By Nick Saunders
Being the crusty old man that I am, I would be remiss if I didn’t once in a while spend time touting the superiority of the toys I grew up with as opposed to the contemporary ones owned by my son. Today I have come to bash the Power Rangers with the assistance of my close personal friend, Voltron.
While by no means a universal truth, most things were better back in the 1980’s. Sure, this is a biased assumption at best, and grossly inaccurate at worst, but I’m running with it regardless. By the way, I am jamming to the soothing sounds of Master P and his posse of “No Limit Soldiers” as I write this, so my tastes are admittedly suspect.
So, two weeks ago I was out at Target with my son looking for a way to further spoil him and blow through some disposable income. I decided the best way to accomplish this goal would to be to buy a hollowed-out shell of a robot called a Megazord. To be specific, I bought him the Legendary Megazord from the Power Rangers Super Megaforce line.
This current MMPR (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) Megazord clearly took its stylistic cues from Johnny Depp, as it reeks of scurvy-infected, swashbuckling piracy. This is driven home by the skull and crossbones symbols on each vehicle (which besides the primary red one, all have absolutely nothing to do with sailing the Seven Seas or pirate hookers whatsoever). Each vehicle/limb is hollow with a depressingly simple transformation, but I will say they securely connect to the torso and the robot is cool looking, if a tad brickish. I tried to get some decent shots of the vehicles, but between their Steven Seagal level of suckage and lighting issues I abandoned these efforts. You ain’t missing much.
The closest thing I have to compare to this toy is my 1997 Trendmasters Voltron, which is a die-cast reproduction of the Matchbox Voltron III released in the 1980’s. For those who don’t own this toy, it is HEAVY. Also just for the record, nowadays I prefer plastic toys because companies struggle to make joints strong enough to support the added weight of die-cast components- MP-01 Masterpiece Optimus Prime, I’m looking right at you and your heavy-ass legs.
Die-cast metal versus plastic issues aside, there is a definite deterioriation of workmanship here. On Voltron, each limb transforms into an individual lion, with pop-out action features and ejecting heads for the Green and Red lions. On the Legendary Megazord, the limbs turn into non-descript vehicles that quite frankly reek of ineptitude and fail. They are also glaringly devoid of articulation when combined into the robot, whereas Voltron features fairly advanced articulation for his era.
Now, this MMPR toy was about $35, and while my Voltron was $30 back in 1997 it would probably retail for at least $100 if re-issued again today- $50 if done entirely in plastic. While I am aware of this disparity, it doesn’t change the fact that if given the chance my Voltron would gladly use his Blazing Sword to bisect this mockery of a kaiju-fighter faster than dispatching the lowliest of Robeasts. Since the Megazord doesn’t have knee joints of any sort, he wouldn’t be able to do a dang thang about it.