Thursday 4 December 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 & New Cyclone

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 & New Cyclone

The S.H. Figuarts line is getting closer and closer to releasing all of the main Kamen Rider heroes, so in order to keep the line going strong and steady Bandai are also going back and revisiting some old favourites to fill in some gaps. And in terms of the Showa era Riders, the biggest of these gaps is of course their motorcycles (after all, they are Kamen Riders). But rather than just release the bikes for those collectors clamouring to make their collection more "complete", Tamashii Nations is also giving fans a second chance to get these classic characters with two-pack releases with their respective Rider or reissues to accompany those single pack bike releases.

Now I'm not usually one to collect the bikes - there's a whole lot of Riders out there and I simply don't have room for everything. But when it came to a 2-pack of Kamen Rider 1 & the New Cyclone, I just simply couldn't pass it up. If any Kamen Rider figure in my collection deserved his motorcycle, it's the original.

Box Front

Box BackInsert Trays

S.H. Figuarts boxes are of the small and thin variety, usually cramming the plastic trays with as much as possible to ensure as little free space as possible. A figure/vehicle 2-pack release on the other hand is a completely different story. This release in particular comes in a box that's not only nearly double the length of a standard Figuarts box, but double the thickness as well. Most of this space is naturally taken up by the bike, with the figure squished into the corner and partially obscured by the red text that adorns the clear plastic window. Meanwhile the design itself is incredibly simple even for Figuarts standards, but the minimalist look gives it quite a nice retro feel. It's also worth mentioning that, as a series that predates Kamen Rider W, the box labels the figure as "Masked Rider" rather than Kamen Rider.

Inside the set's contents are spread across a total of four trays - one for the figure, one for the bike, one for the alternate hands and another behind the figure tray for the included effect part.

Assuming the pose

Figure frontFigure back

More fancy posingClassy back shotReady to fight!

With his various appearances spanning over 40 years now, the original Kamen Rider (whether you call him Rider 1 or Ichigō) has had quite a few costume variations. Even prior to this the Figuarts line has released a total of three different versions of the character (original appearance, Sakurajima version and Shin Rider 1). This version of the figure is a re-release of the first of these to be produced - the Shin Rider 1 costume. This suit is donned by Takeshi Hongo at a later point in the series, following a second bout of reconstruction surgery and brainwashing from Shocker. However this isn't just a straight up re-release of the original Shin Rider 1 figure, boasting a new "de-saturated colour scheme" according to Tamashii Nations. Side to side with the Rider 2 Figuart (also released in October 2014) I can see a tiny bit of difference, but nothing that honestly makes this feel like an entirely deco.

Leaping into action

Rider Kick!Rider Punch!

Though it may be simple by today's Kamen Rider standards, but I think you'll agree that the original Kamen Rider suit still looks as striking today as it did back in 1971. Being as iconic as it is, it's nice to see Tamashii Nations do it justice with a great sculpt. Not only do the colours compliment each other nicely, but so does the matte green plastic of the chest and the glossier plastic used for the black bodysuit and silver gloves/boots. It's a little hard to explain in words (and in pictures), but in person its a very visually appealing mix that gives the suit that little bit more variety.

As a figure that was originally released back in 2011, there are areas where Rider 1 is beginning to show his age a little bit. The instantly noticeable thing is the use of black wrist joints, something that has been met with scorn on the likes of Kamen Rider W and Red Buster. Thankfully it's not so much of an issue here, but certainly something you probably wouldn't see on a newly made Tamashii Nations figure. The other minor thing is simply the articulation, which isn't in itself a problem but just not quite up to the standard Kamen Rider Figuarts are setting themselves these days. With it's embedded shoulders and swing down hips, it feels more akin to the Super Sentai offerings. But damning this toy simply because it feels more like a toy and less like a miniature suit seems ridiculous, as Rider 1 can still pose with the best of them and look fantastic while doing so. It just shows how far the line has come when a three year old figure feels dated yet still manages to be incredibly fun.

