And I'll Form the Head...Again

I was browsing through Big Bad Toy Store and noticed that they have the Diecast Voltron Gift Set from Trendmasters available for preorder, so I sent BBTS an email to find out if this was a reissue or old store stock that's been recently discovered. I was informed that it is indeed old store stock, and since I have one, I thought I'd do a review. Originally released in 1997, this particular version of the Trendmasters Voltron is an almost faithful reissue of the original Popy DX Golion. Almost? Keep reading and find out why, then decide if it's a good fit in your collection.

To give a brief history about this toy mold, the DX Chogokin Future Beast Combination Golion was originally released as a boxset by Popy in 1981. It soon made its way to US shores and Golion was released in Bandai's Godaikin line in 1983, and a year later Matchbox would release it as what many outside of Japan would know him as: Voltron. Somewhere along the way, a bootleg version called Lionbot was also released. And finally, the fifth incarnation of this mold (from the Matchbox version) would be released by Trendmasters in 1997.

Voltron is comprised of five lions. The body of each lion is entirely made of diecast metal, except for the black lion which is half metal and half plastic, so each has considerable weight when being held. The Trendmasters mold is nearly identical to the previous four versions, but the red and green lions deviate with the addition of a "fin" on their backs. The purpose of the fins aren't known, but maybe they were put there as a safety issue to make them harder for a child to swallow, or they could have been simply put there to make it easier to attach/detach them when in robot mode. 

Something else that makes the Trendmasters Voltron version different from the original Golion is that they stripped nearly all of the spring-loaded firing mechanisms from the lions and weapons. It's not too bad, but it's just kinda weird to have cannons, launchers, etc. from the yellow and blue lions that you know are supposed to be there and aren't. But hey, they did keep the spring-loaded firing heads of the red and green lions!

When the five lions combine, we get the mighty Voltron. And this toy is indeed mighty. This toy stands at nearly 12 inches tall and with all that metal content, this toy is heavy. Mine had a tendency to lean forward at the knee joints, so I tightened the screws and that seemed to help. Anyway, the colors and chrome parts really make this toy a standout on a shelf or in a display cabinet. And be aware, the chrome on the black lion's legs that insert into the blue and yellow lions will scratch off. It's inevitable if you display him in robot form.

Here's a side-by-side photo of the Trendmasters Voltron (left) standing next to the Matchbox Voltron as well as the Masterpiece Voltron 25th Anniversary Metallic Set by Toynami. There's not a lot of articulation on this mold. You have some forward/backward rotation at the shoulders/hips, and slight bend at the elbows/knees. The Masterpiece has more articulation but looks scrawny next to the Trendmasters.

Another detail that makes the Trendmasters Voltron different from the others is that it's the only version that has a black face. Although not show accurate, I sure do like it. And while we're on the topic of the head, the ears won't go all the way down. Strange.

Trendmasters did include many of the accessories, but not all from the original. A couple of missile launchers are missing for the red and green lions, and as stated earlier, the launchers that are included are stripped of their firing mechanisms. But the glorious Blazing Sword is included. And here is yet another difference that separates the Trendmasters Voltron to the others: gold weapons! I have seen some sets that have chrome weapons, and I think those were earlier runs. I believe latter, more common sets have gold weapons. I'm not sure which ones BBTS will be selling, so I'll do a follow-up and find out more.

Although lacking features from the original Popy Golion, the Trendmasters Voltron is a nice stand in if you are in need of this classic mold without having to pay a hefty price. The quality may have been taken down a notch, but the detail differences make it a piece worth looking into. Quantities will be extremely limited, so get your preorder in now at Big Bad Toy Store before they're all gone.

Source 1,2,3,4
ゴライオン ボルトロン

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