Wednesday 14 January 2015

Toybox REVIEW: 66 Action Kamen Riders Wave 4

66action Kamen Riders Wave 4

Bandai's brilliant 66 Action line has now stretched out into the likes of the No More anti-piracy campaign, Dragon Ball Z and (soon) Ultraman, but it probably wouldn't be where it is today without the success of the Kamen Rider figures it pumped out through the course of 2014. Rounding things off in December last year was wave four of the popular range of 66mm candy toys, adding Kamen Rider Drive Type Speed, Kamen Rider Gaim Kachidoki Arms, Kamen Rider Wizard Flame Style and Kamen Rider Faiz to the mix. That's a total of three new Riders to add to the ever growing collection, and yet another form for the lead Rider of 2013-2014.  

Boxes front

Boxes backBox Contents

Nothing has really changed about the 66 Action packaging since the line first started nearly a year ago, which is nothing but a good thing because why would you change such a great design? The figure numbering continues on from the previous waves (with chase figures such as wave two's Dark Kabuto excluded from the official numbering), with these four figures taking up slots 13 to 16. Each box is unique to the figure inside, with some flashy images on the front and a more detailed breakdown of size and contents on the back. Also included is one piece of Bandai's addictive soda-flavoured candy per box, which should be enough to keep any fan going until the next set of candy toys is out.

Those buying these figures by the case and then splitting them will be relieved to hear that there is no chase figure included in the wave, with the breakdown being as follows - 2x Drive, 2x Wizard, 3x Kachidoki and 3x Faiz. I guess the minor remoulds an alternate Faiz or Wizard form would need proved a little too costly.

Though the figures may sport varying degrees of bulk/armour, articulation is exactly the same across the board. The head, arms, legs and feet are held to the torso via a ball/socket, giving the neck, shoulders, hips and ankles a pretty good range of rotary motion. Elbows and knees are covered by a basic hinge joint, and the hands can twist around 360 degrees thanks to the plug system they use. Usually things would be rounded off here by the waist swivel, but this time the wave has another little surprise in store - bicep swivels! That's right - after three waves of inexplicably avoiding them, these guys all have an extra bit of rotation added to their arms. An addition like this is the perfect way to close of the 2014 releases and fingers crossed it's something that will continue into the ones this year.

The new stands included

However a brand new addition for this wave (and what I expect will be the case for future 66 Action figures - Kamen Rider themed or not) are STANDS! That's right, after a year of including stand ports on the back of these figures but nothing to actually use them with Bandai have finally started to include them. Each stand is made up of two identical pieces, which feature a hole in the middle and a ball port at each end. Snap them together and you have a very basic stand, complete with a little bit of articulation where the two pieces meet.

The downside is, these stands are pretty awful. The arm has next to no movement so you're very limited with the poses you can get out of it (and if you do manage something particularly flashy, there's always the possibility it'll just topple with the figure's weight). I've included a couple of shots using them here just to give you an idea of how they work, but halfway through the shoot I just gave up and went back to using Tamashii Stages. Good effort Bandai for including them, but I think they need to go back to the drawing board.

Kamen Rider Drive

With the handle-kenRider kick!

Teaming up with GaimAmazing circus?Meeting Black RX

With each wave's numbering going from the newest Rider to the oldest, kicking things off with wave four is the latest Kamen Rider on the block - Kamen Rider Drive! This figure is of his base "Type Speed" form, but if the amount of Gaim figures suggests anything it's likely we may see a few other of his forms in later 2015 waves. The 66 Action line's ability to take such detailed Rider designs and shrink them down into tiny figures has always impressed me, but Drive might just be the best one in that department yet. Not only do the car headlight-style compound eyes look perfect, but the entire body is covered in all the little car details you can see on the full sized suit (the back being especially impressive). Of course at this size some the finer details begin to mesh into each other a bit, but its mostly certainly defined enough to see exactly what they represent.

Drive comes packed with three sets of hands (fists, weapon holding and relaxed - this is identical with each figure) and the Handle-Ken (Handle Sword) weapon. I'm especially impressed that they included the sword with Type Speed, given that neither the larger TK-01 figure or forthcoming Figuart of Type Speed had it with them. There has been precedent in the 66 Action line to not include a weapon where there wasn't one (Rider-1, Kabuto), so to have them go the extra mile and include the sword regardless here was a really nice touch.

