Deluxe Stratoforce Megazord
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The Earth-built colony vessel Terra Venture is humanity’s first attempt to reach the stars. But in the midst of this glorious adventure, on the distant planet of Mirinoi, its people are being terrorized by the evil Scorpious and his minions. Several humans from Terra Venture are pulled through a wormhole to the besieged planet, and there they, a museum mechanic, and one of the natives of Mirinoi successfully remove the five legendary Quasar Sabers from their stone thrones. In their attempt to escape on the famous but worn-out Astro Megaship, one of their own is lost, and Scorpious orders Mirinoi turned into stone as punishment, and then turns his wrath on the peaceful colony vessel. The four human owners of the Quasar Sabers and the younger brother of the fallen soldier manage to unlock the power of the bladed relics in order to become protectors of Terra Venture- the Galaxy Power Rangers!
A new villain, Deviot, brings to Scorpious a plan to defeat the Rangers. All he needs is the sacrifice of two of them, so he captures Blue and Green, and forces them to fight each other- drawing power from their attacks to power up his remote controller. And then once it is at full capacity, he infuses that power into his dark Zenith Carrierzord and the two Megazords within- the Stratoforce and the Centaurus. But when the Rangers confront these new giants, the Galactabeasts which form the Galaxy Megazord and Defender Torozord unexpectedly refuse to fight! Forced to withdraw, the Rangers go back to the mysterious book that the GSA on-board Terra Venture is trying to translate. A breakthrough reveals the discovery that the Centaurus, Stratoforce, and Zenith Carrierzord are actually three more Galactabeasts from a war 3000 years ago, which Deviot found and then transformed into Megazords under his control. Armed with this new info, they beg with the converted Galactabeasts to remember who they really are and turn on their evil master. The three sentient Megazords remember and then align themselves with the Galaxy Rangers.
. . .
The Stratoforce Megazord is made up of five components. But even though there are cockpit windscreens featured on each jet, they operate together under the singular consciousness of the Phoenix Galactabeast, and are never seen being boarded by any Ranger or the Magna Defender. Therefore, it does not fight simply because it is ordered to, but because it chooses to fight; which is generally true of all the Galactabeasts.
We never see the five separate S-Zords battle as individual components in the series even though they are stored & launched separately from inside the Zenith Carrierzord. Therefore, one can only guess as to what each component is capable of based solely on looks and how it transforms. (Ironically, this also stands for its original Japanese counterpart from the Super Sentai saga as well…) However, they all share a few features, such as non-poseable landing gear, rocket nozzles & wings of various sizes, and silver-painted windscreens.
The Stratoforce Megazord (back)- like the Deluxe Red Dragon Thunderzord long before it (from 1994’s “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” season 2)- is an unusually fit and trim-looking Megazord, which thus gives it a very agile fighting style in addition to extended flight capabilities. The head of the Megazord actually features a PVC mask which is removed to reveal its true unarmored head beneath for when it transforms. (Why this is, I have no idea. But it is never shown fighting without the mask on.) The arms have ratcheting joints at the shoulders which snap at every 45º. As an interesting note, the ABS fists can actually twist around at the wrists, allowing for more posing options later on. The legs, as I said earlier, are much thinner than anything before. The narrowing black feet actually look like string-less slippers as opposed to blocky boots! And the top of the front of both feet are covered with panels which fold over when transforming them back to vehicle mode. The knees snap-twist around at every 60º, but the legs aren’t far apart enough to do anything useful; additionally, twisting either leg easily upsets the Stratoforce Megazord’s balance and he’ll fall flat on his face. (Or rather, flat on his chest...) When changing it back into vehicle mode, the mask can be stored on the back of the S3 Zord; the Megazord’s sword, however, is simply put aside.
