The Infinite Possibilities with the Power Rangers Lightning Collection

During the 25th anniversary for the Power Rangers franchise, Saban Brands shockingly sold the entire property over to Hasbro. With this change in ownership it marked the end for Bandai of America’s involvement in the series which empowered the company for almost three decades. However, even in their final years with the series, fans were displeased with Bandai of America’s management of Power Rangers products, whether the products were basic retail items or high-end collectibles. The change in ownership easily convinced fans that things would finally be different as show and for its products. Yet, fans were also somewhat skeptical due to Power Rangers’ roots in Japan as Super Sentai and the overall connection with Bandai.

 

However, among the skeptical thoughts and uneasiness with the change in ownership, there seemingly was one ray of hope. That ray of hope coming in the form of the high-quality/ basic retail collectible figures from Hasbro as seen within their ever-popular Marvel Legends and Stars Wars: The Black Series figures. Since 2013, Hasbro managed to restore faith in Marvel fans with their revival of the Marvel Legends line which quickly soared to new heights thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, with the Star Wars: The Black Series figures releasing at the same time, it allowed the company to experiment on more real-life characters on a regular basis since the MCU just began to enter Phase 2. So, with these two collectors’ lines running wild at retail with a tongue-and-cheek development system, Power Rangers fans knew they could not be let down. Thankfully this was due to how Bandai of America entirely destroyed their own credibility making collectible figures for Power Rangers within six waves!

 

First off, the characters were out of scale with their competing lines such as DC Multiverse, Masters of the Universe, Marvel Legends and Star Wars. Secondly, the figures featured what fans refer to as “Liefeldian bodies,” an overly cartoony muscular superhero-like figure named after artist Rob Liefeld; ironically enough Liefeld did work on the vintage Power Rangers Zeo comic. In addition, the figures featured cheap engineering that imitated Bandai Japan’s S.H.Figuarts line and the Mattel collectors’ figures. Furthermore, their accessory counts were diminished to incorporate terribly designed Megazord Build-A-Figures. The final nails to this coffin came in the method of release, which were in waves of 5’s and 3’s, as well as final products not matching their original prototypes. For fans who maybe unaware of the final product debacles, the example we are referring to is “Goldgate!” This was when the Zeo Gold Ranger featured basic butterscotch/ marigold plastic whereas, BOA’s Dragon Ball Stars Golden Frieza figure featured wonderful metallic paint. Also, Bandai’s methods on convention exclusives left fans as if they were beating a dead horse. Nevertheless, Bandai of America set one of the lowest bars in toy manufacturing history.

 

Now, Hasbro sat out on New York Toy Fair 2018 specifically for Power Rangers, as they just began officially working on the property. However, they did tease fans could expect something at Power Morphicon 6 (PMC 2018). Originally, going into the conventions fans like ourselves thought there might be a huge Toy Fair-like display, but instead Hasbro played it safe and stuck to their guns. Thus, they revealed the Power Rangers Lightning Collection 6’ figure series using the first figure in the line, the Mighty Morphin White Ranger/ Tommy Oliver! At first, fans slightly groaned at the name of the figure series, and at the first character to be used since Bandai oversaturated the market with Tommy merchandise. Yet, following the announcement and being able to see the actual development video as well as the figure in person, fans were blown away by the breathtaking attention to detail.

 

In following months, rumors and leaks began to spread about other figures join the White Ranger in Wave 1, as well as the future waves. However, fans would not obtain valid proof on the contents of Wave 1 until this year’s New York Toy Fair, which featured Lord Zedd, S.P.D. Shadow Ranger and the Dino Charge Red Ranger. Other figures teased at the event were Wave 2’s the Beast Morpher Red Ranger and the Gamestop exclusive Goldar figure. Currently, we also have been updated on the San Diego Comic Con exclusive Jason Lee Scott (MMPR Red & Zeo Gold) 2-Pack, and Walgreens exclusive MMPR Dragon Armored Black Ranger. This puts the Power Rangers Lightning Collection series at a total of nine figures within 2019, before confirmation on the contents of Wave 2!

