#1553: Keith

KEITH

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

“An orphan, Keith is driven by an insatiable curiosity of where he came from – which sometimes conflicts with the goals of the team.  The most talented pilot of his generation, Keith refuses to live by other people’s rules and instead carves out his own path.”

Remember waaaaaaay back, like four months ago, when I took a look at two of the Paladin’s from the new Voltron line?  And remember how there was a third that I just never got around to? No?  That’s fair.  I remembered, though.  I always remember.  It was eating at me.  So, today, I’m finally finishing out the set.  Admittedly, it’s an incomplete set to begin with, but I’m completing that incomplete set nonetheless.  What I’m really trying to say here is let’s check out the Keith figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Keith is part of the second series of basic Voltron: Legendary Defender figures from Playmates.  This figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has  19 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure before; from the neck down, Keith is the exact same figure as Lance.  Given how close the two of them are in build, and the fact that the uniforms are meant to be the same, it’s pretty reasonable.  Mattel did the same thing for their Paladins, so there’s precedent.  I liked the sculpt when it was used for Lance, and I still like it here.  I still think the articulation could be implemented a little bit better, but it’s far from terrible.  Keith does get a new head sculpt, which is reasonable enough.  I think it falls in-between the other two in terms of quality.  It’s stronger than Shiro’s, but not quite as on the mark as Lance’s.  I will admit, the paint on this one makes it rather difficult to rate the quality of the sculpt.  Speaking of paint, it does feel like a slight downgrade on this figure.  The overall application is fine, but there are a lot of fuzzy edges and his face in particular suffers from quite a bit of bleed over, masking what is a passable sculpt.  I think if the eyes were better placed at the very least, it would look a fair bit better.  Most frustratingly, the red from his wrist guards has ended up staining the white plastic of the forearms.  It looks rather sloppy, and hurts the overall appearance of the figure.  Like the other two figures, Keith is packed with a removable helmet and a shield, as well as his bayard in sword form.  The helmet’s still really bulky, but it works for what it is.  The shield is exactly the same as the other two.  Nothing new there.  The bayard is nice; he has a little trouble holding it, but once you get it secure it stays put alright.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I stumbled across this series at my local Walmart four months back, they only had one of each Paladin, and the Keith figure’s face looked like someone had stepped on it repeatedly, so he got left behind until I could find another one.  The problem was, I didn’t see anymore of this assortment for four months.  Somehow, this one Walmart was the only store to get these guys in stock, and just the one set at that.  Every so often, I stop by that Walmart, and I’d spot a Keith, and get all excited, only to discover it was that same messed up figure, every time.  It was discouraging to say the least, and I eventually just sort of gave up.  Just a week and a half ago, I was at Target looking for something completely unrelated, when I spotted this Keith…and no one else from the assortment.  It was weird, but I certainly wasn’t passing him up.  This figure certainly has its flaws, but I do enjoy him overall.  I eagerly await the release of the other two Paladins.

Incidentally, the messed up Keith figure was still there as of the day before this review was published.  I’m starting to feel a little sorry for the poor guy…

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#1355: Captain Keith

CAPTAIN KEITH – STEALTH VOLTRON FORCE

VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION (TRENDMASTERS)

“Strength, lion-like reflexes, the cool confidence of a leader.  These are the qualities that propelled Keith to the helm of the Voltron Force – the most ferocious fighting force in the universe.  Sitting within the head of Voltron, Keith boldly dispatches commands to his team – commands that shred Robeasts, blast space pirates, and light up the universe with firepower!”

