There's a memorable line in the original Terminator (the only memorable line that isn't "I'll be back") where Reese is trying to convince someone of just how dangerous the T-800 cyborg really is, and he emphatically stresses that killing is "what he does. That's all he does!" But what if, instead of killing, all he did was play football? That's the question the Fox Broadcasting Company asked itself, and the answer was the Fox Sports Robot.
If you've ever watched football on Fox, you've seen the Fox Sports Robot. He shows up around the commercials, and if there's one thing you'll see when watching football on Fox, it's commercials. He's usually down in the corner, bouncing around, running in place, and generally going through warm-ups.
Some people love him, some people hate him, but one thing is undeniable: he's extremely toyetic. Somehow no company ever jumped on that, though, until brand-new entrant Actionheads.
"Actionheads" is a part of sports accoutrement company Foamheads, who mainly sell, well, foam heads. Big, thick, foam hats based on teams' mascots or symbols. You know how the Green Bay Packers' "Cheeseheads" used to be the only fans with something crazy to wear? Not any more. There are dozens of college and professional teams represented, so odds are good you can find your favorites. Still, molded foam headgear is a far cry from an action figure - I can make instant pudding, but that doesn't make me a pastry chef, you know? So how does Actionheads' first effort stack up? Pretty damn well.
The Fox Sports Robot,
or FSR, stands about 10½" tall, and is sold in an angular window box. The box's colors are rather muted, but there's a reason for that: it matches the scenery in the FSR's animated appearances. Unfortunately, that means the packaging isn't very eye-catching on store shelves, so you may walk right by it without even knowing. That said, the box shows off the FSR well, and the backdrop is a football stadium, so that works in its favor. The coolest thing, though? This huge robot is held in place by only one twist tie. That has to come as a relief to anyone who's struggled with some of the Gordian knots the major companies use to bind their toys.
The sculpt of this figure is really good. He's not covered in useless details, but everything that you'll see
on the animated version seems to be on the plastic one: plates, shells, tubes, wiring, vents, pistons... they manage to pack on a lot of detail without making the 'bot look cluttered. About the only change I would make is to give the surface some texture. The closeup of the FSR's arm on the back of the box looks like actual weathered metal, while the toy is almost perfectly smooth. We really needed something like Mezco's Kriegaffe had - just some pits and scratches to sell the idea that this is made of metal, not plastic. The proportions aren't an exact match to the CGI designed by Blur Studio (you know their work, even if you don't know their name), but it still looks great. The Fox Sports Robot mold was created by Gentle Giant Studios, they of the RealScan fame.
What's really impressive is the articulation. A lot of first-time toymakers might have gone with a hollow, rotocast figure with minimal articulation - maybe the Big Five plus a waist.
But Actionheads made this guy out of nice, solid plastic and gave him 34 points of articulation; including some Revoltech-style double-swivel balljoints! You know, the kind where there's a balljoint, but also a plain swivel on both sides of it? Think of the average Marvel Legend's shoulder/bicep combo. Anyway, the robot has hinged toes, hinged/rocker ankles, ratcheted knees, swivel thighs (both mid-thigh and at the top), balljointed hips, swivel waist, swivel/balljoint wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed shoulders and a swivel/balljoint neck. So yeah, pretty much anything the cartoon version does on Sunday, this version can do any day of the week.
FSR's paint apps are sparse, but handled well. His body is molded in grey, which really makes the bright yellow highlights "pop."
There's a single white stripe on each shoulder pad, and his visor/eye thing is blue. For some reason, he's #34, which might mean he's not really a robot, but actually a Darth Vader-like mechsuit worn by the reanimated corpse of Walter Payton. But probably not. The Fox Sports logo is imprinted on his chest, and also on his sole accessory: a non-removable football. Well, semi-removable. It's a seperate piece, plugged into his hand, but it's sort of painted in place.
Which brings us to an interesting point.
This guy's referred to on the package as the "Fox Sports Robot," but that's the only place that calls it that. Go looking around on the internet, and everyone calls it "the Fox NFL robot," which only makes sense, since it's carrying a football, and wearing pads and a helmet. Plus, it's not like Fox uses this guy for baseball or basketball games. It's just football. So why "Fox Sports Robot?" Because the robot's image belongs to Fox, but the NFL logo would be a different license. There was a contest, recently, to name the Fox Sports Robot, but since the winner was screamingly insipid ("Cleatus." Yeah. Ouch.), don't expect anyone to stop calling him the NFL Robot any time soon.
Actionheads' Fox Sports Robot retails for about $15, which is a really good price for what you get. It may not look like much on first glance, but once you open this guy up and start to play with him, you'll definitely feel you got your money's worth. Expect this one to appeal to two subcultures that don't typically mingle: sports geeks are going to want a big FSR to put on their desk,
while Transformers geeks will want one for customizing parts. At 10½" tall, he's right in between Masterpiece Optimus Prime and Starscream. If you hang around the kitbashing forums, expect to see bits and pieces of the Fox Sports Robot start to show up quite a bit soon.
If you want more portability with your mechanized running backs, you can pick up the 3" version of the FSR. The detail is toned down, of course, but it's still impressive for such a small figure. This little guy has a V-crotch, swivel waist, swivel shoulders and a swivel neck. The paint is just as good on this figure as on the bigger guy, though this time the mecha-football is definitely a molded part of his hand. The package also includes two extra bits that screw into the robot's head:
one to turn him into a keychain, the other with an elastic cord to hang him from things. Maybe the bigger FSR can wear him like a necklace?
The Fox Sports Robot is a surprisingly good toy. A nice sculpt, plentiful articulation and sturdy construction? And all from a company no one's ever heard of before? The last time a company came out of the gates like this, it was SOTA with their Tomb Raider 2 figures. It remains to be seen if Actionheads can maintain this high level of quality, or even if they have any other projects on the horizon. After all, are there any other similar properties they could tackle? (No pun intended.) Sure, there's the Thanksgiving version of the FSR - a robotic turkey that jumps around and does all the same moves - but after that? Doing the other seasonal variants as re-releases would be pushing it. Yes, the Jack o'Lantern head or the Santa hat would be neat, but not if you have to buy the figure all over again.
But that's just speculation. Right now, the Fox Sports Robot is all by himself, but he's still worth recruiting to your team.
Our own Poe Ghostal reviewed the FSR, as well, so for a second opinion, check it out.