Tag Archives: Playmates

Voltron 84 figures- Playmates (NetFlix)

Back in 1984 the Japanese super robots came to the United States. Beast King GoLion was adapted into Voltron: Defender of the Universe. It lasted for 2 seasons and 72 episodes. The US was enamored with robot lions that combined to make a giant robot to protect the universe. There were other iterations of the show, and other attempts to breath life into the series once again. Then in 2016 NetFlix teamed up with Dreamworks to bring us Voltron: Legendary Defender. This was an update of the original show with the same base characters and an updated, but recognizable version of Voltron. NetFlix teamed up with Playmates to bring us an awesome collection of lions that could combine in conjunction with some really good articulation for the lions as well as for the fully formed Voltron. We even got lights and sounds.

Legendary Defender

Flash ahead to the end of 2017, and the fans love the show. NetFlix and Playmates surprised us with a second round of lions. This time around the line is called Voltron ’84. Netflix brought back 12 episodes of the original show with the current cast talking about an episode that are memorable and important to them and the creation of the new show. It is fun to look back at the old episodes and see the hand drawn work of 1981 (remember it was released in Japan years before it came to the US).

 

 

Red Lion:

The red lion comes with Voltron’s sword. He also comes with a jaw blade, a laser cannon, and a missile launcher. As you will see, the four smaller lions come with a jaw blade, a secondary weapon, and then a bigger spring-loaded firing weapon.

It is fun to look at the two side by side. Since they come with Voltron’s sword, it is an interesting look at the past and modern times. The original sword was so flashy and ornate with so many extra shapes thrown on. The modern one looks more sleek as a chopping energy sword.

The 84 version is a lot more boxy, and has a stiffer overall appearance. They actually have similar points of articulation, but the modern lion has a lot more range than the 84 version.

I really enjoyed looking at the two side by side and seeing how changes were made to make them sleeker and rounder, but keep the overall feel.

One of the most striking differences is in the face of the modern lion compared to the 84 lion. The 84 lions all have such wide faces and giant ears. Well, Red and Green lions anyway. The others have different designs around the sides of the heads to simulate ears with a robot twist.

And of course, they form body parts. The first thing you will notice right away is how well the legs are hidden in the modern arms as opposed to the 84 lions that have them folded up on the outside of the body. Simplicity of visual design versus simplicity of transformation.

 

Yellow Lion:

The Yellow Lion is my favorite of the 5 in Legendary Defender. When I was growing up, I only had one Lion. Yup, the Yellow Lion. I am sure that has something to do with it, but I love the overall bulk of the lion. It is more robust than the others, and tends to use it’s mass as a weapon. The 84 Yellow Lion is pretty neat too. It has fins on it’s back like a fighter jet, and it is the only lion to have a weapon directly on it’s body.

Side by side, the Legendary Yellow Lion is a lot more robust than the 84 Yellow Lion. The extra weapon was turned into an extra shield for the Legendary Lion.

The colors on the lions are so important. Of course there is a main color on all of the lions. The Legendary Lions have the addition of black to help break up the solid color. When you look at the Yellow lion, it had a lot of red mixed in. The Legendary Lion has a touch of red, but not too much.

Transformation of the two are very similar. Both use their forelegs to help support Voltron in the back. Their hind legs fold up, with Legendary Lion’s legs folding behind engines. Legendary’s tail slides in the body, while 84’s tail folds down the back. And the shield again to help protect the head and the Paladin when Voltron needs to kick something.

 

Blue Lion:

Blue comes in with a mouth full of blade, a beam emitter on one joint, and a missile launcher on the other. There is a line of yellow that runs down the back of the lion and all the way to the tip of the tail. For the Legendary line, they stayed consistent with the tails. All are silver with a blue tip for one of their weapons.

As a juxtaposition, in the design of the Legendary Lion, they omitted all of the yellow, save for the eyes. They put the yellow on Legendary Green’s butt.

They did leave a bit of the red on the Legendary Lion, though they moved it up. In an effort to help equal out with the bulky Yellow Lion, Blue Lion’s red area is a shield for it’s head.

And when they are transformed, they look very similar. I don’t think there is a lot they could have done with the legs to change the overall look. The front legs come in really handy when posing Voltron (either version).

