Wednesday, February 22, 2012

threeA Pathfinder Oya Impressions

threeA (or 3A) is a Hong Kong company founded in 2008 that produces books, prints, clothing, and toys primarily based on the designs of Austrailian artist Ashley Wood.  It has a small, but rabidly loyal fanbase, along with Wood himself.

When I first heard of the 1/6 and 1/12 scale action figures from threeA a couple years ago, I really wasn't impressed.  While once a mainstream artist for the likes of Marvel and DC, Ashley Wood is now an independent creator, and his original graphic novel and comic book works have a very distinct artistic presence characterized by simplistic, highly-stylized faces that I felt just didn't fit in with the kinds of action figures I was interested in collecting at the time.  In addition, because the company itself is relatively small, they only sold their toys through their website, and in a very limited ordering process that was inconvenient to follow to say the least.  Fast forward to 2012, with the rising costs of 1/6 scale figures and the predominance of Hot Toys and others pushing ever closer to hyper-realism in toys, what is a jaded collector to do to keep his interest in the hobby alive?

You guessed it, as I re-evaluated my spending habits and collecting tastes, so too did I need to revisit threeA and see if there was indeed something I missed.

As it turns out, I seemed to have missed out on a lot.  These figures, from a purely collectible standpoint, are great!  Despite the simple character designs, the clothing, and paint jobs are outstanding!  Granted, they do have a very strong smell, but I think it's just a natural consequence of the super weathering techniques used by the factory (or "hatchery" as it is affectionately called by threeA fans) to give these toys the post-apocolyptic dirt and grime feel of the art and comics they are based on.  The figure bodies have a lot of articulation and the tailoring--from the screen-printed t-shirts to the oversized hoodies--is just fantastic.

My first threeA figure is the Pathfinder Oya made for the Hong Kong toy store BBCIN.  Overall, it's a fantastic figure, but I do have a few quibbles: the first is that the hands don't grip the weapons too well.  The gap seems a bit too big and the swords just sort of slip out if you're not careful.

Is that it?  Yup, the figure comes fully geared, and ready for display out of the box.
Just add swords.
The jacket is a little tough to work with for posing, but pretty sweet otherwise.
These toys have a distinctive look to them, no doubt.  Time for some stabby fun!
Ahhhhh!  Yeah I don't know he's doing either.  :p

Another issue is how much the heavy jacket/hoodie restricts movement in the arms.  You can take off the jacket for more dynamic poses, but I think it's a bit of a waste of such a nicely done item of 1/6 scale clothing.

At $120 MSRP, this one isn't the cheapest action figure, but compared to a non-Hot Toys brand, it's about in line, considering the amount of work that must have been required to paint and weather all the details.

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