#3010: Blue Ranger

BLUE RANGER

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (THREEZERO)

Oh man, I haven’t reviewed any Power Rangers since last year!  …get it?  Because we’re only two weeks into the–okay, yeah, it’s not that funny, I guess.  Also, it’s a joke I’ve already pulled once.  So, you know, there it is, I guess.  Look, I’m not proud of it either, okay?  Let’s just get to the actual review, I guess.  As far as Rangers reviews go, the original incarnation, Mighty Morphin, has become a bit rarer around here, what with me having already gotten the whole core team in my preferred scale some time ago.  I do have a soft spot for the Blue Ranger, of course, so that does leave me more avenues to review the occasional release here and there.  While we’re here and there, ThreeZero has recently picked up the license for the purposes of some 1/6 scale figures, which includes my boy Blue, so I’m taking a look at their take on him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Blue Ranger was released at the same time as the other five Rangers in ThreeZero’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line, hitting late last fall.  He and the others were available both as single releases and in one boxed set for the whole team.  Obviously, mine’s the single release, but the actual figures are the same between the two styles of box.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

In true 1/6 form, the most prominent piece of sculpting here is the head, or in this case more specifically the helmet.   Blue’s triceratops-inspired helmet is nicely recreated here.  It’s not quite a perfect match for the on-screen helmet, but it gets all of the elements, and it’s pretty close.  It’s quite sleek in its implementation, and the sculpting is all properly clean and sharp in its detailing.  The paint work is likewise clean and sharp.  The extra panel lining on the edges isn’t strictly show accurate, but at this scale it helps to make the sculpted elements pop a bit more, which is a plus.  The overall finish of the helmet is glossy, in proper fashion for how it looked in the show…most of the time, anyway.  There’s no alternate unmasked head included with these releases, which is on one hand a slight letdown compared to other 1/6 stuff, but on the other hand totally understandable given how much lower the price point is on these figures compared to others on the market.

In contrast to my last two ThreeZero reviews, where the figures were fully sculpted, and a mix of plastic and diecast parts, the Rangers are more classic 1/6 scale figures, making use of cloth costumes with plastic accents and underlying body.  It’s appropriate, what with all the spandex involved with the actual costumes and all.  The main suit is a spandex-like material, which scales well to the body and is generally well-tailored to match.  Obviously, some of the stitching is a little larger than it should be, but not by much.  The metallic finish on the material matches the original Sentai costume, and is just overall very sleek looking, which I’m all about.  The white elements are applied via a rubberized paint, which is clean, sharp at the edges, and offers consistent coverage.  The belt piece is a mix of cloth and plastic, with the main belt being a pleather like material, and the buckle being plastic.  The back of the belt is a little bit rudimentary in its design, but otherwise the piece works well.  The cuffs for the boots and gloves are sculpted plastic parts.  They’re nicely fitted to the body, and help to further keep the costume in place, as well as maximizing the posability on the wrists and ankles.

The body under the suit is clearly designed for function over form, as you would hope for this style of figure.  It shapes well under the suit, but is largely built for being well articulated.  There’s a rubbery sort of a padding on the mid section for more proper shaping, which does its job nicely.  The articulation is a little stiffer than I’m used to at this scale, but that makes it more practical for holding poses.  It just takes some getting used to hearing the joints make a rather noticeable squeak every time you pose them.  All things considered, this body certainly competes well with the top end of 1/6 scale bodies, which is a definite plus.

The Blue Ranger is pretty decently accessorized.  He includes 4 pairs of hands, his Power Lance, and the Blade Blaster.  The hands are great for all manner of poses, giving you a lot of options.  The Lance and Blaster are notable for actually being fully transformable.  The Lance can be used in the separate dagger forms, as well as combined, and full extended.  Likewise, the Blade Blaster is capable of all three of its forms, in one piece, rather than three separate versions like we tend to see.  The weapons getting their full compliment of set-ups was actually a pleasant surprise for me, as I’d fully expected them to just be in their collapsed forms, since that was how the Figuarts release handled things for all the non-Reds.  Ultimately, the combined form on the Lance is a little wobbly, but it’s still cool that the functionality is actually there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

ThreeZero has been a rather pleasant discovery for me in the last year.  I really liked both of the prior offerings I’d grabbed, and when I saw this guy go up for order, I was definitely down to at least give him a try.  I was expecting him to be a passable figure at least, but at the price point, I wasn’t expecting him to be nearly as impressive as he wound up being.  For less than half of the price of your average Hot Toy, you get a figure that’s maybe not *quite* the same quality and is a little lighter on the accessories, but it’s not as much of a gap as you might think.  This is another win for ThreeZero as far as I’m concerned, and they certainly have my attention for future releases.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2762: Ultraman Ace Suit

