3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos
Liberator- Olympus Mons
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
|Another guest review tonight
from Jeff Parker, this time of a great new 3A product - tell us all
about it, Jeff!
Now, I have to admit I love the aesthetic of the people, clones and
robots that inhabit the world of Ashley Wood’s multi-layered and
diverse universe, but I also have to admit that I know virtually
NOTHING about it.
So, in an attempt to hide my ignorance I mooched around and asked on
the various forums I frequent to try and glean a little insider info,
and as they always say ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ you’ll
have to bear with me on this one.
However, the facts I do have about this particular Dropcloth (DC);
namely the Deimos Liberator: Olympus Mons is directly quoted from
Ashley Wood, and as he’s the creative impetus behind the whole
universe, he should know!
So, he said… and I quote-
"Deimos DC was a key player in liberating the main Deimos relay station
for Mars, Deimos is very important as a communications hub for Mars.
Earth Forces had held it for 23 days following a takeover with a crack
team of Commando DC and Troops. Good times."
He went on to say-
"DEIMOS LIBERATOR, think Custor’s last stand, but he won."
I’d prefer to think of Rorke’s Drift… but that’s just me!
I also asked around as to whether the DC’s were meant to have
individual personalities. But no one seems to know for sure. It has
apparently been hinted at in the past that DC’s have shown character
traits other than their basic programming. However, no one but Wood can
say for sure, and as far as I know he hasn’t yet commented
comprehensively on the topic.
From the snippets of back-story I have gleaned I imagine the DC’s as
being programmed for a specific mission, and then the prime
prerogatives of said mission become something akin to an OCD for them.
And from that compulsion might come unexpected actions and physical
tics that people then mistake for an individual personality... but hey,
that’s just me surmising, any good story will always leave a few gaps
for us to fill in the blanks!
So, that was my attempt to give a little back-story for all those of us
that need bringing up to speed. Now lets get onto the review, will my
first 3A bot have me hooked… or will I be scratching my head, wondering
what all the fuss is about?
The only other 3A figure I have reviewed so far was the Heavy TK, and
he impressed me ahellovalot. The box he came in was all part and parcel
of what impressed me. It was simple, but well designed, and the use of
the Ashley Wood artwork on the front really helped!
However, this time there is no illustration, all we get is a graphic
silhouette of a DC on the back and a lot of typography. It’s nice
typography, it has that cool urban vibe with some militaristic stencil
undertones, but sadly it’s actually a bit dull. Ultimately what we have
is a simple corrugated shoebox with a vac formed plastic tray to hold
him nice and secure. Last time we also got a print/poster as a little
bonus, this time we gat a small folded catalogue to show us the
recently or soon to released figures.
So, I come away from this box a little disappointed. As I said, the
actual typography and graphics are nicely applied, and you can tell
it’s carried out by someone with a good eye for classic typographic
forms, but with a quasi-modern twist.
However, I wants me an Ashley Wood painting if I’m buying an Ashley
Wood War-Bot… just saying!
Well, I wasn’t keen on the box, I’m glad we got that out of the way,
because from here on in it’s pretty much all good!
Ever since the first Bertie’s hit a couple of years ago 3A have
consistently been tweaking with that first (and it has to be said)
awesome bit of toy engineering to improve on the next.
It looks like some bits get a little re-use and then are slightly
restructured to give each new genus of bot a virtually unique
appearance. The arms and hands for example look virtually identical on
the Bertie, Bramble and Dropcloth, but the soon to arrive Popbot
look to be totally unique from his metal clad toes via his shiny metal
ass (OK it’s not shiny I just wanted to use a Bender quote) right up to
his armoured domed head.
I have to admit the Popbot is the bot I find the most interesting of
all the designs so far, and I do hope to review it at some time down
The attention to detail on the DC is as you’d expect fantastic,
although his basic form is actually quite simple, think of a dustbin
with long arms and legs. The main body is a large drum and the head is
basically a man-hole cover/lid that stands proud of the drum by just a
few millimetres, the arms and legs are like industrial girders with
large ‘implied’ screw heads at the hinged joints and the whole shebang
is covered in seams and panels… in short it’s freakin awesome.
It’s like the old boiler room from your junior school came to life and
decided to be an uber cool killer robot (don’t tell me I’m alone in
thinking the boiler room at their school was ever so slightly sinister…
EXACTLY!). This bot manages to harness the fear we all have of large
industrial cisterns coming to life and trying to kill us all… OK, just
Well. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the 3A robots will either
talk to you on a level that means you ‘get it’ or you don’t.
