As a kid I was not a big fan of Thundercats. Not because I didn’t like it, but it just didn’t come on television in my market. I only ever saw a few episodes. I enjoyed them, but never saw enough in a row to get invested in the show. Many years later I was finally able to get the first set of the DVDs. The long ant the short of all this is that I came to the show late in the game. That said I do like it. I like the new version of it much better though. What does any of this have to do with anything? Well, I didn’t pay too much attention to whether or not they were going to make toys for the new show. (I only have one toy from the old line, which I found at a junk shop. It’s a vinyl figure of Wilycat. As far as I know that’s the only toy of him that exists, and it’s not much of a toy. ) I eventually came across some six inch figures at a Hastings when I was out traveling. They had classic versions and updated versions of the cast, but they were just too big. Not in scale with anything I already have. So it was a no go. And that was fine. I was not invested in the idea of figures anyway. Plus Hastings has some of the shittiest prices of any chain of stores. Particualry in regards to figures. Anyway, I moved on with my life.
So last week I was out wandering around again and came across an unexpected display of Thundercats toys in a Wal-Mart. They had the huge guys I don’t care about, but also a selection of 3 inch figures. More or less in scale with the most popular toys of the day. The shelves were picked over, but I went ahead and got Tigra, Lion-O, and Cheetara. The packaging implies that there is not a full set of the main cast to be had. I have no idea what moron decided on the first wave, but he should be fired. You have the 3 I mentioned, Lion-O’s dead father, bully mode Mum-Ra, robot arms Panthro (a spoiler for next season.), and Wilykit. What the fuck, Bandai? Honestly I don’t know why I would expect anything less than insanity from Bandai. Years of producing weird crap has obviously addled their collective brains. This is what they get for coasting along on the Power Rangers.
Anyway, the line up sucks, but maybe that means there’ll be a part two. One with another bad guy perhaps, or the final lead cast members. We can only hope. There’s also some vehicles you can get. One of which comes with Snarf. My guess is that’s the only way to get Snarf. All the figures have a magnetic action gimmick that makes the vehicles do stuff. The magnets are really weird though. They all repel each other strongly, but won’t hold much of anything to them. I’ve never seen an magnet react that way. I always thought the repellent force was roughly equal to the inverse, but whatever. Magnets, how the fuck do they work?
The figures are pretty decent representations of the characters, all things considered. They’re really randomly articulated though. I’ll just go over them each and you’ll see what I mean.
Lion-O has insanely articulated hips. The range of motion is hampered by his armored skirt, but whatever. his knees are standard hinges, an he has no ankle joints. His arms have ball swivel shoulders, hinge elbows, and split rotation forearms. He also has an interchangeable regular arm to swap out for his Sword Of Omens arm. He comes with the sleeping version of the sword and the… erect version? I suspect that his regular arm and the sleeping sword will be the most lost part of the toy in 20 years time. His neck has a regular swivel. There’s no waist rotation.
Tigra also has the crazy hips, but he also has superartuculated knees, and ankle hinges. The ankles only go downwards though, which is really odd. I’m not sure why they bothered at all. I guess so you can have him do the whip pose when he jumps. His arms and neck are the same as Lion-O ans he similarly has no waist movement. Tigra also has his handgun, with a holster for it, and a neat whip that’s super wiggly. Of the 3 figures I got he is the best on average. Most range of motion, best accessories.
Finally we get to Cheetara… The hottest disappointment. I have no idea what they were trying to do with this toy. Apparently they decided to sacrifice all playability in favor of having her look show accurate. It was… not a good choice. Her hair is a giant lump of plastic that keeps her neck from being able to move. Her arms are roughly equivalent to the boy’s but without the ability to look around they look odd doing almost anything. Her hips and legs are where things get really weird though. she’s got a v crotch, so her legs splay when she sits. The bane of the female action figure. she looks strange riding things and it’s hard to sit her in vehicles. Not that I have any, I just know how it goes. The strange part is that in the middle of her thighs she has a swivel. Which is made to counteract the v splay. Problem is the joint is not tight. Not on mine anyway. So her leg looks like it’s gonna fall off. Just under that is another swivel so you can right her feet. All totaled the v splay is pretty well countered. It’s just executed a little sloppily. Under that hot mess is a regular knee. No ankles so you can make it look like she’s running. Her most famous power… Whatever. It’s still not all that bad. It’s just not as good ad the male toys. Her stick is also vinyl, and mine was warped badly in the box. A problem that could be solved by not jamming the fucking thing in the box in a bizarre way before you ship the fucking things… Luckily sticks of most any size are readily available in the world, so this problem can be self rectified. Still, the devil is in the details.
If nothing else the figures seem like they can stand up to being played with and most of the fragile bits can just be stuck back on if they fall off. Lion-O’s alternate hand is so hard to change I could barely switch them out. I fear for any parent who has a kid that can do it without help. I briefly considered enlisting my father’s aid. For my part I’m pleased they look like who they should and are small enough to display.