I’m a martial law baby. Born a year after Philippine military rule was imposed in 1972 by the Marcos dictatorship, I grew up watching Japanese super robot cartoons in the 70s. Mazinger Z, Grendizer, Daimos, you name it. I can still shout the name of some popular weapon attacks a super robot would use like: “Rocketooo puuunch!” “Breastooo fiiire!” “Double blizzaaard!”
But nothing appeals to me more than Voltes V. For one, it hit our living room in 1977--the same year that punk rock broke! And then there’s the toy that hit the stores in the same year, making it every boy’s childhood dream and every parent’s financial nightmare. Considered by many Pinoys to be the masterpiece and god of diecast super robot toys in the 70s, I now present to you Voltes V--old school edition.
Made by Popy (Bandai)-Japan in 1977, the first version of Voltes V came out in five separate green Japanese boxes and blue for the second release (less expensive), with the following product numbers and names in its Popinika line: PB-04 Volt Crewzer, PB-05 Volt Bomber, PB-06 Volt Panzer, PB-07 Volt Frigate, and PB-08 Volt Lander.
Later in the same year, the five Volt machines were combined and released in a Japanese DX (deluxe) Volt-In Box. This boxed-set version included two full swords instead of one segmented blade that came with the separately packaged PB-06 Volt Panzer. Likewise, subsequent versions of the Bomber came with red arm joints instead of yellow (and more expensive) ones.
Finally, in 1982, Voltes V was repackaged into the English volt-in box and brought to the U.S. under the Godaikin toy line. Throughout its run, aside from subtle variations in vehicle stickers and colors, there were minor packaging changes like black trays instead of blue, different locations or the absence of pen and book accessories, as well as the small rubber beast fighters.
First, let’s have a rundown of the five Volt machines. The following descriptions and instructions--as well as most of the photos here--were lifted in part from JoshB’s toy review at CollectionDX:
Volt Crewzer is the red ship that makes up the head of Voltes V. It features small chrome missile launchers under each wingtip and three fold-out wheels. Included with it are six small yellow missiles. This is the only Volt machine to feature a visible pilot in the cockpit and a yellow canopy that opens up--the other four have fixed ones. Be careful, however, of the plastic joint that connects the front and rear of the vehicle as it is very fragile and prone to breaking.
Volt Bomber forms the arms and hands of Voltes V. The vehicle comes with a pair of blue fists that fire from the spring-loaded forearms. It also includes a spinning black/gray/red ultramagnetic top, a string for the top, a firing chrome chain knuckle, and a tail section with a spinning rotor. Two sets of fixed wheels are found in the rear while a landing gear folds down in front. This is the only Volt machine that doesn’t carry any missiles.
Volt Panzer is the tank-like vehicle that forms the torso of Voltes V. It features a pair of articulated red claws, working rubber treads around two sets of wheels, a detachable red “M”-shaped sword hilt on the chest, and firing missiles. Included with it are six big yellow missiles and three chrome sword segments (if boxed separately). Watch out for the black rubber treads as they tend to deteriorate/harden over time and begin to crack/crumble.
Volt Frigate forms the legs of Voltes V. It features four missile launchers--two on both wings and two that pop out under the antennas. The wings fold out and the three landing gears fold up. Included with the vehicle are two chrome satellite antennas, six big blue missiles, and six small red missiles. When buying separate boxes, this is the hardest Volt machine to find.
Volt Lander forms the feet of Voltes V. The vehicle has six pairs of free-rolling black plastic wheels, retractable front magnets, opening black hatches, and drill missiles that fire from the sides and from the hatches. Included with it are two chrome antennas, six chrome missiles, two black plastic fuel hoses, and two white connectors for vehicle mode.
Ok now, leeet’s vooolt iiin! Holding the Panzer with the red sword hilt on the chest facing you, pull the tank legs/treads on the sides outward and rotate them from front to back. Insert the Bomber (cockpit first) into the opening on top of the Panzer until it clicks. Then, turn the Crewzer’s cockpit/front part upward so that Voltes V’s face is exposed, connecting the front landing gear below it with the tube at the rear of the Bomber (after removing its tail section first). Next, insert the cockpit of the Frigate into the base of the Panzer, clicking it into place. Moving on to the Lander, remove the white connector of the cockpits and separate it into two halves. Then, fold the cockpits downward until they lock. Finally, rotate the rear landing gears of the Frigate so that the Lander attaches to them.
In robot mode, Voltes V has a couple of weapons at its disposal. For the laser sword, remove the red hilt from the chest and slide the chrome blade into place (if segmented, assemble it first). Insert the chrome chain knuckle into a forearm in place of a fist and press the button to fire it. The same goes for the ultramagnetic top. Wound the string around it, pull, and watch the top spin and launch from a forearm. As for the robot’s “Voltank” mode, swing the treads around, bending the feet at the ankles, and see Voltes V roll like a giant tank. Not a remarkable transformation, but still fun nonetheless. And there you have it, 12 inches plus of heavy fucking metal (more than 1-1/2 kgs) and one hell of an expensive toy!
Trivia: With most removable parts often being lost, did you know that Voltes V DX accessories/replacement parts like missiles and antennas are sold at P1,000 ($20) up each? And did you know that a sealed, mint condition Voltes V DX Volt-In Box can start selling at P100,000 ($2,000) and above?
Next: Voltes V ST Chogokin: Heeere’s Junior!