Voltron: Club Lion Force Exclusive Sven by Mattel

As promised, I’m back with some content, and just to minimize the shock of there being no Vintage Vault today, I’m at least looking at something that is rather retro. Yes, those of us who subscribed to Matty’s Club Lion Force not only can sleep at night knowing that our Voltrons won’t be missing a limb for having missed a lion on a Sale Day, but we also got to add the exclusive Sven figure to our collections. I’ve gone on record many times here saying that I’m strictly a fan of Voltron based on concept and the fact that he’s a pop 80’s icon, so I’m not exactly the kind of collector this figure was aimed at. I can, however, still appreciate it and be happy for the fans that have been waiting to get this figure for 30 some years.

Of course, Matty can rarely do anything without eliciting buckets of controversy, and so they decided to package Sven on a retro-style card, rather than in the collector friendly boxes that the rest of the pilots came in. This act of treachery has pissed off many fans who will have to tear open the figure in order to display it with the rest of the pilots. And, of course since this figure is only available as an exclusive with the subscription, you can’t exactly buy an extra for openers. Not unless you were one of the ones that laid out $80 for him at Big Bad Toy Store before they sold out. Crazy! As a result of this madness, I’m only going to be looking at the packaged figure. Nope, I’m not opening mine. I have no desire to display Sven loose with the rest of my pilots, and I really dig this packaging, so mine will remain tucked away in the white mailer until I can find a Zolo-style clamshell to fit it and hang it on my wall.

And there’s that beautiful packaging. The design is obviously a delightful nod back to the cardbacks used for the vintage Panosh Place figures. It’s not a direct facsimile, but there are a lot of similarities, right down to the angled corners of the card, the animated character art and backdrop design. The key stand and helmet are positioned differently inside the bubble and Sven’s modern card has a snazzy reflective ink used for the Voltron logo. I even like the little “First Ever Sven Figure” medallion up in the left corner. The presentation here is first rate and the figure is displayed very nicely, with the helmetless head attached to the figure and the helmeted head beside it, just like the other pilots came in their boxes.

The back of the card is similar to the back of the other pilot’s boxes. It has a little blurb about Sven and it shows how he fits into the Blue Lion’s cockpit. There are also some nice shots of animation from the original cartoon.

Also included in the white mailer is a little double-sided mini-poster. One side has a great shot of Voltron wielding the Blazing Sword. The other side reads, “Let’s Go Voltron Force” and has a shot of each of the pilots, with Sven in place of Princess Allura. I have no clue what I’m going to do with it, but it was a cool little bonus nonetheless.

As for the figure itself, Sven shouldn’t present any surprises to anyone who has been getting these figures since the beginning. In fact, Sven appears to use the exact same body as Lance. If there are any differences in the sculpt, I can’t see them. Both of Sven’s head sculpts are quite good, and I still really like the use of the clear eye shield on the helmeted heads. Once again, I’ll take the opportunity to point out that the gun is sculpted into the holster, and that we should have gotten better on what is essentially billed as a $15 figure. The paintwork on my Sven looks excellent, although it’s hard to tell if there’s any major flubs on the back.

The articulation has been consistent throughout all the pilots and Sven is no different. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows and knees, and universal movement in the hips. The figure has solid poseability, but once again, should have been better considering the cost.

If you’re really pissed off about Matty’s choice of packaging here, you might consider that they could have really been dicks and put a piece of the Blazing Sword in with Sven so you had no choice but rip it open. As it is, Sven just comes with the extra head and an extra Blue Lion stand/key.

I’m very pleased with Sven, and I think most collectors will be happy with the figure. It’s the packaging that will fuel the drama over this release, but it is what it is. I’ll admit it would have made infinitely more sense to keep a uniform package style for all the pilots and most everyone would have been happy. I appreciate Matty trying to do something special for this sub exclusive figure, but if they were going to go this route they should have ponied up for a re-sealable clamshell package or something, especially since it’s just not feasible or affordable for most collectors to buy a second Sven for opening. Me? I’m happy to hang mine on the wall right behind wherever my Voltron is going to stand. And chances are the rest of the pilots will be in their packages too.

[And that’s it for me this week, folks, I will be back on Monday to start covering the rest of my Matty Collector stuff, including Voltron’s Princess Allura and the Blue Lion and my much anticipated Mirror Master figure from Club Infinite Earths. There will likely be some more bonus updates next week too as I continue to try to get all caught up. –FF]

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