ULTRAMAN ACE SUIT

ULTRAMAN (THREEZERO)

Another Ultraman review?  This soon?  But, it hasn’t even been two months since the last one!  How am I going to fit this into my “only managing one Ultraman review a year” set-up? I guess I’ll just have to adapt.  Poor, pitiful me.  My recent Ultraman focus has really been honing in on the recent(ish) Anime series, which has generally been pretty good in terms of merchandizing and the like.  Most of that merch has been courtesy of Bandai, who generally have the hold on the market for all things Ultra.  In the last year, however, ThreeZero has also been getting into the game, with a small handful of animation-based Ultras.  Today, I’m looking at my first one of those, Ultraman Ace!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Ace Suit is the third release in ThreeZero’s 1/6 scale Ultraman line, following the standard Ultraman and the Version 7 suit.  It’s a pretty sensible release order, what with following their order of appearance in the manga/show and all.  He’s specifically based on the animated version of the suit, which sports a slightly different color layout than the manga, adding a fair bit more red into the mix.  The figure stands about 11 1/2 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.  As with the Soundwave I reviewed, getting an accurate count on the joints is a little tricky, since a lot of the joints are there to help clear the way for other joints in the process of posing.  It’s still a little more straight forward on this guy than it was on Soundwave, making him generally a little easier to pose and re-pose, which does add a little bit to his playability.  I certainly had less concern about accidentally breaking parts off of this one, though it’s definitely still a good idea to glance over the included paper work, just to be a little more familiar with how some of those joints are supposed to move.  The hips in particular have a slight learning curve.  Ace is sporting an all-new sculpt, patterned on his appearance on the show.  Ace’s suit is definitely my favorite, and it’s very nicely translated here.  It’s clean and bold in design, and just generally looks very pretty.  There’s a lot of polish here, and the articulation has been nicely worked in so as not to impede any of that.  The figure has a worked in light-up feature, in both the head and torso, which illuminates the eyes and color timer.  It’s a nice, fairly consistent light, and definitely gives the figure that extra bit of pop.  Accessing the battery compartments is pretty easy, with the top of the head and one of his back plates popping out.  Ace’s paint work just adds to the overall slick look of the figure; that candy coating red color looks really sharp, and it adds up nicely with the clean look on the silver sections.  The application is all pretty nicely handled, with no real issues with slop or bleed over.  Ace is packed with four sets of hands (in fist, relaxed, open gesture, and flat posing), a Specium Blate effect piece that swaps out for his standard wrists, an alternate right arm in cannon formation, alternate extended wrist connectors, and swappable open panels for his arm guards and the thrusters on his back.  About the only thing I really think I might like to see extra is a display stand, but that’s not exactly a requirement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve established previously, the Ace suit is my favorite of the Manga/Anime Ultramen.  When the ThreeZero stuff first showed up, I was definitely intrigued, but I was able to hold off on standard Ultra and Ultra 7.  Ace, much less so.  I was pretty much sold from the word go on this guy.  He’s a really slick figure, and honestly he’s fantastic for the price they’re asking.  ThreeZero’s not a company I had much experience with prior to this year, but the two items I’ve picked up from them have left me very pleased.  I look forward to seeing what else they get into.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2667: Soundwave & Ravage

SOUNDWAVE & RAVAGE

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE DLX (THREEZERO)

