Deluxe DriveMax Megazord
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
The 15-year anniversary series- “Power Rangers Operation Overdrive”- promises to continue the traditions that have pushed one of the longest-running action/adventure children’s saga into the future! For a more expanded explanation of “Power Rangers”, be sure to view this Wikipedia entry.
A wealthy adventurer named Andrew traveling through the deep forests of Africa finds the Corona Aurora- a powerful crown which can bestow unthinkable powers upon any who wears it. However, the seven jewels that typically adorn it are missing. A ghost of the ancient Knights Templar comes to the adventurer, and warns him that there are evil forces in the world that are seeking the Corona Aurora as well, and will do anything to get it. Realizing that the crown needs protection and the seven jewels recovered, Andrew returns home and uses his billions to create a top secret team of super-human heroes to scour the Earth. Using Overdrive Trackers- handheld devices which can scan artifacts to see if the jewels are inside them- and their unique genetic powers, a wide variety of tools, weapons, vehicles, and incredible giant battle machines called Driver Zords are available to the Power Rangers to execute their tasks for Operation Overdrive!
Knowing that the Overdrive Rangers would need to operate alone in the world, and how dangerous adventures could be, Andrew ordered the construction of large vehicles specialized in exploration, excavation, recovery, and- if need be- defense. The first five Driver Zords do just that:
Dump Driver Zord (back)- a large red and silver haul truck, piloted by the Red Overdrive Ranger, “Mack”. In addition to the large truck bed which can haul tons of excavated dirt and rock, it also has the ability to deploy two large utility arms which can lift monsters right off their feet! The Dump Driver forms the back half of the Mega Truck; and it also forms the body and legs of the DriveMax Megazord.
Speed Driver Zord (back)- a black and silver formula-1 race car, piloted by the Black Overdrive Ranger, Will. It has six wheels which grip the ground very well for tight turns and fast acceleration. It can also raise up the front half to reveal a weapon turret to fire on monsters! The Speed Driver forms the lower front half of the Mega Truck; and it also forms the chest of the DriveMax Megazord.
Gyro Driver Zord (back)- a blue and white gyrocopter piloted by the Blue Overdrive Ranger, Dax. Powered by three jet turbo fans in its fuselage and stubby wings, it is the only one of the five that can fly through the air, and features some strong laser cannons. The Gyro Driver forms the upper front half of the Mega Truck; and it also forms the helmet and back armor of the DriveMax Megazord.
Dozer Driver Zord (back)- a yellow and silver bulldozer piloted by the Yellow Overdrive Ranger, Ronny. Though slower than the Speed Driver, it has a bucket scoop which can lift monsters off its feet, or a small laser cannon turret up top. The Dozer Driver forms part of the back half of the Mega Truck; and it also forms the right arm of the DriveMax Megazord.
Sub Driver Zord (back)- a white and pink submarine piloted by the Pink Overdrive Ranger, Rose. The only Driver Zord that can travel underwater, it has a pair of utility claws which can lift up rocks or remove artifacts from the seafloor. The Sub Driver forms part of the back half of the Mega Truck; and it also forms the left arm of the DriveMax Megazord.
“Huh???” That is the first word- the very first word- that came to mind when I saw them. Even compared against the lead Deluxe Titan Megazord from last year’s “PR Mystic Force”, there is a very dramatic change in design style to the five Driver Zords. The most noticeable thing is that they are much bigger. This is good since we’ve been getting really small lead Zords since, well, the deluxe toys from “PR Lost Galaxy” in 1999! The plastic they used, however, is really odd. There seems to be little-or-no real ABS on it; instead, it’s some kind of hard PVC. Oddly, only the wheels on the various Driver Zords are ABS. The claws on the Sub Driver are molded with really thin PVC and flex way too easily- but are difficult to rotate around! The other thing I noticed is how bland the paint applications are. Each is limited to just about three colors each. This is most obvious when compared to the prototypes seen on the box cover; the Sub Driver and Gyro Driver have been affected the most by this. And you almost can’t see the white paint (the “PROO” logo and a #4) against the yellow plastic on the Dozer Driver (trust me, they’re there). However, the bucket on the Dozer Driver can pitch up and down on two joints a bit... but the large arms used by the Dump Driver in the series don’t have the same claws on the toy. (I must say, though, that I like the piston details on the Dump Driver.)
