#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…

#1446: Shiro

SHIRO

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

“Captured by the Galra, Shiro was experimented upon before he was able to escape to Earth.  He returned with vital information to lead Team Voltron against his former captors.  Calm, thoughtful and wise beyond his 25 years, it takes more than a fleet of Galra cruisers to get a rise out of Shiro.”

Hey, more Voltron!  Alrighty then!  So, in the original Voltron and most off-shoots, the main five pilots are Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Allura.  Allura, of course, is actually a replacement for the Blue Lion’s original pilot, Sven.  For the reboot, they’ve decided to mix things up a bit, changing Sven’s name back to Shiro (as it was in the original Go-Lion) and placing him as the team’s leader….at least at the start.  It’s complicated.  As Sven, he’s only had one figure before, and I missed that one, so this one’s actually a pretty big deal.  So, let’s have a look at the latest figure of Shiro, the Black Paladin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shiro is another figure from the second series of basic Voltron: Legendary Defender figures, as Paladin two of three.  The figure stands a little taller than Lance at 4 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 20 points of articulation.  Shiro is sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s totally unique from Lance, but definitely shares a common ancestry.  It looks about the same, just at a larger scale.  He’s got a totally different head, of course.  It’s okay, but I don’t think I like it quite as much as Lance’s.  It’s not entirely Playmates’ fault, though; Shiro’s design is more subtle and less exaggerated than Lance’s, which means it takes less flaws to throw off the whole look.  It’s also not helped by the really thin neck on the torso, which just sort of throws things off.  Still, it’s not an awful attempt.  Shiro’s paintwork isn’t that much different from Lance’s, just swapping in black for the blue.  This makes it a little less vibrant than Lance, and by extension a little less exciting.  He’s got a touch more slop, with an especially notable blob of flesh tone on the back of his hair.  I’m also not 100% sold on how the eyes and eyebrows have been placed; they don’t quite look like they line up with the sculpt.  Shiro includes his helmet and shield, which are the same as the ones included with Lance.  The shield is fine, but the helmet doesn’t sit quite as well as it does on Lance’s head, so it’s not getting much use from me.  Since the Black Paladin Bayard wasn’t available to Shiro, he instead gets a swappable right hand, showcasing his bionic hand’s energy ability.  I would have liked the hand to be transparent, but it’s still cool enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Shiro came from the same trip to Walmart that got me Lance.  I had high hopes for this figure, since I missed out on the Mattel Sven figure.  He was the first figure I opened, and I will admit, I was a tad disappointed with him.  He just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  That being said, after messing around with him and Lance for a week or so, my opinion of both figures definitely improved.  Sure, they could be a bit better, but I’m still very happy with these figures.

#1448: Lance

LANCE

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

“Lance is all about having fun, even a million miles away from Earth’s comforts and distractions.  Full of confidence and even more full of himself, Lance thinks he’s everyone’s best friend, especially if they’re cute and female.  And while his cockiness often gets the better of him, he always comes through a fire fight.”

Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender has steadily become one of my favorite shows to watch.  Its third season dropped a month or so back, and was rather brief, but contained some of my favorite moments from the show to date.  Season 4 is supposed to hit at the end of this month, and I’m pretty excited to sit down and watch it.  Playmates picked up the license to Voltron back at the beginning of the year, and they’re finally get around to releasing the show’s five main Paladin heroes…well, some of them anyway.  Today, I’m taking a look at Lance, the Blue Paladin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lance is part of the second series of basic Voltron: Legendary Defender figures.  He’s the first of the three Paladins offered this time around.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  As far as scaling, these guys certainly won’t be fitting in with any of the prior Voltron lines, but I can’t say I mind the size.  They should look okay with stuff like Playmates’ TMNT line and similarly scaled items.  The sculpt is all-new to this figure, and it’s a fairly decent one.  The articulation could perhaps stand to be worked in a little bit better, but it’s far from the most archaic configuration I’ve seen on a modern day figure.  Lance’s design has been tweaked ever so slightly to make it work a little bit better in three dimensions.  The head maintains the most accuracy, and does a fairly respectable job of capturing Lance’s likeness.  The body is decent enough. The major details are all there and pretty accurate.  It’s mostly the proportions that are different; they’re a little on the clunkier side than in the show.  Still, it’s a solid piece of work, and definitely shows improvement over the Series 1 figures.  In terms of paint, Lance is overall pretty decent.  There’s some slight slop here and there, and the whites of his eyes in particular seem to be a lot bigger than they really should be going by the sculpt.  That being said, all of the colors are rather vibrant, and he looks quite spiffy.  Lance is packed with his bayard in blaster form, his energy shield, and his helmet.  Both the blaster and shield are nice pieces, and he hand hold them well enough.  The helmet sits alright, but is definitely too bulky; I feel an alternate head might have been the better way of handling it.  Still, it’s better than I’d expected.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been patiently waiting for the Paladins ever since Series 1 hit back in January.  They’ve sure taken their sweet time getting here.  I ended up coming across Lance, Shiro, and Keith almost entirely by accident at my local Walmart.  They only had one of each, and Keith’s face was all messed up, so only Lance and Shiro got brought home.  I’m quite happy with this figure.  Sure, there are a few things they could probably change, but for $10, this is a solid toy.

