#2263: Dragonshield Black Ranger

DRAGON SHIELD BLACK RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is no stranger to toy coverage, and they’ve had action figures in all shapes and sizes.  For the purposes of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection, the Mighty Morphin’ characters have had similar coverage in a similar style in the form of the Legacy Collection and Figuarts, making the Morphin’ characters an interesting proposition for the line, should Hasbro want to avoid making die hards double dip on the characters too soon.  They’re doing a respectable job of it so far, mixing them in one per assortment, with a few exclusive offerings to bridge the gap of releases.  These exclusives have all followed something of a common theme: the Dragon Shield, the distinctive armor worn by the Green Ranger.  There are a few instances of the shield being passed to other Rangers, so the Red Ranger got his version in a SDCC two-pack, and now the Black Ranger is getting his due courtesy of a Walgreens exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dragon Shield Black Ranger is the first Walgreens-exclusive for The Lightning Collection.  Given Hasbro’s current relationship with Walgreens, it seems unlikely that it will be the last.  The figure is based on Zack’s time wearing the Dragon Shield from the episode “An Oyster Stew”.  It’s notable because this concept is one of the ones introduced by the “Zyu2” footage, which was the additional suit footage commissioned exclusively for Mighty Morphin’, and not present in the original Zyuranger series.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has  34 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, he shares a good deal of his parts with both the Red and Green Rangers, sensible given how close the designs all are.  It follows the established style of the Lightning Collection so far, being ever so slightly bulkier than the Figuarts stuff, but generally more relalistic than anything Bandai America put out.  Zack gets a new helmet and, rather surprisingly, a new belt.  The helmet is as nice a recreation of the show design as any of the helmets so far from the line.  The belt is a real shock, because it’s definitely an area where they could have just gone with a painted emblem to differentiate the rangers, but they instead have sculpted in the proper emblem.  That’s actually pretty impressive.  The paintwork on the figure is about par for the course.  It gets all the basics done, and generally looks pretty solid on my figure.  Zack is packed with his Power Blaster, Power Axe, an extra set of hands, a blast effect, and an unmasked head, which sports a pretty decent likeness of Walter Jones, though it’s perhaps not as spot on as some of the modern rangers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been mostly avoiding the main Morphin‘ Rangers from this line, since I’ve already got the Figuarts line-up, so I was initially planning to skip this one.  However, I swung by Walgreens while looking for the Clone Wars Obi-Wan and saw this guy and he proved too hard to resist.  It helps that he’s not just the standard Black Ranger, so I don’t feel quite as bad about double-dipping.  This is a pretty solid release, and a pretty smart choice not just for an exclusive, but also for Zack’s first inclusion in the line, since it’s more likely to be picked up even by those that have Zack in another form.

#0974: Chojin Sentai Jetman Black Condor

CHOJIN SENTAI JETMAN BLACK CONDOR

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

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“Jeto-jeto-jetoman! Danananana!”

Chojin Sentai Jetman Theme Song (paraphrased)

