Review by Ginrai
I was eleven or twelve years old when The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers came out in 1993. I remember seeing all these ads that said, "You thought they were extinct, but now they're back!" and showed us cool extinct prehistoric animals recreated as goofy papier-mâché and cardboard robots.
Then there was the SPECIAL PREVIEW. In the early '90s Fox and a couple of other channels would have a weird preview thing where they showed a random episode of pretty much every new show that was going to start that season. So I actually saw an episode of Power Rangers before the official premiere (it was the episode with the awesome pig monster that wears a Roman centurion helmet for some reason) and I remember thinking after the episode ended, "Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought."
I was just old enough to feel like I was probably too old to be watching it, but I still followed the show off and on for the next couple of months.
Until Green With Evil. Then I was 100% in and no longer cared if I was too old for it. Why? Well, two reasons. One, the "villain eventually becomes a good guy" story arc is always a thing I love (like half the characters in X-Men do this, for example). Two, the Dragonzord (or Dragon Caesar in the original Japanese Zyuranger show) is an unabashed ripoff of one of my favorite giant monsters of all time, Mechagodzilla!
You may remember that in 2010 Bandai released the Vehicle Zord System Dino Megazord and the Mix & Match Titanus, but there was no Dragonzord to go with them that year. In 2013, Bandai revamped the 2010 Dino Megazord into the Legacy Megazord. It was basically the same toy, but with new diecast parts, additional paint, and revised screen-accurate reflective stickers. Now in 2014, we finally have a Dragonzord that is compatible with both the Vehicle Zord System and Legacy versions of the Dino Megazord as well as the Mix & Match Titanus and upcoming Legacy Titanus!
I'm not certain if the Legacy Dragonzord was originally designed for the 2010 Power Rangers line and just never released or if it was newly designed for the Legacy toys, but either way it is really cool. While the diecast in the Legacy Megazord was in kind of strange places and was totally unpainted, the Legacy Dragonzord is essentially what I wish the vintage toy was like. It is pretty big, it is heavy with diecast, and it has great molded detail and paint where the original toy had stickers.
If this toy came out in 1992 like the original did, I would say it had good articulation. By today's hyper-poseable standards, it is lacking, but considering it is a nostalgic retro-update of a toy that came out 22 years ago, I don't really have a problem with. Heck, it's more poseable than a lot of recent Megazords like the Gosei Great Megazord! It also costs more than double, but you can blame that on the diecast and the premium paint job, and brother, that is a price I am 100% willing to pay. Of course, while the arms and legs don't move that much (and the head doesn't much at all, save for the jaw), the tail has great poseability!
Another cool thing that is nicer than the original Dragonzord is the swappable hands. You have the stiff-fingered hands that are used for the transformation and to emulate the finger missile firing pose from the TV show (which is stolen from Mechagodzilla), but you can pull those off and replace them with gripping fingers as seen here. The fingers in both sets of hands are immobile, but at the size, I'm sure articulated figures would just frustrate me anyway. I guess it doesn't matter that much, since the Dragonzord never holds anything with its hands anyway.
It is probably worth noting that the Legacy Megazord does not have the lights and sounds of the original toy, but that's totally fine with me because I'm not a big fan of light and sound gimmicks in toys in the first place. If you are, this may disappoint you, but I would say the upgrade in looks and diecast should be more than enough to make for it.
You can see the Dragonzord is scaled pretty well with the Legacy Megazord, which is slightly taller than it. I wouldn't have minded if the dragon mode were a little taller, but it does need to combine with the Megazord so this is really all that would have worked. I think it looks great, anyway.
The Legacy Dragonzord is also pretty much the perfect size to fight it out with the 1993 Deluxe Evil Space Aliens like Bones here!
There's something about a diecast and plastic robot fighting a soft vinyl monster that just speaks to me. I never really got sofubi toys until I realized they were the kaiju getting pummeled by the diecast robots and suddenly it clicked. I have to say, Legacy Dragonzord versus Goldar really scratches that itch for me.
