Once you get him out of the box, the Robeasts don't stand a chance...
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One thing you can always count on with a Mattel Comic-Con Exclusive is receiving an AMAZING package. SDCC 2011 was no exception, with the company offering a wide range of stylishly presented collectibles - from Swamp Thing's biodegradable box (read our review HERE) to the cereal-tempting Franken Berry car (review HERE). Blazing Sword Voltron was another excellent offering, the exclusive attractively priced at $30 and having the honor of being the first release in the new Voltron toy collection. However, being the first Voltron toy release is also the big downside of this exclusive: You can't open it up to check out the actual figure inside without utterly destroying the packaging.
Most of you are probably like "So, what's your point? It's an exclusive meant to look great in packaging." Very true, but being the first figure in a new series, you'd think Mattel would want fans to see how impressive it was... you know, out of the box. Lucky for Voltron fans, I've done the dirty deed of opening this exclusive for you. Why? Because I'm an opener. Secondly, I was bound and determined to see how Mattel's new Voltron stacked up in the small, but wonderful world of Voltron toys.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJMcJZGlmVE"]VOLTRON SOUND FEATURE[/ame]
Ah, but first that amazing packaging! Encased in a large open window box, the 8-inch tall Voltron stands proud against a backdrop of the Lion Force's fortress on planet Arus. There's even a window pane on top that allows light to shine down on the collectible inside, a nice touch. Dynamic graphics of Voltron defending the universe adorn each side, while the back prominently features the toy in numerous action poses. The box even mocks collectors with the prompt to "Recreate Voltron's Battle Moves!" However, the real attraction to the Blazing Sword Voltron exclusive is the sound feature. Press the big red button on the bottom of the box and the ENTIRE intro to the classic cartoon is played. Check out the video above to bring back those warm fuzzy memories.
For mint-in-box collectors, your review stops here. The SDCC 2011 exclusive Blazing Sword Voltron - in pack - is an incredible display piece and worth every bit the $30 for the gorgeous packaging - and sound chip - alone. For the rest of you interested in how the actual action figure is, read on...
To remove Voltron from his carboard tomb, be prepared to get down and dirty. There's taped down flaps, a horde of twisty ties and an entire lower section that's glued shut more securely than Fort Knox. There's no nice way of freeing Voltron - this exclusive was meant to be displayed one way, and one way only... or so Mattel thought.
Success! After busting out my own blazing sword and getting medieval on the box, my Voltron figure is FREE. The first thing that grabbed me was Voltron's vibrant cartoon color scheme. It's all very toylike, and for those expecting realism, that will spell out immediate disappointment. For me, it's a breath of fresh air to see a Voltron figure that looks like he stepped out of the 'toon. It's something different; something that hasn't been done yet with a Voltron collectible (that I can recollect).
Voltron's cartoony appearance becomes even more appealing when you actually get around to playing with him. Mattel wasn't fooling when they said this was one of the most articulated Voltron figures made. Where Voltron toys in the past have always been stiff and rigid in posture, Blazing Sword Voltron can MOVE. Lets see if I can break down the points for you:
* Ball-Jointed Head
* Ball-Jointed/ Swivel Shoulders
* Hinged/Swivel Elbows
* Swivel Hands
* Spring-Opening Lion Mouth Hands
* Ball-Jointed Upper Torso
* Swivel Waist
* Flip Down Back Wings
* Ball-Jointed Thighs
* Swivel Upper Thighs
* Hinged Knees
* Hinged Ankles
* Swivel Lion Head Feet
Pretty amazing stuff! All the leg articulation allows Voltron to strike some deep combat stances with great stability, while the arm articulation lets you display Voltron in a number of sword-swinging poses. The spring-opening hands hold his weapons firmly, while the shoulder and elbow joints allow you to have Voltron hold his sword(s) out wide ready to slice or even gripped two-handed! Add on the excellent mobility of his head and the surprise upper torso cut, and you have yourself a Voltron meant to be played with. Kids are going to have a blast with these figures when they hit retail and collectors are going to appreciate the cool display poses you can get.
Speaking of swords, Blazing Sword Voltron comes with two. Included is his standard blade and, as the name of the exclusive implies, his weapon in "blazing sword" mode. The latter is the first I recall being made for a Voltron toy and its fiery sculpt looks killer. The Robeasts don't stand a chance!
In my humble opinion, Toynami's Masterpiece Voltron is the coolest Voltron collectible ever made. It has die-cast content, the ability to transform into all five Lions and comes in a book-like package that's to die for. But that Voltron is clearly aimed at serious, high-end collectors.
For the money, Mattel's Blazing Sword Voltron is an excellent figure to be played with. It's animated color scheme adds some nice variety to my collection and its articulation is out of this world. In a word, this Voltron is a FUN TOY. It's just such a shame that Mattel didn't let that fun factor fully shine with an exclusive that could easily be removed from its packaging. As it is, the choice is clearly yours: Keep mint-in-pack and wait for Voltron's full retail release to play with the figure OR rip that bad boy open. I made my decision and I don't regret one minute of it.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
MIB Packaged Photos and Video by Michael Klein
Review Sample Courtesy of Mattel