Masters of the Universe. G.I Joe. Transformers. Three of the biggest cartoons of the 80s. Each of them had a live-action feature film, numerous toy lines, and each have come back in a major way over the last ten years. And then there is Thundercats. Just as big as those other three, but seriously lacking any real new media. No new cartoons, no movies, no toys, nothing. UNTIL NOW!!! Finally Thundercats has returned, and they’ve come back in a big way. The new cartoon is easily better than the updated Masters, Joe, and Transformers toons. And with the new cartoon comes a plethora of new toys in a variety of sizes; 4 inch, 6 inch, & even 8 inch! Today I’ll be chatting about the 8 inch scale, cause that’s the size of the classic figures (well, at least for now…)
When I heard Bandai received the license to Thundercats I was kinda bummed. I now own exactly two Bandai toys (well, three if you count the Comic Con exclusive Lion-O) so they really aren’t a company I’m too familiar with. What I’ve seen in toy isles hasn’t really impressed me much (Ben 10 & Power Rangers, I’m looking at you) so I was hoping Mattel would get the license, but instead Mattel got Voltron. This seemed really odd since Bandai seemed much better equipped to handle a toy line that involves giant combining robots, but it is what it is, and I have to admit that Mattel seems to have handled Voltron pretty good (reviews coming next year!). But I’m off track now as we’re talking cat people here, not robo-lions.
So the first two figures released so far are Lion-O and Tygra. I definitely have mixed feeling on the figures, but I think I’m leaning more towards being positive than negative. My formula for the perfect action figure is articulation + paint apps + sculpt + accessories, and the Thundercats Classics have done a great job of three out of four of those. It’s the paint, or lack there of, that really needs improvement. These two fuckers are shiny. Very shiny. And very shiny toys look very cheap. Almost both figures are entirely without paint apps, instead just being cast in whatever plastic color was needed. And when certain parts are painted, they don’t match the non-painted parts perfectly (Lion-O’s chest and abs are off compared to his arms and legs). And, even though it shows up worse in photos than real life, Lion-O’s shoulders don’t match the rest of his arms. Tygra is a little better, but these guys really need some shading details to make them stand-out more. They’re cats, for God’s sake! Their fur shouldn’t be so damned shiny!
One more paint/color issue that really boggles my mind is the ankle and wrist pins. They’re cast in a completely different color than the hands and feet! That kind of mistake is bullshit in a line aimed at adult collectors that cost $20 a piece. If Bandai wants this to be on the same level as Masters of the Universe Classics, then they really need to get their shit together. Paint these fuckers, dammit!!! I better not see this crap in the next figure in this line (which is another topic I’ll get to soon).
So now that I’m done ranting, lets move on to the positives. The articulation is plentiful, and the joints are all real tight. You can get these kitties in a ton of different poses. I love the double jointed knees, and the way they pulled off the leg swivel is kinda cool (the muscle goes over the cut joint). Lion-O even has an ab joint, which works decently and would have really helped Tygra look less bulky in his midsection. Which leads to…
The sculpt! Lion-O clearly wins here. They really nailed him as this is clearly the best representation of Lion-O we’ve ever gotten in plastic form. Tygra is kinda off. His face is a little odd, but I think the thing that hurts him the most is his large body. Is just looks like a big chunk of tummy, which makes him look weird. I think a midsection joint would have totally helped this. As for his face, his nose looks too bulbous, which I think may be the problem. Or maybe it’s the funky eyebrows. Or lack of paint. Or maybe Tygra just sucks. I don’t know.
So even though Bandai may have gone cheap on the paint, they did a damn good job with the accessories. Tygra and Lion-O both come with two sets of hands, one set for gripping and one set for scratching the furniture I guess. Tygra has his whip, which has pieces to fully extend it out. You can even extend it only half way if you want. Or not at all. Works for me.
But once again Lion-O wins here too, as he has the classic glove and the Sword of Omens, which comes in both short & fully extended forms. The glove works by popping off Lion-O’s hand and shoving the glove onto the post. Then you can take the smaller sword and place it in the glove to store it. NEAT-O! What’s even cooler is the fact that you can attach the glove to a little holder that goes on his belt, keep the short sword in the glove, and have storage squared! DOUBLE NEAT-O!
What’s not so neat is the extremely soft plastic that was used on the large sword. The thing is all flimsy and warped, which really sucks. The Comic Con exclusive has a nicer sword, so if you have that version you may prefer to use that one instead. It’s more shiny too, which actually works when it involves a sword and not fur.
So all-in-all, I’m fairly satisfied with what we’ve gotten in this line so far. Lion-O is the clear winner, but finally, after all these years, we are getting classic Thundercats toys again. And it sounds like Cheetara will be the next figure released. Sort of. After months of not saying a word, Bandai finally held an interview with MTV Geek (read it here: http://geek-news.mtv.com/2011/11/15/exclusive-first-look-at-2012-thundercats-6-inch-figures-with-interview/) where they say Thundercats Classic is moving to the 6 inch scale. Wha? Some people thought 8 inches was too large (heh) but will that mean all of us suckers who paid for the 8 inch figures are screwed? I’m not sure. The interview says that they will continue the line “in a limited edition capacity in support of those who have been with the line since the first release.” starting with a female fan favorite. The new 6 inch line will debut with Angry Face Lion-O and Mother Fuckin’ Mumm-Ra! So what the hell should we do? Continue to stick with the 8 inch figures and hope they give us all the core characters or start collecting the 6 inch figures cause they fit in more with other toy lines and they’re giving us Mumm-Ra? I’M SO CONFUSED! I have a feeling Bandai is going to concentrate much more on the 6 inch figures, so I may go that route. They had better be cheaper too. I think I’ll wait and see how the figures come out before deciding. I do want a full collection someday, so I hope Bandai improves some of the problems I’ve seen and starts giving us more than two figures a year. Thundercats has a very large cast of unique characters, and I want then all, so get your shit together, Bandai. My life feels just so empty without a classic Snarf sitting on my shelf.