LEGO 21311 Voltron is a LEGO Ideas set that hit it's 10K supported milestone over 2 years ago, and then finally approved for production about 1 year ago. I've been waiting not-very-patiently for it to arrive, but it's finally here. This final LEGO produced version looks fairly different to the original fan-designer's model, so let's take a look at how it turned out.
Box & Contents
The physical box measures 47.5 x 37.5 x 11 cm and weighs 2.6kg. It contains:
- 16 plastic bags of parts
- 6 instruction booklets wrapped in plastic, with the sticker sheet included
The instructions are great - there is one booklet for each lion and a separate one for Voltron's sword and shield, which also illustrates the transformation sequence.
The instructions also have a few pages describing the original Voltron series it is based on, as well as the usual information about the original LEGO Ideas fan designer and the LEGO designer team.
There are several parts that appear in new colors in this set. Most notably a whole bunch of new Metallic Silver parts which are used in key spots on the lion heads, the chest, the sword and the shield. There are also several new prints, including Voltron's mouth:
There aren't any :) As much as I hate on minifigs, I admit this set could have benefited from five of the tiny trophy-figs like the Saturn V set. Especially if the designers could have found a way to pop them into the lion's heads!
I love that each lion gets it's own instruction booklet. Each lion is also built from their own separate numbered bags. This makes parallel building easy and a lot of fun - e.g. my kids could build the lions they want at the same time.
Book 1 - Yellow Lion
The yellow lion forms one of Voltron's legs. Probably the first thing that struck me was how colorful everything is. The core of the lion is very solid and based around a central pivot point that enables the head to bend 90 degrees to form Voltron's foot.
The head pivots around a single axle which doubles as the joint for the front legs. The head itself is pretty awesome looking and the lower jaw opens. The white 15070 tooth parts are used very effectively. The body is then built up with its various decorations and weapons.
Lastly, the tail and legs are added. The legs can rotate via axles in the hips, the elbow/knees and ankles move via hinges. The head can't move at all, other than the jaw and when it transforms into Voltron.
Book 2 - Blue Lion
The blue lion starts off very similar to the yellow lion. They both share the same core design, just in different colors and have different decorations attached.
The same pivoting neck system is used as in the yellow lion.
The finished blue lion is about the same size as the yellow lion but has it's own styling so they still appear as different models.
The hip joints in both the blue and yellow lions differ from the front to the back. Since the axle used in the front leg hips is also used to pivot the head into a foot when transforming, it doesn't move freely. So, the hip uses a 53585 ball/92013 socket combination which gives it some movement, although it's much tighter to move.
Book 3 - Black Lion
The black lion is a very different build to the other four. Since it forms Voltron's main body, it is much larger and needs to be much stronger to hold everything together.
The familiar Voltron chest emblem design is actually the belly of the lion. The connections for the lion's front legs (Voltron's arms) use 5 clips each for extra strength. Strangely, they are color coded red and blue whereas the connecting lion's are actually colored red and green.
The head can be detached easily (and often seems to fall off a little too easily while transforming). The lower jaw of the lion is actually Voltron's face which fully opens. Once connected, the head can also move up and down slightly, and turn side to side. The red wings on the back of the lion fold and stack on the lion's back.
Lastly, the rear legs (Voltron's thighs) are added. These are seriously thick and have a built-in angle to them which can't be moved. This is what allows Voltron to actually stand up later with a slight spread of his legs, otherwise the blue/yellow lions would be too close to each other.
The final black lion is a huge beast, and built like a tank!
Book 4 - Red Lion
The red lion forms one of Voltron's arms. It is much smaller than the other lions, but also much more flexible. The body itself is broken up into three separate segments that use ball/socket joints to hinge, which have a lot of friction and allow the lion to stay in position once it is hanging as Voltron's arm.
Unlike the previous three lions, the jaw doesn't move in this lion. Instead, it has a technic pin which is used to hold Voltron's weapons.
Book 5 - Green Lion
The final lion, is very similar in build to the red lion. Like the yellow/blue lions, the red/green lions share a core body design. The differences are in the decorating panels and colors.
Like the red lion, the green lion can also hold Voltron's sword or shield.
The size difference of the three types of lion designs can be clearly seen below.
Book 6 - Weapons
Lastly, you build Voltron's sword and shield.
The sword actually has to be pulled apart to be inserted into the lion's mouth, leaving a spare pin connector piece. The shield just uses a single long pin that can be folded out of the way when not inserted.
Transforming into Voltron
The legs on the yellow and blue lions are first tucked away. Their tails are simply folded back against their bodies. The necks are then pivoted about to form Voltron's feet. There are clips that secure them in place once they are in position. There is a small extension out the back of the leg which helps give it stability, and a small rubber tyre at the base of the foot that helps Voltron stand and prevent slipping.
The two arm lions are the simplest to transform, and just need to have their legs and tails tucked away.
The black lion is the trickiest. All four of it's legs are actually detached, rotated, and then re-attached at different angles. The feet on the back legs are folded out straight and will be inserted into the back of the yellow/blue lions. The red wings are folded out, and lastly the head is folded down to reveal Voltron's face.
The yellow/blue lions are inserted, and join via four clips. The left and right clips are different so you can't swap the legs around even if you wanted to.
The red/green lions connect to the shoulder joints via two technic pins each. The shoulder joint itself uses a couple of bevel-tooth gears with a friction ball/socket, giving it a lot of friction when rotating the joint.
When fully formed, Voltron looks amazing. Even from the back, it looks great and is very strong and actually quite heavy too weighing in at 1.6kg.
There were many 80s cartoons that featured giant robots, but Voltron was definitely one of my favourites. When the original LEGO Ideas project was selected for production, I knew I had to have it.
The LEGO Ideas team spent a long time iterating over the design of this model, and the end result is amazing and well worth the wait.
The build was fun. Even though it would appear there is repetition across lions, it's really not noticeable - especially if you split the build between family members so everyone gets their own personal lion. Transforming the lions into Voltron can be a little tricky at first, and you're scared of breaking things but it's all very solid and can put up well with the handling.
Probably the only criticism I have is that the black lion's legs must be removed and re-inserted during the transformation process. If they could be made to simply rotate while still maintaining the strength required to stand and pose, that would be awesome. The original LEGO Ideas submission photos seem to show the black lion with more flexibility. Perhaps we'll see some fan-mods of it soon that attempt this.
While the set might be a tad expensive (US $180), there are over 2300 parts, and I think it will be a must buy for many LEGO fans my age that grew up on these cartoons.
So if you've read all the way to here, I have a 2nd Voltron set sitting next to me that I will be giving away to one lucky Rebrickable user!
To be eligible to win the prize, all you have to do is write a comment below giving your thoughts on the set (NOTE: multiple comments will not increase your chances, so no spam please!). After a few weeks, I will pick one person at random and contact them to arrange delivery.
UPDATE: A winner has been contacted and the prize is on the way!
Disclaimer: This LEGO set was kindly provided for review by The LEGO Group. Anything said in this post is the opinion of the author and not The LEGO Group.