Before we begin there's a few things that you need to be aware of. Before crowinghorse asked me to do this review, I had done a few modifications to Yoji. So that you know what you're getting and what you're not getting I'd like to outline those changes.
- I ground down the shoulders from the outside to give him a narrower silhouette. I also took the whole shoulder join apart and ground down some areas to improve movement a bit.
- I added some medical tape to both his forearm and nose. The nose has a painted strip of tape on it, in some pictures though you will see an actual strip of tape there over it.
- I made my own shoulder strap for his sword that you will see in some photos.
- I have done some weathering to both the pouches and belt with oil pastels.
Tomorrow King; Yoji
from 3A Toys
Yoji is one of (thus far) seven different Tomorrow Kings (TK). The first wave of TK figures included Yoji (orange shirt, black hair), Hideo (white shirt, blonde hair), Kenshiro (orange hair, black shirt), and the rare Blanco y Negro (all black and all white respectively). The figures where sold blind boxed in singles as well as a set of three.
Both the single and sets have long been sold out but if you're still looking to buy one do not despair. Aki (black hair, black shirt) and Oyuban (TK leader with coat and two swords) are still to be released. Aki will be an exclusive to an as-yet unamed retailer. Oyuban will be exclusive to members of the 3A forums. To see images of all known TK figures please visit the 3A forums.
The Tomorrow Kings are the first release in the Popbot line of toys.
This is the usual 3A fair for anyone familiar with their previous products. Very attractive design by 3A and beautiful paintings by Ashley Wood. The box features a flap held in place by a magnet, common to many higher end 1/6 figures. What's a little unusual is that instead of opening to a window box showing the figure in it's packaging the flap opens up to a Ashley Wood painting featuring both the figure and the robot head. The packaging is sturdy and does a good job at keeping both the figure and robot head safe and sound in their long journey from China.
This is not your average realistic 1/6 figure that many of us are used to. It falls a bit more into the territory of "Hong Kong Vinyl" 1/6 figures such as those made by Hot Toys and BrothersFree. Yoji's face is simple and abstract, as is his hair. The lines are all crisp and almost architectural with thin slits for both eyes and mouth and an upswept nose. The head is by far the most striking aspect of the figure and many might find it a little off putting. The TK's also feature unique shoe and glove sculpts. These are a bit more detailed than the head, but not so much so as to seem out of place.
The robot head is a bit different from previous 3A robot releases. It features a bit more detail in the sculpting. The eyes are fairly complicated composed of various inset and intersecting circles. The head also features quiet a bit of sculptural weathering and battle damage. Something only hinted at with Barmble. There's a large gash across the top of the head as well we bullet holes, small gashes, dents, and patches of bumpy rust painted over. When flipped over there's also a load of sculpted detail where the head has been cut from the body; tubes, wires, etc.
Of note here is that both the figure and the head are done in a style a bit different from the previous WWR (World War Robot) releases from 3A. The WWR bots (Bertie, Barmble) are composed of strong simple shapes with an emphasis on utility. Yoji and the bot head are a bit more whimsical and well... poppy. I think, this reflects the style of Popbot versus WWR, well.
The figure's paint work is generally crisp and clean with flat colors for both the shoes and head. The gloves have a bit more going on with some airbrushing from a medium to darker brown as well as some subtle use of dry brushing to create the effect of worn leather. Additionally there's black/very dark brown smears and splatters over the figure as a whole (body/face/shoes/clothing/etc). This is something that could have very very easily been over done but what's here is done with restraint and looks good.
The robot head has a lot more in the way of paint. The overall scheme is a burnt orange not dissimilar to Desert Rat Bertie. There's a wash of a black similar to that on Yoji over the whole head, glossy oily looking drips from it's various wounds, and some silver and dark grey here and there for exposed metal. There's also a fairly obscured white decal on the side of the helmet. The decal has a bathroom-style silhouette of a woman, the number 3, and an art-deco style flower. I find that the symbols are a bit incongruous with that of a giant killer robot and I like that.
Not a lot going on here, but what is, is pretty cool and unique. His shirt has a really nice screen print on the front and back that looks perfectly in scale. The shirt is a tour shirt for Kitty's (one of the main characters in Popbot) band Funlicker (if I'm wrong please let me know, it's been awhile since I read any popbot). The back features the band and tour name, the front features "Bambalad". The only other article of clothing are a pair of short cargo pants (or I guess long cargo shorts). Both the shirt and pants hang well on the body and look great. Each TK features a different shirt but the same pants.
The shirt, btw, is pretty much the same shirt in 1/6 and orange as a Funlicker shirt sold through the Bambaland store a few years back. So if you're like me and lucky enough to have one you can dress up a 1/1 TK if you're so inclined.
What you're buying here is a figure of a Tomorrow King. With that in mind I'd count the robot head as an accessory and it's one hell of an accessory. It's big and beautiful and works well with the figure. The figure also comes with a set of pouches (two large, two small narrow), and a sword and scabbard. That's it. The pouches are very well made, being a bit too large for the figure giving them a cartoony look to fit with the overall theme of it. The sword is simple, the scabbard almost appearing to be an old pipe. Not a lot, if you don't count the robot head. Some extra hands would have been nice, but the hands he comes with are plenty adequate for anything you're likely to want him to do.
The body on the TK's is a little odd. I'm not sure how exactly it was made but it seems very similar to Hot Toy's TrueType in a lot of ways. Most notably the arms and legs are almost exactly the same. I can see some minor difference in them in size/shape but that could easily be from re-casting. The shoulder construction is totally different though as is the torso. What's good is that the torso offers a better range of movement both in the shoulder and in the midsection than the Hot Toys body. I must admit though that the body isn't exactly up to the quality of Hot Toys and is more in line with ACE or Soldier Story. The plastic doesn't seem as nice, the joints not as tight, etc.
So, if you know Hot Toy's body you pretty much know this one. If not it has all the movement you'd expect in a modern 1/6 figure.
Cost and Overall Impression
The singles cost $120, the set $300. There where 300pcs each of the single blind boxes and 75 of the three piece boxset. That makes a total run of 525 figures. At such a low production and high quality of what you're getting (especially with the robot head) I'd say that's a steel. This is especially true if you had bought the set of three. Oh and did I mention that those prices include EMS shipping from China? For me (or anyone else in the US) the cost of EMS shipping would have been about $60US at current exchange rates according to the HK Post website. I'm sure (I hope) 3A gets discounts due to the amount of shipping they do, but still for me almost half the cost of the figure would have been shipping.
This is a great figure at a great price and if you like what you see I'd suggest trying to grab one of the two upcoming exclusives.