You can totally recreate the poses of the Dragonzord firing finger missiles at monsters. I really wish I had some kind of effects part I could snap on for the missiles or something, but OH WAIT, my imagination still works! Pew pew pew!
The original Dragonzord toy only had like three or four segments and the Legacy Dragonzord has six segments. Unlike the original, they all pop out with poseable joints!
The tail really does have a surprising range of motion. If you ever had the original Dragonzord, you know that the tip of the tail comes off and as a result, this piece is missing on 90% of all Dragonzords worldwide. Legacy Dragonzord has eschewed this frustrating feature so you will never run into the same problem.
I also appreciate that the level of molded detail and paint on the sides and back is consistent with the (excellent) work on the front of the toy. The colors on the side of the tail especially look great!
When you combine the Dragonzord with the Triceratops Dinozord, Sabertooth Tiger Dinozord, and the Mastadon Dinozord from either the 2010 Dino Megazord or the Legacy Dinozord, you can create Dragonzord in Fighting Mode (or Dragonzord Battle Mode) also known as Gouryuujin in Zyuranger.
The tail combines with the chest segment and a separate stand piece that does not have a place in the dragon mode of the Dragonzord. The chest piece actually expands to allow the tail to connect without the back of the dragon mode having to be very bulky in another nice engineering upgrade from the original. For some strange reason the feet of the stand are not all the same length (two of them are shorter), which means the tail weapon won't stand very well on its own, but this choice does mean that it always wants to lean into the hand of the Dragonzord.
Please pardon the shots with the white background. The Dragonzord in Fighting Mode and Ultrazord are too large to fit in my light tent from most angles! I'm not sure how easy it is to see from this picture, but there is an opening panel in the back that a peg comes out of. This peg is the handle for the Power Staff drill weapon. This is way better than the way it was done on the original toy with an external handle that was really ugly.
Look how ridiculously tall this weapon is! It is so tall, it will not fit into one of those Detolf glass display cases from Ikea standing up. It's almost twice as tall as the Dragonzord. Excessive? Yes. But I love excessive.
It's also really cool that the Legacy Dragonzord is balanced enough that it can hold the Power Staff unassisted. Worth mentioning that it is a little difficult to get the legs right and when you pick Dragonzord in Fighting Mode up to move him around the left leg is probably going to pop out of joint and flop down due to the weight of the diecast knee. I have no idea why it stays better on one side than the other, but it's not just my toy: I've seen this in a couple of Youtube videos. You can check it on in my video at the end of the text review.
I suppose it is a downside that when you have the drill in stabbing position the screw holes are all visible, but I suppose if you wanted to display your toy this way, you could just turn it around so they went the other way. It doesn't really bother me.
It feels so good nailing an Evil Space Alien with the drill! You should get these toys and do this immediately. It will make you a better person, or at least a more fun person.
By the way, the Dragonzord in Fighting Mode has really poor peripheral vision.
The back of the Dragonzord in Fighting Mode looks a little silly, but I checked the original line art and also compared it to the TV show and yep, that is how it's supposed to look, tail stump and Mastadon tootsies and all.
The Mega Dragonzord or Zyutei Daizyujin in Zyuranger is definitely the most difficult combination to achieve. You basically have to build the Legacy Megazord again, push the ears back on the Megazord's head, but then pop off Pterodactyl Dinozord and open up the chest and move the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord arms out of the way. Then you split the Dragonzord's crotch in half and swing both sides up and plop it on top of the Legacy Megazord. You have to slide out these little clips that fit into grooves on the Legacy Megazord's chest (and yes, the 2010 Dino Megazord has the same grooves).
In addition to that, you have to sort of jam the Dragonzord hat down onto the Megazord's head, around the horn on the back of the head formed by the Megazord's ears, and then shove it down until it sort of snaps onto the red ring that the Megazord's head is mounted on.