I think my score says what I think… Be afraid!
The thing I find is that pretty much all the 3A bots are very cool and
industrial looking… but there is also something quite comedic about
them. I think it’s that they look so disproportioned and even remind me
a little of the coin-op oven robot from Wallace and Gromit's- A
Grand Day Out am I alone in this as well…probably!
3A routinely turn out some pretty mind-blowing paint apps; the
weathering, textures and implied rust genuinely make their robots look
like they are actually made from real metal. They seem like something
dug up from some archaeological excavation in a parallel universe… and
that’s a good thing, a very good thing.
The predominant colour here is a rusty metallic grey, but some areas
are over-washed with stronger pigments in white, yellow, and ice blue,
this is in interspersed with a panda like DPM of swirling (friesian-cow
like) patterns to help disguise the bot when operating in the field.
All of these colours are keyed together with an over-painting of
spattered airbrushed grime and sponged on rust. Then the skirt, stomach
and arms have stencilled text, the stomach and rear of the skirt says OLYMPUS MONS,
while the arms and front of skirt have PAR 1971. And as my surname is
Parker and my wife was born in 1971 she seems to think this is some
kind of sign… quite what that sign is I’m not sure, but a sign
So, if you like your figures to look like you’ve dragged them through a
puddle backwards, abandoned them in your garden for six months and
thrown handfuls of dirt at them, then this is the one for you. If
however you like your bots all shiny chrome and concourse, showroom
condition… then move along, there’s nothing for you here!
Luckily perfection generally bores me, as does symmetry funnily enough!
Does a robot need clothes…
no; of course it doesn’t, unless of course it’s an infantry bot that
needs to carry a lot of ammo and gear when operating in a war-zone. And
of course when a groover is on manoeuvres he needs to protect his
joints from the worst of the dust and mud that is hurled at him as
So, the DC genus of bot has what is in effect a heavy-duty canvas kilt
to gird his loins. I’m not sure whether the name Dropcloth is a
reference to his sartorial splendour or if it alludes to his military
role, i.e. the first line of protection and defence in a combat zone.
But whatever the reason, it’s a cool and ever so slightly enigmatic
moniker to go by. The kilt/skirt is constructed of thick cotton. I
imagine at this scale it is meant to look like a thick heavy-duty
canvas/tarpaulin type of material. Because lets not forget just how
powerful these bots are meant to be. This is the type of fabric a human
would find it virtually impossible to move in, but these bots just
power about in it like diesel locomotives. Its construction is
basically a tube of material with slits up the sides, it attaches to
the figure around the waist where four webbing straps loop onto small
hooks placed evenly around its body. This waist part has a band of
Velcro stitched around it, over which his webbing belt (which is
festooned with bags pouches and a holster) attaches. Just line it up
and press it down then finally clip the back shut with the small
plastic buckles. The construction and detail on this belt is just
gorgeous, and the component parts are beautifully observed, the small
webbing straps that hold the pouches shut all work, as do all the tiny
buckles on the drop-bags, and the holster holds his oversized automatic
pistol perfectly. All these parts are fixed to the belt using a
technique similar to the MOLLE system, this means each part is threaded
onto the belt by being laced through webbing straps. It makes for an
authentic look, but be careful not to pull the pouches off, as they can
be a nightmare to re-thread.
But as is often the case with 3A, it’s not just the actual construction
and fabrication of the items that is impressive, it’s the fact that
they are then aged, distressed and thoroughly dirtied up to actually
look like they have been in heavy circulation for a few years.
So, ultimately his wardrobe might be slight but it is amazingly
detailed and the finish on it makes it about as perfect as it could be.
If I was going to raise one issue it would only be that the splits
could do with perhaps being a little higher, as the tightness of the
garment means wide striding poses can be a little limited, this is
however a very minor quibble.
The different DC’s come
equipped differing weapons; this version has a machine gun and an
automatic pistol. There is also a kind of backpack; this has two large
exhaust ports at the bottom… yes bottom. I actually put mine on the
wrong way up on my first attempt. Luckily I then checked with pics on
line to see my mistake…that could have been very embarrassing! It has a
peg on the back that slots into a hole on the DC’s back, this is a
tight fit, but a quick blast from a hair-dryer and it pops in just fine.
