So I finally paid off my other big ass super combining robot. He’s an amazing toy (on the left) but I admit the combined mode doesn’t photograph too well.
The 1984 big and boxy one on the right above looks great in photo, his proportions just sing out manly 80’s Voltron. While his Netflix counterpart is more spherical and rounded all over, giving him more depth from the side and back, but from the front looks a little odd.
In hand, he actually looks great. I’m super glad I picked up both at the same time. But it took a while to complete as the black lions from both sets were not available at all in my home state, so I ordered them from Amazon USA before they permanently shut down shipping anything to Australia. Those fuckers.
Good thing I grabbed my TMNT Mega Blox collection earlier this year. If I had not, I would be right royally screwed now with the option to not buy any of them, not to mention it would have been impossible to complete either of these Voltrons, as TRU / Toy’s R Us was one of the very few stores to get the Playmates Voltron toys in, and not only did they sell out in the first week, but the stores have now closed down like the US and UK TRU stores (despite not being related to them debt wise).
Anyhow, I’m pissed off about the amazon now being off limits for buying cheap (as in non inflated) comic book trades, action figures and transformers. FUCK YOU AMAZON from down under. We get royally ripped on prices for so many things in Australia, I’d love to be able to shop local, but so many things we don’t get here at all, or if we do they are 2-3 times the normal recommended retail price, and woefully understocked.
Yeah they opened an “OZZIE AMAZON” but fuck me it’s a joke of store.
1. The shit still ships from the US.
2. Items listed by asshole sellers are the wild west of prices. If you think ebay has gone to shit with scalpers and con-men, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Okay, so the other Voltron is finally assembled and the above rant is done (you could have just skipped to this part….stop complaining….)
The Yellow Lion was the first toy I bought from the line to try out and see what the quality was like. Very happy with him. Poses great, wonderful features, detail etc. He’s got Gumby in his mouth if you missed that last photo above, showing off his spring hinged jaw gimmick.
I put the other Lion Limb-bots on layby/lay-away to pay off, then ordered both Black Lions online from Fucksville. By which I mean the store that is now dead to me. Except for digital books I guess? Damn it…….is my Kindle now useless?
The Netflix Voltron aka Legendary Defender toy released in 2018, based on the show that premiered in 2016 and has being going gangbusters ever since, with many seasons of episodes to enjoy. I’ve only watched the first and some of the second seasons. It’s on the backburner while I power through the Japanese Transformers shows and various 70’s/80’s Super Robot Anime. I’ll get to them all eventually, no rush.
I really dig the packaging of both Voltron sets. I was going to take some more pics, but finally chucked the boxes yesterday as they were just taking up too much space. Fortunately I snapped a couple the day I got them home.
The logo, background, brief copy blub on the right, diagram of how they combine and features laid out in a way that is both functional and stylish. It still amazes me how so many modern toys get their packaging dead wrong. Bad fonts, shitty logos, poor color choices, poor color contrast – not telling you about basic features etc. It’s clearly an afterthought for budgetary reasons, but still sloppy and horrible on many modern toys.
Yellow Lion photographs real well. Here is the Netflix version with his eighties counterpart and a little yellow Last Knight Squeaks for fun.
Back of the box for the Voltron ’84 version, again shows off he features well, and nice product shot with that classic space-grid I love from Tron / Voltron / Genesis games of the 80’s. The articulation on the Netflix Lions is just great. Compare below how I was able to pose Yellow Lion (left) in a downward slinking posture, like when cats stalk things to kill.
The joints are good quality and he really is quite poseable, while the retro 80s set is the opposite. Big and boxy, nigh-unposeable. I love both for different reasons.
Here is the whole team together in their lion modes. The faces look great, but hard to get a decent photo of them due to how bloody big they are.
Side on with Blue and Yellow lion, note how many places the legs can bend.
Close up of Black, Green and Red lions front on. The only one that look a bit odd is black lion, as he is just so damn big next to the other in Lion/cat mode. Oh well, the real world has its giant robot cats in many varying sizes I guess.
The two big ‘n burly bastards together. I love them both. Sheer awesome. Feet are a bit robo-derpy on the Netflix one, but fuck me who stares at robot feet?
