FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 2

This is it, Toyhounds, the final day of my week of canned bullshit. It’s also the final five Biggest Disappointments of 2017. These are the things that I added to my collection and reviewed throughout the year that didn’t really live up to my hopes and dreams. These are in no particular order, so let’s get started…

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited) Hawkgirl by Diamond Select: There was a lot of competition in this line for a spot on my Favorites list, but really only one that deserved to land among my Disappointments. I was really looking forward to getting the JLU version of Hawkgirl on my DC Gallery shelf, but when the statue showed up it was marred by some pretty poor paintwork, ugly seams in the arms, and just an overall lack of quality control. When I look at how amazing some of the Gallery statues have been this past year, it’s easy to forgive one bad one slipping by. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about laying out the cash for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Sixth-Scale Drax The Destroyer by Hot Toys: I have been called a Hot Toys sycophant. And yes, if sticking my tongue down their collective trousers would net me some extra Reward Points at Sideshow, I’d get right on that lickity split. So, it’s probably no surprise that never before has a Hot Toys figure appeared on my annual list of Disappointments, but I guess there really is a first time for everything. After a long series of delays, and the possibility that Hot Toys Drax might be a no-show, he finally showed up this year and he was a little wanting. The sculpt was solid enough, as was the likeness, but there’s just something about him that failed to impress. Toss in a faulty right arm on my figure that often pops out at the elbow joint and a price point that was too high for what came in the box (a common failing for Hot Toys in 2017), and I couldn’t help but dub him Drax The Disappointment. Oh, I’m still happy to have a complete Hot Toys Guardians team on my shelf, but Drax deserved more polish and a price tag around $20 lower.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles: For the most part, DC Collectible’s Super-Villains line has been pretty solid. Hell, I even liked their New 52 Captain Cold figure, and I kind of hate that character design. So when Johnny Quick showed up at my door with some terrible paint fading and an arm that pulled right out of the socket, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see him turn up here. And what a disappointment it was, because I really dig this design and I loved to hate him in the Forever Evil. But when you toss him in with a rather lackluster DeathStorm, it’s no wonder that I didn’t pursue the rest of the Crime Syndicate from this line.

Marvel Legends Warlock Build-A-Figure by Hasbro: What’s that, you say? You cry foul because I had a Marvel Legends figure on the list already? Well, you’re going to have to fight me, because here’s another one. I’m justifying this because 1) He’s a Build-A-Figure and 2) I really did review a shit ton of Marvel Legends in 2017, so you’re just going to have to let me have this one transgression. Warlock featured a decent sculpt and a pretty cool paint job, but he was not a character that I was interested in, and especially not as the BAF waiting as a reward for collecting an entire wave. Add that to the fact that the left arm of my Warlock simply will not stay in the socket, and you have a figure that I would have happily done without. Now that I think of it, this is the third figure on this list that had arm issues. Weird.

ThunderCats Classics Panthro by Mattel: Here’s the thing. I ran out of shit that disappointed me after nine, so I had to get cute with this last one. And that’s why after long deliberation, I decided to put a figure that I rated with excellent marks here on this list. Because no matter how great Panthro turned out (and he is a great figure),  he arrived to me heralded by a bitter chorus of disappointment. At the time I opened him, it seemed unlikely that ThunderCats Classics would continue. And shortly after we got word from Super7 that they were not able to secure the license and continue the series. And that was easily my number one biggest disappointment of 2017. It’s not Panthro’s fault, but he seemed like a good conduit to get this one on the list.

