Friday, September 1, 2017

Voltron: Metal Defender

It's high time I review something from the new Voltron series!

Naturally, if I'm going to review a giant combining robot....I'm going to pick the smaller version.  What we'll be looking at today is the "Metal Defender" Voltron set of combining lions; they're all much smaller than the basic Lions, and they combine into an 8 inch Voltron.  Just the right size for me!

But wait a second...*looks around, all shifty-like* You've seen the new Netflix Voltron series, right? I don't want to assume. If you haven't...that's cool. Totally fine. Just know that it's goddamn amazing and hilarious and fun and great and awesome and you should watch it as soon as you get the chance.

That's all I'll say.

Why don't we just get to the toys?

I bought all the single-packed Lions because, after buying the Red Lion, I found out about a pack of all five together.  So...I kinda married myself to the single packs.  Keep a look out for the whole set, though!  It'll save you the hunting.

The boxes are nice and color coded, and the backgrounds they're packed with are SUPER SHINY and rainbowy. If you photograph toys, I'd keep them around for shenanigans. The rest of the packaging is in the recycle bin, 'cause I don't keep packaging around (usually).

Each Lion is ready to go, right out the box (save for the Black Lion, who is in Voltron mode, so you gotta shuffle him back into Lion mode). The main bodies are die-cast metal and have a nice heft to them, while the rest is plastic.

Each Lion has articulated hips (forward and backward movement), knees, and ankles.  Since they're on four legs, it can be tough to get all four feet flat on the ground, but it can be done (I just didn't put a whole lot of work into getting them that way).

The Black Lion has a moveable tail (mostly just so it can fold on to his back) and a head that can look up and down, so it can fold down into Voltron's head.  The jaw opens, but Voltron's face is in there....soooo....yeah.  Maybe keep it closed. 

The Black Lion also has wings, but they're kinda limited.  They turn side-to-side, but it's useless, since they would need fold inward to look like wings.  You can fan them out, but since they just open up straight backwards - once again - they don't look like wings.  They could have used a few extra hinges for some dynamic poses.

The Red and Green Lions are the only ones with accessories: Red comes with Voltron's Blazing Sword, and Green comes with the back/shoulder shield (which is only removable because it shifts to it's hind quarters when in arm mode).  They are also the only Lions with spring-loaded mouths, so they can grip the sword.  The spring is nice and tight, so you can swing them around and the sword won't come flying out.

Red and Green are also the only ones with mid-sections that bend side to side, since they need that part to also be elbows, for Voltron.  It adds a little more posability to their Lion modes.

The Blue and Yellow Lions are a bit bigger than the arm Lions, since they become the legs.  However, because of that, they don't need to hold anything in their mouths, so you can open and close them at your leisure (you'll also find the mouth guns molded inside, though unpainted).

To get an idea of scale, here's....the only thing I ever use for scale.  It's a Techno Viper.  Of course it's a Techno Viper.  Point is: They're small, which is great, 'cause I don't have the room for the big 'ol beefy Voltron (which is still awesome, and most of you fans probably already have it).

Getting the Lions ready for Voltron is easy!  The arms (Red and Green) both fold up the same way: You open up the back, twist the legs up, push them in, and fold them back, like so.  Snap the back section down again, push in the tail, pop out the connector (conveniently placed in the crotch) and you're ARMED!

The legs (Blue and Yellow) fold up so easily that I didn't bother to photograph it: Just push the necks in until they click, push the heads up, and fold the legs in.  The front legs sort of act as Voltron's heels, though they don't stay there as well as I'd like.  Somehow they still function, and you can position them around to get Voltron standing in different ways that it might not normally be able to, without the movable heel/legs.

Now you just plug them all in to the Black Lion!  The arms have simple plugs that fit into the ports on the Black Lion's big 'ol shoulders.  They SNAP in tight - no problems with them falling off. 

The legs aren't quite as obvious, but it's still not tough to figure out, since there's only one way to fit them together.  There are these little hatches *ahem* right smack dab in the middle of their asses.  Just ram the Black Lion's legs up their chutes until they click!  This one gave me a little trouble, at first, because you think they're in as far as they can go - but no!  If you have a problem with the legs falling off, just try again.  Get a good grip and keep pushing until it snaps in there, and they will be completely solid.  No problems falling out at all!

WHEW!  Okay.  Wrote that whole paragraph with only minor ass jokes.  I'm good.

Voltron, Legendary Defender!  I am surprised at how sturdy this beast is!  You can really WOOSH this guy around, and you don't have to worry about any parts falling off - not even with how heavy he is - and lemme tell ya: This dude is heavy!  Very nice weight to him, since each Lion has a decent center of die-cast metal.  Amazingly enough, the joints are strong enough to hold the limbs up as well!  Overall, it's pretty impressive for something I assumed would be a little fiddly, since this is probably aimed at collectors who might not be playing with it as much as kids (PFFFT yeah right).

