Tag Archives: action figures

Sorry Kids, but my Voltron Would Own Your Megazord

By Nick Saunders

Being the crusty old man that I am, I would be remiss if I didn’t once in a while spend time touting the superiority of the toys I grew up with as opposed to the contemporary ones owned by my son. Today I have come to bash the Power Rangers with the assistance of my close personal friend, Voltron.


While by no means a universal truth, most things were better back in the 1980’s. Sure, this is a biased assumption at best, and grossly inaccurate at worst, but I’m running with it regardless. By the way, I am jamming to the soothing sounds of Master P and his posse of “No Limit Soldiers” as I write this, so my tastes are admittedly suspect.

So, two weeks ago I was out at Target with my son looking for a way to further spoil him and blow through some disposable income. I decided the best way to accomplish this goal would to be to buy a hollowed-out shell of a robot called a Megazord. To be specific, I bought him the Legendary Megazord from the Power Rangers Super Megaforce line.


This current MMPR (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) Megazord clearly took its stylistic cues from Johnny Depp, as it reeks of scurvy-infected, swashbuckling piracy. This is driven home by the skull and crossbones symbols on each vehicle (which besides the primary red one, all have absolutely nothing to do with sailing the Seven Seas or pirate hookers whatsoever). Each vehicle/limb is hollow with a depressingly simple transformation, but I will say they securely connect to the torso and the robot is cool looking, if a tad brickish. I tried to get some decent shots of the vehicles, but between their Steven Seagal level of suckage and lighting issues I abandoned these efforts. You ain’t missing much.


The closest thing I have to compare to this toy is my 1997 Trendmasters Voltron, which is a die-cast reproduction of the Matchbox Voltron III released in the 1980’s. For those who don’t own this toy, it is HEAVY.  Also just for the record, nowadays I prefer plastic toys because companies struggle to make joints strong enough to support the added weight of die-cast components- MP-01 Masterpiece Optimus Prime, I’m looking right at you and your heavy-ass legs.


Die-cast metal versus plastic issues aside, there is a definite deterioriation of workmanship here. On Voltron, each limb transforms into an individual lion, with pop-out action features and ejecting heads for the Green and Red lions. On the Legendary Megazord, the limbs turn into non-descript vehicles that quite frankly reek of ineptitude and fail. They are also glaringly devoid of articulation when combined into the robot, whereas Voltron features fairly advanced articulation for his era.

Now, this MMPR toy was about $35, and while my Voltron was $30 back in 1997 it would probably retail for at least $100 if re-issued again today- $50 if done entirely in plastic. While I am  aware of this disparity, it doesn’t change the fact that if given the chance my Voltron would gladly use his Blazing Sword to bisect this mockery of a kaiju-fighter faster than dispatching the lowliest of Robeasts. Since the Megazord doesn’t have knee joints of any sort, he wouldn’t be able to do a dang thang about it.



Dear Mattel: Your New DC Figures are Super Ugly


By Nick Saunders

I still can distinctly recall my glee while reading Toyfare Issue 68 back in 2003, and discovering that Mattel had chosen to leverage the DC license into a line of 6-inch figures to compete with (or in my eyes, complement) Toy Biz’s (now Hasbro’s) Marvel Legends line. I had been an avid collector of Marvel Legends since its inception, and had been dying for a comparable line to be released for DC. Sure, there were DC Direct (now DC Collectibles) figures available of many characters, but their wonky 6.75” scale, minimal articulation, and cherubic, china-doll paintjobs made them stick out like lepers on my otherwise immaculate (and disease-free) shelf of awesomeness.

Then came Mattel’s Batman line in 2003. Recently off their stint with the Masters of the Universe 200X line, the Four Horsemen came in ready to take names and chew bubblegum. This line, while a vast improvement over any major release Batman series to date, still had a way to go in competing with Toy Biz’s quality, articulation and detail.

This soon gave way to Mattel expanding the line into DC Super Heroes in 2005, which is where they truly began to shine. They debuted their S3 sculpt that remained the base template for this line into the following decade. Some of my favorite figures and molds came from this series, including S3 Batman, S3 Superman, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, and Mongul, amongst others.

The branding eventually shifted to DC Universe Classics in 2007, and 20 assortments of figures were released until the line ended at the end of 2012. Some great, some obscure, and some downright awful characters were given life, but the quality was always there, both in sculpt and in manufacture.

For 2013, the line has been re-branded once again as DC Unlimited. Some figures are re-paints of prior DCUC or DCSH figures. However others, namely the abominations being targeted in this article, are all-new molds. The primary catalyst for this catastrophic decline in aesthetic appeal is the cross-marketing with the Injustice: Gods Among Us game produced by Netherrealm Studios. I can barely put into words how abhorrent the figures based on this game look. Batman and Superman in particular are hideous, and nothing that even a paper bag could remedy. This type of cosmetic monstrosity couldn’t even be fixed on The Swan.

Even the New 52 sculpts weren’t immune to this rampant design travesty-in-progress. Please see New 52 Darkseid, aka one ugly duck. I think half of the plastic used on this figure went to the head and shoulders. Especially when compared with the amazingly-crafted DCSH S3 Darkseid, this new figure is nothing but a wet, laughable flatulation after a hearty meal of franks ‘n’ beans.

In case I haven’t quite made my point clear, I am saddened and disappointed that one of my favorite toy lines has deteriorated so badly. I truly do wish that the quality of designs reverts back to previous levels, because at this point I think I would rather display My Little Pony on my toyshelf than a DC Unlimited figure.