Kamen Rider Gaim Kachidoki Arms

DJ Gun Taiken ModeMini Kachidoki Batta

With Figuarts Kachidoki ArmsThe 66action GaimsVs. Zangetsu Shin

Moving backwards from Drive we have yet another entry from Kamen Rider Gaim - the third form of the titular Rider in the line and fifth figure from the series itself. Seeing how the S.H. Figuarts line was going to handle the tank-like bulk of Kachidoki Arms was interesting enough, so to see it shrunk down to this tiny size is quite the sight. Obviously the plates have been squished a bit, but everything is present and correct with the figure's functionality left intact. The front skirt pieces sadly don't move to help the leg articulation (though the side ones can unclip), however the Kachidoki Batta flags can be clipped to the back of the figure AND used as handheld weapons!

Aside from the aforementioned Kachidoki Batta flags, this Gaim comes with three sets of hands and the DJ Gun in Taiken Mode - which was previously included with wave three's Kiwami Arms figure. It's a little disappointing to receive exactly the same version of the weapon yet again, since the standard gun mode would have been a perfect thing to bundle here for a little bit more variety. I suppose it is fair enough since the weapon was used and associated with both forms, but this is the first time the line has unnecessarily repeated the same weapon twice. With all the functionality 66 Action Kachidoki Arms has, it's a forgivable offence.

One additional item of note is that Kachidoki Arms features a slightly different stand to the rest of the wave, moulded in blue plastic like the figure itself rather than the usual black. The big question is - will we ever see a 66 Action Jimber Lemon figure to complete the set of power upgrades (i.e. excluding Pine and Ichigo)? 

Kamen Rider Wizard

With the WizarSwordGunWizard's one true love

Giant head actionMagic tricks gone wrongVs. Bujin Gaim

Once again only jumping one series back, the third figure in this wave is the Flame Style form of Kamen Rider Wizard (aka the default one). Arguably the simplest of the four Riders included in this wave in terms of design, its the vibrant red, black and silver colour scheme that really makes this figure work. That isn't to say there isn't any nice sculpting though - the driver and accompanying ring chain look great even though both seem to be lacking any substantial detail. The hands are what really makes it, each one accurately having a tiny ring sculpted on it. Makes Wizard's hands far easier to find in a sea of identical black hands!

Wizard comes packaged with three sets of alternate hands and the WizarSwordGun in sword mode. Pretty much everything you'd expect from a 66 Action Wizard really so there's not much to talk about here.

Kamen Rider Faiz

Faiz EdgeRider Kick part 2!

Heisei Riders vs DecadeHaunted by the pastWith fellow Heisei Riders

Rounding off the wave is Kamen Rider Faiz (the lead of Kamen Rider 555, which is worth mentioning as they don't have exactly the same name), the only representation of the pre-Decade portion of the Heisei era in this wave - the poor old Showa era still only has Rider-1 representing it. The Faiz costume may not be quite as complex as the likes of Drive or Gaim Kachidoki, but that isn't to say it isn't impressive in its own ways. The sculpting on chest plate and Faiz gear is superb, and that bright red trim around the body really making the colours pop. Like Drive the compound eyes are worthy of special mention here, not only being incredibly vibrant but also wonderfully hypnotic.

Faiz comes packaged with three sets of alternate hands and the Faiz Edge sword. Faiz has quite the array of weapons so getting yet another sword is a little underwhelming, but I guess it helps keep some form of semblance between all of the Riders since they've ALL come with melee weapons so far (Sonic Arrow totally counts).

The 66action Riders so far

I really must sound like a broken record by now, but this set of 66 Action Kamen Riders is yet another winner. After a few slight disappointments with the previous wave, wave four is a fantastic return to form that sees out the reign of the previous current Rider and welcomes in a new one, along with two new characters to add to the roster. 66 Action has without a doubt been my favourite line of 2014, and I'm really excited to see what it brings in 2015. And with wave five consisting of Mashin Chaser, Kamen Rider OOO Tajadol Combo, Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Black already officially announced it looks like we're already in for quite a treat!


Anonymous said...

Your images are getting really funny now. I LOVE the Kaixa one, personally.
Just looking at the bunch of little Riders makes me wanna hug them all now.

Peter Schaaff said...

Thanks for these informations. Willing to buy one of the lil guys now. Fascinated by size = pose ability ...