 

Green Lion:

Green Lion is the other arm of Voltron. Red Lion came with a sword, Green Lion comes with a shield. And all of the other stuff.

Where the Legendary Green Lion wears the shield all of the time, the 84 Green Lion cannot carry that shield. This time around the two are much closer in color. The 84 version only had one rectangle of green, and that was omitted, since you can’t see that part anyway.

 

And in case anyone was wondering, yes, the Legendary Lions can borrow the 84 Lion’s Jaw Blades. They do not tab into place like they do with the 84 Lions, but they have spring loaded jaws, so I don’t think they needed to peg into the 84 versions either.

Once again, the arms of the Legendary Voltron are a lot cleaner. Hiding pieces. I am sure it took a LOT of design work to pull it off, but boy does it look nice.

 

Black Lion:

And then there is the Black Lion. The leader of the team, and the most super boxiest looking lion of all. This Lion’s articulation is less than the other lions, but that is to be expected from this guy. He comes with lights and sounds. Over 60 phrases. Like with the Legendary Lion, this one is the only one that can keep it’s mouth open. And the face of Voltron hides nicely on the roof of the mouth.

Comparing the two face to face, the first glaring difference is in the wings. Legendary Voltron’s wings are HUGE! 84’s wings are flat and folded into place. One interesting thing is the comparison of the back legs. There are minor changes, but the main design is the same. There is a REALLY important reason for that.

And the transformation beings. The Black Lions form the torso and head of Voltron. They went for a more simplistic look for the Legendary Voltron’s torso. Gone is the giant crest and gold star belt buckle.

 

Transformed into Voltron:

These are tall figures. Lights and sounds in the chest. Articulation for days. You cannot go wrong with these robots. Side by side they look great. There are some design cues I love about the Legendary Voltron, like the silver collar around the head. It gives the look of more power.

When it is time to go, it is time to open the wings. Um, a little embarrassing for 84. His wings are pretty small. Not bad, just different.

The posability of these two is remarkable. They are virtually identical. There are some subtle differences between the two with the bulks of the lions.

From the side you can see how important the front legs of the Yellow and Blue Lions are for support. You can move those legs all over the place to get the right pose. The 84 Voltron actually has a bit of a better stance than Legendary. The Legendary Voltron is a bit back heavy. See, bigger is not always better. But in space, who cares?

 

Voltrons combined:

The burning question I was thinking when I saw these were coming out was: “Can you switch out the lions on either team?” Why yes you can. That was the importance of the back legs of the two Black Lions being nearly identical. They are needed to hold the pieces in place.

As I was finishing up, and playing around with switching lions, I noticed that I had mistransformed Voltron 84. I had the shoulders rotated so the red buttons were facing up. They should have been turned so the red line goes across the entire chest of Voltron. Oops. Fixed and ready for action.

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The Samurai – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Playmates

I was walking down the toy aisle, and always stop in the see what is happening around the TMNT section. It is like the Little Engine That Could. Just when you think the latest gimmick is going to be the peg warmer, and kill the toy line, something new and exciting comes out. And when it is exciting and new, I am paying attention.

 

The exciting and new this time around was Usagi Yojimbo. I was so enamored with Usagi back in the 80s. He was like the Turtles, but different. And then they joined forces. A samurai rabbit hanging out with ninja turtles. Could there be a better team-up? I think not.

Well, the first one I saw was Usagi in his blue outfit. I grabbed him up, excited for this one figure. Looking at the back, I saw it was actually a line that included the 4 turtles in samurai armor as well. Exciting!  Usagi is well articulated, for this line. Thankfully as well at the turtles, who tend to get the best articulation. He comes with two swords that can be kept in sheaths on his hip. This first head design features a scowling Usagi with his ears sticking up in the back.

Not featured on the box is a second version of Usagi wearing full armor. He comes with a new head that features more of a smirk. His ears are down against his head so he can wear the helmet.

And what a fine helmet it is. The face piece is combined with the helmet (something that is separate with the turtles), and has amazing details.  Speaking of details, the outfit is so intricate and beautifully sculpted.

When you see the two side by side, it is clear that this is two completely different versions of the figure. No repainting this time around. It looks as though they only reused the feet, hands and swords. That is a great amount of new work for a line like this.

