Mattel was nice enough to answer some super-nerdy, nuts and bolts questions we had about the 23 inch tall 2012 Voltron Classic. Everything you could possibly want to know about this giant sized release is answered below. Enjoy!
Like this group shot? You can download a super-large version of this image here.
Question: Is this the finished piece or a prototype/mock-up? What can we expect to be different (if anything) on the finished piece as far as paint and sculpt detail.
Answer: It is still a prototype/mock-up that is pretty close to the final item. You may see some small difference in the deco regarding show authenticity, but other than that it is pretty much the final piece.
Question: Previous Voltron/Go Lion toys have had chromed legs on the lions and many collectors have come to expect that in a Voltron toy. Why have you folks opted to go with white limbs on your release?
Answer: The white / animation look was just one of the different looks that we could brought to Voltron. The past Voltron toys were awesome, but we didn't want to just make our version of the same thing. So we really wanted to find a way to set us apart, not only in scale, but also in how we approached the actual look of Voltron. We wanted to create a Voltron that was as true to the classic show as possible, while bringing something new and never before seen to the table.
Question: Will the "limb" Lion's rear feet fold forward on the finished toy? We do understand that in the cartoon we never actually see the lions legs on the formed Voltron (anime magic makes them disappear.) In all of the images of the assembled Voltron on display the rear feet on the arm lions are flipped back, sticking out from the shoulder ever so slightly. Upon close examination I can see this is the same on the Blue and Yellow Lions as well. Traditionally previous versions of the toy have opted to have these fold forward and resting parallel to the lower body of the Lions.
Answer: Some of the choices we made with the legs were purely from a functional standpoint. Like you said, you never see the legs folded up in the classic show, so its really up for discussion on what the correct configuration should be. I know you see them fold in the combining sequence, but we have other things to think about like support for these big lions. The legs of the Red and Green Lion do not flip forward, this is mainly because of the way the auto transformation releases the legs, but also because it adds support for the legs so it can hold the weight of the lion in different poses.
The Blue and Yellow lions legs can be folded closer to the previous toy versions, but they actually serve as an even greater support function. Their front/bottom legs/ feet are folded back to act as a heel/ balance point to keep this giant guy standing tall and stable. Something else you don't see that we added, is a panel that flips down on the stomachs of the Blue and Yellow Lions, which completes that heel and adds even more support.
Question: What kind of joints are being used on the Black Lions back legs? Ratchet joints, also known by the highly technical term "clicky joints" ;) are the preferred joint mechanism by toy fans everywhere as they tend to hold poses on large items better than tension/friction joints as well as hold up better over time. With a piece this large when assembled tight ratchet joints are the only way to keep it from looking like a floppy mess.
Answer: That's a great observation, and YES every joint in the lions is a ratchet joint. Lions and a Voltron this scale have to be able to securely hold many different poses, and to support the weight of all of these combined. We had to make sure that all of the articulation points were secure. So every point of articulation uses a ratcheted "clicky joint".
Question: Will the Voltrons upper legs/Black Lions rear legs feature the ability to push the legs out at an angle at the hips? Most collectors call this an A stance and it helps create a much more dramatic pose. Again, a ratchet joint here would be best.
Answer: Yes they will. If you wanted to you could make him do a complete split, as well as sit flat on the ground with his legs forward, like he was trying to touch his toes. The level of articulation of this Voltron fully assembled is incredible considering the size. He has about as much articulation as the recent Toynami Masterpiece Voltron, minus a couple points we had to take out due to stability issues.
Question: Will the Voltrons upper legs/Black Lions rear legs feature the ability to rotate either below the hip or just below the knee?
Answer: They will rotate below the hip, so right below the black square section of his hip/leg. This is pretty standard in most other Voltron figures.
Question: Will the arms dock in further into the body? Currently the arms look like there just kind of hanging there leaving a bit to much room between the main body and the arms.
Answer: The arms may dock a bit more than what was seen in the prototype model, but not by much. We have a bit more space there so that you can actually rotate and pivot the arms more at the shoulders, to really give him more dynamic poseability.
Question: Why spread out the release with a subscription program? Is this to create a "collector mentality" or is this a limitation of factory production lines available for a smaller collector's line?
Answer: The subscription program is really more for the benefit of the fans - so that you're able to collect all lions to assemble into Voltron, and the 5 pilots with all the pieces to create the Collect-and-Connect Ultra Blazing Sword. You can't have Voltron if you're missing a lion! Spreading out the release is also beneficial to the fans... not everyone is able to buy the entire line all at once. Pacing it out over the year makes collecting the Voltron figures more accessible to the true fans and collectors who want it.
Question: Why the one-touch transformation? It seems a very kid-like feature but with it's cost and subscription model you folks are clearly aiming this line squarely at adult collectors. For the time and cost of engineering those features in Mattel could of added more adult collector friendly features like firing heads or missile launchers. Weapon packs could be a nice add-on in 2013...
Answer: We knew we were taking a risk with the one touch transformation features, but we thought it was a cool thing to bring to Voltron. We see this aimed at collectors, but also hope that it could bring new fans into the world of Voltron as well. I know many collectors will have this guarding their shelves and display cases, but we also want them to be comfortable sharing this with their kids. We really wanted to offer a lot of things that hadn't been done before, and add some new life to Voltron. Trust me you will not get tired of pushing the center crest and being able to instantly form the head! We did think about missile launchers, and that may be something you might see in the future....weapons packs would be awesome!
Question: What materials will be used in the Lions construction? I know many collector's expected die-cast metal, I however did not as I understand how that drives the price up very quickly.
Answer: We would have loved to use die-cast metal....but at the scale that we wanted to hit, the weight would have been way too much. This Voltron already feels like a small child in size. One of our co-workers said it best: "It feels like holding that heavy metal Voltron you had as a kid, but now that you're an adult, it's THAT BIG!"
Well, I'm sold and I am now 100% officially excited for this bad boy!
I am so very glad I subscribed to the 2012 Voltron® Club Lion Force Subscription when I did. It is too late for you to subscribe but all hope is not lost! All of the lions and their corresponding pilot figures EXCEPT the club exclusive figure Sven will be available at MattyCollector.com around the 15th of the on-sale month. The red lion with Lance is expected in January 2012 with the rest of the lions being released every 2nd or 3rd month of the year.
We of course we will keep you up to date on all of Mattel's Voltron Classics (as well as the newer Voltron Force lines) as things develop so check back often or better yet you should follow us on Twitter here.
I will be doing an multi-part series documenting and reviewing these releases as I get them from begining to end but previous history has shown that the Matty Collector releases sell out real quick. Like days and hours quick so save your pennies and be ready if this set interests you. I suspect this will end up being a real quick seller.
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