Voltron: Keith (Black Lion Pilot) by Mattel

It’s the final month for Club Lion Force and thank Christ for that! While I have been lucky enough to have a pretty good experience with Matty on this subscription, my stress over each release has been mounting, until finally reaching a fevered pitch with this final month. But we’ll get to that tomorrow when we discuss Black Lion. Today, we’re going to check out the final pilot figure, Keith, and I’ve looked at enough of these that I’m going to try to go through this one pretty quickly.

As expected, Keith comes in the exact same style window box that we’ve seen with all the figures, except Sven. The box is black to match his lion and features some decent character art on the front along with a little window that displays the figure, the alternate head, and the key stand. The back panel has a little blurb about Keith and his lion, photos of the completed Blazing Sword and a shot of the figure fitting into the Black Lion’s cockpit. As always, the box is totally collector friendly, which is awesome. On the downside, the Blazing Sword is designed to lock together, so once it’s assembled, it won’t be going back into the boxes.

Keith holds no surprises. He has a solid head sculpt, and appears to be built off of the same body as Lance and Sven. The paint on the figure is great, with no smudging or dirt on the white, and no bleeding around the red. The alternate helmeted head is overall pretty good, but there’s an annoying black spot of paint on his visor. This black spot is the first true defect I’ve had in any of my Club Lion Force toys, so in the Voltron Quality Control Lottery… A winner is me!

Articulation includes a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and elbows, universal movement in the hips, and ball joints in the knees. Once again, the fact that the pistol is sculpted into his holster and cannot be removed is a constant sticking point with me and these figures, but I take a small bit of solace in the fact that this is the last time I have to mention it. Speaking of repetitive criticisms, I still really wish the key stand had a sticker on each side.

In addition to the key stand, Keith comes with the tip of the Collect & Connect Blazing Sword and the last two pieces of the stand, so we can finally put this thing together. The sword consists of snapping together the hilt, guard, and three pieces of blade. The blade is painted with a faint swirly energy pattern and the edges are sculpted with translucent yellow plastic flames to make it appear to be pulsating with Ro-Beast killing power. In reality, it looks ok, but I tend to prefer the regular Blazing Sword that comes with the Black Lion. But more on that tomorrow!

So, let’s take a moment to ruminate on the pilot figures. Remember when the first Lion Force sub details came out and Matty was going to sell the pilots and lions separately? Well, I think grouping them together was one of the better decisions. Sure, it meant that collectors couldn’t order extras, but I would have been plenty peeved paying $15 plus shipping for these things had Mattel shipped them separately on non-Lion months. A few of my friends maintain that I’m discounting the cost of the Blazing Sword pieces, and yeah it was a nice bonus, but I would have been fine without it. I still like the pilot figures, Keith and his teammates are plenty cool, but there’s no doubt Mattel took shortcuts with them, making them in no way worth the price.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the grand daddy of all the Lions!

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