Robot Vinyl Collection: Vehicle Voltron by Toynami

I almost wasn’t going to do an update today. This week has been craaaaazy and time has been so short. Also, I am still without any new Transformers to look at on this increasingly inaccurately named Transformers Thursday. I will, however, promise here that I’ll have a new Transformer for next week. Cross my heart and swear to Primus! Anyway, at the last minute, I looked at my pile of shit unwanted treasures, that I’m slowly getting around to listing on Ebay, and realized there was something in there I hadn’t reviewed here… and it’s a combiner robot, so it sort of fits the Transformers Thursday theme! So, let’s take a look at Toynami’s Vinyl Vehicle Voltron! Holy cats, say that five times fast!

Voltron comes in a clear plastic box, on a clear plastic tray, and this presentation works very well for display purposes if you don’t want to take him out. In fact, as we’ll soon see, he’s probably better off left in there. I think I’ve only had this guy out of the package twice and one of those times is right now. Anyway, the packaging is very nice, albeit very fragile. You may note that the bottom of the box proclaims this release as Volume 3 in the Vinyl Robot Collection. I know that they did a Lion Force Voltron before this one, but I had no idea that there were other releases, including a Zentraedi Heavy Artillery Battlepod, which I kind of wish I knew existed before it hit an approximate value of all-the-damn-monies on the secondary market.

The back of the package features a nice write-up about the series and has a picture of the toy inside. Other than my forever undying love for Vehicle Voltron and the lack of associated merch, I can’t for the life of me remember why I bought this. I’m not a huge fan of vinyl toys to begin with and while this figure is not without its merits, it really never had any place in my collection. I do remember it was on clearance, so I’m sure that had a lot to do with it. And with that resounding vote of confidence, let’s open him up and check him out!

Standing about seven inches tall, this figure is every bit a vinyl toy. The sculpt is soft, but honestly I think it works well with the animated design. And make no mistake, this sculpt is a very animated look. The details are simple, and you’ll note he’s missing some pretty obvious features, like the propeller blades on his shoulders. The simplification of detail is particularly apparent on the back, although they did keep the tank treads for some of the vehicles. Keep in mind, none of this really bothers me, as its a stylistic choice, and one that certainly sets him apart from the other Vehicle Voltron figures that have been on the market. What does bother me is that for a figure that doesn’t do much of anything, he really can’t even stand straight. I want to say it’s from the legs warping in the package, but as I take a good look at the legs, it seems like they aren’t even and that causes the figure to lean a bit to one side.

The coloring on this figure is absolutely fantastic. Yes, if you get in close enough you can see some less than crisp paint lines, but just viewing the figure in hand with the naked eye it looks really good. The blue and red paint are both vibrant and when coupled with the immaculate white, and the silver and yellow, you get a figure that really pops on the shelf. Voltron has always been about bright and attractive coloring and this figure conveys that very nicely.

As a vinyl toy, one shouldn’t expect much in the way of articulation, and that is certainly the case here. The shoulders will rotate, the head will turn, but the rest of the articulation consists of various swivel cuts, which are probably more a byproduct of the figure’s assembly than actual intended points of articulation.

And that, my friends, is all there is to say about Vinyl Vehicle Voltron. If you’re a fan of vinyl toys, this may be a nice piece to have in your collection. I’m not, and to me this figure really misses on all points. Voltron toys are fun because you can either combine and separate them, or because they can be posed and played with, and this one does neither. I understand that isn’t the point of this release. But, if you’re going to make a figure that’s designed to just stand there and look pretty, well I think you should at least make sure it’s capable of standing straight. Since it’s release many years ago, these figures seem to be fairly collectible, so I’m hoping I can get back what I paid for him on Ebay and that’s where he’s going!

Voltron: Vinyl Vehicle Voltron by Toynami

If you read my feature on Toynami’s Lion Force Gift Set then you know I’m an odd bird who hates the Voltron cartoons but can’t get enough of Voltron in all his toy forms. My anticipation of receiving my first shipment from Matty’s Club Lion Force is already hitting a fever pitch, and it’s still many months away. I decided to quench my Voltron thirst a bit by picking up this vinyl version of vehicle Voltron. And that’s a lot of V’s! Unlike a lot of Voltron fans, I’m not a vehicle Voltron hater!

