Non-TF: Vehicle Team Voltron (Panosh Place-Style)

Discussion in 'Radicons Customs' started by Cliffbee, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    The 1980s animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe followed the adventures of two groups of space explorers, each of which flew vehicles that could combine into a mighty robot called Voltron. The overwhelmingly more popular robot was Lion Force Voltron -- a robot comprised of five piloted, robotic lions. The less popular robot was Vehicle Team Voltron -- a robot comprised of fifteen piloted vehicles that were divided equally into three sub-teams: the Air Team, Sea Team and Land Team.

    In 1985 Panosh Place produced a single wave of Voltron toys, which most notably included a Lion Force Voltron robot that could split into its five component lions, each of which could carry a 3-3/4" action figure of its pilot. The Panosh Place Voltron robot isn't exactly the most "toon-accurate" version of the defender of the universe, but it and the other Panosh Place toys had a lot of play value that the more expensive and delicate Matchbox toys didn't have. Unfortunately Panosh Place never produced any toys for Vehicle Team Voltron -- although there were plans to release some Vehicle Team-related action figures as part of a 1986 second wave that never came to pass.

    In May 2012 I decided to begin my first custom toy project -- the creation of a Vehicle Team Voltron in the style of the Panosh Place Voltron toys, complete with custom action figures.

    I commissioned the talented pock63 to make the action figures. They're finished, and they're awesome.

    My interest in designing a Panosh Place-style Vehicle Team Voltron originated with this silly photo -- an attempt to see whether 15 3-3/4" action figures could possibly fit inside Toynami Shogun Warriors Dairugger, which stands 24" tall -- roughly the same height as Matty Collector's (Lion) Voltron:

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    Then I began to ponder whether 15 3-3/4" figures could fit inside a robot that's roughly the height of Panosh Place (Lion) Voltron, which is about 14" tall:

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    Ultimately I estimated that a 15-figure-carrying Vehicle Team Voltron robot would have a minimum height of about 16.5" to 17". Then... it was time to design!

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2013
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  2. phoenixliger

    phoenixliger Ogre

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    Awesome design work this is definately one that i will keep an eye on
     
  3. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

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    :jawdropper:  And this is dangerous for my 1:18 scale addiction issues....
     
  4. WuLongTi

    WuLongTi Cyber Ninja Web Developer

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    Please tell me more :D 
     
  5. TF Hunter D

    TF Hunter D Well-Known Member

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    Always wondered where my KO Voltron came from
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  6. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Over the weekend I'll add many more photos. For now I thought I'd list my main visual references for the project:

    • Matchbox Deluxe Voltron I / Vehicle Team Voltron and Popy Dairugger - This is the gold standard toy. I only own the Matchbox version, but there are some decent online photos of the Popy version.
    • Toynami Shogun Warriors Dairugger and Toynami Robot Vinyl Collection Volume 03: Vehicle Voltron - I don't (yet) own the former, but I own the latter. These are good references for more toon-accurate versions of "VV" (Vehicle Voltron).
    • Screen caps from the Voltron TV series, plus images of the animation models of Voltron, the "super fighters" and the individual vehicles.
    • The various Panosh Place Voltron toys, since this is the style that I'm trying to emulate.
     
  7. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

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    Mad genius, mad genius!

    I love your attention to detail in mimicing the feel of a particular style and era. This kind of "What If" custom is always my favorite sort of project.
     
  8. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Very cool work.

    However, when you post things from other forums, at least attach the photos so that you're not hot linking from there or promoting other forums (Rules #8 and #9). :wink: 
     
  9. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    And now, some photos, so that this thread is more than just text! :) 

    Of Vehicle Team Voltron's 15 vehicles, I chose to model first the five vehicles of the Sea Team, plus a place holder for the lower torso vehicle (from the Land Team). Here are the results, from October 2012:

    Here are models of the five vehicles of the Sea Team. Obviously these are crude models. I left out details such as wheels and most cockpit hatches because they're difficult to model, and they don't add much value to the models, which are intended only to suggest the very basic geometry of their vehicles.

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    Here are the five Sea Team vehicles combined as the Aqua Fighter. (FYI, the five Air Team ships form the Strato Fighter, and the five Land Team vehicles form the Turbo Terrain Fighter.)

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    Here are the five vehicles, plus a place holder for the lower torso vehicle of the Land Team, combined as their respective components of Vehicle Team Voltron.

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    If you're familiar with Vehicle Team Voltron, you'll notice that these models are much more "stubby" than other toy versions of them are. There's a reason for that. A major design goal behind this project has been to make these models resemble what Panosh Place might have designed had it made a toy of Vehicle Team Voltron.

    In the two-part Voltron episode "Fleet of Doom," Lion Force Voltron and Vehicle Team Voltron fight side-by-side against a common foe, and in that episode, both Voltrons are shown to be about equal in height. Matchbox's Vehicle Team Voltron was significantly larger than the company's Lion Force Voltron, but in my mind, this is only due to the fact that the toys were sourced from two entirely different toy lines -- Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, respectively -- just as the Voltron animated cartoon (except for later episodes like "Fleet of Doom") was made from two entirely different anime series of the same names.

    Panosh Place's (Lion Force) Voltron stands about 14" in height. I estimated a minimal height of a Vehicle Team Voltron that could carry 15 pilot action figures to be about 16.5" or 17" in height, so out of necessity, a Panosh Place-style Vehicle Team Voltron would have to be taller than its Lion Force counterpart; however, I wanted to minimize the height difference as much as possible.

