Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja White Ranger

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Release Date: January 2022
RRP: $26.99/£32.99

Even though the core Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team have been released about three times over by now, Hasbro certainly aren't going to be done with them any time soon. When their original Power Coins were damaged in battle against Rito Revolto, the rangers sought out new coins from the mysterious Ninjor – gaining new ninja powers in the process! Now the rangers' ninja forms – used in their countless battles against the Tenga Warriors, have arrived as part of the Lightning Collection. With the power of the falcon, the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja White Ranger is ready to lead the team in a brand-new chapter in the fight against Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa.

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While the Ninja Rangers seem to be part of their own "wave" of sorts like the Metallic Armour figures, the packaging uses the main waves' white background as opposed to the coloured boxes we've previously seen on various store exclusives. The general layout of the box remains the same across the board though, with some nice artwork of Tommy in his full ninja outfit on the front alongside the window giving a look at the figure inside. This artwork is extended onto one side of the box alongside the Mighty Morphin series logo, and then repeated on the other. On the back is the usual CGI render of the figure showing off its posing capabilities and accessories, and then inside everything is neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray.

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The Ninja Rangers bodies are a brand new sculpt that act as a middle stage between civilian and ranger forms, giving the rangers a full-body cloth uniform in their designated colours. As such Tommy's is naturally nearly all white – decorated with gold piping around certain areas as well as a black belt and gold/black jewels. It's an effective and visually striking design, but it's simplicity could easily lead you to believe that it'd be hard for Hasbro to go wrong with it. Unfortunately that's not the case, as the Ninja Rangers sadly fell victim to easily the worst QC the line has ever had – boxes have been seen with repeated and missing parts as well as even broken limbs. Thankfully my copy wasn't anything that bad, but there's still a surprising amount of patchy paintwork (especially the gold) given how little paint it actually has on it. The falcon emblem on the chest looks great, but coloured in a dull gold with a black background rather than the shiny gold raised design it has on both the show and in the movie. Those quibbles aside though Hasbro have done a good job capturing the look of these rather unique Power Rangers suits – adding plenty of moulding to replicate billowing fabric as well as a soft plastic vest piece around the torso.

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Jumping forward to some of the accessories for a moment, one of the coolest things about the Ninja Ranger releases is the fact that each of them come with two additional heads. On top of the standard completely covered head, there is also a partially masked head sculpt and the usual full civilian one. An alternate neck covering is also included for use with said heads. While on the show the partially masked look is simply used as a mid-transformation step, it's incredibly significant that it's been included here because that's also how the Ninja Rangers appear in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. As such the Ninja Ranger figures perfectly double as both series and movie releases, joining the Tenga Warrior as (unofficially) some of the first movie figures in the Lightning Collection. While the likeness on the unmasked head isn't the best Tommy Oliver they've done, the likeness is passable and certainly good enough on the partially masked head.

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It's a brand-new body but overall the articulation hasn't changed that much, with the Ninja White Ranger featuring; 
- Ball jointed head, waist and hips 
- Single hinge neck and ab crunch 
- Double hinge elbows and knees 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, wrists and ankles 
- Butterfly joint shoulders 
- Bicep and thigh swivels 
The soft plastic "vest" piece over the top of the torso does result in the ab crunch being restricted but otherwise the poseability on this figure is very good – he's able to stand on one leg comfortably and pull off all sort of ninja-esque posing. Even with all the fabric folds moulded into the body the elbow and knee joints retain that great double joint bend, while the butterfly shoulders can bring the arms plenty forwards without the joint cut being too noticeable as it's hidden behind the aforementioned vest piece.

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In addition to the aforementioned alternate heads, Tommy also comes packaged with a pair of alternate striking hands and a kick effect part. The effect part is made of slightly translucent white plastic and slots onto either foot, creating a kind of "swoosh" effect. On the one hand it's always great to see new effect parts included with these figures as opposed to the same three or four used since wave one (albeit in different colours), but this one really feels like it has more limited use than the others. Getting a decent pose balancing on one leg isn't the easiest thing to achieve, while mid air kick poses also has limited success thanks to the shape of the piece. So ultimately not bad, but not the best either. The hands are pretty good though, and together with the closed fists are the ideal options for a ninja figure.

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The ninja rangers probably aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if Hasbro are going to continue a deluge of Mighty Morphin then it's much better to get more unique releases like this rather than slight variants of the suits over and over again. And if the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja White Ranger is anything to go by this'll be a set of really solid releases – a great figure that'll goes the extra mile by pleasing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie fans as well. While little gripes like the head likeness, so-so effect part and QC gripes mean it falls just short of perfect, it's a good figure that bodes well for the rest of the team.

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