Review – 23″ Voltron – Voltron Classics, Mattel

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

And now we get to what everybody has been waiting for in this line: the completed Voltron! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since he was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2011. Mattel gave us our first hit back in February when the first lion, the Red Lion, was released. Fans have been waiting with bated breath to finally piece Voltron together to see in person just how big he is, and how well he holds up. This is one of the largest Voltron toys ever made, only being slightly beaten by a 24″ Voltron put out by Trendmasters in the late 90′s.
This review will focus on Voltron as a complete action figure on its own, and not talk about the individual lions. I’ve talked about them already. Continue after the jump as I take a closer look at Mattel’s Voltron.

 

PACKAGING- Voltron came packaged as 5 separate lions, so this area isn’t too applicable here. I talked about the packaging for the lions in their individual reviews. You can find links to them at the bottom of this one.

 

SCULPT- Voltron stands at just under 2 feet tall! That is undoubtedly huge. It’s undeniably Voltron, that’s for sure. You can tell that when designing Voltron, Mattel tried to balance the design of the original cartoon while giving homage to the old Panosh Place toy. All the details you’d expect on Voltron are there.

The crest on his chest looks great, as does his “belt” area. The lions blend in as limbs quite nicely, though I do wish that the legs of the lions had been designed in a way to hide them better, but it’s not a big deal. I’ll admit that it is quite unattractive to have the arms sticking out so far from the torso, but it is necessary to allow for articulation. Same goes for the legs and hip area. So it really is a good balance I think. I’d prefer having more articulation.

I really love the head sculpt. I know many were bothered that the jaw of the Black Lion didn’t descend into the chest of Voltron as it did in the cartoon, but again…I’d prefer the articulation, and if it did that the head wouldn’t be able to turn. And the way it’s executed here really works. I love the face sculpt. It’s very stoic, which is how Voltron should look.

 

 

PAINT – Voltron is mostly cast in the appropriate colors, with painted detailing. All the vibrant colors of the individual lions look great together in Voltron’s completed form. They all seem to complement each other, and nothing clashes, as weird as that seems. Because everything is mostly cast in the right color, I’ve experienced no paint chipping or anything like that, so that’s a plus.

In his completed form, the lack of chrome detailing bothers me a lot less. Voltron looks really good like this, even with just the gray parts as opposed to vac chrome. It would have been nice to get some washes on him, to help bring out the sculpt and perhaps make it look more realistic, but the simplistic detailing is cartoon accurate, and it does seem to be more or less what they were going for.

 

 

ARTICULATION – Voltron has a cut neck, swivel-hinged shoulders, single elbows, opening hands, cut waist, swivel-hinged hips, thigh swivels, single knees, and ankle rotators.

All the joints in Voltron are ratcheted, which is very good. Because of his size, the ratcheted joints are the only thing that could even possibly hold him up, so that was a very smart call. But there is a trade off. It makes it harder to pose him, and I’ve had more than one instance of pinching myself trying to position the joints, and have had instances of the arms popping out from the force of moving the ratchets in the elbows.

It’s actually a good amount of articulation, though parts of it could have been handled better. Due to the spring loaded feature in the head, Voltron can not look up at all. Also, the knees are pretty restricted. They can’t bend backwards far, just one click and they’re done. And I really wish they had thought out the ankles better. I mentioned that the ankles (the heads of the blue and yellow lions) rotate, but you can’t really hinge them. They’re held in place via the spring loaded feature, so they’re stuck where they are.

It’s a very large figure, so posing something like this is going to be tricky no matter what. Be careful if you’re posing him on a slick surface. If you have his legs spread at all on a slick surface, he will do the splits. You need to pose him on a rough surface, otherwise you will experience problems.

 

 

ACCESSORIES – There are a few accessories for Voltron. Naturally he comes with his Blazing Sword and the star burst shield. You can also equip him with the energized Blazing Sword, that you had to build by collecting all the pilots. The Blazing Sword is awesome, and is huge. The grip is almost big enough to be held by an adult human and look like a strange dagger or something. Both versions of the Blazing Sword can fit into either hand by plugging into a hole on the inside of the hands.

The way the shield is designed, it only had a peg on the leg side of the handle and can really only be held in the left hand. I suppose you could flip it upside down if you really wanted it to be held in the right hand, so it’s up to you. Something I noticed when posing him is how much weight the swords add to the figure. They’re not that heavy, but they’re enough that, in certain poses, the swords cause Voltron to fall forward.

If you stand him in a vanilla pose holding out his sword, he will fall forward. You will have to find a combination of posing the legs and posing the arm to find a good center of gravity to balance Voltron while posed with his weapons.

