Ever have a mystery turn up in an action figure line -- several years after the fact?
Although I tend to collect the "basic" Rangers figures from most of the various Power Rangers series from over the years -- let's face it, Bandai generally makes good action figures, and I rather like the basic concept of five similarly-dressed but distinctive heroes, and some of the costume designs over the years have really been quite remarkable -- I haven't generally tended to pick up the villains.
As a rule, the villain figures have tended to be either really ugly or just poorly articulated compared to the Rangers themselves. And far too often, the "grunts" of the villains -- their basic soldiers that routinely get their collective butts kicked in assorted martial arts battles against the Rangers -- and tend to have names no more inspired than "Evil Space Alien", a term which has seen more than a few uses in the Power Rangers line over the years.
Now, there have been exceptions. The most notable of these, in my opinion, was the Triptoid. This was the basic bad guy "soldier" released in 2004, as part of the Power Rangers Dino Thunder line, which was the Power Rangers concept for that year. The character was not simply named "Evil Space Alien", he was just about as well articulated as the Rangers themselves, and he wasn't especially ugly. In fact, I found the overall design to be quite interesting.
The Triptoid was dressed in black from head to toe. He was humanoid, with nothing unusual about his proportions. He did have either a rather strange head or wore a rather strange helmet. I've never been entirely sure which. But it was the intricate level of color design on the figure that sold it to me.
On the Triptoid's torso was a large pattern. Six-sided in shape, it was a series of concentric lines. The outermost line was dark green. There was a small separation of black between it and the next line, which was a lighter shade of green. Then another area of black, and still a lighter shade of green. One more area of black, and then three concentric areas of yellow-green, yellow, and finally a six-sided polygon of orange. This, at the very least, was some serious paint work.
This color scheme was duplicated in a second pattern on the helmet. Sculpted lines were carefully painted in. There was a red dot in the center of the front of the helmet. Around this were two thin circles of yellow. Around this, and running along the sides of the helmet, were additional lines in the same shades of yellow and green, all leading to a little area of orange at the tip of an upswept area in the back of the helmet.
Granted, either one of these patterned areas made for a good target, but it was still a fascinating pattern. The only other color trim on the Triptoid was some dark green around the collar, gloves, and boots, and copper around the fingers and thumbs.
Really, it was just an interesting figure, and not terribly expensive, so I purchased several at the time. Some months later, I became aware of a White Triptoid. He was harder to find, bit I eventually tracked one down. It was essentially the same figure, except molded in white, and the yellows and greens in the pattern had been replaced by blues and purples.
I pretty well assumed this was it for the Triptoids. The following year, Power Rangers S.P.D. commenced, with an entirely new concept, and, of course, new villains.
Recently, I had occasion to do a little research on the Triptoids, as part of another review. A Yellow Triptoid had turned up in a Disney Store exclusive Power Rangers set. But that's a separate review entirely. But along the way, I made a shocking discovery -- there had also been a GREEN Triptoid! How in the world had I missed this?
I checked online stores. And he wasn't even a Japanese exclusive that had just never made it to America. There were several samples in people's online stores, on card, and on the same English-language Power Rangers Dino Thunder card that all of the other figures had been packaged on that year, with a distinct nameplate that said "Green Triptoid".
This guy must've been shipped in VERY limited quantities at the VERY tail end of the Dino Thunder series. Three years go by and I had no clue this figure even existed. And if further proof was needed that he had obviously been rather scarce, the jaw-dropping price tags people wanted for one.
But there was another option. I found a seller based in Hong Kong that was offering Green Triptoids, loose, no package, for a far more reasonable price, even including international shipping. The photograph in the listing showed a figure that seemed to otherwise be in mint condition, and I honestly didn't care if the Green Triptoid was on card or not -- I just would've opened him anyway. About ten days' worth of travel for the figure, and I had my Green Triptoid.
The Green Triptoid is a very nice shade of green. By means of comparison, he's almost precisely the same color green as the Marvel Legends She-Hulk figure. (Frankly, I was amazed at HOW precisely he matched the color.) I can think of worse figures to be compared to. The patterning on his torso uses the same green and yellow color scheme as the Black Triptoid. You'd think it would look faded or something, given the basic color of the Triptoid himself in this instance, but really, it works. The shades of green used to make the pattern are all different than the color of the plastic itself.
The figure is very nicely articulated. This was something that drew me to the Triptoid in the first place. Here was a bad-guy figure for the Power Rangers line that was just about as well articulated as the Rangers, instead of previous years, where you sort of had to figure the bad guys were saying, "Let's see, these Rangers have fifteen or more points of articulation, and I can move my head, arms, and legs -- I'm doomed..." The Green Triptoid is poseable at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, legs, knees, and a swivel just above the knees. He'll still probably lose to the heroism and martial arts skills of the Rangers, but at least he'll put up a better fight than most.
There is one notable different between the Green Triptoid, and his Black and White predecessors, other than the obvious color. For whatever reason, Bandai pretty much filled in the sculpted lines on the helmet. There's just the barest hint of their previous presence. Precisely WHY they did something like this -- other than maybe their paint crew complaining about having to hit the narrow sculpted marks precisely every single time, and that's just pure speculation -- I really have no idea. Fortunately, it doesn't affect the look of the figure, and he's still neatly painted.
So, a figure from 2004, that I didn't even know existed, and that I suspect probably never even turned up around here, but which I certainly would've added to my Power Rangers collection at the time had I known, finally joins up in 2007.
Now, I'm not saying that this guy is going to be either easy or inexpensive to find. However, if you're a Power Rangers fan, and you enjoyed the Dino Thunder concept from a couple of years ago, and moreover, if you thought the Triptoids were cool in doubtless their own weird, evil way, then I'm sure you'll want to add the GREEN TRIPTOID to your collection, and he certainly has my definite recommendation!