And that wraps up this week of so-called content. I’ll be back on Monday with the first Marvel Monday of the year and I hope to have Transformers Thursday and DC Friday on the books as well, along with whatever I wind up tucking into Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

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ThunderCats Classics: Panthro by Mattel

Well folks, I’ve put this off long enough. It’s time to open my very last figure in Matty’s ill-fated ThunderCats series. I was saving this review for after Toy Fair because I was really hoping that Super7 would have some good news for us, but obviously that wasn’t the case. I didn’t hear anybody ask them about the license, and they sure weren’t volunteering any information. I’m going to be an eternal optimist and take that as a sign of hope. If negotiations were still underway, they may have been limited in what they could discuss, whereas if all bets were off, I’m hoping they just would have come out and told us that, rather than keep us hanging in a state of misplaced hope. Anyway, let’s look at Panthro…

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As always, the figure comes in an illustrated black mailer box. Inside that is this fantastic window box, which shows the figure off beautifully. There’s a trap door on the bottom so you can easily pull out the tray. The back panel has colorful character art and a bio. This package is a little less collector friendly than the others, because one of Panthro’s accessories is behind a bubble on the tray backing, but with a little patience and a blade, you can still get it off without hurting anything. I’m holding onto these packages for now, but who knows if Super7 will keep this package design if they ever do secure the rights.

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Out of the package, we can quickly see that Panthro sucks and is yet another example of why I’m glad this line died. Well, that’s what I want to say, but I can’t, because in all honesty he’s excellent and quite possibly the best figure in this little collection. Granted, from the neck down there’s not a lot of original sculpted detail, but what’s here is totally faithful to the character design. Plus, they did make the effort to put in little touches like the ring just above his left elbow, the cuff on his right wrist, and the ties on the back of his lower leggings. I also love the proportions on this figure, the buck is just perfect.

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Panthro’s harness tabs together at the back and looks great on him. One of the spikes behind the left shoulder is a little bent from being in the package, but it’s nothing that I’m going to get worked up about. There’s some nice texturing on the belt and the Eye of Thunderra is crisp. The rest of the coloring here is also spot on! If I had to gripe about something it would be that the plastic looks a little rough in some areas. There’s some mold flashing here and there and some visible seams.

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I’ve got absolutely no quibbles with the head sculpt. While I could argue that the portraits on some of these figures have been just a smidge off here and there, Panthro’s hits the mark perfectly. From his broad nose and pointy ears, this is the Panthro I grew up with and really admired. He was strong, an agile fighter, and a wiz with technology and mechanics. A veritable Cat of all Trades.

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Panthro comes with a bevy of accessories, the least interesting of which is an extra right hand with a tighter grip, which seems unnecessary, but why argue over an extra accessory, eh? His nun-chucks are fantastic and connect with a real chain. They feature the adorable little cat claws sculpted into the ends and he can hold them really well.

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He also comes with a pair of nun-chucks that recreates a spinning effect. You plug the blue spinney effect part into the extra red chuk and it looks pretty good. I’m tempted to say I’d rather have had a pair that he could clip on the back of his belt, but this is still pretty damn neat. And we’re not done yet, because he comes with two more little goodies.

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The Key of Thunderra! It was an artifact so important that they named an episode after it. It was a thoughtful item to include with Panthro, since he was the one that found it in that episode. No, it doesn’t do much, but he can hold it in his hand and say, “Look what I found! Let’s use it to get Lion-O out of that damn book!”

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Panthro also comes with the Thundrometer, which he used to locate Thundrillium, the fuel for his precious Thundertank. I like this accessory a lot and he looks great holding it.

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Panthro is about as perfect a figure as I can imagine. He looks great, he has all the right accessories, and he is loads of fun to play with. And of course, he represents the final installment in this line unless it gets a stay of execution from Super7. I really like what they’re doing with the new Masters of the Universe Classics figures, but I’m not a big fan of their “you can pre-order every figure in the wave or none at all” business model. On the other hand, I’m jonesing for more ThunderCats so badly, that I’d probably be perfectly fine with that strategy should the licensing ever work out. In fact, there’s really no characters that I can think of that I wouldn’t happily buy in figure form. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to be content with these my complete set of 2011 ThunderCats from Bandai.

