For today’s review I wanted to go back to a figure I had been meaning to take a look at for a long time now, but he just got pushed back and eventually forgotten. I feel like this is almost a crime on my part because the Team Fortress 2 Robot Pyro is a surprisingly well done figure. I have a hunch that sales for him and the Robot Heavy did not go as well as 3A had hoped since there is no news of the rest of the team. Couple that with retail outlets still having stock sitting around for clearance season. I guess the Mann vs. Machine 1/6 scale experiment did not catch on …
That said it does not appear that 3A is completely giving up on the Valve license. They have some 1/6 scale Half-Life 2 figures in the pipeline for 2015: Dr. Gordon Freeman, Alyx Vance, and their robot companion Dog. I’m in for almost anything they do with the Valve license, but it is a bit of a shame that the Heavy and Pyro will get put in “lame duck” status without the rest of their team. Building any Team Fortress 2 team is just not working out well for me! NECA is currently stalled after releasing six of the nine total characters. Maybe the seven year old first-person-shooter is starting to show its age? Could be, the merchandise is but who knows?
The Robot Pyro showed up around the first week of December 2014. Like most 3A releases there was a preorder phase around May of that year, so the Pyro was paid for well ahead of time. By the time these figures arrive I’ve almost forgotten about them. He was a nice treat to get in early December. You had the option at preorder time to choose a red, blue, or both in a two-pack. Since I went blue for the Heavy I continued in that direction with this release. Upon opening him I was a little shocked to see he did not come with an in-game unlock code! Apparently I had just assumed he would, but there was an item packaged with the two-pack. Had I known (or paid more attention to the sale blurb) I would have gone that route because those in-game codes generally net me back the cost of the figure. Lesson learned: read better.
I do think the red version look pretty, though. If they ever drop to a decent clearance price I will probably consider getting a matching set.
I’ve gone into what the Pyro does NOT come packed with, but what he does come with is as follows: a flamethrower, three pack of grenades, and two individual grenades. The grenades magnetically attach to his chest. They really only stick to one specific spot so you can’t put all five on him at once, but it would also look kind of dumb if you did. The flamethrower is giant and looks fantastic. His fingers are able to grip it and get it into a good number of poses. Mine, however, does have a bit of an issue with loose finger joints. They really like to just give out on my while I’m trying to find a killer pose for the Pyro’s weapon. I end up needing to rest parts of it on his body so that the fingers don’t lose their grip. It’s a bit of a shame since the Heavy had nice tight fingers. I may try the Transformers method of putting some Future floor polish into the joints to tighten them up. My only concern is if it will strip any of the weathering.
Besides some loose fingers I feel that he is a pretty decent improvement over the Heavy in respect to the articulation. This isn’t to say that the Heavy was less articulated, but the Pyro’s scheme certainly has a better range of movement. The Pyro’s shoulders are really open and free of any hindrance. Since he’s a figure that mostly poses with his arms this is a huge help. With some of these robots, especially Atlas and P-Body, it’s hard to tell which pistons are either functional or cosmetic. Pyro doesn’t seem to have that problem as all of the functional pistons are pretty obvious, and none of them were stuck when I first broke in the articulation.
The weathering seems to be ramped up in this release. Or at least there is a lot more exposed blue on the Pyro that it can definitely be seen more clearly. The heavy weather deco doesn’t bother me all that much except for on the head, I kind of wish they toned it back a little there. It’s also worth mentioning that the blue used on the Heavy does not quite match the Pyro. I’m interested to see how the reds compare between releases if I ever get them in that color.
Sure, it isn’t the official end of the Mann vs Machine 1/6 series since there hasn’t been word either way. However I’ve been collecting long enough realize that the writing is on the wall. As games like Portal, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Half-Life get older they just don’t keep that ability to move product. That isn’t to say that if Half-Life 3 was unveiled next week there wouldn’t be a rush on merchandise, there would. But Half-Life 3 isn’t happening. Right now 3A and NECA are putting out product for an aging license that needs a good shot in the arm (no fault to either of those companies, Valve needs to put out a new game to make the license worthwhile to merchandise). The Pyro is a great effort and a fantastic 1/6 scale robot that, unfortunately, a lot of people are going to overlook or not even know it exists. I personally love my Pyro and Heavy set, I display them on my work desk and love to mess around with them even months after their release.
If you are looking to add one of the Robot Pyros to your collection Amazon has them for about the price I paid ($200 each). You can get them in the red or blue variety for about the same price. I opted for blue since it was more accurate to the game, but either look nice.