Voltron Force by Mattel...and other signs of the apocalypse

Posted by Sanjeev 
Gcrush Wrote:
At least not in the way that the current Thundercats, He-Man, and Ninja Turtle figures improve upon their vintage counterparts.

You mean like this?

However the multiple configuration gimmick it has doesn't make it a very viable gattai toy..
What is Comparable?
-------------------
The appropriate item to compare this with is the Trendmasters 20" Voltron (we can thank edwardT28 for linking up a perfect and frothless quick overview of that toy if you need one: [www.youtube.com]).

They are both XL big, hold figures, and combine.



The Feature Deficit
-------------------
What really glaringly stands out are the feature differences: Trendmasters has light-up eyes on all lions, extra articulation, chromed legs, and lots (LOTS) of spring-loaded and missile-firing mechanisms throughout each lion, along with accessories and molded detail in the cockpit seating. Add to this that the Trendmasters original total price was about $68, roughly the cost of a single larger Mattel lion. If I remember correctly, secondary market on the Trendmasters hovers around $275 ebay, if and when they ever show up.

I think price-wise and feature-wise the Mattel set is the victim of both a short run and a niche market relative to their usual national fare.

So, which company made the better design decisions? Mattel is a successful business and Trendmasters is...gone, mainly for going all-in on properties like US Godzilla and producing large runs of big full-throttle projects not unlike the 20" Voltron. As a shareholder, I know what *I* would rather.

All I'm saying is I can't cast judgement on design decisions in a vacuum, but since we are talking about toys after all, the language and rationales are allowed to get childlike pretty quickly.



Credit Boom
-------------------
Well, I think this represents most of my toy budget for 2012, so I'm by no means a high roller up in here. I have only two other planned items for the year and that's it. With planned sales I'll be somewhat even at the end. Of course, if a heartgrail pops up I could weaken.



My Own Verdict
-------------------
I'm really happy with the Mattel and enjoy the factor of subscribing by mail to build a Japanese robot from a US company. This is fun!
MSW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A video review of the Red Lion and Lance figures:
> [www.youtube.com]
> =g-u-u&context=G2f8dca9FUAAAAAAAAAA


My fucking Key Force Van did cooler shit than that

[www.youtube.com]

it's even a Mattel product

someone really wanted to bring back key force
Just watched the video review, and the whole thing just seems kinda lazy. Like, I get that the biggest gimmick is the size and combination, but it seems like every aspect of it is half-assed. Every feature (or lack thereof) seems to come as at the expense of a compromise elsewhere. The paint and detail are pitiful, so it doesn't even look great. On something that large, for for $50 per set at the cheapest, I would expect much better, with some markings, silver instead of grey, and really sharp paint and finish. The whole thing seems pretty poor functionally as well... shit was springing out and screwy all over the place while that guy was handling it, making the prospect of a giant Voltron that has little lion legs pop out all over its body every time you ratchet one of its too-tight joints seem entirely possible. the lack of arm-mode articulation is messed up, too. They seem to have done absolutely nothing to take advantage of all the room making the toys that big provides them, in the name of the pilot gimmick, which is dumb anyway.

It just seems like there are better options already out there for people looking for any specific aspect of what this toy does. If you want size, the vinyl Jumbo has a much nicer finish and look. If you want gettai and a good Voltron mode, the Masterpiece, and even the original DX blow this away. If you want pilot figures and cockpits, you are a freak. It just seems this toy doesn't do anything better than previous toys have, except be really big and compromise on everything.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
That new Voltron Force show sucks all kinds of ass. But I hope they do make that toy of the new Voltron design, I think it looks kinda neat.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yeah...the new show is FUCKING horrendous...

Anyway, I just watched that video review. I think I now like the action figure more and the lion less! :P

The use of sticker detail inside the cockpit is kinda inexcusable...even though at first, I couldn't have cared less about the pilot gimmick. The lack of bicep swivel (for the arm mode) is total bullshit. The spring-loaded transformation gimmick is absurd because, as the reviewer stated, no one cares about the lions firming FROM their combined Voltron mode...it's the other fucking way around! And lastly, yeah, I'll admit, the lack of detail and chrome legs IS a bit glaring.

That old Panosh Place combiner sucked balls, though. I had it when I was a kid...and I think I ended up trading it away for some random Starcom shit a couple days later. Hated that fucking thing...even as a child, I had the gods damned sense to ban that piece of shit from my home!

