The cornerstone of the Voltron Legendary Defender toy line is the combining lions. They’re the most iconic part of the show and, come on, who doesn’t love a giant robot? Still, many fans were overjoyed in 2017 when Playmates Toys (the main producer of Voltron toyline) released three action figures of the Voltron characters. Fans have grown very attached to the characters over the series’ five season run and were eager to add them to their collections.
Shiro, Keith, and Lance were quickly bought up by fans and everyone patiently waited for the rest of the team, Pidge, Allura, and Hunk, to show up in stores.
While prototypes of the figures were displayed at New York Toy Fair in 2018 there’s still no sign of them being released. Several Voltron fans reached out to Playmates, including fan Mark Oliver, who received a response from Aurbie Faulhaber, Consumer Affairs at Playmates Toys.
“At this time our brand team and Operations Department do not see the benefit of releasing the rest of the Paladin figures. This is all based off sales and supply/demand of figures in stores currently. When figures are not pushed forward into production, it does not mean that the line of toys is not continuing. The toy industry is always changing an decision about product(s) can change in an instant.”
Fans were understandably confused and even a little angry that they wouldn’t be able to finish their collection of the Paladin figures. Many even cited the scarcity of finding the Shiro, Keith, and Lance figures in stores and how that could have affected sales.
We reached out to Playmates Toys and spoke with Jeff Trojan, VP of Marketing at Playmates, to clarify some of these concerns fans had. He explained that the Voltron line has been seeing less support from the largest retailers through 2018.
“The actions figures hadn’t sold as quickly as the combining versions of Voltron in 2017, limiting reorders from retailers who still had inventory during Fall 2017 as we released the first three Paladins.”
For those wondering why they had trouble even finding those figures, Trojan says “the Paladins flow to retail has been inconsistent on a retailer-by-retailer and store-by-store basis.” It’s not that Playmates didn’t make enough figures, it’s that the largest retailers (who release the most toys) chose not to continue stocking the figures or even the entire line.
“We are waiting to amass enough reorders to justify tooling three new characters in the mix.” For those not in the know, tooling is very basically the process of making the molds that are used to create each toy’s individual plastic pieces. It’s a very expensive process and just because the figures were shown at Toy Fair doesn’t mean they were already tooled. Those were most likely prototypes created specifically for display at Toy Fair.
Trojan and Playmates would love to release those figures, and many more Voltron toys, but “so far the demand doesn’t add up to enough.”
That doesn’t mean the figures will never be made and released, it’s just that Playmates is “unsure when marketplace activity will trigger these next figures’ release.”