 

With how the first wave turned out, fans can expect figures to consist of 26+ points of articulation, at least two accessories minimum, optional hands, a ‘helmetless head’ (if a Ranger), and an effect piece. Now, that will obviously vary from Ranger-to-Ranger or Ranger-to-Villain, as well as store exclusives vs. convention exclusives; that also does not include possible multi-packs/ gift sets. Yet, thankfully the basic bulk of the figures released at retail or as store exclusives will all be $19.99, matching Hasbro’s other figure lines and their competitors. However, with the various methods in how figures can be released, Hasbro will most definitely produce a majority of the characters seen within the television series, comics and other media. Ultimately that is where Hero Club comes in, as we want to discuss the endless possibilities that are in store for us, the fans, in regards to the Power Rangers Lightning Collection!

 

Waves & Assortments

Currently, Hasbro is approaching the Lightning Collection similar to the Star Wars: The Black Series, where each wave will consist mostly of four figures. Once the line is more financially stable, Hasbro will then begin to move away from producing four figures to either six or eight characters per wave. Consistency of the hero to villain ratio per wave will vary too, since Wave 1 featured a 3-to-1 ratio with heroes having the majority. Whereas, the rumored Wave 2 will consist of all heroes: Beast Morphers Red, Beast Morphers Gold, MMPR Pink and the Magna Defender. Another thing to be aware of is the ratio of characters per season within a wave, such as Wave 1 having both, MMPR White and Lord Zedd. Also, since Lord Zedd is the first villain released with Goldar following suit in Fall, fans should expect main villains, their generals, and maybe their foot soldiers to take priority over the ‘Monsters of the Week.’ Yet, that does not mean that M.o.t.W. will not ever be apart the line since some monsters, especially the MMPR ones, have had multiple appearances. However, we will address the M.o.t.W. further, as well as the ever popular Megazords later on.

 

When it comes to the individual wave assortments, the 3-to-1 hero to villain ratio is not a bad choice as it pertains to four characters. In addition, having two figures be from the same series is not a terrible pairing option either for possibly the first three to seven waves using this format. Around Wave 5 to 10, we should expect Hasbro to start playing around the number of figures, and hopefully they keep them in even amounts; waves consisting of five or seven figures often can be hassle once assortment/ packaging ratios come into effect. Eventually when we do get a wave of six, fans could possibly see it consist of three heroes, two main villains, and a foot soldier such a Putty. Personally, that example is a fine breakdown for waves, since some Power Rangers seasons have multiple foot soldiers or they have variations; for example, Mighty Morphin has four types of Putty Patrollers (Basic, Stone, Super & Z) whereas, S.P.D. has various types of Krybots. So, if The Black Series can feature multiple Stormtroopers throughout various waves, then the Lightning Collection can release every type of Putty possible.

 

Also, once we begin to see waves consisting of five to eight figures, it might be harder to juggle the same series pairings. Around that point they might want to possibly try making waves around a theme Ranger fans would understand. Maybe there could be a wave that is patterned on blacks and greens, as well as characters tie-ed to one another; for example, it could consist of Dino Thunder Black, Zeo Ranger IV, In Space Black, Zeltrax and a black Quantron. Now, that example just does not tie to black and green, but it also connects Tommy to Adam and Adam to Carlos. Another example, and forgive us, could be a wave of blue like MMPR Blue, Blue Senturion, Mystic Force Blue, Kamdor, Wrench and a Spikeball. However, we doubt Hasbro would be that creative and/ or possibly cheesy. Yet, we should not entirely rule out weird ideas like these either. Overall, waves can be assembled any way Hasbro chooses, but the idea of creating themes could make a season and/ or a character not over shadow the rest of the Lightning Collection.