Yellow and Blue make up the legs and have more natural physique / shape to them that mimics real world cats/lions. The Red and Green lion for arms have an elbow joint in their waist, which makes them look a little odd, but not so much that it ruins them or anything. The jaws have a spring gimmick, so you can get them to hold small things if you like.
The Netflix Voltron team in lion mode in front of their older brother.
My plan is to have the Netflix set in lion mode on a shelf at some point, as I like them better that way, and the old school version in combined robot mode. Check out Black Lion below, so wicked. Would you mess with him? No way!
Well, not too many words here. Great voice gimmicks – 50 phrases in each Black Lion with super crisp audio samples – sturdy strong plastic, cool design and a great budget price. What is not to love? Apparently there was a later release a month or so after these ones as box sets, so be on the lookout for those if you are after any of them. I never saw them, as they were small in number and all sold out again pretty fast like the first lot.
So happy with both of these sets. So much so that as a non-fan I’ve just finished downloading GOLION to watch on my tablet on weekends with full english subtitles.
I highly recommend both sets for kids or adults. If you’re a Chogokin collector, into diecast etc then this is not what you are looking for. But then Chogokin’s are like $500-, $600, this set is more like $150 all up.
Great play value, great cartoon aesthetic, awesome voice samples and just look brilliant with other big robots, transformers, or cartoon themed toys in general. Both sets can’t be beat for sheer shelf presence and fun. Kids can even play with them without breaking them in five seconds. How many modern toys can you say that about?
But I was browsing the local toy section as I do every week at BIG W, and they had the Votlron Netflix show Lionbot thing, and I put em on layby after watching some video reviews on the tube. Big Thanks Retro Blasting Channel, you make getting out of bed worthwhile!
I can’t resist a great toy.
The next week, a mate online posted about the OTHER Playmates 2018 Voltron set, this one based on the classic 1984 Voltron. Some were in stock at Toys ‘r Us, but usually NOT in my state. Because it’s West Australia, basically a desert and sometimes shops.
I called up my local-ish TRU (like 45-60 min drive away) and what do you know!
They had them in stock. So I drove over and bought them right away. Except I ordered two online (also from TRU) that morning. But it worked out, I got the Black Lion / Torso Bot Voicus Extremus online, plus one limb, then bought all FOUR limbs in store.
Online TRU orders in OZ are a random pick for the limb bots, and one double is not too high a price to pay for getting all the five bots.
Anyhow, I put a layby on the modern Netflix style Legendary Defender Voltron, and picked up these Classic Voltron 84 ones in person.
Later on, oh say about a week, the online bots arrived, and it was TIME TO COMBINE!
This bastard is a nice 16″ tall, close to 18″/20″ if you count his backpack wings.
The deco is bright primary colors, grey on the limbs, some silver on the chest and belly. It’s a nice animation style deco. If you’re a premium collector, it’s no $600 Chogokin aftermarket Voltron that’s for sure. But what it is, is a nice sturdy strong plastic very poseable and stable combiner, for around $200 (AUD).
In sheer shelf presence, Playmates Voltron just can’t be beat for that budget price. It’s bright, fun, poseable and oh…..it say’s FIFTY crisp audio clips from the show. Well, more like it SHOUTS them at you in some very clear audio samples, that even your Mrs can hear from the other end of the house when she’s trying to apply for jobs or watch funny cat videos.
The boxes are a nice attractive package. Above is Classic Legendary Yellow Lion from the “Voltron 84” set. To the left is the Legendary Defender Yellow Lion aka NETFLIX Voltron Yellow Lion. The classic 84 set has that cubey boxy look which I love, while the Netflix set has cats that are much more like actual organic skeletal animals, (and more poseable in animal mode) rather than super robots. I’ll do a post on that set once the Black Lion arrives in the mail from Amazon, as it’s almost im-fucking-possible to find in this country.
Below is the Voltron 84 Playmates Black Lion, and I REALLY dig that box design man. You’ve got Voltron in the top corner, that classic logo, his big ass sword, some spacey grid shit that makes me think of both the Transformers movie and the old SEGA game console covers. Not to mention TRON, you can’t go wrong with a spacey glowy grid thing in my book. And you know The Good Book Of John is triple silver gold foil embossed with 3D graphics and glowy space shit flying at you while Synthwave music bleeds into your ears faster than light at a million decibels.
