IN SPACE RED RANGER VS ASTRONEMA
POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)
Hitting the airwaves in 1998, Power Rangers In Space was, as noted previously on this site, kind of my jam. I was six at the time, and that made me very much in the right target audience at the right time. With the show being my jam and all, I had some of the toys as a kid, but I’ve been waiting to get some proper updates for a good while now. I’m still kind of waiting, but at leas there’s been *some* progress made, because Hasbro is slowly feeding the show’s cast into their Lightning Collection line. We’ve already gotten the whole Psycho Rangers line-up, as well as our first member of the main cast, the Yellow Ranger, Ashley Hammond, but now we’re getting both the team leader and Red Ranger Andros and the show’s main villain (who is also secretly Andros’ long-lost sister…spoilers) Astronema, in one convenient two-pack!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The In Space Red Ranger and Astronema make up one half of the second assortment of two-packs for The Lightning Collection, the other being the SPD A and B Squad Blues. It follows the thus far established versus trend of the two-packs (well, the main release ones, anyway).
IN SPACE RED RANGER
Andros is clearly following in the footsteps of Galaxy Red, placing the team’s leader in a two-pack shortly after getting another team member in the main line. It’s admittedly mildly surprising for him to show up in a two-pack first, but given Galaxy Red’s also getting a single release later this year, I’d imagine we’ll see a single release Andros sooner than later. Hopefully they’ll at least give us a few other members of the team first. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Structurally, there’s not a ton of new stuff here, which I suppose isn’t a huge shock. He’s using the basic core Ranger body, with his own helmet and belt pieces added in. Andros is definitely one of those times that I feel the standard body is just a touch too bulky for the character, but it’s not terribly far off, I suppose. The new helmet piece matches up nicely with Ashley’s in terms of design, and is likewise a pretty good match for the helmets as seen on the show. The belt is likewise a pretty decent piece, and one I’m certain will be seeing re-use for the rest of the male Space Rangers. The paint work on this guy is pretty basic, but also pretty straight forward. The application’s pretty cleanly rendered, following the overall improved trend of the last two main line assortments. Andros is packed with two sets of hands (pointing/fist combo, and gipping), his Spiral Saber, Astro Blaster, and an alternate unmasked head. The unmasked head’s definitely one of the better ones we’ve gotten, with a more than passable likeness of Christopher Khayman Lee. Notably, Andros includes no effects pieces for himself, a first for one of the Rangers in this line. I can’t say I miss it *that much* but still notable.
Oh wow! Is that a non-Ranger antagonist from one of the non-MMPR shows? That’s certainly a first! …Okay, yes, I do know that she eventually served as a Ranger later down the line, but she’s not one here. Don’t take this from me. Everybody be cool. Astronema is a character that kind of does a little bit of everything available for the Power Rangers mythos. She’s the main villain for In Space, but ultimately follows the path of redemption, and even becomes a Ranger proper in the following incarnation of the the show, albeit for a brief time. She’s also got that whole “sister of the Red Ranger” angle going on, and even gets to be brainwashed and crazy for a bit. Astronema really just liked checking off all of the possible boxes, huh? The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 30 points of articulation. She’s using some of the parts from Ranger Slayer, with the upper torso, abdomen, upper arms, and lower legs overlapping between the two figures. I had some issues with the ankle joints on Ranger Slayer, but on this release, they seem a lot more solid, and Astronema has far less issue staying standing. She gets a new head, forearms, and add-ons for her torso armor and the strap on her leg. The new head is definitely the star piece; it’s got a great likeness of Melody Perkins in the role, and specifically is based on her blue-haired appearance from episodes 26-29 of the show. I sums up her general look from the show quite nicely. The new forearm pieces have a lot of really great detail work going into them as well, and the torso armor is designed so that it can be removed, adding some variety to her potential appearances. Astronema’s paint work is generally pretty decent, but has a few drawbacks. The biggest issue is on the face; they’ve attempted to emulate some blush on her cheeks, but they’ve gone just a touch too intense with the coverage, making her look a little too clown-esque for my taste. It’s not the worst thing ever, and it’s better than it looked on some of the prototype shots, but it could definitely look a bit better. Otherwise, things aren’t too bad. The edge of the silver on her waist is a little fuzzy, and there are a few spots on the armor that would certainly benefit from some extra accenting, but for the most part it looks pretty decent. In terms of accessories, Astronema is packed with two sets of hands (fists and gripping), her Wrath Staff, the boomerang looking thing she has on her leg, and an effects piece for her staff. It’s a shame there aren’t any alternate heads with her differing hair. We even saw a cyborg Astronema head when this figure was originally shown off, so clearly they planned for it. Ultimately, I guess it just didn’t cost out.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Given how much of an In Space fan I am, it’s surely no surprise that I’ve been waiting to get more of them since this line launched. Obviously, I was all in for an Andros, since I definitely want the main team, but I was also holding out at least a little bit of hope for an Astronema, given that she’s always been left out previously. Getting both of them together? That was bliss, honestly. Sure, Andros is rather by the numbers, and Astronema could stand to have a couple of improvements, but ultimately I really like this set, and I look forward to a deeper In Space component for the line.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review. If you’re looking for Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.