 

 

FUN – Having Voltron finally completed made me feel like a kid. It’s one thing to see pictures of it, but it’s quite another to finally see for yourself, in person, just how massive this guy is. That adds a lot to the fun factor for me, though of course that’s not everything. He’s very fun to pose, just to see what you can make him do.

An added bit of fun is that the pilots can, of course, sit in the cockpits of their lions, even when Voltron is combined. Because there is no way to lock the pilots in their seats though, you may experience some rattling when trying to pose him. Don’t worry though, that’s why your pilots have those helmets! Ha ha.

In all seriousness though, I think this is a really fun toy. It’s Voltron for crying out loud! Not only that, but this guy is seriously huge. I just can’t get over that, even with the problems, I still find Voltron massively fun to play with and pose. He’s got two versions of the Blazing Sword that also really help add to the fun. And did I mention he’s Voltron? It’s phsyically impossible not to think Voltron is cool. That’s science.

 

 

QUALITY CONTROL – The legs of the blue and yellow lions are very prone to popping out. I noted this in my individual reviews for them, that they’re front legs don’t like to stay in place. And it doesn’t help that the front legs are the ones touching the ground when Voltron is in his combined form. So be wary of that when posing him, because you may have to contend with the legs popping out with little provocation.

Also, he’s very top heavy. The Black Lion is the biggest one, so it makes sense that he’s the heaviest, but because of this, he tends to tilt more than you would like. It doesn’t help that the way Voltron’s feet lock into place makes it inevitable that Voltron will lean forward. It’s unfortunate, but doesn’t make it impossible to pose him. It is something that should have been done differently though.

You have to get clever with posing him, otherwise he’ll just fall flat on his face, and if you have him posed on a shelf, that could be a very bad day for you.

 

 

OVERALL – It definitely seems like Mattel was banking on the size being a strong selling point, considering the posing problems he has, and the lack of balance. And I admit, the size is quite impressive, but I feel that everything should have been balanced better. Figuratively, and quite literally. He’s got feet that are permanently posed slightly forward, and he’s extremely top heavy. That’s just a recipe for shelf dives, if I’ve ever heard one. Because of that, you have to be careful posing him with his sword, because that adds even more weight to the top of the figure. The blue and yellow lions’ legs popping out is also a constant frustration.

You can tell Mattel tried to make him feet as balanced as possible with the panels in the back that flip down to keep him grounded. It was a good idea, but it seems ultimately futile, since there are some poses he’s just not going to hold. I really wish he could have had a bicep swivel to add to the poseability, and maybe be able to hold the sword in both hands. He has thigh swivels, so they could have done it, though it doesn’t ruin the figure to not have it.

So as you can tell, the figure does have its problems. I think that having any figure of this size, with this much articulation, is going to cause problems. You can scale pieces, but you can’t scale gravity. The reality is that gravity acts stronger against larger objects than it does smaller ones. This is something a lot of people don’t get when they wonder why something this big is hard to pose, when something designed the exact same way, only smaller, is easier to pose. Physics is a harsh mistress sometimes.

Still, while you can’t scale gravity, you can add design features to it to help counteract the effects. Perhaps add a little less weight to the torso, and add more weight to the feet. If you can find a way to seal it, I’d recommend getting some lead weights and filling the cockpits of the blue and yellow lions with them, to help weight the legs down more. It could counteract the tipping issues.

Now you’ve heard the problems, but here’s the flip side. It is Voltron. In many ways, this is the Voltron figure I’ve been waiting for for a long time. He’s got a very good amount of articulation, and he’s huge. I’ve always wanted a really big, poseable Voltron and this is it. I think a lot of fans will be disappointed in how frustrating it can be to pose him, but I don’t want to give the impression that he’s completely immobile or that trying to put him in any dynamic poses is futile, because it isn’t.

With a little creativity, you can get some really great, really natural poses out of him, and ultimately it’s very fun to pose and play with him. It’s a tough call, but I do think that, despite the problems, Voltron is still very much worth the wait over these several months. He looks impressive on any shelf, and is sure to be a great conversation piece for anyone who sees him in your home for the first time.

 

 

FINAL SCORE: 3 / 5

 

 

If you want to check out my reviews for the individual lions, click the following links:

Red Lion with Lance

Yellow Lion with Hunk

Green Lion with Pidge

Blue Lion with Allura

Black Lion with Keith

 

 

Where to buy:

  • Amazon has each of the 5 lions available for sale.
  • BigBadToyStore currently only has the Blue Lion in stock.
Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance AlluraMattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Scale comparison with Trendmasters standard Voltron

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Scale comparison with Mattel DC All Stars 6″ Batman

Mattel 23" Voltron Classics Action Figure Red Black Blue Yellow Green Lion Keith Pidge Hunk Lance Allura

Voltron Force Assemble!

4 thoughts on “Review – 23″ Voltron – Voltron Classics, Mattel

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