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Monday, January 18, 2010

REMADE INTO PERFECTION! VINTAGE CHOGOKIN LIONBOT AKA GOLION / VOLTRON!!!



UPDATE: TOY ARRIVED IN POST TODAY-- FRIDAY, JANUARY 22nd 2010! ECSTATIC, ALTHOUGH HAVE NOT OPENED HIM UP, SAVE FOR A FEW IN BOX SHOTS. MORE PICS TO FOLLOW? WE SHALL SEE!





















Arriving sometime next week to WSX toyz is yet another of those rare gem of a piece toys--one which every serious Mecha collectors absolutely need to add to their 'armament' of diecast-engineered Japanese toys. I'm very sure that most of you guys and girls out there are quite familiar with the "invasion" of sorts on your Saturday morning TV cartoon slots when you were just young kids. One of my fondest childhood memories was being able to own one of the more "commercial" version of the mighty Defender of the Universe: VOLTRON.



The version of VOLRTON/LIONBOT which I have bought on ebay, is supposedly a "bootlegged" Taiwanese reproduction made famous somewhere during the 1980's- early 1990's. Yup, like the original Gokin Golion, this version still sports pretty much the same features/weight and more importantly, all the firing spring-loaded mechanisms and weapons of those famous FIVE Lions. The HUGE box in question is packaged in true Gokin style, very reminiscent of the original GOLION Bandai/Poppy vintage one, save for the original Japanese Kanji being replaced with English fonts. After scouring the internet, there are several mini-reviews/ write-ups and most certainly feed-back on this very-well done LIONBOT. The additional feature and bonus of this unofficial boxed set is that it came with a plethora of "original" accessories and weapons, which were omitted in the US Gokin/ Trendmaster's American versions for obvious reasons-- chiefly US child-safety laws on toys which have lots of pointy sharp bits. Even the Blazing Sword was not considered in one of those releases!



Now, I know that most recently as 2003, and last year, there has been a mini-revival of sorts since the phenomenal success of the Live Action 2007 Transformers movie. What, may you ask, does Voltron have to do with that multi-million dollar cash-cow of a franchise by Hasbro!? Well, its simple really, as more movie and comics/ toys companies wanted to cash in on nostalgic 1980's themed cartoons/ television series-- Hence, Japanese/American toy makers Toynami too, decided the time was right to make another re-issue on the hugely popular Lion-themed super-robot. IMHO, although more aesthetically accurate and faithful to the shows slender mecha proportions, --however, its the vintage designs which really adds more weight in gold-- Solid, built like a brick and imposing--With over 90% of the individual Lions' bodies made of diecast, plus numerous gimmicks and weapons! I like!


LET'S GO VOLTRON FORCE!


Pictures are credited/linked to brilliant sites which include Collectiondx.com and for some strange reason-- in addition, a Zoids http://www.zoid.us/lionbot.htm page! WSX Toyz extends a sincere thanks and gratitude which goes out to them. In addition some pictures from these sites would be taken down, as soon as the seller has shipped the giant and heavy box to yours truly. My own original in box shots will be watermarked as usual--middle finger pose and all--LOL!--especially for my "die-hard fans" ( those internet "white-knights" and lame asses) who still have nothing better to do with their lives- At this point, the ebay seller and auction for LIONBOT can be seen here-- http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=370320279771&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT



GoLion/ Lionbot / Voltron Specifications

GoLion was separated into five separate lion robots by a goddess/ (in Voltron Hagar the witch )who wished to teach GoLion humility until he could be reassembled. GoLion later gains a soul after being reawakened by the five pilots who use GoLion to protect the universe from Emperor Daibazaal's/Zarkon's evil.

GoLion is 60 metres (197 ft) tall, and weighs 700 tonnes (771 tons).

