Astro Boy
Hot Toys

Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff checks in tonight with a look at another look at Astro Boy! Take it away, Jeff...

A big thank you to Michael for keeping this ‘Fortress of Solitude’ so essential to us geeks and fanboys.

Last week I finally got to see the new Astro Boy movie, I took my wife and kids to watch it at the local ‘Kids Club’ Saturday morning cinema screening. It was good solid family entertainment that benefited from being watched in a room full of over excited kids who cheered, booed and laughed in all the right places. The animation was good, not outstanding ‘Pixar’ good, but good nonetheless, and the story was of course pretty much already set in stone.

That’s not to say the makers of the movie didn’t take a few liberties so they could actually fit all the important plot elements from the classic ‘Astro Boy origins’ into a one and a half hour movie.

I already gave a potted history of Astro in the intro to the Astro Boy vinyl statue, so if you feel the need for a little back story I’d recommend you read that. However if you consider yourself up to speed on the mighty atom, read on!
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys

Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***
This is obviously very much a companion piece to the statue I linked to above, and the packaging takes it’s lead very much from the box for that figure.

So again we have the laboratorial white back drop, but this time it’s an oblong 5 panel, flap fronted box design. The front flap has the Astro Boy logo which opens to show a full length window and the figure fully assembled within. Opposite this is a brief synopsis and notes on his accessories and action features.

Inside the box the figure and accessories are held on two different layers between three layers of vac-formed clear plastic, this is in turn set against a shiny silver-foiled card back drop with circuits printed on it.

So, it certainly has nice clean lines, and if you have minimalist sensibilities you’ll love it. But it does seem a little cold and clinical to me, meaning it’s not one of my favourites. However it’s good and sturdy, so baring an act of a particularly angry god it should arrive at its destination very much in one piece. You see every cloud has a silver lining, and with this resembling a very rectangular cuboid white cloud that does actually, physically have a silver lining… well!

Sculpting - ***3/4
Just like with the vinyl figure, this is not credited with a sculptor, making me conclude that perhaps Imagi the company that made the movie might have supplied digital files for Hot Toys to make a digital 3D printout.

Sadly Imagi went bust just after the release of Astro, so their version of Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets would now seem to be on rather shaky ground, but never say never!

In the new movie Astro is given a few revisions from Osamu Tezuka’s original drawings and redesigned for the 3D savvy Playstation generation. I know some people took exception to this, but I saw it as inevitable. After all does the Mickey Mouse we see today look anything like Steam Boat Willy, I rest my case.

So we lose the old skool oversized ‘Disney’ eyes in favour of a slightly more Mangaesque glossy eye, which suits him nicely. His basic body proportions are similar, but the size of his head in relation to it has been scaled down ever so slightly to make him marginally more real world, but only marginally. His face is cute, showing wide open features, the nose is bobbed with a slight ski-slope above the simple line he has for a mouth. The eyes also disguise an action feature; by opening the small door in his chest you expose the ball of blue ‘positive energy’ that gives him his power. This is actually a button that once depressed ignites the light inside his head, making the eyes glow with a cool even light. It’s a subtle effect that looks great in the evening or semi dark, but is all but indiscernible in daylight.

His iconic trade mark hair is stuck on as a separate piece but the seam where it buts up to the flesh is pretty well concealed by the ‘hairline’ closeness of the match.

He also comes with four hands, two in fists and a further two in open palmed positions. I found that because of the slightly over sized nature of the wrist pegs these swapped over surprisingly well, however there is a spare set of pegs included, but I genuinely don’t think you’ll need them.

So not a complex sculpt for Hot Toys by a long shot, but it’s carried out beautifully, and has such simple elegant lines that this figure sits in an area somewhere between action figure and designer vinyl. If I had to have a criticism it would be that the character in the movie managed to exhibit a little ‘attitude’, mostly through some cocky eye and eyebrow positions. If the figure here had been given just a little of this attitude he’d have got the full score from me, but as it is, it’s hard to keep him anything but a whisker off, as when the face was in a neutral expression, then this is pretty much 100% spot on.

Paint - ***
The paint apps here are kept pretty minimal using solid, dense colours. The flesh tone is the base plastic, so no paint is used on it except to pick out his pink lips. The eyes are printed rather than painted, but as they need to be pure and even when the back light shines through, that makes total sense, and they are carried out with a beautifully accurate and crisp finish. The hair is, as I said above, constructed as a separate piece, then painted in a dense matte black, as are the eyebrows and eyelashes. His boots are a deep metallic red, very similar to the colour used on the battle damaged Iron Man figure and his belt is a matching metallic tone but in a rich emerald green.

I guess this isn’t the most inspiring of paint apps from a company that has shown us time and time again the amazing feats they are capable of, but in it’s defence it answers the particular brief thrown up by this character very well indeed!

Articulation - ***
This is a cool little body, and respect is always due for making a decent articulated body for a one off figure. That said, although the articulation is ‘decent’, a True Type it is not!

As a breakdown, the feet are on push in ball joints so they have a reasonable amount of circular motion and a concealed split in the mid foot. The knees are on a simple hinged joint, but have an ingenious spring loaded section at the top part of the rear of the boots, this means it can slide into itself for a full 90 degree bend. The hips are also push on ball joints, but because of those vinyl shorts the hips can only bend forwards and backwards by about 45 degrees, they can also move out to the sides by about the same amount, but remember not to leave him in these positions for too long!

The waist has no real movement to speak of, it looks like it might swivel, but alas no. The shoulders are double pegged ball joints that have indents below the arm-pits so they can hang flat to the body. However because of the way they swivel up to the front, they can’t point directly forward, they’re almost there, but just not quite. It’s a slight annoyance when in double arm cannon mode, but you can still get them pointing in some pretty cool ways.

