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Mattel

Mattel is an American toy company and former holder of the Voltron license from 2010 to 2012. It is also the owner of Matchbox, the manufacturer that imported and re-molded the original die-cast toy line from 1984.

Before Voltron

During the 1970's, Mattel launched the Shogun Warriors toy line that important several Japanese robots into American markets. Among them were a few robots created by Go Nagai such as Grendizer and Great Mazinger, and tokusatsu series. There were also the three robots from the Robot Romance Trilogy; a series that Toei worked on that directly inspired their later super robot series including Daltanious and Golion.

By 1992, Mattel purchased Matchbox, which is the company that was the original toy licensee for the Voltron franchise in 1984. During 2010 to 2011, Bandai attempted to buy the Voltron toy license to have Golion enter their Soul of Chogokin line but were outbid by Mattel.[1] Toynami would later inherit the Shogun Warriors license to create machinder-like vinyls of Golion and Dairugger under their Japanese names in the American market.

Matty Collector toy line

Voltron "Transformation" Video01:32

Voltron "Transformation" Video

Video by Mattel

From April to October 2012, Mattel started its Voltron set for its Matty Collector subscription program. The toys would be made from all plastic and feature several gimmicks including an unlockable cockpit in each lion to fit a pilot action figure inside much like the Panosh Place combining Voltron. Additionally, the legs on the limb lions all have springs in them to enable quick transformations.

Mattel's aim for its Matty Collector Voltron line was at fathers who would use us these toys to play with their own children.[2] The Matty Collector program is subscription based where customers will receive a separate lion and pilot that includes a piece of the Blazing Sword. The release schedule for 2012 was the following:

  • February - Red Lion & Lance
  • April - Yellow Lion & Hunk
  • June - Green Lion & Pidge
  • August - Blue Lion & Allura and Sven (subscription exclusive)
  • October - Black Lion & Keith

Due to the spring loaded feature, many problems arose with the limb lions' legs popping out even in combined mode. Furthermore, the Green and Red Lions are bigger than they are typically proportioned in past iterations of combining Lion Force toys. As a result, the top portion of the combined robot is heavier and tends to lean forward.

Cancelled Voltron Force toys

Cancelled vf toys

Mattel designed prototypes for the Voltron Force lions that were intended for retail[3] but were cancelled after Mattel ended their Voltron license. Furthermore, plans for a second season of Voltron Force were scrapped due to poor viewership ratings causing the series to be continued off in graphic novel form.

2012 is also the point where the live-action movie was further stuck in developmental hell due to a number of legal issues concerning Toei and other film companies involved with development. Because there was no confirmation of the live-action movie releasing in the near future, Mattel cancelled its license with Voltron which would go back to Toynami and then Bandai.

External Links

References

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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