Thundercats: Mega-Scale Panthro by Mezco

Ban Dai’s attempt to rekindle the magic of Thundecats may have fizzled out, but thankfully we still have Mezco working to complete the team in epic statue/figure form. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t pick up Panthro until after Cheetara was confirmed. I adore these statues and while Lion-O and Mumm-Ra could hold their own alone on my shelf, I didn’t want to have Panthro be the odd man out if Mezco decided that enough was enough. Of course, by not supporting the line and buying Panthro on release it would have served me right if Mezco abandoned the line because not enough people bought Panthro. But I have since remedied that by pre-ordering Cheetara and I’ll gladly do the same for every new statue Mezco reveals for this line now that it’s hit critical mass. Anyway, he arrived on my stoop a couple of days back, so let’s see if he’s cool enough to hang with the others.

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An epic figure requires epic packaging, and that’s certainly what we have here. Panthro comes in a big, heavy window box with the same overall color and feel as Lion-O’s box. One side panel has the gorgeous Thundercats logo running down the side and the other panel has a shot of all the cats in action. It’s a different piece of artwork than what was used for Lion-O’s as it has Panthro wrapping around to the front. The box is totally collector friendly; you just need to clip Panthro’s tie wraps to get him out. You will, however, want to take better care than I did removing his baggied nun-chucks, because the tape will tear the illustration on the back of the tray. I’ve always been a fan of the classic Thundercats artwork and these boxes are fabulous tributes to that colorful animated style. It’s bright, colorful and gorgeous and I will likely keep these boxes for as long as I own the figures.

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While the package says “action figure,” you may want to take that term with a grain of salt. The whole statue-vs-figure debate rears its ugly head again! Yes, he has some articulation, which we’ll get to in a bit, but enough of this guy is static for me to question the term action figure, so I’m fine just going with figure. It’s semantics, I know. As for his size… Well, Mezco calls these things Mega-Scale for a reason. They are big. They’re not as big as NECA’s 1/4 scale figures, but you’re still getting an impressively large piece that clocks in at around 14-inches tall.

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As with Mezco’s other Mega-Scale figures, Panthro is rotocast, so the sculpt leans a little to the soft side, but even so, I have no complaints about it. Granted, the bulk of the sculpt here is found in Panthro’s muscle definition. The spikes on his harness are stout and durable and he sports his trademark split-toe ninja style boots. He comes out of the box with one hand sculpted to hold his chucks and the other with his palm held out, but we’ll come back to that in a few ticks. Panthro gets by without a whole lot of detailed paintwork, as his color pallet is mostly just purple and lighter purple. Mezco went light on the paint wash, which I think is a good thing as it’s just enough to bring out the details in his muscles. The paint on the sculpted Thundercats emblem is quite good, but I’m thinking that maybe some high gloss finish would have made it pop more. The biggest opportunity for improvement on my figure is the bit of bleeding around the base of his harness spikes, but even that isn’t so bad.

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Mezco captured Panthro’s portrait quite well. He’s definitely in kick-ass mode, with just a bit of a scowl, but they didn’t overdo it with the ferocity in his expression, so if I choose to pose him with his chucks at rest, the expression will work well enough for me. The paint on the eyes is super crisp, but mine has a little bit of odd paint marks around his lips and the tip of his nose. I’m not sure if this is just a wash that’s gone wrong, but eventually I will try to clean it up a bit with a magic eraser.

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Ok, here comes articulation. Panthro has ten points, as follows: A ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, swivel cuts in the wrists, swivel cuts at the top of his boots, and swivel cuts in his ankles. He also has a swivel in his waist. The four swivels in his legs are mainly to tweak him so he can stand depending on what you do with his arms and waist. With the neck, shoulder, and wrist joints, you can certainly get a few different display options, but the biggest choice in displaying him actually comes from one of his extra pieces.

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None of the official photos I saw of this guy showed him holding his chucks in both hands. I was hoping and hoping that he would come with a swappable left hand, and I was very happy to see that he does. Heck, it even says so right on the box. While I like the idea of holding his chucks in one hand, the fact that they use a real chain between them means that one is always just going to be dangling, unless you want to get creative and maybe run one of the twisty ties through the chain to give it a dynamic swinging look. Nope, my Panthro will always be displayed grabbing his chucks in both hand and ready to smack down some mutants, and I’m really glad Mezco gave us the option.

