Tomopop Review: 3A Real Steel Noisy Boy


For US$380 the figure breaks more than just the bank

Real Steel was one of those big Hollywood movies that a lot people seem to pretend not to like for some reason, but when a movie takes home more than double its budget at the box office that kinda speaks for itself. Another sign that Real Steel was a hit is a certain toy company still making figures from the movie. These run for over US$300 each, and when 3A puts an exclusive version on their official Bambaland store it sells out in minutes - That's the kind of dedication Real Steel gets from its fans. 

I loved Real Steel, I love 3A, and I love big robot figures so I couldn't wait to review this massive bot. What I didn't love was how many things broke on the super expensive robot figure. Is it beyond repair? Is it salvageable? Read on to find out!

Figure Name: Real Steel Noisy Boy
Figure Maker: 3A
Price: US$380
Available at: HobbyLink Japan | Hobby Search | Entertainment Earth | Sideshow Collectibles | Big Bad Toy Store

Before we talk about what's wrong with this figure let's first talk about everything that's right about it. 

First and foremost this thing is amazing looking! The likeness is perfect and looks exactly like the Noisy Boy from the movie. Tons of tiny little pieces were put together to make this one massive bot look as screen-accurate as possible. There's very, very little bare plastic; everything is coated in shiny metallic paint. 

From the back he looks just as good. Pretty much anything that looks like it can move does. There are hydraulics, hinges, and pivots that go every which way. That's amplified by the heavy amount of sculpted details throughout. 

The armor on his back is removable to access his batteries, and they didn't skimp at all on the mostly obscured details under there. The metallic silver paint and black paint wash really adds an incredible amount of detail. 

The most stunning feature is the lights! Noisy Boy has over 500 LEDs running throughout its body. He's got them in his eyes, forearms, chest, back, abs, thighs, and lower legs. The biggest eye-catch is the synchronized lights on the front of his forearms that change patterns at random just like in the movie! I'd say this had something to do with the high price, but seeing as how Noisy Boy is priced similar to the other bots from the line it's possible 3A is taking a hit on this feature. Either way it's phenomenal light work!

There's no shortage of articulation either. It isn't super articulated, but it doesn't need to be. His articulation is screen-accurate so he can move the way he does in the movie, but he won't be doing an splits and that's OK. His head can turn side to side, but is a little limited moving up and down thanks to his armor. His shoulders have a full range of motion and you may have noticed that his shoulder armor is movable, so there are no limitations there. There's even a little bit of forward and back pivot to them. You can also spin the forearm and what basically amounts to a wrist. He also has things that resemble thumbs. They don't pop all the way out, they just sort of bend up a little. The elbows only go 90-degrees, but that's accurate.

I did this staggered, recoiling pose to demonstrate some of the body articulation that gives him multiple pivot points and twists. The legs don't have a ton of articulation, but what's there is functional. The hips can be spread a little and they can move forward and back fairly well, but there are some limitations caused by the armor. His knees also have about a 90-degree bend to them; no double joints here. The armor on the front of his legs can move a little, too. 

His feet are pretty interesting. Aside from looking really cool they have a good amount of articulation allowing them to move in every direction, but only in small amounts. The bottom of his feet are rubberized, but it's really hard rubber so you might not even notice. By now you've probably figured out he has really good balance. Two factors are at work there: Big feet and a surprisingly light body. The figure really doesn't weigh much since most of the body is framework, and there's no diecast. Hilariously (or maybe I'm the only one who thought this was funny) the box this was mailed in had a pairs lift sticker on it even though I own books that weigh more than the whole thing boxed. It also helps that he has satisfyingly stiff joints, some are even the 'clicky' type you find on larger Transformers. 

Then there's his size. You didn't think this was actually a small figure at that price did you? Noisy Boy measures in at a very impressive 17 inches tall. By comparison in the back you got the 23 inch Transformers Fortress Maximus and Mattel's 24 inch Voltron. On one side is one of the biggest Power Rangers bots, the Super Train Megazord, and on the other is Takara Tomy's G1-painted Unicron from Armada (Micron Densetsu). Why 17 inches? Because the Real Steel bots are 1/6 scale which means they're made in scale with 12 inch figures. In fact the Bambaland exclusives come with controllers and headsets to be used with 12 inch humans. It's a really great concept.

