If it wasn’t obvious after my White Ranger review, I have decided I need to assemble a team of Power Rangers on my shelf. Specifically, the Mighty Morphin era. I’ve already posted my thoughts on both the Green and White Rangers, devoting a write-up to each figure, but for today I’m going to do some combining. And that’s because I am basically going to just talk about three different versions of the same figure. The base Power Ranger male figure is the same for each one, at least for the Mighty Morphin figures. I assume the other teams are similar, but I don’t know that for sure because I don’t have any of them, nor do I intend to get any of them. These three though are the same, and they’re basically the same as the Green and White Rangers too, though those two had a few unique pieces due to the slight differences in costumes. Now I don’t intend for that revelation to be a knock on this line, toy companies reuse parts all of the time and when the characters are pretty similar there’s no need to re-sculpt everything just for the sake of doing so. The actors in the show who portrayed the “teenagers” who become Power Rangers were fairly distinct in terms of body shape, but the costumed Rangers really were not.
The good news is, I generally liked what Hasbro did for the other Rangers I reviewed. If I didn’t then I probably wouldn’t have bought more. The molds aren’t cartoonishly bulky like the old Bandai ones and was more reflective of how these characters actually look on screen. You can still nitpick them here and there, but for the most part they look like what I recall seeing on television back in 93. The articulation is solid, the paint has been okay for a mass market retail figure, and each figure has come mostly with enough stuff. This time though we’re going into original five territory. These characters were even more uniform with really the only difference being the head and unique weapon. All of them, in the show, were also armed with what was called a Blade Blaster which was a little laser pistol that could turn into a bulky knife. These three should be pretty similar with some room for there to be a clear “best” and “worst,” but my expectation is if one is good then all three should be pretty good. And, of course, if one is bad then they will all probably be bad.
All three Rangers come in the same attractive window box with some unique artwork on the front and side and product shot on the back. The box is also color themed to that specific Ranger and these would probably look just fine to a mint-in-box collector, and for you openers the packaging is fairly durable and can be resealed with minimal effort. Each figure stands a tick over 6″; we’ll call it six and a quarter. And each one is some combination of colored plastic and painted plastic. Since these figures are essentially just two-toned, Hasbro tries to get away with using as little paint as possible and it creates problems. The Black Ranger is the best of the three as black is pretty opaque and plastic painted black and molded black are going to look the same. The molded white and the painted white which shows up at the butterfly joint is a little off, but for the most part he looks good. There’s paint inconsistencies here and there, and one glove has an ugly smudge of black on it, but it’s something you kind of have to deal with as far as this line is concerned. Strangely, he doesn’t have a red ring on his morpher, something all four have, so this is clearly an error on Hasbro’s part. The helmet is at least clean and looks pretty sharp. It was always one of my favorite helmets in the show with the mastodon tusks curling under the visor and it’s recreated here pretty well.
Unfortunately, the Red and Blue Rangers are not as good. On these two, the colored plastic and painted plastic is noticeably different. The torso on the Red Ranger in particular is way darker than his limbs to a distracting level. It’s readily apparent in box, and still when removed. When he’s posed on a shelf with his limbs in a more dynamic pose the effect is minimized a bit, but not removed. The same is true of Billy, our Blue Ranger, but it’s not as severe. Instead, he gets to introduce a separate issue and it’s with the white paint on his torso. It’s not nearly opaque enough and the blue plastic shows through it. It’s bizarre for this figure to have this problem when the black figure is fine. These figures were not all released at the same time so it would appear the factory just had a bad run when it came time to manufacture the Blue Ranger because he feels like the clear dud of this trio. He also has the worst helmet of the three too as there’s a paint chip on the center horn and the shape just looks a little off to me. It’s very round. There are some sculpted lines on it, but the plastic is so dark and glossy that they don’t show well. I wish Hasbro had added some paint to bring them out more like they did with the Black Ranger who has some added silver paint. He’s not awful, but this figure is definitely helped by the fact that I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics of the Blue Ranger, but someone who doesn’t like blue as much as I do would probably have a harsher take here. The Red Ranger also would benefit from some more paint on his helmet to bring out the design.
