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21 minutes ago, Old_Nash said:

I wonder if this will affect Boom Comics' license? Their Power Ranger books have been way better than I imagined they ever could get, but Hasbro seems pretty content to give IDW their brands.

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When Hasbro announced the Power Rangers Lightning Collection it was kind of in one ear, out the other for me.  I was aware that it was a thing that was coming but as someone who's limited his collecting (mostly) to Transformers I didn't really pay it much mind.  I mean, as an adult I'm much more into, say, Marvel Comics, but I don't collect Marvel Legends.  And yet, Power Rangers occupies a weird spot in my head.  It debuted when I was 13, which I think was too old for it to make the kind of lasting impression the cartoons of my youth (like Transformers) did, but I was still young enough to be enthralled by a live-action karate Voltron and I did watch all the way through Power Rangers Zeo before drifting away from the franchise.

Well, the first wave of the Lightning Collection started to hit stores within the past month, I guess.  Or, at least three figures have (Lord Zedd is apparently in Wave 1, but good luck with that).  Two of them mean absolutely nothing to me (apparently, they're the Shadow Ranger from Power Rangers SPD and the Red Ranger from Power Rangers Dino Charge).  But that third one... even though this line shouldn't be anything I'm interested in, I found myself compelled to pick it up...

It's the White Ranger, from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (season 2).

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So the Lightning Collection is a line of slightly more expensive 1/6-scale figures aimed at the adult collector's market.  Although I don't collect them, they're priced the same and seem similar to the Star Wars Black Collection or Marvel Legends, if that gives you an idea.  And like those other lines, what I think sets the Lightning Collection apart from both the cheaper mainline toys and the more expensive stuff like the SHFiguarts is that the sculpt here is more realistically detailed.  Instead of smooth plastic and fake muscles there's a texture here that includes folds and wrinkles in the suit.  The belt, though snug, is a separate piece made from a more rubbery plastic, as is his vest.  Combined with a fair amount of gold, silver, and black paint it's evident that the Lightning Collection is intent less on being toys mean for play and more being toys that look nice is a display.  Which, weirdly, I'm fine with, despite demanding a level of playability with my Transformers.  I think this looks more appealing to me than, say, the SHFiguarts White Ranger, even if the SHFiguarts has better articulation, because it looks like a real person and not an anime version of that person.  And that's good enough for me.

 

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You might have noticed that his right hand is a claw for gripping, and the left is kind of a straight chopping hand.  The White Ranger also comes with a right and left closed fist, a translucent blue effect part, his trusty sword, Saba, and an unhelmeted Tommy Oliver head, complete with rubbery ponytail.  Saba has a nice amount of paint on him, although his tiny eyes lack the red you might find on a pricier figure, and can store in a holster on the White Ranger's belt.  The hands are pegged in, and can be swapped by simply pulling them out and putting in the other, while ridges at the base of the peg keep the installed fist snug.  As for the Tommy head... I mean, I guess it looks nice enough, and pretty in-keeping with the kind of sculpt and paint you see on the aforementioned Star Wars Black Edition or Marvel Legends lines... but I know I'm never going to display him with that head, so I'm not going to risk stressing anything by pulling the helmet head off.

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Articulation is... well, it's funny, because I think it's better than a lot of the action figures I had as a kid, but I understand that it's probably a little lacking compared to something like the SHFiguarts version.  Anyway, his head is on a ball joint inside the helmet, but the ball joint has a hinge at the base so he can look up and down about 45 degrees either way in addition to turning his head and a slight sideways tilt.  His shoulders something that might be more familiar to 1/6 humanoid figure collectors, but I've never seen anything like it with transformers.  The rotation and lateral movement is something like a disk hinge, but the socket it's set it is also hinged to give him a bit of forward/backward butterfly as well, and in a way that moves the textures around so it still looks like cloth.  So he can move his shoulder in a way that seems pretty natural with most of the range you'd want, except for one minor thing... he can't really bring his arms too close to his body in a relaxed pose.  That first picture?  That's about as relaxed as they get.

Moving along, he's got bicep swivels just below the shoulder, and double-jointed elbows that allow his arm to curl all the way up (with a separate elbow piece that fills the gap between the joints).  His wrists can swivel, plus there's a hinge in his hands that lets them bend palm-up or palm-down.  That's great for the karate hand, but I wish the sword hand bent on the other axis.  His upper torso is on a ball joint in the chest, which gives him a swivel plus some forward/backward/sideways lean, while a hinge in his abdomen gives him a little more arching back/ab crunch.  His hips are ball joints that get a little less than 90 degrees forward, about 60 degrees laterally, and basically nothing backward due to the sculpt.  There's a cut thigh swivel at the top of his thigh, and another swivel below the knee at the top of his boots.  The knees, like the elbows, are double-jointed and can bend until his calves reach the backs of his thighs, with the kneecaps being separate parts.  His feet can tilt up a little and down to a very realistic just short of 90 degrees.  His ankles can also pivot both left and right around 45-ish degrees.

The gripping hand has kind of rubbery fingers.  It takes some doing, but you can work Saba into it.

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He can even hold Saba upside down for a Saba talking or firing eyebeams pose.  As for the effect part, there's a notch in one spot that the tip of Saba's blade fits into.  I'm really not a fan.  The effect part seems a little too heavy for the White Ranger's butterfly hinge in his shoulder.  It's too large to look like the spark of a deflected attack, and two round and explodey to look like an attack from the Ranger.

