Monday, June 18, 2012

Voltron (Panosh Place)



We're not big fans of Voltron around these parts, but we know and respect a good toy line when we see it.

Voltron had a huge following in both the USA and Japan. Though the series differed drastically from shore to shore, the true form was there - A giant robot made from five lions piloted by five humans who used the giant robot to fight evil in the universe.

The series ran for 124 episodes during the 80's, and consistently ranked among the top shows in the US. What separated the shows from the Japanese versions was that the US versions were heavily edited to remove a lot of the violence, and other graphic related content. With this in mind, there are few US viewers who have seen an actual full length episode of the show.

With the success of the series on US shores, Panosh Place purchased the rights to produce a toy line based on the famous cartoon which ran from 1984-1986. While the quality of the figures weren't necessarily on par with that of other action figure lines on the market during this period, they were still wonderfully sculpted to match their television counterparts.

There were twelve figures in all;


Doom Commander, Hagar the Witch, King Zarkon, Prince Lotor, Robeast Mutilor, Robeast Scorpious


Skull Scavenger, Hunk, Keith, Lance, Pidge, Princess Allura


Much like the television series, the lions were the meat of the toys - So appealing that people who weren't necessarily aware of the series still purchased them.

The rarest of the lions these days appears to be the red one. While an average auction ends for $50.00 to $80.00 for the others, the Red Lion goes for $100.00 to $130.00.


Yellow Lion, Red Lion, Black Lion, Blue Lion, Green Lion


The Castle of Lions is the only playset produced for the series. The playset folded open to reveal a larger play area inside.


Castle of Lions


Five vehicles were produced for the line.


Coffin of Darkness, Coffin of Doom, Doom Blaster, Skull Tank, Zarkon Zapper


What's oddest about this line is that Panosh Place disappeared virtually overnight without a trace, and to date there is little to no information pertaining to the company. Approximately halfway through the toy line a Mattel label started showing up on the packages, yet the toys could still be found with either a Panosh Place or Mattel label. So what happened? Did Mattel buy the company? We honestly don't know. Let us know in the comment section if you do.

There have been many incarnations of Voltron toys to date, and the series was even revived for a short period of time, but nothing seems to capture the spirit of the original Voltron like the toys from Panosh Place.

Join us next time when we take a look at Robocop: Ultra Force.

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7 comments:

  1. According to this article...

    http://articles.philly.com/1987-11-05/business/26175404_1_tyco-toys-toy-stores-toy-and-hobby-world

    ...Panosh Place was founded in 1984, and the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 1987.

    What I don't know is why Panosh Place's Voltron toys can also be found with Mattel branding. Perhaps Mattel distributed Panosh Place's products in international markets, and/or perhaps Mattel bought unsold Panosh Place product. I'm only speculating.

    Here is something interesting -- Panosh Place had plans to produce a second wave of Voltron toys in 1986:

    http://gregtyler.net/wordpress/2012/05/22/panosh-place-1986-toy-fair-catalog-unproduced-voltron-toys/

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  2. Thanks for the comments and links. This added information is a great benefit to the article.

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    1. Hi there, I have a 1984 figurine of Pidge, as shown above, and yes, it has the Panosh Place label and then a Mattel label STUCK on. It is unopened and in great condition. I don't know much in the sense of how rare these figures are, value, etc. Any info would be appreciated, thanks

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    2. It's difficult to gauge because most folks selling the figures sell the five "drivers" as a set. Sets under the Panosh Place banner sell for upwards of $300.00. Sets under the Mattel banner can sell for as low as $150.00, and upwards of $200.00. Estimating those prices out, you could potentially ask anywhere from $30.00 to $60.00 for it.

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  3. I had the Deluxe Voltron Lion Set, but my mom threw it out after it was announced that the toys had lead paint. http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/1986/Certain-Voltron-Lion-Toys-To-Be-Recalled-And-Exchanged-Because-Of-A-Potential-Lead-Paint-Hazard-/

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  4. I just purchased the Deluxe Voltron Set (this set is all 5 lions assembled and in a clear front box) in the box with accessories still in plastic packaging for $400 on ebay. There is a similar one, but has minor damage, on ebay for $899. I think I got a hell of a steal. My box has some damage but the lions themselves are unused/played with and mint.

    ReplyDelete

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