That said, I don't think I'd ever seen that big Trendmasters one (what was up with the creepy music on the background in Charles's review?? :P). Very damn nice! Chrome. Shooty gimmicks. The ONLY problem once again is scale. At 20 inches, what is this toy supposed to interact with?? It'll look silly next to traditional Jumbos. No other 20" robot toys come to mind...let alone are in my collection. And I think that remains the only redeeming value of the Mattel (besides the gattai): the 24" scale allows it to interact respectably with other Jumbos.

Well anyway...not that we'll EVER see Mattel do a Vehicle Voltron, but if they did one in this format, I'd probably wait for a review first...
I love that the Blazing Sword on the Trendmasters one is SO big, it can almost be a roleplay toy for a child.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I asked if I have "Time For L-Gaim" but I got "No Reply From The Wind".
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> That said, I don't think I'd ever seen that big
> Trendmasters one (what was up with the creepy
> music on the background in Charles's review?? :P).
> Very damn nice! Chrome. Shooty gimmicks. The ONLY
> problem once again is scale. At 20 inches, what is
> this toy supposed to interact with?? It'll look
> silly next to traditional Jumbos. No other 20"
> robot toys come to mind...let alone are in my
> collection. And I think that remains the only
> redeeming value of the Mattel (besides the
> gattai): the 24" scale allows it to interact
> respectably with other Jumbos.
>


I've never seen the 20" before either... kinda awesome how a toy that already exists that nobody's ever heard of manages to do almost everything better than the new Matty one, besides being 4" shorter.

I guess my other thing is, you guys keep mentioning it needing to be sized to interact with Jumbos, but it's not like the Mattel 24" will look at all at home next to any vintage or modern vinyl 24" toys. It's awkwardly plasticy and gimicky, whereas vintage jumbos are elegant and abstract, and modern vinyl jumbo-sized toys are fully painted and have major presence. A big clunky combining toy isn't going to look right with either group.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
"nobody's ever heard of" Buh-whuurt?! Where the heck have you numbskulls been? =0p

I guess that big Trendmasters combiner had a relatively short release time, and came out at a time when teh internets was just getting blazing, and many collectors on board now weren't anywhere near paying attention like y'alls are now, but C'MON!
The TM toy is a TOY! Yay! but with neat features, but the proportions were wonkier than even the original beloved GoLion DX, so I didn't like it that much when you could get them in K-B's.
There is a project thread somewhere detailing one fella's intensive leg-stretching project on that toy to make it look right. Can't remember if that was here or on R-J.

*urp* foundit. Just the Black lion thigh stretch, and some repaintin': [www.robot-japan.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 12:11PM by repairtechjon.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Prometheum5 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...it's not like the Mattel 24" will look
> at all at home next to any vintage or modern vinyl
> 24" toys.

Mostly true...it won't "look" right on a shelf next to the other stuff out there, but I'm less concerned about that and more focused on playing (my imagination can fill in the blanks!). I'm more "big kid" than "art collector"! :P
Yeah but judging by Mr. Talking with my Hands like an Italian's video, it kind of sucks as a play thing.

I can just feel the cheapness as he rends that huge clicking wrist joint. There are collector's toys that do the same kind of joint better.
eitlobsaboo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You mean like this?

No, I mean the way they basically take the original toys and cartoon designs and update with with modern articulation, paint, and sculpting depth.


Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That old Panosh Place combiner sucked balls,
> though.

Reverend, I'm surprised! That thing had the most kitsch out of any Voltron! The simple combining aspect, the size, the goofy proportions, the artistic liscence in sculpting, all the zany weapon add-ons, and the pilots! If they had added sounds, lights, missiles, and wheels it would have been a truly god-like toy. Still, as it stands, that's one of the most elegantly simple and spiritually authentic Voltron toys out there.

The more I look at it, the more the current Mattel version seems like an homage to the Padouche version. Right down to the fucking key gimmick. But, given the choice, I'd rather have that goofy bastard toy from the 80s than an updated goofy bastard toy.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2012 02:40PM by Gcrush.
Attachments:
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Sanjeev (Admin)
Can't argue with nostalgia, my friend. Or in this case, anti-nostalgia? I got that thing one year for my birthday. Musta been on clearance. Damn if I didn't trade that fucking thing within 48 hours. Not sure what I hated the most about it when I was little...but either way...Podunk gets no love.


VF5SS Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can just feel the cheapness as he rends that
> huge clicking wrist joint.

I can feel the cheapness in the lack of bicep swivel. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me...
I thought I could see some of the seams splitting as he rotated the neck on the lion.
takin' it back...way back

Guess I got a deal. Forgot about that.

(3rd entry down the page)

[toyboxdx.com]
Prometheum5 Wrote:
> If you want size, the vinyl Jumbo has a much nicer
> finish and look. If you want gettai and a good
> Voltron mode, the Masterpiece, and even the original
> DX blow this away. If you want pilot figures and
> cockpits, you are a freak.