  • Black Lion (黒獅子 Kurojishi): Forms the body and head of GoLion. Powered by lightning. Piloted by Akira/Keith
  • Red Lion (赤獅子 Akajishi): Forms the right arm of GoLion. Powered by fire. Piloted by Isamu/ Lance
  • Green Lion (緑獅子 Midorijishi): Forms the left arm of GoLion. Powered by wind. Piloted by Hiroshi/Pidge
  • Blue Lion (青獅子 Aojishi): Forms the right leg of GoLion. Powered by water. Piloted by Takashi/Sven, and later Fala/Princess Allura, after Takashi's/Sven's death.
  • Yellow Lion (黄獅子 Kijishi): Forms the left leg of GoLion. Powered by sand. Piloted by Tsuyoshi/ Hunk

So, without further delay, here is another quick run through of the 5 individual lions which make up LIONBOT, as well as its individual strengths and weaknesses. As usual well start with the King of the team, the main torso and head of LIONBOT/ GOLION:

BLACK LION

My most favorite lion as a kid. He is the most bulky naturally- a big, solid fella who has pegs hidden in all four thighs with interlocking mechanisms to insert the other lions' tails. Legs and main body is entirely made up of diecast-- His overall appearance is pretty kickass--especially when the side cannons and weapons are added. The fact that he is the leader of the lions and protagonist in the cartoon series--Shoom!--lighting silhouetted Black Lion introduction flashback scene in my head! makes him A-graded in my books. Excellent. A ++



RED LION

Emerging from the fiery depths of the volcano, Red Lion's toy really didn't do any justice as far as scale and cartoon accuracy was concerned-Red lion, being the right arm of Voltron, is skinny looking but with a more solid and "fuller" body design. His mid-drift section can be also rotated, and head launched with the press of a button visible just behind the lion head. Better than Green Lion , IMHO in terms of the overall aesthetics, but not the greatest of all. B


GREEN LION

Piloted by the spunky and vertically challenged kid-genius, Pidge. The main essence why I kinda liked the Green Lion more than the Red-- I dunno, dontcha ever notice, that every time Voltron/Golion strikes the "finishing off the enemy" pose, he ALWAYS uses the Green Lion as the main ROAR before he slices them i half?! I know all the Lions would take turns to let out roars, but the Red one would be wielding the sword. Spindly, with a rounder body design, Green Lion also comes with a spring loaded mechanism which enables him to launch is "head-attack". In addition, as expected, his mid-drift is jointed and can be moved and rotated, just like his other arm component counterpart, Red Lion. B +


BLUE LION

My second most fave, this Lion had its fair share of pilots, but none more so charming than the Princess of Planet Arus herself, Allura. Out of all the limb-attachment Lions, the Blue Lion is to me the epitome of
grace and strength. Add to the back missile pods and its head design looks miles better than the rest of its limb counterparts. Awesome! A


YELLOW LION

Although pretty tough looking, the Yellow Lion is pretty useless in the Voltron cartoon series, if memory serves me correctly. His face design was not one of my favorites, although without his other weapons, he just has a single cannon on his back and "cheek-flares"--kinda lame if you ask me..
. B


MEGA-THRUSTERS ARE GO!



FINAL THOUGHTS:

TWO WORDS: HELL YEAH!
For those who are on a tight shoe-string budget, but also rather reluctant to spend thousands of Ringgit on the original GOLION, one has to be "smart" enough to be able to "see" a good deal when it hits them right smack in the face, THEN BY ALL MEANS, NOSTALGIC FEELINGS ASIDE, scour ebay.com to hunt for this bad-boy. These days, LIONBOT's are still widely available-- however, you must be prepared to fork out a small but justifiable sum of around US$ 90.00 to US$190.00 plus shipping if you wish to own a cheaper and high quality Taiwanese reproduction. There is no such shame in owing a so-called "bootlegged" toy in your collection, as to me everything has its price, but I wont be willing to shell out close to RM2,000 on a mint in box American Chogokin or loose Japan-made GOLION just yet. Damn that Voltron theme song and introduction by the great Peter Cullen- voice of Optimus Prime--is stuck in my head now. LIONBOT is a cheaper alternative, not necessarily a flawed one and encouraging the support of acquiring bootlegged toys--BUT its for those who want to own a priceless vintage toy for a fraction of the cost. VERDICT? NO HESITATIONS AND BUY IT!!!


Copyright 2009, Toynami Inc.





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