Misc Review: Collector Set Voltron (Toynami)


Intro:
 
As it has generally been known, I am a massive Transformers fan. It is a childhood-dream-come-true to be able to realize my childhood dream of collecting Transformers. However, back in those days when yours truly was still 3-feet tall, Transformers weren’t the only ones that I had a crush for. 
Saber Rider was great: sure the characters were great and well developed, but it was the massive Ramrod that really captured the imagination. I’ve never seen a Ramrod figure before, and if I do, you’ll definitely know about it here. Sure, it’s a through-and-through bulky and blocky robot, but hell, I think the bot is gonna look just fine. I like M.A.S.K. too – and they were the only non-robots figures that I wanted.
However, there was only 1 action figure, apart from Transformers that I had really wanted so bad. Forget about Power Rangers! They are all just a rip-off! Before Mighty Morphin Power Rangers came out with the ideas of combining 5 color-themed vehicles/ machines in one huge mother-of-a robot (yes, Super Sentai did predate Voltron), there was Voltron: Defender of the Universe! Voltron was, and still is cool: the story was great, the characters are well-developed and most importantly, the robot looks awesome. 
In fact, it was the only robot out there, for me at least, that would actually rival the Transformers! They've tried to recreate the magic of Voltron by creating a Vehicle version, but I dare say—it didn't do quite well! For many, there was only 1 true Voltron, and that’s the lions' version.
I remembered seeing the original figures—packed in a huge square box in The Store, Malacca. If memory serves, only the yellow lion was visible from outside the box. I remembered thinking, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could have that. I know my dad couldn’t have afforded me that, but it didn’t hurt to wish for it. I never saw that figure for the second time.
Then back in 2004 or 2005, I've heard rumors of a Voltron collector set being released, and it was all die-cast! Although I was excited, I knew I wouldn’t be getting it. My nightmare was realized when my friends told me that they were selling them for RM700!!! Hell, back then, I won’t even think of spending that much cash on a single Transformer! So I buried the dream back into the depths of my memories. Then, my interest was renewed on that fateful September of 2010, when I was hunting for Encore Metroplex at Teencom. They told me that they were going to have a shipment of Voltron coming in, some time in October or November. I was ecstatic! So I wasted no time in attempting to make a booking. However, I was told that the quantity was limited, and there were already 7 other fans ahead of me in the Voltron booking list, and I would only have a chance if there were any extra quantity or if somebody would actually snub the figure. 
I was rock-bottom.
            Then, on 1 fateful October Wednesday evening, while on my way back from work, I had the sudden urge to pay a visit to Teencom. Normally this would be highly unlikely cuz I would normally go back home at least by 8pm daily, which by then the store would be closed, and plus the fact that I just went there the past weekend. But somehow that day, I gave in to that urge, hoping to find a new Transformer. While I was skimming through the racks, something unexpectedly showed up—squeezed between 2 huge boxes was a collector’s set Voltron by Toynami. It was the first time in 15 years or so since I’ve seen a real-life Voltron figure. I asked the store owner if it was for sale. I braced for the worst, but was surprised when he told me it was! His helper relented, saying the thing might already been booked. But the owner said, since I was a frequent customer there, he may as well sell it to me instead! 
            I can’t believe it!!!
            Now I’m a proud owner of Voltron!

Lion Mode:
 
            As we all know, Voltron consists of 5 lions (shame on you if you don’t know it), i.e. head honcho black lion, blue lion, red lion, yellow lion and green lion. Unlike most incarnation of Power Rangers/ Super Sentai, RED doesn’t mean that you’re the boss, although Keith does wear a red-colored uniform. 
            At the time, since I’ve never before seen an actual Voltron lion figures lined-up before my eyes, I was surprised that there were differences in size between the lions that form the arms and the legs.

            Normally in case of Transformers, the robots that form the limbs would generally be of the same size, while the robot that forms the body would be the biggest (excluding the G1 Constructicons). 

            Here Black lion is the biggest, followed by both the Yellow and Blue lions, which are nearly the size of the Black lion, but slightly smaller; and the tiny Red and Green lions. The size differences were quite new to me.

            Anyways, maybe it’s just me, but the lions really do look awkward at first. They seemed stiff. I can’t help it but to compare them with Transformers in general. 

