Review by VF5SS
The original Kamen Rider was a ground breaking television show that laid the foundation for just about every Tokusatsu series to come. Just as the theme song states, the shadowy organization known as Shocker sought to take over the world using their advanced cyborg monsters and a seemingly endless supply of stuntmen trained in stage fighting. These rank and files baddies existed to give the titular character a few soft heads to warm up on before taking down the main evil creature of the week.
While the S.H. Figuarts line has no shortage of heroic Kamen Rider figures, there aren't that many toys of the bad guys. While there are often web exclusive figures of the major villains, the basic grunts tend to get left by the wayside. Bandai has sought to rectify this deficiency with the Shocker Combatman.
The costume of a Shocker Combatman (or Shocker Combatant) is one of the most iconic images in Tokusatsu and served as the basis for disposable grunts for decades to come. His simple all black outfit is accented with some bare bones skeletal styling and a WWF championship belt. He stands around six inches tall and is made almost entirely out of hard plastic.
From the rear the figure is quite plain but that is all just part of the costume. Japanese television production circa 1971 was all about being pragmatic with the limited resources available. The simple design of the Shocker costume allowed for dozens of men to get dressed for battle each and every week.
The face sculpt within the familiar lucha libre style mask is acceptable for a figure who is meant to be bought in bulk. While his eyes do look a little flat with their solid black irises and thick eyebrows, I think the expression on this figure perfectly captures the look of a hardworking stuntman who has suffered through numerous retakes of a scene where he had to get kicked off a bridge down into the water below.
"It's a livin' eh Jacques?"
What makes up for an okay face is all the detail on this grunt's standard issue Shocker belt. The finely sculpted logo has the proper look of worn metal with some subtle highlights and the belt itself helps keep his pants up.
Even the back of the belt has all the proper buckle detailing. No way this is slipping off during the tenth take on scene 12! Also I must say this particular Shocker soldier has a rather shapely posterior.
His boots are all zipped up too.
Articulation wise the Shocker Combatman is quite flexible and can do all his morning stretches. His ability to curve his back quite a ways should help him out during the next limbo party.
One odd thing about his shoulders is the extra sculpting around the collar area that overhangs the joint. This means you can't quite get this fellow's arms fully up but he can still signal a touchdown if he needs to. The reason for this design quirk is to preserve the look of the original uniform's broad collarbone detailing.
His legs and feet have the same excellent articulation we come to expect for an S.H. Figuarts toy right down to hinged toe joints. I do kinda miss the inclusion of diecast metal feet that help keep a figure standing in extreme poses but it's not a deal breaker.
This figure features the now common pull down joint in the hips. Each leg can swing downward on its own swivel joint in order to clear the sides of the pelvis which allows this Shocker Combatman to leap like a gazelle.
In less culturally sensitive times, Shocker soldiers saluted in a way that could easily be recognized as universally evil. With a high-pitched "EEEEEE!" they would affirm their loyalty to the Shocker cause.
The Shocker Combatman comes with a basic set of accessories mostly consisting of alternate hands and a couple of weapons.
In addition to the fists you get a pair of hands for holding the weapons, a pair karate chopping hands, a pair of splayed hands, and a hand holding a really big coin.
The coin is actually a Medal from Kamen Rider OOO. Bandai included this because the armies of Shocker met the modern hero in one of the crossover movies. The coin is pretty well detailed for its size and is permanently attached to the hand.
For a bladed weapon you get a simple kukri (or khukri). This simple curved knife originates from Nepal and is a handy prop for an action show since it can easily look dangerous without actually being sharp.
The kukri even has a tiny Shocker logo printed on the blade!
You also get a double handled staff weapon for pretending to whack someone upside the head.
Each end of the staff has a molded on eagle head that almost makes it look like Shocker issues a pimp cane to each soldier.
While it is a basic accessory, I really like all the ways you can pose the figure with the staff.
He can look like a weary performer.
Or a true kingpin.
"My loyalty to the Great Leader of Shocker is absolute. I will never give up fighting for our righteous cause."
"No matter what happens... no matter who I face... I will die fighting for what I know is right."
"Ha! You damn machine. You think you can sneak up on me?"
"THIS! This is how I deal with clunky contraptions!"
"EEEEE! Out of my sight!"
"Never hesitate on the battlefield!"
"I agree,old timer!"
"It seems we are well matched!"
"But I have the advantage!"
"The same trick won't work twice with me!"
"EEE! Well in that case..."
"I'll have to try something else!"
"Your actions are worse than Golgom!"
"Such heroic nonsense."
"TOH! RIIIIIIIDER PUNCH!"
"And you're the last one! COME AT ME!"
"I AM UNSTOPPABLE! I AM INVINCIBLE! I AM- eh?"
"Oh hey Lieutenant Takamura. That's a pretty revealing outfit wouldn't you sa-"
DRILL MILKY PUNCH!
In the end, twas beauty that killed the beast.
Overall the S.H. Figuarts Shocker Combatman is a fine figure in its own right and perfectly captures the iconic design of the world's most recognizable grunt. His 2,800 price tag is somewhat high for an army builder so others may be interested in the upcoming three main and six man Shocker Combatman sets that Bandai is offering as web exclusives. Even just two of these guys in enough for some epic articulated grunt fighting fun! That's all for this review and until next time...
|Posted 9 September, 2013 - 15:45 by VF5SS|