|Toy Design||Bandai Creation|
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
This toy appears here courtesy of Bandai America.
. . .
Three years ago, a dangerous artificial intelligence known as the Venjix virus assaulted Earth’s computers, and shut down all forms of electronic communication, radio & TV broadcasts. Then Venjix proceeded to build an army of human-like robots with which to corral and enslave humanity. Regretfully we lost the war, and Venjix conquered the world. But on the central-eastern edge of Africa, the domed city of Corinth was created and serves as the last safe-haven for any human who can make it within its protective shield. Venjix, however, is ever-watchful of Corinth, and has built strong barriers around the city to prevent more humans from making it safely there… assuming that anyone can find the city to begin with! Whenever a survivor comes to the city, the shield must be lowered and then recharged, and during these times, Venjix sends infiltration units to cause havoc and destroy the city. But fortunately, a new team has been developed by the mysterious-yet-influential Dr. K which can successfully defend the city- the Power Rangers! Armed with powerful Engine Cells, the Rangers can summon both a unique arsenal of weapons & armored suits, and giant Zord Attack Vehicles which stand many stories tall and can create a giant humanoid robot form called a Megazord! Will they be enough to defend Corinth from the terror of Venjix?
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Nitro Blasters are the standard sidearm for Ranger Operators Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, & Black, which clips conveniently to the right side of their belts when not in use. Unless the Engine Cells- which also power the giant Zord Attack Vehicles- is placed inside of them, they cannot be used. Each Nitro Blaster has a second mode of operation, called Nitro Sword.
This is how it is stored on the clip-on holster on the Ranger Operators’ belts. In this form, it strongly resembles a gas pump dispenser, which fits in with the vehicle theme that the heroes have in the series. The day-glo orange nozzle is the gun barrel, and has features like fake bendable ribbed sections and a spill-prevention guard; these all, of course, being ABS & PVC plastic as opposed to metal & rubber. (Because of US toy regulations concerning ‘realistic’ gun-shaped toys, the barrel must be this stand-out coloring as opposed to the silver-and-black seen on the show.) The grip is completely solid with no moving parts, and features an On/Off switch fitting on the bottom where a fuel feed tube would attach. However, a smaller functional black trigger is still featured inside the grip. Directly above the grip but part of the overall handle design is a silver-painted molded PR-RPM logo in a notched protrusion on the left side only; this is the mounting point for the belt-mounted holster. The large main section of the toy is molded in black ABS, but is then painted red, white, and blue. On both sides are blue domes which- in the series- expose the Engine Cell in use; however here, they are painted over.
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Typically in this form, the Engine Cells used to power a Nitro Blaster are inserted. Just above the top of the grip is a triangular protrusion. When pulled backwards, a black ABS cartridge holding frame manually swings out from the top. While any Engine Cell from the “PR-RPM” line can be inserted, the Wolf Cruiser Zord Attack Vehicle’s (see below) is provided with the set. The Engine Cell will only fit in sideways, but not pointed up-or-down. Then the holding frame can be pressed back in by you until it locks in place.
Under the grip is a small black switch with three positions. When turned on and you pull the black trigger, it will activate the sound effects within the toy.
The two steps for transforming the Nitro Blaster from Blaster Mode into Sword Mode are very simple, and they can be changed in any order you wish (i.e. they’re not linked together internally):
- There is a small spring-resistant black switch on the left side of the main section that needs to be pushed forward. As you do this, the entire grip free-rotates around diagonally 180°. To lock it in place, simply release the black switch as the grip comes around.
- Under the orange barrel is a gray spring-resistant lever that needs to be pressed. This will free-up the front of the barrel. Then, while pressing the lever, point the barrel downwards, and it will extend itself in three additional sections due to gravity. All of the orange ABS cylinders are independent of each other, and slip in place via friction when extended. To retract them, simply press on the gray lever again, and then press inwards to collapse them down.
Despite its naming, it is not a sword-like weapon, but rather a long inflexible baton or nightstick... which, on the toy, comes out as a day-glo orange telescoping shaft. (Whereas in the series, the ‘blade’ is light gray and black.) The main section is now positioned upside down diagonally to the grip. The Engine Cell is still fully accessible, in this form, above the black grip.
Almost all “Power Rangers RPM” role-playing and transforming-Zord sets include a unique thin Engine Cell chip. They are very simple ABS accessories that have a decal on one side which has a unique number and coloring to help identify each one. Some Engine Cells are used just for morphing, some for weapons, and others to power the Zords. In the footage of the series, though, the Engine Cell(s) seem much thicker… The one provided with the Nitro Blaster is specifically the Wolf Cruiser’s Engine Cell.
On the bottom of the grip is a small round protrusion with the On/Off switch. It has three positions- “C”, “OFF”, and “ON”.
When switching to C[ommand] Mode, and pressing the trigger, you will hear a male voice say:
- Rangers! Come in, Power Rangers! This is an urgent call!
- We’ve picked-up intense activity along the Arctic Ridge.
- Use extreme caution; this is an advanced mission.
