Friday 20 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: 66 Action Kamen Riders Wave 5

66action Kamen Rider Wave 5

It's a brand new year for the 66 Action range of candy toys from Bandai, and with the line going from strength to strength with each passing release I can't wait to see what 2015 brings. Despite humble beginnings as simple a range of cheap, poseable Kamen Rider figures it's now extended into a number of other franchises as well as growing a sizeable fanbase. January saw the launch of the 66 Action Ultraman line, and now the Riders return for an impressive fifth wave. This time the selection includes Kamen Rider Drive's Mashin Chaser, Kamen Rider OOO Tajador Combo, Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Black.

Boxes front

Boxes backBox contents

As we come with the 17th to 20th releases in the Kamen Rider subline, there isn't a whole lot to say about the packaging that I haven't already said four times previously. Jumping back to these plain white background boxes feels like a bit of a downgrade after the much more flashy 66 Action Ultraman boxes, but for the sake of uniformity it makes sense not to have changed things. So as usual; each unique box features a few flashy images of the figure on the front, along with a full body shot/look at the accessories on the back. Inside are the pieces each separately into their own little bag section, along with the usual piece of soda flavoured candy. One other thing to note is that the plastic sprues the hands (along with a few other accessories) are attached to have changed, and are now a lot harder to remove without a pair of scissors or clippers handy.

The case assortment for this wave is 3x Mashin Chaser, 2x OOO Tajador, 3x Ryuki and 2x Black. So if you were to split a wave, that'll leave you with an extra Chaser and an extra Ryuki. The perfect opportunity for a custom Kamen Rider Ryuga!

Wave 5 assembled

Figures frontFigures back

Upon opening those fiddly little plastic bags it quickly became clear that there was something a little bit different about this wave of Kamen Riders. Once again there's the still-relatively new inclusion of a bicep swivel (which debuted in wave 4 and should be sticking around from here on out), but there are other little tweaks that have been made to improve the figures. Shoulder pads are now separate pieces fixed between the torso and arms (as opposed to noticeably stuck to the tops of the arm), and the neck joints fixed on a slight angle rather than facing directly upward. How much difference the latter actually makes isn't all that noticeable, but I at least appreciate that Bandai are still making tweaks to make these little guys even better.

Previous wave reviews have covered the remaining articulation before, but if this is the first one you've read I'll sum it up again quickly here. You've got your standard hinged knees and elbows, and then the limbs, head and feet are all connected via ball joints - along with one in the waist to make sure the whole body is covered.

The new and improved stand

Despite only having shown up one wave ago (two if you're collecting the Ultraman 66 Action figures as well), the stands have already gone through a MUCH needed overhaul. The previous versions were made up of two identical pieces, lacking any ability to put the figures in decent mid-air poses and covered in spare hand ports in the ugliest of places. So while these new ones are exactly the same in concept, the execution is far neater. For starters the base piece is now notably thicker than the arm, which is taller and devoid of any slots to place extra hands. As well as the connection between the two offering a little more movement between the two parts, the taller arm means the figures can actually get off the ground and be placed into a variety of great mid-air poses. Seeing these sort of modifications being made when the stands had only just been introduced just goes to show how this line isn't just constantly improving, it's looking at the flaws of previous waves and fixing them every step of the way.

Figure 17 - Mashin Chaser

Break Gunner FunMid-air firing

Evil RidersVs 66action DriveFinding some transport

Just as waves one to three kicked off with a character from the currently airing Kamen Rider series (which at the time was Kamen Rider Gaim), waves four to six (and possibly beyond) feature one from Kamen Rider Drive. With the previous wave bringing us the titular Rider's Type Speed form, this time it's the turn of his enemy and Roidmude grim reaper Mashin Chaser. Anyone who's seen Drive will know that this character boasts an impressively complex suit, so getting the details down to this size and still making it look like a twisted motorcycle wreck is an impressive feat indeed. That isn't to say things have been simplified and squished together, but the figure is covered almost head to toe with moulded detail. And though the figure has lost one compound eye thanks to the scaled-down grill covering it, the exposed is still vibrant enough to get the job done.

Mashin Chaser comes packaged with two pairs of alternate hands (closed fists and weapon holding hands), as well as his signature Break Gunner weapon/transformation device. All in all it's a fantastic figure, and great to not only finally see another villain in the line but also a character that doesn't have  the Kamen Rider- prefix (even if, like Shadow Moon, the design is Rider in everything but name only).

Figure 18 - Kamen Rider OOO Tajador Combo

Taking to the skiesRider kick!