ThunderCats Classics: Pumyra by Mattel

Cheetara is dead! She was killed alongside Tygra when the two ‘Cats stole a Sky Cutter to escape Mutant custody and it was shot down causing them to burn to death in the wreckage. You could smell the burning cat hair all the way to the Berbil Village. The humanity! But after a long period of mourning, Pymyra stepped up to take Cheetara’s place. This is the sort of sick and twisted canon I have to come up with in my head to justify why certain characters are missing from my ThunderCats team, because Matty screwed us all over. So let’s check out Pumyra, also known as NOT-EFFING-CHEETARA!

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The packaging comes in a black mailer box with some minimalist artwork, serving as only a teaser of what lies within. I’ve said my piece about this packaging, but it stands repeating. It’s gorgeous, it’s collector friendly, it feels premium, and it sickens me that I won’t have dozens of these lined up on my shelf. In fact my only gripe here is that the character art on the back is pretty bad. Pumyra looks less like a ThunderCat and more like something Buffy would poke with a wooden stake.

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Fortunately, the figure fares somewhat better than the box art. Overall, she’s a pretty solid recreation of her counterpart on the Classic cartoon. Her outfit consists of that same slinky brown dress with the sides cut out. It’s funny how I distinctly remember that seeming really risque for a kid’s cartoon back then, meanwhile Cheetara’s cat-boobs were practically busting out all the time. The dress is sculpted directly onto the buck, instead of layered onto it. This feels a little cheaper than what Mattel often did with the female MOTUC characters, but in the end it looks fine. They did a particularly nice job with the ThunderCat emblem on her chest. She also has a sculpted pouch on the right side of her skirt and a belt that can be removed by un-tabbing it where the tails hang down. Also, I’m pretty sure the belt is supposed to also be her weapon, buy I’ll come back to that. The ensemble is rounded out by a pair of boots and a ribbed shoulder pad… ribbed for her pleasure… and protection… of her shoulder.

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The portrait here is where my admiration for this figure begins to waver. There’s something about it, and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what that is. I think it’s the shape of her face. It’s possibly too elongated and the contours are exaggerated. I’m not sure, but something feels off. I do, however, like the way they painted her eyes. It’s very distinctive and the paintwork is pretty clean. Also distinctive is Pumyra’s coif, which is pretty well sculpted, albeit with the white paint application being rather heavy handed. I’m not prepared to write this portrait off as a total miss, but to me it’s just not nearly as good as the Lion-O or Jackalman.

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The articulation here doesn’t hold any surprises. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips with swivels set right up at the hip joint. The knees are hinged, and the ankles feature both hinges and rockers. She has a swivel in the waist and her neck is ball jointed. As usual, the skirt impedes the range of motion in the hips.

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For accessories, Pumyra comes with her projectile-tossing whipcord, which again… I think it’s supposed to be her belt. In any event, I’m going with that and removing the belt when I display her with the whipcord readied. This is a pretty cool weapon with some sculpted and painted projectiles in loaded up and ready to launch.

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She also comes with a throwing star, which is a pretty basic piece and not terribly remarkable. To handle these weapons, Pumyra comes with a total of four hands, one pair of which is designed to hold the weapons in either hand. She also has a right fist and a left hand with her fingers reaching out.

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And then you get this thing. It’s like a big amulet on a stand or a wand of some kind. Seriously, what is it? I have no idea. I have a feeling it’s there to mock me for not knowing my Season 2 ThunderCats stories better. And yet, I know many of the First Season stories by heart. Go figure…

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Pumyra is the first figure in this line that I feel isn’t a home run. She’s not fantastic, she’s not terrible, she’s a solid OK. And I swear to Jaga that I’m not just saying that because she isn’t Cheetara. Not to be a devil’s advocate, but it made sense from a business standpoint for Matty to not give up all the core ‘Cats in the first sub, but once the whole thing collapsed after just the one year, it backfired on us fans when we have Pumyra and not Cheetara in our collections. Do I sound bitter? Good, because I still am.

