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.)
Sculpt: Cleatus looks nearly identical to his graphic counterpart. There is some nice detailing, such as the robotic fingers and mech-like legs.
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…
We really appreciate your reviews and comments. Stay tuned for more vibrant packaging for 08'. We're also working with Fox Sports and the NFL on getting approval for "Team Cleatus".
That would be the only reason I hesitate, I don't have any skills either. As you say, its best left to the pros. 😉 Perhaps we'll get some team branded merch next season!
If I had any painting skills, I'd try to customize mine. But I have a hard time with custom-painted figures…I'm a little OCD in that regard. I prefer the factory-made paint applications (even if they're a little sloppy) to custom work.
I found a bunch yesterday at TRU in Brockton, a place which usually yields NO results. Interestingly enough, mine wasn't in the sports section at all, it was in the remote control robot section. Go figure.
These are really impressive in person. This is another toy where pictures don't really capture how cool they are.
Despite football season being over, I still wanted this guy. I'll display and fiddle with him for a few weeks, then box him back up until next Fall! I might pick up another one for my newphew! This'll fit in nicely with his Transformers collection. Also, I totally wanna customize one!!
@Anna–Yep, they should still be there. Check the sports action figure aisle.
Anyone else enjoy seeing the robot go up against the Terminator endoskeleton? That was a neat marketing gimmick.
My brother and I are totally psyched about this robot. Are they still sold at Toys R Us? :3
So I'm way late on this, but I just realized that Cleatus the Fox Sports Robot has exactly the same syllable cadence as a certain other Cletus who calls the Fox network home.
Mistah Plow uses the following Scale:
Movie Reviews – Ebert Heads
Game Reviews – Koopas
TV Reviews – Mooninites
I agree – the Ravens Rock!!!
I miss the NHL robots.
Wow me and my dad were all excited to see him this season. Now I have a great idea for a Father’s Day gift.
Oh… I agree. The ravens are pretty cool.
@Poe: If you want, there's a plug-in I can get going here that simplifies things. Mistah Plow uses it on his blog. Let me know if you want to use it.
OH MY GOD I LOVE THE RAVEN RATINGS!!!
Must… Buy… I never knew about this until now. Gridiron Prime eh? I smell a repaint! 😉
Its totally ripe for a custom. It'd even nicer if they had one in your team of choice's uniform i.e. The Patriots! 😉
Totally off topic, I saw this posted at He-Man.org, and I think at some point you did something on this, but anyways, thought I'd show you.
ToyFare is seeking to find the origin of Savage He-Man, the figure formerly known as Wonder Bread He-Man!
Check out issue 127 of ToyFare to see how they weigh the facts at hand and examine the theories as to why this figure exists.
And check out the discussion thread about the figure; one of the longest running threads in the history of He-Man.org!
That was one thing I was hoping to do with this review…get the word out on this awesome toy.
I've seen comments by more than one customizer that they plan to remove the football and the facemask, then repaint him into a mech or something.