The third-mode Mega Truck (back) is a bit more of a mystery compared to the awesome detail of the Dragon Mode of the Titan Megazord. I think it’s trying to recreate a large semi-trailer like the ones seen on the freeways today, but I don’t think they got it right. Like the Green Delta Runner from the Deluxe Delta Squad Megazord from 2004’s “PR S.P.D.”, the Mega Truck has a very limited rotation joint (opposite side). The small tabbed joint which connects the front and back halves looks like it could tear at the slightest twist. Even though there are small tabs for them inside the Dump Driver’s truck bed, the Dozer Driver and Sub Driver really don’t fit all that well- the submarine’s back-half just hangs off the end there awkwardly. It’s almost like the larger back half is driving the smaller front half, not the other way around! The one good thing is the Power Sword can attach to a peg on the left side, which keeps all the parts together and makes sure there isn’t anything lying around to be stepped on. The Dozer Driver fits oddly into the bed of the trailer section- it faces forward in the instructions and box art, but it’s backwards in the show! Again, the Mega Truck doesn’t look all that similar or compact to the one seen in the show...
The DriveMax Megazord (back) is really a let down... If I was confused about the separate Driver Zords and the Mega Truck, I am shocked at how low quality the Megazord is. Like always, it’s a little out of proportion to the one seen on the show, but this is actually a little closer to normal human proportions! That is nice. The exception would be the size of the head [as usual] and the shoulders are a bit wide. Actually, the head reminds me of the head of the Deluxe Lightspeed Megazord from “PR Lightspeed Rescue” (2000) with the small rotating cannons on either side. The shoulder joints snap at every 45°. And I when mean “snap”, I mean you really have to torque these things! I like joints that don’t wear out, but this!? Well, if I use it long enough, maybe they’ll go back down to something a little easier...
One of the things I’ve been moaning and groaning about for many years is the lack of poseable legs on the deluxe toys. Oh, sure- they can twist and bend and do other things, but you couldn’t really do anything with them when the changes are complete. In the past we’ve had-
- Deluxe Dragonzord from “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” season-1 (1993) was the first to have joints at the hips and knees, but it was limited to transformations only.
- Deluxe Serpentera, from “MMPR” season-2 (1994) had some nice poseability in the shoulders, elbows, clawed hands, hips, knees and even ankles, but it was limited in its upright form because of balance issues.
- Deluxe Ninja Megazord, from “MMPR” season-3/”MMPR-The Movie” (both 1995) also had joints similar to the Dragonzord, but, again they were just for transformation purposes and it didn’t balance very well when you did it.
- Deluxe Thundersaurus Megazord and Deluxe Blizzard Force Megazord, from “PR Dino Thunder” (2004) were close, but somewhere in the design phases the tiny arms and the thigh armor plating of the Dino Zords just got in the way. (That was a real disappointment that year.)
- Deluxe Titan Megazord, from last year’s “PR Mystic Force” (2006) had, again, hip and knee joints, but they only worked in the transformation and in the Dragon Mode. (Actually, in that set, the Mystic Phoenix Titanzord had the really flexible poseable hips, knees, and shoulders!)
But this year, my wish has come true at last! The legs can do the splits up to 45° apart from each other, for starters. The hips can spread side-to-side almost 90° when the legs are rotated forwards, and the knees can each bend 45°. This- coupled with the snapping panels from the transformation of the Dump Driver- allows for a good range of poses! Alas- if they could have introduced equally-flexible ankle joints... (Creepy thing is, it can bend those wonderfully flexible legs backwards too. Eww...) The Power Sword (bottom) is made of that same unusual soft plastic so it won’t break immediately if stepped on, but at least the Megazord can grip the entire handle this time, unlike the Titan Megazord’s sword!
Another nice thing is the Light-and-Sound feature in the head. When the tabbed button on the forehead is pressed, a red light inside flashes on-and-off really fast while there is a sound of motors turning and metal clanking. Nice and loud sound too! (Perhaps a bit too loud...?) It’s kinda disappointing, though, that there isn’t a wider variety of sounds, or that they couldn’t be accessed when the Gyro Driver is alone. The Deluxe Delta Squad Megazord had six sounds in it across its various modes and a bump-motion sensor! Actually, I’m surprised that they didn’t put the Light-and-Sound function into the larger Dump Driver or the Speed Driver like they usually did in the past, but I can understand putting the light into the head like that.
