Thursday 7 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Roborider

SH Figuarts Roborider

With the amount of S.H. Figuarts there are and come out every month, there are a few rules I tend to follow in order to keep my spending habits in check. One is to (mostly) only buy figures from series/films I've watched or plan to watch by the time of release, and the other is to only buy the base form of a character. 2014 seems to be a bad year for that second rule though, as I find myself breaking it twice for two different Kamen Rider shows. One is the currently airing Kamen Rider Gaim, while the other is Kamen Rider Black RX. Roborider, the Prince of Sadness, is the first upgrade of Black RX - giving him a more robotic-like form along with enhanced strength and defense. In Saban's Masked Rider adaptation, this form was known as Masked Rider Super Gold.

The light in the brown

SO MANY POSESAhhh, blank space

With a name like Roborider the first thing that probably comes to mind for packaging design is something robotic, but instead Bandai keep the uniformity they've created with the Black/RX boxes and repeat the style once again in a brownish mist decor. Accessory count is something I'll have a bigger rant about later, but even the back of the box shows how little you're getting with Roborider by showing off two rather boring poses. It features quite a lot of blank space, something it shares in common with the plastic tray inside...

Meet my one accessory!

Masked Rider Super Gold!(Not Shadow Moon)

Rocket...punch?Ready for battle

Bandai Tamashii Nations' experience when it comes to getting their sculpt as accurate to the suit as possible continues to shine in Roborider, who looks exactly like a miniature version of his onscreen counterpart. The combination of black and yellow is INCREDIBLY striking, and is further highlighted by the silver strips that run throughout the body. And while it didn't want to photograph very well close-up, the transformed cog-like King Stone belt looks superb painted on a piece of translucent plastic.

That being said, I can't help but feel that Roborider feels a little outdated in terms of Figuarts engineering. The glossy finish is perhaps the main perpetrator, feeling cheap and a huge step backward from the nice matte finishes most Figuarts have now. Articulation-wise everything is there, but the combination of the crotch and swing down leg pieces really doesn't make getting this figure into decent looking crouch poses easy (or even at all). The segmented waist joints help to give Roborider that little bit more articulation, but unfortunately the figure also doesn't look exceptionally good unless they are popped down into place (completely restricting them). Finally as a side note, the right silver shoulder piece constantly fell off on my figure, prompting me to glue it into place - a first I've had to do on ANY of my collection. Probably not a widespread issue, but something that furthered my feelings of cheapness/dated-ness toward the figure.

Say hello to my little friend

Obligatory shot from the showDoing the robot walk

With only one accessory shooting is all I have!Furbus from above!

This is usually the part where I talk about what accessories come with a figure, but in Roborider's case its more going to be a case of talking about the LACK of accessories he comes with. Roborider comes with perhaps the most paltry selection I've ever seen on a Figuart, consisting of a meagre 5 hands (closed fists, open hands and gun holding right hand) and his Vortech Shooter pistol. Sure if this was a web exclusive release a bare bones approach might be more understandable, but after the impressive selection pulled off with Black RX this is a real disappointment. Even if Bandai want to continue denying most Figuarts suitable effect parts, a materialising version of the Vortech Shooter would have been fantastic. If energy versions of the Revolcane are possible, why not this?

Roborider doesn't have a lot to work with to begin with, but Bandai really just threw in the bare minimum here and called it a day.

Transformation sequence!

They do look pretty great together eh?BLACK RX!

Nostalgia can be a very dangerous thing and it was my childhood love for Masked Rider that persuaded me to break my usual buying rules and shell out for all three versions of Black RX. But after a superb start with the renewal RX, Roborider feels like a massive step backwards - more akin to a Figuart from about 2-3 years ago than one that precedes gems like Blade, Ryuki and the Black, RX and Kabuto renewals. It's great to see Roborider FINALLY released in the line, but a plasticy sculpt and pathetic accessory count make this one of the more disappointing Figuarts I've encountered. The one real plus is that he does look great alongside Black RX, and hopefully Biorider will prove to be much more in line with what collectors have come to expect from Figuarts in 2014.

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