Sunday 25 October 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Double Machine

It's been one hell of a good run, but it looks like we've come to the end of the Kikaider S.H. Figuarts for the time being. With Kikaider REBOOT still without any release details (fingers crossed we hear something at the Tamashii Nations event at the end of this month), the release of Kikaider 01's Double Machine motorcycle marks the last of the confirmed figures for this series. Maybe one day we'll get Bijinder and Waruder to finish off the main cast, but in the meantime getting both heroes and five different versions of Hakaider in a seemingly short space of time has been a pretty nice treat. Like the majority of the Kikaider figures, the Double Machine was released as a Tamashii web exclusive.

The Double Machine comes in the biggest box for the Kikaider Figuarts thus far, which is about the same length as the Hakaider Squad packaging but almost double the thickness. As usual it features a stylised illustration of the contents on the front along with the name of the bike. The box also has half of the 01 logo printed on the side, which isn't especially noticeable at first thanks to being in grey and only looking like a semi-circle here. On the back is a much better look at the bike along with how the figure looks on top of it, along with some nifty closeup shots in the background in various different colours.

The Double Machine is a motorcycle/side-car combo just like Kikaider's Side Machine, however (much like the colour placement on the characters themselves) the side each component is on has been switched around. The bike is also more of a standard shape, with Kikaider 01 sitting down on it properly rather than practically laying down like Kikaider does. What exact bike model the Double Machine has been modified from I am uncertain of - there doesn't seem to be any information about it online and unlike the previous Kikaider bikes this one doesn't come with any optional stickers of the real-life manufacturers. So if you're a bike enthusiast or just happen to know what model this is, please let me know!

However the sculpting itself is magnificent. Admittedly I haven't handled a whole lot of Figuarts vehicles (this is only my fourth and I'm unlikely to buy any more any time soon), but this is easily the nicest looking bike in my collection and I'm sure one of the best Bandai have produced. The paint job is really crisp, the colours are vibrant and the windshields clear and completely scratch free. The design is just a perfect example of how wonderfully retro 70s tokusatsu can be, with its huge back fins and exhaust pipes jutting out of the back. It's worth noting that the three fins are actually detachable from the bike itself - mostly likely to fit the thing in the packaging easier but probably good to have incase of possible breakage.

The Double Machine also has absolutely no accessories to speak of either, which is a bit rare even for the bike releases. They don't usually come with very much, but at the very least there's usually a spare pair of handlebars included just in case of any unfortunate breakages. A pair of hands are sometimes thrown into the mix too, but the 01 figure already came with the relevant hands so that would be unnecessary here. With the hands slipping over the handlebars so easily, I guess Bandai though a spare pair of those wouldn't be needed either.

And of course, just like his brother's ride of choice there is also a functional sidecar! The sidecar can't actually split apart from the bike, but does feature the space to comfortably fit a Figuart of your choice (or similar figure in that scale) as a passenger. Currently these are the only two bikes in the Figuarts line that feature sidecars, making them both excellent pieces simply on that novelty alone. The great thing about the Double Machine however is that there's also plenty of room to fit another figure on that back of the motorcycle part as well, making it able to hold THREE figures without looking totally ridiculous. After seeing how great the Hakaider Squad looked hijacking the thing, it's rather tempting just to buy a second one so they can have their own pair of wheels to go joyriding on.

As easily one of the most impressive bikes Tamashii Nations have ever produced in the S.H. Figuarts line, Kikaider 01's Double Machine is very unlikely to disappoint any interested buyers. While it might not hold the same level of appeal to those unfamiliar with Kikaider 01 (or anyone who doesn't own the 01 figure), it's a really unique bike that has received the very best Figuarts treatment. If you're a Kikaider completist just like me, the Double Machine might not be the ideal way to see off the show (for now at least - it always helps to keep the faith!) but it's certainly far from a low point. A great companion piece that's worth every penny.

This isn't quite it for Kikaider though, as next month we see the series make its grand return to the SIC toy line. Stay tuned!