HAHAHA.

Gcrush Wrote:
>
> Sanjeev Wrote:
> > That old Panosh Place combiner sucked balls,
> > though.
>
> Reverend, I'm surprised! That thing had the most
> kitsch out of any Voltron! The simple combining
> aspect, the size, the goofy proportions, the
> artistic liscence in sculpting, all the zany
> weapon add-ons, and the pilots! If they had added
> sounds, lights, missiles, and wheels it would have
> been a truly god-like toy. Still, as it stands,
> that's one of the most elegantly simple and
> spiritually authentic Voltron toys out there.

"spiritually authentic"! yes!

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Panosh Place Voltron is starting to looki better and better...

I passed on the Trendmaster "jumbo" back in the day, just seemed like a semi-inaccurately inflated DX toy with some proportion issues and a case of boxiness to boot.

Am still super-digging that fresh take on Golion shown above, would almost consider picking it up if it made it to retail for the boy (not me of course...ahem!).
After seeing the review and how big the thing is I wish I was a Voltron fan. That's gonna be one big robot toy. I totally agree with everyone about the detail. Pretty weak effort. And it did look like every time that dude turned the head it split the toy in two.

The pilots are the coolest thing to me, though. When he put that dude in the lion and closed him in there, that's a magical moment. There is a real pilot in there. That's the thing I love about my scopedog and dougram toys, they have real pilots in them that you can take out. Of course this pilot is ridiculously out of scale, which seems a shame. If they'd made him even half the size and given him a decent cockpit, that would have been sweet.

Imagine seeing your lion on the shelf knowing that there are 5 little dudes in there running the show and you can take them out and display them. That's pretty cool.

eitlobsaboo - that sculpt of voltron is sick. Is that going to be a toy? I'd buy that for sure.
The new voltron was is a prototype that was shown at NYCC? last year.. Haven't seen any updates since..
The suckage of the show is what has probably halted any progress.. It's a bit of a flawed design for a gattai toy though. If any of you have watched the show, you will have seen that not only does it form the classic configuration, but Red and Yellow form the body in alternate configurations (probably the others too, but I could only watch so much). It's just not possible.. unless they release non-gattai figures of the different configs.

I would have loved to see smaller figures. I think the 2-3" dinorider sized figures would have been perfect.

Its sucks being international.. still waiting on delivery..
MattAlt (Admin)
Yaco's take on the Red Lion:

[wildcats.pupui.jp]

Nice & chunky! Though, man, I just can't get past the half-assed folding of the legs. That and the really poor design of the combine form's chest area really kills this for me.
MattAlt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yaco's take on the Red Lion:
>
> [wildcats.pupui.jp]
> 336.html
>
> Nice & chunky! Though, man, I just can't get past
> the half-assed folding of the legs. That and the
> really poor design of the combine form's chest
> area really kills this for me.

It's kind of a running problem with Mattel and the 'collector' lines. They pick the oddest things to cheap out on in order to meet the target pricepoint (seemingly, from their statements, in the face of near weekly cost increases from their Chinese factory) so there's constant adjustments made and they never seem to be for the better.

(You should hear what's going on with opinion over the Ghostbusters line! The figure of Dana? Turns out it's going to be, basically, a statue. ONE point of articulation. The Waist, where her upper torso attaches. As one put it, "that's not articulation, that's assembly!")

This constant belt-tightening wouldn't affect the chest area issue, that's a design choice but the leg folding, yeah, they could have thrown more engineering into that but chose not to.

I don't even understand WHY they went and started the Voltron subscription, unless they were under the impression there was something significant happening in Voltron's near future like a big budget live movie.

I don't think we're going to see this subscription in '13. No way they're going to commit to a 15-vehicle+ figures release model.
I got mine a week back and just hate it so much. It appears they have never seen the show or the original toy.

I'm so angry about it - and yet like everyone else who bitches on the internet I'm committed to getting it anyway.

This is the second childhood line Mattel has ruined in the last few years - starting with the extremely promising Retro Action heroes line which they destroyed by creating the worst 8in body of all time - there are home hobbyists who have worked with Chinese factories and created a better product...

But I digress.

This Red lion is just so terrible. It's hollow and cheap feeling. There is no detail, no substance to it at all. The gimmick is flimsy - in fact, you cannot even TOUCH the rear legs without having them pop out so no idea how that’s going to work in the full gattai mode.

There is absolutely no detail at all in the mold itself. Just huge, ugly, uneven seams in the plastic. It practically translucent so you can see all the imperfections in the plastic. There are amateurish glue marks where some discolored plugs have been put in to prevent screw access.