66action OOs togetherEntertaining the kidsWishing for more

Returning to a series previously visited by the 66 Action line, the second figure in the wave is Kamen Rider OOO's Tajador (also known as Tajadol) combo. We last saw OOO in his base Tatoba combo form as part of the line's first wave, and putting him side to side with Tajador shows just how far the line has come in the past year. Tajador is just a much more solid figure overall, heightened not only by the added articulation points but also sporting a sharper paint job. Of course, there is the fact that a uniform colourscheme and an awesome translucent red visor piece (which has the usual quality eyes/headsculpt behind it) is just more visually appealing too.

Looking at Tajador's accessory count is where the downgrade in additional pieces becomes particularly clear, with only three alternate hands (a pair of fists and open right hand) and the Taja Spinner included in the package. The Taja Spinner is made entirely of translucent red plastic, which kind of makes up for its lack of functionality or coolness (on the figure that is). Tajador's fists are also a little different to the usual 66 Action variety - there are tiny holes on the top and bottom for the Spinner to connect comfortably. The tabs on the Spinner may only be small, but once they've clicked into the hand it stays in nice and firmly.

Figure 19 - Kamen Rider Ryuki

Guard & Strike VentStrike Vent

With Figuarts OujaPlaying with Advent CardsWith Figuarts Femme

Up third is Kamen Rider Ryuki, who immediately out of the box is easily a contender for the best 66 Action figure released thus far. Not just because the figure itself is of the usual high quality, but the fact that it also comes with Dragreder! You're not seeing things, Ryuki's whole Contract Monster is included as an accessory in this box. This is the kind of accessory you'd usually see spread across a whole wave (especially since it breaks up into numerous pieces), but it's all here so those planning to only to pick up Ryuki don't have anything to fear. Predictably Dragreder doesn't have any paint apps to speak of (this is a cheap candy toy line after all) but does feature a little bit of articulation - the head is able to move side to side while all four legs are capable of moving forward and backward. I hope Bandai realise they've set a precedent here - if we ever get 66 Action Knight, Zolda or Ouja figures fans are going to fully expect they come with their Contract Monsters. Same goes for any of the other Ryuki Riders really, but those are the only other three I expect to get made.

But anyway, back to Ryuki himself. The first thing that you'll probably notice is that this figure lacks the standard Kamen Rider compound eyes - with them being mostly covered by the silver vents it was probably more cost effective/made more sense to simply paint them on I guess. Not that it makes a difference, because they've still made them more prominent than I would have expected them to. Not much of the colour seems to have been lost on the transition to 66 Action size, the only notable absences being the silver for the vents and any Advent Deck detailing (which should be honestly expected). All the raised sections of the suit are still present and correct, along with the gold helmet trim and raised Ryuki logo atop it.

Finally there's the accessories, and here's where the wave's otherwise low hand/weapon count is almost justified. On first glance it may look like Ryuki only comes with three hands (closed fists and weapon-holding right hand) and the Drag Visor, but thanks to the inclusion of Dragreder he practically has his whole arsenal at his disposal. The dragon head can pop off and be used as the Drag  Claw, the legs/abdomen clipped onto the shoulder vents as the Drag Shields and the tail held as the Drag Saber. That's a crazy amount of variety for a figure this small.

Figure 20 - Kamen Rider Black

Rider Punch!Rider Kick!

Vs Figuarts Shadow MoonWith Figuarts Black66action Rider Taisen: Heisei vs Showa

Rounding things off is Kamen Rider Black, and it's about damn time that another Showa era Kamen Rider joined the line. Kamen Rider-1 being part of the first wave was obligatory, but since then it's all been Heisei era guys and the veteran Rider has been getting rather lonely. But now that Black's here it we'll hopefully start seeing more of the classics turning up in future waves - Shadow Moon instantly following in wave six is a good start. Kamen Rider Black has a pretty simple design making it quite hard to get things wrong, so it should be no surprise when I say Black is of the usual standard. My only one real criticism would be the white/yellow/red lines running across the helmet, which are a little bit blotchy on my particular figure. For all I know it could be a one-off case, but while issues like this can make or break a Figuart it's a little easier to swallow on these guys when you remember that they retail for about 400 yen each.

As a weapon that solved things mostly with his fists/feet, there's not a whole lot to speak of in terms of accessories. In fact all there is are two sets of hands - closed fists and signature pose ones. Not a whole lot, but enough to get a few interesting poses out of him.

Waves 1-5 (plus variants) together

My opinion of the 66 Action line is dangerously starting to sound like obvious bias, but I can honestly say that out of all the things I buy this is the line I'm consistently excited for. And once again Bandai have managed to defy my already high expectations. The downsize in additional hands and how it could affect future releases is a little concerning, but here Bandai have managed to overcome it by further tweaking the overall quality of the figures (in sculpt, paint AND articulation), along with overhauling those considerably flawed stands. It's a shame to get Tajador instead of a fourth unique character, but on the whole this is a pretty varied set - a villain, a power-up Rider, a Heisei Rider and a Showa Rider. Perfect additions to the ever-growing collection!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Where can i buy this? I am from Malaysia