Below is the back of the box for the Legendary Yellow Lion. They show off his features, accessories and combining feature quite nicely. This might seem both obvious and redundant, but as a Transformers collector – I really appreciate they they designed this box so well as Hasbro Transformers toy boxes are shithouse. They don’t advertise their features well, they don’t tell you half the time which toys to get to form a combiner, their instructions are next to useless.
We live in an age of digital media mania, with almost unlimited access to graphic designers and their work and 1000’s of designs from the last 100+ years. Yet Hasbro churns out lazy uninspired shit year after year. Rant over, but fuck me, take a moment and look at how damn attractive that box is, EVERY toy package should look this good or BETTER. You done good Playmates!
Below is Netflix Yellow Lion vs Old School 84 Yellow Lion both from Playmates, out a week apart from each other at my local stores, and a little Last Knight Squeaks in there for size comparison. Kind of a useless comparison really, I just like all the Mello Yello.
What else does this Voltron toy do……some kind of thing…..oh YES……..
LIGHTS!~ AND SOUND~!
Yes it’s true, This super-duper-mega-awesome Voltron is stuffed with lights and sound!
His chest lights up and he screams things at you, so many of the things until you have a headache and reach for that OFF switch.
Great video clips, great bot. And now I’m off to watch my Golion cartoon for the first ever time on my tablet (yes I’m a nerd and like to watch stuff in its native language). Feast your eyes once again on this behemoth of might, and strength, this retro-super robot of myth and legend and tremble before it’s stupendousness!
You collect a thing, grow bored of it, sell it off, buy it again, retire it, recycle it, repeat it.
Buy it sell it move it break it junk it eat it. Collect-ology.
CYCLES AND FLOW
The perfect collection eludes us. While some folks will complete a particular line, a particular year of toys – for most of us it never ends.
Something is always in storage. Something is always about to be sold or traded. Or given to the op-shop.
Something else we are just about… thinking about… *MAYBE* selling…. because it means we can get something new shiny and different in its place.
Something is always on display, until it gets crowded and gets downsized or upsized, or sold, or put in storage. Or we move house, start or end a relationship, whatever.
The perfect collection eludes all but the most rich and spacious among us, or those of us with more modest choices and restraint in what we collect and how we display it.
My own style is more Gonzo than anything. I have little if any restraint, if I want something I buy it even when I have no damn space for it. I’ve never been a completist. I buy whatever interests me, and if I lose interest in something I move on to something else.
The best I can do sometimes is “Desire Substitution” = I can pass over some collectible in favor of something I really want, switching in something I want EVEN MORE, thus using the money that would have gone on one thing, for another.
I could have bought more third party pricey Transformers recently – but instead I went with NECA 1990 Movie Mikey and have no regrets there. I enjoyed that super-duper-bodacious-impressive figure so much that I even sold off some old N64 video games to assist in buying the other figures – as I simply could not afford to buy them outright – at least not before all the old stock goes worldwide from this limited run of amazing figures that trump just about anything else I’ve seen in the last decade of toys.
Some items I can pass over purely on price, while others like the large scale TMNT 1990 Movie Turtles are so amazing that the large price tag feels justified, the quality is high and I can gladly sacrifice some smaller purchases in favor of a few bigger purchases.
That the big NECA Movie Turtles replicate the most realistic looking live action turtles from the 1990 movie gives it that added emotional connection for me, elevating it from simply being an amazing sculpt and details, to really looking like the character walked right off the screen and into my home.
KEEPING THE 1980’S ALIVE – ONE TOY AT A TIME
My biggest purchase of the year (in size and dollars) was Fan Toys Omega Supreme. Omega is in my all time personal TOP 5 Transformers characters that Rock to Infinity and Beyond. If you disagree he will laser pistol-whip you into next week faster than you can say SARCASM: UNAPPRECIATED.