ThunderCats Classics: Jackalman by Mattel

Hurray! It’s time for another depressing look into Matty’s still-born ThunderCats Classics action figure line. The second figure in this very short-lived line is none other than Jackalman, and that’s great, because why spend the slots getting us an entire team of ThunderCats when Matty can give us little bits and pieces of an incomplete line? Why not just kick me in the dick with a steel toed boot while you’re at it, you assholes! Anyway, in addition to being cut short, these figures have also been arriving really late. Jackalman is October’s release and mine only just arrived a few days ago.

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Here’s a look at the packaging, which is mostly the same as we saw with Lion-O. You get a black mailer box, this time with Mumm-Ra’s logo on the front and some nice monochrome art on the side panels. Inside, the figure comes in a colorful window box with a trap door in the bottom to slide out the tray. You get a great look at the figure from the front and the back panel has some rather colorful and unconventional character art, as well as a blurb about the character. In a nutshell, the presentation here is absolutely superb and it’s totally collector friendly. Jackalman has the dubious distinction of being the first and very likely the last of The Evil Mutants to be released in this line, unless of course Super7 can work licensing miracles. Yeah, that isn’t going to happen.

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And that’s a crying shame because this figure is fantastic! Jackalman makes use of a fair bit of the MOTUC Beastman buck. I never thought it would work as well as it does here. And yet, Jackalman feels even less like an MOTUC-styled figure to me than Lion-O did. Part of the illusion of newness comes from the clever way Matty layered the neck and additional shoulder fur onto the buck by sculpting it as part of the left shoulder armor and chest straps. Jackalman is still wearing a belt and furry diaper, but these are both new sculpts and are very distinctive. The minimalist detail on the shoulder armor really lends itself to an animated look, and I dig the leopard print armor plate strapped to his forearm.

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The coloring on this figure is nice and vibrant. The orange-brown fur is pretty close to Beastman’s coloring, but I think this figure still manages to carry a unique look without feeling like a glorified custom. I will concede that the paint could have been cleaner in some areas. For example, there’s a little chipping to the gray borders on his ankle cuffs and the white paint on my figure’s right fang is sloppy. I’d say that the paint QC is in step with the recent MOTUC figures I’ve been getting, which is to say not terrible, but not as good as it was in the earlier days of the line either.

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If there’s any one thing that really sells this figure for me, it’s the head sculpt. They’ve really managed to capture the personality of this particular Mutant in the portrait. It’s so good that it just reinforces what a damn shame it is that we’ll never get to see them take a stab at Vultureman, Monkian, or Ssslithe.

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The articulation here is very similar to the MOTUC line. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges and swivels in the hips and hinges in the knees. There’s a swivel in the waist and an ab crunch hinge in the chest. The neck is ball jointed. The improvements include hinges and some rather generous lateral rockers in the ankles and the wrists are on rotating hinges. Jackalman comes with an extra set of hands that offer a little more versatility with the accessories, but I found them to be unnecessary.

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Speaking of accessories, Jackalman comes with two weapons. First off, we have this pretty cool club with a spike in it. It’s a wickedly gnarled sculpt with a lot of personality for a simple club.

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Even better, you get this amazing axe. It’s a two-handed pole weapon with a wood grain pattern sculpted into the shaft. I love the crude, hammered look to the axe head.

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While the paint could have been a little tighter on my figure, I still think Jackalman is a fantastic release and yet another example of how great this line could be if it were ever allowed to go the distance. At the same time, I can’t help but feel a little resentful that with so few different figures being made, one of them is Jackalman. Yes, I realize that the releases were planned out before the line was shit-canned. And yes, it’s bad form to blame Jackalman for not being Cheetara, Tygra, or even Ssslithe. But it’s hard not to think that way.

ThunderCats Classics: Lion-O by Mattel

After a slight delay and having his entire toy line collapse out from under him, Matty’s Lion-O finally arrived at my doorstep last week. Of course, he was unceremoniously preceded by the SDCC Thunder Kittens, which I looked at a few weeks back, right around the same time Matty announced they were closing up shop. Since then Super7, who inherited Matty’s Masters license, exhibited at the New York Comic Con with lots of Masters of the Universe Classics teasers, but not a peep about Thundercats. Yes, I think I’m finally prepared to concede this line is dead after this year, but I’m going to try not to focus on that in this feature and just look at this figure for what it is. I will, however, make some comparisons to the Bandai figures from several years back.

