|Toy Design||Daisuke Fukuda|
Review by JoshB
Dreams do come true.
This is my favorite toy right now. I sit here and stare at it and it just seems so surreal that this exists. But here it is, real, and in my hands.
I first heard about the possibility of this a few years ago as Toynami had announced the smaller vinyl voltron. George (head of Toynami) had teased in an email to me that something BIG was in store for Toy Fair.
Sure enough, at the 2010 Toy Fair, Toynami unveiled prototypes of their Jumbo Voltron toys. They were amazing looking, but I did not want to get too excited. These things have a habit of not happening, especially something this huge.
But they did happen, and here they are. And they are here under the SHOGUN WARRIORS line.
Yep – Toynami owns the name to the legendary Mattel toy line from the 70s – the line that got us all hooked on jumbo machines and die cast robots. And what better way to re-introduce the line than with two 24” robots.
It's real. It exists. Shogun Warriors in 2011, with one of my favorite Characters – Dairugger XV. Most will know him as Voltron 1 (aka Vehicle Voltron), but since Mattel now has the rights to Voltron, this has to be marketed under its original name.
The box is cool. Like the old Shogun Warriors, it features a plain cardboard back with a color cover that slips over the top. The box is HUGE, at least twice as wide and twice as deep as the old Machinder boxes.
The cover is evocative of the old Shogun Warriors Boxes while being updated for 2011. It still has the signature yellow band with the jagged edges, and the logo is similar to the classic logo, but not exact. It feels good to see the familiar packaging again, some 30 years later.
Inside the toy is held in place with several twist ties that are padded with rubber tubes, and several cardboard supports. It is freed easily with a pair of scissors.
The toy is huge and imposing. It's a monster, both heavy and sturdy. But is it a true jumbo? It depends on who you ask.
The toy is mostly made out of hard, thick vinyl. The fists do not fire. There are no “roller skate” wheels. But it is 24” inches tall and has a reasonably neutral pose, comes in a shogun warrior box, and is marketed as a Jumbo. If you collect Jumbo Machinders, you've bought things that resemble jumbos less than this.
The vinyl head is solid with a few of the finer details obviously glued on. The head can rotate stiffly.
Each shoulder rotates and the propeller blades are made out of hard ABS and do not turn. There is a swivel joint at the elbows, and each hand features an open fist. The box shows the fists as solid, but they were carved out for the final piece. The hands have a wonderful bulk and firmness to them – it does not feel like vinyl even though I know it is.
The chest ship is also made out of hard hollow ABS and is not removable.
There's a waist joint between the second and third ships.
The legs swivel at the hips, then again at the feet. The wheels on the feet are solid and molded on – a missed opportunity to give this a real jumbo feel.
When you move the jumbo around you can hear a slight rattle – a sign that indicates what I think is an internal support structure. When you make a 2 foot tall vinyl toy, there is the possibility that over time the vinyl will no longer support the weight and the toy will begin to slouch or warp. Adding this internal support helps alleviate that.
The toy is not overly detailed which also keeps with the Jumbo aesthetic. You have the essential detail, like tank treads on the back of the legs, but all of the mecha-minutae is left out. At first I thought this was just a scaled up version of the smaller vinyl, but compared to this one the small one's details seem gummy and soft. The head is better proportioned on this one and the hands are entirely different.
Another cool thing that I like – and maybe it's coincidence – but the toy is made out of 15 separate parts. So the Dairugger XV actually is made out of all the separate individual components.
The toy is not without its flaws, but I can forgive them considering the nature of the toy. The paint is good, but not great as you can see places where it was touched up at the factory. The toy has a few imperfections in the molds and paint detail but I can overlook it considering the scale and scope of the toy. In fact the only thing I can really complain about with this is the lack of a sword.
I really have to give props to Toynami for making this. Making a Lion Voltron is a given, but doing a Vehicle Voltron takes balls. This shows true passion and dedication. For me this is a collision of worlds – Voltron meets Shogun Warriors meets Jumbos, and it's here, real, in the flesh, in my house. It's a little overwhelming if you think about it too much.
Go out and buy one. If you love Voltron, if you love Jumbos, if you love Shogun Warriors, or even if you love big-ass robot toys. Only 500 of each design are made, and if these sell well, chances are there will be more.
Shogun Warriors are back, and they are brought to you by Toynami.
|Posted 14 April, 2011 - 21:32 by JoshB|