Today, I’m reviewing this here Voltron figure.  This here Voltron figure was very hard to prove the existence of, by the way.  Apparently, I’m the only person on the planet who owns this figure.  Or, at the very least one of the only two people who have both this figure *and* an internet connection.  Maybe we were all supposed to chose one or the other and I just showed up late that day?  I don’t know.  Anyway, without further ado, here’s Captain Keith!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Keith was released as part of Trendmasters’ tie-in line for Voltron: The Third Dimension, the CGI relaunch of Voltron from the ’90s.  This particular figure was part of the “Stealth Voltron Force” sub-set of the line, from around 1999 or so.  The figure was available both with the Black Stealth Cycle and on his own.  Going by what I’ve seen on line, the single release is a lot rarer, but that’s the one I have.  So there.  The figure stands about 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was largely unique to him, though he shares his head with the regular Keith, which is fair enough.  The sculpt doesn’t really look much like the character from the show, but that’s okay.  The show designs were…less than stellar.  Not that this figure’s anything amazing himself.  This guy’s sculpt feels rather on the clunky side for something of this vintage.  The proportions are really odd: he’s, like, 93% legs, his head’s super small, and his hands are only vaguely hand-like.  He’s also rather on the stiff side in terms of stance, but also has this weird, partial squat thing going on.  And, to top it off, most of the articulation isn’t worked into the sculpt at all, which definitely looks wonky.  On the plus side, there’s some nice work on the head, especially on the face, which looks nice and determined.  One of the cooler things about this particular set of figures was the paint; the armored sections are all vac-metallized.  Why the “stealth” variants were made extra shiny is beyond me, but the end result certainly looks cool.  The only downside is that the process makes his paint more prone to chipping, but it’s far from the worst case of this I’ve run into.  Keith is packed with a giant missile-launching cannon and a removable helmet, which are both pretty fun extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never seen an actual episode of Voltron: The Third Dimension, but I did catch the original show while it was still in syndication, which meant I was very much familiar with the characters.  Of course, the only toys around were these ones from Third Dimension, so this was the best I was gonna do.  I’m not 100% why I got Keith (since I never got any of the others), but I recall really wanting him and being very excited when I finally got him.  He’s not the greatest figure out there, and is in fact quite deeply flawed, but he’s entertaining enough, I suppose.

#0175: Keith & Black Lion (Plus Voltron!)

KEITH & BLACK LION

VOLTRON CLASSICS BlackLion&Keith We’re nearing the end of Voltron Week, with Part 5! Today’s review is a look at the final Lion and its pilot Keith from Mattel’s Voltron Classics. Keith is the team’s leader and the Black Lion is the most important of the set, connecting the other four to form Voltron.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Keith Keith and the Black Lion were the final release in the line. They went up for sale on Matty Collector in October of 2012. Keith stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features the same 18 points of articulation as everyone else in the line. Keith shares a body with Lance. It’s not a perfect sculpt, but it works fine, and Lance and Keith should have similar builds, so it’s a sensible reuse. The head is a new piece and looks pretty spot on to the character’s look on the show. Paint-wise, Keith makes out the best of the pilots, with really clean lines and details, and by far the best detailing on the head. Like Allura, he uses a molded skin tone instead of a painted one, but unlike Allura, he isn’t plagued by messy paint. Keith includes an alternate helmeted head, the final piece of the “Blazing Sword” and a key stand. KeithAccessories

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

BlackLion The Black Lion is the central Lion, and is definitely the biggest of the five. This isn’t quite accurate to the show, where the Lions were more or less the same size, but things were understandably fudged so that the final Voltron construction looked good. The Black Lion is about 7 inches tall, and features 29ish points of articulation. Like the rest of the Lions, this articulation is mostly limited by the various spring loaded features, though the back legs, tail, neck and wing thingies are all unfettered by the features. The sculpt isn’t terrible, but the proportions are noticeably off, obviously done to optimize the design of the fully assembled Voltron. Everything is sharp and symmetrical. The Black Lion features the most detailed paintwork of any of the Lions, which does bring him up a peg. All of the paint is cleanly applied with no bleed over or slop. The Black Lion included a fully assembled Voltron sword and shield, fully completing the five lions’ transformation into:

VOLTRON, DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE!

Voltron

Please do excuse the out of the ordinary background for Voltron. He’s too large for me to photograph in my usual set up, so here he is standing in my family room. Voltron stands 24 inches tall and features 25 points of articulation while in Voltron-mode. Voltron is of course made up of the five Lions, so most of the things said in those reviews apply here. He does have a sculpted face, which appears when the emblem on the Black Lion’s torso is pressed, popping the Lion’s jaw open. The face looks pretty spot on to what the character looked like on the show, and it’s painted with some nice detail work. Overall, Voltron was very definitely worth the wait to get all the Lions, and his size alone makes him quite the standout piece.

VoltronAccessories

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the rest of the figures from Voltron Classics, I had to pick up Keith and the Black Lion from Matty Collector on the day of release. It was quite the hectic day, as there were a number of other items I was attempting to get at the same time. I wound up being successful, only hitting a small handful of waiting screens, and completing my order in less than 10 minutes. Upon arrival, I noticed Keith’s extra helmeted head had been quite mangled in the package. I contacted customer service to get a replacement, but they seemed very reluctant to send out a new piece, and ultimately wanted me to ship Keith and the Lion back, and then they would send me another one once mine arrived. I wasn’t really keen on sending it back, so I ended up doing a bit of work to get the head into a less mangled state.