Here it is from a couple of other angles, but most people will have a problem with this and I saw several videos on Youtube where they got it wrong. It is a tight fight and even if you are following the instructions it's not super clear what to do.
Once you have it on right, push up the T-rex arms, then lock the chest piece. You will know if you have it right if the gray plastic chest's lip is OVER the neck part. This is very important for stability. If you don't do it this way, it's going to flop around and might come undone.
Well the Mega Dragonzord was always a ridiculous looking robot and this combination recreates that silly-looking thing pretty much perfectly. However, there is a bit of a problem. Most of the diecast in the upper half of the toy and it is very top heavy as a result. While it's true there's less weight overall if you use the 2010 Dino Megazord instead of the Legacy Megazord, the problem is actually worse because the diecast in the arms dangling down actually balances it slightly more, but either way it is not super stable. Now I really wish the lower legs were big chunks of diecast like the '80s Bandai Go Lion/Matchbox Voltron III so it was less rickety. The real problem you're likely to run into is the knees bending when you don't mean them to and the entire thing slumping forward.
The Legacy Mega Dragonzord pretty well towers over your average Evil Space Alien. This is probably not screen accurate, but I mean, scale kind of fluctuates on the show based on what gear can fit on a Japanese stuntman. It's not too far off the mark, but it definitely seems wrong.
You can see from the side the Mega Dragonzord's natural gangsta lean due its top heavy weight.
The Mega Dragonzord honestly looks kind of a mess from the back, thanks to the hollow Legacy Megazord hands and the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord's feet. Part of the problem is just that the original design in the TV show isn't the greatest.
Another thing to watch out for: there is a piece that flips up from the back of the Dragonzord head that the tail of the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord is supposed to clip into but the connection doesn't click as well as it should and if you're not careful, the tail will flop loose in Mega Dragonzord form.
The Megazord head can also get kind of lost in the huge Dragonzord hat. The TV show use the magic of lighting to solve this, but if you are going to display your toys in this mode, keep this in mind.
While it is goofy and may fall over, the Mega Dragonzord is still impressive and large, but not as impressive and large as...
The Ultrazord! While the Legacy Titanus is not out yet at the time of this writing, the Mix & Match Titanus that was designed for the 2010 Dino Megazord is still perfectly compatible with the Legacy Megazord, since it's the same mold, and when you have combined the Legacy Dragonzord with it you can totally achieve the full Ultrazord!
I strongly suspect the Legacy Dragonzord was designed for the 2010 line not only because it clips onto several grooves on the Dino Megazord, but because there is a groove and a depression in the "door" on the front of the Mix & Match Titanus that seems designed exactly for the chest piece of the Legacy Dragonzord. It sits right in and is pretty stable. Now, in the original toy and TV, the Titanus door piece was more of a big block that rotated down, but this will do for now.
Of course, the Mix & Match Titanus also doesn't have the chains or the diecast, but as you can see, it does have the "gloves" that go on the Megazord's fists and the extra chest piece that snaps on to the Megazord. The Legacy Titanus seems like it will be a nice update with additional diecast and better detail, but it's still really satisfying building the Ultrazord with the Legacy Megazord, Legacy Dragonzord, and Mix & Match Titanus.
The combined Ultrazord is huge. It is really fun menacing multiple Evil Space Aliens with the Ultrazord! The combination looks pretty great. Keep in mind if you plan on displaying your toys in this configuration that there is a very good chance the robot is going to keel over eventually because of the top heaviness and remember that the Ultrazord is too long to fit in a Detolf shelf from front to back.
And now here's my video review!
And finally, here's a couple of videos from the TV show!
The Legacy Dragonzord may be a little rickety in some of the combined modes, but the delicious diecast, good looks, and old fashioned robot toy fun factor make this a really great toy I recommend.
|Posted 30 June, 2014 - 20:07 by Ginrai|