Cliffbee.com: Ranger Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Ranger
Series: Japanese Generation 1
Allegiance: Cybertron
Function: Ground Defence
Alternate Mode: Dune Buggy



DUNE BUGGY MODE
Height: 6.5cm Length: 15cm Width: 8cm

   A very light blue (almost white) with red fenders, a dark grey engine bay and windows. Ranger is a recolour of Joyride with a complete replacement of colours but the same mapping of colours. The tyres are a solid black rather than the unusual brown of Joyride while the Ranger minifigure is teal with a chromed copper engineblock on top. The grey handgun can plug into his roof. The colours here are a lot more sensible than those of Joyride. While the Anglophone toy does a decent job of awkward colours, Ranger's colours are easy and work very well. I quite like the choice of such a light blue.

   The moulded detail ranges from really good to really shoddy. There are suspension pegs on the front wheels and above the rear wheels, floodlights just behind the engine and which details on the front bumper. The engine bay, is almost devoid of detail although the stickers helps more here than on Joyride - since the bare plastic is darker here (dark vs light grey). The details on his stickers are essentially the same as on Joyride, but the colours focus on reds, greys and silver, which matches the plastic well. The tyres have sculpted treads which is nice and the sport lights in front of his windshield have silver chrome on the front which is a nice touch - and unusual for a toy so late in G1.

   The wheels don't roll very well, even though Ranger is large enough to have proper wheels. The design would have allowed a front axle, instead we have front wheels that hardly roll. The gun plugged into his roof looks pretty good and can swing around to the sides, allowing Ranger to take aim. The minifigure plugs into the engine bay on the front of the car, which is of course the main gimmick of the Godmaster line. I'm quite happy to report that Ranger's buggy mode looks good _without_ the added engine. The colours of the added engine are rather incongruous alongside the straightforward colours of the vehicle, but I prefer teal & copper on the engine than the teal and crimson buggy of Joyride.

   A simple car mode but one that works better than Joyride's. The colours are easier on the eye, but the real improvement here is how the colours impact on the feel of the toy - the light grey enginebay on Joyride looks awful - and awkwardly incomplete - the dark grey here is a lot better. The play value is minimal although it's within the limits of the era. A front axle would have been nice, mind you.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   As with all Godmasters (and Powermasters), you're meant to plug in the engine before you transform Ranger. If you don't have the minifigure to hand, press a black button just in front of the windshield. Fold down the front to reveal his head, flip out and rotate the rear to form his legs. Rotate the cabin around to form his chest, stand him up, position the arms and place the gun in either hand.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 13cm Width: 8.5cm

   There's more red now, on his arms and thighs. The torso and kneeguards are light blue while his head and boots are dark grey (along with the gun). Ranger has a pale yellow face with large eyes - the detailing is quite good and comes out well thanks to the light paint. The black of the tyres is now relegated to his back. There's a Cybertron (Autobot) symbol sticker on his groin (which was on the hood in buggy mode, actually). Again these colours work well, and again they're easier to digest than those of Joyride. The dark head against a light torso contrasts with the reverse seen on Joyride, too, giving this repaint a different feel, which I find a welcome aspect.

   This robot mode feels quite blocky, although it's just as blocky as most other "Master" toys around the same era. Ranger's arms are large and blocky, sitting right next to his torso with no gaps - only colour separates them. Compounding this, the shoulder joints actually sit above the top of his chest, on either side of his head. The cabin as his chest looks good, the face is fairly detailed and the gun is quite intricate, so there are some great aesthetic elements here. The light blue rear spoiler now forms a kneeguard - covering up most of the grey boots. The boots are a single piece with a nicely sculpted false seam between the two sides, although I'm not sure why they bothered since it's covered by the single-piece spoiler.

   There's not too much play value here. The arms swing and the elbows bend maybe 80, allowing Ranger to lift his gun. The poses available aren't that dynamic, what with the arms hugging the side of his body. Still, at least they gave Ranger two arm joints. The minifigure will only sit on his back here, so the arm articulation is all we have.

   The arms really needed to separate from his torso a little and the kneeguard is a little annoying, but neither of these flaws actually ruin the robot mode. Sure he could have been better, but there were far worse robot modes in the 1988 toyline. The colours work well - better than the difficult colours of Joyride, and while that toy's robot mode looks pretty good considering the colour palette, Ranger's colours are a good combination.

"RANGER" MINIFIGURE

   The minifigure itself represents the human character Ranger, who controls and merges with the robot in a form of symbiosis. Essentially the minifigure _is_ Ranger. His torso is dark grey while his limbs are teal and the eyes are painted light orange. The chest is well sculpted with life support hoses that compliment the helmet sculpted over his head. The colours here contrast starkly with the larger figure. I like the unusual choice of chromed copper paint for the engineblock on his back - mainly because it's so creative.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, but they'd be worth a small fortune. As mentioned, Ranger is a repaint of Joyride. Aquastar is a repaint of the minifigure, sold separately.

OVERALL

   A somewhat bland mould, Ranger avoids the unusual colours used on Joyride and goes for a more orthodox colour scheme. The very light blue shade which dominates this toy is unusual yet close enough to white that the colour scheme is quite ordinary. The mould is simple and straightforward, but the colours help make Ranger work - the awkwardly incomplete enginebay on Joyride looks whole in the dark grey used here while the robot mode works well in Ranger's simple colours. The minifigure provides some interesting colours, and this does just enough to provide the spark Hasbro were going for with Joyride's colours, but in a more understated way. I would have liked a front axle here and the arms hug the robot's torso more than I'd like, but Ranger is a good repaint of a fairly average mould - 6/10

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