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The packaging and presentation here is quite nice. There’s a black mailer box with the Thundercats logo and the Eye of Thundera on the front and some additional art on the side panels.

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Inside the mailer box you get this really slick looking window box. And yes, that’s a cat hair stuck to the bubble of the package. Is that meta or irony? I’m really not sure. Anyway, the figure is presented against a bright red backdrop and the artwork on the bottom shows Lion-O gazing into the Sword of Omens with the blade extending upward in the form of molded detail in the window. On the bottom, there’s a flap that opens to allow you to pull the tray out. The back of the package features some very colorful artwork and a blurb about Lion-O himself. I’m totally blown away by the presentation here. It’s just fantastic and totally collector friendly. I don’t keep a lot of my toys’ packaging, but this one I sure as hell will be hanging onto. Let’s get the Lord of the Thundercats out of the package and check him out…

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The idea here was to recreate the Thundercats in the Masters Classics style and while I was dubious at first, I have to say it works brilliantly. This is certainly the Lion-O that I know and love and I didn’t already know that he was developed with the Masters Classics in mind, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed until I picked him up and played with him and felt a lot of the similarities. I think the buff proportions look great on him and his outfit is executed beautifully. The detail on the exposed mid-riff area maybe looks a little off. It’s a little too much like it was chiseled out of plastic, but it’s not something that really hurts the overall look of the figure for me. The detailing on the belt is great and the shade of blue they used for his vest and boots is perfect. The paint on my figure is very sharp.

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In the cartoon, Lion-O used the Claw Shield as a sheath for the Sword of Omens when it was in its dagger form. To simulate that, you get the Claw Shield with the Sword of Omens hilt sculpted in it and the whole thing pegs onto his belt. Now, on the one hand, Bandai was able to give us a Claw Shield with a removable Sword of Omens on each of their Classics Lion-O’s. On the other hand, Matty’s version of the Shield looks so much better than what Bandai gave us. Here, we get actual sculpted fur, as well as painted knuckles and claws, whereas the Bandai version of this piece was just smooth gold plastic. I’m not saying that Matty couldn’t have still made it work with a removable sword, but I still prefer what we got here, based on the aesthetics alone.

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I find that I’m still mulling over the head sculpt. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time it feels a little off. There might be a wee too much Masters styling in there. I think it leans a bit toward being an interpretation of Lion-O than an attempt at recreating the animated character. I suppose you could argue the same thing about MOTUC He-Man, even the Filmation one, versus the figure. I think Bandai was on the right track with their larger Lion-O figure, but at the same time, the sculpt was way too soft. Here, you get much more defined features. In the end, I guess this is leaning toward more like what a realistic Lion-O might look like and I’m OK with that. Lion-O’s hair must be pretty tough to do in a 3D representation like an action figure, but I think they did a fine job with it.

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The articulation is exactly what I’ve come to expect from the Masters Classics line and that has it’s good and bad points. The MOTUC articulation is great when compared to the vintage figures, but it’s feeling a little dated to me now. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the hips. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. The points are all there, and the hinges in the wrists are a nice bonus, but the range of motion is stifled by the muscle sculpt. Bandai’s figures had mostly the same points, but a better range of motion. On the other hand, this figure feels a lot more solid and better built.

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In addition to the Claw Shield that pegs to the belt, Lion-O comes with another one that he can wear simply by popping off his left hand and popping the Shield onto it. And while I nitpicked the belt version having the sword sculpted in as part of it, the wearable Shield can indeed hold the small version of the Sword of Omens that comes with the figure. This Claw has all the same great sculpting paint as the other one.

