3A Toys sixthscale Brambleton MK2 (Deep Powder)
Great packaging much like Bertie's but larger. Ashley Wood artwork all around with neat graphics and paintings. My box when it arrived from China looked like hell. So the interior box was likewise haggard and a bit dog-eared. Fortunately the box is pretty durn sturdy and the figure itself suffered no damage.
If you have Bertie there will be no surprises here, the arms are even the same sculpt as Bertie. The body is again molded in a soft vinyl that makes Bramble both sturdy and light. The limbs are molded in a hard plastic (styrene? ABS?). As I mentioned in my last review both the materials used as well as the painting techniques (more on that later) give the overall sculpt a rather soft appearance, with no sharp angles or edges. This gives the figure a worn weathered look, like that of an old machine. It does not detract from the overall impression at all, if anything it adds.
Last time I pointed out that a good chunk of the $300 (cost sans shipping) Bertie cost must have gone towards paint. This time around Bramble, a larger figure, cost us $250. If you subtract the shipping cost (in my case $68 USD) Bramble cost me a total of $182. My first impression was that the difference in cost was made up for by skimping on paint work. After some photos my opinion has completely swapped. Bramble's paint, is if anything, more complex and at the same time subtler and better executed. The paint pretty exactly replicates the look of old unfinished steel (as seen in some of my pictures comparing to said old unfinished steel). It holds up amazingly well under close scrutiny, in a way Bertie doesn't. If anything it gets better and better the closer you get. I am very impressed, especially considering the cost. You also have to remember this is a factory produced (even if in fairly low numbers) product. This isn't a one off custom.
There's also a variety of cool graphics, my favorite being the snow flake on the top of Bramble's noggin. These are all appropriately weathered and appear to have been painted ineptly... but ineptly at scale. If that makes any sense. Oddly Rothchild's (the robot's fictional creator) crown logo is nowhere to be seen.
Bramble comes equipped with a "J Holmes 80mm spit gun", four sets of pouches, a belt of ammo, and his ammo drum/engine. First the "J Holmes". It's a great looking gun with a lot of need details although few moving parts. Only the two handles are mobile in order to facilitate posing. The paint work, to me, is a bit lacking. Much like Bertie's pistol I find the paint on Brambles "gat" to be a bit sloppier and not as detailed as on the robot proper. In contrast the paint on the ammo drum, is great. There's a variey of both finishes (from nearly smooth to very rough) and color (from a gun metal to white). I wish the same attention had been paid to the gun. The ammo drum also features a danger symbol, the 3A logo, and a printed version of Ashley Wood's signature. The ammo belt I think is the weakest aspect of the gun assembly. It's one solid piece of molded rubber with no weathering at all.
The pouches. When I first saw the pouches in pictures I didn't love them. I hated the black with caked on white paint and felt they looked pretty dang bad. In person I like the pouches a lot better... or rather I like the paint work on them a lot better. They aren't just weathered with white (there's some rust and yellow in there as well) and the white is much subtler than early pictures seemed to indicate. The only issue I have with them now is that they just don't look right hanging from the hooks on the robot's torso. I understand how a belt going across the front of the torso just wouldn't look right, but they should have figured out something. The solution they came up with works even less right.
Again if you have Bertie, you should know what to expect. Like Bertie he has a cut waist/chest, double ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, hinge elbows, ball jointed wrist, ball jointed and hinged fingers, ball jointed hips, and hinge knees. He has two anatomical features Bertie does not, a neck, and feet. This affords him some additional and very important articulation. The ball jointed neck allows a great deal of personality Bertie completely lacks. The ball jointed ankles, that connect his all important feet to his legs, allow him to stand... on his own. This changes a lot in terms of posing options. As far as joint integrity goes, just like Bertie all the joints are very tight and very strong... except for his thumbs, and the cut biceps. Just like Bertie. The loose joints don't hinder posing much and aren't so loose to be floppy. If Bertie is anything to judge by they won't get noticeably looser with time either.
Cost and Overall Impression
Back when I reviewed Bertie I debated the cost. $300 is a lot for a toy, even a super limited "fine art" toy. For me personally it was worth it. I'm a huge Ashley Wood fan and Bertie is a great representation of his artwork. Bramble is a totally different story. At $250 including very fast expensive shipping from half way around the world Bramble, in the current market, is nearly a steal. If you look beyond the cost of shipping, Bramble isn't much more than a Hot Toys figure and cheaper than some Medicom and Takara figures. He's 14" tall, 9 1/2" wide and comes with a 12" long cannon. He has very complicated paint and has fairly low production numbers. At around $200, these days, that's a very good price. Especially if you compare him to Bertie who cost 33% more.
Brambleton is a great toy at a competitive price.