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Vault Review: S.H. Figuarts
Kamen Rider, Riderman

If there’s one line I collect for no discernable reason, it’s definitely SH Figuarts Kamen Riders.  I’ve never seen any of the series and know next to nothing about the characters, but for some reason I really love the Showa Era designs, especially with the amazing articulation of a Figuarts.

My most recent purchase in the quest to have a complete Showa roster is Riderman, who is a pretty unique character in Kamen Rider history.  He is recognized as the official fourth Rider, yet he never had his own TV series and instead appeared as a supporting character in Kamen Rider V3’s.  He is the only Rider to have a partially exposed face.  He also departed from the first three Riders by relying on a combination of intelligence and utilities housed in his prosthetic arm instead of superhuman strength.

Riderman’s character was also more complex than his predecessors, becoming more of an antihero than a clean cut good guy.  He started out as a loyal scientist to the evil organization Destron.  But he was accused of treason by a jealous colleague and lost his right arm while being tortured.  Even after all that he was still loyal to Destron, and only sought revenge against the one who betrayed him.  It wasn’t until V3 showed him the truth about the organization that he joined the fight to stop Destron.

Riderman is done in a more realistic style than some of the previous characters.  He actually looks like a little person in a costume, with all the little wrinkles and frumpyness that entails in certain areas.  I actually like this more than the super sleek, almost cartoon-like proportions of some of the other characters.  His belt and upper torso are also nicely detailed with sculpted line work and small details like button and pouches.

The more realistic portrayal works especially well with his head sculpt.  His facial sculpt looks a bit plain, but there are very subtle details that allow his expression to change depending on what angle you’re looking at.  This is such a rare quality for a toy to have, and I really appreciate when a sculptor can bring this aspect out in a figure instead of the static looks that most toys get.

One other interesting thing to note is that while Riderman does have bulging helmet eyes, they aren’t compound bug eyes like his comrades.  Definitely a nice little touch to literally make him more human than the other Riders.

Like most SH Figuarts, Riderman’s articulation is insanely awesome.  His head, neck, upper chest, waist and ankles are all ball joints.  His shoulders are swivel/hinges attached to a ball joint, while his hips are ball joints attached to hinges.  His elbows and knees are double hinged.  His wrists are swivel/hinges.  He’s got swivels at his biceps and thighs, and his toes are hinged.  If all that’s not enough, they also gave the pectoral pads on his suit ball joints so they don’t get in the way of his arm articulation.  Continue to page 2…

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22 comments to Vault Review: S.H. Figuarts
Kamen Rider, Riderman

  • what a neat figure – though can it be his helmet is glued on a bit weird? he makes quite a long face.

  • J. Lee

    I would like to collect Figuarts in general. A few Kamen Riders, sentai groups, One Piece, and a couple random ones. Truth, no card no can buy. Saving up for a toy show in September so hope to see some there.

    • A company called Bluefin distributes them domestically, and they make them available through Diamond, so any comic specialty shop can order them for you.

      • Vault

        Yup, if you live here in the US then you should be able to get them from Bluefin. Hopefully you’ll find some at the toy show also.

        Thanks, James!

    • I feel your pain, and found a solution.

      Forgive me for the advertising. 🙂

      If you have a Walmart in your area, go and seek out the Bluebird card by American Express. It’s a pre-paid debit card that has one amazing, wonderful feature. No fees. No fee to reload it, no fee for account maintenance, no fee for currency conversion.

      So you put $100 on it, you’ve got $100 to spend. No need to ‘hold back’ $10 for the monthly fee ding, no need to present $105 to load $100.

      Works anywhere Amex works, including HobbyLink Japan. I’ve got the Revoltech Thunderbird 2 on pre-order even as we speak. 🙂

      Make SURE you get the Bluebird card. Don’t let a clerk steer you to the Walmart Debit card. It’s Bluebird by American Express. There is an upfront fee for starting, I think about $5, but that’s nothing in the large scheme.

      It’s useful. Too useful. I’m on the road of ruin and shame now. I’m REALLY debating on that Figurarts Sailor Moon. 🙂

  • Ian

    Thanks for bringing these figures to light. I otherwise would not have paid them any attention. I don’t have a clue as to the theme, they are pretty funky looking. But I do like the molds and articulation. Everything is very detailed. I will have to take a look, though I honestly don’t need to pick up another genre to collect. TF’s, Voltron, DC, Marvel, and MOTUC are more than enough.

