Voltron: Black Lion by Mattel

Yes, it was the final month for Matty’s Club Lion Force, and that meant that not only did we subbers get Keith, but we got the last and biggest Lion of the pack: Black Lion. Ever since the beginning of the month, I’ve been on pins and needles, worried about getting this thing safely into my collection. Was Digital River going to screw up? Would Black Lion be stricken with some horrible QC issues, like having four back legs and missing a head? Or would Matty just send me one of the Avatar beasts in a Voltron package. I was seriously stressing out. But it was all for naught in the end. Blackie arrived on my stoop with the rest of my October haul and now he’s safely in my clutches.

Once upon a time, I marveled at the size of the Yellow and Blue Lions. But damn, this guy is really big. He comes in the same style box, which has a cardboard base and back, and four clear plastic walls. The animated backdrop shows the Castle and all in all, this thing looks mighty impressive in the package. Matty probably should have mentioned somewhere on there that the Sword and Shield are concealed under the cardboard base, since none of the other lions have had any accessories packaged down there. I have to imagine someone, somewhere is going to pitch the packaging before realizing their horrible mistake.

As soon as I got Black Lion out of the box I gave him a good once over. It was like pulling someone out of combat and searching them for bullet wounds. There was a minor paint smudge on one of his red wings, but it came off with a little magic eraser treatment, and a tiny bit of black rubbing on one of his yellow shoulders. Other than that, this guy is fine.

 

As expected, Black Lion is the boxiest of the lions, but that goes with the territory of being the torso. On the other hand, he’s also the most complex looking of the bunch. The wings on his back stay folded up quite well, and you only need to lift them up to reveal the key slot for Black Lion’s cockpit. Push in the key, or any pointy object, and the hatch will release to reveal the cockpit compartment for your Keith figure. If you were wondering whether Black Lion’s huge size would give it a more roomy or complex cockpit, well, that isn’t the case. The inside of the cockpit is similar to the other lion interiors. There are some well-placed stickers to make up the instruments, and it’s just big enough to comfortably fit the figure.

In theory, Black Lion has about the same articulation as the others, but the fact that his shoulders form Voltron’s hips and shoulders actually give him a little more range of motion. I also really dig his tail a lot more than the other lions’ tails. He’s got three hinges in it, and it looks wavier, fluid and tail like, while the other lions’ tails look more like antenna.

In addition to the ubiquitous mouth blade weapon, Black Lion comes with the aforementioned Star Shield and Blazing Sword, but I’m actually going to cover those pieces when I look at Voltron on Friday.

I feel kind of bad for Black Lion. He’s easily the most impressive lion of the pack and yet he’s probably going to get overlooked by a lot of collectors who will be using him to form Voltron the moment he arrives and so he won’t spend nearly as much time in his Lion mode as the others. Still, he’s a great looking piece and makes for an awesome display when perched at the head of the group. In the end, I’m just so happy he arrived and in good condition so I can put an end to the rather trying, yet ultimately satisfying, ordeal of Club Lion Force .

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