Saturday 13 August 2011

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Retrofire Zeo Megazord

Along with the new Power Rangers Samurai toyline came a return of another old Power Rangers favourite - the retrofire line. First appearing in 2009 under the 'Super Legends' banner, the retrofires are smaller, stylized and articulated zords from previous PR series'. Originally returning with the SPD Delta Squad Megazord and Jungle Fury Jungle Pride Megazord, the second batch in the Samurai line includes both a reissue (the Mystic Force Titan Megazord) and a brand new (well, it was originally slated for release before the line's earlier cancellation) figure - the Zeo Megazord from 1996's Power Rangers Zeo. News of this release was extremely exciting to me, as Power Rangers Zeo is my all time favourite Power Rangers series, and the Zeo Megazord is among my favourite Megazord designs.

While all of the Retrofire figures thus far have received some sort of anime=esque stylization I think perhaps its most apparent with the Zeo Megazord, and it is also the figure than has benefited the most from it. The most obvious new feature would be Phoenix/Zeo Zord 5, which now has its wings outstretched at the back of the robot rather than folded in. I really like this new feature, as I always felt Zeo Zord 5 was somewhat hidden from the overall design of the robot from the front, and this new feature makes it stand out more and helps the robot look much more impressive. But for those preferring a more traditional look, the Phoenix wings are also removable from the figure. Other stylization includes a lot more curvature on the flat, boxy surfaces (such as the shoulder pads) and a slight redesign of Zeo Zords 1 and 2 to make them look more like articulated legs and not single blocky pieces.

Articulation on the whole is decent - the figure has a waist swivel, along with a moveable head, arms and hands. The legs are moveable at the hips, knees and feet. A nice little touch is the shoulder pads, which can rotate around the arm, so that they can remain in the right position whatever pose the arms are placed in. The only accessory included with the figure is the Zeo Megazord Saber, which can be held in either hand.

However, what really let's this figure down is the same thing that lets down almost every other retrofire figure - bizarre/disappointing articulation. Thankfully the Zeo Megazord doesn't suffer from having unsymmetrical articulation like previous figures in the line have, but it does have one other obvious flaw - a lack of elbow joints. What makes this even more glaring is that looking at the figure I can't see any reason why it would have been difficult to put some sort of elbow joint on the arm design, and having the arms posed permanently in a position where the arms are bent at the elbows makes the figure look like some sort of muscle-bound body builder. The newer retrofire figures also suffer from a lack of accessories, with the rather nifty lightning bolt stand taken away for some prettier packaging.

Design-wise, I can't fault this figure - it has really benefited from the redesign and it arguably the best the Zeo Megazord has ever looked. But objectively, the huge flaw of a lack of elbow articulation and no stand does bring this figure down a notch overall. Bandai have already proved that they can do excellently articulated Megazords with the Jungle Pride Megazord, and although this may be an earlier design not going back and adding such an obvious piece of articulation (or even not having it in the first place) is just sheer laziness on their part. Still, an excellent figure, and more than worthy of being a part of anyone's Power Rangers collection.

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