08.16.17

ThreeZero ATM-09-ST Scopedog Toys

Posted in ThreeZero, Votoms at 4:17 pm by micronian

Includes ThreeZero web exclusive and standard releases

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. 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. It’s so fitting and I can’t fault its simplicity. Inside the box there’s black foam with a very simple two-tone instruction manual on top. Under that layer of black foam you’ll find the following good stuff:
1) 2x foot armors (for separate installation)
2) Antennae (for separate installation)
3) 2x ammunition canisters
4) Rifle (with additional ammunition tin and leather strap)
5) Short barrel conversion for rifle
6) two magazines 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
After that layer of goodness you’ll get to the toy itself tucked nicely into a foam cut-out. 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 roundmover, parachute pack, or bazooka. 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.

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. Will this become a larger line? I certainly hope so. So far there are two releases to consider:
Scopedog Retail Version, July 2017, $449.99
Scopedog ThreeZero Weathering Special, July 2017, $449.99

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (10/10)
Good God this toy is impressive in either flavor. 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 standard version still looks like a used military machine and is also incredibly impressive. 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.

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 ammo mags on the hips are individually removable or the entire group can be replaced with one of the included tins.
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).

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.

Durability & Build: (5/10)
As per usual, this toy is new so this score is preliminary but obviously I’ve already run into a pretty critical issue. 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). Mine developed a crack and the foot fell right off. Fortunately, ThreeZero seems like a stand-up company and when I inquired they offered to refurb it for me. I’ll update this review when I get it back. While I’m the only one I’ve seen who has encountered this particular issue, others have begun complaining about loose shoulders. 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! This might be something that can be fixed using clear nail polish similar to many other ball joints though, I’ll update this as more info becomes available. 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 releases.

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: (42/50)
If the loose shoulders could be easily rectified by a little clear nail polish AND no one else has feet fall off, then I might consider improving the durability score in the future… if more feet fall off the score will drop. For now I have to assume my experience with two of these toys is fairly indicative of what others will experience and that’s too bad because really, 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 caution. TakaraTomy’s DMZ line isn’t quite at the same level but the cost of entry is much lower and the product is still good. If you have paint or modeling skills, the Yamato line can be had more affordably and you can do some amazing things with it. I really hope ThreeZero intends to come back out with more variants and can make improvements to the line as they go. You know a toy is great when I can have a fatal failure on one 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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