    An ideal height for a Vehicle Team Voltron that can carry 15 3-3/4" pilot action figures would be closer to the 23"-24" height of the 2011 Matty Collector (Lion Force) Voltron and Toynami Shogun Warriors Dairugger. I knew from the outset that a 17-inch-or-so-tall robot would be "chunky." :) 

    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    More photos, this time from early February of this year, by which time I had made concept models of most but not all of the vehicles. The concept model of the lower torso was still the place holder, the head model was unfinished and would ultimately be replaced by an entirely new model, the chest "jet" model was unfinished, and the upper torso model wasn't quite finished.

    Here's Vehicle Team Voltron, standing beside Panosh Place (Lion Force) Voltron. As before I didn't bother modeling most vehicles' pilot compartment hatches or wheels. Voltron's spinning laser blades -- the "rotors" of the upper arm vehicles -- are designed to be removable and holdable in Voltron's hands. Note that they have four spokes. Most Vehicle Team Voltron toys' spinning laser blades have three spokes. I chose to do this because, in the cartoon, the rotors/blades were seen only when Voltron was using them as weapons, and in the cartoon, the blades always had four spokes.

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    From left to right, here are the Strato Fighter (Air Team), Aqua Fighter (Sea Team) and Turbo Terrain Fighter (Land Team).

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    Finally here are the models, again not all finished or "final," of the fifteen individual vehicles. From left to right are the vehicles of the Air, Sea and Land Teams.

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    This looks great. REALLY great.

    Do you have plans of making it taller? The Vehicle Voltron is notably more slender.
     
  12. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    Everything about this project would be simpler -- and the end result would be more visually pleasing -- if I were to "go vertical" and make the robot taller.

    This project has a fictional back story: in 1985 Panosh Place released its first wave of toys just as it did in the real world -- all the Lion Force stuff. Then... in this fantastic story... the first wave of toys sold like gangbusters, and Panosh Place was financially solvent (instead of in a state that led to its real-world declaration of bankruptcy in 1987).

    Continuing our story... scrambling for new Voltron product, but having tapped out the Lion Force scenario, Panosh Place turned to Vehicle Team Voltron. (Until that point Vehicle Team Voltron hadn't even been on their radar; if it had been, then maybe they'd have made Lion Force Voltron larger, so that the two robots together would be the same size.) In the desire to keep the combined robot's price point lower -- and to keep the robot from being overwhelmingly bigger than the already released Lion Force Voltron toy -- the decision was made to make the robot as short as possible.

    That's why this guy is so stout. He's "Panosh Place-style," and from a certain point of view. :) 

    Also... the concept models are made from 3/16" foam core. The "real" version of this toy would be made from thinner plastics, and the contours would be less blocky, so the end result would be (slightly, but still) less stocky.
     
  13. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    By April of this year, I'd completed the concept models of the Air Team.

    Here's the head vehicle in some detail. Again, these concept models are made from 3/16" foam core and are intended only to represent the basic geometry of the "real" product, and not the finished product itself. (And the "real" head vehicle toy would have articulated panels that would close over Voltron's face.)

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    The head vehicle's pilot compartment is accessed by sliding the cone-shaped shell forward.

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    Here are the Air Team vehicles, separated and combined as the Strato Fighter. (I do anticipate making the chest plate "jet" more graceful in the nose.)

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  14. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

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    Seeing the working cockpits is pure joy :) 
     
  15. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Due to various life factors, I've not made much progress on this project since April. I have rebuilt the models of the upper leg vehicles, to make them look a bit more like what I imagine the end result to be, and I'm working on completing the model of the lower torso vehicle. I'll show photos of them later. For now here are photos of the individual vehicles, "super-jets" and Voltron positioned along side... custom pilot action figures made by the talented pock63!

    Air Team

    #1 (Voltron's head; piloted by Jeff)

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    #2 (Voltron's upper torso; piloted by Rocky)

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    #3 and #4 (Voltron's upper arms; piloted by Wolo and Chip, respectively)

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    #5 (Voltron's chest plate; piloted by Ginger)

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Air Team vehicles

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    Air Team vehicles combined as the Strato Fighter

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    Sea Team

    #6 (Voltron's middle torso; piloted by Krik)

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    #7 and #8 (Voltron's upper legs; piloted by Lisa and Tangor, respectively) -- Note that the models of these vehicles have since been replaced by better looking ones

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    #9 and #10 (Voltron's lower legs; piloted by Shannon and Zandee, respectively)

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    Sea Team vehicles

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    Sea Team vehicles combined as the Aqua Fighter

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Land Team

    #11 (Voltron's lower torso; piloted by Cliff) -- This is an incomplete, place holder model

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    #12 and #13 (Voltron's lower arms; piloted by Cinda and Modoch, respectively)

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    #14 and #15 (Voltron's feet; piloted by Marvin and Hutch, respectively)

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    Land Team vehicles

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    Land Team vehicles combined as the Turbo Terrain Fighter

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Voltron

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    More to come...
     

    Attached Files:

  19. TF Hunter D

    TF Hunter D Well-Known Member

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    Is it me, or do you have the Tek Toys version of vehicle Voltron (the one that was sold at Toys R Us back ten or so years ago)? Also, great work so far on your figure as well. Are you trying to keep to the retro 80s styling of the original figure?
     
  20. Cliffbee

    Cliffbee Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! Yes, in addition to owning Matchbox Voltron I / Vehicle Team Voltron from 1985-1987 or so, I own an "LSA" Vehicle Team Voltron knock-off that was sold at Toys R Us in the late 1990s.

    I am trying to make this version of Vehicle Team Voltron look as if Panosh Place had produced it in the mid-1980s.
     

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