To view and hear the special Light-and-Sound feature, watch this short video (special thanks to JoshB, webmaster/owner of CDX for the video footage!):
But there are a whole bunch of things either missing or wrong with it. The most noticeable thing is the lack of paint applications- which is rather not glaring on the front of the lower legs, the blue back armor, and the left wrist/engine housing. The last time I saw bad paint loss was on the various Wild Zords from 2002’s “PR Wild Force”; but they had die-cast metal, intricate transformations, and detailed molds to make up for it. I also feel that, if the arms are poseable only at the shoulders, then they should have added a snapping joint of some kind to the Dozer Driver. Also, the Dozer Driver’s bucket and Sub Driver’s claws just don’t really look all that, um- powerful the way they are now.
I typically don’t bring special attention to it in my reviews, but I want to mention the transformations a bit. Because of the materials they used, the Speed Driver and Gyro Driver have to be wiggled- as opposed to snapped- onto pegs. The head and Gyro Driver both also have to separately contend with paired tabs on the neck of the Megazord and top of the Speed Driver, respectively. You really have to fight them to get them in place, but once you do they don’t pop off easily. Getting the Dozer Driver and Sub Driver onto and off of the shoulders is a very difficult thing to do. I’m 24 at the time that I’m writing this, and even I have to put a bit of effort into getting them on; not very often in the past have I needed to do that.
Ugh- that’s it! I can’t wait anymore...!
For those of you wondering what the differences are between the Deluxe DriveMax Megazord from 15-year anniversary “Power Rangers Operation Overdrive”, and its Japanese-speaking counterpart- the DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken from the 2006 Super Sentai 30th Anniversary series “Gougou Sentai Boukenger”- well... I fully and wholeheartedly believe that a great injustice has occurred:
The images of these two toys (back) have not been modified by a computer or kit-bashed or added to in any way. What you see is the real deal. Standing at an even 9½” (24.4cm) is the original DX DaiBouken on the right, and standing at 11½” (28.8cm) is the Deluxe DriveMax Megazord on the left. As you can see, the reason I cannot simply tick off the modifications like I usually do is because the changes are so numerous. These are two completely different toys. Not once single piece from the DaiBouken- save, perhaps, for some similar-sized screws- was used in the construction of the DriveMax Megazord. This explains the lack of sharp detail. This explains the lack of significant paint applications. This explains the difficulties in transformation.
(To see more detailed images of the differences between the Gougou Vehicles and the Driver Zords, view the complete gallery for this review.)
I am not going to hold back- as an adult collector, I am disgusted. BA has certainly done this before- changing an original toy from a Super Sentai series to conform it to US toy regulations- such as removing spring-loaded missiles, external rotating features, or a Light-and-Sound feature. (Do I believe that’s the only reason why they do it? No!) Most take it in stride, and leave them alone, opting instead to buy the originals from Japan the year before. But also, it helps the American company to reduce the cost of importing the toys when they come over so that parents can afford to buy them for their kids. For example, the DX DaiBouken does cost $45.00 in Japan (¥5500) off the shelf, but it’s the direct shipping and handling costs to the US which increase it to around $70-75 off-the-shelf. Most collectors and older “PR” fans who know about Super Sentai may not be entirely happy about this, but they just buy the originals one year ahead and not bother with the imported ones. More recently, it has been the standard firearms that the Rangers carry around with them that get completely redesigned; they are replaced with soft Styrofoam alternatives, with all the ABS, electronics, and transforming abilities removed. Or the various morpher devices which are simplified; the Electronic Delta Morpher from “PR S.P.D.” is a perfect example of this as well- one of the original modes was removed from the Electronic SP License and condensed down into just two flip-down modes instead of three. Again, the Delta Morpher is a completely original design separate from the original Super Sentai version. (A comparison of the two side-by-side can be found in this review, also on CDX!) But, on rare occasion, BA imports over the toys exactly as they were from Japan, such as last year’s Deluxe Solar Streak Megazord and Deluxe Steedergon Fury Megazord.
