Monday 17 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom

S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 8800 yen

If you ever needed further proof of just how popular Ultraman Z is, look no further than the amount of S.H. Figuarts releases Bandai Tamashii Nations have done for the series. Despite long past the days of them release both the Ultras and multiple kaiju/aliens for each series they cover, years after airing we're still getting new Z figures. And not just of the titular Ultraman either - following the release of both SC-1 Sevenger and SC-3 King Joe there was one huge gap in the collection that needed to be filled. S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom is the last of S.T.O.R.A.G.E.'s Special Airbourne Armour robots to be released in the line, once again as a Tamashii web exclusive. The second robot to join their arsenal in the series, despite being built on Earth it shares a striking similarity to the Windoms that once assisted Ultraseven and Ultraman Mebius many years ago.

S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom Box 01

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S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom comes in a grey and black windowless box almost identical to that of SC-3 King Joe's. The big differences though are not only is this box much thinner, but also taller - a good inch taller than your average S.H. Figuarts packaging. This is because the figure itself is actually pretty tall thanks to the giant mohawk sticking out of its head. The front of the box features a brilliant image of the in-show Windom suit alongside one of the figure itself, with more images of the figure in various poses (as well as showing off the accessories) found on the back. As is the case with all Ultraman Figuarts, one side of the box also has a nice book-end style spine image of the figure which makes the boxes perfect for on-display storage. Open it up and inside you'll find the figure neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray, surrounded by a wealth of additional parts/accessories.

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Windom is a giant metallic humanoid kaiju with a mohawk-crested, bird-like head. While in Ultraman Z Windom is a piloted robot, in Ultraseven it was originally considered to simply be a metallic organism. Windom's design has barely changed over the years, so if we are very lucky this figure could easily be retooled into the flamethrower-armed "Fire Windom" from Ultraman Mebius should they ever directly do figures from that series (the forthcoming Mebius figure is billed as an Ultra Galaxy Fight release). As usual Bandai have done an excellent job with the sculpting of this release, even if the design is relatively simple in comparison to the other S.T.O.R.A.G.E. robots. Widom's torso is comprised of smooth armour plating, whilst its limbs are made up of segmented plates each with black indents/holes running across them. Each of these indents have been neatly painted on the figure to give the design some additional depth, as well as really making it look like a suit of armour. All the real detail lies in the head sculpt, which sports antennae-like eyes as well as additional antennae on each cheek. These are all made from soft plastic so shouldn't be at risk of breaking, but it's still better to exercise caution around them. Other than silver and black, the only bits of additional colouring on the figure are the dashes of red on the forehead and around the cheek antennae. Despite being a robot, it's nice that the design retains some elements of it being an actual suit - with both the knees and feet have billow-like indents in them as though they were made of some thick, foamy fabric.

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Articulation can sometimes be a little hit or miss on kaiju/alien figures due to the way their bodies are designed. Structurally they're built a little differently to your average Figuarts and in turn a bit more limited, which while perhaps true to the mobility of the suits themselves can be a little frustrating if you're used to the dynamic posing the line usually has to offer. In the case of Windom though everything is very much in working order, with the figure featuring;
- Ball jointed head, upper neck, lower neck, shoulders, waist, wrists, hips and ankles
- Double ball jointed elbows and knees
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Hinged mouth
As you can tell standard ball joints are a lot more prevalent on this figure, most of which are completely hidden by the segmented armour pieces that make up the neck and limbs. The use of double ball joints in certain areas also adds additional swivel points to the figure as well, more notably both above and below the elbows/knees. Yes you get the usual complaint of the elbows having a very limited bend, but on the other hand the uncovered knees give the figure a lot of flexibility. The same can surprisingly be said for the hips as well. While the use of ball joints can result in parts popping off a little easier than they would on a standard Figuarts, rest assured they'll pop back on just as easily so there's very little chance of actual breakage happening. Windom can pose and grapple with the best of the line's kaiju offerings, and with a degree of flexibility that many of them lack.

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But while the figure itself may be fantastic, what really makes this release a winner is the amount of accessories that were packed in with it. Windom really is a return to the early days of Ultraman Figuarts when Bandai packed in as many effect pieces as they possibly could, and as such Windom far outranks many recent releases in that department. Altogether it comes with an alternate pair of fists, four "Type-20 Anti-Monster Missile" effect pieces (with curved smoke trails), two "Fast-Rotating Rigid Core Iron Fist" effect parts, an additional "Windom Yoko Impact" right hand, an alternate neck piece with removable escape hatch and then finally a small tool piece to remove said hatch. Short of a laser effect piece for the forehead and some anchor cable parts, that's pretty much all of Windom's main attacks covered. The real winners here are of course the missile effect parts, which can plug into a specific row of holes on Windom's arms and legs (this row of holes is noticeably deeper than the others) to emulate the projectiles launching straight out of its body. Meanwhile the "Iron Fist" effect parts are two translucent white discs that plug between the wrists and hands, representing how the robot can spin its fists at high speed before throwing an electric-powered punch. Next we have the "Windom Yoko Impact" part, a glowing orange hand representing all of Windom's energy being channeled into a single point for a powerful final attack. It's a very obvious homage to G Gundam's Shining/God Finger attack, which honestly just makes it all the better. 

With so many amazing effect parts included, it makes the execution of the alternate neck all the more confusing. While the idea itself makes sense, in reality it's just an identical neck piece with a tiny removable section revealing a hole. Had there been some tech dealing or something behind there it might be a little more appealing, but it's hard to imagine there are many people out there that are going to display the figure without an incredibly easy to lose piece that is just covering up a plug hole. The idea was sound, it's just the execution was a little off the mark. But then again, with so many other amazing pieces included one little misstep is hardly anything to complain about. 

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With the release of S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom I've concluded that the S.T.O.R.A.G.E. robots are some of my favourite Figuarts Bandai have ever produced. While Windom might not have the mascot-powered cuteness of Sevenger or the slick new design of King Joe, it makes up for it simply by being a blisteringly good figure with more (extremely cool) accessories than you could ever need. As well as just being a case of "if it isn't broken don't fix it", the design staying so true to the original also means that Windom is just as well suited for an Ultraseven or Ultraman Mebius-focused display as it is Ultraman Z.  As one of the most beloved Ultraman instalments in recent years, it's great that Bandai produced so many great figures from the series that could match up to that hype.

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