Thundercats: 6-inch Series: Lion-O by Ban Dai

As some of you may know the Walmarts in my town are pretty sucky for toy hunting. Unless you’re looking for Star Wars, Transformers or toys from whatever the Marvel or DC movie of the week is, they really don’t carry anything else worthwhile in the Boys Action aisles. In fact, in the last couple of years the Boys Action aisles have gone from three down to two and now it’s one and a half as one of them shares with Nerf and all three of the ones in the city where I live are the same way. So imagine my surprise today when I actually found Thundercats on the pegs. There were no 4-inch cats, but two flexed pegs of the 6-inchers, along with the newly released Cheetara. I happily grabbed up Lion-O, Panthro and Cheetara. Sadly no Tygra or Mumm-Ra. Today, we’ll kick it off with Lion-O.

The packaging is pretty utilitarian in design, but it certainly gets the job done. Y ou get a huge bubble with just a bit of the cardback peeking up on the top with the neo Thundercats logo. Lion is carded in a fairly neutral stance, but holding the extended Sword of Omens and with his accesories around him. There’s a nice printed insert with some pretty cool character art and some stickers in tri-lingual nonsense. The back panel shows the figure as well as some of the other Thundercats toys available. These aren’t collector friendly packages like Ban Dai’s 8-inch Classics Thundercats, but that’s ok, I don’t mind shredding a package to get at my toys.
Once I got this guy out of the package in in my hands, I knew that I loved him. That’s not to say he doesn’t have some issues, so let me get those out of the way first. The face sculpt is very soft, especially when compared to Panthro. It might have something to do with the flesh colored plastic BD used, I’m not sure. It still looks good, it still looks exactly like Lion-O from the modern cartoon, but at first, I kept thinking I wished it was crisper and more defined. The rest of the sculpt is really good, albeit simplified to keep that animated style of the character design.
Secondly, yeah those unpainted pegs in the joints. The only one that really bothers me are the ones on his flesh colored wrists, and one of those isn’t even a problem since I have him wearing the Claw Shield while on display, but they are a bit of an eyesore, especially since the rest of the figure’s paintwork is really first rate. I love the contrast between the glossy blue on the armor and the matte finish on the silver shoulder pauldron. The paintwork on the face is clean and the Eye of Thunderra on his belt is crisp and beautiful. Ok, the straps on the back of his leg armor aren’t painted, but I didn’t even really notice that at first.
Lion-O sports 18-points of articulation, making him a difficult figure to put down. Like my 8-inch Classics Lion-O, he’s just so darn fun to play around with. You get a ball jointed neck; Arms with ball joints in the shoulders, double-hinged elbows, hinged wrists, and swivels in the biceps and forearms; His legs feature ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinged knees, hinged ankles, and his ankles even have rocker joints to keep his feet flat when assuming a wide stance. Lion-O also has a ball jointed waist, and while it looks like he has a ball joint in the chest, mine doesn’t seem to want to move at all. The level of poseability here approaches what I come to expect in a higher end import, not a 6-inch American mass market release figure. My only concern here is that the joints feel like they may loosen up pretty quick. Especially when I can’t stop playing with him.
Lion-O comes with all the necessary accessories. You get two versions of The Sword of Omens, both extended and dorment. You get two versions of the Claw Shield, one with the claws out, and one with them retracted. The swords are fantastically done, and I’m particularly impressed that the extended sword, while obviously soft for safety purposes is perfectly straight and not prone to warping. The Eye of Thunderra is maticulously painted on the hilt of the extended version and closed on the dorment version. Both Claw Shields can be used to sheathe the dorment sword and can be worn by popping off Lion-O’s left hand and popping the Claw on in its place. He also has a plastic strap hanging off his belt so he can wear it as a sheathe. I couldn’t ask for anything more in the accessories department.
It’s unfortunate that popular opinion seems to characterize this figure by two of its faults, a soft face sculpt and unpainted peg joints, because everything else about him is amazing. I am absolutely thrilled to finally own this figure and he definitely ranks up there as one of my favorite recent purchases, and I’ve been buying a hell of a lot of toys lately. I suppose you could argue that that BD is sort of marketing these 6-inchers at the collectors grade end of the spectrum, and he certainly doesn’t appoach the glory of the 8-inch Classics Lion-O, but he is still a fantastic toy that still looks just fine displayed on the shelf. I’ll also note that it’s cool how the awkwardly large Snarf that came with the Thundertank is actually perfectly scaled for these 6-inch figures. He retails for anywhere between $15-17, which I honestly think is a decent price point for all that you get. And now, I’m going to go play with him some more!

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