Voltron action figures

Voltron action figures DEFAULT

Toys play a major role in the Voltron franchise overall. Starting from two separate anime series based on toys by Popy, a former subsidiary of Bandai, the American adaption would also adopt the toy line and expand it further with different licensees.

Every major television series, with the exception of Voltron Force, would have their own toy line made by a specific licensee. Outside of toys aimed at young children, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, in particular, would have a numerous amount of merchandising and adult-aimed collectibles.

Background

Currently, the overall Voltron intellectual property is owned by World Events Productions. The original IP owners were Toei with the creation of both Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet DaiRugger XV in and respectively. Due to Voltron's popularity, Toei has sold rights to the franchise to WEP with the last remaining Japanese rights sold around Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics) handles the licensing for the franchise and thus oversees the licensing for the franchise’s toys and collectibles.

A license gives a third party company the right to make products using the IP owners’ branding and imagery with backup funds from official loans. A licensor can also “divide” a license for multiple toy companies. For example, Bandai would make products for collectors while Playmates would made children’s toys.

History

Pre-Voltron

There are four Japanese series that were proposed to be made into the Voltron adaption. These series were Mirai Robo Daltanious, Beast GoLion, Armored Fleet DaiRugger XV, and Lightspeed Electroid Albegas. All of these series were produced by Toei and had their respective toy lines be produced by Bandai and its subsidiary Popy.

Popy had multiple toy lines in which the licensed character of each series would be in. This would include Popynica, Chogokin, Jumbo Machinder, and other smaller lines. Its parent company, Bandai, would also release model kits of the robots that the buyer would assemble themself. Daltanious and Golion's toys were also popular enough to be exported to North America under Bandai's American subsidiary in the Godaikin toy line. The line proved to be short lived but extremely influential to the future of robot toys.

The licensees of this period were:

Voltron: Defender of the Universe

After the deregulation of children's television by Ronald Reagan, numerous TV series were made specifically to sell toys to children. In order to guarantee more sales, companies wanted to surpass the 65 episode threshold needed to have a show air daily on weekdays for three months straight. This was known as "syndication" in which a show would air on multiple channels and thus be more widely available.

What a few TV companies did was adapt Japanese series into English and import their respective toy lines. However, 52 episodes made a typical Japanese season. In order to get by this, WEP initially wanted to combine three different anime series into one larger American adaption to pass the 65 episode count and thus adopting a larger toy line.

Matchbox would be responsible for importing the toys from Bandai and tweaking their molds to bypass toy safety regulations. As so, features like the teeth and missiles were modified. DaiRugger, Albegas, and GoLion would be renamed Voltron I, II, and III respectively in an attempt to keep a more consistent toy line. Due to the high demand for Voltron toys, production was shifted to a factory in Taiwan and lead was found in the paint. Due to this incident, WEP ended their partnership with Matchbox and Bandai and gave Panosh Place the next license.

Panosh Place would focus on making an action figure toy line featuring the main pilots, and a few of the villains. To go along with the figures, they would create an all-plastic combining Voltron toy, and a play set of the Castle of Lions. The toy line was intended to expand by including more villains and even pilots from the Vehicle Team Voltron but were cancelled due to the company's closure.

LJN would take over as the next licensee and would focus on Voltron toys featuring motorized toys and even the earliest ones that would include lights and electronics. Like the above, LJN would also end their license due to their own closure.

The licensees of this period were:

Voltron: The Third Dimension

After ten years of absence from television, Voltron: The Third Dimension would premier in Prior to the series being made, Toei launched a lawsuit against WEP over the creation of the series without their involvement. The case was settled with new agreements over the franchise.

Trendmasters would then be the sole licensee of this period. They would reissue the original Matchbox combining Voltron toy with several tweaks to the mold and different paint applications. They would also focus heavily on Voltron: The Third Dimension including a few combining toys and action figures for the pilots.

Interestingly enough, Trendmasters also released "Voltrex" which would be a robot combined from five different dinosaurs by the time the series was cancelled. There were also prototypes of a "Dracotron" toy.

Toynami

For the next ten years after the end of Trendmasters, Toynami be the sole licensee for Voltron toys and collectibles. Originally, WEP intended to create another Voltron TV series in with Kickstart Productions but for unknown reasons it would never happen. During this time is when there would only by products aimed at older collectors.

Their most notable work would be the 20th anniversary Masterpiece Voltron. It would be the first combining Voltron toy aimed solely at adult collectors and would have its die-cast content be its main selling point. For the 25th anniversary, they would recycle the mold in all plastic with no engineering changes.

Cancelled Voltron Force toy line

By , Toynami's license ended leaving it to be up for bid among other companies. There were two known companies that bid on the Voltron toy license: Bandai and Mattel. Bandai has expressed interest in adding Golion to its acclaimed Soul of Chogokin line aimed at high-end collectors. However, Mattel ended up having the license and would work on their Matty Collector line.

This period of time would also be infamous due to a number of cancellations and legal issues coinciding with the live-action movie also being delayed due to legal interference among different film companies. Collectors would be told of Miracle Production through an affiliate of the company. Miracle Production was given the license to make a masterpiece-like Vehicle Voltron toy but would lose their license before finally creating it. Despite the loss of their license, Miracle Production would continue developing the toy with Mattel as the current licensee attempting to block its sales in North America.