(For those of us who import Super Sentai originals, this is very frustrating to find that we could get the originals for cheaper in the US than shipping them overseas. The problem is, by the time we find out what the modifications to the “PR” versions will be, the original Japanese lines have ended production and are shifting over to the new series in the next year!)
But this--!? (I have a separate set of comments and views on the DaiBouken, so be sure to read my review of it.)
When images appeared online for the first time around November ’06 of the new Deluxe DriveMax Megazord, just about every single fan site, discussion board, and blog online dedicated to “Power Rangers” rose in one voice, and directed absolute outrage at Bandai America. And that’s not even including all of the Super Sentai sites out there! Also, fan sites are not the only ones complaining... Good shares of parents across America are also questioning the design as well. In the process of preparing for and writing this review, I handed the Megazord off to three kids ages 4-7 [which is the target audience of “Power Rangers”] and three adults. And I did it without showing them the DaiBouken or telling them that there was an original version first. While the Megazord took a good beating from the youngest (no noticeable damage was inflicted), all the other noted that it was “okay” or implied that something was lacking from previous years. Comments were passed around that it was bigger, made of a softer material, and was less likely to break or be choked on.
(By the way, appearance- and function-wise, the yellow & silver Dozer Driver Zord perhaps best matches its original Japanese counterpart, the smallish Gougou Vehicle #4- Gougou Dozer from the DX DaiBouken.)
Without putting them side-by-side, and being a [former] long-time fan of “PR” fan myself, I am shocked, confused, and angered. The parts have too-rounded edges, joints are either too hard or too easy to turn, the transformation is a little on the simplistic side, things are difficult to attach or fall-off easily, and there is a lot of paint missing. ...and most of this is based just on watching the footage from “Boukenger” and promotional commercials for “PR Operation Overdrive”!
To me, the Deluxe DriveMax Megazord is more like a miniaturized Jumbo figure - which are designed to be simple, non-transforming display figures for the older collector. I think the Light-&-Sound is a nice idea; the large size is a nice bit of a relief from the last, oh- eight years; and for the far-younger children, those rounded edges and simplified transformations may be just what is needed. Oh, and I like that the Megazord can grasp the handle of the Power Sword completely versus the multi-functional Gougou Sword from the DaiBouken. If that’s a better option for you, go for. But if you prefer the transforming interactive abilities and better paint apps, I completely and wholeheartedly endorse going for the original DX Gougou Gattai DaiBouken (which, BTW, means “Thundering Combination Great-Adventure” in Japanese).
The one thing that I cannot answer nor comprehend is why Bandai America made this decision? Why didn't they go with the original toy, as they have done for the last 15 years? Why go through all the trouble to create brand new molds for a brand new toy when the original was just fine? Of all things, this is the overriding question I would like to have answered regarding this toy.
Ah- how far we have come in 15 years...
Be advised: There are spoilers regarding the future of the series in this next section. Consider yourself warned...!
Here’s my question: By enlarging the Deluxe DriveMax Megazord’s size, they also changed how it will work with other future Driver Zords later on in the line. I can tell you that it certainly cannot fit any of the Gougou Vehicles from the “Boukenger” series; the shoulder joints on the Megazord were made too big. So, if they don’t modify and enlarge all of the other future Deluxe Megazords, will they release them at all in the US?
|Posted 25 January, 2007 - 23:26 by EVA_Unit_4A|
Comments8 comments posted
I also had some time to handle this toy before It was sent out for review. While I agree with most of your points, I think you are coming off too strong. Is the toy as good as it's Japanese cousin? Absolutely not. Is it good compared to prevoius Bandai America Megazord releases? No. The paint is poor, the plastic is thin and the toy is very... simple. Collectors will hate this toy, and will probably stay away from it. But I think you have to understand that Collectors are not the target market for this toy. KIDS are. Will kids like it? Probably. I think the level of popularity of power rangers is waning due to the show being banished to an obscure digital cable channel might have something to do with the lukewarm reception you received.
Perhaps Bandai is aiming at a lower demographic, and thought the original was too complicated? Perhaps the original was too small to pass US safety standards (some of the small vehicles look choke worthy). We just don't know.
I'm pretty sure my 4 year old will like this toy, and he really won't care about how it compares to the japanese version, etc.. My concern as a parent is that the plastic seems cheap and brittle, and may be prone to shattering if dropped onto a hard surface.
