Respawn’s Titanfall has all the elements of franchise ripe for action figure glory. Giant mechs. Big guns. Armored pilots. The whole world is fantastically designed, and presents the ideal inspiration for physical representations of the in-game world. That’s where ThreeZero stepped in. With its history of figures and collectibles featuring incredible, mechanized detail, ThreeZero was the perfect choice to bring Respawn’s creation to life. The Atlas Titan isn’t just a faithful recreation; it’s like having your own personal Titan by your side.
It isn't until you take the Atlas out of the box that you realize just how massive this beast really is. Even at 1/12 scale, which puts it right around 20 inches, the Atlas dwarfs nearly every other figure in my collection easily. I knew how huge this figure was before pulling it out of the protective wrapping, but it's one thing to see the number of inches on a fact sheet, and another to see it with your own eyes. The Atlas is rather hefty, too, which could normally pose a problem for posing and standing the figure on its own. The torso does still take on the brunt of the figure's size and weight, but ThreeZero's balanced the mech just right. It also helps that the Atlas' feet can be situated to provide a bit more stability. I have plenty of smaller figures that give me more problems standing on two legs than the Atlas has, and when you're dealing with a collectible of this stature (and price), that kind of reliability in knowing it's not going to tip over the moment you pull away is appreciated.
Once you get over the awe of unpacking the Atlas, you start to take in all the intricacies ThreeZero's included. When playing Titanfall, you don't have a whole lot of time to study the mechanical workings of the Titans. Sure, you spend a lot of time looking at them in-game, but most of that time is in passing. If you stare too long, you'll find yourself on the wrong end of bullet, flung about by an explosion, or if you're really daydreaming, the underside of an Atlas foot. Here though, in the safety of my own home, I observe just how much thought and science went into crafting these automatons. No, really, even with 'The Art of Titanfall' living permanently on the coffee table, you cannot appreciate the engineering at work until it's physically in front of you.
To call ThreeZero's Atlas incredibly articulate wouldn't quite do it justice. There's just a ridiculous amount of joints from head to toe on this thing, including extra flaps and machined pieces to maneuver. Some of the pieces unrelated to traditional points of articulation (elbows, wrists, knees, etc.) are merely cosmetic, like the grates behind the ankles, but other flaps will need to be adjusted to give the Atlas its full range of posability. Nothing feels unnecessary though, and even with the added bits, every last little movable piece serves at least some function. Additionally, there are some pistons hidden in the abdomen and at the base of the Atlas' feet to provide more flexibility to the figure. You'd hardly even notice they were there if you weren't looking for them, but they help provide some added stability and maneuverability to the Atlas. They can also pop out if pushed too far, but that's a precaution included so the pieces don't snap off entirely. A quick, light push, and everything is back in place like normal.
When it comes to posing, large figures like this sometimes pose (unintentional, I promise) an issue. The weight of limbs can be too great for the shoulder joints to hold for extended periods. ThreeZero's made that potential problem disappear by giving the Atlas shoulder, knee, shin and elbow joints that click into place. Once its positioned, the only way the Atlas is lowering its arm or bending its knee is by human force. And it does take a little bit of force to get the elbows and knees to move, which is a good thing. You don't want every slight nudge to knock the whole figure out of whack. There's a surprising range of motion to Atlas' arms. The shoulders and elbows can be moved within a 90 degree range, though the hip joints don't provide nearly as much flexibility. The knee and shin joints do offer plenty of range though, even though you likely won't need to push them to the limit.
The only place I take any umbrage with the Atlas' articulation is in the wrists and hands. While nearly every other piece on the figure will remain firmly in place, the hands will pop out if left to hold the massive XO-16 Chaingun (the final figure will also include the ARC Cannon if you pre-ordered from ThreeZero itself) alone for too long. It's a minor quibble, and one that may be addressed by the time the final versions arrive by the end of the year, but one that made crafting some cooler poses more difficult than they should have been. That said, the rest of the articulation around the hand and wrist is phenomenal. Each finger has three knuckle joints, while the thumbs have two, and the wrist can be rotated a full 360 degrees. Gripping the gun is never a problem, and you can basically make any hand gesture you want with the Atlas thanks to all that articulation. Oddly enough, the wrist is home to the only real soft rubber on the mech, Every other inch of the Atlas is hard-molded, save for the wires and the wrist armor. It doesn't look any different from the rest of the Titan visually, and you can really only tell when you start touching it to pose the figure. That's a testament to ThreeZero's paint app though, as it does a solid job making this material indistinguishable from the rest of the piece.
