Thursday, 17 April 2014

Miracle Works Vehicle Voltron

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I remember seeing prototype images of this guy years and years ago.  Almost at about the same time I got my first interest in Chogokin figures.  At the time, I assumed it was a Chogokin figure from Bandai but it then stagnated and the only information I could find was that very same image.  A few years later a listing on a web site advertising this figure got some people excited, sadly though the listing was a year or so too early and from an unknown (to me at the very least) web shop.  The temptation was too much for some and from what I have read on the net it did not work out too well for many of them.

I managed to avoid that however and after hearing good things about this bad boy from a good friend, I decided that I would like a nice Vehicle Voltron in my collection.  So here we have the updated from my Blocky original, Vehicle Voltron by Miracle Works.


Miracle Works themselves were an unknown entity as well.  I am not into the third party figures world much but even for those that were, questions abounded about how good this guy would be.  After all, he wasn’t cheap.
He came delivered in a nice carton box with a sturdy box in that.  I had mine opened and checked by the shop from where I purchased for a quality check.  I was fine with that.
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I feel that the box was a bit underused.  Especially on the base!  No clear indication of what you get inside until you open it, but hey, small run, third party (perhaps) and not shelf release, I guess it’s not so needed.

One pic of how he was in the carton.  And the second picture shows the slightly Bandai Chogokin-ish logo.
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Initial presentation is pretty good.  It copies the original toy rather well with the blue over the parts.  Underneath are his accessories.  Mine came with a three swords, a whip and some spears and stuff.  Yes. Three.  A normal sword, a golden blazing sword and a blue sword.  Can’t think of what that one was meant to be.
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Generally the accessories look nice and after a re-watch of the tv show, it’s good to see that all the weapons in the show are here in some form.  Very nice.

Naturally all the vehicles are present and have an initially bland look to them compared to the original toy.  However, I consider this due to the toy being modelled after the animation design, so a simplification of details and colours is expected and appreciated.
Miracle Works Vehicle Voltron


First off, let’s have a look at the head of Voltron.  The little jet is very little and has the panels to cover his face.  On mine they are a bit loose and floppy, but you can pop them out ever so slightly and they hold.  Or, you can twist the joiner piece at the bottom (which connects the head to the chest) over 180 degrees and and that will also hold them together.  The head connects trough magnets.  A nice touch.  It has a very nice blue colouration, the Voltron logo on his forehead, and the cockpit is made of translucent blue plastic as well.
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The chest piece is pretty much the same as the original toy, even to go as far to include the pop up red piece.  It’s chunky,  has the blaster thingos on the side and even has a little flap where the head will slot in.  I see this as a ramp for the drivers to get into.  The treads on the bottom even rotate for the combination.  They don’t have little wheels on them though.  What do you think this is, a TOY?!??!?

It’s very solid, but then it has to be as it includes quite a few joints for the robot.  Once again, basic colours, that match with the others.
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The helicopter  biceps are basically the same design, but with different moulding for each vehicle.  Again, basic colours, of blue and red.  Although the sides looks the same, they are different due to a swivel joint being in one for the arm.  Rather cleverly they included some form of future stabiliser on the back of the chopper that flips up.  It doesn’t stay up too well, but hey, it’s a nice addition.  The blades don’t come off  for weapon making.
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I like that you can kind of see the cockpit in the red one.

The chest jet is a fairly flat looking piece and has a magnet on the bottom to connect with the chest.  At times I do wish it were a little stronger than it is, but generally it hangs on fairly well.  As with all the others, flat colours that match nicely.  Remember that these vehicles are only here to form Voltron.  I do really like the silver paint on this and the little jets at the back look ace.
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They of course combine into their respective teams.  the air team combines together well, but I suspect that is because they are just forming the torso of Voltron and since this toy was designed as combined Voltron as the main feature it is the best fit kind of by default.  Sure the proportions are whacky, but let’s face it boys and girls, there is no way this thing would ever have flown anyway.
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Next up, the sea team members.

This guy is well sculpted I must say.  Once again there are differences to the sides (like the helicopters) for joints.  When combining them, don’t get these confused.  One side has a swivel so that Voltron can turn at the waist.  The larger sized propeller is the swivel one.  The other one has an ‘ab-crunch’ joint in there.  So much pressure on such a small piece.  Get to know this one well, or he will be broken before you know it.

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The thigh pieces are also ones that get under a lot of pressure.  I had a problem with mine in the the pin that hinged the nose of the sub on started coming out.  oddly it doesn’t go all the way across, but comes in two pieces, having a really small pin on either side.  This makes sense since other pieces fold into the body, hopefully providing a bit of strength to the piece in robot mode.  Also remember to move the little white piece underneath forward, otherwise the vehicle mode doesn't fit together well.
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The shin pieces are super chunky, basic colours and looks nice.  I was surprised to see that the treads are actually rubber over a bunch of wheels.  They still have the side, um, speaker, um things…  That can hang out of the side and look ok, well much like they looked originally.  There are some panels which slide over gaps on the top and bottom.  Annoyingly though despite being predominantly the same design, one has a difference to the other on the bottom.  This results ins the piece that covers the gap in the bottom for vehicle mode sliding out of place all the time.  It almost looks like a piece has been left off.