 

The Three M’s: Megazords, Monsters & Multipacks

Earlier we mentioned how the Lightning Collection will most likely include Monsters of the Week, but we also mentioned that they probably are not a priority currently. However, we do not see why they cannot made in general, since we stated there are various monsters who have been revived. Now, the revived monsters mostly span the entirety of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, without including suit reuse in other seasons, but other installments do reuse that concept! The real problem is just sorting out which monsters could probably sell outside of the nostalgia driven MMPR, or the entirety of the Zordon Era. The best option for Hasbro’s creative team would be to consider the number of appearances for each monster within their own season, since those are the easiest to remember. The next option would be to do multiple-choice polls consisting of the all the monsters per their individual season, rather than season versus season. Having seasons face-off with one another would have the possibility of MMPR overshadowing everything, similar to some of Hasbro’s Star Wars polls. Finally, the third option for the possible inclusion of some M.o.t.W. could be random multi-packs, which we will address in this segment and in a future one.

 

Moving past the monsters, we need to discuss having articulated in-scale Megazord figures! The Legacy Collection’s biggest flaw when it pertains to their Megazord figures was they featured weirdly outlandish designs, and were sold as Build-A-Figures. Also, limbs were sold with the corresponding team, and with the “scrambled wave” method it took awhile for fans to assemble the parts. So, if Megazords are to be included they need to be sold as a single figure not broken down into a Build-A-Figure format. They would need to be in scale with the rest of the figures, meaning the Megazords would need to match the onscreen suits. This could lead to some Megazords being shorter than the actual Rangers, or taller than Rangers and Monsters. In addition, if Megazords are sold as actual figures fans can possibly be able to get modern day Battleborgs, and non-gimmick/ playset 6 to 8-inch Megazords. Nevertheless, the idea is simple, to merely have various Zords, and Megazords in a figure-line to have facing off with monsters, especially since deluxe Megazords always tower over the regular figures.

 

Now, a good way to start sneaking in the Monsters of the Week, or Megazord figures would be including them in the multi-packs/ gift sets. These package arrangements usually span between being retail or store exclusives, but normally the latter of the two. Also, these multi-packs could be sold as convention exclusives, but we will get to those later. Anyways, these multi-packs could consist of entire teams, pairings, and iconic battle packs. There could be multi-packs like Sibling Packs (The Thunder Rangers, The Mystic Force Girls), Iconic Battles (Magna Defender vs. Treacheron), Villainous Relationships (Gasket & Archerina, Sledge & Poisandra), and 3-Packs (Dino Thunder Super Dino Mode Red, Blue, Yellow).

 

Yet, the highest amount a multi-pack should ever feature is either between four to five figures, but six is still feasible for rare occasions. However, since not all iconic battles within the franchise span between Rangers versus an Evil Ranger(s), or Rangers versus main villains we could potentially get M.o.t.W. and Megazords thrown in. We could end up getting Megazord packs like Turbo: Clash of the Megazords (Turbo Megazord, Rescue Megazord & Crosspatch), or Lightspeed Rescue: Rising from Ashes (Resurrected Magmavore & Trifire with SuperTrain Megazord). Necessarily, the idea is for Hasbro to hopefully find a way to include M.o.t.W. and Megazords without the scale being a problem.

 

Special Editions: Vehicles, Dioramas, Too Much to Handle

With both the Marvel Legends and the Black Series there are alternative methods to release figures other than single packed, or as multi-packs. Other options to sell figures range from requiring a higher price due to its size and its accessory count, or for the fact it is packaged with something else. Now, whether it is packaged with a diorama or vehicle these types of releases are not uncommon these days for Hasbro. However, where these releases are sold depends on whether it bounces between being a retail release, store exclusive, or online hobby item sold at places like both, BigBadToyStore and EntertainmentEarth. Yet, with the Lightning Collection, the series mostly will require to branch off into these sub-releases since there are characters or power-ups that may not be able to be sold at base retail. In addition, there are some characters and power-ups that work tandem with necessary vehicles. Furthermore, there are interesting locations and props fans would love to have their specific figures displayed with. Anyways, we are going to run down some options as to how these releases can function.