Sacrificing other smaller purchases to bring home this big bad BOSS BOT was absolutely worth it. I planned to put him on a shelf of his own but didn’t get around to buying that shelf before Omega arrived. *Whoops*
So I re-arranged this mad lot and stuffed him next to Fort Max and Metroplex, and it’s pretty amazing to see these three iconic toys/ characters together. Only took me an hour. And YES his wings are wedged slightly against the roof. Which works in his favor as like his giant robo-brethren he is topple-worthy. and yes this is the top of a closet and I climbed up down on a rickety chair about 30 times, and also while holding one of the heaviest transformers of all time with extended arms. I live to live dangerously?
Lately I’ve been wanting to set up more active interesting displays, rather than random groupings of unrelated toys – with a particular theme or scene and Mega Bloks / Mega Construx has been a boon in that regards.
Except for the random shelf…
I can set up a microcosmic little scene of tiny figures and have all kinds of cool fun stuff going on, and it’s really easy to re-arrange them into a different configuration without too much fuss. Just don’t drop them or their weapons – they are so tiny they bounce away and are hard to find on the floor.
Another fun thing about the Mega Bloks figures is their size means you can use them with various small scale playsets – like the Micro Mutants Garage sets I picked up on clearance on a whim. Turns out the scale works quite well with the Mega Bloks figures.
The sets are simple and cheap plastic that clip together, but they do have some nice details, the wall below for example will look even better with a lick of paint to highlight the pipes and ducting (when I get around to it).
Likewise another of my favourite repurposed toys I got in 2017 (from my Dad while on holiday in NZ) is the Batman ’66 Diecast Batcycle. It’s not made for any type of figures, but Mega Bloks Mutants don’t care about rules, they steal whatever pleases them.
It’s one way to travel in style to their side gig as bouncers at the KTV Bar. Another toy thing I repurposed was this knock-off brand of Lego…thing. It looks good and it was cheap (and the pizza themed one is still yet to arrive).
So the Mega Bloks figures are great fun, and I really dig them. The Small scale means you can mix and match a few different things with ease. Until I buy too damn many and my shelf runs out of space.
Well I still have one designated spot to fill with an entire new shelf partly reserved for more Mega Construx and other TMNT stuff. And what a delightful headache it is – the toys that argue for dominance and pole position on that theoretical shelf that currently exists only in my mind.
Many times I have laid awake at night choosing what will go on each level. The bottom levels are reserved for book and comics, while all upper levels are game for collectibles, with the very top reserved for anything truly titan sized that won’t fit in other places, and might look damn imposing towering over you as you walk into the room. It’s a good kind of problem, a fun problem to have – unlike real world everyday problems.
Also at the smaller scale end of things are Transformers from various lines, united in their Mischief Making abilities. Mucking about with Sharkticons and their *unofficial* new tiny leader was tremendous fun, I spent a couple weeks tinkering with display options until I settled on having the loose theme of claws, jaws and mischief makers together, the smallest scale and the largest in one fun display.
Once I had the idea of what I wanted, I moved this unruly lot to the shelf. Then I added in a decepticon faction logo above the Energon Cube Throne. Chucked in some TR and RID mini-figues, some bootleg Kremzeek toys, light sabre and axe for the bigger Sharkie guards.
And the mighty Trypticon towers over them all, with various small scale toys on his back and underneath him. Despite the silly Q.C issues, Trypticon was one of my fav toys of 2017, just for his dino-display potential.
With his mouth stuffed with Energon Cubes, he’s all set to gorge himself.
Other small scale toys I really enjoyed were the Penny Racer (aka Choro-Q) style Rescue Bots toys, a nice little nod to the old Takara-TOMY style mini-vehicles. If you have 1 and 3 step transformers, then these are ZERO step Transformers. Just tilt them up and they go into bot mode, tilt them down and they transform themselves back to vehicle mode. It’s a neat simple gimmick that I really like, and I plan to get a few more of them yet.
If there is one thing I’ve enjoyed more than anything else lately, it’s mixing up different toys and putting them together. It’s that kind of simple play most of us enjoyed as kids. Toys were not segregated like in Toy Story 3, they played together joyfully like in Toy Story#1.