Beyond the now unlicensed Vehicle Voltron toy, other IP infringing products would also imitate the likeness of Voltron properties to aim at high-end collectors (see below). While Mattel was finishing their Matty Collector line, Toynami would release Jumbo Machinder-like toys under the "Beast King GoLion" and "Armored Fleet DaiRugger XV" names instead of the American "Voltron" label.

Mattel would also show prototypes for Voltron Force toys as a tie-in to the TV series. However, they were cancelled due to Mattel ending its Voltron license after only two years as a result of the live-action movie being unreleased. Beyond that, Voltron Force was also cancelled after its first season despite it intending to continue after the cliffhanger of the final episode.

Toynami would regain the license and re-released the masterpiece mold with additional LEDs and a display base. The mold would be almost ten years with no major engineering fixes. Miracle Productions would also release their Vehicle Voltron toy as fast as possible at the expense of quality control issues. Due to its lost license, the Vehicle Voltron toy falls under the category of an IP infringing item.

The licensees of this period were:

Voltron: Legendary Defender

DreamWorks bought Classic Media, the company responsible for handling the Voltron license, in and gained access to its library. DreamWorks would then work on Voltron: Legendary Defender starting along with animation studio Studio Mir. During the time, Funko would also release smaller novelty vinyl toys for collectors under its POP and Hikari Vinyl lines.

brought in a huge change to the franchise overall. Sideshow Toys would create a high-end statue of an extremely stylized Voltron with a price tag of $ Bandai would announce that, after years of development, Golion would officially enter its Soul of Chogokin line and became one of the most coveted entries in the line. Shortly after the announcement of Bandai returning to the Voltron franchise as a business partner after more than 30 years, Voltron: Legendary Defender was announced with Playmates Toys as its primary licensee.

The arrival of two new major licensees for the franchise also showed signs of Toynami's license with the Voltron franchise ending as well. Their final Voltron collectible is a 16 inch all-plastic combining toy of a stylized Voltron that was released at the end of

A fan-made design of a Voltron Lego set won contest and is set to be released soon.

The licensees of this period are:

IP infringing toys

Main article: IP infringing items

Due to the nature of toys paying a key role in the Voltron franchise, toy companies would attempt to profit off of the likeness of the Voltron property without the proper acquisition of a license from the IP owners.

External Links

Sours: https://voltron.fandom.com/wiki/Toys

Voltron toys

Voltron is the name of a giant robot in a cartoon television series that features a team of space explorers known as the Voltron Force. The space explorers pilot robot lions who join together to form the giant robot with which they defend their galaxy from evil.

Voltron Force, Activate!

Initially produced as a joint venture between World Events Productions and Toei Animation, the original television series aired in syndication from September 10, to November 18, as "Voltron: Defender of the Universe".

Voltron is one of the best known and popular Super Robots around the world and many versions of the characters have been produced all around the globe.

Lionbot

The Lion Voltron robot toy was also widely released as Lionbot which was essentially a Hong Kong produced bootleg version of the toy, identical to the Godaikin version.

Toynami is the current license-holder and Trendmasters had the license in the mid-to-late '90s.

Links

Updated: 26 June

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Voltron value and price guide

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Sours: https://www.fabtintoys.com/voltron/
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“At this time our brand team and Operations Department do not see the benefit of releasing the rest of the Paladin figures. This is all based off sales and supply/demand of figures in stores currently. When figures are not pushed forward into production, it does not mean that the line of toys is not continuing. The toy industry is always changing an decision about product(s) can change in an instant.”

Fans were understandably confused and even a little angry that they wouldn’t be able to finish their collection of the Paladin figures. Many even cited the scarcity of finding the Shiro, Keith, and Lance figures in stores and how that could have affected sales.

We reached out to Playmates Toys and spoke with Jeff Trojan, VP of Marketing at Playmates, to clarify some of these concerns fans had. He explained that the Voltron line has been seeing less support from the largest retailers through

“The actions figures hadn’t sold as quickly as the combining versions of Voltron in , limiting reorders from retailers who still had inventory during Fall as we released the first three Paladins.”

For those wondering why they had trouble even finding those figures, Trojan says “the Paladins flow to retail has been inconsistent on a retailer-by-retailer and store-by-store basis.” It’s not that Playmates didn’t make enough figures, it’s that the largest retailers (who release the most toys) chose not to continue stocking the figures or even the entire line.

“We are waiting to amass enough reorders to justify tooling three new characters in the mix.” For those not in the know, tooling is very basically the process of making the molds that are used to create each toy’s individual plastic pieces. It’s a very expensive process and just because the figures were shown at Toy Fair doesn’t mean they were already tooled. Those were most likely prototypes created specifically for display at Toy Fair.

Trojan and Playmates would love to release those figures, and many more Voltrontoys, but “so far the demand doesn’t add up to enough.”

That doesn’t mean the figures will never be made and released, it’s just that Playmates is “unsure when marketplace activity will trigger these next figures’ release.”

Sours: https://www.denofgeek.com/culture/where-are-the-rest-of-the-voltron-action-figures/
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