The 4 turtles use the same bodies with the fantastic sculpting on the armor. They have different colors on specific armor plates, belt, and knee pads that represent their color. This is a good reuse of a body, as they would have had similar armor for all samurai, and the color splashes really go a long way to change the look of each figure. And, since they do not have the same skin tone, that shows up a fair amount between the armor plates as well.

The big change comes with their helmets. Each Turtle comes with a unique helmet that has a change in side decoration, as well as the colored accent on top. They can wear no helmet, the helmet, or they can wear the faceplate as well. The four face plates are the same.

Each Turtle comes with a weapon that is somewhat similar to their original weapon(s), but changed a bit. They do not have any holders on their armor for this weapon. Too bad.

I really like this line of figures. There have been so many fun sub-themes of figures that have come out, and the line keeps pulling me back in. This is another set of figures that looks great on the display shelf together.

Click over to my Flickr account with the link in the sidebar to see more pictures ——->


Voltron Legendary Defenders

When the first season of Voltron came on Netflix, I knew my subscription rate was worth it. The show took me back to the days of eating bowls of cereal with Saturday morning cartoons. There was just something so special about the Japanese cartoons that made it over to the US. At the time, I was too young to know of Anime and Manga. There was not the culture in the US that there is today.

After the first few episodes, I was thinking that someone HAD to make some toys for this show. And then they did. Playmates was tasked with making the most anticipated toy of 2016. Unfortunately, Playmates was not in on the excitement of how much fans wanted the toys. Now there were two sets of lions that came out. A basic and a Legendary. The basic figures were just that. Basic. They had some gimmick that moved legs or shot a missile. But that was not what the fans wanted. What they wanted were the Legendary Lions. Five lions that combined into the 16 inch tall Voltron.

I initially found the Black, Yellow and Blue Lions. That was not enough to build Voltron, so I hung in there waiting for the rest They were under produced, so of course the secondary market exploded with price increases. Each lion going for double or triple the original price. Now I know Playmates. They are the makers of some popular brands like TMNT. They do listen to what is going on. So I was sure they were going to step up and release more lions. And they did. Phew!

The lions are fantastic. They look like they were pulled from the show. Black Lion is of course the biggest. It has articulated wings, opening mouth, and jointed legs. This is also the brains of the operation. The electronics and lights are in the body to allow all of the phrases and sound effects. It is amazing tech. It knows which Lion is being plugged in.

There is a hatch on the bottom that allows the driver (in a little ship), to come out. Each lion has a little ship that hides in the belly. All 5 are differently designed.

The rest of the lions have an attachable weapon system that is seen in the show. Green, Blue, and Red fire a missile, while Yellow fires a trio of discs.

Green and Red each came with a part of Voltron’s sword, which makes sense since they are the two arms, thus would be able to wield said sword. Both lions have spring mouths, with gaps in the sides of the mouth for them to hold the sword in both Lion and Voltron modes.

Voltron stands an impressive 16 inches tall, That is a very big robot, especially for being built from 5 figures. We do know of some other mechas that are multi-member teams too. We will look at them in a little bit. The Lions were so well engineered that they transform much the same way as they do in the show. In fact, I did not need to look at the directions, since after watching two seasons of the show, I pretty much have their transformations memorized.

The paint work on Voltron is amazing. His face is right on. He wears a great scowl, and looks ready for battle.

There is a lot of good articulation in Voltron. Now he is a combiner, and does have some limitations. When they get to be this big, we cannot pull off the same poses as we can with smaller figures. He does a good job holding his own.

Compared to some of the other brands multi-member teams, he is standing tall. Next to Devastator, Voltron is not that much smaller. And of course he has taken on entire armadas of enemies, so that would probably be an easy battle for Voltron to win. And next to the Legacy Megazord, he is WAY bigger. It is fun to have Voltron next to Megazord, since it was said that Megazord’s design was taken from Voltron.

 

I am so happy with this guy. It has been years in waiting for me to get this guy, from the initial hope that one will get made, to the Playmates mistake of under producing them. He looks great, and Voltron is a welcome addition to my ever growing robot collection.


Dire Beaver – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Season 3

Dire Beaver is the second of the four Dream Beavers to be released in the TMNT line. We met these freaky dudes back in season 3 of the show when the Turtles escaped New York to go to the farm. There was some pretty messed up stuff there, including these freaks!

