MOTORIZED LION FORCE VOLTRON
Voltron, Defender of the universe!
Just last month, Netflix launched their reboot of the Voltron franchise, which was actually really quite good. As of yet, there’s been no news about toys from this particular incarnation, so I guess the best I can do is something based on the original series. Towards the beginning of this site’s reviews, I took a look at Mattel’s most recent set of Voltron figures. Today, I’ll be going all vintage, and looking at one of the Voltrons from the time of the original show.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The five lions that make up Voltron were released by LJN in 1984, under the “Motorized Lion Force Voltron” name. The lions were available in two different ways: they could be purchased in pairs (Red/Blue and Green/Yellow, with Black being packed on its own), or as a complete set. The actual lions were identical; only the packaging differed. The Red and Green lions are about 3 inches long and each have 16 points of articulation. The Blue and Yellow Lions are each 4 inches long, and have 15 points of articulation. Finally, the Black lion is also about 4 inches long, but is also about 3 inches wide, and it has 18 points of movement. All five of the lions also have a set of wheels at their base, which when pulled back will launch the lion forward. I don’t know why, since they didn’t do anything like this on the show, but this is where the “motorized” part of their name comes from. The four smaller lions are all pretty decent matches for their cartoon counterparts, and feature decent sculpts for the time. The Black lion is a little less accurate to the show, in order to better facilitate the Voltron combination. It’s not horribly far off, but it’s definitely a lot boxier than the show design. When the five lions are combined into Voltron, the figure stands about 8 inches tall and has 20 points of functioning articulation (there are a few other spots of movement, but they don’t really benefit the Voltron form). This version of Voltron is a lot stockier and squared off than his cartoon incarnation, but such is the sacrifice of making a Voltron that can be both Voltron and the separate lions. Some compromises need to be made. This is a figure that does, admittedly, show his age a fair bit, as later Voltron’s have managed to be a bit closer. That being said, this one isn’t bad for the scale or the time, so good on LJN for that! The various details on Voltron are handled through a combination of decals and a small bit of paint. The decals are a little aged, but they’ve held up pretty well, and add some fun details to the figure. The paint work is all pretty basic, and there’s some slop here and there, but the overall effect is pretty great.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Mattel’s more recent Voltron was my first proper Voltron, and as much as I love that one, its size makes it a little hard to manage, and also far from portable. So, I was in the market for something a little smaller that could be part of my travelling collection. I ended up finding this particular Voltron being sold as all of its individual parts at an antique store I was visiting with my family. The whole figure was about $20, which seemed reasonable enough. This is definitely a goofier Voltron than I’m used to, but he’s still pretty nifty to have, and I’m certainly happy to have a Voltron that I don’t need a crate to move around.