Release Date: August 2020
With how prominent motorcycles and other vehicles have been in the Power Rangers franchise, it was only a matter of time before Hasbro introduced them into the Lightning Collection. While for many shows these vehicles had more prominence as toys than they did in the series itself, instalments like Power Rangers SPD (as well as its Super Sentai counterpart Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger) featured them quite heavily on-screen too. After all, this was the series where even it’s main villain rode around on a motorcycle. With that in mind, what better place to start than with the Lightning Collection SPD Omega Ranger and Uniforce Cycle set? Arriving to the year 2025 from further in the future to assist Space Patrol Delta’s B Squad Rangers, Sam joins the team as it’s sixth main team member. This set was released exclusively through Amazon.
Omega Ranger’s packaging marks new territory for the Lightning Collection, coming in square windowless packaging that’s quite unlike anything we’ve seen previously. There’s been a few windowless boxes before (notably the Putty Patroller 2-pack and Psycho Ranger 5-pack), but nothing this shape. Given that it’s housing a vehicle it’s also a lot taller and wider than your average Lightning Collection box. The artwork layout is roughly the same though, with the front of the box still featuring Tom Whalen’s fantastic character artwork, along with a render of the figure itself in the bottom corner so that you can at least see the Uniforce Cycle as well. Whalen’s artwork is reprinted on both sides of the box (one of which is also carrying the Power Rangers SPD logo), and the figure/bike render is printed in much larger size on the back. Open it up and the figure and vehicle are laid out neatly on a moulded plastic tray, with the figure itself laying horizontally (at least in relation to the orientation of the box anyway) in the tray rather than upright.
On first glance the Lightning Collection Omega Ranger looks like a great figure that’s incredibly faithful to the onscreen suit, but as is pretty typical with the line if you look at it more closely there are a fair few suit inaccuracies that’ll divide opinion. The most obvious of these from the front is that the “VI” on the torso isn’t quite shaped correctly, with the V being too thick and resulting in the I sitting further across the body than it should. The thickness of the V also means the SPD badge on the breast has come out too small, sitting comfortably within the gold when in reality it should extend outside of it. There are also a few paint apps missing too, most notably on the wrist-mounted Omega Morpher. But truthfully all of these are pretty minor complaints overall, especially compared to the biggest problem on this figure in terms of deco - the gold stripes on the back torso and leg have been completely omitted. One might argue that the back of the figure isn’t what’s going to be on show, but it’s still disappointing to see when the Lightning Collection was originally billed as “the most screen accurate figures ever”. While Omega certainly has that in terms of proportions, with whole sections missing from the back whether it has it in terms of deco is debatable. There’s a lot going on in this set which would have likely resulting in cuts being made, but your mileage may vary on whether properly painting the figure was really the best place for it.
If you can get over these inaccuracies though, it’s still a good looking figure that gets the job done. The sculpted SPD detailing in the belt buckle is a really nice touch, it’s just a shame that said detail is almost completely lost without a paint wash to bring it out in that unpainted gold plastic. The blue paint used for the body is slightly metallic, giving it a great shimmer under proper light which goes well with all that gold paint. It’s a shame Hasbro dropped the ball on the back of the figure so hard because there are some really commendable paint apps here, like how the gold and blue sections are able to extend out on the butterfly joint pieces. The helmet details are crisp and colourful, but most importantly of all that pointed shape at the back has been recreated faithfully. Finally there’s that moulded Omega Morpher, complete with a moving throttle and able to rotate on its connected cuff piece. As someone who’s been critical of Hasbro’s inaccuracies in the past and will continue to be I don’t want to excuse some of the mistakes made here, but the fact it’s still a really strong figure even with those in mind just goes to show how striking Omega Ranger/ design is.
But while the deco might have its flaws Hasbro still continue to deliver as far as articulation is concerned, as the Omega Ranger proves to be just as good as fellow rangers. Overall the figure features;
- Ball jointed head, torso and hips
- Single hinge neck and ab crunch
- Swivel hinge shoulders, wrists and ankles
- Butterfly shoulders/pecs
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Bicep, thigh and boot swivels
Firstly answering the most important question of all - yes the shoulders have enough range that you can bring the right arm around enough so that the hand can grip onto the Omega Morpher’s throttle. It can only do it at very specific angles when the arms are brought in toward the chest, but it’s more than enough to make the pose work as well as it should. Since there are specific straight coloured lines running down the body Omega’s design is one that results in “breaking” the flow of the suit when making full use of the articulation, but unfortunately there’s just no way around it on a suit like this. If you don’t mind those blue and gold lines not matching up however you’ll find this figure extremely expressive, the legs particularly offering a great deal thanks to the combination of both thigh and boot swivels. The ankle swivels have remained consistently good in this line at offering a wide range of foot movement for balancing, and those clicking hinge joints throughout the body offer some wide yet sturdy articulation. The only real hindrance on these figures is those sculpted buttocks, which hang over the hip area to prevent the legs from properly swinging backward. Hasbro are now dabbling in swing-down ball joint hips on their G.I. Joe Classified Series, so hopefully we might see that implemented on the Lightning Collection one day too.