They don’t roll too well with the treads but to be honest, very few people are going to buy this to roll them around on the ground on vehicle modes.
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I found the sea team’s combined vehicle mode to be a bit iffy.  It just doesn’t seem to fit together too well and one side ended up pointing up.  Generally the thing looks terribly skewwhiff.  On another nice point, my spell checker has Skewwhiff in it!!

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Woo Woo!  Now onto the final team.  The land team, let’s just ignore the fact that they often flew over the ground anyway…

First up, the little belt buckle piece guy.  I always saw this vehicle as the communications car.  It has no discernable front, aside from assuming that the door on top must open back.  It has treads on the bottom, but they are sculpted pieces and feature little rolling wheels.  This piece has a remarkably complex transformation with a little bit of flipping in and out all over the place.  It is another small piece that gets put under a lot of pressure when combined but it handles it pretty well, as it has bits of die cast hidden well within.  The only complaint I have is one sections has a little nubby bit that doesn’t allow a flap to close properly.  Check that first photo.
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Next up the foot cars.  Simple plain colours again, with some nice red window.  They have rubber wheels and some little ski things that drop from the bottom to allow for extra stability and grip of Voltron.  They looks very close to the originals, however they are a tiny bit squished looking.  Oh well.
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The final members of the land team form the fists of Voltron.  These ones actually look pretty cool in my opinion.  you can see little sculpted ‘lights’ and ‘windows.’  Not much to be said for these guys really.  Thefists can be changed with other hands for wepon wielding purposes for Voltron of course.  Plastic wheels.  Mine have the unfortunate ability for the finger parts to pop off for some reson.  I really like the simplicity of the design for these vehicles.
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In case you’re wondering, the combined mode for the land team vehicles is just as crap as the original toy.  It looks ridiculous, obviously a team formed over by the ones left at the end.  What’s more, i the belt piece has trouble fitting on to the feet pieces.  I have known of others who have forced the issue and the tracks of the belt piece have come out worse off for wear.  By that I mean broken.  As it is, these pictures of mine are somewhat formed and half faked, but resting them on top.  I know it looks crap, so I didn’t really need to get it perfectly formed.
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The way it’s supposed to work…
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Miracle Works Vehicle Voltron

So, now I am sure that every one read every single word of my coverage of the vehicles…  So (if you did) thanks.  Let’s form VOLTRON!


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Gorgeous and large.  There is no doubt about it, this toy looks fabulous!  the joint work in him is admirable and all the (slight)sacrifices to the vehicle modes is completely made up for when in Voltron mode!! A quick list of his joints:
  • I can’t do it, there’s too many!
Let’s just say that this guy puts many more smaller figures to shame.  It’s fantastic to see that he can reach across his chest, and the jet on his chest has wings that are hinged to keep out of the way.  About the only thing this guy is missing is a twist at the ankle.

His arms are very expressive.  You can almost make him face palm and he can applaud.  Hopefully sarcastically.  Rocket Punches can also be simulated.

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Damn.  Looks like I forgot to do more pics of his weapons.  Most of them are pretty self explanatory, I will admit that I haven’t yet worked out how to put the shuriken into the specific shuriken holding hands.  About my only complaint with the weapons is that they have a square handle, thereby limiting the holding options somewhat.  I would have preferred a round peg so you could tilt the sword and angle for some funky poses.

Overall I really like this figure.  I will admit that there are a few things that I find annoying, such as the sliding panels and the fists breaking in half from what looks like a lack of glue, so he isn’t entirely without flaws.  If this were coming from Bandai for example, I’d be very disappointed.  But it’s not, it’s from a smaller company that doesn’t appear to have a lot of experience.  On that note I think they have done a pretty good job.  If Bandai sis whip one of these out, I’d say it would be similar, perhaps a bit simpler in some respects.  It’s rather commendable of Miracle Works Productions to gamble on this guy and make him.  It is a pretty damn good figure once combined, sure the vehicles aren’t the best, but who buys Vehicle Voltron for the individual vehicles? 
No-one!
When combined it’s a fantastic piece with lots of joints allowing a seriously impressive array of poses.  Some parts do come off easily, and I recommend a thorough investigation of each piece and their joints to see how it works to avoid breakage from ham handedness.  This will also help avoid frustration when playing with the robot.

Is it perfect?  No.  It is however the best super robot version out there and will probably ever get.  I don’t regret buying mine in the slightest.

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