Sunday, July 29, 2012

Smile or I'll Kick You to Death: S.I.C. Kiwami Tamashii Kuuga Review

I've been asking for this guy since I first tried out the Kiwami Tamashii line, even up to the point of making him myself. And I'm very glad to know that only mere months after I made mine, Tamashii Nations released prototype pics last February. July was the release date and i was half-expecting it to coincide with my birthday last July 4th-- I'd get to buy it in Hong Kong!

But it got released two weeks later. Not that I'm complaining much, At least I have it how.

And let me tell you, It delivers. As a figure of one of my favorite heisei riders, this SIC release delivers. 

Essentially it's a scaled down Vol. 56 Decade Version Kuuga.

That last sentence made me cringe.  Anyway, it's that, but in some ways it isn't, see this kuuga is a bit leaner and slightly better proportioned, other than that he lacks visibility of his abs due to a small torso joint but we'll get to that later. 

The way the figure is sculpted is completely integrated with how he's articulated, from the hibiki-like shoulder pads to the thigh swivels, nothing breaks when this guy moves. I think the scale helps this as well.

As with most SIC releases Kugga is filled with a lot of detail. The strange mix of ancient looking armor and organic looking, chitinous detailing (he IS based on a stag beetle) and details like veins and roughened skin really creates something that's far more than a simple hyper-detailed kamen rider figure and achieves the look that SIC is known for: blurring the line between heroic and monstrous.

But yeah Kuuga still has those big ol' super-friendly eyes to keep him recognizable. Lord knows first release SIC Kuuga was nothing if not vicious-looking. even has an opening jaw revealing teeth under his mandibles. 

looking closer at him you'll appreciate the sculpting that went to this guy, from the assymetrical cracks on his armor, the runes embedded on parts of it, to the differently colored "buttons" on his belt,  and especially at the logo on the sole of is right foot...which I forgot to take a picture of. 

His paint detailing is very spot-on. I love how all the metal on him looks worn and ancient. the crest, the golden bands, the belt as well. Most of his body is a nice flat black while his armor is an uber vibrant candy--or let's say beetle red that shifts to an orange-red when we get to the trim at the bottom of his chest armor.  It's a contrast that works in his favor. 

If he came with a light electric blue paint wash like his bigger brothers he'd be a solid 10/10 to me.

Range of motion is just right, he manages to pull off most human poses unhindered, all except tip-toeing. The shoulderpads don't lock up his frontal or lateral movement at all, and his thighs have a full range of motion.

Dynamic posing is not a problem for this guy.  I think, that for a guy who doesn't need much of a gimmick in this form (mighty form) they went all-out on the articulation department. 

And speaking of gimmicks he has a lot. If I recall he's the first Kiwami Tamashii release to come with a customized tamashii stand.  He even comes with a rider kick effect and accompanying "death mark" for any unfortunate grongi that challenge him. I have to stress this point though: THE PEG THAT YOU USE TO MOUNT THE CLEAR PLASTIC SHEET EFFECT IS RIDICULOUSLY EASY TO LOSE/MISPLACE.

I shit you not. If you're not careful like me you will lose it within the first 30 minutes of opening this figure. I had to make a replacement from the tamashii stand sprue. Feels bad man. 

going back, Kuuga also comes with interchangeable hands but strangely he lacks bike riding hands. Gee, I hope this doesn't mean we'll never see a trychaser made because that would totally suck.

 All  of the swappable hands are designed to help him achieve his many signature poses. 

Such as his henshin/ chou-henshin pose...

...His rider kick landing pose...

...And his signature thumbs up. 

That thumbs up is the best damn part of any Kuuga figure. The rider kick is cool but it's the thumbs up that makes the Kuuga. 

Speaking of the rider kick, there's a panel behind the belt you can remove to peg Kuuga in directly to the stand if you want an alternative to using the clamp the stand comes with. I prefer this but would rather not lose another tiny part of my figure. 

The rider kick effect part is awesome, and very appropriate.  It's made of clear PVC and painted in hues of clear orange and yellow. an LED would be the only thing that would make this better. 

Of course you also have this "Mark of Kuuga" effect printed in really thick sheet plastic which is a cool effect in itself. Wish Faiz came with something similar since he practically marks his enemies with something similar just before they crumble to dust. 

If this is an indicator of the accessories to come with future releases, It's a legitimately welcome move.

His stand isn't too shabby itself. Typical tamashii stand but with a personalized touch. The cracked ground is really very cool, and the simple font that says "Masked Rider Kuuga" with logo is a nice touch. It really makes Kuuga seem all the more desirable as a display piece. 

The problem with Kuuga is the height. He's the shortest release yet. He is in good scale with other 1/18 figures out there (probably the closest in this figure line to 1/18 at all) but that doesn't really help at all when you stand him next to the earlier releases. especially when placed next to hibiki or blade riders, and he looks absolutely miniscule if you place him next to blade king form. 

Luckily, there is a simple enough fix for that. If you have Kiwami Faiz then you'll be able to do this slight height mod. 

Simply pop open the torsos on both figures and carefully extract the double ball joint that links their bodies to their legs.

Then just swap them out. 

You will end up with a slightly taller and better looking Kuuga and a Faiz that doesn't have a tapering waist anymore.


Should you buy Kuuga? Yes! Absolutely if you're a fan, but with a price range of  P950 (22USD), it's rather steep.  Mostly , in my opinion, it's the stand that raises his price. Without it I wager he would sell for P700 (17USD). Otherwise, you may want to just buy this when Kiwami Decade gets released.  But when you have Kuuga in hand you will definitely find that he's enjoyable.

That's about it and I think this would be an appropriate way to end the review:



NeoD said...

Thank you for the review and the fix. I've order mine, so I should got it very soon :D
But I'm curious, does every else S.I.C. KT have the A Type double ball joint?
If they have another type, I'd like to order the one with the longest, so I can fix it to Kuuga.
(Sorry for my bad english, not my first language)

Miko Matsing said...

Hi man, thanks for enjoying the review. Your best alternative would be KT Blade King form, I've been told he has the longest double ball joint in the line, plus he's usually on sale at amiami or HLJ so he's easily buyable. :)