Of all the toy photos I’ve taken over the last couple years, the one that always brings a smile to my face is that small movie Spider-Man and G1 Beachcomber riding a KO Alternator Hound getting irate at the inconvenience of an animal crossing.
On the dining room table. No fancy background, no tricky lighting – just a quick snap with a camera. It always makes me laugh. For anyone paying attention, there’s a tiny Soundwave driving.
ANOTHER SUBTITLE HERE, OR IMAGINE YOUR OWN WITH SHOTGUNS FOR LEGS AND MACARONI FOR BRAINS
While partly I’ve been aiming to have a more cohesive collection in terms of things that go together – some things do not go together, and that’s where you’ve got to make your own fun. I love Dinosaurs and TMNT since forever.
Back in the late 90s there some ridiculous toys released called “Cave Turtles” that rode on big Dinosaurs. When I found these cheap Toy Story small scale dino toys below, well one thing lead to another…
Mixing things together is its own kind of fun. If there is one thing that is really driving my collecting habits more this year – it’s toys themed around 1980s and early 90’s cartoons and media.
I’m keen to pick up some Thundercats Classics figures (a modern toy line) and a few modern He-Man toys – mainly the villains – if I can find them for reasonable prices that is. Plenty of other collectors want the same toys, which drives the prices up.
With my focus shifted from purely Transformers to 80’s toys, there is a danger I may just bull all sorts of stuff I end up selling. But I feel confident that I can focus on having just the main characters of say He-Man and Thundercats sharing display space with Ninja Turtles and a select few Transformers- keeping the 1980’s alive one toy at a time. I care about the CHARACTERS and their stories and personalities, more than any specific toy.
MIXING MISMATCHING MESMERIZING
I don’t care to keep everything in its own little section, so my mega bloks mix it up with Lego. Mega Bloks movie Leo is in a Lego van slicing up pizza, Mike’s enjoying a nice slice with a Minion, the Punisher is about to shoot shredder from the top of the turtle van.
…and rock star Lego Batman is hiding stealthily in the corner rocking out, with Raph doing a one armed pizza gymnast routine.
…and Gladiator bootleg Lego Hulk is on a rampage
…and I don’t really know what’s going on here, but that dog looks suspicious. Not a fairy Batman meth lab for sure.
I’m not done with Transformers yet, but I get the impression a year from now I will be. Power of the Primes is coming up in 2018 in Australia. For sure I’ll get the Dinobots and Terrorcons and Predacons, the various femme-bot and Leader Optimus Prime / Orion Pax, and no doubt a couple of others. But apart from them and G1 Overlord, there is bugger all else I really want in my TF collection. The odd amazing third party… thing perhaps. But fewer of them, and less often thanks. I’m keen to some toy repaints, but I need to find a dedicated space in this Dust Palace where I can not get paint on everything.
ALL IN DISORDER
In 2018 I’m done with having more than say 3-5 pre-orders for things that take 6-12 months to arrive, or NEVER arrive at all – thank you third party, and thank you dodgy Australian online businesses that take money but #NEVERDELIVERS and won’t refund #ILLEGAL #WHOOPS #FUCKOURCUSTOMERS. No, I’m not mentioning the details here – but many Australian collectors will know exactly what I am talking about and the less said, the better.
In 2018 I’ll be focusing even more on TMNT, both modern and vintage lines of Playmates toys. The few I have picked up in recent months have brought me so much joy, in a way the never ending parade of Genericon Transformers toys just hasn’t.
There are key characters I want to own in Transformers, and I’d rather step back now and focus on those MICRO displays of key characters (such as the 1986 movie main Autobots) rather than just buying anything and everything that takes my fancy.
In 2018 I’ll be steering away from dodgy collectible retailers who run their businesses mainly on pre-orders and focusing on those ones that ACTUALLY DO DELIVER the product you pay for. Chasing refunds for missing items for six months or so is not fun, and by the time you get the refund, the toy you ordered a year ago has sold out everywhere, so you miss out. Those fuckers.