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The small Sword of Omens is a nicely sculpted little piece with some great paintwork as well. The hilt is left matte silver while the blade itself is painted with metallic silver paint. The paint used for the closed Eye of Thundera is also sharp and clean.

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And naturally, you get the Sword of Omens in all it’s… um, fully erect glory. This is a great little recreation of the majestic weapon, right down to the detail in the curled crossguard and a tiny Eye of Thundera painted every bit as neatly as the larger one on his belt buckle. Again, the hilt is left matte silver plastic while the blade is painted with a metallic shade to make it really pop. The plastic used here is a lot stouter than the stuff Bandai used for theirs, leading to a lot less warping and bending. Lion-O also comes with an extra left hand with a looser grip that makes it easier to hold the sword in both hands. But the big question is… can he be posed consulting the sword’s Sight Beyond Sight?

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Yes, he can!

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When Bandai’s Lion-O’s came out, I thought they were decent figures. The original, larger version was my favorite of the two and there’s still a lot I love about that release. I was interested to see if Matty’s version would replace him and after spending some time with this figure, I have to say that he has. Blending Thundercats with Masters Classics was an interesting experiment and it’s almost surprising to me how well it played out in the end. Lion-O is a great looking figure and I’m finding it pretty hard to put him down since he landed on my desk sometime last week. And yes, here’s where I throw in what a shame it is that a figure this good is part of a line that will yet again be cut short. Actually, at this point it’s not so much a shame as it is a cruel joke the universe seems to be playing on us poor Thundercats collectors.

ThunderCats Classics: Wilykit and Wilykat (SDCC Exclusive) by Mattel

Yes, folks, I’m sort of cheating on this fine Anime Saturday morning. Obviously this day is set aside for figures based on proper anime, but today I’m bending the rules so I can finally look at this set based on the Thundercats cartoon, which at least counts as animation, and a tenuous hook on which to hang today’s Feature. I was so excited for this set when it was first revealed. I cursed it for being a convention exclusive, but I vowed I would pay whatever price was needed. In the end, I was able to get it off of the soon to be defunct Matty Collector site with little difficulty and since then it’s been sitting in the corner silently mocking me. I should be cherishing this Feature, but I’m more in a mind of just wanting to get it over with…

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Of course, the reason for my onset of Thundercats induced depression is because the line may already be dead. With Matty Collector going under at the end of the year and transferring their licenses to indie toy company, Super7, it seems unlikely (albeit not impossible) that Thundercats Classics will survive the switch. That means that after two false starts from Bandai, the dream of getting a full set of Thundercats figures based on the classic cartoon may still be only just that… a dream. With that rousing introduction out of the way, I’m going to try as hard as I can to not let any of the behind-the-scenes politics to cloud my opinions on these Thunder Kittens.

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The packaging for this set sure is nice. I don’t know whether it was ever really an SDCC exclusive, few things are these days, but the presentation sure points to it being something special. The set comes in an illustrated black shipper box with the Eye of Thundera logo and the figures’ names below it.
Inside, you get a fantastic looking window box that shows off the figures and their accessories beautifully. The back and side panels feature some rather pretty character art, and the whole thing unfolds into an illustrated display stage with The Cat’s Lair in the background. Getting the figures and all the accessories out can be a pain, thanks to those terrible plastic ties that all these companies seem to be using now. Also, you’ll want to be super careful opening up the stage, which serves as a storage for the hoverboard display stands. Ultimately, Matty went all out for the presentation here and I absolutely respect and appreciate that.

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And here are WilyKit and WilyKat out of the package. The figures themselves are special for being really the first time we’re getting proper figures of the Thunder Kittens. I believe LJN originally released them as static PVC figurines. They later got better releases, but still felt a little wanting. Even the 2011 reboot figures were rather insubstantial in the 3 3/4-inch scale and not released at all into Bandai’s 6-inch scale. The sculpts on these kittens are pretty solid. They do a nice job capturing both the character portraits as well as the classic costumes. Kat features his two-tone brown belted tunic and buccaneer boots. Kit features her ragged-cut dress and spats. Both figures have places on their belts where you can peg in the coiled versions of their weapons. Overall, there’s a very nice balance here between detail and adhering to the simple animated look.