Effect part rider kick

With his new swordMore sword posingMore swordplay

More rider kicks

Coming with a entire motorcycle might make you think that this pack would be light on the figure-specific accessories, but in fact Rider 1 still retains the core accessories of his original single release! Included are a total of nine swappable hands, an alternate windswept muffler piece and even a blue 'Rider Kick' effect part. Rounding off the accessories is a sword with a cane-style handle, which originally I believed was exclusive to the 2-pack but was indeed carried over from the original. I assumed that with the forthcoming web exclusive Kamen Rider Amazon/Jungler 2-pack coming with a unique effect part this would feature something to encourage more buyers to indulge in the 2-pack releases, but it looks like that's something reserved for the web exclusive packs. The set may lack some of the accessories that accompanied later variations of the figure (such as the giant bomb piece), but looking at the entire package this set certainly doesn't feel like it's lacking anything!

The New Cyclone motorcycle

Motorcycle backshotClose up

New Cyclone with Cyclone Cutter piecesCyclone Cutter parts closeup

Next we come onto the second part of this release - the New Cyclone motorcycle. As the name suggests this isn't the first bike used by Hongo, replacing the original Cyclone bike at a later point in the series. There are actually two versions of this bike, with a very similar one used by Kamen Rider 2 at the same time. The real difference is the paint, with Rider 2's featuring different red areas and blue paint around the front headlights. Bandai have rather cleverly taken advantage of this, releasing the Rider 2 version of the bike as a single release at the same time. So if you're specifically looking for Rider 1's version, you'll need to pick up this 2-pack.

The New Cyclone is a modified Suzuki Hustler TS250III, able to reach speeds of up to 310mph (I'll be honest - I ripped these facts off a wiki, I don't know a thing about bikes). The bike is predominately a bone white colour, with solid red sections across the sides. The front and sides also have an original Kamen Rider logo tampograph, which cleverly doubles as both a grasshopper and bike with a big red "R" behind it. Overall its a pretty basic looking bike, but the areas that required detail certainly weren't skimped upon. The machinery elements are covered in ridges and notches, as are the throttle grips. I was also expecting it to be a much heftier piece, but it's surprisingly light - not really noticeably weighting more than the figure itself.

Rider 1 rides into action!

Rider and bike togetherOn the move

Posing with the bike

Aside from the usual functions you'd find with a toy motorbike (like the front piece moving left/right and the wheels spinning), the New Cyclone's main additional feature is it's pop out 'Cyclone Cutter' blades. Of course these don't physically pop out of the toy, so here they come in the form of additional pieces that peg into each side of the bike's front. It doesn't provide a huge change in looks, but it is a nice little extra that could have easily been left out.

In addition to the Cutter pieces the New Cyclone also comes with swappable throttles and a small circular disc stand to keep it stable in place of the kickstand (e.g. for posing a Rider actually riding it). It's a bit of a shame that the bikes don't come with unique Tamashii stands like some of the older releases (such as the original Battlehopper and Acrobatter bikes), but the fact the bike has a small port at the bottom for a Tamashii stand arm makes a WHOLE lot of difference. Upon opening the figure I was dreading having to stabilise the bike with those awful claw arms for a midair shot, but being able to simply plug the thing into the figure made it all nice and simple.

Rider 1 joins Akaranger and Kikaider

While I'm still not entirely sold on the idea of collecting every Rider with every bike from a purely financial standpoint, when it comes to the Rider 1/New Cyclone set I feel like I got what I paid for. The figure is a little bit dated when compared to some of the newer entries in the line, but still comes from a time where Figuarts was beginning to reach the top of its game. Meanwhile the bike is a bit on the light side, but surprisingly sturdy with great paintwork. Throw in a nice batch of accessories for both parts and you really do have a pretty fantastic release. I stand by what I said at the very beginning of this review - if you any Kamen Rider deserves a bike to go with him, it's this guy.


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Ash Green said...

Wow :)
This is an incredible collection of ideas!
Waiting for more helpful pieces.
You would amazing to read a similar one here-
the motorbiker