Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Review: S.H.Figuarts Kamen Rider Drive -Type Speed-

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Bandai
Origin Series: Kamen Rider Drive
Scale: Non-scale
Height: Approximately 14.5cm tall
Original Price: 4,320 Yen


Being the title rider himself, it is natural that Drive gets to be the first one to be released for the Kamen Rider Drive series of S.H.Figuarts releases and as he starts the Figuarts engine, Drive is also our first access to the box style that will be used for the Drive line! I am quite amused at how compact the box is, it's very portable, a little plain but somehow the overall package just works for me, there's a close up of Drive Type Speed right up front in the lower right section and Drive's logo is almost directly above it, the combination of the black and white colors definitely works pretty well in achieving that simple and clean look. 

Not much can be seen at the side since only one side does actually have some form of product shot but like the front, it's completely filtered with red which really is eye pleasing for me. The back of the box still retains your typical product shots BUT interestingly enough, they also placed the upcoming S.H.Figuarts Tridoron in there.


As usual, I'll start up with the head and I must say, the finish looks wonderful! The headlight-ish eyes definitely is a fresh look for Kamen Riders and definitely, S.H.Figuarts captured that detail quite accurately. The mouthpiece also looks superb thanks to the paint finish and the Drive logo on his forehead looks perfect for a 6 inch figure.

The red finish looks great as it has that matte yet glossy finish and does actually give off a great feel that Drive takes cars as his motif as the paint finish definitely gives off that "new car" feel.

Significant details on Drive's helm such as the spoilers on his head as well as the brake portion of tail light at the back are quite well done. The paint on the white stripes look flawless and the texture of the sort-of grills on the back of his head look realistic to a degree.

As with how the helm was finished, the rest of the details are captured pretty nicely as well, the overall consistency of the paint finish definitely helps in making the figure pop out and I'm seriously in love with the figure's details.

Going more into some detailed points (which I rarely do), the feel of the Speed tire looks amazing! There's definitely a realistic tire feel to it and that's because the Speed Tire itself is actually made up of rubbery plastic hence emulating an accurate feel; though at the back, there are some obvious seamlines but that's because Drive has a Tire Koukan gimmick! The "Type Speed" font has been captured perfectly in the tire as well.

Another interesting detail to note is that Drive's back is actually very reflective of a Car's interior or simply, what you can see underneath a car and the figuarts remain true to that by actually sculpting them carefully making Drive's back pretty much one of the most detailed backs you'll ever see.

The other half of the tail lights can be found in the sides of his shoulder pads and I'm really quite impressed that they actually reproduced all of the car lights to a certain amount of realism instead of just leaving them as mere painted plastic, the amount of details put into this figuarts is definitely top notch.

Going to his Henshin equipment, the Drive Driver a.k.a Belt-san looks mightly fine as Tamashii Nations definitely did not laze around on making this as detailed as possible and the "Speed" logo looks perfect! While there's not much to say about the shift brace, the Shift Speed takes the full attention as it definitely is ridiculously small but my god, the paint work on it is spot on!

The side of the belt also has the Shift Car holders (dunno with it's called lol) in it and Drive does come packed with his first three Shift Cars namely Midnight Shadow, Max Flare and Funky Spike. While not as detailed as the lever mode of Shift Speed, these are definitely great inclusions and the best part is that much like their in show counterpart, each shift car is also molded in clear plastic!

And as a finale for the details section, below's a shot of Drive standing side by side with the SHF of his predecessor, Kami-sama Gaim in his Orange Arms! Drive does seem to stand a little taller than Gaim.


Probably the biggest disappointment from Type Speed is his poor accessory count as he only comes with 2 pairs of alternate hands (2 variants of open hands); no Handle Ken, no Door Ju as Tamashii Nations really did a cheap and D move by requiring you to purchase Type Wild and Type Technique respectively to get the said weapons as well as the gripping hand appropriate for the weapon. It's definitely a bummer if you can't get the first production release. 

Bonus Accessories:

Now IF you did get the first release production (which should be all Drive pieces as of this writing), you should get the Tire Koukan volume 1 set along with your Drive, though I stupidly forgot to take a picture of the box, this set does come on a separate box much like Tony's Sofa on SHF Iron Man Mark 42

As you can see above, the Tire Koukan Volume 1 comes with the Max Flare Tire with a mag wheel (!), an alternate belt symbol that shows the Max Flare logo, a lever mode Max Flare Shift Car and two flame effects. This does actually compensate for the extreme lack of accessories though a privilege that can be enjoyed only by those who own the first release production wave,  just think of how re-releases will run for Drive. D:

The Max Flare tire, unlike the Speed Tire is now in a hard and solid plastic piece and is bathed in metallic orange goodness along with the mag wheel. There's quite a number of molded in details on the "flame"-ey bits of the Max Flare Tire and that looks superb, the Mag Wheel does have a peg hole at the bottom which is compatible with Tamashii Stage pegs and that also allows you to do Tire Koukan scenes!