As far as smaller accessories go Omega Ranger comes packaged with an alternate open left hand, an “Electro Mode” left hand with lightning effect and finally an SPD Containment Card. The card is small and completely unpainted, but does have a fair bit of moulded detail that’s sadly lost in that sea of white. Given the size it’s not surprise that it doesn’t have any paint (especially given all the tooling costs that went elsewhere in the set), but it would have been nice if the figure had some sort of hand that could hold it properly. In fact the hand count is really disappointing here as there’s no alternate right hands whatsoever. The Electro Mode hand is very similar to those included with the Psycho Rangers, with the lightning coloured a more heroic (and screen accurate) pale yellow. It’s a nice piece, but the wrist joint really struggles to hold the weight of the piece and as a result the hand has a tendency to immediately flop down. Since the Omega Ranger spent the majority of SPD as a ball of light, no alternate Sam head has been included. Sam did briefly appear unmorphed in the final episode, but the actor went uncredited so Hasbro probably didn’t consider it a necessity to the release. Some might have liked it for completist’s sake, but I’d be inclined to agree it wasn't needed.
All in all it’s a very basic range of accessories, but that’s hardly surprising given the huge chunk of plastic also included in this set - the Uniforce Cycle.
If you’re in the market for a big dumb futuristic-looking vehicle then you’ve come to the right place, because the Uniforce Cycle certainly is that. A giant one-wheeled motorcycle, the Uniforce Cycle was the Omega Ranger’s personal mode of transportation. This is the first vehicle that’s been released in the Lightning Collection and it’s certainly a valiant effort, albeit not a perfect one. The one side of the bike is has a number of exposed screws, which is does spoil the overall look of it somewhat. Much like the figure the bike is also missing some noticeable paint apps - the gold stripe only running down under the seat whereas on the show it runs down the body and onto the wheel as well. The kickstand at the front of the wheel is completely the wrong colour, moulded in black plastic where in reality it should be white (and again sporting an extension of that gold stripe). Finally while expecting the lights at the front to be cast in translucent red might be unreasonable, here they’ve been made one solid bar whereas the show version has them broken up into two separate lights. What areas of colour it has have been well applied (the blue and gold perfectly matching that of the figure), but overall it is pretty underwhelming when compared to the onscreen version - even moreso when you consider that the vintage Bandai of Japan version is way more screen accurate. Removing some of the paint apps for the sake of cost is understandable, but that kickstand really should have been moulded in white.
When removing the Uniforce Cycle from the tray the handlebars and foot pegs are both packaging separately from the main unit, so will need to be clipped on before use. In terms of functionality the Cycle has two free-rolling wheels - the main wheel that the body of the machine sits on but also a smaller raised wheel at the back that doesn’t really serve any purpose. The kickstand at front can be raised up like it would onscreen to show that the bike is in motion, but of course once you do that the Cycle can’t stand up without support. The toy could have really benefitted from a second, smaller kickstand or stand piece to cover this. It’s as though the toy was built with primarily playability in mind, which on the one hand makes sense because it’s a toy but then on the other hand the line is more geared toward collectors. Most importantly of all though the figure sits comfortably on the bike with the hands gripping the handlebars a nicely, so it works nicely as a display piece.
With the Lightning Collection SPD Omega Ranger and Uniforce Cycle set Hasbro have shown a dedication to expanding the line that should definitely be commended, but the product itself definitely has room for improvement. The $30 price tag sounds like a good deal for a figure and vehicle, but then both halves of the set have significant issues when it comes to paint apps and/or accuracy. Rather than put out two middle of the road products at lower price why not just price slightly higher and put out something better? An extra $10 could have easily fixed these problems, and if the end product looked better collectors would happily pay it. However, while personally I would have preferred to just buy Omega Ranger without the bike, I can’t deny that there is some charm to it and that it was the perfect place to start a Lightning Collection assortment of vehicles. It’s a solid starting point, and one that hopefully Hasbro will be able to build upon with their next release like this.
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