So….remember about two weeks ago, when I was discussing the oxymoronic nature of non-transforming Transformers?  Man, aren’t they just a crazy concept that will never catch on?  Certainly I’m not going to be backing that horse any time soon, right?  …Yeah, about that… Despite only really being a moderate Transformers fan, and also recently finding myself grouped with the people that think maybe Transformers should transform, I may have well gone and bought a rather pricey non-transforming Transformer for myself.  Look, in my defense, it’s Soundwave.  Also, it’s from Bumblebee.  Exactly how was I supposed to say no?  And, while we’re all on the topic, this isn’t a completely transformation-less Transformers release, for reasons I shall get into in the review itself!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Soundwave & Ravage were released as part of ThreeZero’s Transformers DLX line, which has so far been dedicated to designs from Bumblebee.  This marks the fourth release in the line, following Bumblebee, Prime, and Blitzwing.  Soundwave’s definitely a little more of a reach than the others in terms of his role in the film, but he’s freaking Soundwave, so it’s not like it’s super hard to figure out why they’d choose to release him, and bundling in Ravage is just pretty straight forward stuff, really.  The packaging is pretty adamant about referring to both of the figures included here, but make no mistake, Soundwave’s the main deal, and Ravage is really just an accessory.  Soundwave stands about 11 1/4 inches tall and has, like, a lot of articulation.  Getting an accurate count’s kind of tricky, because so many of the joints are really just there to aid other joints in the posing process.  What I’m getting at here is that posing Soundwave is a pretty darn involved process, which requires you to really want to know how you’re posing him before jumping in.  He’s designed with lots of lifting and moving plates, in order to ensure the best posability, while also keeping him movie accurate in the sculpt department.  It takes some getting used to, and if you’re not careful you might end up with some breakage, so reading through the instructions and learning what lifts and how is a good idea.  I myself wound up accidentally popping the glue on one of his front waist panels when I moved his hip forward incorrectly, so I know first hand the need to be careful.  The figure’s sculpt is dedicated to recreating the movie-interpretation of Soundwave’s G1 design as closely as possible, and based on what I could see from his brief appearances in the film, they’ve done a very nice job of capturing that design.  His internal workings make use of some actual metal parts, which makes him both sturdy and hefty, and it’s all sort of wrapped in an outer shell made up of a lot of separate plastic plates, which are responsible for making him look all Soundwave-y.  The detailing on those plates is all very sharp and they look properly machined.  For the most part, they also stay in place very securely.  The body beneath those plates is likewise quite nicely detailed for the most part, though I was somewhat surprised to find that the internal detailing for the torso isn’t actually sculpted, and is instead a decal. I get the why, ultimately, but it does feel ever so slightly like a step down compared to the rest of the figure.  Soundwave has no alt-mode, of course, but that’s something he share’s with his movie counterpart since Soundwave, like a lot of the Cybertronians we see early in the film, wasn’t actually designed with one in mind.  That does make his lack of transformation a little less egregious than the three prior figures, I suppose.  Soundwave’s paintwork is quite impressively handled.  The base colors are nice and bright, and eye catching, and there’s quite a lot of detail that’s been put into making all of the plates and such look worn in and damaged.  There’s a lot of simulated wear and tear, and it looks quite convincing, and is quite certainly of a higher caliber than, say, Siege.  Soundwave includes a light-up feature for his visor.  You’ll need to provide two button cell batteries of your own, but it’s a very nice effect, and adds just a little extra pop to him when on display.  Soundwave is packed with a decent selection of extras.  There are quite a few extra hands, 9 of them to be exact, in fists, open gesture, open relaxed, and trigger finger pairs, and one two finger gesture hand for the left side.  He also gets a blaster rifle, a display stand, and most importantly…

…Ravage!  Soundwave wouldn’t be much good without one of his cassette buddies to keep him company, now would he?  Of course not!  Ravage got a whole bit of focus in the movie, so there was this whole fully rendered model there to use as well, so I guess that does sort of make the whole thing easier.  Ravage is about 4 inches long, and has 17 workable points of articulation.  The articulation’s not quite as involved on Ravage, largely because Ravage isn’t as posable as Soundwave.  He’s still got all the basic movement he’ll need of course, and on top of that, he’s got all the movement he needs to, what’s that, actually transform?  Wait, is there an actual Transformer here?  Why, yes there is!   For Ravage isn’t just permanently in panther mode, but is able to also be folded up into the movie’s approximation of a cassette mode.  Said cassette mode can be stored in Soundwave’s chest compartment, as seen in the movie.  The transformation’s a little bit nerve wracking, if I’m honest, but I’m certainly glad it’s there, and it gives both Ravage and Soundwave a little bit of extra fun factor when messing around with them.  To help facilitate this transformation, Ravage also gets a few accessories of his own, as the side mounted rockets and the cannon for his back are removable parts which can be added to the figure when he’s in panther mode.  Pretty dope.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It all started a little over a year ago, back before Transformers R.E.D. was even a thing on my mind, and therefore a thing that was well and truly getting me thinking about non-transforming Transformers.  We’d seen the first three DLX figures, and they were certainly cool, but not enough for me to really jump on the bandwagon.  Then Soundwave got shown off, and Jason from All Time Toys was looking at possibly placing an order, but really only if I was interested in picking one up.  I’m no stranger to high-end toys, but I’d not yet jumped down this particular rabbit hole with Transformers.  But…it was Soundwave, and it was also like a year away, so I had plenty of time to save up for him.  Good thing, too, since that year was 2020, and, well, we all know how that went.  Needless to say, he arrived, and I was quite happy to finally pick him up.  He’s definitely very different from anything else I own Transformers-wise, but I was definitely expecting that.  He’s certainly more collectible than toy, and isn’t really meant for fidgeting with the same way as other Transformers, but I still had a lot of fun messing with him once I took him out of the box, and he’s a tremendously impressive piece when sitting on the shelf.  I certainly wasn’t expecting to have *two* non-transforming Soundwaves in the space of a month, but worse things have certainly happened.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.