Wednesday, September 07, 2011

ThreeA World War Robot: Large Martin Auspublic Region Defense Colorway

From Ashley Wood, an Australian artist, comes a brand new - non-Japanese(!) - way of draining my wallet! I can't remember where I stumbled upon these, but I instantly thought these were amazing. Apparently it all started with an Ashley Wood set of artbooks called "World War Robot", about wars being fought between the earth, moon and Mars with humans and megacorporations making robot armies to supply the mayhem and fill their coffers. Well, that's the long and short of it anyway. So naturally, nothing like these paintings/drawings could stay two-dimensional forever, and ThreeA began making designer toys based on the series.

The way I understand it, the "official shop", Bambaland, gets first crack at selling these as preorders, and then they get released to distributors/comic shops/etc. And just to show you that the Japanese don't have the market cornered on gimmicks, each WWR toy released is one basic model, with different "colorways" available. Colorway is another word for "variant" or "repaint", if you're familiar with toy collecting vernacular. Unlike your typical (non polystone, non coldcast) Japanese figure, however, some seem to show up in random, small numbers, and others have a glut released. For instance, the colorway above only cost $45, but on ebay, I bought a rarer model called "MK2 Bertie" that was $140. And there are some, like for instance a special Japanese release, that can go for like $500 or more. I think some are like shop-specific or show-specific models, but there are others like the African Bramble units - that seem no different and are sold by a great many shops, mind you - that are inexplicably like $250-$300 at retail.

I have to say, these are really well-painted, detailed toys. For something being mass-produced, they're weathered well, packaged well, and despite having a simplistic shape, the Large Martins evoke an oddly steampunk sort of imagery. The Bertie I got has a minigun and individually bendable fingers, so I look forward to seeing more of a level of detail with that model (as soon as I decide to take it out of the box, haven't found space for it yet and I don't want it to get damaged), but I think I've found a new thing to collect. And apparently there's a decent amount of interest in WWR all over, as they're currently making a movie due out in 2013, based on the stories in the art books.

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