4:00 PM on 07.18.2013
Bring this figure with you on a time trippin' ride
Kamen Rider Den-O remains one of my favourite Tokusatsu shows ever, a unique blend of time travelling drama, awesome action and a truly memorable cast. Oh and flying trains. Even six years after it first appeared on our screens it's hugely popular. In their ongoing attempt to reproduce every Kamen Rider ever in S.H. Figuarts form, Bandai have finally reached the ultimate form of Den-O. Liner Form combines all the powers of his basic forms into one damn cool looking powerup, but is the figure version running on the right tracks?
Figure Name: S.H. Figuarts Kamen (Masked) Rider Den-O
Figure Maker: Bandai
Retail Price: ¥3200
Available at: Hobbylink Japan
Den-O's box is a pretty standard S.H. Figuarts box, which means it's very small and thin, but still quite sturdy. It's livened up however by some distinctive touches that characterise the Den-O themed figures, as Andres also noted in his review of SHF Zeronos. We've got Den-O's distinctive 'T' shaped symbol printed over the front window and train tracks over the side ones. Like the other forms there's a ring of colour surrounding the front panel, but since Liner form is an amalgamation of the four basic forms we get all four colours, giving the box a pretty bright and almost garish look.
Out of the box we can see that this particular Den-O is pretty accessory light. There's only two pairs of replacement hands, a tiny replica of his train pass, and two pieces that represent his 'Dengasher' modular weapon. There's also the sword, but we'll get to that.
Freed from his packaging, first impressions are extremely positive. I've had a fair few Figuarts with excessively loose or excessively stiff limbs, but all of Den-O's are solid yet easy to move, and he easily stands on his own as you can see. It's a good job too, as there's still no stand included, par for the course but still frustrating.
The Dengasher parts just pop onto the belt via pegs and can be rotated back and forth to prevent them interfering with posing. It's worth pointing out that the Dengasher components are not separate parts and can't be detached or assembled into a weapon - it's all one mould and they're purely for appearances sake. It makes me wonder why they weren't just added to the main figure mould. Regardless, they're not accessories and shouldn't be considered as such. Poseability is Figuarts standard - that is to say, excellent, with tons of double joints and a great range of motion.
Though it's tiny, the train pass replica is a delightful little addition, allowing you to recreate the transformation sequence. It's also impeccably detailed, with outlines for the hinges and the 'T' symbol all present and correct. One disappointment though is that he isn't provided with a specific hand to hold the pass. The 'gripping' hands don't grip anywhere near tightly enough and this shot was only possible through some painstaking balancing.
OK, let's talk about that sword. Properly known as the DenKamen Sword, it's one of the most impressive accessories I've ever seen packed in with any poseable figure. It's huge for a start, a really solid feeling bit of plastic in it's own right. It's also beautifully detailed to be as show accurate as possible. One issue I did have regarding the sword is the hands, which bend and loosen their grip far, far too easily. It's an issue I've had with every Figuart I own and while it isn't a dealbreaker, it can be very frustrating.
As in the show it's possible to rotate the bottom part of the sword like a carousel. Rather than a simple loose peg there's a really nice damped mechanism for this, with a satisfying click as each 'face' moves into position. Once turned it's rock solid and there's no chance the turntable will spin accidentally.
In another nod to show accuracy, the train pass can be inserted into a slot at the back of the sword. It's naturally pretty fiddly and the slot is extremely tight. I managed to work the pass in flush in the end, but it took tweezers to get it out again, so be careful.
The final little nod to the show on the sword is the large 'handle' at the bottom, which can be pulled out like a plunger. Again, it's not just loose, and there's a nice click that locks it in either the in or out position. Alas, unlike the 'real' version, pulling the handle doesn't turn the carousel, which no doubt would have required needlessly complex mechanisms. Still, I was surprised the handle moved at all.
Even by the already high standards of the S.H. Figuarts range, fit and finish is simply outstanding. Check out the clean lines on the shoulders, with almost zero pain bleed, super impressive at this scale. We can see some impressive detailing on the sword too, like the very sharp silver and gold edges or the four coloured flashes, again with spot-on paintwork. Den-O's main eyepieces are honeycombed translucent plastic as is typical for the range, but the three 'wings' around the eyes are regular painted plastic.
More fantastic detail on the Keitaros phone belt here. Check out how well they've recreated the buttons, and the painting of the 'T' symbol this small is almost showing off. There's paint detail here that would shame 1/6 scale figures.
Scale-wise Liner Form fits in well with the existing Den-O range, such as Sword Form here, which is important since they're all meant to be the same person (sort of...it's complicated). Liner Form might be a little bit shorter but it's so close as makes no odds.
I'm absolutely in love with Den-O Liner Form. Sure, the accessories are a little stingy and there are a few niggling issues, most prominently the hands. But he's absolutely exquisite to look at, has the robust play value of all S.H. Figuarts, and comes with the only accessory that matters, that glorious DenKamen Sword. Den-O fans, I can't overemphasise enough how much you need this guy. At the very least you can use him to think up cooler names for finishing attacks.
[Big thanks to our stationmasters over at Hobbylink Japan for providing Den-O]
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