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!

Rock Candy (DC Comics): Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Modern Batgirl by Funko

What do you do when your Funko and have something like 1.5 million different Pop! Vinyl characters in circulation? You keep expanding, of course! And now Funko has introduced a new line of vinyl collectible figures called Rock Candy. Now, I’ve only dabbled in Funko’s Pop! Vinyls, but these roughly 5-inch tall, non-pose-able female figures feature a super cute style that I couldn’t resist. Currently the line is only featuring characters from DC Comics, and different versions of Barbie. Weird! Today I’m sampling half of the initial six DC Comics releases.

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The figures come in compact little window boxes that feel a lot more premium than the POP! boxes. They feature some nice gold foil lettering with each character’s name in her own particular logo on the front and again on the side panel. Oddly enough these aren’t numbered, so maybe Funko isn’t anticipating a lot of growth with this line. Like the Pop! figures, these packages are designed so that you can use them as their own display cases and still get to see most of the figure. Unfortunately, the front window on my Supergirl has heavy rubbing, so I haven’t decided whether to pitch the boxes, or maybe try to get a better Supergirl box. Of course, if you want to open them up, the boxes are totally collector friendly and you even get clear display stands with pegs designed specifically for each figure.

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Overall, I really dig the styling here. There are definitely some cutesy tropes at work, what with the big head and eyes, but I also feel like it’s something fresh and new and works well with all the characters I’m looking at today. Wonder Woman sports an adorably determined expression with hands on hips and I’m surprised at how much of her costume is fully realized through the sculpt. The belt, the chest emblem, her wrist bracers, all of these could have been simple paint apps, but aren’t. Even the coiled lasso is quite detailed! Only the stripes on her boots and stars on her super-panties are achieved with paint alone.

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And speaking of paint, what’s here is overall very solid. The original promotional shots of these figures looked very sharp and I can remember thinking that it was going to be a line that would live or die based on the quality of the paint and considering some of the hit or miss paintwork on Pop! Vinyls, I’m surprised at what we got here. Sure, the lines could be a little more crisp in some areas (particularly the stripes on the boots), but there’s virtually no slop and the shades of blue and red and gold all look so vibrant.

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Supergirl boasts a confident look with fists on display and ready for action. Once again, there’s a lot of sculpted detail here that could have easily just been paint or printing, including her belt and chest shield. The paint here is also very clean and I appreciate that they even used glossy red for the boots and matte for the cape and skirt. But most of all, the colors are just so bright and luxurious.

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And that brings us to Batgirl. This is the Babs Tarr, Batgirl of Brunside, version of the character and a look that I’m very fond of. The sculpt here is pretty impressive as it includes all sorts of little touches like the laces on her boots, the pulls on her zippers, her belt and pouches, she’s even holding a batarang in her left hand. I think I like Batgirl’s expression the most out of the three, as she has a lot of personality. Even the pose, with her one knee drawn in is just adorable.

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Unfortunately, the paint on this one is a bit disappointing when compared to the other two figures. The lines just aren’t as sharp, particularly around the yellow and black areas. I should qualify that by saying it’s still pretty acceptable for a mass produced vinyl collectible in this price range. I mean, they even made a go at painting the laces on her boots! I think this is more an example of the other two figures looking so exceptionally good, that it hurts the one that looks average.

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But, I don’t want to end this Feature on a sour note, because the truth is I totally dig all three of these figures and I’m definitely going to round out the DC assortment by picking up the DCEU version of Wonder Woman as well as Classic Batgirl and Harley Quinn. At $9.99 these figures are in the exact same price point as Funko’s Pop! Vinyls and I think you’re getting a lot more for your money here. They’re cute, colorful, and feel like a decent value, whereas the Pop! Vinyls to me feel like a dirty addiction that I should be ashamed of. In the end, it just feels like more work and personality went into these. While the Barbie releases aren’t my bag, I’m going to be really interested to see if Funko expands this line to include more DC figures or even other franchises. I sure hope they do.