Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Voltron Classics: Red Lion and Lance

Hey guys, back again with a new review. Last week I started a review on the Transformers Prime First Edition figures. Part 2 of that review is still coming, but between then and now, something came in the mail. Something I had to review first, and that something is...

Voltron Classics: Lance and the Red Lion

I am a huge Voltron fan. It was my favorite show growing up, followed by Transformers, TMNT, Thundercats and others like them. So when Mattel announced last year that they were doing a Classics series for Voltron, I was jumping for joy. Ok so enough gushing, lets get to the toys, starting with Lance.

Lance come in a rather large size box with a window that clearly shows him, his alternate head and Lion Key stand, which may leave some people wondering why he is in such a big box and not a simple cardback. Turning the box around reveals that also included is a piece for a very big "collect and connect" Charged Blazing Sword. Three guesses who gets that sword when its completed. The back also shows some of the figures features and a little on his connection to the Red Lion, but we will get more into that later. It's easy to get Lance out of the box and just as easy to put him back inside for storage.

Out of the box, Lance looks really good. His paintjob is spot on with the old cartoon, very bright and vibrant. While I know the little white circles on his shoulders have been the center of a lot of controversy, I'm personally cool with them. Lance has a fair amount of articulation, having all the standard points, but his elbows and knees are a little lacking in thier range of motion. To add variety to his posing options, Lance has two alternate heads, one with and one without his helmet. Using an alternate head for the helmet is a great idea since it would be impossible to make a seperate helmet that looked good on the figure. Now lance dosnt have any weapons included with him, but he can easily use any extra GI Joe or Star Wars weapons you may have handy and given the Star Wars basic figures tend to come with a slew of extra accesories, getting Lance a gun should be rather easy.

Having Lance side to side with the vintage Panosh Place version really shows how far toys have come over the past 30 years. It also helps to illustrate how bad seperate helmets look of 3 3/4" figures. Putting him next to the Trendmasters 3rd Dimension Lance brings out a night and day difference until you get a good look as the face sculpts where there enough similarities to believe these are the same character. Again, seeing them together helps to show that evolution in figure design. Lastly, putting him with 3 3/4" figures from other lines shows how well Lance can fit in "combined world" toy displays. His scale actually goes best with the Star Wars figures, which is great cause I could see him stopping at the Mos Eisely Cantina after a tough mission.

As I mentioned earlier, Lance's box was a bit too big for him alone. Also included was the hilt for the "collect and connect" Charged Blazing Sword meant to be used but the 23" tall Voltron that we will be able to see at the end of the year. Oddly enough, the hilt is actually bigger than lance himself, infact I can hold the thing in my hand like the hilt of a small dagger. This only gets me more excited to see Voltron in all 23" of his glory. But to get to Voltron, we need to start with the Lions.

The Red Lion comes in a nice window box that clearly shows everything this figure has to offer. The back shows a couple of the features the Red Lion has aswell as how the lion works with to the Lance figure. The inner portion of the box comes out and can act as a display background and stand for the Red Lion. Im not sure if Mattel did this on purpose but either way its a nice way to display the lion until we can form Voltron.

Out of the box, the Red Lion look stunningly good. His colors are bright, vivid and mostly show accurate. Sculpt-wise, it looks like a supersized version of the original Matchbox toy from the 80's. Now when i say supersized, I mean SUPERSIZED. The Red Lion is as big as MOTUC's Battle Cat, He-Man can even ride the lion if you want him to. Seeing ths lion in hand will really give you an idea on how big Voltron will really be. Sadly the articulation is a bit lacking. Poor Red here is suffering from both Gestalt and Action Feature Syndrome, meaning his articulation has been hampered by quick transform action features and the fact that he was built to combine into Voltron. He has some posablility but you'll only be able to really hold standing poses and arm mode poses due to the springs in his legs. His only accessory is his Lion Sword, which easily fits into and stays in his mouth.

One of the coolest features of the Red Lion is that Lance can fit inside and man the cockpit. The cockpit is revealed by using the Lion Key included with Lance to open up the Red Lion's back. Lance can then be placed inside the lion and the back can be closed pretty easily. Other 3 3/4" figures can be placed in the cockpit but not all, for example certain other evil fighters wont be able to drive these robots.

When looking at the past forms of the Red Lion, its easy to see that Mattel took a hard look at both the original Matchbox version (mine here being the Trendmasters '97 reissue) and the Toynami Masterpiece edition when they were creating this gigantic new lion. The only thing it has in common with the Panosh Place lion is that they can both hold thier pilots.

Getting the Red Lion into arm mode is a simple task, just fold up the legs and tail, fold out the connection peg and you are all set. The arm mode is emormous, its actually as tall as G1 Predaking, and is barely shorter than the Masterpiece Voltron. It even looks big next to Unicron. Im going to take a wild guess and say that Voltron will be about as tall as G1 Fortress Maximus. Getting Red back into lion mode is easy aswell, there are two buttons on the lion, one on the lions rear and the other just below the neck. Simply pressing these buttons will spring the legs out and you can pose them so he can stand. The tail can be released by opening the hatch it is hidden in. This action feature is nice but I would have preffered better posablitiy to it.

All in all, The Red Lion is an outstanding figure, and so is Lance. Fans of Voltron will be very pleased to have both in thier collections and have a lot to look forward to this year. Lance and the Red Lion are sold out at, so you'll have to check eBay or Big Bad Toy Store if you want to get a hold of them now. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this review and ill see you later.

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