03.17.19

ThreeZero ATM-09-ST Scopedog Toys

Posted in 1/12, ThreeZero, VOTOMS Armored Troopers at 4:17 am by micronian

 

 

Includes ThreeZero web exclusive, standard retail, Melquiya Retail and Deluxe versions

Packaging & Extras: (5/5)
Full disclosure, I’m not generally a collector of “Super premium collectibles.” I don’t own anything made by Sideshow or any crazy 1/6 scale figures. So, in the realm I operate, I don’t come across packaging this nice very often. The box comes in a plastic sleeve and is essentially an over-sized shoebox made to look like worn green paint. The look is so fitting and I can’t fault its simplicity. Be warned, the lid fits on so tight that there’s no way for the air to escape when you’re trying to put things away. I ripped the corner of my exclusive box trying to push it down, use lots of patience. Inside the box everything is tucked in black foam. In addition to the Scopedog, you’ll get:
1) 2x foot armors (assembly required)
2) Antennae (assembly required)
3) 2x ammunition canisters
4) Rifle (with additional ammunition tin and strap)
5) Short barrel conversion for rifle
6) two magazines for punch effect
7) Chirico(?) pilot figure with a pair of relaxed hands already installed
8) 5x additional fixed posed hands for pilot (pair of fists, pair for holding controls, right hand holding gun)
9) Gun (Bahauser M571 Armor Magnum) for pilot
10) Instructions with a metal rod taped to them for help manipulating the gun and its accessories
The foot armors and antennae are obviously not installed at the factory to prevent them from scratching paint or breaking, respectively. So, what quibbles could you have? My only real quibble is that there’s no helmet-less Chirico head. Others might point out that the Scopedog uses a TON of accessories throughout the series so it’d be easy to complain there’s no round mover, parachute pack, bazooka (aka solid shooter). Given the astronomical price, I’m sure many will feel those should have been included but, considering how expensive this toy is without them, I’m glad they didn’t jack the price up further and force people to get accessories they may not want.

The Melquiya version of the toy uses the same box, this time in a pink hue. The experience inside the box is largely the same until you get to the final layer of black foam which adds:
11) Parachute Pack
12) 3x additional ammunition canisters
13) 2x hip-mounted storage containers
14) Simulated packed parachute made of cloth
Inside the Parachute Pack you’ll also find the following items:
15) Radio
16) Toolbox
17) Medical Kit
18) 2x thermos
If you purchased the Deluxe version of the Melkia toy, you’ll also receive:
19) Cloth parachute

Charm & Collectability: (4/5)
At one point you could get any flavor of Yamato 1/12 Scopedog toy for less than $100. They warmed shelves and were huge so dealers were desperate to get rid of them. Today, the plain Yamato ‘dogs are still available for less than their 17,800Yen MSRP so I was a little worried about how warmly a new 1/12 toy would be received… the answer seems to have been overwhelmingly positive. One of the chief complaints about the Yamato was how lackluster the paint was so ThreeZero put major focus there and delivered. At this price I would guess that not a lot were made, particularly of the ThreeZero web exclusive, so that also likely explains the scarcity. The Melquiya Deluxe version was supposed to be available through retail outlets beyond the ThreeZero website but my retailer cancelled my preorder and sent me a regular retail version instead.
Scopedog Retail Version, July 2017, $450
Scopedog ThreeZero Weathering Special, July 2017, $450
Scopedog Melquiya + Parachute Pack, January 2019, $460
Scopedog Melquiya + Parachute Pack Deluxe, January 2019, $490

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (9.5/10)
Good God this toy is impressive in any flavor. The standard version still looks like a used military machine with very impressive paint apps. I’ve included a line art comparison but, as always, remember there are many different bits of line art out there and so perceived imperfections here may perfectly agree to other line art. There are a few areas where you could point to Yamato having gone a little further in their efforts. For example, in the Yamato toy you can remove armor to expose things like radiators in the legs. In the down position, the Yamato has a pretty cool piston in the leg that is exposed. While the ThreeZero toy doesn’t do these things, the quality of the paint, which includes the areas only exposed when in the down position, more than makes up for it.

The exclusive version has a heavy wash and weathering that makes it appear more like one of the junkyard dogs from Uoodo though I couldn’t swear that was the goal. It adds rust and water streaking which may be a bit much for some people so definitely check out the pics before deciding which one you would seek.

The Melquiya version of the toy carries forward the paint job from the regular release green Scopedog. Why a pink Scopedog? Chirico is a member of the Gilgamesh military, Gilgamesh is a federation of planets, one of those planets is Melquiya where the city Uoodo is located. Each planet has their own units and the Melquiya regular army sports a pink/purple hue and the markings on this toy. The wash and wear continues to look outstanding and there’s even a bit of wear inside the cockpit though that is one area that looks a little plain in comparison to the rest of the dog.

