Another day, another Mighty Morphin’ merchandise push. Power Rangers will likely never escape the shadow of its very first iteration, especially when it comes to toys, but Hasbro’s latest attempts to offer fans something it’s been trying to do for a while: a classic Megazord toy that’s worthy of being the heart of a Rangers fan’s collection.
The “Zord Ascension Project” Dino Megazord is the first in a new line of Hasbro attempting a more premium riff on its Power Rangers mecha toys. There’s been plenty of attempts to bring a more modern take on the original Megazord to big-form toys in recent years, from Hasbro’s more budget combiner, to the nostalgia-laden Legacy Megazord a few years ago—recreating the iconic original toy, right down to the packaging—or even Flame Toys’ upcoming more stylized take on the giant robot. But the ZAP Dino Megazord wants to strike a balance between something that feels more substantial and modern than the typical Zord figures have been (largely restricted by needing to essentially be five separate, articulated robot figures as well as just the whole combined Zord), while not as wallet-destroying as some premium takes.
At $165, it’s still pretty pricey, but what you get sits mostly in that “just right” window of feeling worth it. Measuring in at just under 12" tall when fully combined, the ZAP Megazord is big, and from the packaging to the ability to flip open ports on each individual Zord to reveal a little cockpit with each Ranger molded inside (alas, unpainted—which, like the also-included incredibly tiny to-scale figurines of the team, feels a little weird for a “premium” toy), everything is covered in detailing to make the mecha look like its classic, brightly colored self from afar, but more modernized and sleek the closer you get to it.
Unlike a lot of older Megazords—especially ones that can break down into the individual mechs—the ZAP Megazord’s sleekness comes through in the surprising amount of articulation it has in its combined form. You’re not going to get crazy poses out of it like a dedicated figure of the Megazord could, given the nature of its component parts limiting how much you can do, but there’s enough articulation points that aren’t so apparent when you look at the individual Zords that you can get some fun action poses that emphasize the giant robot as a weighty (it’s all plastic, so it’s not too cumbersome) beast, rather than being particularly light-on-its-prehistoric-animal-robot-feet.
All that said, not everything is perfect about the toy. The ability to combine the Zords is a pretty cumbersome task, even with included instructions in the vein of Hasbro’s own Transformers guides. The sheer size of the Megazord, combined with some very stiff articulation points out of the box, leave you more often than not wondering if you might break something as you put it together—a problem you don’t want for something that costs $165 (even then, I’ve had a few issues of parts popping off if you look at them the wrong way, especially Kimberly’s Pterodactyl Zord on the chest). And even then, some of those articulation points don’t quite hold up under the bulk of the Zords, leading to some precarious moments—especially in the optional Tank form you can combine the Zords in, which sucks as much as it did in the show itself and as much as it has in past takes on Megazord toys.
There’s also the weird halfway point between offering something that feels premium while also not quite premium enough. There’s plenty of detailing and paintwork on the finished product—including an especially nice chrome plating on the Megazord’s included sword—but there’s also a lot of closer detailing left unwashed. The lack of any metallic parts or more chromed plating like the sword keeps the Dino Megazord’s classic color scheme intact, but it similarly also looks cheaper when the Zord is mostly just flat plastic. Perhaps appropriate for something that was just a man in a suit in the show, but for something marketed as a high-end “Ascension” on past Megazord toys, it doesn’t quite feel like it’s worth the asking price on the surface.
But if you’re undecided, Rangers fans, click through to see more pictures of the Zord Ascension Project Dino Megazord in action—it’s set to be available next month, and is up for pre-order from Hasbro now.
A copy of the Zord Ascension Project Dino Megazord was provided to io9 for review.