Bioshock Infinite is a unique tale of time travel, alternate universe, steampunk flying Mormons, and political extremism. You know, totally normal stuff. Nothing weird at all. One of Frink & Comstock’s mechanical wonders on the Flying City of Columbia are the Motorized Patriots, gigantic statues of America’s Founding Fathers that grace the Hall of Heroes. For the most part, they act like typical animatronic statues, but this belies their true use: Mobile robot guards! One of the greatest moments in the game is when you have to face down a seven-foot-tall George Washington with a gatling gun. And then NECA made a toy of this, and there was much rejoicing in the land.
I am a known sucker for hilarious concept toys (hello, Gilbert), and this one is no different. The Patriot was first previewed in the 2013 Toy Fair, and scheduled for release that Summer, but production delays pushed it back to the end of the year (beginning of 2014 for all practical purposes). This is a little late after the game, but it’s worth it because a seven-foot-tall robot George Washington knows no calendar.
I am going to give a big caveat right at the beginning: Mine came broken pretty much right out of the package. The kind folks at NECA sent me a replacement immediately which has not broken at all, although I can see the potential quality control issues. All of these photos are actually of the broken one, though it is generally hard to tell.
The Motorized Patriot comes in an oversized clamshell, because this is a pretty big figure. It shows off his stuff, explains who he is, and has a nice backdrop. The twisty-ties aren’t even that much of a bother, though they do hold the toy in place. I must mention, however, that you cannot see the handles of his peppermill gatling gun, and this is important for reasons that will come up under Accessories.
This sculpt is almost perfect, except for one tiny quality control detail. To get the negative out of the way first, George’s hands are sculpted open/closed. His forefingers and thumbs are fused together as part of the same sculpt, as opposed to most NECA figures, which have an “open” grip. What this means is that there is zero give in those hands when you try to fit accessories in, which is liable to break some things that he might want to hold. Getting his gatling gun handles to fit into his hands is an unnecessary chore because of this, whereas it would have been extremely easy if only those hands had a little more give to them. But this is the only flaw.
At over nine inches tall, The Motorized Patriot is hugely intimidating, and guaranteed to tower over your other toys. As well he should! His jacket and pants are rubber, essentially draped over his mechanical frame, while the rest of himm is plastic. Not only does this allow for greater flexibility in sculpt, but it also gives him ore of a realistic “feel” than would otherwise be expected. The clothes are extremely well-sculpted, with wrinkles, folds, and tears in the proper places, as well as clear differentiation between different kinds of fabric.
George Washington’s face is clearly that of the president, only with the details softened enough to give him an uncanny valley, mannequin appearance. It is also cracked, suggesting porcelain, and is missing an eye. The cracks continue down on his hands, which show stress fractures in realistic locations.
On his back, you can see the gears and belts that make Georgie move. The belt is stiff rubber, and looks like an actual piece of industrial machinery. The gears are, of course, brass because Steampunk. He also has matching wheels on his left and right flanks, and loops of golden cord near the flag holders. And finally, several of George’s mechanical elbow and knee joints are clearly visible, engineered in such a way that the toy’s actual articulation works accordingly with them.
George Washington’s paint is exactly the sort of fantastic standard that we are used to seeing from NECA. Starting again with the porcelain “flesh,” his face has just enough rosy blush to look like something a bunch of crazy jingoists would make. The paint in all of his cracks lines up perfectly – no off-center Predator netting here! His single blue eye also shines pretty brightly, contrasting with that dark, empty socket.
Along with his clothes looking like fabric and his mechanical bits looking like machinery, there are lots of little details that make this figure stand out. The belt on his big gearbox is painted to look like a used, worn rubber belt. His clothes are full of little burn marks and bullet holes. The Motorized Patriot’s paint is really fantastic, and has no problems that I can think of.
Alas, it is from his articulation that most of the Motorized Patriot’s problems come. His articulation is really weird, so I need to go into more detail describing it. The head is kind of on a double ball joint connected by a long post – the ball joint on his head extends down to another socket deeper in his torso. This is fragile, and my first one snapped pretty much immediately. Now, George’s collar is good enough to actually hold his head loosely in place and let it look fine, but instant breakage is a sad thing.