The torso, while eye-catching, doesn't appear to offer much personality in the articulation department at first glance. However, like its in-game counterpart, this miniaturized Atlas lights up and has some hidden features, too. The main eye in the center of the torso and the tiny camera just above it, can be rotated around to make the Atlas look as if it's scanning a particular area of the battlefield for enemy troops. You can also set it to be lit with either red or blue, depending on which faction you like to play as in the game itself. What's even better is you can actually use normal, easy to find batteries (two AAA to be exact) instead of some hard-to-find type as has been the norm in the past. Additionally, the battery hatch on the back of the Atlas pops on and off with ease, and requires minimal effort to use. That might not sound like a big deal, but when it comes to high-end collectibles like this, not having to break out tiny screwdrivers to take apart the figure in multiple places is a blessing.
The chest cavity also opens up to reveal the pilot's cockpit inside, as does the hatch on the roof. The main door opens and closes easily, but the top half of the door had some trouble staying open for me. There's some solid detailing going on inside that cockpit, and there is technically room enough for you to put the 1/12 scale pilot that comes with the Atlas inside. However, it was virtually impossible for me to get the little bugger in there properly. The pilot is articulated, too, so it can be done, but not only is it a hassle, it also takes the pilot and hides him away. That's a shame, too, as the pilot is just as detailed and wonderful a figure as the Atlas itself.
Just a hair over six inches tall, the pilot is probably the most detailed figure at this size I've seen in some time. He's a mixed media figure, meaning his clothes are indeed made of cloth, but his armor and helmet are molded plastic. Like many figures at this size, the pilot is fully articulated with more than a dozen different joints to adjust. That said, some of the armor does make it hard to get him into every conceivable pose, but that's fine since a fair amount of action stances are still possible. Unfortunately, as this is a prototype figure, not all the parts and pieces were provided, so it made posing the pilot with the Atlas a bit harder than I'd expected. The final version of the pilot will include multiple sets of hands (one set open-palmed, one set kung-fu grip) to allow you to have him hold on to the various rungs and handholds on the mech, or even hold his gun (included is the R-101C Carbine). Mine came with the open palms, which aren't ideal for holding weapons or handles on the Atlas.
The pilot looks great regardless though, and looks like he jumped straight out of my television as much as the Atlas does. The little jump pack booster on his back looks as if it'll go off at any time, and seeing smaller details like the Smart Pistol holstered at his side is cool, even if you can't take it off his hip. The various bits of armor are fastened to the pilot with non-adjustable straps, which is fine for the most part. The only place it's really even an issue is with the few bits on his legs. Both sets of knee plating and the gun holster and ammo pack on either leg often slide out of place with relative ease. Largely that's due to how much movement you put the pilot through when posing. As there aren't a whole lot of ways to maneuver his arms, those pieces tend to stay in place just fine. Whether trying to get the pilot inside the Atlas cockpit or trying to have him stand somewhere on the mech, the legs get a lot more work. You can slide the armor around back into place, it's just a slight annoyance to always have to adjust the minutia whenever you decide to change the pilot's pose.
I spent a few words talking about the amazing paint app before, but ThreeZero's really done an outstanding job giving the Atlas a realistic and unbelievably detailed look. The version everyone will get is the IMC iteration of the Atlus, and as such the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation's tagging and insignias adorn the mech in all the right places. There are also the requisite safety warnings like "No Step" or "Tow Here" laid out exactly as they would be were the Atlas real, and put together by a non-fictional company with legal obligations to end consumers. The appropriate battle scarring and wear and tear are also present, giving the figure the look of a mech that's seen its share of conflict and travel across solar system. There are also spare munition clips fixed to the Atlas on either side of the cockpit door, really hammering home the idea that this is a piece of machinery developed for large-scale engagements. There's just so much minute detail through every aspect of this figure, you'll notice something new every single time you look at it.
Though this figure is aimed squarely at the most devout Titanfall fan, any single action figure collector will find plenty to adore about ThreeZero's Atlas. It's an amazing, hulking work of pure awesome. I've been tinkering with this figure for a few days, and constantly find myself going back to take in more of the outrageous detail and to pose and play with its various moving pieces. As the first of a wave of planned Titanfall figures (the Stryder is up next), ThreeZero's set the bar impossibly high. Then again, the company's been doing that with each new figure it crafts anyway. The Titanfall Atlas Titan isn't just an action figure; it's a work of art.
This review is based on a sample prototype of the Titanfall Atlas provided by ThreeZero. The Atlas is slated to arrive in Q4 2014. It is no longer available for pre-order through ThreeZero, but should be available at other online retailers for ~$430.