“From days long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend – The legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe!” I remember the days, rushing home and turning on the TV, waiting to hear those words. When Mattel first announced that they had obtained the Voltron license, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’m such a fan of Voltron (yes, even the one formed by 15 disparate vehicles, too)that I dared to hope for an amazing line of new toys. Sure, there was that great 7” super-poseable Blazing Sword Voltron offered at Comicon last year. He was a breath of fresh air, and gave us a Voltron toy we’d never had before. That was the appetizer. Now it’s time for the main course. What lies before us is a highly articulated, fully transforming set of lion that, when assembled, stands almost two feet tall. Add in a set of action figures of the pilots, and BAM! You got yourself the Voltron toy we always wished we could have as kids, over 25 years ago.
Offered online only, primarily as part of Mattel’s Club Lion Force subscription, the first offering is right around the corner. Lance and his trusty Red Lion will be available on mattycollector.com on February 15th. Thanks to Mattel, we’ve been allowed the privilege of giving you a sneak peek of this bad boy. First off, both Lance and the Red Lion arrive together in one large white mailer box, in typical Matty fashion. Once opened, you are treated to two separately packaged toys. If I recall correctly, these were supposed to be sold and shipped individually, but I for one am glad that these come bundled together – it just feels right. Lance Lance, the first pilot up, stands about the size of a Star Wars figure. He features a very accurate likeness of the character, even for this small scale. He features a swappable helmeted head, as well as a stand which doubles as the key to his lion (more on that in a minute). Lance is very well articulated, with ball shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. He also includes the first piece of the Collect-n-connect electrified blazing sword, as shown on the box. It’s when you see the sword’s hilt that you first realize just how big Voltron is gonna be. It’s important to note that there is a large round peg on the sword handle, and yes, it plugs in to a corresponding hole inside the roof of the red lion’s mouth, which allows him to hold the sword very firmly. It’s touches like this that remind me that the designers of this line are fans themselves, who remembered in frustration how the original 1980’s toy couldn’t hold his bladed weapon of choice very well.
The Red Lion
No more delays, on to the main event! The red lion looks to be modeled almost directly from the original artwork. Looking at his head straight on, everything looks to be completely on-model. His tail, always problematic on Voltron toys – folds up in half, spring loaded, and hides under the panel on his hind quarters. Instead of using it as a joint to connect to the Black Lion, there is now a large octagon peg on a ratcheted, articulated arm, which looks like it’s going to allow for maximum poseability when assembled! Much has been made of the “auto-transforming” feature, but it’s well hidden, and does not detract from the overall articulation of the legs. There are two large rectangular buttons, one under his chest and another under the tail, which pop the legs back out. He can bend at the midsection (Voltron’s elbow), and his neck (Voltron’s wrist) rotates on a ratchet as well. His lower jaw clicks open to three positions as well. Last but not least, the red lion also includes his signature curved blade, which fits neatly inside his massive jaws. There are two little divots under the bottom of the hilt, which fit over the bottom teeth, and when you close the mouth, it sits snugly inside. These individual battle blades were included with the old Popy version, and were seen on the show, albeit rarely. Sadly, the lion’s individual add-on missile launchers were not included, but c’mon now, did you even remember the individual mouth blades?
For those who wish to get the full experience, Lance can actually fit inside the Red Lion! Insert the Key stand included with Lance to open up the port on the lion’s back, and the entire cockpit opens up. Inside we are treated to some nice detailing, with the appropriate screens and controls represented by neatly placed stickers. Lance fits snugly inside, and it’s a pretty good way to store him and his extra head if you so desire.
Trendmasters once offered a large scale 20″ Voltron, and at first recall, I’d thought these were roughly the same size. Take a look at the comparison (and I use that word loosely) picture, you will see that I was very wrong indeed. Also shown are the Toynami Masterpiece version, and the original Popy for scale.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the number “2”, which should be featured on the blue square, right behind his neck, is missing from this version. Previous versions by Matchbox, Trendmasters, Toynami, and Popy/Bandai had the numbers on the individual lion. However, these numbers do not appear when Voltron is formed, and I’m sure that’s the mode the designers focused on when they dreamed up this masterpiece. The hardest part now will be waiting for the rest of the lions, so that I can finally form the Voltron of my childhood dreams.