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I always dug Panthro in the original cartoon, because he wasn’t a stereotypical character. He was both a big burly fighter, but he had the smarts to invent and work on all of the Thundercats tech. He’s exactly the kind of cat-of-all-trades that you want in your corner if you find yourself marooned on a hostile planet. Mezco’s figure certainly does the character justice. He isn’t as packed with extras like Lion-O, nor does he have any flashy mixed media like Mumm-Ra, but Panthro comes with everything he needs. And most importantly, he looks great standing next to Lion-O and once we get a few more cats, this is going to be one seriously epic display. At $35, this guy is a whole lot of figure at a ridiculously reasonable price point.

And now… the long wait until Summer for Cheetara to be released.

Thundercats: Mega-Scale Mumm-Ra by Mezco

Holy, hell… looky here. Something new to look at. I came home from work today to find a massive box sitting on my stoop and knew right away that it had to be Mezco’s new Mega-Scale Thundercats figure. Its just a bit ironic that when Mezco introduced its Mega-Scale Lion-O last year, I saw it as an oddity. Afterall, Ban Dai had just secured the license to do Thundercats toys and I naturally assumed that most of my Thundercats goodness would be coming from them. Now, here we are, Ban Dai has all but abandoned the line. Our Classics Thundercats are incomplete, and I’m now counting on Mezco to deliver a full set of classic kitties in this Mega-Scale line. If you haven’t checked out my feature on Mezco’s Lion-O figure, feel free to do so. I was blown away by that release, and so I expected great things from Mumm-Ra. Let’s see how he turned out.

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The package is HUGE and gorgeous. It doesn’t stand out quite as much as the bright red box used for Lion-O, but it is appropriately black to reflect the evil that is Mumm-Ra. You’ll also note the addition of the word “Classic” so as not to confuse these with the 2011 versions based on the new series. One side panel has the Thundercats logo running down it and the other shows off some of the Mutants. Oh, Mezco, I can only hope you keep doing these and deliver on the Mutants as well! The back panel shows off a photo of the figure and the front has a window to show the figure itself. Mint in Sealed Box collectors may be disappointed to learn that you really cannot get the full effect of this figure unless you take him out, because some assembly is required. To be specific, he’s packaged with his feet off, because when they’re on he’d be too big to fit in the same size box as Lion-O. His cape is stored behind the tray and must be attached to the figure, and he comes with three rolls of bandages taped to the back of the tray. More on that later. Suffice it to say, the in-package presentation here is fantastic and he can be returned to the box for safe keeping, which is a good thing, because as much as I love him, I really don’t have the room right now to keep him on display.
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So, as mentioned, once this big guy is out of the box you need to do a little set up work. Mumm-Ra’s feet are attached just like Lion-O’s removable hand/claw shield is, and you can easily pop them off to get him back in the box. The placement of the bandages are completely up to you. I wrapped one around each arm, and than use the center around his chest and waist. They’re very stringy to make them look ragged, but you can always snip them to give them a cleaner look.
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The sculpt here is pretty fantastic. He has the same great musculature as the Lion-O figure, gnarled claws and feet, and lots of detail on his fur spats. The head, however, produces the real awe factor. Mumm-Ra used to scare the shit out of me when I was a kid, and this figure’s head sculpt captures exactly why. He’s gloriously hideous, with piercing red eyes, and a toothy mouth open in a combination scream and creepy smile. Even now as I write this I keep glancing off to the side at him and wish he would quit staring at me. Look at those damn eyes. They’re painted with glossy red and they literally look like they’re full of blood. The helmet is perfect, right down to the curved snakes and the flared nasal guard. I also absolutely love that Mezco went with actual cloth streamers for the back of the helmet. You can drape some of them over the front of his shoulders for a really great look. His skirt is sculpted as part of the figure. The metallic gold paint is really nice too.
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Ah, but we’re not done yet. The soft goods cape is sewn onto the tray, and takes a bit of care and a pair of clippers to get it off. It then attaches to the peg on the back of Mumm-Ra’s neck and on the spikes on each of his arm cuffs. I had to enlarge the center hole a little bit with a pair of scissors, but once on it stays on pretty well and can easily be taken off to return him to the box.
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And articulation leads us back to the whole Action Figure Vs Statue debate. From the waist down, Mumm-Ra only has two points of articulation, and those are the swivels from where his feet attach. And in all practicality, these aren’t very useful because he’s designed to stand with his feet positioned in a very specific way. From the waist up, he does a little better. He swivels at the waist, and he has ball joints in his neck and his shoulders. His wrists also have swivel cuts. You can get some slight variations of poses out of him, but he’s clearly designed to stand with arms straight out to best show off his cape and bandages and scare the living shit out of you if you forget he’s standing in the corner and turn on the light. Yeah, that might have actually happened.
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Besides being an absolutely fantastic figure, Mumm-Ra impresses even more by the price point. I thought Mega-Scale Lion-O was a steal at $35 and I expected Mezco to raise the price on Mumm-Ra, now that they had hooked collectors with Lion-O. You know how dealers always give the first taste for free. Nevertheless, I picked up Mumm-Ra for the same ridiculously cheap $35. The sculpt is every bit as impressive as their first figure and the decision to deliver a mixed-media figure was nothing less than brilliant. The fabric cape, streamers, and bandages really pushes this figure completely over the top. I’ve already pre-ordered my Panthro, and I sincerely home Mezco keeps going with this line, and at the very least delivers a Tygra and Cheetara. All I know is, I’ll keep buying every one they decide to put out.

