Mattel's Black Lion Roars in to Action – It's Time to Form Voltron!
August 2, 2012

  Over the past year, Mattel has been slowly but surely releasing the Lions of Voltron, and their respective Space Explorer pilots, much to the delight of Voltron fans everywhere.  I think the wonderful thing about these toys is the fact a company as big as Mattel even made him in the first place.  Sure, there’s a new cartoon on the air now, but this is classic Voltron, a Voltron from my time – The classic Lion Force Voltron.  It’s like a slice of mom’s homemade pie straight from your childhood.  And to answer everyone’s burning question – they did good by him. First off – a little housekeeping.  The previously reviewed Blue Lion & Allura is available on August 15th.  By now you know the drill; get in there early, these things sell out very fast. The Black Lion and Keith go on sale this October.  Until then, let’s take a look at all this king of beasts has to offer.

The Black Lion has ALWAYS been my favorite, and I’m guessing he’s yours, too!  This gem of the lion is the largest piece in the line, and by far the heaviest.  The Black Lion includes his trademarked blade which can be held nicely in his spring loaded jaws.  Now’s a good time to discuss something that differs from previous offerings in the set.  The Black Lion’s jaws are spring loaded, which means they snap closed.  He can hold his sword nicely, but you can’t pose him with his mouth open.  It’s a small price to pay, and one that’s necessary for his cool auto-transform mechanism used to form “The Head!”  He still opens up to hold the included Keith


Also included with the Black Lion are Voltron’s trusted weapons, the vaunted Blazing Sword and rarely-used Space Cutter.  Don’t throw out the packaging without opening up the bottom to discover these hidden treasures!

  Keith completes our team of Space Explorers (save for the exclusive Sven, who hasn’t shipped yet.  TEAM SVEN!  I digress) He appears to mostly use parts from Lance, but that’s appropriate, as they had similar builds in the original cartoon.  These are some of the best 3 3/4″ figures Mattel has done.  Nice articulation, clean paint, very accurate head sculpts, and interchangeable helmeted heads.  I do wish that the guns came out of their holsters and could be held, but that’s my personal gripe, they’re a cool set.  Keith also includes his black key stand and the final piece to assemble the collect-n-connect electrified Blazing Sword.

  LET’S GO VOLTRON FORCE!!! By now, if you’ve purchased the sub, or if you’re a childhood fan of Voltron, you know how he goes together.  Therefore, I’m going to show several pictures of this behemoth, and give a few points of interest.

  Pros: * The detail is amazing, and really spot-on accurate to my memories of the show. * The proportions are really nicely done.  His head is the perfect size for the body. * This is the most poseable and articulated Voltron that fully transforms – ever.  If you own Mattel’s excellent 7″ Blazing Sword    Voltron (shown below for size comparison), you already have the most poseable version made – but it doesn’t transform. * The hands hold the Space Cutter and Blazing Swords firmly and securely – a first for this character. * He’s huge.  And heavy.  This is a LOT of toy. * The joints are heavily ratcheted, and hold poses very well. Cons: * I really miss the numbers on the individual lions. * I wish the Blue,Yellow, and Black Lions could fully close their mouths.  Just my personal preference from my original Godaikin Golion. * He’s really tough to photograph, this toy is enormous.  He takes up TONS of space.  clear your shelves, STAT.

Mattel was right – this IS the Voltron we always wanted as kids, and now he’s a reality.  If you’re a fan, don’t miss out, you will be sorry you did.  Mattel went on record officially at Comicon that this one can’t go back in to production to due the staggering costs involved with making a toy of this scale.  That said, it’s been a real privilege to have been given the opportunity to give everyone a sneek peek at this toy of the year candidate.  Special thanks to Toy Guru & the team at Mattel for sending this sample to AFI for review.