            But over time, the lions began to grow on me. They even delighted me when they can do a pose that none of my animal-based Transformers can ever do: they can actually sit down (!), ala Cat-lair-ish (of Thundercat)! 
            There is nothing to shout about concerning the articulations of each of the lions, but they aren’t that bad either. Their mouths do open, and their feet can be folded satisfactorily. Both the Green and Red lions can turn their heads and waist, and those are just about it. 
            On their own, they aren’t exactly up to the modern Transformer standards, but if you’re like me, this doesn’t matter much, because I didn’t buy them for the lions – I bought them for Big Daddy V, Voltron.

Robot Mode:
 
            I have heard this version is also known as Masterpiece Voltron (not to be confused with the Transformers Masterpiece line). Coincidentally though, Voltron is the size of a normal Masterpiece Transformer—exactly the size of Optimus Prime.

            I can’t help it to recite the “sacred mantra” whenever I transform the lions into Voltron.
           
            Team, ready to form Voltron. Activate interlocks, dyna-therms connected. Infra-cells up, mega-thrusters are go. GO VOLTRON FORCE. Form feet and legs. Form arms and body (torso). And I’ll form, the head!
            I just love it, and the transformation is quite simple, but fun. It is this mode, which would put most, even some of the most modern Transformers to shame. It looks well-proportioned, tall and lanky, but with the right bulks and the right places. 
           The articulations are stupendous, and I dare say, Voltron even rivals Masterpiece Optimus Prime in this aspect. Voltron can even hold his swords with two hands – something even Masterpiece Optimus can’t do, due to his massive chest.
            I don’t know why, but the face actually reminds me of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuanyin, due to that dot on top of his forehead. I know it sounds crazy, but I can’t help it!
            Anyway, Voltron can stand very well. The ankles move, so do the knees and hip. The head articulation is fantastic, as it can look at any direction that you may want him to. 
            I can’t compare it to the original Voltron figure, but from the info I have, this Voltron is definitely much taller, but lesser in bulk.
Accessories:
            Voltron comes with the Blazing Sword, and a shield. The sword has got a really long hilt so that Voltron can hold it with both hands and has a peg which slots nicely into a hole in the Red Lion’s mouth for a better grip. Even the shield has the peg too. The sword too, as far as my memory serves, looks exactly like how they depicted it in the show, which is cool. 
            In all, nice accessories, but I wished they would have included the daggers that the lions hold in their mouths while fighting solo. That would’ve been a great addition to an already great set.

Summary:
            Standing amongst The Family, Voltron sure doesn’t seem to be out of place. In fact, he seems to blend in with his other seniors. He is definitely one of the big guys in my collections, though not even close to Cybertron Metroplex or Primus, he stands head to head with the likes of Masterpiece Optimus and Megatron. He’s big, well-articulated, and fun to play with, that is if you intended it to be a plaything, which I would suggest you don’t.
            The best thing about Voltron is he looks exactly how he supposed to look like, just like in the cartoon shows. Everything is exactly the same.
            Voltron is really a dream come true for me – the feeling that I had when I first got him, was exactly as when I first gotten myself the original G1 Megatron. Just as in the case of G1 Megatron, I thought it was close to impossible to get myself a version of Voltron, but thankfully, I was proven wrong. Coming from a hardcore Transfan such as myself, in most cases, I would never pick another robot over any Transformers, but Voltron is definitely one of the few exceptions (the other, for me, is Ramrod). Voltron looks just as good as any Transformer, and I dare say, even better than some Transformers out there.
            Having managed to grab Voltron (and G1 Megatron a long time ago), it has taught me a valuable lesson – nothing is impossible. Now that Voltron is in the bag, I hope I could somehow find a Ramrod figure out there, and maybe, a Vehicle Voltron?

Rating – 10.0 (Absolutely love it)


2 comments:

  1. Hey bro, excellent review on the classic 80s toy. Glad you finally owned this masterpiece. Peter Cullen was also the narrator of the opening theme of this cartoon. Sweet memories!

    Check out the review of Ramrod if you haven't.

    http://www.collectiondx.com/review/1984/bismarck

    http://www.collectiondx.com/node/1127

    regards,
    Vince

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was hoping to get Ramrod myself, but can't seem to find him anywhere... that is 1 piece of rare classics there...

    ReplyDelete