TKPB01 – Kamen Rider Proto-Drive
Premium Bandai Exclusive – May, 2015 – ¥3,780
After Gaim’s seemingly endless amount of ACPB releases, it’s no surprise that the Tire Koukan Series decided to cash in on the Premium Bandai trend. The first toy announced in the TKPB series is Kamen Rider Proto-Drive, or Protodrive, ProtoDrive, or Proto Drive. However you want to spell it, the very first fighter of the Roidmudes is finally here in figure form. As expected, he is a slight remold of the Type Speed figure done up in a beautiful matte black paint with plenty of details not normally found on these figures. Despite never using it, the toy includes the Dimension Cab Tire as a bonus. The figure, as mentioned, is a Premium Bandai Exclusive that shipped out in May, 2015. Pre-orders began at ¥3,780 before middleman fees and shipping.
The figure is pretty magical to me. Ever since we seen Proto-Drive, I knew it was going to be my favorite suit from the show. I like a lot of what Type Speed does, but Proto-Drive streamlines it even further. The matte black on the figure is my absolute weakness, but it does wonders to make the black armor stand out and be different compared to the black undersuit. Bits of silver paint have been added compared to Type Speed, particularly in the helmet, that do wonders for the premium factor of this figure. The core bits of the figure are the same, but the head paint and details just absolutely make this a standout.
Obviously since Proto-Drive wasn’t capable of Tire Koukan, he has no tire. Instead, he has a black oval piece that reflects the tireless portion of the suit for Proto-Drive, Type Speed, Type Dead Heat, etc. The piece is not exclusive to this mold, so it can go ahead and be used for Type Speed to emulate that effect. Also included is the tire for Dimension Cab. To perfect emulate the effect in the show, Dimension Cab is set up in two parts, held together via magnets. Each part clips into each half of Proto-Drive or Type Speed/Dead Heat. Since it’s held together via magnets, you can put the upper portion of the body onto any metal surface to get some pretty great photo opportunities.
Overall, Proto-Drive is just all sorts of great. Being a remold of Type Speed, he’s not a whole lot of new for the entry price. However, there’s enough going on with the figure between the matte black, the silver paint, and the overall design in general to make it worth a purchase. If you like Proto-Drive, it’s worth picking up, as an SHF release is still nowhere in sight. If you’re not big on the design then it’s a really easy pass though, unless you’re super hard up for that Dimension Cab Tire.
Just as I post this, an SHF was announced as a Tamashii Nations 2015 convention exclusive. This figure will most likely be cheaper and easier to get on the aftermarket, so it’s really up to your tastes and your budget.