Steve "Captain Collector" Ceragioli
A veteran member of the toy journalism community for well over a decade, Steve "Captain Collector" Ceragioli has written for sites like AFT, AF Hub, and Action Figure Insider. Steve moonlights a a professional model & prototype painter in his spare time, which unfortunately he has very little of! Steve collects many of today's toy lines, and he has a massive vintage & modern toy collection.
Read other articles by Steve "Captain Collector" Ceragioli.





  • unclemarsellus says:

    I’m with you on the lack of numbers or other details that could be decals from the classic die-cast toys. I actually put in a request to to create a custom decal set for the Mattel Lions and they pretty much laughed at me. Maybe they’ll do it if enough of us send them an email.

    • Tom says:


      Thanks for the suggestion. I already sent an email. Here’s a template for others who want to use it. Feel free to cut and paste. I am sure they will produce the stickers if they hear from enough of us:

      Hi there,

      I am one of the many collectors of the Voltron Classics from Mattel. As much as I enjoy the product, like many other fans, I feel the product could use more details by adding stickers to the lions. Could you help us with this? Please let me know. I know I’m not the first to contact you about this. Thank you!

      Your name

  • Captain Collector says:

    I’m thinking of making my own!

  • Bjjer says:

    I like the lack of details. It represents what Mattel was going for, cartoon accuracy.

  • Peter says:

    This is not the most poseable Voltron that transforms. That title goes to the Toynami Masterpiece Voltron. The edges it have over this Mattel rendition – bicep swivels, fully poseable lion legs (not hindered by any spring), fully poseable Black lion jaws (not spring loaded).

    Please do more research before making such comments.

    Anyways, I still subscribed to this line, and cant wait to get my Blue Lion this month.

    • Captain Collector says:

      Peter, Of course I own the Toynami version. This one is capable of almost all of the poses Toynami’s can do, and I think it can do some Toynami’s can’t. It also doesn’t feel like it’s going to break every time I pick it up. This was my opinion, which I feel I’m entitled to as someone who really does own almost every version of this character ever made.

      • Peter says:

        Well, if what you say is true, coming from a fellow Voltron fan, then I’m more than glad I got this version. I just can’t really imagine how Mattel’s will be more poseable without the 3 PoA’s that I mentioned. Can the lion’s even do a crouching pose?

        Anyways, its really cool we are getting this, but I still think Toynami gets the gold and Mattel a close silver just for the sheer size.

  • Captain Collector says:

    I actually like the Toynami version, but it’s got a lot of flaws, for me. I’m not fond of the thin wings, or his face, but he does excel at certain things, and is a really nice version overall. This new one has great hips (he can kick all the way out to the side), and the heavily ratcheted joints hold poses well, much better than the floppy Toynami version. Sadly, the proposed Bandai Soul of Chogokin version (which made it to the prototype stage prior to be scrapped for licensing reasons) might just have been the ultimate version. I’m very excited for the upcoming Vehicle Voltron from Toy Freakz.

  • Demon_seed_22 says:

    Dose Keith’s helmet come off? In the one pic it’s under his arm?

    I love the toy. Just with the quality was better. Paint out of lines, scuffs on the lions face….

  • Demon_seed_22 says:

    CaptCollector, do you have a mini lion bot? He’s the one I can’t get my hands on. I recently got the mini trendmasters that breaks into 5lions, almost giving up on the mini lb.

  • Demon_seed_22 says:

    Any pics of that soc prototype out there?? That would’ve been great!
    I’m also looking forward to the MP/TF VV!

    (sorry for the many posters in a row, didn’t see a edit option, and can’t stfu)

  • egoing says:

    The SOC would be nowhere near the height of the Mattel version. The size of the original Bandai GO-Lion in SOC would be at least 400.00 if not more.

  • joel says:

    i’m a graphic artist … i could assist in recreating them.

  • James says:

    I am shipping the Black Lion to 2 friends overseas. Can you tell me the Length x Width x Height of the white mailer box so I can find shipping boxes big enough to ship Black Lion to my friends in Germany? I would very much appreciate it. Thanks.

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