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The articulation here is identical on both figures, and it’s safe to say these are the best articulated versions of the kittens we’ve yet to see. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. The ankles are hinged, the waists and wrists have swivels, and the necks are ball jointed. Hinges in the wrists would have been nice and the tunic and dress do inhibit the hip movement a bit, but otherwise I really have no complaints when it comes to the pose-ability here.

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Unfortunately, the paint quality runs hot and cold. Most of the paint on these are fine, but there are some flubs that have no business being on a pair of $60 figures in this scale. Oddly enough these mostly appear on my Kat, while Kit has escaped largely unscathed. The biggest offender is on my Wilykat’s face, where there’s a large glob of paint on his left cheek just beside his nose. There’s also a lot of paint chipping on his right arm just below his wrist bracer. Some of the lines could also be sharper.

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Each of the kittens come with some extra hands. These are all pretty standard with the exception of the one sculpted with an effects part for Kat’s smoke bombs. The sculpt and paint on this piece are fantastic, but if memory serves, the purpose was to throw these and have them burst into a smokescreen, so why would they already be smoking in his hand? Am I missing something?

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You also get deployed versions of each kittens weapon. Kat comes with his whip and Kit comes with her pink lasso. It’s worth pointing out that on the back of the box, it mentions Wilykit having a hypnotic flute as one of her weapons. It’s not included with the figure, but then unless I’m mis-remembering the flute was something they introduced in the 2011 reboot. Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve watched my original Thundercats DVDs, so I could be entirely off base on that one. Either way, it probably shouldn’t have been mentioned on the box.

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The hoverboards are nice pieces, but the paint on these could have been better. Again, the issue seems to mostly affect Kat’s board and not Kit’s. Kat’s board just looks dirty on the top surface with all sorts of scratches and stray paint marks, and the edging lines aren’t really that sharp. Someone at the factory really had it out for WilyKat that day. If this set were a regular release that I had picked up through a regular retailer, I would have demanded an exchange for another one.

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The clear stands secure pretty well to the bottoms of the boards and they hold them beautifully thanks to a pretty strong ball joint. Each stand features a sculpted Eye of Thundera. The figures attach to the boards via standard foot pegs and they look great riding them.

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Finally, we have the stage, which folds out from the packaging. Even better, it can be folded back together so the figure can be returned to the packaging without any issues. I absolutely love when companies do this sort of thing and in this case it goes a long way to help justify the price point here. The artwork is beautiful and the figures look fantastic displayed on it. It’ll look fantastic at the back of a shelf with the kittens on the stage and whatever other figures we manage to get posed standing in front of it.

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Also, if you’re wondering, the kittens scale pretty well with Bandai’s first pair of Thundercats Classics, Lion-O and Tygra.

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If I set aside all the ill will I’m feeling toward Matty and their Thundercats Classics right now, this set really only suffers from some piss-poor paint QC, and I’m willing to concede that issue might be isolated to my particular set. If the paint on my Wilykit figure and board wasn’t such an issue, I’d be free to gush on about how much I adore these figures, the accessories, and the overall presentation. Even if we never do wind up with a complete set of Classics out of this line, it’s nice to finally have decent figures of the Thunder Kittens and knowing that I’ll at least have some of the core team to display them with. Indeed, I’m smitten enough with this set that I’m seriously considering rolling the dice on better paint and picking up a second one. And just because there aren’t enough Uncle Buck references in Thundercats action figure reviews…

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“Hey Wilykat… Here’s a quarter. Go downtown and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face.”

