Toy Chest Theater: Power Rangers Edition, Vol. 1

By Rob Siebert
Out-of-the-Closet PR Fan

Power Rangers and toys. For the longest time, I hid my love of both. And yet as an adult I’ve learned to celebrate both. For my money that’s a beautiful thing.

Most of the figures you’ll see here are from Hasbro’s “Lightning Collection” line. Whether you’re talking about classic characters from the ’90s or the ones from the current Beast Morphers series, they’re the best PR figures ever produced.

See, these Hasbro people? They ain’t no dummies.

They know Tommy, the original Green Ranger, is going to be their big seller. Or at least in the very top tier. So they don’t necessarily want to give it to us right away. But of course, they like money. So what do they do? They split the difference with “Fighting Spirit” Green Ranger, i.e. a Green Ranger with that weird gold gimmick on his helmet. Because we know that’s not the true Green Ranger. And of course, they know we know.

Semantics aside, this is a great shot from Brazilian photographer Andre Gurian. It’s very reminiscent of something you’d see in promotion of Power Rangers Legacy Wars. Only here we have a setting with a much better texture to it, and lighting that’s a  little more moody. It’s got the more mature feel that adult fans think they want Power Rangers to have. But of course, will never get.

This, on the other hand, is much more in tune with what Mighty Morphin Power Rangers looked like. Gary Foster puts our two heroines front and center, bright colors in all their glory and surrounded by the vaguely undead looking Putties.

The poses are what make it, though. The Yellow Ranger’s in particular. It’s very ninja-esque. It feels like we’ve captured the moment right before that initial explosion of the fight.

Basketball photos are one of Noserein‘s trademarks. Go to his page and you’ll see basketball court shots of Golum, Baby Groot, Lord Voldemort, not to mention Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Here of course, we have the Power Rangers and the Putties. It’s just now registering with me that the Putties are actually the stars of this one. The Rangers are all background players, and the two Putties are clearly in the foreground. And don’t tell me this could never have happened on the show. Frankly, I’m surprised it never did. The Rangers and the Putties in a game of three-on-three to decide the fate of the world.

Hey, I’d watch.

Of these images, this is the only one that doesn’t feature figures from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection. If I’m not mistaken, these guys are all from Figuarts.

Power Rangers Ninja Storm doesn’t get a lot of love these days. But I really love this shot from our old friend satoshi_k. Once again we’re playing with foreground and background, as our Red Ranger is being pursued by the Thunder Rangers. And yet he’s prepping for a fight, as evidenced by his hand being on his weapon.

Here we have Devon, our current Red Ranger, hitting a high octane kick to…to…what the heck are these things? They aren’t the foot soldiers from Beast Morphers. Originally I thought they were Skrulls. But apparently not.

Either way, I love the implied motion in the way both our primary figures are posed by ZurEnArrh1906. It’s very easy for your mind to fill in the gaps, see the green guy go flying, and even hear Devon’s boot make contact with his torso.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: X-Men X-Plosion

By Rob Siebert
Full-Sized. Not Plastic.

We don’t see the X-Men as often as we should here at PI. So lately I’ve been looking for ways to spotlight them. Low and behold, here they are in “Toy Chest Theater.” And oh yes, we’ve got a packed production today.

In combing through the toy photography community, I’ve seen a lot of Wolverine. Cyclops too, but a lot of Wolverine. So naturally, most of what you’ll see today will include him. But I’ve also worked hard to move beyond Wolvie. (Lord knows he’s hurting for publicity.) Case in point…

I haven’t spotlighted a lot of (if any) photos with captions. But in this image from @satoshi_k, the caption is what ties it all together. We’ve got Cable walking with a purpose, locked, loaded, and ready to go. We’ve got snow, which might suggest a nuclear winter. Or on the other hand, simply winter. Those heavy doors leave it a little ambiguous as to when this takes place.

Yes, the caption is “Change the future.” But is he departing from the future to the past, or is he already in the past?

Either way, this shot wasn’t cheap. The figure, made by Mezco Toyz costs $100. Some of us suffer for our art. Sometimes our wallets suffer as well.

