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Matchbox

Matchbox's logo used during 1984

Matchbox is an American toy brand and the first license holder of the Voltron toy line when the series began in 1984. It is now owned by Mattel.

History

In 1983, WEP President Ted Koplar attended a science fiction convention and saw footage of various super robot anime influencing his decision to import several series along with their sets of toys. In order to garner more revenue utilizing children's television to market toys, a 65 episode threshold was needed to have a TV show air on syndication and reach more people. This was so an episode would air everyday for approximately three months straight.

However as a typical Japanese season is 52 the solution to this was to combine similar looking shows to increase the episode count number to qualify a series for airing syndication. The added bonus in terms of creating the Voltron franchise was an expanded toy line. Other companies did a similar approach to this. The most notable contemporary is Harmony Gold's Robotech franchise that combined Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA.

Due to this solution, World Events Productions chose Beast King GoLion, Armored Fleet DaiRugger XV, and Lightspeed Electroid Albegas to all be re-branded and tweaked under the Voltron trademark through Matchbox.

Imported Toys

As a result of acquiring rights to the series from Toei Animation, WEP inherited Popy as a partner. However, Matchbox had to tweak the molds of the toys to make them suitable for American toy safety standards. For example, the teeth on the lions were made more round as a precaution. Missiles were removed to prevent any choking hazards while certain decorative pieces on Voltron I's legs were absent. All of the weapons were removed only for Voltron III's sword set to be sold separately.

Below is a list of toys including their original Popy counterparts in brackets.

  • Basic Series - Packages with two lions opposed to all five. All of them are parts of the GB-36 DX Golion
    • Giant Black Lion Robot
    • Mighty Lion Robots Set: Blue and Red Lion
    • Mighty Lion Robots Set: Yellow and Green Lion
  • Deluxe Sets - Full gift sets of combining robots from the deluxe (DX) variants of the robots
    • Voltron I Deluxe Warrior Set (GB-72 Dairugger XV)
    • Voltron II Gladiator Set (GC-04 DX Albegas)
    • Voltron III Deluxe Lion Set (GB-36 DX Golion)
  • Miniature - Smaller non-combining toys that are the standard (ST) variants of the robots
    • Miniature Voltron I (GB-73 ST Dairugger XV)
    • Miniature Voltron II (GC-03 ST Albegas)
    • Miniature Voltron III (GB-35 ST Golion)
  • Blazing Sword Set - Separate packaging for the blazing sword and spinning laser blade

Recall

Due to high demand for Voltron III toys, Bandai outsourced production of the toy to a Taiwanese factory. As a result, traces of lead were found in the paint and were recalled as a health hazard.[1] This caused the end of WEP's partnership with both Matchbox and Bandai.

References

External Links

VE Voltron toys and collectibles
Current License-Holders BandaiPlaymates Toys
Past License-Holders FunkoLJNMatchboxMattelMiracle ProductionPanosh PlaceToynamiTrendmasters
Related articles ChogokinDream EXIP infringing itemsKatsushi MurakamiMerchandise

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