Wednesday 6 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos

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Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7150 yen

Although we get a new Ultraman every year simply through the mainline series, it didn't make one being introduced through the ongoing Ultra Galaxy Fight web series any less exciting. After being teased at the end of The Absolute Conspiracy, Ultraman Regulos made his full debut in The Destined Crossroad – a space martial artist with a history with Ultraman Leo and Astra, as well as a rivalry with the Absolutian Absolute Diavolo. This year's Ultraman Regulos prequel expanded on his origins further, revealing him as an amnesiac Ultra who trained in the Cosmo Beast Style martial arts. It seems as though Tsuburaya Productions have some big plans for him, which is all the more reason why S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos has joined the Ultraman range as one of its latest Tamashii web exclusive releases.

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Ultraman Regulos comes in standard windowless Tamashii web exclusive packaging, with the box adopting a red and black colour scheme to go with the usual Ultraman layout. The front of the box features images of the onscreen suit and the figure itself (both in martial arts poses), whilst further images of the figure can be found on the back of the box. Surprisingly the back doesn't make a whole lot of reference to the accessories included in the set, but does feature multiple images of Regulos alongside the S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Leo and Astra releases. Seeing just what is included alongside Regulos though simply requires opening the box up, where both the figure and accessories are neatly laid out on their moulded plastic tray. As usually tends to be the case now, the instructions are printed on the inside flaps of the box rather than their own separate flyer.

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Ultraman Regulos is quite an interesting-looking character amongst the giants of light, sharing many of the same hallmarks as classic Ultras but doing it with a more modern (and somewhat unique) body type. On first his red body with its silver stripes feels very reminiscent of Ultraseven, with his silver and gold tector armour throwing in a hint of Ultraman Zero for good measure. His head sculpt also feels eerily similar to this father and son duo, albeit perhaps a little more angular. But its Regulos' unique features that make him stand out, like his more toned body (check out those abs) and of course the tribal tattoo-like Cosmo Beast Style markings his arms. His right arm proudly displays the style of the Tiger Cosmo Beast Style, while his left arm is that of the Dragon. Bandai have done a particularly good job with these markings, applying the white paint to precision but also subtly etching the shapes into the arms to give them a little more depth. The body colours really pop here too, using that bright modern-Ultraman red colouring alongside stripes of shiny silver paint. The black shackles around his wrists add a much-needed touch of darker colouring too.

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Ultraman Regulos uses the standard Ultraman body type when it comes to articulation, consisting of; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso, waist and wrists 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips and ankles 
- Butterfly joint shoulders 
- Double hinge elbows and knees 
- Single hinge toe sections 
- Elbow and thigh swivels
With all the various martial arts stances and poses Ultraman Regulos displays onscreen getting the articulation right was of the utmost importance with this release, and overall Bandai have delivered to their usual high standard. Though some additional bicep swivels might have been nice just to add even more movement to the arms, that might break up the seamlessness of his arm markings and so I can see why they might have chosen to omit it. The elbow swivels doing a good job of picking up the slack though, particularly combined with those butterfly shoulder joints. Everything else here is to the usual Figuarts standard, although the joint tolerances do seem to be a bit all over the place with my copy. Some parts are nice and loose, while others are stiff to the point of being creaky (time to break out that shock oil). The other complaint worth mentioning is that this is a character where you're going to want to make the most out of every bit of articulation to capture those martial arts poses correctly, but the paint is VERY easily scuffed. Sure the instructions may warn of this, but it really didn't take much to make some noticeable scuff marks on the silver parts just from putting the figure in poses that are on the box. You should always exercise some caution when messing around with high-end figures like Figuarts, but posing Regulos might command a little more care than usual.

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As space martial artist Ultraman Regulos' attacks are even more physical than your average Ultra, and this is certainly reflected in his accessory count. Among the parts included are an alternate red colour timer, as well as seven pairs of alternate hands AND alternate arm and forearm parts. This impressive selection of alternate hands is a lot more varied than a typical Ultraman release, with most of them in distinct poses for martial arts stances. It adds a great bit of variety to the figure, and far more interesting to play around with than the usual array of fists/knife strike/grappling hands etc. The alternate arms are a bit of surprise inclusion, as although this release is billed as a Destined Crossroad figure these actually refer back to the more recent Ultraman Regulos prequel series. The complete set of alternate arms lack the markings to represent Regulos prior to him inheriting the Cosmo Beast Style, whilst the alternate forearm pieces lack the shackles to represent him prior to his imprisonment by the Absolutians. While neither are as visually interesting as the tattooed/shackled arms, again they add plenty more variety to posing and display.

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The last couple of accessories are more hands yet again, but this time they're a little more unique. These are additional hands for Regulos, Leo and Astra – all holding a different Cosmo Beast Style energy orb. Regulos has Spica's (Pink), Leo has Albeo's (Green) and Astra has Pharood's (Blue). The orbs themselves are made from translucent plastic and can be removed from the hands and thus switched amongst them. These are to create the trio's attack they use during the climax of The Destined Crossroad to defeat Absolute Diavolo. They aren't much, but it's a nice little inclusion to create a combined pose/display with the other key Ultraman martial artists. It's also nice to get some modern accessories for Leo and Astra as well.

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Given how limited his appearances have been so far, it's impressive just how much effort Bandai have put into S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos. The impressive hand count and Cosmo Beast energy orbs would have been enough to appease most collectors, but including alternate arm parts to recreate his pre-Ultra Galaxy Fight looks is really going the extra mile. While it's a shame a little more articulation wasn't thrown in to really show off its martial arts potential, the figure itself is no slouch either – capturing Regulos' somewhat unique look (among the Ultras at least) with great sculpting and paintwork. Between this, Tartarus and the forthcoming Absolute Diavolo Bandai are showing quite a bit of love to the Ultra Galaxy Fight series.

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