It was complicated, dully repetitive at times, and it took two people most of the day, but building the Lego Voltron: Defender of the Universe made for an awesome time. 

The 2,321-piece set, which went on sale in August, depicts the original lion Voltron from 1984, rather than the one shown on the more recent Netflix reboot. That’s fine with me since, like CNET’s Roger Cheng, I was obsessed with the first show as a kid. It was part of a series of repackaged Japanese cartoons from the 1980s that I loved, including Robotech, Tranzor Z and the vehicle Voltron (don’t @ me).

Up until four years ago, I still had my original die-cast metal lion Voltron toy set, but I gave it away to a fellow fan friend in a cleaning purge prior to moving to London. As that set is hers to keep even though I’ve returned to the US, I had to get the Lego version as a replacement. Last week, I finally put it together with CNET’s Jason Parker. We also filmed a video, which you can watch above.

With five lions, a sword and shield, 400 pages of instructions and a staggering array of bricks in a rainbow of colors, I expected that it would take hours to build. In that regard I was correct — Jason and I worked for almost five hours, starting with the yellow lion and finishing with the sword. 

It was fascinating watching the lions take shape, each with their own distinctive features, like the yellow lion’s tail fins and the black lion’s folding ears. A huge bonus is that all of the 16 parts bags are numbered with the instructions clearly telling you which bags build each lion. That saves you a ton of time that you’d otherwise spend separating bricks into piles and finding just the part you need. (That’s not a luxury I enjoyed when I built the 4,295-piece Lego Tower Bridge at home.) 

In a few spots, like when you’re building four legs for each lion, the work can feel repetitive. My focus began to wander after a bit, causing me to a miss a few parts that I had to go back and fix. The black lion is particularly complicated, so pay attention as you build it or you’ll end up having to start almost from the beginning to correct mistakes.Voltron: what a great idea… | The Rambling Brick

Once you’re finished, forming Voltron is a rather clunky process. You have to remove and rearrange the black lion’s legs, for example, and the lions don’t slide effortlessly together. Also, it’s easy to break off bits as you’re building. I snapped off the black lion’s head by mistake every time I put Voltron together.

But those are all minor points. The finished Voltron solidly stands 17.7 inches high and it quickly became the focus of much attention when perched on my desk. The attention to detail is exhausting, and it’s a wonderful tribute to a favorite memory from my childhood. Many hats off to Leandro Tayag, the Lego Voltron’s designer. You did well.

Now to really fulfill my Lego dreams, I just need that idea for the kitchen from The Golden Girls to be a real set.


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