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Allegiance: Space Explorers
Series: Voltron - Defender of the Universe
Year: 1985

Vehicles: The Vehicle Team Voltron (or Vehicle Force, as he was called on TV) consists of 15 individual vehicles. All of them are on wheels (even those clearly meant to be flying or swimming vehicles) and feature friction motors, enabling you to have them skid across the floor. The team consists of two helicopters, a red space jet, a white rocket, two SUV-style cars, two space probes (might a swell be submarines, though) and 7 other vehicles that are called various Science-Fiction style names, but are mostly boxes on wheels.

I really can’t write much about the individual vehicles, as they aren’t really anything more than toy cars with friction motors. One very positive note: except for the Fists-on-Wheels things, none of them look like they are part of a combining robot. Most of them feature really nice detail-work and even some minor gimmicks, such as the Communication Module with its rising control tower or the Weapons Module with its extending red screen. So all in all, nicely done, though no one’s gonna buy this set just for the 15 individual vehicles alone.

Combined Vehicles: The 15 individual vehicles team up in three groups of 5 (called Air Team, Land Team, and Sea Team) and each group can combine their 5 vehicles into one larger vehicle. Let’s start with the Air Team, consisting of the two helicopters, the red jet, the white rocket and the blue Weapons Module. They combine in what’s basically the same way they do later on to form Voltron, with the Module forming the center, the rocket in front, the jet on top, and the copters on the sides. The resulting vehicle doesn’t really look like anything except five vehicles that try to form one, but everything holds together well.

The second team, the Land Team, consists of the two cars, the two Fists-on-Wheels and the big black box on wheels (simply called ‘Carrier’). This is the most hilarious combined vehicle for sure, as it’s basically two cars with two giant fists on top. Not certain that something like this is in any way functional, but it certainly looks crazy and in a good way.

The best of the three combined vehicles is formed by the Sea Team. The two Space Probes (really submarines, I think), the two Explorers, and the Communication Module combine very nicely into a great-looking Science Fiction vehicle that could easily pass as either a futuristic submarine or a space ship. It’s meant to be the former, of course. My favourite of the three vehicles by a fairly large margin.

Combined Robot: The main selling point of this thing is, of course, the fact that all 15 vehicles can combine into one huge robot. And huge he is. Fortress Maximus has nothing to fear, but he towers over pretty much every other Transformers figure I can think of. He’s roughly the same height as Cybertron Supreme Starscream, who was the biggest Supreme-class figure so far.

The look is clearly 80s-era Anime robot, no doubt about it. I like that look very much, just so you know. All the various component parts of Voltron click together very solidly and on a very positive note: there are release catches on every connection, so no excessive force is needed to disassemble this robot. You just press the appropriate release catch (most of them coloured yellow) and all the parts easily disconnect without fear of anything breaking. Quite a few more modern toys could learn something here.

In terms of articulation Voltron doesn’t exactly shine, of course. He can move his arms at the shoulders and elbows, that’s it. Still, for an 80s era combining robot, that’s not bad. Most Transformers combiners of that time could only move their arms at the shoulders. For gimmicks he can launch his fists via a spring mechanism. In the cartoon Voltron could also take the rotor blades from his helicopter upper arms and use them as blades, but that sadly doesn’t work here.

So bottom line: a great combining robot. Maybe not quite as iconic-looking as the first Voltron (the one made from lions), but still. Very nice for everyone able to ride the 80s nostalgia wave and really feel that “everything-made-after-the-80s-sucks” feeling.

Remarks: While I did watch quite a few episodes of „Voltron - Defender of the Universe“ back in the day (and just recently a hilariously badly dubbed episode on some promo DVD included with some other stuff), I only ever knew the Lion Force Voltron, five robotic lions that combined into a big robot and featured in the first season of the Voltron cartoon series. Never saw the second season, which featured Vehicle Voltron, but I dimly recall a comic book where the Vehicle Team Voltron had a short guest appearance. That’s pretty much it, though. I did look it up on YouTube, though, and started laughing uncontrollably after hearing the aquatic people piloting the Sea Team vehicles talk with hilariously bad Indian accents. Hearing a 20-something captain talk in Peter Cullen’s gravely voice was also somewhat distracting.

So anyway, it did come as a big surprise when I found this huge toy here, which I got as a (more or less) free bonus when I bought a large number of Transformers. I hadn’t even known that Matchbox had made Voltron toys at one point, to be honest. From today’s standpoint he is somewhat lacking, of course, especially in terms of articulation. For an 80s nostalgia nut like me, though, he’s fantastic. I even briefly considered leaving him in his sealed box (and I unpack EVERYTHING, even Near Mint condition NRFB G1 Megatrons), but couldn’t resist in the end. So if you’re an 80s fan and like combining robots... well, then I hope you have lots of free cash available, because this baby here goes for quite a bit of dough on eBay (if you can find one in the first place).

Rating: B+

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