 

To start, let us look at the Marvel Legends Archangel release, it is a specialized item that retails for $29.99 rather than $19.99. The figure comes with the base X-Men character with his wide-spanning wings, as well as alternative heads and optional pieces for the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse. This style of release is rare and very new to Hasbro, but shows definite promise especially in regards to Power Rangers since the Rangers have power-ups, and villains either big figures, or get power-ups too. Now, the Mega Battles for the Lightspeed Blue Ranger, Lightspeed Green Ranger, and Time Force Quantum Ranger easily fit in at the $29.99 price due to the weapons and armor; these could even be removable parts to imitate the original action figures. Whereas, the Battlizers would all most likely appear in this category too, with the Lightspeed Rescue Trans Armor Cycle being the only exception.

 

Besides the Battlizers/ Mega Battles other forms like the Lost Galaxy Lights of Orion Ranger figures could possibly sneak into this category; these releases could include possible weapons omitted from the basic versions such as the Quasar Launchers. Also, other things the $29.99 price point could be used for is to sneak in Power Cannons into the line when omitted from either multi-packs, and exclusive releases. However, as for a few examples of villains that may require the $29.99 price point, we could see a Maligore/ Dark Specter figure, Titanisaur, Diabolico, Olympius, and Mesogog’s final form. Furthermore, various Megazords could be a part of this line too, depending on their overall heights and configurations, such as the variations of the Shadow Force Megazord or the Samurai Claw Armor Megazord.

 

Following up with higher price points, let us discuss introducing vehicles into the Lightning Collection. Earlier we mentioned how the Lightspeed Rescue Trans Armor Cycle would not fit in the $29.99 range, but here is its only option. The motorcycle would be obviously be paired with Carter Grayson/ Lightspeed Rescue Red Ranger, as well as can be dissembled to recreate his Battlizer. Continuing with motorcycles though, Hasbro could easily release series in waves of two like the Wild Force Savage Cycles, or the Ninja Storm Tsunami Cycles due to the seasons using similar bikes. Other motorcycles fans would surely want would either be the original three seen in MMPR season 1 or the Shark Cycles in season 3, but those can obviously wait.

 

Yet, interesting vehicle choices for Hasbro to release would be either the Galaxy Gliders, or Jet Jammers. With the Galaxy Gliders being surfboards, Hasbro could sell them with limited LED functions, and release them with In Space figures with light-up heads to match. Whereas, the Lost Galaxy Jet Jammers (little go-cart-like aircraft) could include lights-&-sounds due the large rear-ends of the vehicles. In addition, dynamic vehicle designs like Turbo’s Lightning Cruiser and Storm Blaster can possibly be produced, but they will require a high fan-demand. However, Zhane’s Galactic Rover/ Vypra’s Vyprari while being dynamic designs, based on dune buggies, they do not seem as complex as normal street legal vehicles, so they could be produced sooner. Furthermore, for those hoping for a Radbug and/ or Rescue Rover release, those vehicles do not seem necessary to the Lightning Collection unless Hasbro begins to make un-morphed Ranger figures.

 

Now, one final interesting vehicle release would be to have a Lightning Collection 6-inch Carrierzord/ Ultrazords. For example, Hasbro could release a Mega Dragonzord with Titanus Ultrazord set, which could triple over to be used with either the Ninja MegaFalconzord or Shogun MegaFalconzord figures. However, Hasbro could just sell the Falconzord combinations with Titanus re-issues at later dates as a part of their cycling sales method. Another Carrierzord/ Ultrazord release could be two individual vehicle-like releases through the Red Dragon Thunderzord with Thunder Assault Team, and Tigerzord with Tor which combine to make the Season 2 Ultrazord. Whereas, later series releases could be based on the Ninja Storm Mighty Mammothzord, Jungle Fury Rhino Steel Zord, and the entire Samurai Gigazord!

Moving aside from special released figures and vehicles, another thing the Lightning Collection can incorporate is the use of the diorama format seen in the Star Wars: The Black Series. Incorporating this format of figure releases could give fans the ability to recreate some locations, as well as get characters that normally may not be seen at regular retail. Starting off simple could be the Lord Zedd and Throne set, where the Lord Zedd packaged in would come with a snake accessory/ effect for his staff, an alternative staff due to the prop changing constantly, and an optical effect for when viewing Earth. Zedd’s throne itself could also have a turntable system that fans manually spin it around. Another set or waves of dioramas could be assembling the original Command Center, with one set including Zordon and Alpha-5; among these releases there could be a variant of the Green Ranger with destroyed consoles.