Thundercats: Mega-Scale Lion-O by Mezco

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Nightmare on Elm Street: 3 3/4″ Freddy Krueger by Mezco

Ok, I’m already over Halloween. Why? Because I have to spend Halloween night setting up Christmas displays. So, kiddies, just one more horror-themed entry before I’m ready to move on to next week’s agenda. Today we’re looking at one of Mezco’s short-lived Cinema of Fear series of 3 3/4″ slasher movie icons. Mezco turned out three different figures in this series: Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and our good friend, Freddy, which we’re looking at today. I’ll be perfectly honest, the biggest draw for me was to actually get a Freddy figure in this scale. Maybe I envisioned a time when GI JOE would finally defeat Cobra and have to take on The Bastard Son of A Thousand Maniacs. Maybe not. But we’ve never had him in this scale before, so it’s certainly a curiosity.

The packaging here is as no frills as you can get. Freddy comes mounted on a simple bubble with a tiny generic card suitable for little more than hanging it from a peg. There’s a blood splattered sticker on the bubble to specify the figure included. The back panel shows photos of the three figures. Mezco obviously wasn’t concerned about presentation on this one. It’s serviceable at best.

The sculpting here is a bit odd. It’s not quite realistic and not quite a caricature. Let’s just call him stylized. His feet seem kind of big and his legs are a disproportionately short for his torso and arms, and he’s in a permanently hunched over position. Other then that, his body type is pretty good, as he’s appropriately lean and his trademark glove is spot-on awesome. The head sculpt is ok, but definitely a bit on the goofy side. It also obviously scared the shit out of my camera, because I could not bring it into focus to save my life. It’s certainly not Robert Englund in makeup, but it’s still pretty obvious as to who it’s supposed to be. Freddy has bulging eyes and a demented looking grimace and his hat is also removable.

The paint job is passable, although the arms of Freddy’s sweater aren’t striped, which seemed like a pretty big oversite to me. His trousers have some added brushwork on them to make them look dirty.

Besides his hat, Freddy comes with a nice bloody figure stand and a… garbage can lid? It’s admittedly been a while since I’ve seen the original Elm Street films, but back in the day I watched them like a junkie, and I still can’t figure out why they would give him a garbage can lid as an accessory. He can’t really hold it either. Odd.

Freddy has pretty good articulation for a figure in this scale. He has balljoints in his neck, shoulders and hips. He’s got hinged knees and elbows, a hinge in his left wrist and a swivel in his glove hand, which can also easily popped off. It’s not up to snuff with Hasbro’s modern figures in this scale, but it’s not too shabby either and you can certainly get Freddy into some nice poses.

I’ve wanted this figure for ages, but he was impossible to find in my area, and I didn’t find a good deal on him on the Interweb until last week and even then he set me back about $12.99, which is no doubt a premium for a figure in this scale. I was actually fairly disappointed upon first opening him, mainly because of the stylized nature of the sculpt, but he has since grown on me quite a bit. Still, I guess you have to be a pretty big Elm Street fan to justify buying this little guy.