Like any good child of the 1980’s one of the highlights of my Saturday mornings was catching a block of Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Even by 1985 standards, Voltron was a pop culture phenomenon whose legendary iconography has remained relevant for thirty years. Now, when Netflix relaunched the franchise last year with, Voltron: Legendary Defenders, I was very impressed with the results. As promised, Voltron: Legendary Defender paid homage to the original series, staying loyal to mythos, characters and overall look of the show.
I mean, they even brought the Space Mice back! After binging the first season I likened it very much to the the ill-fated ThunderCats reboot from 2011, which I loved. In both cases theses reboots embraced some of the sillier aspects of their predessors all the while providing a more contemporary, action driven plot.
In anticipation of the second season of Voltron: Legendary Defender, set to release on January 20th, 2017 my good friends at Playmates Toys were kind enough to send over some samples from their expansive action figure and role playing line which has started to hit stores across the country.
Long a go a mighty robot warrior,Voltron, was created to protect the galaxy from evil.
Now, five young heroes must master the power of the Voltron Lions to defeat the Galra Empire and restore peace!
The Voltron: Legendary Defender Line is spread of four categories:
- The highly detailed and articulated basic action figure assortment includes all of the heroes and villains of Voltron, and each figure comes equipped with incredibly fun action features.
- The Legendary Lion assortment includes all 5 Lions that can combine to unlock unique phrases and sounds from the show and form a 16” articulated Voltron figure
- The 14” Ultimate Voltron Figure features electronic lights, sounds, incredible detail, articulation and more.
- The roleplay assortment includes Voltron and Red Lion masks and swords, as well as an electronic transforming version of Voltron’s sword.
For review purposes I was provided two figures from the Basic Assortment: Blue Lion and Lion Attack Voltron.
It is important to note that the Lions in the Basic Assortment do not combine, rather they each have a specific action function. The Blue Lion has a “pounce” action which is is engaged by pushing down on the lion so that it’s hind legs lower and you hear a click.The lion then “pounces” by pushing a button on its back. Due to the internal mechanics of the action feature, the Blue Lion has limited articulation but it’s sculpt and paint are extremely faithful to it’s look on the show, making it a decent display piece.
One of the things that I enjoy most about Voltron: Legendary Defender is that the overall production design pays homage to the classic Voltron we all know and love. The Blue Lion of 2017 looks nearly identical to the Blue Lion of 1985. They aren’t amorphous blobs like those new Zords from the upcoming live action Power Rangers movie. You take one look at it and you would think that it looks very much like the Voltron toys you may have had as a kid 20+ years ago.
The second figure that I was sent was Lion Attack Voltron, one of two full Voltron figures in the basic assortment. Coming in at right around 5 1/2 inches, Lion Attack Voltron features a missile launching feature which is activated by depressing the end of the projectile which protrudes from the Green Lion.
It’s a fun little figure and undeniable cool, with just enough articulation which make for some really great hero poses. From what I’ve seen first hand, the Basic Assortment is a great entry level action figure for long time fans who want a small piece of nostalgia or even better a great way for those very same long time fans to introduce a new generation of fans to Voltron, Defender of the Universe.
Do you want to know what one of my favorite parts of ripping open these figures was? The mini fold-out catalog wedged under the plastic tray which showcased the rest of the action figures. As a kid I used to freak out over the catalogs included with GI Joes and Transformers. It was a way to plan out what you were going to ask for for Christmas, your birthday and when you got a good report card.
Now, savvy collectors have already started to spot the Voltron: Legendary Defender line at retail. I imagine that the Legendary Series which features the combining lions and allows you to assemble a 16″ tall robot will be the first to fly of shelves. It has been quite some time since we’ve been able to get Voltron merchandise at retail that wasn’t ultra high end or vendor exclusive (cough cough R.I.P MattyCollector). The Basic Assortment figures have a MSRP of $9.99 and will be available across most brick and mortar retail establishment as well as several online options.