Voltron toys: no demand or licensing issues?

So the Dudeling has gotten himself into Voltron. With the holidays coming up, we figured we’d indulge him a bit, but yowza, not that much! All I’m finding are ‘collector’ toys in the $50 to $100 range or close-but-not-quite Voltrons.

What gives? Is this just a consequence of the Dudeling stumbling on an obscure cartoon on Netflix, or are there some sordid licensing issues keeping these things from market? I watched a bit as a kid, so if there’s a story behind creators and producers I’d be grateful to hear.

It’s an old 80s cartoon that never had as much of a lasting impact/appeal that a lot of its contemporaries, like Transformers or G.I. Joe, did. It did have a “revival” series a couple of years ago, IIRC, but it didn’t gain as much popularity (heck, for all I know, that’s the series your son got interested in, and not the original.) So maybe a couple of years ago toys for it were easy to find, but not anymore, so now most of them are, as you’ve seen, designed for Gen Xers and Millennials who want to relive their childhood and they cost too much.

Not much else to be said, really.

Also, that "close-but-not-quite Voltron’ IS a real Voltron…there were two of them in the 80s…the much more popular (in the US, at least) Lion-Based one, and the less-popular Vehicle-Based one.

This is why I bought all the Lion Voltron toys, kept them in the original packaging, and never ever allowed my mother to donate them away once I had grown out of them.

Waitaminute, other than step one, that’s not how I went about it at all! :smack:

If he’s watching the original, then chances are there’s no new merchandise because the episodes are at least 25 years old. It’s kind of like discovering Rugrats on Nicktoons or TeeNICK and then wondering why there aren’t any Tommy or Chuckie dolls anywhere. (In fact, there were Nickelodeon stores in 1997 and 1998 - only three at first (one at the Great Mall of America, one somewhere on Long Island, and one just west of O’Hare Airport in Chicago), but then they expanded in late 1998, only for Viacom to decide it didn’t want to be in the retail store business and close all of them on January 31, 1999.)

There was that vehicle-force Voltron in the cartoon back in the 80s. I assume it’s on Netflix as well but I couldn’t tell you for sure. Both this and the lion force Voltrons were taken from unrelated Japanese shows and redubbed into what we saw.

Same here. I think I still have one of the legs in a Ziploc bag of GI Joes somewhere in my parents’ basement, but I’ll be damned if I know what happened to the rest of the set.

Not that my set would have been in any kind of decent shape. Because toys are for playing with!

Just checking in again to say that I finally figured out how to parse the Thread Title.
One of the reasons I opened the Thread to begin with was because I wasn’t sure what the title was getting at. I read it as “Voltron toys: are there no issues of demand or licensing?”

I can now see that it’s meant to be read as “Why no Volton toys? Is it that there is no demand? Or, is it that there are licensing issues?”

Took me about 90 minutes to figure that out.

o.k., o.k., I wasn’t thinking about it for the entire 90 minutes. I didn’t get it before. I get it now.

Voltron never had nearly the toy aisle presence as some of its contemporary colleagues. Probably because it was a show first, toyline wayyyyyy second.

I got this set back when it was new


I was already nostalgiaing over 80’s stuff and that was over 15 years back (wow, as if I wasn’t already feeling old enough). The quality on it seemed pretty lacking, though, lots of molding and quality control issues on it. But it came with a shitload of accessories that were mostly unavailable (and the few that were were sold separately) when Matchbox originally put them out in the 80’s.

I also have original vintage Matchbox yellow and green lions, but at some point yellow lost two teeth. Also a black lion from Panosh Place, those were really crappy compared to the Matchbox ones, but they actually had action figures to go alone with them and could ride inside (albeit massively out of scale).

Anyway, the reason you’re not finding much is they just haven’t put out much, and most of what has come out has been aimed at collectors, and sadly not little boys that just want cool robots to play with.

There were a bunch of Voltron toys back when the show was first airing. I had the one TBG mentions (it didn’t have the issues that he mentions, though - then again, mine disappeared long ago…maybe it would have broken in the intervening ~30 years), and a tiny, cheap (possibly unlicensed) version (first thing I ever bought with my allowance money). One of my friends had a set of larger Lions and action figures that could be put in large clear (except on Black Lion) cockpits. (Not sure if those could be formed up into Voltron or not…it would have been a HUGE Voltron if so…) Another had a ‘dress up’ set - a Voltron-face mask, red and green lion heads you hold in your hands, blue and yellow lion-head foot coverings. Nobody I knew had the vehicle Voltron toys, but there were a couple sets of those, too.

But…the show is almost 30 years old, and hasn’t been a long-running franchise…toys aimed at kids aren’t going to be still being made, and the old ones are going to go for insane amounts of money.

Matchbox did put out smaller versions of both the lion and vehicle voltrons, though those did not separate into the individual components (save for the red plane on the chest of vehicle voltron for some reason)

Yeah, that’s the Panosh Place one, it does combine into voltron, but looks really bad compared to the matchbox one. Also it’s entirely plastic, matchbox used a good bit of metal in theirs.