“We’re the Hokuto Three Crows!
And we’re not just gonna tell you who we are.”
In the 3-sided war for Pandora’s Box that took shape early in Kamen Rider Build, it was the surprise appearance of this trio of Hard Smashes that turned everything upside down. Accompanying the powerful new rider, Kamen Rider Grease, the Hokuto Three Crows presented an uphill battle for Build & Cross-Z. Initially these heroes of Hokuto clashed with the main cast, but it wasn’t long before the real motives of the war and their perpetrator were revealed and these beloved allies of Kazumi Sawatari gave their all for their friend.
Castle, Stag, and Owl Hard Smash echo the trifecta of classic sentai colors, and ultimately they proved themselves heroes very much worthy of that influence. These figures of the trio are Figuarts Zero’s, basically statues, but snazzy shelf display pieces none the less. With some minimal articulation worked in, each is sculpted and painted wonderfully, and scaled perfectly to match any of your Kamen Rider Build family Figuarts. Regardless of any shortcomings, of which there are some, having the Hokuto Three ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with Grease is incredibly satisfying.
We’ve attached a full 80 image gallery to this post, but you can also read through our comprehensive review of the set by clicking “Discuss on the TokuNation Forums” at the bottom of this post. Next time we’re getting back to action with some more Power Rangers Lightning Collection galleries!
"Guys like you, need manners beaten into them."
In the 3-sided war for Pandora's Box that took shape early in Kamen Rider Build, it was the surprise appearance of this trio of Hard Smashes that turned everything upside down. Accompanying the powerful new rider, Kamen Rider Grease, the Hokuto Three Crows presented an uphill battle for Build & Cross-Z. Initially these heroes of Hokuto clashed with the main cast, but it wasn't long before the real motives of the war and their perpetrator were revealed. Each of these men were heroes to the end. The Hokuto Three Crows were beloved friends and family of Kazumi Sawatari, and it was through their noble acts of self sacrifice that he would eventually be able to do the same, and help save Earth.
This box is absolutely *massive*. Honestly I just want to leave it at that. This is a big damn box! The figure's themselves are also packed into one giant parts tray, each of them wrapped in some plastic. I'm unsure why it was designed this way, but because the figures can be disassembled, some of their parts are in bags taped to the underside of the tray.
First things first, this set was sold in 2 versions. The first, is the one I have for review here. The Standard Hokuto Three Set, includes, well the Hokuto Three. As well as their heel pedestals and the Grease dog tag hand. However a second version was also released as a 4-pack, which included a fully accessorized Kamen Rider Grease carried over from his solo release. The Hokuto Three themselves are all basically statues, so with that in mind, let's tackle each individually.
Castle Hard Smash - Akaba. Easily the real winner of this set, Castle gets the most love, and probably the biggest share of the engineering budget. Castle's shoulders rotate forward & back, he can spin side to side at the waste, his head rotates, and the two shoulder mounted Ground Rampart shields can rotate fully forward from his back to face out. While much of his articulation is meaningful, the shields will make him very front heavy and he doesn't have the counterbalance to stand up in that position. That's a pretty big disappointment but I'm not sure how often I would use the shields that way outside this gallery either. The sculpt of the figure is incredibly clean, and the paint apps are richly detailed. Honestly if you didn't know he was essentially an immobile statue, it's crafted so well you could mistake it for a full fledged S.H. Figuart. A really nice touch that I'd forgotten about these designs as well is how each of the Hokuto Three has their corresponding Full Bottle embedded in their left arms. While not as sharply sculpted as Full Bottles that come with full Figuarts, it's a wonderful touch. Castle is a weird pattern to design a kaijin design around, but if ToQger could do with a chair, then Build gets nothing but respect for doing it with a Castle.
Stag Hard Smash - Aoba. Based on the ever stylish motif of the Stag Beetle, this is a really great design. Molded in a slightly crouched pose with swords ready for a strike, Stag may be my favorite looking figure of the trio. I wish there had been an attempt to make his swords removable to allow them to store on his back as in the show, but again this is a statue so don't expect a lot. Unlike Castle, Stag's movable parts are limited to his right wrist swivel , left forearm swivel, and rotating head. Again this is a richly detailed figure, but the various shades of blue used for this design makes him run together a bit more, being less of a stark contrast between the upper and lower halves. While less impressive than Castle, this is still a solid figure.