For the flame effects, here's an interesting note, the flame effects on Tire Koukan Vol. 1 are actually the exact same molds as two specific pieces from Tamashii Nations' Tamashii Effect Flame; the only difference is that Drive's flame is a little more on the orange and lighter side as opposed to the released Red version of the said effect. Below are comparison pics with the Tire Koukan effects being at the left while the Effect Flame ones are the ones on the right in each of the photos below. The Tire Koukan effect does actually look better as a flame effect for Drive as the ones in the show are of quite lighter shaded flames as well.

Articulation Points:

Drive's head movement is pretty flexed out as it definitely has a great range of looking upwards or downwards. Sideways movement is pretty free as well though rotating it to the figure's left side might need some adjustments as the head will bump into the Speed Tire occasionally. Sideways tilt is also pretty great.

Arm rotation via the shoulders is pretty free though I did not expect that the shoulder pads would hinder the sideways raise to just around 55 degrees or so. Drive does have bicep swivels that allow full rotation as well. The elbows does allow around near 135 degrees arm bend and the wrists would be your typical rider wrists which you probably have read so many times in this blog by now. (Supporting pics below, don't worry!)

Ab crunch is pretty so-so for the forward bend but the backward stretch is a little something; additionally, you can use the ab joint to rotate the upper torso slightly to the left or to the right as well as tilt it sideways. While I don't have a photo of it, the whole torso can actually fully rotate on the waist connector though this will stretch the belt in the process.

Drive uses the renewal body style and thanks to the clean and straight cut on his thighs, Drive can fully split sideways via the hinge on his hip joints!

Do note though that once you fully split his legs apart, the shift car container actually bends a little and it is held by a rectangular peg I think; while I don't sense any breaking danger, do be careful with it!

Drive can definitely kick forward up to a perfect 90 but backwards was pretty much a brick haha. He also has thigh swivels and this allows a full rotation. The knees are your typical double joints and thus allows Drive to bend his legs to a near 180! Ankle joints are vey typical with a full rotation, slight sideways tilt and a good bend or tipping along with a toe joint that allows some bending, a feat common to Kamen Rider SHFs.


Despite the lack of accessories if you exclude the Tire Koukan set, Drive's frame along with the provided hands are indeed enough if you don't want to do any Handle Ken or Door Ju poses. It's just a matter of imagination actually as Drive's overall frame gives a vast possibility of poses.

You can certainly recreate a lot of iconic poses such as the charge up before his Speed Full Throttle and his very awesome rider kick! The frame also allows Drive to do a very natural kneeling pose as well!

Of course, here are some additional shots with Drive beating up a favorite review mook, the Shocker Combatman!

The Tire Koukan set definitely boosts the overall playability of Drive as you can definitely make scenes like changing shift cars AND the very cool Tire Koukan scene; the bonus flame effects actually work pretty nicely as you can latch them on to several places like the Max Flare Tire itself so long as you can hold it in place as the Tire is usually seen flaming before it latches on to Drive's body.

The Flame effects definitely give more life to your standard punch poses BUT the flames can actually latch on the Drive's legs as well allowing you to do some flaming kicks if you must.

Lastly, an additional use of the Max Flare's mag wheel is that you can actually use it for the Speed Tire to do the mandatory "no wheel" form and a flying Speed Tire though this will leave some gaps on the Speed Tire so hide it on your photos if you must!

Final Thoughts:

While the accessory count does feel like a cheap move, Drive overall as a figure with its default accessory count (the hands) does make a great package and while Drive's srp is slightly higher than Gaim while Gaim had better hand and accessory count, I guess you could say that for his price, you DO get a highly detailed and highly articulated figure. Accessory gripes aside, S.H.Figuarts Drive Type Speed make an almost perfect figure representation of the character and if you have the Tire Koukan set, then he is pretty much worth his price point! Definitely a highly recommended figure and I hope SHF does continue with this trend of quality Kamen Rider franchise figures as they are definitely getting better by the second! Before I end the review, I got this ridiculously awesome figure from Onegai Onii-chan!

I do give Drive a Nice 4.5 out of 5
(because of accessories)

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