#1219: Myzax

MYZAX

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

myzax1

A giant fighting robot is only as good as the giant foes he giant fights.  Giantly.  As much as Voltron is defined by its title character and the five Paladins who pilot him, it’s also very much defined by the Robeasts with which the Defender of the Universe did battle in just about every episode.  The Robeasts are just as much a part of the new series as they were the old.   Playmates line of figures based on the new show includes the Robeasts, starting things off with the show’s premiere RoBeast

THE FIGURE ITSELF

myzax2Myzax is part of the first series of Voltron: Legendary Defender figures.  He’s the only non-Voltron in the lot, and from the looks of things, he’s not as heavily packed as the others.  The figure is just under 5 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s a lot more posable than the Lion Attack Voltron, which is definitely a point in his favor.  He’s still missing the elbow articulation on one arm, but he’s got bicep and thigh swivels, which makes for a lot more posing options than we saw with yesterday’s figure.  Myzax was one of my favorite designs from the new show, and the figure does a pretty respectable job of translating that design into three dimensions.  The arms and legs should probably be a little longer, and his right arm’s a little too thick, but aside from that, most of the details are pretty accurate.  The level of detail could probably be sharper, but he’s about on par with the work seen on Voltron, which is certainly reasonable.   Even the action feature is better worked in than it was on Voltron.  He’s still got the missile launching gimmick, but the actual missile isn’t an integral part of the figure’s design (meaning it’s totally fine to display him without it), and the feature actually half-way replicates his special attack from the show.  Plus, it’s button activated, so it’s less likely to break over time.  The paintwork on the figure is passable, but it could definitely be a bit better.  All there really is to it is the most basic colors.  The application is clean, but he’s missing a lot of the smaller details from the show.  As it stands, he looks alright, but I can’t help but feel he’d look even cooler with a top-notch paint job.  As far as accessories, his only real extra is the missile for the launcher gimmick.  It replicates the energy ball weapon that’s built into his arm in the show.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Myzax at the same time as Voltron.  He’s really the figure that sold me on the whole line.  I’d picked up the Voltron and wasn’t sure I wanted him, but I spotted this guy on the back of the card, and he happened to be hidden back behind several Voltrons.  Myzax is my favorite of the Robeasts from the new show so far, so I’m pretty psyched about his inclusion so early in the line.  On top of that, he’s actually a pretty fun figure, and a good indicator of how good this line can be if Playmates puts in the effort.

myzax3

#1218: Lion Attack Voltron

LION ATTACK VOLTRON

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

voltronld1

Back in late January, Netflix dropped the second season of their reboot of Voltron, which proved to be just as good as, if not better than, the show’s first season.  The first season’s release was woefully devoid of accompanying toys, but between the first and second season, Playmates picked up the license and released a selection of action figures about a week before the second season’s premier.  There are a couple of different options for those that want a basic Voltron.  I opted for one of the two smaller versions, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

voltronld2Lion Attack Voltron is part of the first series of Playmates’ Voltron: Legendary Defender line.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Hardly the most posable figure ever. At the very least, I would have liked some bicep swivels and elbow movement for *both* arms, but I guess what this guy’s got is workable.  There’s certainly worse out there.  This Voltron figure is based on the modern Voltron design, which is really just a sleeker, more rounded out version of the classic design.  The sculpt does a reasonable job of recreating the show look.  He’s a bit stiffer, and some elements (the neck in particular) are rather on the boxy side.  All the details are pretty well defined; some of them are a little on the soft side, but it’s generally pretty solid work.  The wings are removable pieces, but don’t combine into the shield like on the show.  It might be nice to have gotten some alternate extended wings, but maybe those will show up on another figure down the line.  The biggest deviation from his established look is in order to facilitate the action feature.  The head of the Green Lion is actually mounted to a projectile, which juts out of the back of the elbow about an inch.   The actual sculpt has some tweaks to allow the missile to go through more smoothly, which means there’s some odd extra plastic in a few spots.  Fortunately, it’s not too hard to hide these inaccuracies with some careful posing, but it’s still a bit annoying.  Even more annoying is the way the missile launcher works; there’s no actual lock and release button, it’s a more simple tension hold.  The problem with this design when dealing with softer materials like plastic is that it will eventually warp, and eventually the notch that holds the missile in place isn’t strong enough to resist the tension of the spring.  How do I know this will happen?  Because it *already* happened to my figure; after a few days, the hand simply wouldn’t stay in place.  I had to deepen the notch to keep it from firing, and I’ll likely have to keep doing it every so often.  Not something I want to have to do to a mass-produced figure.  Voltron’s paintwork is decent enough.  It’s fairly basic color work, but everything is nice and clean, and colors are bold.  Voltron includes no accessories, but with the missile feature and removable wings, the box doesn’t feel too empty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The new Voltron toys were actually an in-store surprise for me.  I had heard Playmates had the license, but hadn’t seen any prototypes.  I stumbled upon them while running some errands at Target.  There are two different smaller Voltrons available, and I went with this one because he looked to be the more articulated of the two.  He’s nothing amazing, and I really would have preferred they’d dropped the missile launcher feature in favor of just properly articulating that arm (since mine’s already broken).  Still, he’s not awful, and he’s certainly got some promise.  If Playmates is willing to try and learn from their mistakes, this like could be really fun.