OK, so that's a pretty glowing review so far, right? Everything looks and sounds good? So let's take some time to talk about what went wrong. Very, very wrong. 

Disclaimer: This is an advance release for review purposes. It was shipped loose in a cardboard box (albeit with a lot of bubble wrap, packing paper, and styrofoam peanuts) so anything can happen. The figure won't be released to the masses until mid 2014 and all sorts of adjustments and fixes can be made in that time. Take the following as a guide for things to watch out for and not as a list of certain things that will go wrong for everyone. 

First off there are a few spots with a tiny amount of paint blemishes, but this one on the top of his helmet is pretty big and hard to overlook. A big section of paint is missing from the back plate. It's not caused by rubbing or anything, it just looks like they missed a spot.

Here on the front of his right leg there's a piece on his shin that refuses to stay clipped in place. The piece doesn't serve a function, it simply slides up and down when you pivot the foot to give the impression that it's a functioning part. 

It should look like this.

On his inner thighs he has these big hydraulics. Both legs are even here. On the right side you can see that the silver piece at the top pivots with the leg. On the left side the silver piece was frozen by the paint, and even after I got it unstuck it was very stiff. That's not the entirety of the problem.

Inside the hydraulic is actually a spring that guides the piece back when the leg straightens out. Since the silver part doesn't move right the spring will sometimes get stuck and as you can see it has gotten stretched and uncoiled at the end.

The top of his leg rubs terribly on on his 'belt' causing some really nasty looking paint scuffing. Thankfully it's on the back of the leg, but unfortunate all the same. 

Here's where things get extra nasty. Notice something strange about the neck hydraulic on the left? The way it sits lower than the one on the right? That's because it snapped right off at the top and slipped down. See, the top and bottom of all four hydraulics (two in front; two in back) are ball jointed, but some of these balls got frozen by the paint. I had no way of knowing that, so after posing him for an hour the piece just broke off. This is actually the second one to break, one on the back of his neck also broke and came off completely. Take a look at his neck in the second photo in this review, you'll see it. Even after these broke I wasn't able to free the joint, they're stuck in there really well. 

I'm showing this picture again to illustrate the last problem. You see, the purple armor on each side is a little flexible and normally there's a big piece of armor in the middle covering the battery door in the center. To take that middle section off you're actually asked to "open and hold the scapula armor" and "pry up the back armor". Well that's much easier said than done. First off there's no way of telling how much effort it should take to do any of this. While pulling the scapula armor to the side one side came unglued. It didn't break off, but it isn't being held on as well either. After a ton of effort I finally got the back armor off. Now, the whole reason I had to go through all of this is because even though 3A was nice enough to install batteries (the retail version doesn't include them so have fun with all of this on yours), they came loose in shipping. Be careful with the screws, they aren't plugged at the end and will fall out if you're not careful.

Once I got the batteries back in place and got the door back on I tested the lights which all worked fine. Thinking all I had to do was reverse the steps I thought I was out of the woods. I was wrong. The back armor is just as hard to put back as it is to take off and it snapped back into place with a pretty loud snap. That snap was one of the armor ribs partially cracking. Arg! And to make matters worse I managed to jostle the batteries again in the process so I had to go through all of this a second time! Thankfully they stayed in place the second time at least long enough for me to do this review. If they ever come loose again I doubt I'll go through the trouble of putting them back a third time. 

Oh, and there's an L-shaped bar on the inside of the right foot that loves to fall off when I move it. Yay...

So with all that against it what do I think of it? Well, just to recap, the figure itself is beautiful, the paint is really great, the articulation good, and the lights are phenomenal! If this figure had absolutely perfect quality control then it would come highly recommended even at the price. However, with the major flaws (which I think will be fixed before release) I can't imagine what type of emotions I would feel if I spent US$380 of my own money on this and had this many problems. Honestly if you really want one I would wait until after it is released and check out reviews from people who got it at retail to be positive the issues have been corrected. Think of this review as a possible worst case scenario and a cautionary tale of what might turn up in mid-2014. 

[Huge thanks to 3A for sending us the advance review sample!]

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threeA: Real Steel - Noisy Boy reviewed by Jeremy Emerje Crocker


Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Jeremy Emerje CrockerAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Jeremy Crocker here, probably better known around the net as Emerje, I'm an associate editor here at Tomopop. I've been an avid figure collector my entire life. There's no time when I can remembe... more + disclosures


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