SHF: New Rider #1

It’s been around 3 years since the S.H. Figuarts line took off, and it looks like Bandai is finally ready to sink its teeth into the pockets of Showa Kamen Rider fans. I grew up with Kamen Rider BLACK/BLACK RX, and when I was a kid, I would often pop down to my favourite local toy store to check out their window display of the entire RHS Kamen Rider collection. It was action-figures that introduced me to the Showa 10 that preceded my time. And with the upcoming releases of more classic rider S.H. Figuarts, I hope the upcoming figures would spark the interest of the current generation, and get them to know the originals created by Ishimori Sensei the same way I did.

Replicating the effect of the show’s fabric costume as an action-figure has never been easy. Back when toy engineering was less advanced than what it is today, action-figures either looked like they’ve been diced into many little pieces, or looked okay, but were severely lacking in articulation. I think Bandai did a great job here in achieving a good balance between maintaining the figure’s aesthetics without having to compromise too much with articulation. This Showa release is well worth the 3 year wait, as I’d hate to imagine it being released with a generic body the way BLACK and BLACK RX were done in.

I love how they have maintained proportions with the large helmet and eyes just the way it looked in the original, without trying to “refine” and slim it down too much. The antennas are now moulded in ABS plastic instead of the chunky PVC ones used in the ‘the first’/’the next’ series. They’re heading in the right direction, but I don’t see what’s stopping them from making the angle adjustable/removable the way it’s done in Medicom figures as well as their own S.I.C. figures, because there’s a bit of a QC issue with them being uneven, and inconsistently spaced. An extra pair in case it breaks wouldn’t hurt either. They have no problems with supplying an extra pair on some of their Robot Damashii Gundam figures, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue. But thankfully, it wouldn’t a problem we’d have to worry about in Kamen Rider Amazon, the next Showa release.

As far as accessories go for New Rider #1, Bandai has actually been pretty generous by including the sword used by Shocker’s henchmen (usually stolen during a fight), which is normally only included with the Sakurajima version of Rider #1, and well as a special effect part for the classic “Rider Kick”.

The paint application is of a very high level this time, as all the parts are either fully painted, or given a generous matte coating to eliminate the cheap sheen accompanied by the look of raw plastic. The eyes are very polished with a lot of depth, and I’m also very happy with the dull green chosen for the chest piece. While the green in the show costume varies depending on the era, I’ve always thought that the deep green is much better suited to the character than the more vibrant hues used in newer Medicom figures.

The silver used on the gloves and boots are top-notch, and produce some really nice shadows when photographed (thanks to the great sculpt of the creases). The belt is also extremely detailed with a clear piece covering the fans, and a nice glossy red to contrast the matte of the black costume.

The waist articulation is frighteningly good, and you’ll need to see it in person to see how seamlessly designed this joint is. Compare it to the same joint used in the ‘the next’/’the first’ moulds with that awkward gap, and you really see how far Bandai has come in terms of toy engineering.

The split poses no problems at all to today’s action-figures.

The muffler comes in a static mode, as well as a billowing mode. It’s attached and removed via a ball joint on the neck, and you no longer need to remove the entire head to make the switch. The joint may look delicate, but they must’ve used very good material for it, as I’ve switched it back and forth many times, and it’s never given me the impression that it’ll snap off easily.

Bandai has fixed the articulation problem caused by the ball-jointed plastic feet (in which they don’t lie flat on the ground when the legs are spread out) with the release of New Den-O (Strike Form) a couple of months ago, but they’ve made another change since. The ball joint is now smaller; and less ‘Revoltech’ like in appearance, yet it maintains the same level of articulation enjoyed by New Den-O and Shadow Moon.

The eagle mascot of Shocker sculpted onto the end of the sword handle is quite detailed given its size.

The sword is very fine yet firmly straight, with a diamond shaped cross-section. Not just a flat piece of plastic.

A shadow casted by the back of a tragic hero.

Henshin!

One of the joints normally seen on the arm right below the shoulder has been removed. It is most probably done so in order to avoid breaking up the double striped pattern on the suit. However, this lowers the usually level of articulation a fair bit, and makes it difficult to do the classic henshin pose comfortably.

RIDER JUMP!!

Even the details on the sole of the boots have been sculpted in.

The New Rider #1 family portrait. Unfortunately the S.I.C. version isn’t available individually outside of that pesky web exclusive Showa 7 set. I also have a SD New Rider #1 with lit-up eyes from the early 90s, but it’s a bit of a hassle to dig it back out from storage!

To be honest, there are many things that the SHF release excels over the expensive Medicom releases. To name a few, the silver colour on the gloves & boots, the green used on the chest, as well as the red of the belt are all testament to why S.H. Figuarts Kamen Riders are often in sold-out status.

The classic original, and the modernised version.

Kuuga, the forerunner of the new generation.

Kamen Rider W revisited many of the elements we loved in the original, and drew inspiration from the best of both eras, resulting in possibly the best Heisei Kamen Rider show we have seen to date.

Destroyer of worlds you say? Go screw yourself!

As a rider, they simply cannot be without their bikes. The updated Cyclone from ‘the first’ is a surprisingly good match for the original.

A passing Kamen Rider you say? Get off the road and out of my way you stooge!

Rider vs. Kumo Otoko. A spider-based Kaijin in the first episode is a tradition often seen in Kamen Rider shows. The prop is borrowed from the S.I.C. Kamen Rider #1 release.

New Rider #1 is the perfect companion to take for an outdoor shooting, as the natural setting really lets you recreate that feeling seen in older tokusatsu shows. Now, if only I can get some fireworks to recreate mini explosions without CG!

Following on the heels of Shadow Moon, it’s been an exciting June/July to be able to get 2 Showa favourites almost back to back to one another, and both have proved themselves to be outstanding releases. And whilst there are little things I could nit-pick on such as the muffler being better sculpted in one of the prototypes, it ticks all the boxes in so many other areas that I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

It’s really exciting to finally get a Showa figure that is so much fun to pose with, yet also fantastic to look at. The upcoming Kamen Rider Amazon and New Rider #2 both look promising, and I look forward to V3 joining the group once Bandai is done refined the prototype we saw earlier at the Tamashii Nation Festival. Fingers crossed they’ll stay out of those dreaded Tamashii Web banners!

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    • RoyVF1
    • August 25th, 2011

    superb photography as usual 😀

  1. pictures look gorgeous! I have Ichigo Shin as well and it’s a fantastic SHF, my favourite SHF of them all, until Amazon (my favourite Rider EVER) gets released. =D

  1. September 1st, 2011

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