The paint on these guys is definitely a mixed bag, but at least they’re all the same when it comes to articulation. To run it down again, these guys have a ball peg at the head that gives them an acceptable range of motion. Up and down articulation is limited, but it’s fine. We’ve got a ball hinge at the shoulder with a butterfly joint behind it. The combination of molded white and painted white plastic with this joint is a little unsightly, but the range created by the joint is, for the most part, worth it. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with butterfly joints. There’s a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbow, and the hands rotate and have horizontal hinges, which are bad for these figures. There’s a ball-joint in the diaphragm that provides some tilt forward and back as well as side-to-side. There is an ab crunch that’s mostly useless, and no waist swivel. I wish Hasbro would ditch the ab crunch and just go with a waist swivel. The legs are ball pegs and can kick forward, but not back. They also can’t do a true split, which kind of sucks for acrobatic characters. There’s a thigh swivel, double-jointed knees, a boot cut, and ankle hinges with rockers. The ankles are terrific and will be your best friend when it comes to posing these boys. It’s fine articulation on the whole with obvious room for improvement. Unfortunately, any improvement to it though will be a benefit to other iterations of the Power Rangers as I suspect Hasbro is not going to re-sculpt the Mighty Morphin figures anytime soon. Maybe when they do guys like Rocky and Adam they’ll retool some things, but it’s not something I’d count on. It also should be noted some are more stiff than others, though I can say no joints are loose. My Red Ranger’s elbows were also curved slightly which made working them a bit difficult. I ran them under hot water to try to bend the bow out and was mostly successful. His shoulder hinges are real tight though and he’s a bit more awkward to work with as a result.
The accessories present the most obvious opportunity for these figures to separate themselves from each other as each Ranger had their own unique weapon. For Jason the Red Ranger, it’s the Power Sword. Zach the Black Ranger has the Power Axe, and Billy has the Power Lance. Very creative names, I know. Jason’s sword is just that, a sword. It’s fine, but the lack of vertical hinged hands makes wielding it properly more difficult than it needs to be. Hasbro also painted the handle black, so now I have black smudges on the inside of the hands. Definitely just heat those hands to make them soft when inserting this thing unless you want your figure to have dirty hands too. Zach’s axe suffers from the same hinge fate when wielded as an axe, but it also functions as a gun which the wrist hinges don’t impact much. And it’s pretty cool! It even has a sliding action on it so he can pump it like a shotgun. It’s probably my favorite weapon so far. Billy’s lance is fine, though it’s a bit flimsy so it will often have a slight curve to it. It’s blue plastic, so there’s less fear of rub with this one as the only paint is reserved for the silver trident tips and some minor details. Hasbro packed in separate handheld daggers for Billy as his lance could break in half. This was mostly for when they combine their weapons (which is something the figures can do if you buy all five Rangers), but he can wield these like sais if you wanted. It’s probably the smarter play than just having the lance separate as they would have had to have a separate middle piece that did nothing in order for the lance to be long enough. These weapons are good though, so no real complaints there. Each one also comes with an effects piece for their respective weapon. Jason and Billy have a lighting effect that is blue for both of them. Zach has a blasting effect for when his weapon is used in gun form. It’s a translucent red with sparkles and works pretty well, though it kind of looks like a pumpkin. It does add a lot of weight to the front of the axe so posing him can get challenging when it’s inserted, but not impossible.
For the blasters, Hasbro continues to confuse. Each Ranger comes with a Blade Blaster in blaster form. It would have been pretty awesome if they could have made a transforming blaster (since the transformation was very simple), but that might have resulted in too fragile a piece so instead there are just regular blasters. The paint on them isn’t great, but the sculpt work at least looks nice. Zach also comes with a Blade Blaster in blade form. This is cool since it was something each Ranger had, though as a weapon it looked really stupid even to an eight year old, but it was in the show so I want the toy to have it. The blade though is permanently extended so it has basically one function. This sucks because in the show the Rangers would holster these weapons in blade form, but with the blade retracted (it was essentially an ugly switchblade). That means each Ranger can’t holster this weapon in a screen-accurate manner. I’m tempted to just snip off the blade, but that won’t solve the issue of the Red and Blue Rangers only having the pistol version. The pistol fits in the holster, but again, it’s not screen accurate and it bothers me. You can brush this aside by saying “Well, this is a line meant to appeal to kids too,” but kids care about that stuff! I was arguably more obsessed with things being screen accurate as a kid than I am now. At the very least, each figure should have come with this bladed version in addition to the gun, but Hasbro got cheap on us. It’s like they put it in with the Black Ranger just to wave it in our face that they could have done this the whole time, but chose not to.
