In case you haven’t heard, Thundercats are loose! Or at least they will be very shortly. The new cartoon is set to premier this month and from what I’ve seen I think it stands to be something special. With the new cartoon comes a lot of new toys, from both the now “Classic” and the new series with Ban Dai holding the license. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot of new Thundercats toys featured hear on FFZ throughout the month of August. So what’s up with today’s figure coming from Mezco? I honestly have no idea, especially since Ban Dai will be releasing a Classic Lion-O within about a month after this figure. I’m no expert in the legalities of licencing, so I can only guess that Mezco’s license allows them to produce the figure so long as its larger than a certain scale and doesn’t interfere with Ban Dai’s market share. On the other hand, despite multiple points of articulation, this piece is more a statue than a figure, but than I’m getting ahead of myself.
The packaging is unbelievably gorgeous. Sure, its just a standard, albeit HUGE window-style box, but the artwork and logo are ripped right from the animated series and rendered in jaw dropping vibrant colors. Honestly, I don’t know if its the beauty of the colors or the fact that its so nice to see the Thundercats logo on a toy package again, but I just about flipped out when I took the package out of the mailing box. The figure comes attached to the tray with twist-ties and the accessories are mounted to the cardboard backer. A little patience can get everything out without damaging the package and everything can be returned for a nice in-box display, which is exactly how I would plan on keeping mine most of the time. The only downside to that is the Sword of Omens can only barely be seen over Lion’s shoulder, so I may have to just put the box into storage and display the figure loose.
They don’t call him Mega-Scale for nothing! Lion-O is as big as you may have heard. He tops out at about 14-inches. Raise the Sword of Omens above his head and you’re looking more like 20-inches. For a proper sense of scale you can skip to the end where I have him beside Ban Dai’s 4-inch Lion-O. He’ll certainly dominate any display shelf you can manage to fit him into. The sculpt is admittedly a little soft in some parts, but that’s not to say it isn’t a really beautiful looking figure. There’s a wee bit of bleeding to be found here and there on the figure’s body, but you have to really be looking to find it. I really dig the way the muscles are sculpted to suggest that there might be some kind of short fur on his skin. I always wondered about that.
The head sculpt really captures the animated Lion-O and the paint apps on his eyes are razor sharp. He has a bit of a determined expression perhaps hinting at a slight smirk. I was a little afraid of how Lion-O’s majestic hair would look in sculpted form (it’s one of the few things I don’t like about the look of Ban Dai’s figure), but I think the end result is quite excellent. Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to capture a 2D cartoon character in a 3D sculpt, but Mezco did a really fine job on this guy.
So how about them accessories? For starters you get The Sword of Omens in it’s collapsed form with the hibernating Eye. This is a gorgeous accessory with a brilliant silver paint job and some really intricate sculpting. One of the nice things about doing a figure in this scale is you have a lot more room for detail in the accessories. Of course, you also have to invest the time and care in taking advantage of that fact. It’s something that Mezco certainly did here. What’s more, the entire piece is cast in very nice ridged plastic. Take that, child safety laws!
Of course next up is the Sword of Omens when it’s fully… aroused? Is that the right word? Everything I said about the smaller version applies to this piece ten fold. Hell, as great as the figure is, I’d be happy to own this sword all by itself. The paintwork on the Eye of Thundera is superb. It’s a stunning piece and again cast in very firm plastic so there’s no worries about the blade warping. Just make sure the kiddies don’t stick it in each other’s eyes.
Finally you get the Claw Shield, which is actually a replacement hand. You just do an easy pop-and-swap. Even the jewels on the knuckles look as though they could fire out the grapples like on the cartoon. In fact, my only complaint about this figure is that there’s no way to attach the claw shield to his hip and store the smaller Sword of Omens in it. I know, I’m asking for a lot based on how they designed it, but I feel like it’s worth pointing out.
So what about articulation? Oh boy, here comes the whole Action Figure Vs Statue debate that I love to hate so much. Mezco’s original press release stated this figure would have seven points of articulation, whereas the actual product wound up with eight. You get a ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the wrists and a ball jointed waist that swivels and allows for some slight forward and backward leaning. You also get swivels in the calves, but these are only good for balancing out the figure/statue’s stance. In truth, it’s only from the waist up where we get any useful points of articulation, but you can get some nice different poses out of him, depending on which accessories you display him with. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get him to look through the cross guard to achieve the Eye of Thundera’s sight beyond sight.
When this figure was first revealed with the MSRP of $35, a lot of people, myself included, thought it too good to be true. Now that I have him in my hands, I’m still pretty amazed by the reasonable nature of the price. Mine cost $46 shipped and I think he’s a heck of a lot nicer than that pricier Lion-O”staction” that other company was putting out. If you want a true action figure, you’re still better off waiting for Ban Dai’s Classic Lion-O in the 8-inch scale, but if you want to really profess your love for Lion-O and maybe have an accent table in the corner that needs something to put on it you cannot go wrong with this great looking figure. For the record, Mezco is also releasing an SDCC exclusive version of this figure at the Con this year. It will have a different head sculpt with light up eyes, and I believe a voice chip. Naturally it’ll cost a lot more, but it’s worth looking out for if you want something even more special.