Friday, 22 January 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Pumpkin Rapper

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Release Date: November 2020
RRP: $29.99/£29.99

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has a lot of memorable monsters, but of course many of them weren't actually a product of the show itself as they were originally created for Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. However when the Power Rangers proved to be a smash hit and Saban commission Toei to fill new footage for the show (which has since been dubbed "Zyu2" by fans), it presented an opportunity for the show to truly have some monsters of its very own. Undoubtedly the most famous of these is the Pumpkin Rapper, who true to his name is a rapping pumpkin monster that appeared in episode 54 of the series, Trick or Treat. Pumpkin Rapper was among the handful of monsters to return in the show as well, resurrected by Lord Zedd as part of his Halloween Haunted Forest. With this popularity in mind, it makes perfect sense that he joins King Sphinx as the first releases in Hasbro's new range of deluxe price point Lightning Collection figures.

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Like King Sphinx, Pumpkin Rapper comes in an enlarged version of standard Lightning Collection packaging - not quite the size of a two-pack release but still considerably wider than a single-boxed figure. Naturally the unique colour complimenting that white background is orange, as if there was any other colour that could have even been considered for this release. Strongstuff's artwork is fantastic as always, with these monsters really giving him the chance to branch out in to the weird and wonderful side of the Power Rangers franchise. We see the one spine simply continues the artwork from the front of the box (joined by the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers logo), whilst the other has a truncated version of the entire piece that works perfectly for a book spine-style display.. The back features a single CGI render of the figure and its accessories, and there's no obvious signs of additional paint apps on the render so that's always a plus. Most collections are wise to this by now, but there must be someone out there who's thought their figure might be defective because of it. Inside the figure and accessories are neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray.

Alternate packaging for this figure is also available as part of the Target exclusive "Spectrum Series", though the actual contents remain the same. It's also unclear (and unlikely) that this packaging is available anywhere else in the world.

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Pumpkin Rapper is a giant upside down Jack-o-Lantern sitting atop of a bed of vines, which in turn acts as a collar piece to a scarecrow-like body with vine stitching running down the centre. As previously established Hasbro have committed themselves to "premium paint and decorative details" with these deluxe Lightning Collection figures, and King Sphinx certainly didn't measure up to that promise. Pumpkin Rapper on the other hand is certainly a lot better, but perhaps still not quite there. There are a few areas on the figure that could have done with more paint, most notably of course the face as all the carved details should be black (or at the very least have a black wash to look more sunken in). The unpainted orange doesn't look awful though, since the sculpted is still deep enough for those details to stand out properly. Likewise the stitching could do with a black wash to make those details pop a little more. Really Hasbro brought it upon themselves making these claims before the figures were released, because if they hadn't made these promises perhaps we wouldn't be pointing them out so much. Either way, Pumpkin Rapper looks fine. The larger scale is a lot more negligible on this figure as well - he's definitely a little too tall but it doesn't feel quite as noticeable as it did with King Sphinx. The plastic colours are really vibrant so a lot of the colour comes from there, but the figure isn't completely without paint to add some depth. There's some grey shading on the grooves of the head, as well as darker greens in that vine collar. Finally the knees also have some added green to break up all that orange on the lower half of the body.

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Articulation is largely identical to that of a normal Lightning Collection figure, which just goes to show that even if Hasbro up the size you aren't losing out on any of that great poseabilty they've been packing into these figures. Altogether Pumpkin Rapper features;
- Ball jointed head, torso and hips 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, wrists and ankles 
- Butterfly joint shoulders 
- Double hinge elbows and knees 
- Single hinge ab crunch 
- Bicep, thigh and boot swivels
Getting the obvious thing out of the way first, naturally that massive head doesn't have a whole lot going for it in the way of tilt motion. You can get Pumpkin Rapper to look up and down very minimally, but the head just isn't designed for that sort of movement and sits pretty comfortably in the collar section anyway. You can of course however rotate it a full 360° though and it still look natural, which is more than you can say about most other figures. The rest of the body though is pretty much business as usual. Unlike King Sphinx, Pumpkin Rapper benefits from having a thin, humanoid shaped body so there aren't any real limitations to speak of. Maybe the shoulders can't raise quite as much as they could because of the collar, but the difference is hardly noticeable. Everything else though works wonderfully - the close bend you can get from both the elbows and knees work especially well for getting a great range of poses out of the figure. And if you think that the giant head makes the figure top-heavy and difficult to pose - those giant feet have got you covered. They're a little difficult to work with at first because of those curled toes, but mess around with the ankle rotation for a little while and it quickly makes sense.

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Pumpkin Rapper comes with quite the wealth of accessories, propping up his additional mass nicely to justify that $30 price point. Altogether he comes with two additional hands (giving him a pair of accessory holding hands, a closed left fist and open right hand in total), two vine tentacles of differing lengths, three pumpkins and a conical translucent green vine effect part. This effect part slips over the figure's forearm and then can either be used as a vine attack on its own or have one of the pumpkins fitted into the end as if it were being fired out. Again you might assume that the length of the effect part along with the additional weight of the pumpkin might make the figure difficult to balance, but once again that doesn't seem to be a problem. The vines are rubbery and are moulded with loops into them, making them perfect to be posed as lassos ensnaring the rangers. It's a really nice range of accessories that neatly covers all the most memorable things about Pumpkin Rapper, but some of the accessories also hold an extra surprise as well.

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The pumpkins are perhaps the coolest pieces in the whole set, as they're for more than just decoration. With a ball socket located on the underside of each one, they can be used as alternate heads for any figure in the Lightning Collection - not only allowing you to recreate Pumpkin Rapper's pumpkin-headed Putty force from the episode but also the suffocating traps he can also create. Be it the MMPR rangers or any other figure in the line, no Power Ranger is safe from Pumpkin Rapper's pumpkin weapons. Just one of these alternate head pumpkins would have been a fantastic accessory, but to have three in the same set definitely helps elevate Pumpkin Rapper to "deluxe" status. With three in hand you can have a squadron of Pumpkin Putties, trap numerous ranger or do a mix of the two. Playing around with the possibilities these heads offer is almost as exciting as the figure itself!

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If King Sphinx was Hasbro's admirable but flawed attempt at bringing monsters into the line, then Lightning Collection Pumpkin Rapper shows just how much potential this range of deluxe figures can have. As well as scaling much better with the rest of the line, Pumpkin Rapper is pretty much an all-round triumph - fantastic sculpt, brilliant accessories and even a few little surprise extras thrown in at the same time. While it still might quite live up to Hasbro's promise of "premium paint" the colours on this figure are far from disappointing, and overall the higher price point feels justified. As one of Power Rangers' most popular monsters and most notable from the Zyu2 footage, Pumpkin Rapper was a brilliant choice to kick this line off and Hasbro certainly did him justice.

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