Design: (9/10)
1) Scopes rotate: Yes. Scope tracks left to right: Yes. Head twists left to right: Yes.
2) Visor opens upward revealing the pilot: Yes
3) Opening cockpit: Yes.
4) Internal controls: Yes. Articulated: Yes. Gun stowage: No
5) Removable Pilot Figure: Yes. Articulated: Yes.
6) Opening foot well: Yes.
7) Articulated armor panels on hips, feet, and wrist: Yes
8) Articulated shoulder mounts: Yes
9) Removable armor with internal mechanical detail: Yes
10) Back that accommodates different accessories: Yes
11) Foot wheels: Yes
12) Functional foot pivot spikes: Yes
13) Punch mechanism: Yes
14) Dog mode: Yes

The hip magazine racks can be removed and replaced with the included ammo tins. You can also individually remove the magazines in the rack. The Melquiya toy also came with the more aerodynamic storage bins for another hip-mounted option.

Yamato’s 1/12 toy could almost be completely disassembled and had some internal details like radiators in the leg. This toy doesn’t quite go to that extreme but it does have a removable back plate and removable panel for the disc drive in the Scopedog’s back.

Whereas the down dog position on the Yamato can be accomplished with two quick hand motions, the ThreeZero toy needs a bit more work that includes pulling the hips down, pivoting the leg at three different points, then extending the heel but the final result is a better looking down dog with straighter arms (on the Yamato if you put the arms straight down the toy will sit on its fists instead of its hips).

I had less luck with the down position when the parachute pack was installed. The instructions warn you about extending the parachute pack too far which creates clearance issues when attempting the down position. To avoid risk, I didn’t bring the legs quite as far back and the overall look is still very good.

The gun converts from rifle to Kunmen-style short barrel with the help of the metal pin included in the instructions. That same metal pin can be used to push a peg out from the grip of the gun that then slots into the toy’s hand to make the grip more secure (though you don’t really need the pin to accomplish that, a finger nail will suffice). Maybe that’s not ideal but it is effective and any metal pin will work if you lose the one with the instructions. I was impressed by the fact the trigger on the gun can actually be pulled and you also get the lever to switch the gun between different firing modes and yes, you can change where the lever is pointing.

As you would expect, this toy does have an opening cockpit and footwell. Putting the pilot in the cockpit was a bear. First, the toy lacks a lock to keep the cockpit door open. As you can imagine, that’s a heavy door and after the second time you open it the pistons will be loose enough to want to just have the door collapse on its own. That means you’ll need to hold the door open while installing the pilot. Follow the instructions carefully and watch my video. Once you have the pilot in, the feet lined up, press down on the waist to help conform the pilot to the seat. You need to get him really scrunched in there. Then bring up the control panel and plug back in the handles. The headrest has a funky angle to it, do not try to press it more erect, Chirico’s supposed to be in a fetal position. His head may pop off, don’t worry about putting it back on until you’ve got the rest of his body totally squished in. His torso should end at an angle forward which allows you to pop the head back on and then you’ll have to plug his air canister back in which can be tricky. If you can’t get the handles back in because the legs are there, press down on the waist again and the legs, you should get to the point where there’s sufficient clearance.

The bullet punch mechanism is a little funky, as it seems it is on pretty much every Scopedog toy. ThreeZero lets you install a magazine in the arm and if you press the button on the arm, which is very nicely integrated into the arm, the magazine discharges. With the magazine discharged you are free to extend the shoulder, the forearm, and the wrist to simulate a fully extended punch. Don’t lose your magazine! The spring-loaded mechanism is very powerful and may shoot it a distance. For most of my pictures you’ll just note a hole in the forearm because I’m not a big fan of the concept of having a spring-loaded mechanism always under pressure. On the Yamato toy the bullet punch was a bit more involved. you had to push the magazine out of the arm, either with a toothpick or another spare magazine, and removing the existing magazine set off a spring-loaded punch that extended the forearm. I guess I prefer ThreeZero’s approach but, truth be told, all I really care about is the ability to extend the arm to make it look like a bullet punch has occurred, I don’t really need a spring-loaded anything.

The Parachute Pack included with the Melquiya version of the toy is universal to all ThreeZero Scopedog releases. It fits on much more smoothly than the Yamato toy. Despite being larger than Yamato’s Parachute Pack, it’s also lighter. The ThreeZero toy also has stiffer joints so the parachute pack didn’t have the same tendency to cause the toy to fall over. Like Yamato’s accessory, the pack does have  opening doors that reveal survival kits for the pilot. The rolled cloth tent (?) and cloth simulated parachute are very well done. The bottom of the pack can store the ammo tins but the fit should be a bit tighter. The sides of the pack feature magnetic covers that can be removed to expose internal detail.