But hold on, we’re not done with @satoshi_k yet…

Sweet fancy Moses! Once again, these figures from MAFEX cost almost $100 each. But @satoshi_k damn sure got his money’s worth on this one.

I love the shots that make you ask, “How the hell did they do that?” My intellectual brain tells me, “Of course that’s probably not real fire.” But the image looks so damn convincing that it plants that seed of doubt.

That one element that puts it over the top? The Wolverine pose. The illusion of momentum is absolutely tremendous.

Cyclops is such a rich, complex, and often bad-ass character. So much more than a lot of casual fans give him credit for. @Tyo nugroho0 illustrates that beautifully here. What’s interesting here is that the image isn’t necessarily about the figure itself. It’s about the setting it’s placed in.

Plus, the jacket. The SH Figuarts Cyclops figure comes with a “removable leather-like jacket.” We’re just going to pretend that says “removable leather jacket.” Leather-like makes him sound like a wuss.

Here we have Magneto doing the thing people always expect Magneto to do. Not just to Wolverine, but Iron Man. That’s not quite how it works. But it’s happening in this scene from @creaptic using Marvel Legends figures. And to his credit, he makes it look good.

A future edition of Toy Chest Theater is going to focus on…well, focus. I have a lot of respect for photographers who create a scene with layers. Not only that, but they know which layer is the most important. We know what Magneto looks like. What’s important is what he’s doing. What’s important is that Wolverine is in agony. That’s what we need to see.

Jeremy, a.k.a. @figurephotoworks, brings us this next shot that I really love.

Along the same lines as what Tyo nugroh0 gave us, here we have Wolverine and Colossus among the wreckage of what I assume was a fight with Sentinels. But to give it that special look and feel, Jeremy (a.k.a. @figurephotoworks) used “sand, a drain blaster, and a smoke machine.” The result is absolutely gorgeous.

I also love that he chose these particular Marvel Legends figures. Colossus’ normally glimmering skin covered in sand gives us a sense of just how dense that cloud behind them is. Wolverine’s brown and yellow suit is not only a great fit for the image, but a personal favorite of mine.

For some reason, the toy photography community seems to love pitting Wolverine against Omega Red…

This first one from Stephen (@mandalorianrunt) not only has one of those great X-Men/comic book-ish environments, but it’s got that awesome yellowish green lighting in the background.

If I’m not mistaken, based on some behind-the-scenes photos Stephen put up with this, that smoke behind Wolvie is actually cotton. You’d never know it, though. You really never even consider the smoke. That’s one of the ways you know you’ve got a great image. Everything at least appears to blend together seamlessly.

CWolverine vs. Sabretooth. One of the big rivalries in all of comics. It terms of sheer disdain for the other person, it’s probably up there with Superman vs. Lex Luthor or Batman vs. the Joker. Here we have a really nice shot of Logan pinning Creed down in a wooded setting. And here we have something else that’s fairly rare in toy photography, at least as far as I’m concerned: Blood.

@BrinquedosNaReal could easily have used ketchup, food coloring, or something like that. But he went the plastic route. I’m sure that wasn’t originally intended to be blood. But it works as blood, as it makes the image appear like it was taken with a high-speed camera. Like some poor photographer just happened to be standing there as these two rabid animals are slicing each other’s guts out.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Super Mario and the TMNT

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Trying out a new feature this week. “Toy Chest Theater” will spotlight some of the best toy photography out there. (I reserve the right to be subjective in my picks, of course.) Our inaugural edition features an image by James Gibbs of Harri.Hawk Toy Photography.

The premise here is, of course, a funny one. These six-foot tall Turtles are taken aback by these little men who happen to kick turtle shells around. But what really makes the image work is the way Leo is posed. The way I read it, he’s holding his brothers back, trying to keep them from rushing into a threatening scenario. And you know what? Maybe it is a threatening scenario. Those Mario Bros. have been known to throw friggin’ fireballs, after all. Not to mention those invincibility stars.

Either way, the image isn’t nearly as funny if the Turtles are battle-ready.

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