Fast forward two years and 10,000 LEGO fan supporters, I’m now staring at the official LEGO Ideas Voltron (21311) set right in my dining room and I could not be more excited to start building this beauty.
Lendy’s LEGO Voltron set a lot of milestones for The LEGO Group. Never before did LEGO release a ‘Mecha’ (giant robot) set of this size and one that not only transforms but combines to form an even larger model. It is also the first LEGO Ideas set that is designed by a Filippino who was born in Philippines but is now resides in Malaysia.
So it is with great pleasure, with a wee bit of South East Asian pride thrown in, to review the LEGO Ideas Voltron (21311) set!
The box that Voltron comes in is the same size at the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V (21309) which makes sense since this is the largest LEGO Ideas set ever released.
It clocks in at 2,321 pieces and is split into sixteen different numbered bags. There are three bags each for the Yellow and Blue Lions, five bags for the Black Lion and two bags each for the Green and Red Lions.
There is one last bag for that contains the parts for Voltron’s Blazing Sword and Shield which contains some chrome parts that are introduced in this set.
There are a total of six instruction booklets, one for each Lion and one for the weapons and how to combine the five Lions to form Voltron. The last book contains some interesting anecdotes from LEGO Designer Niek van Slagmaat and Mark Tranter and talks a bit about the evolution of the LEGO Ideas model.
“The final product is the result of a lot of people’s hard work which is very fitting for Voltron!” – Niek van Slagmaat
And of course, there is a section dedicated to Lendy with his insights on the model and the genesis of the LEGO Ideas project which is a fascinating read for any aspiring LEGO builder.
“I worked on it for roughly two hours every night after work over the course of three weeks” – Lendy
And there is the dreaded sticker sheet although I have to acknowledge that this was done purely as an optional step. The models are not required to display any numbers and if you remember from the 80’s cartoons, the Lions had no numbers either.
If you think about it, this LEGO Ideas Voltron is essentially the ultimate super pack containing five smaller sets. There is enough build techniques and trickery for each Lion to warrant their own individual packaging.
The entire building process took me a good seven hours of non-stop assembling. I would actually classify this as an intermediate to advance level type of build as there are quite a few build techniques that I had never encountered before.
Voltron is a huge robot and mecha builders would be very familiar with the techniques involved but this would be my first time building one and there were points where I had to check my steps to make sure that I had not made any mistakes.
If you have never built a ‘mech’ and always wanted to try, this would be a fantastic starting point as it really does show you the basic techniques of creating a huge robot that is sturdy enough to stand on its own.
I really loved how the designers were able to preserve most of Lendy’s details while improving on them like the shape of the Lion heads by giving them a bit more ‘bite’ with the inclusion of the 1X1 white plate with the Tooth/Claw (6046905).
It was also an eye opener for me that they used the Lego Technic Plate 1 x 5 with smooth ends (32124) to cross brace the hind legs for the Black Lion. This was to allow the ‘thighs’ to be slightly off center to provide the stability the fully formed Voltron needed to stand upright.
There are a couple of tips to share that I discovered while assembling this mammoth and one of them involves the hind legs of the Yellow and Blue Lions.
The leg assembly contains a Lego Technic Ball Joint that attaches itself to an axle. Do note to make sure that the ‘X’ is centred properly or the plate covering it will pop out. I found it easier to connect the ball joint and then attach it to the 4×4 round plate.
Another tip would be the formation of Voltron’s left leg. The Yellow Lion has a cannon just above it’s head and when you swivel it forward to form the foot, the back of the head will hit the barrel piece.
The trick to push the barrel closer to the back of the head so that the 1×4 black tile nests right at the opening of the barrel.
There is very little to dislike about the design. One look at the fully assembled LEGO Voltron model will tell you that this was a labour of love from both the fan and the LEGO designers themselves.
While Lendy’s Voltron head was completely brick built, LEGO designer Mark Tranter opted to have the mouth piece printed on a 1 x 3 inverted double slope brick (18759).
LEGO designer Niek van Slagmaat also translated a lot of Lendy’s build features into the final model like the swivel heads of the Blue and Yellow Lions that swing forward to form the feet of Voltron along with the points of articulation on the Red and Green Lions who form Voltron’s arms.
They used the LEGO Technic pin connector 3L-with 2-balls for the arms which gives those point of articulation the added tension needed for Voltron to maintain the poses even while holding their weapons.
I’m thoroughly impress with the final result of the LEGO Ideas set as it took all the things we loved about the fan submission and enhanced it which results in this being one of my favourite LEGO sets to date.
There are technically no ‘new’ elements introduced here in the sense that none were created specifically. It is actually LEGO Ideas motto not to create brand new elements as it kind of defeats the whole purpose of building with the available parts in the library.
There are however a bunch of elements that are included here which has never existed in those colours before. For example the the ‘chrome’ curved tiles and traffic sign triangle.
Interestingly enough, the yellow 1×16 technic brick with hole has never existed in the LEGO palette till this set.
The printed elements are also unique to this set (naturally) like the 2×2 round tile with the printed rivet joints as well as Voltron’s mouth piece.
This leaves us a whole bunch of car workshop accessories would make for some interesting Mocs in the future. I don’t see an immediate need for gold hand drills but you never know.
The Singaporean recommended retail price is pegged at SGD$299.90 which translates to 13¢ a piece and that drops to 12¢ if you apply the 10% membership discount.
It is retailing for RM848.96 in Malaysia and that works out to be SGD$286. Hong Kong is retailing it for HKD1599 which is is even cheaper as that is approximately SGD$277.
The prices are quite comparable as both Malaysia and Hong Kong do not offer discounts at their LEGO Certified Stores.
This is definitely a dream come true for any LEGO fan born in the 80’s as Voltron made up a lot of our childhoods. Hopefully this set does insanely well and LEGO might be inclined to release more large scale robot sets in the future.
My only gripe is that there were no minifigures included in this set as the pilots were such an integral part of the cartoons. Yes, I’m aware that the original LEGO Ideas project did not have minifigures but it would have been the icing on the cake.
LEGO Ideas Voltron (21311) will be available at all LEGO Brand and Certified Stores around the world by August 1st.
Check out my full gallery of review photos below.
A sincere thank you to LEGO AFOL Relations & Programs (ARP) team and LEGO Ideas for sending me this set to review. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this review do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the LEGO Group. Review sets sent in does not guarantee a positive review.
And special thanks to Niek van Slagmaat, Mark Tranter, Samuel Johnson and Lendy Tayag for creating such a wonderful set.