His shoulders and left elbow are ordinary ball-and-sockets, but his right elbow simulates that range of movement through an odd ratcheted hinge and swivel. The elbow hinge is very tight, and you could conceivably damage his arm if you are not careful. Always remember to grip his arm near the elbow to minimize stress on his forearm! It does swivel laterally from a joint further up in the arm, which is also very tight. I had to worry it in slowly until his hands were close enough together to grip both of the handles on his gun. His wrists are traditional swivels.
The Patriot’s hips are traditional ball joints, extremely limited by the crotch piece of his pants, which cover them down to about mid-thigh. He cannot really spread his legs or be posed in a “walking” stance. George’s knees are also special ratcheted hinges, fitting with the mechanical theme. Because of his limited thigh articulation you are probably going to leave them straight up. His boot tops are traditional swivels. And finally, he has a ball-jointed waist, although you can’t actually see the joint underneath his coat.
The thing is, the Motorized Patriot’s articulation is largely either cumbersome or dangerous. My first figure’s head snapped off when I tried to turn it at the neck, although my replacement has been just fine. But when that neck joint is stuck, it is very hard to heat it up enough to work – the post is just so long that it is almost guaranteed to form a stress fracture before long. Both of my figures have solid arms, but I have been exceptionally careful with them. And the limited leg articulation means that these photos are essentially all of the same pose.
The Motorized Patriot comes with a bevy of great accessories, but they also supply him with more QC problems. First up is the big “Peppermill” gatling gun. In and of itself, this thing is awesome! It has a complex, plausible-looking sculpt that is accurate to the game design, and it has movable parts! Aside from the tiny hinged flap on top, the barrel will alsp spin if you turn the crank on the side. This is awesome, and takes me back to my childhood! BUT… the gun’s other handle is extremely fragile. It narrows down to its connecting point with the gun’s main body, is made of stiff and brittle plastic, and has to somehow fit in the Patriot’s hands… which, as I have said, do not have much give. My first one’s handle snapped right out of the package. I have heard reports of others that broke when first fitted into George’s hand.
My solution with my second? Just fit it barely into his hand. When you start to feel resistance, stop. Period. Do not force it at all. In these pictures, I have used the broken one, where George is holding the handle loosely in front of the gun’s ammo feed. With an intact gun, the handle is more toward the back. Even if you get one that works well, that handle is going to be a real sticking point.
Next up is the Patriot’s alternate head. If you shoot one in the head enough, you will break off its porcelain mask and reveal the clockwork Terminator face beneath! It looks fantastic, ad is a creepy robo-doll head on its own. Now, can you guess what the problem is with this? You stand a pretty good chance of breaking George’s neck post while trying to swap his heads. My replacement figure can head-swap just fine, but my first one was incapable. But it’s okay – if you don’t want to try to do a head-swap, then you can just keep it around as a generic creepy doll prop.
Finally, we have the flags. The Motorized Patriot comes with two cloth flags that plug right into his back. There has been some confusion over how they are not traditional American flags, but this makes sense. They are the flag of Columbia, the flying city where the game is set. And guess what? That’s how they are in the game! It also dodges some potentially sticky issues involving legal and illegal uses of the American Flag. The flags are nicely tattered and torn in a way that matches the rest of the Patriot’s garb, and they look great on him, giving him so much more shelf presence.
This guy should run you about $35-$40. Considering that it’s about as much as a MOTUC figure goes for, and this guy is much larger, that’s not bad. It does make the QC issues hurt more, though.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
The Motorized Patriot has some serious durability issues. The handle on his gatling gun is extremely fragile, his elbow and knee joints could potentially snap, and his neck joint is a stress fracture waiting to happen. And finally, when you move his head, do not put too much pressure on his ponytail or you will rip that sucker right out. You have to work carefully with everything, and find a good display pose for him.
WHERE TO BUY:
This… is not a toy for children. The Motorized Patriot is simply too fragile for that. His multiple quality control issues severely mar what would otherwise be an outstanding figure. But as it is, in spite of all the difficulties, it really is still great. Once you find that one worthwhile pose, and anchor his accessories in such a way that nothing breaks, the Motorized Patriot is fantastic.
It is one of those few toys that looks good in the living room, if you understand what I mean. In fact, I keep very few toys outside of my regular toy display. The Patriot is near Final Fantasy X Bahamut (one of the most beautiful toys ever made) and the Creature from the Black Lagoon piggy bank (it’s where I keep my change). Even with all of its flaws, this is still a fantastic figure if you know what to expect. Keep it and enjoy it on the shelf, but don’t think that you can toss it around all the time.