Since 2019 Hasbro has been releasing figure after figure for their fan-favorite action figure line, the Power Rangers Lightning Collection, now in its 5th year and over 150+ releases deep, there are bound to have been quality control issues that present themselves similar to any mass-produced toyline. However, as time has gone on and especially with the newest releases over the course of the last year, things appear to be getting worse.
A MARK HERE OR THERE
Going all the way back to 2019’s very first releases, there have been slight issues with the Lightning Collection figures. The very first Wave of figures, such as S.P.D. Shadow Ranger had common issues as paint scratches on the chest. Issues like this are the not-so-widespread issues that would be expected from mass production, but instead of getting better, many figures ended up suffering issues as time went on.
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Female figures like MMPR Pink or MMPR Yellow were infamous for bowed legs in the packaging or easily broken necks when head swapping, both things that impacted the overall enjoyment of the figures.
CHANGE IN FACTORIES
Quality control issues really came to a head starting in 2022 for the Lightning Collection. This was when the switch was made by Hasbro to move Lightning Collection manufacturing from China to Vietnam factories. From the new factory, the first batch of releases were the Ninja Rangers. Many fans suffered issues from missing heads, duplicate heads, broken figures and incorrect hands that, for the initial shipments, it seemed more likely to get a figure that was messed up than one that wasn’t.
Over time more shipments of these figures appeared to get the majority of issues resolved, with these becoming less seen the longer the figures were released. However, with the most recent group of figures over the last few months, and especially in the new Plastic Free Packaging era of releases, things seem to be heading in the wrong direction.
THE NEW STANDARD?
The new trend of quality control issues for the line started with the release of Wave 12 at a more widespread level in November 2022. For the most part, the majority of the Wave shipped correctly for most people and little issues were reported. Design issues such as incorrect paint applications existed on figures such as Wild Force Blue, but these are design issues, not quality control.
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Lost Galaxy Green seemed to be the most problematic figure, with issues ranging from missing heads to a few incidents where the figure was shipped with the completely wrong boots, instead having those of his Wave mate, MMPR Black. For issues like these, while unfortunate, they could be avoided if the figure was bought from store shelves, as these could be seen through the plastic window, but with the change to plastic free, this is no longer possible.
Since November, the main figure releases have been Wave 13 and Deluxe Waves 2-3 of the Lightning Collection. Each of these Waves included figures that suffered widespread quality control issues, very much of the same as 2022’s Ninja Rangers but on a much larger scale.
Many fans have reported issues with Dino Fury Green from Wave 13. This figure has suffered not only from widespread bent swords due to a lack of a cardboard piece to keep it from bending in the tissue paper bags, but many of the figures shipped in the second batch have had head issues.
SECOND ISN’T BEST
With the Ninja Ranger figures, the longer they were out, the better they seemed to get. With figures like Dino Fury Green, this doesn’t seem to be the case. For the ones shipped in late November 2022, most of them seemed to turn out exactly how they were supposed to, but for fans like Power Rangers content creator, Airlim, this wasn’t the case for the second shipment of figures. Many of the newer one’s shipping included an issue when it came to swapping the civilian head, as many fans suffered the entire neck joint popping out from the chest piece when swapped. Other issues with this particular figure include duplicate accessories, missing pieces and being assembled completely wrong.
This isn’t just with Dino Fury Green either, the early shipments of the Turbo Blue Senturion figure shipping out have included the same duplicate or missing accessories issue, similar to Lightning Collection Wave 13 figures such as Dino Charge Blue and Beast Morphers Yellow.
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So what can be done? Well, Hasbro Customer Care is always an option, but in a lot of cases, fans have been sent an item of “equal or greater value” as in many cases, these figures are too new, or the Customer Care warehouse doesn’t have any stock for a proper replacement. This issue is at the worst timing with the change in packaging as this is leading to a large amount of distrust from consumers being willing to buy what are basically becoming unintentional mystery boxes.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT FOR THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION?
From here, Hasbro has a lot of work to do. The longer these issues become more and more normal to expect, when they should never happen in the first place, it will cause irreparable damage to the trust in the brand and toy line. Cases like these will always happen, but they used to be much more isolated. Still, now dozens and dozens of fans are posting issues on nearly every single new release the line has, many of which can be seen in detail in this episode of my Lightning Storm YouTube series.
Hopefully, bringing more attention to these problems will cause Hasbro to see them and do what needs to be done, but with recent layoffs at the company and job listings for Vietnam factory quality control organizers up for applications, it’s unknown if anything will change soon or if it will end up being too late.
To stay up to date with all the news for the Power Rangers Lightning Collection, fans can check out The Illuminerdi’s Josh Perry on his weekly Lightning Storm YouTube series every Saturday at 9:00 am Pacific or on Twitter at @LightningFigPR.
What do you think of the latest news for the Lightning Collection? Have you had issues with releases in this toyline? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow The Illuminerdi on social media to be notified of more Power Rangers news and updates in the future!
Sources: @bucchasaru, @Mainstreamlive & @dumbhole