Monday 16 September 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Goldar

Release Date: August 2019
RRP: $22.99

Whenever a new range of Power Rangers toys starts one of the biggest questions is “will there be villain figures?”. While it was clearly never much of a priority for Bandai of Japan with their Super Sentai lines, despite their flaws Bandai of America did at least try to make their waves a bit more varied with the most recent series. So far Hasbro seem to be doing a great job following suit with the Beast Morphers range, and the Lightning Collection came out swinging by including Lord Zedd in the first wave. Hasbro aren’t stopping there either, with Lightning Collection Goldar being announced and released shortly afterwards as the line’s first GameStop exclusive. No Mighty Morphin Power Rangers collection would be complete without Rita and Zedd’s loyal general, and for him to be released ahead of half the ranger team is quite the pleasant surprise.

As a store exclusive the Lightning Collection Goldar figure comes in a box in the primary colour of the character rather than the standard white, so instead it comes in a rather fetching golden yellow colour scheme. Tom Whalen (@strongstufftom) proves just as adept at monsters as he is at rangers, with his distinct profile art just as striking as ever. This art is continued across one spine (along with the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers logo, just in case you didn’t know what series Goldar was from) and repeated on the other, while the back features a nice big stock image of the figure in a suitably threatening pose. Inside the figure and accessories are stored on the usual moulded plastic tray, all except Goldar’s wings which are fixed to the lightning bolt insert tray.

Now if there’s one thing Hasbro have pulled off flawlessly with this figure it’s the sculpting. From head to toe Lightning Collection Goldar is almost completely covered in all sorts of armour detailing, with barely any surface left completely flat. Until I had this figure in hand I don’t think I appreciated just how much was going on with the Goldar costume, and for Hasbro to get it all packed in so well on a $20 figure is quite the feat. But just as impressive as the armour itself is the headsculpt, which perfectly captures Goldar’s simian/canine-like grimace. It’s also a nice touch that the wings on this figure are removable, so it can easily flip between Goldar’s season one and season two (and beyond) looks. Of course such detailing comes at a price, and some fans were both surprised and saddened to see the figure not be quite as gold as Hasbro’s original images implied. After Shadow Ranger’s additional paint apps seeing Hasbro’s CGI renders be slightly misleading isn’t all that surprising though. So the figure is primarily cast in a light unpainted sickly gold plastic, which seems pretty fair for a figure of this size and price point - a full metallic paint job was definitely out of the question. That said, a simple black wash would have done wonders to give the suit a bit more depth and bring out all that wonderful detailing even more. The shade of blue used for the head is perhaps a little lighter than it should be too, but considering how much this changed between the Japanese and American footage this seems like a non-issue.

Paint apps are a completely different story though. Admittedly Goldar doesn’t have a very many at all, and some areas (such as the dry brushing on the black areas on the wings) are well applied. But the smaller, seemingly more insignificant areas are atrociously done. The green dots spotted around the armour are blotchy and uneven, and my figure even has one completely omitted on the right-hand wing. Yes it doesn’t take very much to fix little issues like that yourself, but that isn’t the point. Missing paint apps like this give the impression that Hasbro are rushing production of these figures, and given how fast they seem to be coming out that might not be far from the truth. What’s a dot on here could be a far bigger area on another figure.

When it comes to articulation Goldar is structurally solid. Altogether the figure has features a ball jointed and and torso, swivel hinge joints in the neck, shoulders, wings (both where they attach to the body and halfway across), wrists, hips and ankles, butterfly shoulders, double hinge elbows and knees, along with a single hinge torso crunch. That’s fairly standard practice for the Lightning Collection, and the releases so far have shown just how good all that articulation can be. But with Goldar there aren’t just a lot of hindrances letting the movement down, the plastic is also an issue as well. As well as just generally looking a bit cheap compared to what the box is showing off, the gold plastic used is rather gummy - so much so that you can see the plastic bending as you move the joints in some areas. The wing joints feel nigh unusable just because there so soft and fragile. I’m not sure how much gold plastic syndrome is still an issue with Hasbro figues or even if it’s something that’ll affect Goldar over time, but seeing these tolerances dont instill me with much hope. Upper arm movement is restricted by the soft plastic shoulder pads, while lateral ankle movement similarly suffers due to the shin armour. The head has minimal side motion because of the hard plastic collar pieces either side, but can move enough give poses a little more personality. Unfortunately, doing so will sometimes result in the wings popping out of place. Goldar has the all the makings of a really good figure isn’t at all incapable of posing, but there’s just a lot of little frustrating issues here that add up.

Other than the aforementioned wings, Goldar’s accessories include four swappable hands (a pair of weapon holding hands, a closed left fist and open right hand), his signature sword and and a purple lightning effect part. The effect part is similar to one included  with both Lord Zedd and the Gold Ranger, however shaped slightly differently and longer so that it fits completely over the blade. The way it works is essentially the same though, and the translucent light purple plastic Hasbro have used has a conventionally “evil” feel to it. Buyers will be stacking up quite the array of effect parts just from the Lightning Collection alone.

The sword is cast in grey plastic and completely unpainted, other than the two red “gemstones” in the centre of the hilt. The show actual show prop has gold sections on the blade, hilt and handle, and though the colouring may be missing from the toy the sculpting itself isn’t - so if you’re a customiser, then Hasbro have made the job that little bit easier for you. Though the sword itself may be satisfactory, the wrist joints on the figure (or at least on my copy) are too weak to hold  it at a horizontal angle without first being slightly popped out of the socket and then bent at a slight angle. It’s not a huge issue overall but another knock against the lower quality plastic this figure seems to have.

Lightning Collection Goldar already has something of a reputation thanks to GameStop’s poor handling of its release, and it begs the question of why a character as important as Goldar is even an exclusive in the first place. But the figure itself has its own fair share of problems too. Hasbro have made a valiant attempt at their first “big” monster figure and it bodes well for the future, but the spotty QC really makes this figure fall short compared to most of the line’s other offerings. Maybe it’s still just early teething problems, but at the very least it’s reassuring to see Hasbro already showing some dedication to characters beyond the rangers themselves.

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