The machine gun has a working spring-loaded cocking mechanism and a
removable clip, it reminds me of a cross between an old British
Sten gun and a classic German submachine
gun , in fact I think it would have looked even more retro if
they had given it a side mounted magazine.
The pistol appears to be a unique design, borrowing elements of real
world pistols but bulking them up to make it look like something
suitable for a bot of the DC’s size and stature to use. I was a little
disappointed to see no cocking mechanism or removable clip. I think
these days that is something we kind of expect as standard, it might be
one of those details that is seldom seen or used… but it gives you that
warm fuzzy feeling inside just knowing it’s there!
This guy has all the
articulation you could want and then some. The engineering isn’t quite
as refined as say the Hot Toys Iron Man, but is more earthy and
steam-punk in its appearance. A lot of the articulation will be obvious
from looking at the pics… at least I hope it will.
The ankles and wrists are simple snap-on ball joints, but offer a great
range, especially the ankles that are nice and firm and even allow for
some great poses standing on one leg. The knees and elbows are hinged
and the shoulders and hips have double ball joints, as does the waist
where it joins to the pelvis. The line visible above the pelvis (when
the skirt is removed) is a spinning cut joint, and there are more cut
joints at the top of the upper arms. The stubby neck (hidden from view
by his man-hole cover head) seems to be a shallow ball joint as well,
as it rocks and tilts in all directions. Lastly there are the hands,
these have ball joints where the fingers and thumbs join the main body
of the hand, then all the others are working hinged peg joints, meaning
they can achieve virtually any gesture you want.
Not only does all this add up to a fantastic range of articulation, but
it’s also constructed to be pretty robust. Obviously I’d still advise
taking great care when you pose him, especially those fingers, but I
did find even they stood up to some pretty demanding torture when I did
my photo shoot.
Considering the high degree of finish on this guy I think the price is
more than reasonable. This side of the pond folks are increasingly
getting used to spending anything north of £130 for a hi-end imported
1/6th figure. So it’s refreshing to see these at a mere £78.99 from onesixthbruce.co.uk
(OSB), who very kindly supplied mine for this review.
It would seem the Slaughterhouse figure with his selection of knives,
meat-cleavers and wearing a rather natty blue and white-stripped
butchers apron was a big favourite amongst the hardcore ‘Ashtronauts’,
as he sold out pretty much everywhere virtually immediately. However,
OSB still have most of the others still available at the time of
In the US they were available through Mikes sponsors Sideshow, but they
only have the Panda Shocktrooper left now. I suppose you could nag your
local comic store to get the retail exclusives in… as long as they act
Factor - ****
These robots have fun written all over them. They really are toys for
adults who should know better… but choose not to. They pose like a
dream, have some of the best paint apps being done today and are
equipped with some beautifully designed accessories that they interact
with well because of that awesome finger articulation.
I can assure you here and now, if you do end up with one (or more) of
these on your shelf, you won’t be able to pass it without another quick
re-pose. And what’s more, every time you have another play, you will
come away with a big grin on your face… so, fun?
The positives here make what few miniscule negatives there are so
negligible as to be nonexistent.
sculpting, modelling, engineering, paint, clothing and accessories are
all of the highest quality and the price is what I consider to be very
fair, especially in the present climate.
if you’ve been looking enviously, or even inquisitively at the 3A
catalogue of figures and wondering whether to take the plunge, let the
Dropcloth be the one who invites you to dive right on in. Because even
if you decide he’s the only one you ever get, you’ll have a blast
playing with him, and I can pretty much guarantee you wont regret it!
to Buy -
As I said above, if you are based in the UK or Europe then the
ever-reliable Wai Man over at OSB still has these available for order
and most are in stock right now. You can check out his 3A selection HERE
and just drop him a line for availability and pre-orders.
They were also available from Sideshow for $99.99 each, but all they
have left at present is the Panda
You can also still find all of them on eBay
with prices of between $105 to $160, but I warn you now the whole
variants thing is a bit of a nightmare to all but the most hardcore and
up to date of devout 3A followers. As far as I’m concerned they are all
pretty much identical apart from the paint app and accessories. I even
saw plain black and white variants, personally I didn’t like those
much… but you might, who knows. But whatever your choice, there are
plenty out there to choose from as long as you don’t hang around too
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.