Thursday, 30 June 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: 1994 Thunder Megazord

In 1994, the second series of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was in full swing. The series was doing well and we were treated to new villains and zords, this time in the Thunder Megazord.

To start the transformation, take the Griffin and Unicorn, lift up the leg tabs. Fold the head into the body and raise the body. Take red dragon and tilt the feet downwards, turn the legs so the spins face outward. Insert the Red Dragon into the zords until you hear a click

Take the Phoenix Firebird and clip the grey tabs on the underside onto the back of Red Dragon. Fold the wings around the waist, making sure the tabs on the underside of the wings clip onto the spines on the legs. If done right, there should be no legs visible behind the leg panels and the waist piece.

Take the Lion Thunderzord and disassemble it, popping off the legs from the body. You can flip down the head to form the crotch piece. 

Flipping over the Lion's body and head, you can see 2 tabs. Flip them outwards to form the chest piece.  With the chest plate ready, it can now be snapped into place over the shoulders, There are tabs where it connects, make sure they line up. The Red Dragon is almost ready

Take the Lion paws and flip them upside down, you'll see the Hands of the Thunder Megazord inside. Flip them outwards. Slide them over the Red Dragon hands and fold them inwards to form shoulders and keep them in place.

The final pieces are the battle helmet, which slides over the Red Dragon's head. The helmet has holes in the back which line up on the Red Dragon's head, it also has clips which slot into the back of Lion Zord as well. The Thunder Saber in it's sheath clips to the Firebird's wing. 

So there you have it, the full transformation from Red Dragon and the Assault Team into the Thunder Megazord. Articulation is only really in the arms at this point and is unable to make walking motions. The sword fits in the hand and can pose with it thanks to the articulated Red Dragon arms.

Nerdversity Reviews: Polar Lights KISS Model Kit - Peter Criss

It's hard to deny what KISS did for heavy metal music over the last 50 or so years. In 1976, they released their 3rd studio album. However, reviews at the time were mixed and only recently has it achieved the critical acclaim it should. 

In 1998, Polar Lights, a company that is famous for Horror related model kits, released models based on Destroyer as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations. Peter Criss comes in the standard tall box that was used for these releases. It features a large KISS logo on the upper portion of the box. A close up of Peter dominates the majority of the box. In the left hand side is PETER CRISS and on the front is a copy of his autograph. 

The interior box is plain white cardboard. Inside the box itself is another poster of the cover art. Sales leaflets for other Polar Lights kits and most importantly the sprues for the model. They are molded in flesh coloured plastic. As this is a traditional model kit, you will need glue and plastic clippers to remove the pieces. 

The model kit goes together well and even amateur model makers probably won't even need to use the instruction sheet. Painting is largely in blacks and silvers. A thin brush and a steady hand will be required. 

Released at the same time as the 1998 release, was a series of limited edition model kits. Released in a slightly different box. The contents are the same, but the sprues are cast in black and white this time around. 

Getting more up to date now. In 2009, as part of Destroyer's 35th Anniversary release, Polar Lights remolded the model kit. It came in a collectors tin. It was also pre-painted and snap-fit.

The final model we're going to be looking at. This is an interesting and obscure series of KISS products that are also official. Polar Lights did their best to appeal to fans of the band, as well as model makers in this one. If you are interested in owning a series, then the 1998 originals will set you back around £80 for a set, whereas the 2009 ones are about £45 a set. 

Nerdversity Reviews: 1994 Thunderzord Assault Team

In 1994, Power Rangers fans tuned in to see the second season of their favourite show. In this new season, we were treated to a new villain in Lord Zedd and all new zord in the Thunderzords. It was at this time, Bandai released the second set in the line

In this case, Bandai US decided to release The Thunderzord Assault Team as a separate set, in order to keep costs down. The front of the box uses the same green background as the other Power Rangers releases. The Power Rangers logo and THUNDERZORD ASSAULT TEAM dominates the upper portion of the box. The Thunderzord assault team themselves on their carrier dominates the entire front of the box with the smaller zord pictures explaining who's they are. Now, the interesting thing to note here, is that Phoenix Firebird and the carrier are the Dairanger versions, as the tail is chrome plastic and the handle has a grey top.

The back of the box recycles the same Thunderzord assault team image from the front of the box. It also shows the different zords, how they combine into the Assault Team on the sled. Putting the mini figures in the zords. Then, if you happen to own the Red Dragon Thunderzord, then you can make the awesome Thunder Megazord.

Mine is used, so here's all the pieces in their styrofoam insert. Each zord has their own inserted place within the tray. The helmet has to be disassembled for it to fit back in it's tray

This baggie contains the sticker sheet and the 2 instruction manuals for the Thunderzord Assault Team. It contains a sticker guide for all 4 zords, as well as an instruction manual in English that explains how to combine the toys into the Assault Team on the sled as well as the Thunder Megazord itself.

This little baggie contains the Ranger mini figures and power crystals. Even though it didn't happen in the United States, this is more a reference to Dairanger, where the Dairangers would ride atop their mecha,

The battle helmet comes in 3 pieces. The black helmet. The helmet tail and the visor. The visor should have black stickers, but sadly mine is missing. I'll be getting replacement stickers for it. eventually.