So my opinion as someone not as invested in Power Rangers and Sentai - the DriveMax Megazord is bad for collectors, OK for kids.
"Not that bad", he says... -_-;
It sucks, plain and simple! If you like Jumbo Megazords with a little more articulation, this is for you. Got kids who still chew on things? This is for you. Otherwise, stay the hell away from it!
BA lost a long-time customer when they did this. With rare exception will I buy any "PR"-related products ever again; I can go Super Sentai all the way now because I know better.
Well, Thanks. First and foremost, I saw this thing when it was in 'preview' mode on Wal Mart's shelves and thought it looked different from the Import version. its like Cybertron Starscream only shorter and with more articulation for a scale-up mod job.
The only improvements I found were- 1) it could grip the Power Sword better, 2) the larger size, and 3) the hips and knees had a better range of poesability but the joints weren't as tight scaled-up as they were on the DX DaiBouken.
Again, I am still mystified as to why BA did this at all! Did they even try to convert the DaiBouken early on, or did they just decide to do something completely different for the 15th-year anniversary series?
I recall in an e-mail I got from JoshB shortly after ToyFair '06 that BA had hired someone new to lead their "PR" toy department, and they were planning some cool new stuff for '07. From what I've seen, it's just the same old figures, weapons, vehicles, playsets, and repaints which never actually appear or are mentioned in the show(s). (Should I even mention that only about 1/12th of the original "Boukenger" toys- specifically the Bouken Cell Phone Accellular- have come over so far, and have already been rebuilt...?) I mean, I talk to kids in the aisles at TRU, Target, KayBee, etc., and they also say that they don't like all that stuff either and are getting tired of it. I betcha that if BA focused more on the mecha, weapons, morphers, and used the originals of all, they might get better appreciation from [former] fans like myself? I am not saying that this should be a collector's only series (though it would be nice if they at least acknowledged the older fans & collectors!), but I think they need to pay better attention to the kids out there today. Just because a motorcycle sells well one year doesn't mean that you can just repaint it for the next, add a different figure to it, and people will be satisfied.
I have an idea or two that I would like to share with Bandai America (though I won't do it here) for a couple of toys just for the "PROO" series, and I hope that they really listen to the other long-time fans. They, too, are a huge contributing factor. Super Sentai continues to be popular on a generational level, and "PR" could be the same if they worked at it. There are people over there who have kids of their own who still collect these toys because they satisfy both demographs! Would it have even celebrated its 30th Anniversary last year if it hadn't done that???
(I got a couple ideas for the show itself, too, if I could share them!)
I own a Daibouken too, and first I thought I would wait for the PR version for those other Gougou vehicles (drill, shovel, etc.) Now I think I have to find them here in Asia since those PR toys wouldn't fit my Daibouken. Thank you for your review..
Thanks for the review. I only wish I had read it before buying one off ebay. I never thought I’d need to check the reviews before buying a megazord. If you are looking to add a megazord to your collection this is not it! Honestly, I don’t get it. I bought this off ebay because I could only find the triple transforming megazord at my local target/wal-mart. I figured the TTM was the entry level megazord knock-off this year because you could clearly see that it was cheap and not well made through the box. I was beside myself when I saw that drivemax was of the same quality. My 4 year old son has difficulty putting together some megazords due to complexity but he is struggling with drivemax due to cheap design, poor fit and sloppy tolerance. I got hooked on Bandai’s innovative design, attention to detail and superior craftsmanship. My collection includes the main megazord from every PR season and I have started building the complete line (command centers, secondary megazords, etc.) and while I can’t say that I’ll stop with previous seasons I guess I need to go to Sentai from here on out. Bandai should be ashamed.
I assume this is some MBA decision maker who doesn’t understand their customers (young and old). I say this because I have an MBA and I know how easy it is to loose sight of what is important in your product when you start chasing the finances. I also have advanced engineering degrees and I can say that I used to be genuinely impressed by the dedication to the megazord products (even Bandai USA’s redesigns for the most part). Note to product managers: Don’t abandon your high end products, people will pay for the quality!
Does anyone know if there are Sentai episodes dubbed in English?
CollectionDX Staff Writer-West Coast Bureau
Yes- this is the 'legendary' DriveMax Megazord review we were talkin' about.