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Grave Danger, Tech Savvy A, and Mayan Triaramas
Sixth Scale Dioramas by Triad Toys

Grave Danger Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys


Sixth scale collectors are always looking for cool ways to display their figures, particularly the high end versions that cost them the big bucks. Customizers have been building dioramas in this scale for decades, but what's a poor schmuck with no artistic talent supposed to do?

Triad Toys has leaped into the diorama fray with their line of 'triaramas'. Triad Toys - diorama - get it? They have four currently available, and I'm looking at three of those tonight - the Mayan, the Tech Savvy (version A), and the Grave Danger. Tech Savvy also comes in a version B, as you might surmise from its name.

These are very limited, with low production numbers on all three. The Mayan version is limited to 800, the Tech Savvy (version A) is limited to 300, and Grave Danger is just 300 as well.

In case there's some confusion as to which is which, the 'Grave Danger' base is the one with the cemetery appearance, including tombstone. The 'Mayan' base has the large circular stone with a jewel in the center, and the 'Tech Savvy' looks more like Freddy Krueger's rumpus room.

While these are technically designed for 12" figures, there's no reason they can't be used with some smaller scales as well, and I've included a couple photos with 7 - 8" scale figures. I think they have a lot of potential there as well, depending on the license.

Fair warning - this is one of those reviews with far more photos than text. I figure it is more important to show you than tell you this time around, so be sure to keep scrolling all the way to the end.
Tech Savvy Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
Grave Danger Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Mayan Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Grave Danger Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Tech Savvy Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Mayan Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Tech Savvy Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Mayan Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Mayan Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
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Grave Danger Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys
Triarama action figure displays by Triad Toys

Packaging - Mayan ***; Grave/Tech *1/2
The boxes for the Grave Danger set and the Tech Savvy set are quite basic, designed to just get the diorama safely to your door. No graphics or text, with those damn cheap styrofoam inserts too.

The Mayan version actually adds in some graphics and text, garnering it a bit better score here. Instead of styrofoam, there's a plastic insert holding the pieces. 

Of course, all these boxes fit the definition of 'collector friendly', since you don't destroy anything getting the pieces out and you can always put them back later if you so desire.

Sculpting - Grave, Mayan ***1/2; Tech ***
You'll notice that there is a distinct price difference between the Mayan base and the other two - a good 40% difference. If you were thinking it was a size thing, let me assure you it's not. And let me save you the trouble by adding "That's what she said". While the Grave Danger and Tech Savvy sets are slightly taller (Mayan is about 12", while Grave Danger is 14" and Tech Savvy is about 13 1/2"), the round base is slightly bigger on the Mayan. It's roughly 10" in diameter while the other two are about 9" square.

So why the cost difference? Materials. The taller two are polyresin, like most statues and busts. These tend to take a sharper, more detailed sculpt, but tend to cost more as well - and they do break if you drop them. The slightly shorter Mayan base is hollow ABS plastic. This feels cheaper when you pick it up - it lacks the heft of the other two - but there's no fear of damage, even if you drop it.

The sculpt on all three, including the plastic Mayan, is very detailed and quite sharply cut. Bricks, stone, pipes, etc. are all clearly defined, and quite realistic.

Assembly with the two resin sets was a bit tricky, due to the major pieces (back, bottom) not matching up as well as they should. Don't force it! You will break the 'tabs' on the bottom and back if you apply too much pressure.

Paint - ***1/2
All three pieces have realistically painted surfaces, emulating the look of stone and dirt. The stain and dirt patterns give the dioramas an eerie, ancient look, while the paint work on areas like the pipes gives the impression of metal.

While I think the stone effect on both the Grave Danger and Mayan sets is pitch perfect, there does seem to be something slightly off about the coloration and style of the cement block wall of the Tech Savvy base. It's not a major problem, and the smaller detail work on this set makes up for it, but still worth noting.

Design/Quality - ***1/2
Considering the price point and the extremely low production runs, the quality is top notch.

The resin sets are quite heavy, and the pieces are all solid and well built. The plastic Mayan set will feel cheaper when you pick it up, but don't forget that it IS cheaper - by $30!

All three sets work with sixth scale figures, but they also have plenty of potential with slightly smaller scales.

I already mentioned my minor complaint on assembly with the Grave Danger and Tech Savvy sets, but it's worth noting again here. While I finally was able to get the Grave Danger back completely in place, I'm still unable to get theTech Savvy set quite right. It'll hold, but it's not completely together.

The Mayan base has two posts with special tabs to lock in place, and that worked without a hitch. It also has a small yellow 'jewel' at the center of the backdrop that adds just the right amount of color and bling.

Other assembly, like adding the gravestone and bat-wing bust to the Grave Danger set, works great. The large pipe on the Tech Savvy wall also comes as a separate piece, and snaps in place tightly. I ended up super gluing it there (and I may do the same with the gravestone) just to avoid forgetting that it can come loose and dropping it in the future.

From a design perspective it's important to note that these can serve many needs. The Mayan set obviously works best for an Indy or a Lara Croft, but I think putting He-man in front of it works great too. The Grave Danger set is perfect for your zombies or other horror characters, and if you leave the grave marker off, it can be used as a military figure backdrop. And the Tech Savvy wall is ideal for Freddy, but could work with just about any superhero or sci-fi character. If you'd like to expand on the Tech Savvy set, there's a B version that has a slightly different arrangement of piping and valves.

Value - Mayan ***1/2; Grave Danger, Tech Savvy ***
All three of these bases are quite large, and have terrific sculpting and paint. While the Mayan is plastic instead of resin, until you pick it up you won't realize it, and it's a whopping 40% cheaper than the other two.  But even those two are just $70, a full $20 cheaper than the same type of resin diorama offering from Sideshow.  These are an excellent value in the current market, and well worth picking up at this price.

Things to Watch Out For -
Be very careful assembling the two resin sets. Don't force anything!

Overall - ***1/2
Once in awhile, something comes along that really surprises me. I had no idea Triad was working on these until they sent me the Grave Danger set. As soon as I had it open, I zipped over to their site to see what else was available, and bought the Mayan and Tech Savvy sets in a heartbeat. I'm very happy with all three right now, and I plan on picking up any future releases as well. 

As to the plastic vs. resin debate, I have to say that while I love the heft of the resin, I'd be just as happy if they stuck with the ABS plastic. At just $40, the Mayan base is a terrific value, and gets you the most bang for your buck. I've seen others use a polyurethane type material too, and that can look terrific and keep costs down as well. I think Triad is on the right track here, and I hope we see them expand on the concept.

Score Recap:
Packaging - Mayan ***; Grave/Tech *1/2
Sculpting - Grave, Mayan ***1/2; Tech ***
Paint - ***1/2
Design/Quality - ***1/2
Value - Mayan ***1/2; Grave, Tech ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- you can pick these up right from Triad of course: the Mayan is $40, the Grave Danger is $70, and the Tech Savvy is $70.

- your other best option is to watch ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other sixth scale dioramas include:

- Sideshow's Recon at Waypoint (for Joes, mostly).

- Sideshow's Reactor Station Alpha.

- other more license specific environments include Hot Toys T-700, the Ark that came with Sideshow's Toht, the Fertility Idol environment that came with Belloq the Jabba Throne, as well as the Han Solo in Carbonite.

- and if you want to get a bit more old school, don't forget the Freddy Kruger furnace Sideshow did years ago.

- and in the 8" scale, there's the nifty Phantom's Throne.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Mayan Triarama action figure display by Triad Toys


This product was both provided free (Grave Danger) and purchased for the review (Mayan, Tech Savvy). Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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