There are a ton of Power Rangers/Super Sentai toys out there, most of which I'm probably not familiar with.  I don't think I'm qualified to say if the Lightning Collection White Ranger is the definitive White Ranger figure.  Even with what little I am familiar with I can say that there are, at least, ones with better articulation.  I do think that this is a good-looking figure with a fair amount of realistic sculpted detail.  This is definitely a figure that's worth the $20 price tag.  I can't promise that I'd buy more (of the ones released and announced I might buy Zedd, Goldar, and the Mighty Morphin' Pink Ranger, but I won't feel put out of I miss them), but if they get around to my other favorites (the Mighty Morphin' Green Ranger and the Zeo Gold Ranger) I'd be interested.

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When I was looking for Transformers at Target recently I stumbled across these combing Zords.  Generally speaking I think the Transformers line has improved a bit in the last two or three years, and I'd picked up a few of the Lightning Collection Power Rangers figures, so I know that Hasbro can make good toys that appeal to collectors.  And they were giving me vibes that reminded me of the Playmates Voltron stuff, which while far from perfect I mostly enjoyed.  So I figured what the heck.

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The five Zords are sold in three packs, and each pack costs $14.99.  The first pack has the Sabertooth Tiger and the Triceratops.

Near as I can tell, the plastic comes in just two colors on the Sabertooth Tiger, with a little paint for the eyes and nose.  Most of the details are stickers.  It's ok-ish.  The molded (and non-functional) wheels on the back legs and the shoulders are missing any black, as is the stripe over its rump, but the sticker at least are pretty accurate.  The legs and tail are pretty hollow, and the articulation is very limited.  Really just the base of the tail and neck (needed for transformation, the shoulders, and the hips; the stuff that's needed for transformation.  There's no knees, no wrists or ankles, and it can't even own its jaws.  The angles that its paws are molded at further limit the posability.

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Like Sabertooth Tiger, Triceratops is missing some painted details and uses stickers on the sides.  Surprisingly, though, the crest is painted.  Triceratops has even less articulation, just the base of the neck and tail.  The molded treads and dino toes are left unpainted.  Oh, you know how a lot of toys with molded treads have wheels so they can still roll?  In a super irritating move you cans see molded bumps where the wheels would go, but they're just non-functional bumps.

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Second set is Mastodon and Pterodactyl.  Seems Hasbro slapped the stickers on the shoulders and painted some green on the head then called it a day.  The gold and red stripes along the sides are missing, as is some of the face details and the lines on the ears.  The plastic for the tusks and trunk is kind of rubbery, but it has no articulation.

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From the front, standing on its clipped-on gun-legs, the Pterodactyl doesn't look too bad.  It's wings can move a little, and it's got a hinge at the base of the neck and at the base of the skull.  Unfortunately, if you lay it down in a flying pose the top of the Pterodactyl is an empty red void, with none of the white and pink details it should have.

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Tyrannosaurus doesn't come paired with another Zord, but he does come with the Megazord's sword.  He's missing some silver on his cheeks and the top of his head, his tail, and his hips, plus red on his neck, feet, and shins.  He's also got some ugly red pegs on his knees.  He does have a bit or articulation, at least. His jaws can open, and his stumpy little arms can rotate a bit at the shoulders.  His hips can rotate 90 degrees forward (but nothing backward), and they can spread ever so slightly.  His thighs can swivel, and his knees can bend, plus his feet can tilt up.

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I'm sure most people aren't interested in individual zords, though, as they get less action than separated Voltron lions.  And the selling point here is that they do, in fact, combine.  As a matter of fact they can even do the tank mode, though the connections between the mastodon head and the t-rex chest is barely functional, and because of the angles the sabertooth tiger and triceratops don't fit on all the way and have a tendency to fall off.

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The star of the show is the combined Megazord, but even here you can see where Hasbro cheaped out.  He's missing the gold on his crest and stripes on his forearms.  He's missing the black and red squares on his knees.  His hands are unpainted gray plastic instead of black.  And he's not super big, either.  Here he is with a Deluxe-class Transformer I had laying around at the time, but I can also say that he's roughly the same height as MP-10 or MP-44.

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A back view, with the Pteranodon's gun-feet plugged onto the back.  If you want a cleaner look, though, not only can the cannons be removed, you can remove the Mastodon's feet.

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And now we get to the part where I tell you that the articulation sucks.  No neck articulation.  His shoulders can rotate and move about 75 degrees laterally.  His biceps swivel, and his elbows bend about 90 degrees.  No wrist articulation.  If you move the tail out of the way he does have some waist swivel.  His hips can go forward, but not backward and only a little bit laterally.  His thighs swivel.  And... that's it.  No knees, no ankles.  Well, at least he can hold his sword and the mastodon head.

I guess this is a case of you get what you pay for.  I mean, the whole combined Megazord only cost $45; I remember the Playmates Black lion alone costing almost that much.  The figures are sturdy, and they stay together well in Megazord mode, so they'd hold up to smaller kids playing with them.

Still, the dino Megazord of the original Power Rangers seems like something that would appeal more to adult collectors who grew up watching the show, vs the kids today and whatever the Power Rangers flavor of the year is (Beast Morphers, I think).  And speaking as an adult collector I'd have rather paid more for better paint and better articulation in both the individual zords and the Megazord.  And I know Hasbro can make better toys than this.  Really, I should have bought the SOC Megazord when I had the chance (even though I heard it's not the best, either).  I can't really recommend spending $45 on this one.

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