ThreeZero Titanfall Stryder Titan Figure Review
Last year, Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall captivated players with a future that relied heavily on the use of mechs for combat. The Xbox exclusive may have drawn some ire for being so singularly focused on multiplayer, but there was no way you could deny the impressive world-building Respawn did in Titanfall. This is especially true of the multiple mechs used in-game.
As cool as they were to see on our TV screens, it's even better having the real deal in your house. Well, as close as you can get anyway. That's where ThreeZero's 1/12 scale Titanfall collection comes into play. Already the company has released an Atlas Titan, but the line doesn't stop there. Coming later this year is a 1/12 scale Stryder Titan, which again brings the stellar conceptual design of Respawn to life with ThreeZero's trademark attention to detail. While not quite as big and bad as the other Titans, the Stryder is a remarkable work, that despite some balance issues, brings the world of Titanfall to life in the best of ways.
Comparably, if the Atlas is the triathlete, and the Ogre is the deadlifter, then the Stryder Titan is the sprinter of the group. Its frame belies an agile piece of high-tech machinery, and on the battlefield, it definitely runs circles around the other two models. However, that speed and finesse comes at the cost of armor and shielding. Those are factors you don't necessarily have to worry about in figure form. In creating a physical version of the Stryder, ThreeZero has manged to realize the aspects we could only previously imagine attributing to the Stryder. ThreeZero's Stryder is lighter and leaner than the Atlas, and while it doesn't actually have to do any running, you believe this mini-mech could do all the things you've seen it do in-game.
Accuracy to the Respawn design is both a blessing in a curse for ThreeZero's Stryder. When creating a video game, you don't have to worry about the actual physics of construction. If you want to put an oversized cockpit on some slender legs with little else to support it, you can do that and just make it work. In the real world, the execution of such dramatic mechanized design doesn't always follow through on intent.
The Stryder's grasshopper inspiration leads to some problems with balance, as even though its legs have chicken-like joints, the top half of the Titan often causes tipping issues. There are poses you can put the Stryder in that won't test the tipping point, but it's rather challenging to get the Stryder into more dramatic poses. Were this figure $20 or even $80, I might be willing to take the risk in experimenting a little more, but as the Stryder costs as much as a car payment, I'd rather not have the whole thing collapse and snap something.
I should note, ThreeZero did have to send a replacement prototype for review, as the first figure the company sent had a defective hip joint. When attempting to rotate one of the legs, the screw holding the joint together snapped. ThreeZero did inform me this was a prototype issue that had been addressed before moving into production. I can attest to the improved hip, as the second Stryder I received immediately felt more solid and secure. Given that there's still months and months of production time until the final versions arrive, I'm optimistic this issue will be 100% addressed for all non-prototype versions of the Stryder.
[It's also why it looks like there are two sets of photos included in this review, as I took all the pictures on two different occasions. As I take all my figure photos in natural light, the sun gives a little different hue to each half of the Stryder pics.]
Those issues aside, the rest of the Stryder is quite remarkable. ThreeZero's attention to detail far exceeds merely reconstructing an in-game model. That said, a big part of the Stryder's appeal is in its machinery. The quality of the sculpt is such that you almost believe the Stryder is going to leap from its display and begin terrorizing any small pets you may have. These Titans don't look like toys; ThreeZero's work makes these pieces appear so real, if one was on display at MIT, you'd think it was a working prototype.
Much of the "Is that real?" factor comes from the meticulousness of the figure itself. Working pistons and joints team with highly-articulated hands and rubber tubing to create an illusion that brings about a double take from casual observers. Add in the light-up features, visible in they "eyes," jet boosters and crotch, and it's enough to give even the most devoted collector pause. Notably, ThreeZero made the use of the light-up features much more accessible and easy to use this time. The batteries are housed in the base of the pelvis, with a simple button switch on the back to swap between on, off, red or blue.
That realism is also featured in the paint app, which belies the Stryder's frequent use in the theater of war. Titans are expensive pieces of machinery that both the Militia and Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) use without abandon in their quest for freedom or dominance. You go through mechs with ease in any given match when playing Titanfall. That a Titan could survive long enough to show that much wear and tear is impressive. ThreeZero's managed to give the Stryder the look of a Titan that's seen its share of combat, and it helps paint a picture of a grim and gritty future.
The weathered exterior provides personality to the machine, and the collected dirt and rusting hull offer hint at a harsh life for the Stryder. A clean machine straight off the assembly line wouldn't have the same appeal. This is a mech from the frontlines, and one that's pilot has seen a few things in his day. With all the decal details, like warning signs or instructional bulletins on the exterior, it's easy to lose track of time observing all the nuance the team creating this at ThreeZero has spent hours incorporating.
All of this is still before you can even really take in the minutiae, like the removable power system door and the (then) exposed brains of the beast. There's also a full rocket launcher attached to the shoulder, which can flip open to expose a locked and loaded salvo awaiting command. Of course, the cockpit does open, allowing you to put the included pilot inside. And yes, you can actually get the pilot inside the cockpit with much less effort than you could with the Atlas. There's nothing spectacular about the interior, but it does give you more options for posing if you want to hide your pilot from the world.
Frankly, I'd advise against it, as the 1/12 scale pilot is just as, if not more, detailed than the Stryder itself. Like the Atlas, you'll get a 6" pilot, complete with CAR SMG. This pilot comes sans facemask, but is just as armored up as the previously released soldier. The pistol is still not removable, but his jetpack does come off, which is a major key in getting the pilot inside the cockpit of the Titan. He's fully poseable, comes with a few different hands, and ThreeZero mixes real clothing with sculpted armor like few other companies can to create a unbelievably authentic figure.
Curiously, both Titans released thus far have been IMC iterations. While that's not by any means a problem, it did cause me to wonder just why one figure couldn't be from the Militia side so that posing the Titans against one another made at least a little sense. That's about as nitpicky as you can get though, so I'm not that concerned about it.
The Stryder does come with a Plasma Railgun as an armament (as well as a XO-16 Chaingun if you pre-order from the ThreeZero store), but unlike the Atlas, it doesn't pose with the gun very well. In fact, it's damn near impossible to get the Stryder to hold the weapon and stay upright in any combination of poses. Again, this echoes back to the slight balance problem the Stryder has, and any added weight throws the whole figure off kilter. It's a shame, too, because the Railgun is quite a piece of work, and features just as much insane detail as the figure itself. Unfortunately, it's difficult to display with the figure in a way that is practical.
It couldn't have been an easy task to follow-up one of 2014's most impressive video game collectibles with an effort that was just as outstanding. ThreeZero's Titanfall Stryder Titan may not surpass the Atlas in every aspect, but it's undoubtedly a work that's worthy of every ounce of admiration you could pour into it. Like the Atlas before it, the Stryder is not a cheap investment. However, based on how spectacularly ThreeZero's managed to capture the unique machine, there's little argument to be made about its worth. Titanfall fan or not, the Stryder is an incredible figure, and one that would be the centerpiece of many a collection.
This review is based on a prototype sample of the Titanfall Styder Titan provided by ThreeZero. The figure is available to pre-order from ThreeZero for $430, and is expected to arrive in Q3 2015.