage.

There is a place for shiny and new (see RIP003) but maybe I like my bots to remind me of the familiar armoured fighting vehicle toys of my childhood, the tanks and similar models I built from an early age.

Present armsA quick word about weapons. Another small influencing factor in this choice was the Bertie Smrtgun (no I didn’t miss-spell it, it’s a cool name with a missing vowel – blame Ash). Deep Comm has the more familiar Claxton 80, the same weapon as my EMGY Armstrong, so it is always nice to discover  a bot comes with a new gun. And this is an interesting weapon, much more futuristic than the Claxton, it has sleek lines, a weird angular stock I don’t like , very similar to the equally ugly stock of the the shotguns carried by the Dropcloth’s – The Smrtgun also has a large cylindrical sighting mechanism offset on one side and at the business end, not a traditional sight, but a mini-drone – some kind of computerised sight which can rotate so that it’s sensors point off in any chose direction.

There is also the PAM handgun, styled in a much more traditional way, looking like a modern automatic from many a present day movie or cop show.

Worm FoodBut best of all, like the other Caesar’s Gravedigger comes with the Harmonic knife. In this case, in a single flat black/carbon colour, I don’t know why it is that the idea of these sophisticated fighting machines using the basic butchers tools of an earlier age is particularly appealing, but it works. That knife, in his mighty grip looks oh so menacing – easy to imagine why he carries the legend ‘Worm Food’.