There is no articulation at the waist, meaning that all Voltron can do it bend at the elbow – even the vintage toy allowed you to swivel the waist.

There is NO excuse for the incorrect transformation of the feet – NONE. There are ratchet joints at the feet which are very stable. That same ratcheting mechanism could have been used at the knees to provide stability for the toy and allow the correct transformation of the leg.

I just hate this company so much. I truly believe they are a company of people making toys who have absolutely no passion for what they are doing.

If you’re already committed to the subscription as I am, I’m sorry.

If you’re on the fence I strongly encourage you to NOT get the toy. I can see why it would seem appealing in the pictures but the actual product is just so incredibly disappointing and cheap looking – I could let it go if these things were $20 each but no way they are worth what they are asking.

Get yourself the plastic version of the Toynami Voltron which is MILES ahead of this and a fraction of the cost.
I don't understand what drove them to decide that the lions had to hold the figures. If this was going out as a kiddy toy, sure, we've seen that before but this? It makes no sense. I think imposing the requirement that the lions hold a figure, and the un-needed key operated transforming gimmick created more problems then 'added value'.

But, hey, what do I know? :)
In the hands of any competent toy company - it could have been cool. A neat little detail, with a cool cockpit with more detail than 3 cheap stickers.

Could have worked OK - it's funny that the figure cockpit is the only gimmic that doesn't destroy the look of they toy.
I'm still waiting for mine. Sure I'm in Australia, but jeez.. I had confirmation of postage on the 15th Feb.. It's been half a month. I did some digging and it turns out there's no tracking for international orders either.. :| WTF

So it'll just arrive.. whenever I guess. But having now bitched about this, it'll probably arrive tomorrow.. *fingers crossed*

As for the spring loaded "feature", the first thing I'll be doing is seeing if I can detatch the legs and perhaps remove the springs.. and see if it affects the joints..

Would look into getting some custom decals made up for them too..
So how is the pilot figure? That's the bit I care about!

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
Meh, you can keep your kitty five-some. I've got me a Skull Tank!


DSCF3156 by MicroBry, on Flickr
HA! With those googly moving eyes in the skull, and wheels to the sides, that totally looks like a horror movie rendition of the old Fisher Price Telephone pull-along toy!
You guys DO realize that if Mattel had tried to make a chogokin/high end/whatever Voltron toy you would probably hate it even more than you hate this one, right? Do you walk into a Chevy dealer and expect to drive away in an Ferrari? Do you sit down at burger joint and get pissed when they don't serve you the finest Kobe steak? This is Mattel. They make plastic playthings.

As for what we got, or at least what I got (it seems I got a different toy than what some unhappy souls got), it's a solid, strong plastic toy with clackity joints, durable enough for a child to throw at the wall and an articulated pilot figure that looks like it stepped out of the cartoon. I can take or leave the spring loaded legs, but they don't really bother me. Yeah, it looks like and is made like a child's plaything. That's the whole point. No different from the He Man figures, or the DC figures.
For over $250 I don't think my expectations are outrageous. This is NOT a $250 toy in quality, design or features.

They f**ked this thing up because they ignored the basics, pure and simple.

I would expect at a little attention to detail. I would expect that a transformation well illustrated by the show and previous versions of the toy would be held as immutable.

In fact, they could have SAVED money, and made a better product, by removing the “spring” gimmicks and just allowed the legs to transform correctly. The gimmicks add nothing because they don’t even work. They add cost and detract from the design of the toy.

Let’s put it this way – who would have been happier with this toy if the spring gimmicks were removed, simple click joints added to the legs which transform correctly, and there were some really nice, high quality stickers that could be applied to the toy to mimic the vintage Godaikin?

I think it would have turned this from basically a fail into possibly one of the coolest toys, and probably saved Mattel a few $$ as well (I can tell you that a set of stickers would have cost less than 1 of the springs in the legs does)
So magically it arrived today :S

And I'm a bit disappointed, but for different reasons than what everyone else has said.

For starters. Lance. My box didn't contain the alternate helmet head :| SERIOUSLY how could it not be in the box. Anyone hear of this happening?
I'm going to contact Matty quick smart and get them to send one out to me *fingers crossed*
Also I don't like the material the figure is made of.. its like sofubi or something.. It doesn't have the same solid material I remember figures used to have.. but then, maybe things have changed. I haven't bought an action figure in like 18 years.