- POWER RANGERS TRAINING: ACTIVATE (mechanical monotone voice)
- Power Punch... now Kick! Again! Power Punch... now Kick!
- That was a close call, Power Rangers.
- I’m glad you’re on the team, young Ranger.
The sound clips will always play in that order. However, you can switch to the next clip by squeezing the trigger immediately rather than waiting for the current clip to end.
Alternatively, when you switch to the ON position, and then squeeze the trigger, you’ll hear a single blaster sound. But when in Sword Mode, you’ll hear metal clash once.
. . .
Now, there’s a surprising trick to the electronic feature that actually goes beyond simply switching the switch on the bottom- something like a ‘security system’. If there is no Engine Cell placed inside... then the trigger can’t be squeezed! While the On/Off switch merely turns the batteries on or off, it has no impact on activating the sounds themselves, which is delegated to the aforementioned trigger.
However, there is a way around it, a way to cheat your way around the locking mechanism, if you wish. Just in case you lose the provided Engine Cell, behind the PR-RPM logo on the left side is a triangular button cleverly molded into the silver-painted plastic. If you press inwards on it, then you can squeeze the trigger without needing an Engine Cell in place first. To re-lock the trigger, there’s a tab on the triangular button which lets you pull it out again, making the toy ‘safe’ again.
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the Nitro Blaster from “Power Rangers RPM”, and its original Japanese counterpart, the Self Henkeiju MantanGun from “Engine Sentai Go-Onger”, it’s a mix-up...
In short, they are two completely different toys. But, surprisingly, they have similarities in how they function. While the Rangers’ standard sidearm- and most role-playing sets- are usually completely different in order to make them cheaper to produce (and thus, to buy), they usually lack functions, movement, materials, or other details from their Japanese counterparts. In this case, the biggest changes were to the-
- Light-and-sound feature: The MantanGun uses removable Engine Soul cartridges all have unique built-in sound effects, whereas the Americanized Engine Cells are tiny discs with no electronics and the toy they are placed into has the electronic feature. Indeed, how to place an Engine Soul/Cell into the toy(s) is different as well. Whereas the MantanGun has a spring-powered frame that flips out on its own from the top of the toy, you have to manually pull out the Nitro Blaster’s frame from above the grip; this is to prevent [fragile] American kids from pinching their fingers. (On top of the latter, there is a non-moving red projection which mimics the moving one on top of the MantanGun!)
- Oh, yeah- the MantanGun didn’t have a “Command Mode” switch for additional sound effects.
- Barrel: Other than the required day-glo orange, the Nitro Blaster’s barrel extends like a telescope in three sections, and has a large lock on the bottom which must be pulled out of the way. Whereas on the MantanGun, the two-section barrel is dull-silver & black, and can be freely extended/retracted, and snaps into place on its own.
- The Nitro Sword’s ‘blade’ makes it about 4” longer total than the MantanGun’s Rod Mode. However, in Nitro Blaster and Gun Mode, they are about the same size.
- Grip: Whereas the MantanGun intentionally mimics a gas pump dispenser, the Nitro Blaster- though appearing the same- is downplayed as such. Therefore, as a gas dispenser does, the MantanGun has a large silver handle in the middle of the grip, though it did not move. As was a frequent complaint, the silver lever on the Japanese toy left little room for fingers to slide in. Therefore, the grip on the Nitro Blaster had the lever removed.
Okay, I’ll get this out of the way right now- the day-glo orange doesn't exactly kill me, but it is very distracting. And that stupid lock underneath too. No matter how hard I flick my wrist with the MantanGun, I can’t get it to fly open on its own; it stays solidly in place. Why, then, did Bandai Creation feel the need to have an external lock on the toy when an internal one would have been fine? Granted, the whole telescoping lightsaber-like blade is a cool feature, and the barrel does more-or-less look physically like the ones in the show. Next, having built-in sound effects was good, but that Command Mode is painful- just painful!- to listen to. I can only imagine kids across America getting grounded for a week for giving their kid sister a Power Punch and Kick! because their toy told them to. This thing will be returned to the store for that very reason faster than you can say “That was a close call, Power Rangers”. And then Bandai America wonders why parents don’t buy them Power Rangers toys to begin with! Oh, and this is my favorite part right here: they create this great little gimmick which requires you to insert an Engine Cell into it in order to pull the trigger... and then turn around and ruin it by having that cheat button on the side! Clearly they don’t expect you to hang on to those tiny Engine Cell chips for long, but still want you to be able to heard it audibly pat you on the back for giving your sister a Power Punch and Kick!. Ugh- baka... So, basically the only plus side of getting this toy over the MantanGun is the telescoping blade, and that there’s more room for your fat collector’s fingers to fit ‘round the grip. Oh, and you get the Wolf Cruiser’s Engine Cell for use on the Deluxe-sized transforming Valve-Max Megazord set. Beyond that, the Nitro Blaster is “meh”.
|Posted 10 July, 2009 - 02:33 by EVA_Unit_4A|