Mighty Morphin Dino Megazord
Review by Optimal III
I knew before I wrote this review that as of 2023, Hasbro was the biggest toy company in America, and one of the three biggest toy companies in the world. And I knew that in 2019, they were awarded the toy license for Power Rangers. That's huge because of the money involved & because only one other company has held that license, Bandai of America. After 25 years, Haim Saban, the creator of Power Rangers, decided it was time to change things up. But what I didn't know is that Hasbro ended up buying Power Rangers outright less than a year later.
That's really huge and explains their interest and effort since then. Kind of like how Disney used to do some ho-hum stuff with Star Wars till they actually owned it. Then they got serious. Similar to how they produce Transformers, Hasbro has two branches of PR toys. The stuff targeted at kids, and the stuff targeted at collectors. This collector-oriented effort began with the Lightning Collection, 6-inch scale action figures that run the gamut of every Power Rangers series. Fans seem to be happy with what they've got so far, but what about the Zords??
Enter the Zord Ascension Project, or ZAP for short. Hasbro did some random Zord toys to mixed results prior to this announcement, but this is their big deal. High-end 1:144 scale figures designed by them with premium packaging and premium prices to boot. Think Masterpiece Transformers. Not surprisingly, the first ZAP release is the classic Megazord, from the very first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
The box is large & glossy, shoe-box style with a slipcase cover. Not only firm & sturdy, the Megazord's face looks like it's coming off the front, even though it isn't raised. But you can feel the difference between it and the background.
The way Hasbro is numbering these is based on the season the Zord debuted, and the specific episode. The Megazord, or Dino Megazord as some label it now, actually appeared in the first episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, so it's MZ-0101.
One side gives you unique art and the other side & back give you product shots.
Removing the slipcase reveals the full color headshot up front.
The actual back is a metallic, shimmering red with the ZAP logo.
Inside the box top is a nice piece of the Megazord fighting Goldar that looks 3D. Goldar was a regular henchman who lasted through all 3 seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but he also was the actual first giant monster the Megazord battled.
The actual box contents are covered by cardboard that looks like the displays inside the Dinozords.
Like Blitzway's Voltron, ZAP figures come with ranger figurines that are scaled to the Zords, to get over their size. Not amazing, but a nice little touch.
Can't explain why, but with MMPR, my mind always goes red/black/yellow/pink/blue. So, I started with the Tyrannosaurus. Though on the skinny & lean side, it feels the biggest and most substantial. Definitely the longest and tallest. And like all the Tyrannosaurs before and most Sentai mechs that are combiner components, it doesn't do much. The ankles & elbows hinge. The shoulders swivel a bit. The knees have funky double-hinges. The thighs swivel below the hips and ratchet at the waist. Push too far and the hip plates pop off.
Though simple, it looks good from all sides and does enough to be fun.
You can also open the mouth, revealing the cannons. They're solid and molded onto the bottom jaw. It's here I realized I never got a pic of the cockpit, but I'm leaving it alone and you'll soon see why. Keep reading.
The Tyrannosaurus does a good job of showing off the sculpting & surface detail Hasbro applied to these designs, giving them a fresh feeling. The Mastodon does a good job of showing off the paint quality and use of transparent plastics on top of other plastics.
Otherwise, it's a brick. Only functionality is the cockpit. Would be nice if the trunk had joints, but being static is better for the shield, so it's a draw.
The Sabretooth Tiger is another visual standout. It has swivel shoulders and hinged knees, but not enough to be really dynamic.
You can move the tail, which is a cannon.
And you can open & close the cockpit and mouth. The head also tilts, which helps in combined mode.
The Pterodactyl is the smallest, but was the most pleasant surprise for me.
I guess knowing it's like a flying jet just makes it cool to position with the cannons as feet. And that honeycomb pattern on the chest brings the "ooooohhh" factor. Very simple. The wings hinge, the head & neck tilt back and forth, and the tail is another hinge.
Unfortunately, this is where I got bit by the QC (quality control) bug, which a fair number of people have also complained of. The cockpit cover was so tight that it broke off when I opened it. I glued it back into place, and that's fine for me. Don't need to see what's in there again. But it's why I won't bother with the Tyrannosaur's. Ditto the black & gold version. Not opening any of those cockpits. I got lucky, and some people have had zero issues. But most seem to stem from moving parts, mostly the Tyrannosaur's knees and arms.
The Triceratops is the most vehicle-like as always, with molded tank treads under the legs. Its head tilts even more than the Sabretooth Tiger's.
The tail raises and lowers, the cannons at the end rotate.
And it has an opening mouth as well as the cockpit. I wish they'd done the launching horns with chains ala the Soul of Chogokin, but that's not a deal breaker. This is the most solid of this Dinozord set.
So far, this whole set is solid. Not amazing, but good and enjoyable for me.
This brings us to the tank mode, the halfway point on the way to combining into the Megazord. And it's cool. Not hard to put together. Hasbro didn't change anything about the process. I've seen people complain about getting the Mastodon's head plugged in, but it seems easy to me. Just line up the peg and push it in all the way.