As for Red Lion, apart from a scratch along one side of the crest on the head (touched up with a red felt pen) and a build up of white paint on lower jaw, mine is pretty great. The stiff neck is non-existant and the legs don't pop out when clicking the waist joint or nothing.. but the springy leg joints really are useless..
Handle it wrong and you'll push the buttons and FWIP! Legs pop out..
Also I found it doesn't really stand with all feet flat. It's kind of lopsided..

Another thing.. once I've taken it all out of the box and had a bit of a play, I put it back in the box.
I'm not regretting the purchase as with the sheer size of the arm I'm really excited to see it as a complete figure. But until I have all lions I find the lions and pilots by themselves a bit useless..

Maybe I should have just put the cash towards a jumbo..
Hmhm. So, after a spat of being lost in the mail a while, my Red Lion has finally arrived, so I guess I'll put my two cents in on this.

A disclaimer - I'm not really much of a Voltron/Go-Lion fan, so much as I have some very garbled memories of watching the cartoon earlier in life and some knowledge of the rather venerable status it seems to have acquired.

With that out of the way, I have to say I really am just a little disappointed. Not crushed, just not impressed the way I'd hoped to be.

Assembly seems fine enough on mine; none of the joints are excessively loose or tight, the awkwardness of the spring-loaded legs notwisthstanding. I can happily turn all the joints in arm-mode without any legs or tail coming loose, and the blade weapon and sword hilt both seem to fit nicely. Stickers suffer from decidedly shoddy application; it'll be nigh impossible to keep the canopy from causing rubs or tears in them due to bad placement.

Really, though, aside from the stickers, it functions fine. My disappointment stems more from the fact that the toy just seems questionably designed. The spring-leg gimmick 'works', but it's just not that cool - I rather wish that it did what the package claimed (auto-transform to arm mode) rather than going the opposite way. It also gets in the way of posing in a huge way. I also share others' sentiments about the lack of a swiveling elbow joint and the fact that with a toy this large, it feels like they could have fit more into it, especially at the price they're charging.

I still don't think I'm ready to say I feel swindled, though. After all, this thing is going to be downright enormous once it's done, and the things they designed into it do work alright, even if they aren't spectacular gimmicks. It does make me kinda wonder, though... would I have been better off just tracking down one of those huge old trendmasters monstrosities? I've never seen one in person, so I guess I have the 'benefit' of not knowing what I'm missing out on.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/2012 08:10PM by MaidenLili.
Well, the one benefit of having taken a flyer on the first of these (for those of you that did) is that it seems highly likely that you'll be able to get back at least what you spent in the first place should you decide to sell it later.

More serious than thou
I think the core issue seems to be this:

For a high-end collectible, specifically designed for an adult market, one is paying $50-$65 (plus shipping)(plus the subscription fee) per part for what is basically a toy designed for kids, young kids, that in a rational world would sell in a store for about $20 each. Maybe.

I dunno, Seems to me the 'Blazing Sword' Voltron action figure is more what the market wanted, and OH! LOOK! On sale!

[www.mattycollector.com]

And where's Sven? Howcome nobody has their Sven yet?
SteveH Wrote:
>
> what is basically a toy designed for kids, young
> kids, that in a rational world would sell in a
> store for about $20 each. Maybe.

"in a rational world"

aaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Yes, I know. We're dealing with the 'perfect storm' of Mattel, weak Dollar and the ego of the Mattycollector brand manager.

Hey, that upcoming Hoverboard? Don't try to actually stand on it and slide on the floor! It's ONLY a 'prop replica' and not meant AT ALL to be stood on!

yeah, Mattel can't engineer a pretend skateboard to actually withstand being stood upon.
Just how small is Blazing Sword Voltron anyway? Is he just six inches tall?
SteveH Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I dunno, Seems to me the 'Blazing Sword' Voltron
> action figure is more what the market wanted, and
> OH! LOOK! On sale!
>
> [www.mattycollector.com]
> splayProductDetailsPage/productID.234245300
>
> And where's Sven? Howcome nobody has their Sven
> yet?


Heh, I finally noticed what's wierding me about that figure...the lions have no legs molded on! Kind of a Fisher-Price little-people-body effect going on there.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Ha! That's exactly what I said about Toynami's standard-size Voltron III vinyl:
[www.collectiondx.com]

But then someone pointed out to me that if you actually watch the cartoon, when combined, you really *don't* see the legs! Go back and watch the intro or something--it's totally true! :P


It took Matty Collector exactly a week to get back to me about my missing Lance head and this is what they respond with:

"Thank you for contacting the MattyCollector.com online store.

We have contacted the shipper on your behalf for detailed information
about your order. You should be contacted back within 72 hours with
further information about your request. We appreciate your patience.

*sigh*
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