It was a long wait, folks, and a unique and epic experience: A subscription that sends you a series of stand-alone toys, which in the end will piece together to form one ginormous robot. Throughout the course of my 30-some odd years of toy collecting, there hasn’t been anything quite like Matty Collector’s Club Lion Force: A year long journey, in which every couple of months brought me one step closer to something really damn cool. It was an idea that took the Collect & Connect concept to the extreme, and one that was perfectly suited to the Voltron property. When I came home to find my Black Lion sitting on my stoop, I was so relieved excited to know that the journey was finally complete.
Before moving on, let me throw out a little disclaimer. I realize for some people this ride was not a smooth one. If you’re a toy company doing something like this, you really need to be able to get your shit together, and that’s something that Matty can’t always claim to be good at. I realize that some people had QC issues with individual lions, others had typical Digital River snafus, and when you’re dealing with parts of a whole, any one of these issues could be enough to ruin the entire experience. I’ve seen the horror stories from the people for whom one problem along the way stopped them from completing their Voltron. If you’re one of those people, I really feel for you. It’s not like you can take these back to the store for an exchange, and the prices of these damn things on Ebay are getting outrageous.
No doubt, I was really lucky. I haven’t had a single QC issue with any of my Lions. Nonetheless, my heart was in my throat as I opened Black Lion in fear that something would be wrong with it, and my journey to form Voltron would crash and burn just inches from the finish line. In the end, he turned out fine. And now with Voltron standing in front of me, comes the inevitable question: Was he worth it? Was he worth the stress and the money? The answer in a word? Yes. The answer in a few more words? Hell fucking yeah, he was worth it! So let’s form Voltron!
Plugging the limbs into the Black Lion goes very smoothly and the connections hold very well. I was a little afraid of how difficult it would be to disconnect the limbs without forcing them, but they all separate again just fine. The arms pull out without any undue pressure and the legs eject just by pressing the buttons on the backs, very similar to the Toynami Voltron. I’ll confess to not being a big fan of the spring-loaded transformation gimmicks, but I sure do love the way you press in the chest crest to make Voltron’s head snap open and into position. It’s awesome! Once assembled, Voltron’s proportions are excellent and he looks mighty goddamn majestic. I stood him on a table and went to get some work done on the computer, and I just found myself admiring him every couple of minutes. He’s certainly an attention getter.
I try to keep the majority of my toys in my display areas, so they don’t take over the whole house, but dammit if I don’t want to just stand him on an end table in my living room like a vase or something so that guests would say, “Hey FigureFan (because that’s what everyone always calls me), what’s that on your end table?” And I would just say, “That’s my goddamn huge Voltron, son.” And with that we would go back to sipping cognac and playing Scrabble. Let’s just drop in a shot of him standing behind my Toynami Voltron for the proper size perspective.
Obviously we’ve already seen a lot of Voltron’s sculpt when we looked at the individual lions, so I won’t go into a lot of detail there. I will say how much I adore the face. It’s beautifully sculpted and perfectly captures Voltron’s stoic portrait and the paintwork is excellent. The chest crest is really great looking too. I was a little worried about how it would come out since the individual lions were missing some of their finer details, but it has a nice, chunky animated look that makes me smile.
Easily the biggest complaint I’ve seen about Voltron is his inability to stand in action poses or with his weapons in hand. It’s not so much an inability as it is people deciding to come out of the gate bitching, rather than take the time to play around with him to see what he’s truly capable of. He is definitely top heavy, there’s no doubt about that, but in a way very similar to Toynami’s Masterpiece Voltron. Still, his ratcheting joints are strong and effective, and he balances perfectly fine when placed in a typical standing pose. When you put his sword and shield in his hands, you do need to work at it to get him to stand, but I’ve had tons of success posing him while brandishing his weapons. There’s plenty to tweak to get him to stand. Besides the fold down heel struts, you can also make some little adjustments to the Yellow and Blue Lions’ paws for a little added assistance. I generally find that he will stand in all sorts of great action poses on carpet, but he tends to slide real easy on tables or smooth surfaces.
Naturally, Voltron comes with his weapons. We’ve already looked at the Collect & Connect Blazing Sword, but I’ll admit I was surprised to see the extra Sword in with the Black Lion. I’m sure it was revealed during the course of the year, but I must have missed it because I genuinely thought the Collect & Connect sword that came with the figures was all we were getting. Both the sword and shield have huge pegs that go into the recessed sockets inside the Red and Green Lions’ mouths, holding them in place very well.
I was really dismayed by how much negativity there was on the Matty forums about the finished Voltron. Surprised? No. Only dismayed. I’m not talking about the people with QC issues, I’ve already empathized with them, and they have every right in the world to be royally pissed. No, I’m talking about the bunch of whiny fuckers who are bitching just to bitch. Ever since getting my hands on the Red Lion, I had a pretty good idea what the finished product was going to be like, and everything fell right into line just as I imagined it. I wasn’t expecting a super-articulated ninja robot, and there was no reason for anyone to expect that. What I was counting on was a big, heavy beast of a toy that would have been perfectly at home in the 80s. I wanted a showpiece reminiscent of a time when toy companies weren’t shackled by safety regulations and they could produce a giant robot that would crush a kid to death if it fell on them. No, if the final Voltron held any surprise for me, it was just how majestic he looks fully assembled and standing there on display. I know, I’ve probably thrown the word majestic around a few times in this feature, but it’s honestly the word that best describes him. I adore this thing, and might I remind you all that I’m the guy that cannot stand the Voltron cartoon.
Oh yeah, and while I know it would never happen, Matty if you ever do decide to do a second sub with a similar scaled vehicle Voltron, I’ll be there on day one with my money to suffer through it all again.