There are some drawbacks to making this sucker so sturdy, though.  You'll notice that he can look up, in the picture above.  That's good!  Sadly, he can't look anywhere but straight ahead or up.  There's no neck joint beyond the one needed to turn it back into a Lion head.  I feel like they could have worked one in there.  The neck joint, above all, is the major joint that should have been there.  It would have opened up a million little poses with just that one addition.

The legs are where this thing shines!  Double jointed knees, ball jointed hips, and (like I stated earlier), the front legs of the Blue and Yellow Lions make for some good support when posing him.  He sadly doesn't have ankles or rocker ankles, but the Lion legs kind of make up for it, with some minor adjustments.  Finally, there's also a thigh swivel, though, there's not a whole lot you can do with it.

The arms are where things get a little stiff.  The elbow joints work, but they are quickly stopped by the Lion thighs, so you don't get much range.  Thankfully, there's also a bicep swivel and a wrist swivel (the Lion's neck), so you can twist the arm around and work some good poses out of them.  The connector joint works as the shoulder, and, with some work, you can get it fully outward.  It's not perfect, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for this thing to be so sturdy.

The only accessory Voltron has for fighting evil, is the Blazing Sword.  It's a basic sculpt with a painted blade, though I wish it had been cast in translucent blue plastic with the gray parts painted.  Normally I don't like weapon handles painted, since the paint would scrape off when you shove it into a hand, but the spring-loaded jaws hold it firmly, but not in any way that it would scratch paint. The sword looks as it should and does the just would have looked better with a translucent blade.

Matched up with the classic Voltron!  You can see a lot of differences, but the basic idea is the same: Multi-colored robot lions combining to make a big non-lion robot!  I suppose this isn't for you, if you're just a fan of classic Voltron, but it is a great update on the same idea.

Let's break it down, folks:

 - If you're already interested in this and are wondering if you should get it, then the answer is yes.  It's a great, sturdy toy and fine representation of the titular giant robot.

 - If you've already got the big ones, then you should be set - pass on this.

 - If you're a classic Voltron fan, but aren't a fan of the new show, I really have to ask you to give the show another chance because *insert fan gushing here*.  Still, it's a great looking redesign of Voltron, and it'll look good on a shelf.

 - If you love the show and just want a small representation of Voltron, then YES, once again, get this. This is definitely for you.

 - If you're wondering if this would be good for your kids, then yeah, I gotta say: This would do well for kids!  I'm surprised to say it, because I thought this would be collectors-only-fancy-stuff, but it's sturdy and easy to play with.  Definite yes, for kids.

That's that!  I really love this die-cast metal beast of a little toy.  Each Lion is fun enough in it's own right, and they combine into a great representation of Voltron, with some minor gripes in terms of articulation, but nothing that gets under my skin enough to not suggest buying this.  Great figures, great combined figure, and full of die-cast nostalgia.


  1. The Netflix show is awesome. I think an interview with the producers/writers/something summarized it best - they tried to make the show like the Voltron you "think" it was as a kid (but it never really was when you watch it again).

    1. Ha! That is a great description. The best part is that they're merging the best of both worlds, taking story cues from not just Voltron, but the original Go Lion series it was adapted from (hell, it might even be heavier on the Go Lion story than Voltron!) One way or another, it's a show where you KNOW the creators care about making a quality story.

  2. I have to admit that, after hearing gushing from all corners of the Internet, I watched the first episode of Flixtron and it just...didn't really grab me. I may go back to it, but I felt like I wasn't seeing what other people were telling me they were seeing. And I'm not some huge fan of OG Voltron. (But I am a huge fan of mecha anime, which might be something standing in my way.)

    1. I'm not a huge fan of OG Voltron either (though I strangely know a lot of trivia about it), but, well....I don't think I'm going to convince you if it didn't grab you right away. There's a LOT that goes on, so the best I can say is: Keep going. One episode isn't enough, and you barely know anyone. They all learn and grow as the series progresses, and they get better and better at piloting Voltron. There's a lot of mystery surrounding Voltron itself, and the big evil empire they're facing. It's great stuff, as it slowly gets revealed. One way or another: it's not just "big robot fight evil." You really come to love the characters.

      ...there I go trying to get you into it anyway. I already love it, so obviously you can take what I say with a grain of salt. It's not the end-all-be-all of animation, but it's damn good.

  3. @Alex, Great stuff. I was actually wondering if this would be good for the kids. Thanks for the clarification.