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
|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
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
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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
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
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!)
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.
- *** 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
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
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-
Bad Toy Store
- or try
eBay where I’ve seen him going for BIN prices of $99 to $145.
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.