Dire Beaver is a ‘repaint’ of Dark Beaver, who we saw quite a while ago. Since then, it didn’t seem likely that there would be any more beavers, and then Poof! There was Dire Beaver on the shelf.

For Dire Beaver, he is molded in purple. he has some highlights around, like the claws, tooth, nose, mouth, and eyes. He has a darker purple tummy with an exploding bomb on it. Can you say, “Demented Care Bears?”

I like these guys a lot. They don’t have the best articulation, but there are many in the line who lack there. They do have good movement in the shoulders and the legs, not to mention the ball jointed tail.

Two down, and two to go. Will we ever see Dread and Dave? Time will tell. I am not going to hold my breath for them, but I will be happy if we get them.


Dark Beaver – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The stuff of nightmares. Dark Beaver is one of the four “Dream Beavers” that haunt people’s dreams and use their fear to gain power. Somewhere between a Carebear and Freddy Kruger, these guys are bad news.

The symbol on Dark Beaver’s stomach looks amazing. A white flame around a skull. This looks very close to the cartoon version.

They did manage to take away some of the ultra creepiness of the characters. These guys were really out there on the strange scale. A nice dark wash could really help him to look a little more like the cartoon version. He would need a little extra work around the face too.

Their size is made to fit into the packaging that sets the size. Unfortunately, that is something that has hindered this line from the first wave. They don’t want to make figures outside of the bubble pack size, so we get a generic size limit. The Dream Beavers are either really big (in the dream world), or regular size (in reality). It would have been really fun to see them come in two 2-Packs like we saw with the baby Turtles a while back.

I have seen a picture of Dire Beaver (Purple), but I haven’t seen it in person, or anyone who has actually found one in the wild. I will hold onto my excitement for getting more of the Dream Beavers until I see them, but it seems like four similar figures would be a natural choice for Playmates.

Overall, Dark Beaver is a good figure. He fits in well with the rest of the line, and a big red beaver with a skull on his stomach stands out in any collection. Anti-Carebears to you nightmares!


Fugitoid – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Dimension X

Fugitoid is a great little character. From the Dimension X line of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line. He is different looking from the other figures that have come out, and he really stands out on his own.

This is the standard version that come with white plastic. There is a secondary version that comes with the 4 Turtles, where they are all clad in chrome, including Fugitoid. As I am not a fan of the Turtles wearing all of that miss-fitting gear, I waited until I found the standard version of Fugitoid.

He has good articulation, and the big feet allow him to stand fairly well. He has ball joints on his hips and shoulders to allow for most poses you want. He also has elbow and knee twisting joints to allow for more movement.

Hanging with his new bro, Megatron… seconds before Megatron tries to kill him.

He was a lot of fun to play with and pose.

“So sorry guys. I didn’t mean to knock you all down.”

“I need to find a Cortana of my own.”

“You look strangely familiar, but yet so different.”

“I always wanted a robot like you!”

If you missed it before, here is my review of one of the Dimension X Turtles that I did not like.


Dimension X Space Battler Raphael – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Yeesh! I sure am glad I only grabbed one of these Dimension X figures. They are seriously weak! I decided to grab Raph. I am not sure what made me choose him over Leonardo, since he is usually my go-to trial figure.

These figures come with space gear, clearly for going into Dimension X. They are a standard figure with a new belt, and space gear (helmet, arm bands, hand things, and leg do-dads). They also come with futuristic weapons… or their same weapons with a tech flair to them.

The main problem lies in the execution of the Space Gear. Of course that is all there is to the gimmick of these figures, so that is pretty bad. The accessories are very bulky, and make the figure stand weird. The real problem is with the helmet. It just doesn’t fit. It seems like they used a body mold that is just too small to fit. In the pre-production photos, the heads are centered in the helmet, but in reality, the heads are way down low.

They used the Battle Shell version of the figures, which are a bit smaller than the original figures, and that could have played into the problems. If you look closely at the back shell, you can see the hinge. It doesn’t open, since the belt wraps all the way around.

Overall, not a good figure. The parts fall off easily, the figure stands weird, and he just looks off. It is best to save your money for some of the new figures coming up that look to be much better. There is also a big pack that comes with the Turtles in this gear, but it is chrome. It looks to have the same problem with a shiny package.


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