The next piece is the Thunder Saber and Sheath. This clips on to the waistpiece formed by the Firebird when in Thunder Megazord form. There aren't any paint apps on the sword and it's made of a soft grey rubbery type plastic. The details on the main part of the sheath are sticker applications.

The sled itself is 2 pieces of plastic. It has slots cut out in the base for the  zords. The Red Dragon stands in the middle. The Firebird clips to the stands at the back and the sled can be pushed across a flat surface. 

The first zord up is Pink Ranger's Phoenix Firebird. While called pink, the plastic is red. The articulation is in the head and wings, The tail is removable to form the headpiece to a staff. There is a slot on the back of the zord for the pink ranger figure to sit. It is identical to the Japanese toy, just with different stickers. It forms the waist piece.

Next up is Blue Ranger's Unicorn Thunderzord. There is articulation in the neck and wheels on the floor. The hole in the nose is for the blue ranger figure. It forms the left leg of the Thunder Megazord.

Up next, we have the Yellow Ranger's Griffin Thunderzord. Same articulation as the Unicorn. Again, the hole in the nose is for the yellow ranger figure. It forms the right leg of the Thunder Megazord.

The final zord is the Black Lion. In Dairanger, this was green. However, in MMPR, there was no green ranger anymore, so they repainted the face Black to represent it's connection to Zack/Adam. The slot in the head is for the black ranger figure. It forms the torso and arms of the Thunder Megazord, as well as the tail being the helmet.

This set is a nice compliment to the Red Dragon and will look great in it's Assault Team form on it's base. A boxed Assault Team will set you back around £40 in good condition with all the pieces there. Obviously, don't expect perfect stickers after 20 years, but there are good companies out there that do replacement sticker needs. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Polar Lights KISS Model Kit - Ace Frehley

KISS are cultural icons. From their make up, their bombastic stage shows, theatrics, stage costumes and more. It's hard to deny what KISS has done for the music scene. In 1976, KISS released their third studio album, a heavy metal driven machine called Destroyer. Now, it wasn't well received back in the day, but has since become a cult classic.

In 1998, during the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Destroyer album, Polar Lights, a company that was famous for making model kits based on horror characters, created model kits based on the album. In this instance, we have Ace Frehley. Ace comes in the standard long box that all the others come in. It features the KISS logo on the upper portion of the box and a close up of the Destroyer artwork. Also on the box is ACE FREHLEY on the side and his autograph.

The back of the box is plain white cardboard. Inside we get the model itself. The pieces are on flesh coloured sprues. Inside the box, we also get some sales sheets for other models and another poster. Only one is needed, but they decided to put one in each box, so you will end up with 3 spare. As this is a traditional model kit, you will need a knife, glue, clippers and paints.

Assembly is very easy. It does come with instructions, but the construction is that simple you probably won't even need them. Most model makers will probably be able to put it together in about an hour. The real challenge is in the painting and does require a steady hand with some of the finer details. 

In 2009, as part of the 35th Anniversary celebrations for Destroyer, Polar Lights remolded the existing kit and turned it into a pre-painted, snap fit mold. It came in a collectors tin.

Around the same time as the original Polar Lights kits, they released a series of 4 Limited Edition variants. They were exactly the same contents as the originals, however, the sprues were now molded in black and white.

One of the more obscure tributes to KISS that I'e seen and does appeal to both KISS fans and model fans. If you are interested, the original 1998 releases go for around £80 for a full set or £45 for the 2009 releases.

Nerdversity Reviews: 1994 Red Dragon Thunderzord

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers proved to be a powerhouse of TV when it aired and became so powerful on the store shelves that it caused many toylines to die off. However, when the second season aired, we were treated to all new mecha for the series. This time, based off the Mythical Chi Beasts.

The box for the zord is primarily green. On the left hand side of the box, we have the MMPR logo and a large yellow logo telling us that this is RED DRAGON THUNDERZORD. The rest of the box is taken up with an action shot of the Red Dragon in both it's dragon and warrior modes.

The back of the box has a run down of how the new zords came to be. It also runs down the different forms the Red Dragon can take, as well as the combination with the Thunderzord Assault team, which was sold separately. 

Inside the box, we have the staff, The Red Dragon itself, head piece, baggie containing the tail piece and the Power Crytal/Ranger figure. The Red Dragon comes packed in his dragon form with the head and tail removed. 

This figure is essentially a restickered Mythical Chi Beast Ryuseioh from Dairanger. The only real difference is the Thunder Bolt stickers on the chest. The dragon form is based on the Chinese style of dragon with the long neck and tail. There is some articulation thanks to the the way there knee and hip joints work.

To transform him from dragon to warrior, simply push the forearms back together to form the arms. pop off the head and tail piece. Fold the chest covering back to form his backpack. Rotate the legs so the spines face forward instead of outwards. Flip the feet in and be sure to flip the tail connector back in on the left foot. Fold the tail piece and clip it into the two holes in the chest. With the dragon head, make sure the jaws are open when it's slotted into place, or it won't sit flush. For effect, you can place the red ranger on his head.

The articulation on the Red Dragon is fantastic for a 90s transforming toy. It has articulation in the shoulder, 2 bicep motions, hips and knees, It transforms easily between either mode and doesn't feel like it's going to break. These are surprisingly cheap now that the Legacy version has come out. A Red Dragon can set you back around £20.