The Megazord has two weapon features. The first is a blue PVC sword which is gently pointed like a “V”, and has a handle on one side which can be gripped by either fist (though traditionally in the right). This is where those wrist joints come in handy because of the limited poseability of the arms otherwise. The other is a little more old-school, and is actually a key part of the transformation of the S-1 Zord! Behind the shoulder joint on both upper arms are recessed buttons which, when depressed, will spring-launch the entire lower arm/fist assemblies like missiles! Only when attached as arms will they fire; if the buttons are pressed in vehicle mode, they will not shoot out because the springs are actually inside the black ABS rocket nozzles. (All you need to watch for when converting them to Megazord Mode is the orientation of the fists, and that will clue you in to which way they point.)
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the Deluxe Stratoforce Megazord from “Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy” (1999), and its Japanese counterpart, the Chogokin GD-14 DX Kouseijuu GingaPhoenix from “Seijuu Sentai Gingaman” (1998), it’s actually a rather pleasant surprise:
- On the Stratoforce Megazord, all of the windscreens on the separate flyers were painted silver; they were painted black on the GingaWing 1 (S1 Zord), GingaWing 2 (S2 Zord), and GingaWing 3 (S3 Zord). However, no paint was used on the cockpits for GingaWing 4 (S4 Zord) & GingaWing 5 (S5 Zord) since the plastic coloring was already black.
Amazingly, the Stratoforce Megazord’s single change highlighted something that the DX GingaPhoenix did not! And here’s the interesting part: on-screen in both series, all of the cockpit windows are a rust-brown in color. Otherwise all decals, the few paint applications on the mask & inner head, plastic coloring, functions, molds, and materials are identical!
. . .
I was really disappointed with the designs of the mecha seen in “PRLG”. While a few of the earliest mecha in Super Sentai did not merge with each other (mostly because the tokusatsu sub-genre was still finding its feet in the early 80s), since then only “Gingaman” has had five-part mecha that also do not merge together with accessory or secondary mecha. Being a relatively-big PR fan at that time (though I dislike “PRLG” in general), it was a big let-down, and since then this lack of transforming has not reoccurred. The only exception was this blue and dark gray Megazord which kinda ran off in its own direction:
- it was not commanded directly by any Ranger
- all five vehicles were designed to fly
- none of the vehicles has an identifying number, shape, or color
- all five vehicles were commanded by a single intelligence as opposed to five separate ones
- in Megazord Mode it had a very thin and agile appearance which was breakthrough
The proportions of the toy in Megazord Mode are also not wacky; I’d even go as far as to say only the shoulders are slightly farther apart than on a normal-sized human, and that’s it! There’s a bunch of little things to worry about when changing it rather than a couple of big things, which also is rather a bit of a precursor to a few later lines. And everything works together very well. The Seijuu [trnsltn: “Star-beast”] transformable toys in the “Gingaman” line were all notable for having very generous amounts of die-cast metal in them after several years-worth of all-plastic, but the GingaPhoenix and its cousin Chogokin #GD-13 DX Kouseijuu GingaRhino (aka Deluxe Centaurus Megazord) had far less. In fact, only the shoulder levers and hip joints- both only for transformation- here use die-cast metal… which was also imported over by Bandai America. (Yay!) The spring-powered lower arms also shoot a fair distance rather than just falling out of the launcher like they did on the Deluxe Mega Voyager from “Power Rangers in Space” (1998); the fact that the arms shoot out like that is a just plain nice throwback in my opinion, and is a feature that would be seen less-and-less as the years progressed. And the nice thing here is, BA actually did a good job by having it so closely match its Japanese counterpart. If it hadn’t, I would have gone with the DX GingaPhoenix. But I didn’t. My only complaints are that you can’t tell which leg part is which so you just have to remember it, and the gold metallic finish on the chest chips off kinda easily. And so, the Deluxe Stratoforce Megazord is a very good alternative since it was cheaper, but looks, works, and feels exactly the same. Highly recommended!
|Posted 22 May, 2008 - 02:36 by EVA_Unit_4A|