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Romeo Blue

Pacific Rim
by yo go re

You know, sometimes designs get rejected for a reason.

Designation: Romeo Blue
Classification: Mark-1
OS: Trans-Tao 3 Series
Weight: 7,775 tons
Energy Core: Crocus ultima ("The Plutonic Furnace")

Crazy as Romeo Blue looks, she did actually appear in the movie. You don't remember her? She was seen in the prologue, both being given a ticker tape parade, and fighting Hardship in night-vision green. Her identical twin brother pilots appeared on a talk show. She was one of the Jaegers defending Anchorage from Knifehead, but she was further out to sea, which was why Gipsy Danger pretty much had to go it alone. Plus, since we see her leg being constructed, and later see her laying decommissioned in Oblivion Bay, that's pretty much her entire life cycle, and that's more than we get for any other Jaeger!

Let's start with the elephant in the room: Romeo Blue has a giant, ridiculous fin jutting up out of the center of her chest. It seems to make no sense from a design standpoint - vertical stabilizers go at the rear of a craft, not the front, so unless Romeo's going to be retreating all the time, it's just goofy. But when asked about it, Pacific Rim writer Travis Beacham explained that it's there to protect the conn-pod in the robot's head from attack. So basically, it's a plate of armor, but it's thin so the pilots can still see around it. Okay, that makes more sense.

In a lot of ways, Romeo Blue looks like a precursor to Striker Eureka - the torso is wide and flat, with vents on the angled edges that lead back toward the arms, and there are two pods on the back with tiny wings above them. We know Striker Eureka was the first Jaeger the movie's art directors finalized, but who's to say whether Romeo's look was an early draft, or reverse-engineered from that?

The head is very boxy and narrow, with a symmetrical red visor/windows wrapping around the front and a tall spike on the back, like a radio antenna. Due to the chest-fin, if you want to look at the head unobstructed, you actually have to do it from above; when you do, the little wings on the back line up with the head, and now Romeo looks like a Blue bunny.

The original design for Romeo Blue included three legs, which is why she's got 3s painted on her arms and torso, why her operating system is a Trans-Tao 3 Series, and why her body language is described as "tripedal sentry." And while that would have been pretty cool to see on a toy, looking at the movie reveals that the idea was scrapped, so we really can't blame NECA for not doing it. But hey, it's not like they scrapped all her special features.

Though you'd have to have the visual acuity of a pigeon in order to spot it in the film, Romeo Blue has piston-powered fists, for more punching power (yes, kind of like Cherno Alpha). So the plates on her forearms split open, and the fists extend. That was a bit beyond the scope of an $18 action figure, though, so NECA sculpted the right arm closed, and the left arm open; plus, the left wrist can extend down out of the arm slightly.

Other than that, Romeo Blue has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinges at the upper elbow, plain hinges at the lower elbow, balljointed wrists, hinged fingers, hinged torso, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and balljointed ankles. Romeo Blue is either 255' tall (per the art book) or 268' tall (per some promotional render), but the toy breaks the 7¼" mark, which is respectable. There may be another swivel joint in the torso (making it a swivel/hinge), but I'm not sure. And anyway, it's not needed. She already moves as well as she needs to: "better than you'd expect."

Romeo Blue doesn't have any accessories, but other than a big American flag to hang in front of her, parade style, what could they include? You'll want to check the symbols on the Jaeger's chest - a lightning bolt in a shield with a red and yellow military ribbon beneath it, and a white skull with two swords crossed behind it - to make sure they've been tampographed cleanly, but this is another fine NECA release.

-- 03/01/15

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