Fun fact: I didn't realize the Pterodactyl was part of the tank mode till I saw the classic toy. Never noticed it sitting on top. Just assumed it went away till it was time for the Megazord. This doesn't have the heft or mass of the SOC, which I think is beautiful in tank mode. But this does the job.
Finishing the transformation is the same as usual. Hasbro just added an extra little gimmick. You can remove the Megazord's face...
...to reveal the cockpit where the five rangers pilot in. Cool print job, gives us the glass pane view we always see when they first get in there. You also push the upper legs outward, which creates more space.
As usual with Power Rangers & Sentai mecha, the sum is greater than its parts. Just shy of 12-inches, the Megazord looks impressive. And has a good weight. Not heavy or hefty, but it doesn't feel strangely light. It's good, especially for the joints it has.
Everything comes together, and it's mostly what we've already seen. The exception is the front of the shoulder armor. More of the layered translucent plastic, which I really like. There's a bit on the knees, and in the eyes. It gives a greater sense of energy. Gray and silver don't necessarily convey energy, but with the honeycomb pattern on the chest plate, it's a fresh bit of detailing. Visually, this is a really nice refresh of something that's been around since 1992. Kudos to Hasbro for taking that step.
Looking good from all directions. One thing to note is the Tyrannosaur's tail splits into two pieces. Makes sense, and it frees up articulation.
And if you look at the feet from behind, you see black plates. Those are the covers that cover the hands inside the Mastodon. They double-up as heels, a nice thing to have.
My one gripe is the Tyrannosaur's feet. I know that's part of the classic look, them sticking out from behind. But I wish everyone made like the Super Robot Chogokin. Either design to collapse completely into the upper legs, or make them removable so you can use flat plates to maintain the visual. The SRC has the latter, plates that look like the feet, but with none of the jut.
Besides overall quality, the big question is probably articulation. How is it?
In short, not perfect, but pretty good. In terms of combining Megazords, it's better than everything else out right now except for the Super Mini-Pla. I assume the model kit and Go! Kuro Kara Combine sets from Flame Toys will also be better. But the ZAP version has pros to all of these. Size over the model kits, and price over the GKKC.
Again, the head sculpt is thrilling. And it's on a nice, stiff neck joint that tilts & turns all around. So, you can get great looks out of that.
Moving down, the shoulders, biceps, and elbows are all stiff swivels. You'll be using both hands to make adjustments. You can raise & lower the shoulder armor. You get strong ratchets for the forearms. And the hands rotate at the wrists.
There's sort of an ab crunch, but you have to disconnect the bottom of the chest plate to unlock it, so I don't count it. The waist rotates, but is limited by the hip plates.
The legs are where things get funky. There's no locking mechanism for the Tyrannosaur's feet. So, depending on how you try to move the legs, you're either going to engage the proper knee joints, or you're going to engage the hinges for moving the Tyrannosaur's feet in & out of position. There's also nothing to lock the knees out so that they only bend like proper knees. You can bend them forward at all times. In short, the legs work, but you may have to fiddle with them to get what you want.
It's kind of annoying, especially when you think about the price & promise of this toy. But overall, it's manageable. And for me, I get over it and lost in the fun this Megazord offers.
Not that the Megazord is an acrobat, but the ZAP is stable enough to do kicks and stand on one leg.
The accessories, weapons are what the Megazord normally has. There are two sets of hands, open and weapons holding/fist, which add to the expressiveness. There are the cannons mounted on the back...
...which can be tilted up & over the shoulders.
There's the shield, made from the Mastodon's head. It looks good front & back, but feels a smidge small. The SRC mitigated this by adding upward tilt to the wrists, so the shield could cover more of the arm. But I guess that's a bit too involved for a transforming version.
And last, but never least...
...is the Power Sword. Covered in silver & gold chrome, with a black handle, it looks impressive.
I've seen some people compare this to Blitzway's Voltron, but I think in terms of stature, size, and quality, this fits in somewhere between the SOC and Toynami MP. The SOC is what I had on display at the time, so this is how they look together.
Including the ZAP, I have five versions of the Megazord at this time (not seen is the black/gold ZAP or the red Super Cyborg). I sold my Legacy when I was unemployed, and I sold the SOC not too long after I got it. Even though I got it on sale, it was just...disappointing.
If you get a Hasbro item marked as plastic-free packaging, check thoroughly for everything. I thought mine didn't come with instructions, but eventually found them.
I think the best way I can describe the ZAP Megazord is this. It isn't perfect by any stretch. But it's fun & cool. And for the price, it's not as disappointing as the SOC. It helps too knowing this isn't a one-off. Hasbro is doing a full line of Zords in this style & scale, hopefully improving with each figure. By the time this was released, they'd already announced the Dragonzord.
So, if you don't already have the SOC or $500-ish to spend, I recommend this. If you prefer great articulation and small size, it's the SRC (non-transformable) or one of the kits (Bandai Super Mini-Pla or Flame Toys Furai). If you want size, quality, and can spend $500-ish, the Flame Toys GKKC (Go! Kara Kuri Combine) is also on the table.
|Posted 29 November, 2023 - 08:44 by Optimal III