The elbows are like the knees, a hinged joint capable of a 90 degree bend. The wrists are double pegged ball joints, but as I said they are bigger and more robust than the usual 1/6th figure wrists, and therefore seem much stronger. Lastly there’s the neck joint, this is another push on ball joint that offers a good circular motion, especially when looking up for those all important flying poses.

So, a nicely put together body that offers some great pose potential, but also has its limitations.

Outfit – **1/2
Traditionally Astro was a pretty minimalist dresser, favouring a pair of tight black trunks with a green belt, a snazzy pair of bright red boots and that was about it, and I’m glad to say that is the look they have gone for here. That said I’d still be down for another version wearing a white T, black pants and the blue zip top he wore through much of the new movie, should Hot Toys see fit to give him to us.

However, the only item that isn’t sculpted as part of his body, and that he is ‘actually’ wearing are a pair of black vinyl pants. These do look good when in a relatively neutral pose, but they limit the articulation at the hips quite a bit. The instructions included tell you not to leave little Astro with his hips in too extreme a position as the vinyl shorts can crease and stretch. So for me this is the reason for the lower score in this section as I think a fabric pair of shorts or (dare I say it) even sculpted with a visible joints would have been preferable to the limitations thrown up by the material they went with.

The funny thing is, mine will be displayed in a general standing pose anyway along side my other Astro’s so it should be a non-issue for me, but if they had managed to tailor a pair of fabric shorts I’d have been a much happier bunny!

Accessories - ***1/2
Astro comes with a pair of cannon arms, a pair of extra feet with positionable rocket jets attached, two pairs of hands and a rather snazzy figure stand.

As I said above the hands swap out easy on this figure, and the arm cannons simply push onto the pegs once the hands have been removed. Likewise the rocket boots replace the actual feet, but the swap isn’t quite as easy here. I found that after pulling the feet off, the pegs stayed stuck in the sockets and as the rocket boots already have the pegs attached you’ll have to remove the pegs that are left behind. It’s no biggie as they pop out fine with a pair of needle nosed pliers, but be aware. Once in position the rocket ‘flames’ have a ball joint where they join the boot so have a fully rotational range of movement so they can point in the right direction. Things like flames are always tough to produce out of plastic, meaning you have to compromise a little and go for an ‘artistic’ interpretation, meaning these have a very ‘graphic’ look, but they do the job.

The extra hands to go with the fists he is wearing in the box are open palmed for general posing. I’d have also like a pair in a more relaxed/cupped position, but the selection is pretty good anyway, and the sculpting is as always top notch.

Lastly he comes with a very nice stand that has a lot more potential use than most.

Why I hear you ask?

Well, it enables you to put him in some flying poses, that’s why. The base is formed to show the classic silhouette of Astro’s head, out of which is the movie logo in 3D relief. Towards the back is a peg hole into which a clear Perspex pole inserts, at the top of this is a clear ‘waist grip’ that can slide up and down by tightening and loosening a small metal bolt. If this grip could have been able to turn sideways for horizontal flying poses I’d have been even happier, but it’s still a nice bit of kit.

That’s your lot, and considering he also has his light up feature it’s a fair selection… but I have to admit I’d have loved an extra head with a more ‘determined’ expression… maybe next time… please Hot Toys!

Value - ***1/2
With a price tag of $105 little Astro here is one of Hot Toys more ‘reasonably’ priced figures, putting him in a similar, but even cheaper price category to the recent Mars Attacks figures. So considering that like them he has a totally unique sculpt, base body and accessories, not to mention his ‘flying’ stand, the price seems pretty fair. But had he come with that extra head I mentioned above, well then it would have been a full score easy.

As it is I still think most Astro Boy fans out there (who aren’t too old school, anal or biased) will be very happy to have him in their collection, I know I am!

(NOTE- That doesn’t get you off the hook though HT, I still needs me a classic 1/6th Astro!)

Fun Factor - ***
This figure is pretty play friendly on the whole and his construction is robust enough for ‘careful’ play by most kids, obviously if the kid happens to live next door and is called Sid then don’t’ let him near it. But with a price tag topping the ton, it’s unlikely that any our little darlings will get their grubby little jam smeared mitts on him, and to be 100% honest, it’s probably for the best.

For even though he’s play friendly, he is as always with Hot Toys figures a display item first and foremost.

Overall - *** 1/2
Astro Boy is cool, always has been and he always will, there’s no two ways about it. So if want a decent depiction of the character for your collection you can’t go too far wrong with this little fellow.

However it’s still not ’THE’ definitive version of the figure we all want. I still have a soft spot for my old Medicom figures, but the diminutive size and restricted articulation mean they also are very far from perfect.

So with the light up eyes feature, unique body, cool selection of accessories and competitive price point it’s a pretty good buy. Had the articulation been just a little stronger and the shorts been made of a more ‘suitable’ material, then he’d have got that full score from me for nostalgia if nothing else.

And lets not forget all you Ashley Wood fans out there, he’d make a great little fig to stand triumphantly over some of those 3A robots, as Mr Wood did a few cool paintings of the Mighty Atom!

Some more can be seen here and here  but might want to give him one of those 3A grungy paint jobs to fit in more with his foes! 

Where to Buy -
Sideshow sold have now sold out where he was available for $104.99. Or you can try Michael’s sponsors below-
Big Bad Toy Store - $104.99 

- or try eBay where I’ve seen him going for BIN prices of $99 to $145.

Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys
Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys

Astro Boy sixth scale figure by Hot Toys

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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