So, here’s a figure with a pretty cool backstory. Back in 1993, when Saban was looking at importing a Super Sentai series to the US, they had two possible options:  Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger or Chojin Sentai Jetman. Zyuranger was chosen for a number of reasons (the inclusion of a sixth ranger and the popularity of dinosaurs at the time being the most commonly cited) and eventually became Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. However, Jetman was a pretty serious contender, thanks to it being one of the most popular incarnations of the Super Sentai franchise. It was also inspired by Gatchaman (better known as G-Force or Battle of the Planets in the US), which gives it some pretty awesome pedigree. Today, I’ll be looking at the guy who was almost the first Black Power Ranger, Black Condor (who is under no circumstances to be confused with DC Comics’ Freedom Fighter Black Condor).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackCondor3Black Condor was released as part of the Super Sentai sub-set of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts, towards the end of 2012. He’s the second of the two Jetman figures Bandai released in the line, with the first being Red Hawk. The figure is about 5 ¾ inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation. Zyuranger and Jetman’s designs weren’t too far removed from each other, and as such, this figure feels pretty similar to the Mighty Morphin’ figures I looked at a ways back. The Jetman designs are a bit sleeker, and a bit stronger, if I’m honest, and definitely feel right at home with some of the earlier Ultraman designs. This figure’s sculpt does a very nice job of capturing the look of Black Condor from the show. Like other Figuarts, the proportions have been skewed ever so slightly BlackCondor2to fit in with the rest of the line stylistically, but this guy’s not particularly far off. The overall appearance is very faithful, and the helmet in particular is the spitting image of what was seen on the show. I especially like all the little seams in the costume, as it really sells the realism of the show, and adds a nice bit of depth to a figure that could otherwise be far too simple. I also feel it’s worth noting that this particular design works a bit better with the usual Figuarts articulation scheme than the Zyuranger designs did, so he doesn’t have any compromises in terms of his design for the sake of movement. Black Condor’s paintwork is nice and crisp. The BlackCondor4color choices are bold, and the application is quite sharp. The difference between the finish of the helmet and the rest of the suit is especially cool. This is probably the best paintwork I’ve seen on one of these figures, and that’s saying something, because these guys all have some pretty top-notch paint. Black Condor includes quite an impressive array of accessories. He’s got his Bird Blaster and Bringer Sword (in both compact and extended forms), plus the combined form of those two, the Jet Hand Cannon. He also has BlackCondor7holsters for both weapons, as well as his Wing Gauntlet (with open and closed wing pieces), an alternate backplate with a set of wings attached, and five pairs of interchangeable hands in fist, trigger finger, gripping, quotation fingers, and flat-handed positions. These pieces are all pretty fun extras. I think the Wing Gauntlet’s my favorite piece included, even if the wing pieces are the wrong color (they should be black).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember Bio Rider? Remember how that was Tim’s fault? Yeah, well I’m blaming him for this one too. Okay, maybe that’s not fair. I’ve actually had my eye on this figure since back when I got the Figuarts Mighty Morphin’ figures. His design just really speaks to me. Since I had some gift card money, I finally got him. In the meantime, I’ve actually watched some of the source material and found it to be quite entertaining, and Black Condor in particular is super cool. I’m definitely happy to have this figure, and I wouldn’t mind if Bandai got around to releasing the missing members of the team.

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#0281: Black Ranger

BLACK RANGER

BANDAI FIGUARTS

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It’s that great time of year that is the days that follow my birthday, where I have a wealth of brand new toys to play with. Lucky for all of you, I also get to review them right here on the site. So, here’s Birthday Reviews Part Deux! Continuing on yesterday’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers theme, it’s the Black Ranger!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackRangerWilsonThe Black Ranger was the fifth release in Bandai’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers off-shoot of their S.h. Figuarts line, and he was released earlier this year. The figure is about 5 ½ inches in height and sports 36 points of articulation. Good or bad (mostly good), the Black Ranger’s sculpt is identical to the Red Ranger’s from the neck down. That being the case, he has the same strengths and faults as that figure. I still find the elbow and knee joints to be a bit distracting, but they aren’t terrible. The Black Ranger does have an all new head sculpt, depicting his mastodon themed helmet. It looks really good, and is easily the best part of the figure. The paint on the Black Ranger is pretty straight forward, with no slop or bleed over. The Ranger body looks especially sharp in black and white, so that’s a definite plus. The Black Ranger includes a pretty hefty selection of accessories, including a thunder slinger and a blade blaster, both of which are the same as the ones included with Red, plus he has his trademark power axe/blaster, and nine different hands: fists, three styles of gripping, and a loose fist right hand. He also includes the Blue and Red Ranger pieces for the power blaster, which I’ll look at when I have the whole team put together.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Black Ranger was another of my birthday gifts, given to me by my really awesome parents. The Black Ranger actually holds a bit more nostalgia for me than the others. Back in the 90s, I had one of the smaller scale Black Ranger action figures, given to me by one of my Dad’s co-workers. I wish I knew what happened to that figure, but I remember I really liked it. Anyway, this figure is certainly a worthy replacement to that one, and it looks great with the rest of the Rangers.

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