LEGO Ideas’ latest release has been in our sights for almost two years now. Since the creation’s inception way back at the beginning of 2017, we’ve been eagerly awaiting to see if it would ever get its full LEGO debut. Last fall it was announced that LEGO would be bringing the Legendary Defender into brick form and after a year of waiting, Voltron is finally here. So of course, we couldn’t help but get our hands on LEGO’s largest mecha yet. Be sure to head below to get an in-depth look at the 2,300-piece set.
Voltron as a series began over 30 years ago, and while Netflix’s reboot has been steadily gaining popular as of late, Voltron’s LEGO debut is modeled after his original design from way back in 1984. The mecha’s original style is a bit blockier than the more modern counterpart, which plays in LEGO’s favor. In the end, Voltron carries its iconic retro aesthetic and looks stellar in its brick-built incarnation.
A sturdy build with retro style |
LEGO Ideas’ latest is arguably one of the most unique kits to come from the company in the past few years, if ever. Sure we’ve seen a ship in a bottle, a functional roller coaster and other sets that break the mold on what LEGO can accomplish, but none have been as ambitious as a five-in-one combinable giant mecha.
Whereas just about every other set in LEGO’s catalog is one main build or scene, this kit takes the form of five different lion robots which then combine into a single creation. Spread out over six instruction booklets, each of the five mecha’s are assembled one by one and stack up to quite different results. This is most apparent by their distinct colorways and armor designs, but each of the lions are also composed of unique internal structures.
In terms of their visual appearances though, the lions aren’t overly detailed or flashy. They lack the greebles or intricate brick-work found in sets like the UCS Millennium Falcon in favor of a more uniform and polished over-all look. The designs fit perfectly with the 1980’s aesthetic in which they’re modeled after.
In the past, once LEGO Ideas campaigns get the green light, the original creator takes a back seat to the building process. That wasn’t so much the case for Voltron, as the creator was consulted for a large portion of the final build. Specifically, each of the lion mecha’s heads were an aspect of Voltron that creator Lendy Tayag was insistent on getting right. In my book the diligence definitely paid off, as the striking constructions of the lion heads are some of my favorite aspects of the model.
But the most notable thing about Voltron is that there’s more than meets the eye here, as all five of the robots combine into the impressive 15-inch tall mecha. Each one of the individual lions’ designs house an internal frame that allows them to double as their respective portion of Voltron. In total there are only three unique lion builds: the yellow and blue legs, green and red arms and finally the black torso.
In a lot of ways, the larger black lion is the most impressive of the bunch. It’s build allows it to bear the weight of the completed combined form. But from a design perspective, I can’t help but favor the mid-sized blue and yellow Lego lions better. The technique to convert them into their leg configuration can be chalked up to one impressive feat of LEGO engineering that is wrapped in a colorful retro design.
Let’s Combine! |
Combining all of the lions into Voltron is a fairly straightforward, but somewhat tedious task. It takes less than a minute to configure each of the four-legged mechas and piece them together, but the act of positioning each of the lions’ legs to their correct places is a bit annoying. There’s not much LEGO could have done to improve on this, but after showing off the combination more than a dozen times, let’s just say it isn’t something I look forward to anymore. But none-the-less, it’s still technically impressive.
Voltron’s final form stacks up to over 15-inches tall and by all accounts, is in fact the largest LEGO mecha to date. This is the kit’s main emphasis. Instead of focusing on features, LEGO has gone all-in on size. Because of this, possibilities suffer a significant amount, as there’s a limited amount of motion in Voltron’s arms, and his legs lack any real form of movement. This makes the kits more of a shelf-sitter than something like the Aston Martin, which is much heavier on the play features and begs to be handled and shown off.
That being said, Volton is certainly one of the sturdier kits out there. The techniques used to join the individual lions results in a ‘realistic’ combination sequence similar to in the series.
Voltron’s instruction manual details some of the different iterations the set designer went through before arriving at the finalized build. Versions created at a different scale were readied in case the builder couldn’t nail the mecha’s internal frame, but at the end of the day, LEGO was able to pull off a similar-scale Voltron to the one first submitted to Ideas a few years ago.
We’re left with a finished model that is arguably the best that LEGO, or anyone working under similar sturdiness constraints, could accomplish. The combination is still hands-on impressive, even if the final form still isn’t the set’s strongest point.
One of my criticisms each time for sets like this is the usage of stickers over printed pieces. Very few of either are included in the set, with the main insignias being five numbers which represent each of the lions. Otherwise there is a pretty neat new mouth piece for Voltron himself and a shield element on his head.
There are a bunch of new silver pieces included in the set as well that many builders will be excited to get their hands on. They make areas like Voltron’s chest and the lions’ eyes stick out from the two-tone designs and introduce a sense of the 80s outrun aesthetics.
Other let downs were the sword and shield included in the kit. I found them to be the weakest parts of the build and compared to how well-designed all five of the lions are, it seems like Voltron’s weapons were afterthoughts tacked on at the end.
Defender of amazing LEGO releases |
All in all, Voltron shines as a fantastic homage to the mid-80’s sci-fi series and as an impressive feat of LEGO engineering. But as the largest brick-built mecha to date, it leaves a little too much up to the imagination. Many will consider purchasing the set simply because it’s Voltron, and for those individuals, it’s going to be hard to be disappointed.
As someone who didn’t grow up as one of the series’ biggest fans, the kit doesn’t strike the same chord with me that it does others. But looking at the kit as just another LEGO set, it’s still one of the cooler releases to date compared to others I’ve picked up, like the UCS Y-Wing.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the combined Voltron, I absolutely adore the individual lions. Even if it weren’t for the combination feature, having five top-notch mecha’s like this has made the set worth it in my eyes. Voltron comes in at a $180 price tag for over 2,300 pieces, which in itself is a steal compared to sets like the UCS Falcon.
At the end of the day, whether you’re a life-long Voltron fan, have just gotten into it from the recent reboot or just love a good LEGO mecha, this set is a fantastic addition to your collection.