Friday 27 June 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider ZX

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider ZX

Kamen Rider RX may be one of the more forgettable of the Showa era Kamen Riders thanks to the majority of his appearances being in manga, but the release of the Birth of the 10th! Kamen Riders All Together!! star marked the completion of the classic era Riders in the S.H. Figuarts line (well, save for Shin, J and ZO...and Shin has been released since). And thanks to a recent sale from Hobbysearch, I was able to pick one up for the low low price of 1080 yen.

Pretty plain box

Red is the new redLots of accessories!

While Tamashii Nations have been getting pretty creative with their box art of late, ZX features the same basic packaging as his fellow Showa era Riders - only this time it comes in a rather fetching red to match the dominant colour on his suit. The front of the box features a large window area covered only by a greyscale picture of the figure in the bottom right, while the back shows off the figure as minimally as possible. It doesn't even properly show off everything ZX comes with!

ZX has had enough of your crap

That swirly grey though :(And that annoying scarf

As you'd expect from a Figuart, Kamen Rider ZX is an excellent approximation of the suit itself, right down to the little details. While it certainly can't be faulted for accuracy, it only takes a closer look at the figure to start noticing all the little things it does wrong. On a purely visual level, the cloudy silver/grey plastic that has been used for the chest section looks and feels awful - far cheaper than the usual quality you'd expect on these figures. But there are still a whole bunch of physical problems too. ZX's scarf is attached to the body via a plug hole in the neck, however it simply refuses to stay in place. Forcing it in isn't a good solution either, because immediately out of the box the soft plastic plug area of the scarf looked stressed to the point of breakage. The wrist joints are on the verge of coming apart every time the hands are removed, and the (extremely soft and gummy) hands themselves have holes so big that they don't plug in securely. Not a good start.

"My arms don't move much higher than this!"ZX Henshin!

The variety of articulation is also pretty much what you'd expect from a Figuart - double ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders/wrists, double jointed elbows/knees, swing-down hips etc. However both the ZX suit design itself and the shoddy QC manage to let the figure down yet again. Thanks to the retro-style chest armour the arms can't raise much higher than in the pictures you see above, severely reducing its capacity to do Showa-tastic henshin poses. There's also just a generally floppiness to the entire thing, especially in the hips area. For what's a pretty striking design the figure is just proving to be a quality control nightmare.

Grappling hook!

BombermanI think my belt's broken

One area that ZX doesn't falter in is accessories. Though many of this things are small, they come together to make a nice little armory for the ninja-esque Rider. In total he comes with 12 swappable hands, Cross Shuriken, Impact Bomb, Micro Chain and replacable ZX belt with exposed electronics (and by that, I mean some black/silver detailing). The Impact Bomb can be plugged into one of ZX's right hands, however the Cross Shuriken is a little more difficult to position securely. To make posing that little bit more accurate, the inactive bombs (on the knees) and shurikens (wrists) can also be unpegged.

But eyes will undoubtedly be immediately drawn to the Micro Chain, with its nice added touch of an actual metal chain. It's a little too long for my liking (when holding it the excess chain just hangs there) but its definitely the highlight of this neat little bunch.

Ninja star badassery

More grappling hook!Obligatory rider kick!

While I don't own every Figuart ever made, I think the 50+ I do own mean I can spot a bad figure when I see it. And Kamen Rider ZX is hands down the worst one I own. I've had my fair share of dodgy sculpts and gummy hands before (Domon Kasshu and Tatoba immediately spring to mind) but they all have something in common - they're reasonably old figures now. As a November 2013 release ZX proceeded the Ryuki figures, Blade and the renewal Black, so quality like this is A LOT harder forgive. The fact its a Figuart still sets it above a lot of other collector lines, but in comparison to others its a very poor effort indeed.

All in all Birth of the 10th! is a pretty forgettable special, so maybe its only fitting that a forgettable special gets a figure that should easily be passed on. Bandai have, can and will continue to do much better than this,

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