Durability & Build: (4/10)
There is a U-shaped piece of plastic that connects the foot to the leg. More specifically, it connects the elevator within the foot, a rubber washer it pivots on, and a metal rod at the base of the leg. The pressures this piece might be subjected to, particularly if over-tightened, are a lot to ask of a piece of plastic with two holes in it (for connection to the leg rod). My regular release developed a crack and the foot fell right off. At that time, ThreeZero told me to ship the toy back to them, at their expense and they would fix it. About a month after shipping the toy I did get it back with a fixed foot… but now the arm had broken off! Rather than go through that drama again, I reached out to my retailer who agreed to exchange it. I wish I was surprised when i received my Melquiya toy and the EXACT same problem happened with the foot. Dejected, I reached out to ThreeZero who told me they only offer repairs to people who buy from their website now and that I should reach out to my retailer. I instead decided to fix it myself and have been shocked out how well it turned out (using Surehold Plastic Surgery super glue).

As I pulled my green toy out for a new intro shot, I noticed the waist felt strange as I tried to rotate it. My guess is there was a bit of excess glue inside the toy that was rubbing and stressing out the waist connection. As I tried to get the toy in that perfect pose I suddenly found myself holding two parts, a torso and a set of legs. The waist is connected by 4 very small and brittle tabs (even removing the tabs for my repair, they broke further). This time I used Gorilla Glue super glue to connect a magnet to the top of the legs section, used some Sugru to create a sleeve, and then glued a magnet to the torso section to get things back together.

When you first pick up the toy you’ll be amazed at how stiff many of the joints are, you’ll enjoy several ratcheted joints, but then you’ll get to the shoulders and begin to worry. They’re not ratcheted, the arms are heavy, and it feels like those shoulders are relying an awful lot on friction with a large range of motion and an extension gimmick. Sadly, ThreeZero’s suggested fix is to have you rip off a glued in piece to install a new part they have to mail you… YIKES! The Melquiya version comes with stiffer shoulders but while loose shoulders are annoying, tight shoulders are scary because of how easily broken the joint is. Every time I move the toy’s arms I think of that poor Scopedog that was sent back to me and the several I’ve seen on other pages with broken shoulders. The head antennae are not metal and are another obvious area you should be very careful of when handling. You need to install the antennae when first setting the toy up and it is very tight… sadly once you get it in it seems like they can fall out quite easily if you should turn the toy upside while handling so be careful not to lose them. An odd build issue surfaced for me on the ejecting magazines from the arm. Sometimes it seems like I can’t trigger the magazine to eject so I have to pull it out with my finger tips. Take care not to damage the beautiful paint work… at least not in a way that wouldn’t look like more weathering. Early prototype testers had lots of issues with the pilot figure from ripping the rubbery accent pieces to the feet popping off constantly but I didn’t run into any of these on my production release.

Articulation: (9/10)
This is very difficult to score because it’s hard to know if the Scopedog really should have any more articulation than is included in this toy. Does this thing have all the articulation of a large person figure? No, but it’s a mech so it probably shouldn’t right? While the elbows do go more than 90 degrees, they don’t go far enough up to get near touching the shoulders. The waist is a full swivel. The shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles all have extension gimmicks to them. It may feel a little clunky at first but you are going to love finding the right pose for this thing. My one, biggest complaint from an articulation standpoint has nothing to do with the joints. The toy should have crazy heavy feet so you could do lots of fun sliding poses. Unfortunately, the feet don’t have that much heft to them so you’ll want to keep the sliding to a minimum as to not have your $400+ collectible going toppling over. The included pilot figure also is very adaptable head to foot. I did think it could have more elbow and hip articulation but the thing that’s really going to stymie you is trying to get it to stand. You’re much better off leaning the pilot against the Scopedog at all times because the feet are realistically sized and there’s no doll stand included. The lack of hip articulation did prevent me from doing fun jumping in the cockpit poses.

Total Score: (40.5/50)
I love this toy. It looks amazing on a shelf or in any number of poses. If you’re not someone who is going to handle this toy very much, and instead plan to put it in a display case and just admire it, then it certainly is a work of art. If you’re someone who is going to want to change the pose every day or have fun manipulating it, then proceed with EXTREME caution. TakaraTomy’s DMZ line isn’t quite at the same level but the cost of entry is much lower and the product looks great and is MUCH more durable. If you have paint or modeling skills, the Yamato line can be had more affordably and you can do some amazing things with it. You know a toy is great when I can have a fatal failure on three out of four (four out of five if you consider the repaired one having its arm being broken) but hope for more .

1 Comment »

  1. Chirico Cuvie said,

    August 17, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Mine has displayed no problems, and it is the limited version. Maybe the standard release is more prone to the issues you encountered.

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