When Doc Thomas isn’t cruising around town and givin’ bitches the old “what for,” he spends a lot of time online, and sometimes he comes across brilliant gems like this. Click on that link now. Seriously. Tell me that isn’t the greatest to you have ever seen, ever. Go check it out now, I’ll wait.
This thing haunted my dreams. The mere notion of two things so great combined into one amazing (though thoroughly illegal) thing made my head spin: I needed to own one. I searched high and low online, on import stores, on eBay, even asking friends in Hong Kong and Singapore to look out for me, but no luck. “Voltromas” yielded no results, nor did “Thomas the Tank Engine Voltron.” And then, I found it! Turns out “Thomas the Tank Engine Transformer” was the right combination, and then viola, purchased, and on his glorious way to me!
With this, I submit my first ever review to Poe Ghostal’s Points of Articulation for the best toy ever made: Voltromas, the Thomas the Tank Engine Transformer!!
Packaging: The packaging for this illegal knock-off is surprisingly good, featuring very colorful images of the masterpiece within, with plenty of Mandarin characters and mistranslation as well as what appears to be crappy cardboard caps promoting the 2008 telemovie “The Great Discovery.” Due to the people shipping the item not caring about the state of the shipped item, my packaging was all creased up and bent, but that just added to the whole experience.
Design: Genius. Pure and simple. Three different trains: one Thomas the Tank Engine, one Henry the Green Engine and one James the Red Engine, all coming to pieces and assembling back together to make one amazing beast. Screw your Voltron and its different lion-things, and your vehicle Voltron and its general suckiness, and your silly Transformers vehicles — Thomas the Tank Engine is where it’s at.
In train form, each vehicle is about 7″ long, with articulated wheels that break off when you look at them and little hook-things that kind of hold each train together, but not really. Thomas and Henry both segment into three pieces, folding out to become the arms and legs of the beast, whereas James’ midsection opens up as if being disemboweled to form the body piece and head. The beast itself is nearly 10″ tall – just imagine a life sized Voltromas tearing up a city to the Thomas the Tank Engine theme. Is there anything better in the world? Answer me, damn you!
Plastic & Paint: The plastic is brittle and the paint apps so bad, an analysis using my homemade mass spectrometer revealed the paint had been applied via weasels rolling around in paint. Consider the eyes of each train, splattered on as if to suggest each train is on acid. Then observe all of the over-spray, with various sections of “the wrong color” applied liberally everywhere. (This is actually quite effective wherever red paint has splattered on, as it suggests that Voltromas has just torn up an orphanage – angrily.) Stickers are used on the back ends of the trains, nearly all poorly positioned and most on the wrong character.
The plastic itself is awful and resistant to fixing; any superglue used to strengthen a joint will start to melt the plastic causing the color to drip all over your desk. One of the vital joints to hold the legs in place broke in the package.
Articulation: In train form, each train has moving wheels and hooks that can hold each train together in a kind of…train. In Voltromas form, he moves at the arms (usually causing them to fall off), elbows, legs and knees, the latter joints of which are loose nearly always causing him to fall over. But awesomely.
Accessories & Features: He is Thomas the Tank Engine. Who combines with other trains and transforms into a big honking robot monster beast. What more do you want? Yeah, he doesn’t have any weapons or accessories, so just give him some of your guns from the accessory box then he can go to town on Bumblebee, the skinny little benchwarming wanker.
Transformation: Already covered in the above “Design” section, but very simple, and lots of fun to do while watching TV – you can transform him back and forth while watching The I.T. Crowd until he breaks completely (which might not take long to happen).
Quality Control: None. Zero. Kaput. You can practically see the dried blood from the sweatshop kids’ fingers as it falls apart in your hands.
Overall: Don’t let shoddy craftsmanship stand in your way – Voltromas is the best toy ever made in the history of ever. And the kind of thing you’ll never seen made legally, so import immediately! Support sweatshops in China, and amazing toys made of beloved childhood characters who you want to see go on a massive homicidal rampage!