 

Other ideas that our staff came up with was a Goldar & Dark Dimension set which focus solely on his Season 1/ Zyuranger suit design as the included figure, as well as various Megazord/ individual zord cockpits. However, two sets that stood out as being very unique and not MMPR related were an In Space Dark Fortress set (featuring Astronema, Ecliptor, Elgar & dying Zordon), and a Lost Galaxy Scorpion Stinger Bridge set (featuring Scorpius, Furio & the Cocoon). Focusing on the latter of the two, Soundout12 (Michael Lederhos) came up with the Scorpion Stinger Bridge concept, as Scorpius alone does not entirely warrant a $19.99 figure release. The base Scorpius would mostly be a regular plastic disc consisting of his head/ body with soft pvc plastic tentacles, that lays onto his stand. Yet, throwing in a Furio figure, based on Megaranger’s Dr. Hinelar, the Cocoon, and a backdrop of the bridge it would warrant a reason for fans to purchase the character. Essentially, the diorama releases would be the necessary excuse to release smaller main and supporting characters, while either mixing in new regular sized figures or reissues.

 

Convention, Store & Online Exclusives

With only being into the series’ first year, three exclusives have been announced that total to up four brand new figures. To remind our readers, the first one is the GameStop Goldar, second exclusive is the SDCC 2-Pack, and the final one being the Walgreens’ Dragon Armored Black Ranger. Yet, more exclusives are surely bound to be either announced at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con, as well as the following New York Comic Con. Now, in general exclusives no matter the release spans the course of being single figures, gift sets, centerpieces, and figures paired with vehicles; they are like a multiple-choice question where the answer is ‘D. All the Above.’ That means even some of the examples we discussed earlier could be seen under this option too. Nevertheless, in section we would like to give some suggestions as how these types of exclusives can work, and what/ who should be featured as these exclusive items.

First, let us look at the convention exclusives, the more limited variant in collecting. Thankfully, Hasbro’s idea of convention releases these days are usually no longer limited to a convention. In addition, items are either being sold at the event as early access with possibly a premium paint scheme or special accessory; sometimes these items are also future releases with undetermined release dates. Furthermore, Hasbro’s convention exclusives rarely are basic single figures, and normally are the bulkier priced options. Also, Hasbro gives non-attending fans the chance to purchase their exclusive items on their official online store, Hasbro Pulse at later dates. Currently, Hasbro’s convention exclusives are sold mostly at San Diego Comic Con, but fans should assume Power Morphicon will obtain an exclusive sale agreement too. Whereas, New York Comic Con they do not have exclusives, but may consider Hasbro Pulse event exclusives; this is when fans attend an event, they get early access to the item on the website before the public.

 

Now, our ideal Lightning Collection convention exclusives would be for SDCC to continue the “Legacy/ Evolution” format, at least for the next few years. These packs like the Jason 2-pack would be related to actors/ Rangers who had more than one role. That means we could see Tommy pack(s), an Adam pack, a Kat pack, a T.J. pack, an Astronema/ Karone pack, and a Rick Medina Jr. set (Wild Force Red & Deker). Another option could also be packs based on villains and their various forms such as Ecliptor, Darkonda (also including Mutantrus), Venjix, and Vrak. Whereas, the Hasbro Pulse exclusives or Power Morphicon releases could focus on producing figures based off the Boom! Studios comic characters and Hyperforce RPG characters. Yet, not all Boom! Studios comic characters should be considered niche within the overall fandom, as Drakkon and Ranger Slayer could manage to eventually receive retail releases too.

