3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons

3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A 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."

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?
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys

3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys

Packaging - **1/2
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!

Sculpting - ****
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 line.

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 me again!

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!

Paint - ****
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 nonetheless!

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!

Outfit - ****
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 well.

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.

Accessories - ***1/2
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!

Articulation - ****
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.

Value - ****
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 (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 writing this.

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 very fast!

Fun 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?
You bet!

Overall - ****
The positives here make what few miniscule negatives there are so negligible as to be nonexistent.

The 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.

So, 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!

Where 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 Shocktrooper variant.

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 much.

3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys
3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys

3A- WWR: Dropcloth: Deimos Liberator- Olympus Mons by 3A Toys

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

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