Jumbo Astro Megazord
Review by NekroDave
Although there were previous Jumbos that were from Sentai shows, the Jumbo Astro Megazord is the first one to be released in the United States and bear the name of the Power Rangers. It was released in 1998 in support of the "Power Rangers In Space" series. It's an interesting piece because unlike the subsequent Jumbos released in the US, this toy actually has a transformation gimmick like the DX version. The method is different here though and requires a small amount of parts swapping, but the end result actually looks pretty cool. It's certainly better than many of the vintage "transforming" Jumbos, which often just lay down to transform. My only real gripe with the vehicle mode is that the feet don't connect in anyway. As a result, the nose of the ship doesn't line up quite right.
This toy was not very popular among Jumbo collectors. There are probably a few reasons for that. First, it isn't a full sized Jumbo. It measures only 18" tall. Secondly, many people didn't like the design of the robot itself, particularly in comparison to the old school super robot aesthetic that most Jumbo collectors know and love, although I think they'd prefer this to the later designs with all the animal parts.
Another problem with this toy is the feet. To allow for the transformation to vehicle mode, the feet need to rotate down. Where the toy fails is that there is nothing really holding the feet on the toy. They just slide sideways onto a peg, and more often than not, slide right back off again. This also causes the toy to lean just a tiny bit forward, too. Lastly, I can't help but think there is just a little bit of Power Ranger hating going on, too. As popular as the show was with kids when this came out, I seem to remember just as much hate for it from adults. I know I couldn't even stand to hear the name back then. I just can't help but think that if toys like this were on the shelves at about $20 a pop now, they would get more respect than this did at the time of it's release. Many collectors disrespect it by spelling "Astro" with an extra "s" and I think they are giving it a bum rap.
In addition to transforming, the Jumbo Astro Megazord comes with a sword and shield that can be placed in the hands. The head turns and the arms move up and down. Simple like all Jumbos.
Although this toy was released initially in the United States, the overstock was later shipped back to Japan and sold there. Everything was exactly the same, except that the box had a gold foil sticker slapped onto the lower right corner with Japanese writing on it.
Additionally, it seems that this toy was released in Korea, too. I've only seen the box for that release, but judging by that, it looks like the exact same toy. However this time a whole new box design was created and the show was called "Mega Rangers".
While I can't say I love this toy, I do think it's better than it's generally given credit for. And it really makes me wish that Bandai had gone ahead and followed through on their plans to release a second toy in the line. The Jumbo Mega Voyager sadly never made it past the prototype stage. It's a shame too since it looks like it might have been an even better toy.
Although the transformation is simple, I've recently been given a video camera so I figured I'd join the fray and do a quick video to show you how it's done. In the process, I actually managed to break the knob on one of the arms. And here I was thinking that polyethylene was practically indestructible.
|Posted 28 April, 2008 - 17:44 by NekroDave|