Fallout 4: PipBoy Edition Review

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As an NPC, I’m expected to have all of the equipment I should need to traverse the landscape along my path and provide various bits of equipment to PCs. My loadout has includes a morpher, mobirates, Wizard Driver, lightsaber, alchemy circle on a mug, pokeball, fleet insignia, and even a first-aid kit (yes, I carry bandaids at a con).

My gear from Tekko 2015, All of this and more in my pockets and on my belt.
My gear from Tekko 2015, All of this and more in my pockets and on my belt.

All of this gear, and nothing to wear.

Now, being a fan of Fallout, once I heard there was a PipBoy edition, I knew I needed to get it and make it a bit of NPC gear. That said, this review is JUST the PipBoy and the packaging, not the game itself.

==The Presentation==

I found this large box when I got home. It weighed in just shy of 7lbs, and was rather beastly for just a single game.

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I already had a clue what this was, but I chuckled a bit seeing the return address.

Shipped by ThinkGeek, but ordered from Bethesda? Is there a conspiracy I'm missing?
Shipped by ThinkGeek, but ordered from Bethesda? Is there a conspiracy I’m missing?

I decided to CAREFULLY cut this open, and I am glad I did; outside of the little plastic bag, there was nearly ZERO protection to the packaging.

Front of the case after being removed from the box.
Front of the case after being removed from the box. Shine is the sleeve.

The PipBoy edition comes in a large armored box with a plastic sleeve denoting what’s inside with ESRB ratings and all.

Back of the box. Lovely art and blurbs. Glad to be home.
Back of the box. Lovely art and blurbs.
Glad to be home.

After removing the sleeve, it was time to crack this bad boy open. Before you ask, the entire case is plastic. It looks more durable than it is, which may be a turnoff for some.

Opening the box involved pressing in the two black levers/buttons on the side to disengage the connection with a barely audible “pop,” followed by manually opening the case.

No epic movement, mists, or lights here!
No epic movement, mists, or lights here!

As you can tell, everything is well protected here. Foam padding protects the PipBoy, a plastic setup protects the top of the PipBoy while holding the various books and the game. Speaking of the game, it is secured within this lovely steel box.

Yes, it is made of steel! One of the few metal things here!
Yes, it is made of steel! One of the few metal things here!

Opening the case gives you access to the disc (near worthless due to the Steam downloads; I’m looking at a four hour download time), the Perks Poster, and an advert for the Season Pass as well as other games.

At least the interior art is amazing.
At least the interior art is amazing.

Beneath the case was the Survival Guide (Steam key and controls) with a PipBoy manual. The manual has some in-setting fluff with a few pages of useful stuff, like how to get it set up.

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Now we get to the big part: the PipBoy itself.

Within the PipBoy, you’ll find all of the inserts needed for placing your cell phone into the device. Granted, that is if you actually HAVE a phone that will fit. Mine is a hair too thick, but a replacement has been in the cards for a while, so we’ll see if I can find one that should work.

All of these were crammed tightly into the cuff.
All of these were crammed tightly into the cuff.

Underneath the PipBoy is the stand. It looks simple enough with plastic arms to hold up the device.

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I personally love the attention to detail on the little metal plaque that was added in. Top notch, there.

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Now that you’ve seen everything else, what about the device itself?

On the stand!
On the stand!

I will preface the further details by saying that nearly EVERY button, switch, and dial on this does something. The cog on the right is a radio tuner, there’s three other dials that turn and click, a small button that lights up after being pressed (and lights up another one as well), and a fake button that when pressed slightly lodges in and won’t come out.

This was a button next to the dial. Repairing it will involve pulling this apart.
This was a button next to the dial. Repairing it will involve pulling this apart.

Outside of the clasp and one other spot, the construction of the PipBoy is entirely plastic.

The PipBoy comes with the screen you see, which can be removed by using a near-hidden switch next to the steel clasp, which opens the top and allows you to load in your own phone.

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The Vault Boy insert can be removed for your phone, but as mine won’t fit, I’ll stick with it.

This panel also allows you to activate/replace the battery that will allow you to turn the lights on.

Once you unclasp the PipBoy and open it up, you are presented with the means to attach it to your arm: a strap and some padding.

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At first, I didn’t think I’d need the strap, and since the top padding is so easy to remove, I thought there’s be a way to remove the strap. No luck, but I am glad it isn’t easily removed: it actually secures this oddly weighted beast to your arm. That, and even with my arms (not scrawny, but not massive either), it wouldn’t stay in place. Sadly, the strap can get uncomfortable after a while.

Locked in place with a steel clasp.
Locked in place with a steel clasp.

Once you strap it and close it, you’ll lock it closed with this metal clasp. I’m not sure if I got a shoddy one or not, but the clasp doesn’t like staying closed, and pops open rather easily. You’ll also notice that even when clasped, it doesn’t close properly, and there are other places that aren’t locking together, such as the right side of the clasp and that area on the top right (compare it to the top left).

A close up of the areas that aren't sealed as well as they should be.
A close up of the areas that aren’t sealed as well as they should be.
The underside; also not well done. Almost feels like it should pop off at any moment.
The underside; also not well done. Almost feels like it should pop off at any moment.

While nice looking and has the appearance of being durable, shoddy and cheap manufacturing really detracts from this becoming a mainstay prop. I like it, but I’m afraid it won’t be as useful as I had hoped.

Going back to the box, it is a pretty nice box. The back of the manual mentions that this waterproof, vaccuum resistant box can have multiple uses, such as a lunchbox or varmint trap. I got a laugh out of it, but I am tempted to find a use for it at a con or even at work. Now if only I had a way to carry it easily. . .

Good amount of space once you remove the padding!
Good amount of space once you remove the padding!

The box also has other elements fitting for the source, such as noting Vault 111 and having this little bit of signage on the back.

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All said and done, is this version worth it? Yes and no. Like the Fallout Anthology, you get something that looks awesome and rugged, but is really made from flimsy plastic that may not survive any use beyond sitting on a shelf and looking cool. If you want bragging rights and a cool shelf prop, go for it. If you want something that’s going to be a prop to be used at a con, this is great for being screen accurate but not horribly durable. If anything, I’d use it as a guideline and inspiration to make your own prop.

So what’s next? Well, I may or may not be writing a review for Fallout 4 (time permitting), but I do have a playtest book that was just released and arrived, an invitation to another playtest, a novel from Jim Butcher I’m just about finished reading, a convention to prepare for, a new commission that I need to work on, and I just accepted a new job in West Virginia that will begin within the next few months. I’ll keep up my posts as best as I can, but bear with me if I fall behind a bit.

I’ll catch you wanderers, couriers, vault dwellers, raiders, mutants, glowing ones, and other survivors out in the wasteland.

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