When it comes to toys, I’ve always tended to be “into” one franchise or another at any given time. Right now it’s DC Universe; before that it was Halo, and before that, Hellboy, and so on. But I’m always on the lookout for cool toys, even if they don’t fit my current obsession. And once in a while, you come across a real gem like Cleatus, the Fox Sports Robot, produced by Foamheads, a sports collectible manufacturer.
From the packaging:
Last year’s revival of the NFL Robot on FOX marked the beginning of a new era for America’s favorite spectator sport. This 10-inch posable action figure features the highest quality and greatest attention to detail available in an action figure. The FOX Sports Robot utilizes its fully articulating joints to evade defenders and score touchdowns. A must-have piece for every sport fanatic’s collection.
I couldn’t find any information on the history of the Fox Sports NFL Robot. I’m not sure when he first appeared, and I’m not sure why he was “revived” or when he went away in the first place. My only awareness of the robot (who was named “Cleatus” as part of a contest in mid-December) was as a cool graphic whose touchdown celebration-style antics occasionally distracted me from Joe Buck’s annoying commentating. (I say this as a Boston fan who can’t stand Buck’s obvious Yankees bias.)
Then someone linked me to a website promoting a Fox Sports Robot action figure. It was exactly the sort of random figure I loved coming across as a kid. I like football, I like robots, and I like action figures–honestly, there was no way I wasn’t getting Cleatus.
(Incidentally, I read a comment somewhere by a guy who had taken to calling the robot “Gridiron Prime”–which is a much cooler name.)
Without any good reference images, I can’t say whether there are any inaccuracies. I’m also willing to go on record saying that anyone overly concerned about the accuracy of minor sculptural details on an action figure based on a marketing graphic should probably take a step back and get some perspective on life.
Plastic & paint: Cleatus is molded in dark gray plastic. It has an industrial feel, sort of like a car’s dashboard, and it works well for this kind of sleek robotic design.
The paints consist primarily of some yellow and white detailing, along with some graphics–the number “34″ (not sure what the significance of that is), and the Fox Sports logo.
Some of the prototype photos on Cleatus’s Myspace page (yes…he has a Myspace page) show some weathering and scoring on the skin, like the graphic. It would have been great if Foamheads had managed to put that on the production figure, but I suspect it didn’t cost out.
Articulation: Here’s where this toy outclasses most of its similarly-sized competition at this price point. Cleatus has about twenty points of articulation: ball joints at the neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips; hinge joints at the elbows, knees, ankles and toes; and swivel joints at the waist, biceps, ankles (these are side-to-side joints, for stability).
All in all, the figure is far more flexible than the average NFL linebacker. And it allows for some great, classic NFL poses, from running with the ball tucked under his arm to the classic three-point stance. Simply put, the amount and nature of the articulation on a figure of this size and price point is impressive.
Accessories: I suppose technically, the football is an accessory. However, it’s glued to his hand. I’ve been told it’s easily removable, but it doesn’t bother me enough to try it.
Other than the football, I can’t think of any accessories that would have made sense, so I have no complaints.
Value: Given the struggles most toy companies have these days, it’s notable when some small company comes out of left field and produces a high-quality action figure at a reasonable price. Cleatus is ten inches tall and solid plastic–he probably weighs a pound or two. He comes in a big display box. And I found him at Toys R Us for $18. That’s only eight more dollars than a six-inch DC Universe figure, and significantly less than a lot of large figures. Of course, it’s possible most of the figure’s production costs were paid for by Fox Sports’ marketing department. This review is basically free publicity for Fox.
I found Cleatus at my Magic Toys R Us (of course), so if there’s one near you, I’d check there first. If you can’t find him, you can always order him through Foamheads’ website. There’s also a 3″ version available, complete with removable keychain.
Now all we need is a figure of that robot turkey they use on Thanksgiving…