 

Moving onto online retail exclusives such as Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Entertainment Earth and additional Hasbro Pulse releases these most likely will be multi-packs or the $29.99 figures. Currently, Amazon receives several multi-packs a year from Hasbro in regards to their other collectors’ lines. Amazon will most definitely profit from specialized theme packs based off iconic battles from the series such as an Eclipsing the Megazord set featuring Goldar, Scorpina (Monster Form), the Megazord and Green Ranger. In addition, this could be how Hasbro begins to sneak in non-morphed or regular human figures like a Worlds Apart set featuring battled damage Time Force Red, Eric (Silver Guardian), and Mr. Collins. Whereas, either BBTS or EE could see random sets in general. Then as for other Hasbro Pulse exclusives, they could be vehicles that would not sell at normal retail, specialized re-issues and the movie designs (MMPR ‘95 & Power Rangers 2017).

 

Then as for the basic store exclusives, they are split among stores like Walmart, Target, Gamestop and Walgreens. Thankfully, store exclusives are not too hard to get unless one does not have that particular store in their area, or the chain itself, like Walmart, screws up their own distribution. Now, even though Gamestop currently has Goldar as their first exclusive, it would be cool if their feature releases could incorporate the Battle for the Grid skin variants, or other video game characters. Whereas, Walgreens’ first exclusive sets a possible standard for both, Walmart and Target, as they have the Dragon Armor Black Ranger. For the main retailers, they could feature random power-ups that other Rangers have received throughout the years; we could see these store exclusives helping to release figures like the Operation Overdrive team with the Defender Vest/ Drill Blaster, or Rangers who have used the Samurai Shark Attack Mode. Other power-ups and characters should be considered too, especially when Walmart and Target can also acquire rights to sell multi-packs. Overall retailer exclusives can either become a hit-or-miss depending on the character or the form, and ultimately how it sold.

 

Conclusion

The Power Rangers Lightning Collection is still in its infancy, but the line has an endless amount of potential to succeed. For fans, this line cannot possibly fail due to the extent of the franchise’s library of characters, which even now continues to grow. The only way the Lightning Collection could fail is through horrible decisions from Hasbro executives, or the inability to listen the series’ fans. We, the fans, are already committed to this line, even if we have conflicting thoughts with one another regarding what series, era or Ranger is the best. However, what normally always unites us to the core is the overall love for the toy-line. The Lightning Collection, itself is a collectors’ line for fans of all ages, and may ultimately bring fans closer together. Presuming that we as a whole will be able to look past Mighty Morphin nostalgia, and accept even those who purchase the figures in regards to their love of Super Sentai.

 

Hopefully, with our expose on how Hasbro may eventually expand the Lightning Collection, fans can look to future with ease. The methods and examples we used are merely examples, and should not be taken as actual upcoming products. Yet, our examples could be ideas Hasbro is currently working on, or they are the fan involvement/ suggestions that they could be looking for. Our main intent is to bring fans who maybe unaware of Hasbro’s work practices up-to-speed, and clue in those who are already acquainted with their products. Also, we looking to open a discussion with the fandom at large whether it is with us, Hero Club, directly or among ourselves. We want fans to spread awareness on the Lightning Collection, discuss its potential and not be afraid to give out suggestions on what we would want to see personally, or in general.

 

Nevertheless, with San Diego Comic Con drawing near, new reveals for the Lightning Collection are inbound. Most likely all the new reveals will consist of the next wave or two, as well as some store exclusives. Let us all be happy with what we eventually get, and know this is still only the beginning…

 

Anyways, thank you to all those who read this article, and hopefully share it to other Power Rangers fans. In addition, for fans of Power Rangers and the Lightning Collection, give us your opinions on the line and please do not be afraid to tell us your suggestions for future releases. Fans can either leave their comments on the site, or reach out to Hero-Club.com on social media through Facebook and/ or Twitter! Furthermore, for anyone interested in seeing majority the examples we brainstormed, simply check out the image gallery below of the list.

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Credit for additional examples & ideas not my own: Michael Lederhos (Soundout12), Hanu Pak (Darkon633), Richard Monty (Projektrdm), & Zeltraxmillennium

Credit for research & editing: Anthony Michel (Visibleninja), Brian Benjamin (Benodinson f.k.a. XBen3000)

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