Lastly, each figure comes with some optional parts. All have two sets of hands: gripping and fists. I appreciate the extras, but fists aren’t very exciting as optional hands. I’d have preferred maybe some chop hands or more style pose hands since these characters did a lot of that in the show. The other optional part is the unmasked head that comes with each. This is a good thing if that’s something that interests you, though I personally won’t ever use them. The likeness for each is based on their original actor so we have Austin St. John as Jason, Walter Jones as Zach, and David Yost as Billy. Of the three, Jason looks the best. It more or less looks like St. John. Billy’s head is okay. It’s a bit goofy and glasses are always hard to get right, but it’s okay. Zach though looks terrible. I don’t know what Hasbro was trying to do with this one. He had dreadlocks in Season Two and I guess that’s what they were going for with this one, but his hair just looks terrible and the face looks nothing like Jones to me. It’s bad. It’s probably a bummer for diehard collectors of Power Rangers who want to assemble a team of every actor who played these characters, at least for a casual fan like me it’s just an ugly lump of plastic that will stay in the box.
This collection of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is okay. I definitely do not like these figures as much as I did the White and Green Rangers, but I’m not feeling any buyer’s remorse or anything. They get the job done when put on a shelf, it’s when placed under greater scrutiny that some things start to fall apart. I think the Black Ranger is fine, ignoring his ugly unmasked head, and I’m mostly happy with how he turned out. The paint issues on the Red and Blue Rangers are my biggest complaints. I can handwave the inaccurate Blade Blaster and lack of vertical hinges for the hands, but the paint is a bummer because that affects the aesthetics of the figure just as much as the sculpt. The Red Ranger’s elbows, in particular, are ugly because they’re basically a candy apple red and the Blue Ranger has those poorly painted white diamonds on his chest. The thing I keep coming back to is that these are mass market retail figures priced at 20 bucks or less, in most cases. I shouldn’t even expect NECA quality with these things, let alone high end collectibles. Even with that caveat, I still think they’re a little disappointing because this is Hasbro and we know what Hasbro is capable of. Whether it’s Ghostbusters, GI Joe, or Marvel we’ve seen them do much better with paint and certainly matching colored plastic to painted plastic. I can’t recall ever having that be as big an issue with another line as it is here.
Ultimately, you are free to like or dislike these figures. I suspect most will have mixed feelings, as I do, but I also bet there are some extreme reactions too. For me, I like the aesthetics of these sculpts more than I have any other Power Rangers products, so they work well enough. I always hated the over-muscled look of some of the Bandai figures because these guys aren’t Jim Lee drawings, they were just actors who were probably gymnasts first. If I thought Hasbro was going to do better I might have held off, but I don’t think that will happen unless they do some running changes when they get to the other actors, assuming they do. And if they do, I hope they just cast everything in colored plastic save for the hands and I suppose the boots. And they can also keep the white butterfly joint, I guess, though I think they can do better in color-matching that too. And if that happens, maybe I’ll sell these and upgrade (the Red and Blue, anyways), but maybe I won’t? These get the job done for me, I just think Hasbro can do better and I don’t blame Power Rangers fans if they want to hold Hasbro to a higher standard by ignoring these.
February 1st, 2021 at 10:59 am
[…] week we took a look at the male members of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection. Back when the show […]
December 29th, 2021 at 3:42 pm
[…] red is basically all colored plastic so there aren’t any harsh variances like there were with the Jason figure I looked at. The joining pieces for the elbows and knees do appear to be a slightly paler red. I don’t […]