I don’t regret buying any of the Transformers I have bought but I have no more space for them, so they all go into storage tubs. And I’m out of space even for storage tubs – which means I have to be more selective in what I get next year, and also let go of some under-appreciated toys due to space constraints. Refine and simplify. Find new ways to enjoy toys like taking photos and writing more blogs, and buying less total toys obviously.
If there’s something I’m steering toward in 2018, it’s away from mindless acquisition of the new and the shiny, the mundane and ordinary and I’m heading towards more selective choice cuts of the meaningful and amusing, the whimsical and satisfying toys like Funko’s Disney Afternoon series, more vintage Playmates 1990 era TMNT toys.
My most favourite recent toy that I just adore is the Disney Afternoon’s McDuck. It’s a simple toy but it’s the bright cartoon colors that really bring it to life. It has a nice non-glossy finish that makes it a joy to look at every time, and brings out the animated Duck Tales style it emulates.
I don’t care so much about Baloo, Chip and Dale – mostly just McDuck and Darkwing Duck are my thing. But these figures are so impressive I may end up collecting the full line. With their small size and cheap price, there is no good reason not to.
A good toy or memorabilia collection need not be varied or monotone in the
collection itself or how its displayed. What matters most to me in any type of collection is the personal meaning attached to the items in the collection.
Take these toys below for example that all turned up on the same day. There is a vintage Playmates Tokka from a dude in a Facebook TMNT OZ group, an old Cookie Monster toy from ebay and a Powerpuff Girl from TOYS R US that I found today at retail after many months of searching with no luck.
I’m an unashamed fan of Sesame St. While I have not watched it for many
years, if I watch a clip of any episode now – I enjoy it. Old or new episodes, Sesame St does some of best the writing and comedy in television. PERIOD.
People assume I’m joking when I say that, but I’m not. I love the Muppets and Fraggle Rock and anything Jim Henson or Henson workshop related (hello live action 1990 TMNT Movie Magic). The characters are as timeless and iconic and memorable as any other fiction or childrens entertainment. The Henson stuff to me is a cut above, it’s more intelligent, it works on multiple levels and its engaging. It’s just plain better than a lot of other mindless soul-less entertainment made for kids.
Recently I found a mixed lot of Sesame St toys going on ebay quite cheap. I bought them as there were no other bidders, but I mainly wanted the lot for a couple of the old BP Sesame St toys that I used to have the full set of as a kid, and would very much like to collect and enjoy again.
The other Sesame St toys I don’t want from that lot I will most likely pass on to my partners younger nieces, after I check that they are safe and clean etc. Can’t be giving no crack addicted Bert and Ernie to kids ya know. They gotta be clean.
While I enjoy the odd upmarket fancy pants bullshit collectible, I PREFER TOYS TO BE TOYS, so my aim is always to have fun with collecting toys – be it Transformers, Ninja Turtles or whatever. The RID line has been great fun with some wicked transformations and I’m sad to see it die along with the RID show in 2017.
While I missed out on the Masterpiece Soundwave I ordered about six months ago that never turned up due to a dodgy Australian retailer who had ripped off many a collector – (and all my Alf Stewart fist waving and shouting of FLAMING MONGRELS both on and offline accomplished little) – I did *finally* get to enjoy Titans Return Leader Class Soundwave – and I picked up the Repro sticker set for him which looks great, but mainly I got it for the Dancitron Base Mode stickers which emulate the nightclub Starscream and Soundwave took over in an old cartoon episode called Auto-Bop.
Here’s to the end of 2017, and a bright and shiny and New and Old and Dusty and Vintage 2018 to enjoy and look forward to. Eight days into this new year and I’m already swamped with new and old Turtle toys, TAK MALL Ginrai and some other junk that do doubt I will ramble on about soon enough. Still waiting on my giant non-Transforming Megaton, Fans Hobby Scourge / Black Convoy and some other dirty bastards.
Oh and here’s my favourite toy of 2017. It’s an Australian Koala and her baby in a tree.
Koala’s are amazing, I’ve seen a fair few in the wild and they are incredible animals, and yes super-cute. I’m not fucking about, I think it’s brilliant and if you don’t agree then you Sir are cold and dead inside, and quite possibly a monster or a hideous disgusting mutant robot. If you ARE a voo-doo robot monster… I’ll find out.