Voltron Masterpiece Edition
|Toy Design||Daisuke Fukuda|
Review by JoshB
I’m gonna cut right to it – the Masterpiece Voltron is awesome.
I know what you are saying. You don’t believe it. But it is true. This thing is pure deluxe chogokin all the way. This thing is great, and I will tell you why.
The Masterpiece Voltron comes in Toynami’s signature book-style packaging. The cover is textured, and it actually feels like a real book. The spine has the Voltron team on it, while the inside front talks a bit about Voltron. Two drawers slide out the side of the book, holding all the lions and accessories. The back cover holds the “certificate of authenticity”, which holds the toy’s number. This means nothing to me, but maybe there is a segment of the collecting community who appreciates this. Included is a full color manual with simple instructions.
Each Lion comes packaged in its lion form, so we will start there. The important thing to keep in your mind while handling this toy is that this is not the popy/Bandai/trendmasters/bootleg version. It is not meant to be. I found myself looking at this toy and wondering if they included the same details, like the opening ear sections on the yellow lion. You really have to remind yourself that this is not a reissue, nor is it trying to compete with that old version.
|The yellow and blue lions form the legs. The body of each lion is entirely diecast. The legs are beautifully chromed and fully articulated. The heads are plastic, and are on ball joints, so they have a full range of articulation. The jaws open. Each tail is made of a sturdy plastic and retracts in to the body. The tails are made of a sturdy material – not at all fragile. I wish I knew what kind of plastic this is, but I think it’s the same kind of plastic used on kids’ outdoor toys. Paint and detail is top notch.|
|The green and red lions become the arms. Both the front and rear bodies are entirely diecast. The heads are plastic, and have a full range of motion, with moveable jaws. The waist joint on the lions are actually jointed in three places – it swivels at both ends, and bends in the middle. The bend only bends one way though, to make for a rigid elbow joint. The tails here retract also. The chest area is made out of diecast, while the rest of the lion is plastic.|
|The black lion becomes the main body of Voltron. The body is mostly diecast. The head is fully articulated, with three joints. The legs are chromed and fully poseable. The shoulders pop out a little to allow you to spread the front legs out a bit. The wings fold out from the back, and can swivel however you want to pose them. The tail folds up, and again, is made out of a rigid material.|
FORM FEET AND LEGS!
Transformation here is much like the other version – fold the legs close to the body, and tilt up the heads. The tails get pushed into the body. The back end of each lion has a spring loaded door that the black lion’s feet go into.
FORM ARMS AND BODY
For the arms, fold the legs in and push the tail into the body. In the old toy, you would use the tail to connect the figure to the body. This time there is a small peg that folds out from the rear of the lion. This again, is made of that tough plastic. The peg fits into the shoulder of the black lion. You would thing that this would be a fragile connection point, but it is not, it is really secure and strong.
AND I’LL FORM THE HEAD
The black lion forms the body. First you fold out the bottom legs so that they are pointed straight down. Then, open the panels on the shoulders of the front legs and fold the legs in. Be careful with these panels, as these are the only fragile points about this toy that I can see. Rotate the shoulders around so they match up with the front, and then push them in towards the body until they click. Pull the lower jaw down to reveal the face, and push the ears down. The wings unfold and have a little angle cut out of them for them to rest against the leg assembly. The legs even have a little groove to show where they are supposed to go. Finally, the tail folds up onto the back.
The first thing that grabs you is how sleek this toy looks. It’s leaner than the old toy for sure, but this one looks more like what Voltron actually looked like on the show. Us hardcore collectors can get a bit caught up on the toys and forget about the character. I myself, associate Voltron with the Matchbox toy, big and bulky. My first thought upon seeing this was that it Just didn’t look right. But when you actually go back and look at the animated Voltron, this is how he is supposed to look. When you see this toy in person, the dimensions are all perfect.
In robot mode, Voltron is incredibly articulated. The head is articulated in three places, and has the ability to look straight up, or even down at you due to a recess in the neck area. The shoulders, elbows and wrists are fully articulated. There is a waist joint, but it is limited slightly – if you have the tail tucked in the back, the waist does not turn. Take that out and you have more of a range of motion, but you are still limited by the emblem on the waist.
The hip joints have full motion, but are not as strong as I would like. This is one of those toys that you put in a dynamic pose on a table, but when you pick it up in the air the legs clank together at the heels. This really isn’t a bad thing – the legs are just so heavy. I don’t know how they would have made them stronger without sacrificing the range of motion. The legs also have a swivel joint where the chrome and black meet. Knees bend fully back and forth, and are very tight. Like the old toy, make sure your lower legs are firmly attached, or they will come off. The feet are articulated, and can swivel and turn; making wider dynamic poses more convincing. Use the chrome legs on each lion to give extra support, as Voltron is a bit top-heavy.
Voltron comes with a huge Blazing Sword and Shield. The weapons stay in place via a peg on the handles that plug into a hole in hands. This is a very nice touch. The shield has molded in details that look much better than the original. Also, the handle is long enough for both hands to hold it.
I like this toy. A lot. I know Toynami has gotten a bad rap from some people, and there have been concerns about QC. I can tell you that my toy has no QC issues whatsoever. It’s a solid, heavy, articulate chunk of modern gokin. If Toynami keeps up this line, and this quality, we will have a great series on our hands.
That does not mean that the toy is perfect. There are a few minor concerns, and a few things I wish they would have done differently. First, the small panels that hide the front legs on the black lion scare me. They seem fragile, but they have not broken. The wings seem a bit thin, and when unfolded tend to bend at the joint. I would have liked to have seen a sturdier system here, maybe having one wing section slide out of the other. There’s the previously mentioned hip joint – I wish it were a little tighter, and the last thing I think everyone would have loved – firing fists. I know, Voltron never fired his fists in the show, but I really love that feature of the old toy.
At around 150 bucks, you cannot go wrong with this toy.
|Posted 24 March, 2006 - 09:02 by JoshB|