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    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Bandai S.I.C. Vol. 52 Kamen Rider Kabuto

    Beetle warrior brings an incredible panoply of weapons and equipment...

    Bandai's S.I.C. Vol. 52 Kamen Rider Kabuto can be purchased at select import retailers, such as and

    Kamen Rider is a long-running Japanese franchise featuring superheroes with insectoid features and motorcycles who fight against monstrous enemies of Earth and mankind. The first Kamen Rider television show aired way back in 1971, with dozens of follow ups and sequels in Japan and around the world. 2006 brought one of the coolest Kamen Rider series to Japanese television, Kamen Rider Kabuto. In it Souji Tendou uses the Kabuto Zecter device to transform into the eponymous hero. “Kabuto” is Japanese for “helmet” and makes up part of the word for the rhinoceros beetle, Kabutomushi. Thus, the Kabuto hero has a decidedly beetloid motif that carries over across its different forms. A very unique and cool looking character, Tendou was perfect for an elite line of figures, and so today we take a close look at Bandai’s S.I.C. Vol. 52 Kamen Rider Kabuto!

    The S.I.C. line (Super Imaginative Chogokin) is an ultra-detailed series of medium-scale figures from Bandai that bring to life many Japanese favorites including quite a few Kamen Rider heroes and villains. With dozens of releases, called “Volumes,” the S.I.C. is world renowned among collectors and it’s easy to see why. Even if you’re not an expert on the figures’ back stories or television shows (and I’m by no means an expert on Kamen Rider), it’s easy to fall in love with these guys.

    Kamen Rider Kabuto is dynamic even in its box, a great metallic red beast of a thing. The front window shows off just one layer of the package’s contents including the base figure and the large Kabuto Zecter shell. The J-hook panel on top has the S.I.C. logo along with the figure’s full name. Decorated in the hero’s colors (red, silver, and black) and a repeating hexagonal pattern, the box has even more windows on its sides.

    The back panel has no fewer than a dozen photographs to give you a taste of all of its forms and accessories! Thankfully there’s a huge double-sided pictorial instruction sheet inside so you can get the most out of the figure.

    Out of the box Kamen Rider Kabuto appears in his basic form, that of an armored humanoid. Standing about 8 inches tall, the figure is visually striking in both sculpt and coloration. He wears what looks like a striated under suit covered with armor plating that still allows for flexibility. That’s the easy description, but the level of detail here is quite extreme. Kabuto’s limbs are the least armored, meaning they have the most under suit showing with its multitude of what look like leather strips. Armor on the limbs consists of both plates and rings, all of which are sculpted with mechanical designs. The Rider’s chest is encased in a heavy breastplate that has incredible workmanship, while his belt has more tiny components and a hinged device at its forefront. Of course, the Kamen Rider Kabuto wears an awesome insectoid helmet complete with massive rhinoceros beetle-like crest!

    Remember the main colors from the Rider’s box? Those are in full effect on the figure from the black suit subtly lined in purple to the bright metallic reds and silvers of the armored components. Many of those hues are re-used in detail work as well as vivid yellow on the breastplate and belt. Especially striking for its single use is the powerful blue of Kabuto’s huge beetle “eyes.”

    As if the Kamen Rider Kabuto wasn’t cool enough for its appearance (and I haven’t even gotten to the accessories!), it also has a tremendous amount of articulation. Starting from the top, it has a ball-jointed upper neck, lower neck, ball-jointed shoulders with floating armor, biceps, double-jointed elbows, ball-jointed wrists, ball-jointed torso, waist, ball-jointed hips, thighs, double-jointed knees, and ball-jointed ankles. The figure’s basic form also has the moveable belt part and rhinoceros horn. Basically, there’s no end to the cool poses you can put this guy through, and it only gets better with the inclusion of its accessories.

    Without delving too far into the Kamen Rider mythology, each hero has various forms and specific equipment for each. It’s just so with Kabuto, whose basic form wields a dagger and a gun that transforms into an axe. Swapping out a couple of parts turns him into his “Decade” version that also has its own weapon: a sword/gun/book. This form’s belt is much smoother with a large silver “buckle” decorated with red spheres. The alternate head (that’s used in most of the other forms as well) is an upgrade with green “eyes” and larger horn, which is easy to replace on the neck ball joint.

    When the going gets tough it’s time for the Hyper Form, and that means quite a lot of parts swapping. It uses the larger head, a new bulky torso armor piece, replaced armor plates on the arms and legs, new hands, and a new right foot! Thankfully, all of these are easily removed and attached. The Hyper Form is noticeably more heavily armored, and this is quite possibly the best looking of the figure’s modes.

    It also has additional belt accoutrements and a massive gold sword! After Kabuto fights for a while in Hyper Form, there’s still one more finishing upgrade, Hyper Clock Up! Adding to the beetle theme, Kabuto unveils its wings along with opening armor plates on its chest and back as well as translucent plastic devices on its arms and legs. All of these accessories and alternate parts are just as detailed and well done as the base body, if not better!

    And then there’s the big guy. Nestled in the plastic tray along with the figure is a massive Kabuto rhinoceros beetle carapace. This thing has an absolutely incredible sculpt that’s completely covered in bio-organic details. It’s also resplendent in metallic red, orange, and gray with additional details in yellow, blue, and various translucent colors. Unfortunately the “Zecter Kabuto” is not a complete toy on its own, but actually requires the base figure to assemble it. Doing so entails removing just about all of the external parts from the figure and separating him at the waist. The upper body gets folded into the beetle shell while the creature’s legs attach to the figure’s legs and then plug back into the main body. While not the most structurally sound, the end result looks pretty darn cool. Stubby wings unfold from the Zecter’s rear end, and then you can attach the Clock Up wings to them as well.

    Whew, I think that’s everything. I’m sure the descriptions don’t do this thing justice, so check out the pictures. This really should be called a set, as it has so many options and the figure can be put together in so many different ways. Kabuto is bound to be a star in your Kamen Rider or Japanese figure collection, and even at import prices it’s a great deal for the quality of the figure and the staggering amount of accessories!

    Bandai's S.I.C. Vol. 52 Kamen Rider Kabuto can be purchased at select import retailers, such as and

    Review and Photos by Scott Rubin

    Review Sample Courtesy of Bluefin

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