Ani-Merch' SPECIAL: Q Reviews - the SHFiguarts Double Chaser!
It should come to absolutely no surprise to anyone by now that I'm a pretty avid collector of toys & figures. While I primarily collect Kamen Rider RAH figures, I will always be a sucker for any good super hero-esque property in general.
Enter Tiger & Bunny, a show with a simple premise, but executed with such a unique style and combined with some amazing art and voice talents. I was a little late to the party, but now that I'm in, I'm definitely here to stay!
It was thus, inevitable that I would desire some form of figuration for good ol' T&B, and I went to their SHFiguarts figures thanks to their reasonable pricing and quality. Being a rabid completist however, forever doomed me into having an insatiable urge to complete them. They needed their ride - the Double Chaser!
With this highly sought after Tamashii Webstore Exclusive finally released, I eagerly cracked this baby open to give it a good look through!
After removing the outer brown shipping case, what greets you is a fairly plain & simple, but still pleasant looking piece of packaging.
Bright colours, vivid images, bits of text here and there explaining to us about Tiger & Barnaby (in Japanese) - all that good stuff. The box is also made of somewhat corrugated cardboard, making it a bit more durable than usual.
But enough of that - it's onto the toy inside!
Aside from a single sheet of instructions, included in the set are: Barnaby's Lonely Chaser Bike, 2 x gripping hands for Barnaby, a pair of 'Riding' foot rests and handles for Barnaby's Lonely Chaser, Wild Tiger's Lonely Chaser and a small clear stand for Wild Tiger's Lonely Chaser.
Sculpting & Paint
Individually, the bikes in their solo, "Lonely Chaser" forms are very eye-catching indeed. All the details you'd expect are there such as the heroes' names, the patterns on their tyres, and extra little touches like clear plastic used for their head and tail lights.
With these little 'goodies' generously scattered around each bike and the generally clean, vibrant colours painted on, this bike duo is very nice to look at indeed. I personally favour Wild Tiger's Lonely Chaser more, with its pearl-white body being very fetching indeed.
In Double Chaser mode, almost all the same colours and details are carried over, with most of the physical changes done on Wild Tiger's side.
If you liked everything about the Lonely Chasers, guess what? You're going to like the Double Chaser mode too. The side-car style of this formation is a little divisive, but I personally find it utterly hilarious that the vehicles of the uber-cool superhero duo of the mighty Apollon Media Corporation has such a… geriatric-catering formation!
While there can be some little bits of paint slop, mostly around the lines on the tyres, and kick stands would've been nice, the only real gripe I have with the bikes is in their sculpt, or more precisely, their scale.
The Lonely Chasers are simply too large for their riders. With their hands gripping the bike handles in a proper riding position, neither Wild Tiger nor Barnaby are able to sit properly on their seats.
While it's not very noticeable from certain angles, such as a front or ¾ view as shown here, a full-on side view makes very clear light of how awkward the heroes can sometimes look.
Barnaby in particular, looks especially uncomfortable on his Lonely Chaser, requiring much fiddling about to get him in a semi-convincing riding pose - while still being able to look up!
Double Chaser mode alleviates some of the problems of scale for Wild Tiger, since it gets him sitting down flat on his back without having to bother with any pesky handles.
However in a way, it makes Barnaby's issues with his bike even more apparent, looking at times like he's ready to charge in with a flying head butt - while Wild Tiger sits passively watching in horror! (Okay, maybe not that terrifying)
With it being pretty much the central gimmick behind both the bikes and the team itself, I figured it'd be important to talk about the transformation separately.
As mentioned earlier, most of the changes occur primarily on Wild Tiger's side of the equation. Tiger's Lonely Chaser pretty much cracks and flips open like the show, which is pleasing. What was a little surprising to me however were how readily the foot rests fell off the instant I opened the bike up, and how one is required to detach and reposition them for Double Chaser mode.
This is bound to disappoint fans who were expecting a seamless, "perfect" transformation.
To exacerbate things, the foot rests don't clip into the green side-armour pieces very securely, popping off almost every time I try to set Wild Tiger in place.
This got fairly annoying to me pretty quickly, and is definitely one of my biggest gripes.
The only change to Barnaby's Lonely Chaser is the removal of a "filler" block at the bottom to allow the attaching of a connector piece, which is simple enough.
This however, also has a small issue in itself. The connector piece, which bridges the 2 Lonely Chasers together for Double Chaser mode, connects only via a small triangular "male" piece on Barnaby's side, to an equally small "female" slot on Tiger's side.
This unfortunately, results in a very loose connection, and the whole Double Chaser being a relatively wobbly formation. Don't expect to be able to lift, or even roll the Double Chaser down your table too quickly, as it will very readily come apart.
The set is definitely not free from flaws. The lack of a perfect transformation, as well as little tidbits such as die cast metal and the questionable scaling will disappoint some people. The wobbly nature of the Double Chaser mode is also a bit of a letdown for those of us expecting a bit more play value out of the set.
With the Double Chaser being a Tamashii Webstore Exclusive, it also comes in at a very high price, making it rather inaccessible to fans on a tight budget. For the price it goes for, that makes every flaw, no matter how big or small, all the more of an issue.
However, the more I fiddled around with these; posing the heroes on their bikes separately, then in Double Chaser mode, recreating scenes from the show and even thinking up of my own goofy scenarios; the more I grew fond of them.
Although out of scale, Tiger & Barnaby still look extremely cool on their respective rides. The Double Chaser is also such a central part to the whole theme of this... team, adding its own unique blend of coolness with a touch of comical value which reflects the nature of the show perfectly.
While not perfect, if you're looking for a way to "round out" your Tiger & Bunny display with something a little more "premium" (and you can afford the price tag), the Double Chaser is an excellent choice.