Review – Red Lion & Lance – Voltron Classics, Mattel (20 Pictures!)

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

I suppose I should warn you now, this isn’t going to be an ordinary review. Due to the unique nature of the Voltron Red Lion set, it’s going to be longer and formatted just a bit differently to accomodate. I suppose it makes sense, considering Voltron has such an awesome (awesome used in the actual definition here) presence that one can’t help but give way to it.

But seriously, this one’s gonna be a doozy. There’s a lot of stuff to cover, from both the Lance figure and the Red Lion himself, and I hope you’re in for the ride. Join us as we take a look at the very first piece of the Mattel 23″ Voltron, the Red Lion with  his pilot Lance. And don’t forget to click on each picture to enlarge it!




PACKAGING – Lance has some good packaging, although it seems quite big for a figure that small. At least it seems that way on the outside. The entire left half of the front is covered with the Voltron logo, a picture of Lance from the cartoon, and his name. We can see the figure, his alternate head, and his key in a small window on the right. Inside we see that the left side of the package is taken up by the Collect and Connect Blazing Sword piece. The back of the package features photos of the Lance figure by himself and interacting with the Red Lion. I’m a fan of “more is less” and simplistic design getting the point across while still being attractive, and I think the packaging delivers that here. You can tell the packaging was made on a budget, but it still looks good.





SCULPT – The figure features a very cartoon accurate sculpt. All the proportions, and the smoothness of the body seem to indicate this. The head sculpt looks great, and looks just like Lance from the cartoon, right down to his slightly perpetual angry face. As I said, it’s not the most detailed sculpt, but it is ‘toon accurate so I can’t fault it for that.





PAINT – Lance has very good paint apps, which is surprising frankly, since it’s a Mattel 3 3/4 inch figure. From what I can tell, there are no sloppy edges, and everything looks good. The Tampograph on his chest looks great as well. Again surprisingly, his eyes and eyebrows are painted quite well. My only complaint is like with the sculpt, the lack of detail.

There’s no paint wash or anything to help bring out what details there are in the sculpt, like wrinkles in the paints and in the boots. I understand Mattel wanting to stay cartoon accurate, but on a purely aesthetic level, it just looks very bland.

PAINT SCORE: 2.5 / 5




ARTICULATION – Articulation is another area where Lance suffers. While still more articulated than Mattel’s recent foray into the 3 3/4 inch scale (hint: Green Lantern), it’s not nearly as articulated as one would like. He features a ball jointed neck that just acts as a cut, ball jointed shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows, waist cut, Mattel style hinged hips, and swivel-hinged knees.

You can see from the photo of him posed that there aren’t a lot of dynamic positions you can put him in. I suppose Mattel always considered the pilots as extra to the lions and articulation was an afterthought, but there are many who would like to be able to pose the pilots themselves. All the joints he has works pretty good, but he has no ankle or wrist articulation. That alone would have added a lot to the amount of poses he could be put in. Not that he could even hold that gun on his hip or anything anyway, which brings us to…





ACCESSORIES – As I mentioned before, the gun that’s holstered to his hip is permanently placed there. For some reason Mattel thought this was a good idea. What’s more, it’s weird that his right hand is meant to hold a gun, yet he can’t hold his at all. It boggles the mind.

Anyway, the accessories he does come with is an alternate helmeted head, a key to open his lion that also acts as a display base, and the handle to build the collect and connect “forming” Blazing Sword. I do have to hand it to Mattel for giving him an extra head instead of a ridiculously oversized removable helmet. It actually looks really good. And of course the head and helmet are separate pieces, so for anyone wanting they could remove the head from the helmet with relative ease if they wanted Lance to be holding it by his side.

The key/base is a nice homage to the Panosh Place Voltron, and it does help him stand so that’s good. And while you can technically open the Red Lion without the key (although you’d need something small to stick in there), it helps tremendously to have it so it is essential. But I just can’t get over that gun on his hip. the Blazing Sword handle looks good, but it’s just one piece and is hard to judge on its own. It looks like the Blazing Sword handle, and fits perfectly in the Red Lion’s mouth/Voltron’s right hand.





FUN – Lance is not a very fun figure by himself. As I said before, the pilots seem to be more of an afterthought, a fun extra to the main even which is the lions. I can kinda get that. Lance does have some nice features and ok articulation, but If Mattel had been selling the pilots separately from the Lions, I would probably have not bought them at all in their current state.

Had they had more articulation and more accessories (at least a removable gun!) or just anything to make them more fun by themselves, then that would be a different story. But as it is now, Lance’s real fun only comes with his interaction with his Lion.

FUN SCORE: 2 / 5




OVERALL – There’s not much else to expound upon Lance. It all comes down to him not being very fun or articulated. If Mattel didn’t force you to buy the pilots with the Lions, I could probably live without them.







PACKAGING – The Red Lion is BIG and the packaging lets you know it, because it’s almost nothing but a window box. And there doesn’t seem to be any wasted room inside either. The Red Lion is in a cool pose in the box, and we can see his accessory clearly, with a very cool character accurate background of inside a volcano (where the Red Lion resides). The back features some cool photos of the Red Lion and has a complete photo of Voltron with the Red Lion highlighted to let you know where he goes on the complete figure. Very nice and very attention getting packaging.





SCULPT – The Red Lion, as I mentioned before, is huge. Certainly the biggest Red Lion Voltron I’ve ever seen. For a comparison, he’s about as big as the MOTUC Battle Cat. He’s extremely ‘toon accurate to his proportions and style he’s sculpted in. He has some great sculpted panel lines and other robotic detailing that help make it pop. The head looks awesome, and just how the Red Lion should look.