    • All the money I’m saving on not buying MOTUC, DC, TF, and GI Joe is going to Figuarts. The lines I mentioned haven’t been doing much for me lately, while Figuarts has been on a tear. They’ve got Dragon Ranger, Tyranno Ranger, Ryu Ranger, and Kiba Ranger all coming out by fall this year, and Kamen Rider Wizard was just solicited in Diamond, plus it looks like they’ll finally get back to the Tiger and Bunny line with an exclusive Fire Emblem due for released this year.

      • Vault

        I can’t wait for the Sentai/Rangers. But I’m most excited for the Sailor Moon Figuarts. I’ve been waiting for decent toys from that franchise for twenty years!

        • J. Lee

          Speaking of the Akibaranger Figuarts. I wonder when Malshina (sp?) will hit. Thats one that I wonder what the extras will be.

          The Sailor Senshi will be sweet. Seen a proto of Mercury someplace looking good. Mars, Venus, and Neptune with their shoe type has me curious.

    • Vault

      You’re welcome, Ian. The one thing I really like about doing reviews is exposing other collectors to some really great figures they haven’t seen before. Figuarts is definitely a fun line, but you have to be very careful. It’s really easy to get addicted to them.

  • Paul

    These are always such sharp figures, but I have no tie to the source material. For me, that means that I can pass on the line (and save up some cash for the other 8 million toys I want to buy.

    Great accessories and great pictures. The one with Riderman attacking with the flail is awesome! How did you do that??

    • Vault

      Thanks, Paul. I’m glad you liked it.

      Those little ropes are like nylon, so they kind of keep a general shape. It was mostly just about balancing the rope and mace to look as natural as possible. I also tried it from different angles to see what worked best. I think I took about twenty pics of that one pose just to get it right.

  • Brainlock

    I’m only vaguely aware of this series but it does look like a nice figure.

    “There’s his Power Arm, which has a cycle-like attachment.”
    This confused me for a moment, as I was looking at that table for some sort of motor or wheeled attachment (hey, it’s Japan, it could be way worse!) before I realized you meant the “sickle” attachment. 😉

    still, some cool stuff included and fun poses you got him into!
    (even if that drill pic looks like it could go horribly awry! LOL)

    • Vault

      Ah, thanks for that catch. That’s what happens when I write a review at two in the morning. 😛

      I think that drill pic may be my favorite. I think it came out really well.

  • orionpax636

    I’m in the same boat as Vault and a couple of you – I’m not a huge fan of the source material, but I’ve got a handful of Figuarts. Besides having excellent craftsmanship, they’re interesting examples of 5-6″ figures made with bigger budgets and the differences between Japanese and US retail. The favorites of my collection are SS Vegeta and Wild Tiger.

    One of the better details of Figuarts are the die-cast feet. Ability to balance allows you to take advantage of the great articulation.

    • Vault

      Yeah, it’s definitely hard to take Matty’s title of “adult collectable” seriously if see what lines like Figuarts does.

      Those metal feet are fantastic for posing, unfortunately none of the Showa era Riders seem to have them. The only figure I have that does is Skull Crystal.

  • Battle Catman

    I currently only have one Figuart (Shinken Red), but I’d like to get more. I have Tyranno Ranger and Kiba Ranger on pre-order, but I’ve been eyeing Akiba Red. My one hang-up on Shinken Red is the shoulders; the plastic “cup” on the shoulder used to hide the joint gets in the way off the bicep-swivel range of movement, but Akiba Red has actual bicep swivels built into the costume.

    A friend has all the Gokaigers and those have great range in the shoulders, but I’m not digging any of them.

    • Akiba Red might be my favorite Figuart. For lack of a better term, he’s more “toy-like” than any of the others I own, in a good way. His joint system and overall build seem a little more rugged and built for play, whereas most Figuarts seem more geared towards posing. I’ve got 20 Figuarts currently, and the only one I can say I’m even a little disappointed in is Bouken Red, and that’s partly just because I don’t much care for the Boukenger suits. And partly because it’s among the worst constructed (in terms of joint and sculpt) Figuarts in existence. I really only got it for the piece to build the Inordinate Cannon for the Akibarangers. And because I think it would be cool to have a nice set of Red Ranger Figuarts. I’ve got 8 reds right now, with two more (Tyranno and Ryu) on preorder.

  • Evil Ed

    And once again, you’ve convinced me to drop money on S.H. Figuarts. Just when I think I’m out, you pull me back in.

    • Evil Ed

      Of course, you weren’t the one that convinced me to drop $250 on the Figuarts Itasha Robo.