One thing about this packaging is that it’s not afraid to show off the goods. It’s almost completely transparent with a printed insert in the back and bottom. It is a bit fragile, but also collector friendly, so you can return your Voltron to the package for display so long as you’re careful.
First the good stuff. This vinyl figure does a great job capturing the animated look of Voltron. It’s colorful and simplified, yet you can still make out details like the treads and wheels on the vehicles. The head sculpt looks awesome and overall the paint is bright and clean. No problems here. Of course, the key word here is vinyl, folks, and if you keep that in mind you shouldn’t be disappointed. This is not a super articulated action figure, but more of a nice statue with some basic points of articulation thrown in for good measure. His arms will rotate at the shoulders and swivel at the wrists. His head turns and he can swivel at the waist. That’s it, though.
While I don’t expect high articulation from a vinyl collectible like this, I also don’t expect it to be fragile. In this case, one of the wings on Voltron’s head randomly snapped off shortly after being removed from the package. Yeah. It was easily fixed with a little dab of gorilla glue, only to have the other one snap off a second later. What’s more, Voltron doesn’t stand very straight. He’s kind of lopsided and wobbly.
I’m not sure how much this thing originally cost, but I picked it up for fifteen bucks while doing a little dumpster diving at a clearance sale. The figure looks great in the package, and that’s where I’ll be leaving him. Once I took him out and handled him, my impressions dropped like a lead balloon. Even at the lower clearance price, I can’t really recommend this one, unless you keep all your toys unopened, in which case I guess it makes for a nice boxed display piece.

Voltron Lion Force Collector’s Set by Toynami, Part II

So, last time we checked out the Lions and this time we get to see what they create when joined together. Transforming the Lions is pretty easy, at least where the limbs are concerned. You basically just tuck in the arms and legs, stuff in their tales, and for the feet you fold back the heads. The Black Lion is a little trickier and getting his feet folded up just right can sometimes be fussy, but it’s still no big deal. The Lions snap together with a sastisfying click and hold together just strongly enough so as to make me nervous when pulling them apart.

Once assembled Voltron looks amazing. The figure’s proportions are excellent considering its an actual combiner and not just an articulated figure. In fact, on first glance, I could easily be convinced that this guy looks too good to separate into the Lion Force. I’m particularly happy with the head sculpt and the paintwork on the face is crisp. On the downside, some of the seaming on the silver plastic is a little more pronounced than I’m used to seeing on the toys. Does this have something to do with going from diecast to plastic? I don’t know, but it’s there. I commented last time about how much I love the coloring on the Lions, and that’s doubly true for Voltron’s combined form.

Voltron’s has an impressive amount of articulation. His head is ball jointed. His arms rotate at the shoulders and have lateral movement, the elbows have hinges and swivels, and his hands swivel at the wrists. His legs have ratcheting joints and some lateral movement in the hips, they are hinged at the knees, and hinged again at the ankles. Voltron can also swivel at the waist. I think my only complaint about the articulation here is that while the ratcheting joints are nice and strong to hold the figure in place, they don’t allow for as much tweaking in the actual poses.

While on the subject of articulation, I should point out that Voltron is a tad top heavy. I was hoping that this problem would be improved upon by the all plastic version, as it’s very similiar to the balance issue present in Hasbro’s Masterpiece Optimus Prime. It’s not a critical issue, mind you. Voltron can stand perfectly straight with no problem at all, but when you start to put him into some action poses, his tendency is to fall forward.

Voltron comes with his sword and shield. Both pieces are simple sculpts but perfectly fit their iconic on-screen counterparts. They each have pegs in the handles that fit into sockets inside the Red and Green Lion’s mouths so Voltron can hold them in a nice and secure fashion. Displaying Voltron with his sword is pretty much a must. I’ve never been a big fan of the shield, but it’s been growing on me a lot likely.

Toynami really made my day when they released this set. I spent a lot of time handwringing about whether to blow the cash on the Masterpiece set when it came out. And when I didn’t, I spent a lot of time wondering whether I should have. Being able to get this set in my collection was a great compromise. It only set me back about $60 with shipping, and I still consider that a steal. It’s hard to imagine that a better looking combining Voltron figure could be made, but I’ll be anxious to see if Mattel can pull it off when they start producing their classic-based Voltron toys.