PAINT – Most of the Red Lion has been sculpted in the appropriate colors (red and gray) with some detailing added. Pretty much the only real paint is on part of his back, and on his head. What little paint there is looks good and clean, although I’m just very disappointed that there isn’t any more paint detail.

Again, I know it’s Mattel wanting to be accurate to the cartoon, but from a collector standpoint, it just seems lazy. Even a kind of pearlized red paint on the body would look nice, and if his legs were silver instead of a light gray that also would look better in my opinion. Or even just a wash or SOMETHING to help bring out that great sculpt. The Red Lion is very visually striking, but upon closer inspection you’re just left wanting more paint detail.





ARTICULATION – Due to the Red Lion being an arm, he has a good amount of articulation. He’s got a hinged jaw, a head that can rotate, single knee joints, ankle joints, a joint in the middle of his tail, and a mid-torso hinge.

The torso hinge is of course supposed to be the elbow to Voltorn when he’s put together, but here it does help for posing. All the jionts are ratcheted, so they give off a very satisfying CLICK everytime you move them. This is to ensure stability when Voltron is completed, and I like it.

He however does not have anything resembling a “bicep swivel” for when he’s Voltron’s arm so that will cut down on posing. That was something I was wondering about at first, and now I’m sad to know it’s not there. Another sad aspect is how the legs are limited in their posing due to the spring loaded transformation. But we’ll talk more about that later.





ACCESSORIES – The Red Lion comes with one accessory. It’s the weapon that some of the old Voltron Red Lions came with. It’s sort of a double ended bladed weapon, with one end curved. I’m not sure it even has a name, but it’s nice to get these vintage accessories. And with two little divots on the side, it fits nicely between the Red Lion’s teeth.





TRANSFORMATION / ACTION FEATURE – So let’s talk about the elephant (or Lion as the case may be) in the room. The spring loaded action feature. For whatever reason, Mattel thought it would add value to Voltron if each of the lions had this spring loaded transformation feature. It was originally marketed as the ability to instantly tranform the lions from their lion state to their Voltron state.

However, that is not the case. You have to manually fold up the legs and tail yourself. The tail of the Red Lion folds inside a compartment on his back, and his legs lock into place when you fold them up correctly. When you want him to be a lion again, you press a button on his stomach, and on his rear end that springs the legs out. And it doesn’t even do it that well. You still have to work the legs and feet back into the right position, and you have to manually open the compartment on his back to release his tail. I’m really not a fan of this.

I don’t mind the way the legs fold up, even though it’s not ‘toon accurate, because in the cartoon the legs disappeared on the lions in Voltron form. That would be incredibly hard to accomplish on a toy. I just don’t like the spring loaded action feature at all. I think it actually takes away from the value of the toy, as it hinders the articulation of the lion and could become a problem later. Since springs in toys tend to wear after a while,

I’m just wondering what will happen if all the springs end up breaking. Will the lions all become loose jointed, or will it act exactly the same way, only you just have to fold up and unfold the legs manually? I suppose only time will tell, but as it stands now I think we could have done with the feature. The transformation is great, but the spring loaded feature is pretty bogus.





FUN – I have to admit, the Red Lion is a lot of fun. Despite the articulation problems, it’s the Red Lion of Voltron! He’s incredibly huge, about as long as my forearm. And I can’t wait to see how he looks completed.

Probably the funnest part of the Red Lion (you know without him being a part of Voltron) is the fact that Lance can sit inside him. You have to use the key that came with Lance and insert it on the top of the Red Lion’s back and it opens up like two doors. Inside you can see  some very nice decals applied, but like on the rest of the figure there’s no paint detail. Lance fits perfectly inside though, and the doors close up over his head with ease. He can fit inside the Red Lion with either of the two heads on.

I’m really glad that Mattel added this feature to the lions, as it really adds another level of playability and fun to the figure. And while I’m not that keen on the spring loaded transformation, I just can’t help but be excited when I turn him into the arm, waiting for the day when the last Lion gets to me.

FUN SCORE: 5 / 5




OVERALL – The Red Lion is a pretty great toy, despite his problems. Unlike some people, I’m actually glad that he doesn’t have any die cast parts. I don’t even want to think about how heavy and unstable a 2 foot tall Voltron toy would be with die cast parts.

The plastic the Red Lion is made from looks good, but is surprisingly light weight. He does have some heft, but you can tell that Mattel purposely made the lions as light weight as possible to ensure the stability of the completed Voltron. And while I’m not a fan of the spring loaded feature, it is fun folding up the lion into the arm and unfolding him again. I also love that Lance can fit inside him.

And lastly, he’s Voltron! And completing this Voltron is going to be quite the event. So if you’re a Voltron fan, I wouldn’t miss it. Voltron Force Assemble!



LANCE SCORE: 2.5 / 5




Where to buy: Unfortunately it was only available on Mattycollector and is currently sold out. However, you can try the following, but you will have to pay secondary market prices.

  • Amazon has this set available form a few sellers, but this is the cheapest one I could find.
  • EBay is your only other option it seems.
Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics GoLion Red Lion Pilot Lance Anime

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2 thoughts on “Review – Red Lion & Lance – Voltron Classics, Mattel (20 Pictures!)

  1. Pingback: Review - Black Lion & Keith - Voltron Classics, Mattel (24 Pictures!) - Mint Condition Customs

  2. Pingback: Review - 23" Voltron - Voltron Classics, Mattel - Mint Condition Customs

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