Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank Form

Release Date: February 2018
RRP: 3456 yen

2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the S.H. Figuarts line, and while you might think a milestone like that should persuade Bandai Tamashii Nations to finally release Kamen Rider Kiva in the line for now it seems like the ways they plan to mark it are a lot more low key. February 2018 saw the Kamen Rider Build range kick off a little earlier than usual with the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank Form, available for the special price of 3456 yen. While that's not quite the price the very first Figuarts (Kamen Riders 1 and V3 from Kamen Rider the Nextretailed for all those years ago (2310 yen), it's still far more reminiscent of this than the prices some fetch today. Build isn't the only Figuart to be getting this special treatment either, with a renewal edition of Dragon Ball Z's Son Goku also releasing later this year at a similar price point.

Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank comes packaged in the smaller size variety of Figuarts packaging, which over the last few years has pretty much become the norm for Kamen Rider figures at the very least. As expected the box is done up in a suitably fitting blue and red dual colourscheme, with some nice little graphics printed on the window section to give it that extra dash of science. The back features a trio of stock images and looks very neat by Figuarts standards, possibly because there isn't actually all that much to show off with this figure. Inside you'll find Build and his (lack of) accessories housed on a single clamshell plastic tray.

Even though articulation has come a long way in those ten years too arguably its the sculpting and detail that's gone through the biggest overhaul over the years - particularly emphasised in the Shinkocchou Seihou range but also on newer figures like this too. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank looks suitably impressive in hand, and unlike some of th e initial complaints about the Night Rouge/Blood Stalk prototypes it has a nice bulk to it that's reminiscent of the original suit. Even in a relatively vanilla suit like this Build pulls of the dual-theme asymmetrical look brilliant, and with Rabbit Tank it's all the little details that really make the suit pop. The Rabbit side's shin spring is immediately noticeable, but the tank tread adorning the right foot is far more subtle (and effective) in it's execution. Both compound eyes are striking, though I'd be cautious handling the head as the both extended sections (particularly Tank's) look like they could break pretty easily. Other really nice touches include the highly detailed Build Driver, which even includes a working crank! If I had to nitpick I'd perhaps argue that the colours feel a little off (the metallic finish is nice but doesn't quite have the same gleam as it does on the show), but all in all it's a very impressive looking figure.

Articulation is pretty good too, with a handful of (mostly minor) limitations which make Build fall just short of some of the more recent Kamen Rider series figures (particularly Gaim, Drive and Ex-Aid). The main thing worth noting is that Tamashii have opted to return to the old style drop down ball-jointed hips once again, only this time around the drop is both stiff and minimal. Pretty good for maintain the figure's clean silhouette, not so great for a wider range of leg articulation - moving them outwards particularly runs into some issues. Other areas are a bit more minimal in their flaws, but it doesn't stop areas such as the restricted ankle movement falling shorter than they perhaps should. The top half's articulation is just as great as ever though, with Build's shoulder pads particularly being a but less obstinate than you'd usually find on similarly built suits. Despite the raised collar section the head has plenty of room for movement as well, making Rabbit Tank a surprisingly expressive figure given the shortcomings of the lower half.

However it's when we get to Build's accessories that the price tag begins to make a little more sense. The figure only comes with five additional hands, consisting of two pairs of open hands in the style of Build's signature poses and an additional generic "weapon holding" right hand intended for holding the Driver crank. At a stretch you could possibly also count the Rabbit and Tank FullBottles as accessories too, since both pieces can be removed from the Driver slots. The many collectors the biggest point of contention here was the omission of the Build Crusher - a weapon that was regularly used with the base Rabbit Tank form but has instead been included with the (Tamashii web exclusive)  S.H. Figuarts Machine Builder release. Its understandable why people might be upset/annoyed with that, but given the price I can overlook it somewhat. What annoys me more is the omission of hands that can hold the bottles properly, which means putting the figure into a Bottle Shaking pose is impossible. Why even make these pieces removable if they can't hold them properly? It isn't quite as ridiculous as Amazon Neo coming with a loose Amazon Injector he has absolutely no use for, but it follows the same bizarre mindset.

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank Form was released to mark the tenth anniversary of the Figuarts series, and while in some ways it does an amazing job of highlighting just how much the line has improved over that decade it also illustrates how things have changed. Once upon a time Figuarts came with more than you could ever need for them (who honestly expected Kamen Rider Bravo to come with a wine glass?), but nowadays that seems to be a rarity rather than the norm. Even "special" releases like this have had cutbacks in order to meet that long forgotten price point. But gripes about accessories aside, Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank is a solid first entry for the Kamen Rider Build sub-line and the perfect opportunity for newcomers to experience what modern Figuarts have to offer at a fraction of the cost. Just don't get too comfortable with that price, because if you find yourself wanting more you'll find yourself on a very slippery slope.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog , i dont know if you know but the complete Ex-Aid Trilogy Another Ending is fully subbed on nyaa

Alex said...

Thank you! I had seen some of it was out, but wasn't sure on the sub quality. Will check it out when I get the chance!

Anonymous said...

There are mistakes in the subs but at least its completely understable and i can definily tell its a billion(pun intended) times better epilogue than the true ending