Owl Hard Smash - Kiba. The weakest figure of the trio, Owl is a brick with balance issues. Once again these things are all statues and should be good static pieces. Without his hell pedestal, Owl can barely stand if at all. Even with it, the chances are 50/50 that you can balance him correctly. Not to mention if you try moving either of his arms. The small bit of weight distribution handled by both will throw the whole thing off balance. Owl has a rotating left forearm & left shoulder, a partially rotating head, and a partially rotating right shoulder. Because of the sort of "dabbing" pose he's molded in though, you effectively lose the utility of the arms themselves. And because the neck is molded at an angle, rotating the head doesn't yield much result either. I want to like this figure, but unfortunately Owl Hard Smash isn't quite up to par.
As a set of Figuarts Zero's these three are effectively statues. We all knew that coming in. So expecting accessories is just not realistic. That said, these guys do come with a few handy things. Each of the Hard Smashes has their own heel pedestal. A small clear plastic base which grips around their right ankle. I was a bit confused as to which one fit which figure until noticing that etched in faint white lettering, is the name of each Smash. These do provide much needed stability to the figures who aren't totally balanced without them. Sadly the Owl Smash isn't all that well balanced to matter what. Even with the pedestal you have to situate him just right so he doesn't fall.
Second, this set includes an accessory for Kamen Rider Grease. As I mentioned above, if you bought the 4-pack version of this set, it also came with a Grease Figuart. But if you're like me and you already had the single release from way back, then you're all set to use the dog tags hand included with this set. While it may not be the most spectacular accessory ever, the ability to give your Kamen Rider Grease a set of the dog tags of his beloved friends and allies makes the whole set worth it. The bond these 4 shared was truly special, and that's even more evident in hindsight and seeing Grease's evolution with the Perfect Kingdom form, based on his dear friends. While it's just a hand, with some molded in dog tags, I don't feel like you can overstate just how important that accessory really is.
I can't be the only one who was incredibly shocked by the announcement of this set. Kamen Rider Build is a magnificent show, there's no doubt there. And it's cast of characters is rich and varied. But the Hokuto Three Crows, despite how important they were to Grease's story, never struck me as something I'd want or need to own. As is, I'm fairly pleased with the results of what we got. These are imperfect figures, even as static display pieces, but they add a lot to any Build display and compliment Kamen Rider Grease very well. If you're a die hard fan of Build, then this set is for you. I don't think I'd be too kin to buy any repaints of these however. I doubt that such a possibility exists anyway, but given that these are statues, Hazard/Clone Smash repaints would be quite easy to produce for Bandai.
It's weird; I've gotten close to swearing off main-line tertiary Riders, but this set was actually kinda tempting to me. Rider Figuarts have been painfully light on monsters, and these work relatively well as generic Smashes. The dog tags are the kind of fantastic, character-based accessory that's been increasingly in short supply in the main line.
We didn't see their original coloured forms for very long in the show, so I must have forgotten they all have blue legs! Anyhow, they all look surprisingly nice.
Very nice gallery too! You even went as far as including how they each met their end, which was a 'fun' trip through memory lane.
Holy shit the gallery is recreating scenes from the show. That's amazing
Very nice set. Good monster figures are so rare it's quite tempting despite just being statues. Shame my favourite gets the weakest.
Gallery amazing as always.
I'd never noticed the molded fullbottles in the arms! It's so odd to get a monster release before something like Genius, but I Grease's buddies are a sweet thing to have anyway.
Love the sculpting but definitely wish we'd seen proper articulate figures.
I love the crows designs, but yeah releasing them as statues seems like a waste. They have such unique designs that would make for great poses with Grease.
fabulus sculpts for some great characters. It would have been great to see them as full figures instead of statues, but these will do
Keep reading: Figuarts Zero Hokuto Three Crows Set Gallery - Page 2
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