Thundercats: Mega-Scale Tygra by Mezco

It’s been almost five years since Mezco embarked on bringing out the beloved Classic Thundercats in a giant 14-inch Mega-Scale figure format. There were times along the way that it felt like the team might never see completion. And while it seems unlikely that we’ll ever see a Wily Kit and Wily Kat, we finally have a core team of cats with the release of Tygra! I’ve made no bones about being a huge fan of this line. At a time when Ban Dai couldn’t decide what to do with the Classics line, these releases came as a bright ray of shining hope in the unfortunately short-lived Thundercats revival of 2011. Needless to say, I’m pretty damn excited to finally have this figure in hand.

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The boxes have been fairly consistent throughout the five year stretch. Tygra comes in a very colorful window box with the glorious Thundercats logo emblazoned across the front and side panel. You get some damned beautiful character art of Tygra on the front and the rest of the cats on the other side panel. There are some minor changes for each of the different cats’ boxes, and Mumm-Ra came in a black box because he’s so damn evil, but these are collector friendly and look mighty nice when all lined up on the shelf. Provided you have a shelf big enough to contain them all. With a little patience required to untwist some twist-ties, Tygra comes out of the box and all set to go!

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And looking damned good! The sculpt walks the fine line between being sparse enough to maintain the animated style, while offering enough detail to make for an interesting and appealing figure. The bulk of the sculpting here is in Tygra’s impressive muscle tone. His cat feet are fully realized, and all of the details that make up the costume are part of the sculpt as well as the deco, including the Thundercat emblem on his chest. While these are billed as “action figures” it should be noted that articulation is fairly limited and Tygra is sculpted in an action-ready stance. The bulk of useful articulation is in the head and arms. There are ball joints in the neck and shoulders, a swivel in the middle of the left arm and another at the right wrist. The legs swivel at the hips and again at the tops of the boots, but these are mainly there to help shift the balance and achieve a good footing. In the end, I found I could get some good variations out of him, but like the other figures in the line, it’s best to temper expectations on posing.

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The paint here is solid, but does show some rough patches under close scrutiny. The tiger stripes look particularly nice and the muted shades of blue and green that make up his costume all look right on point and are fairly clean. Some of the lines could be crisper and the paint more even, especially around the border of his left sleeve. Nonetheless, Tygra is still an attractive looking figure and I’m only going to expect so much from the quality of paintwork on a piece this big with a price this reasonable.

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The portrait is where this figure really shines. I think the sculpt does a wonderful job capturing the character’s likeness and I really like how the rather fierce expression matches the action-orientated stance of the figure. These are definitely cats that are prepared to do battle with some mutants. The teeth and the eyes are just amazing.

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Tygra comes with his bolo whip, which fits comfortably in his right hand and has a wire running throughout so that it can be put in a variety of positions depending on the look you’re going for. It’s here where I really have my only gripes with the figure. I feel like a collapsed bolo would have been a nice extra. I also wish the whip itself was a little longer so that I could get it snake around him a few times while holding his hand over his head. Of course, then I remember the price point here, and I feel bad about asking for more.

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I brought up price a few times throughout this Feature and that’s because Mezco has been able to keep this line at a $35 price point (give or take a little, depending on where you buy it). And while I may nitpick an imprecise paint line here and point out some missed opportunities with the accessories, the truth is that I think what we’re getting here is an amazing deal. While jumbo figures have become something of a trend nowadays, the sculpt, paint, and overall quality on these cats is leaps and bounds better than what I’m seeing in the slightly larger 18-inch Star Wars figures on the shelves. Indeed, these feel a bit more like collectibles and not like mass produced toys. In the end, I’m truly grateful that Mezco saw this line through to at least give us the four major cats and Mumm-Ra. These make for an absolutely epic display. I’m still considering buying the second release of Lion-O just so that I can get Snarf. And hey, if they do decide to get us a Thunderkitten two-pack, I’d be totally down with that.

Thundercats: Mega-Scale Cheetara by Mezco

Ah, God bless you folks at Mezco. When the attempted Thundercats revolution crumbled around Ban Dai and broke my heart, you guys were the only ones left carrying the torch. I have no desire to live in a world without Thundercats in one form or another, so you’re the only ones nursing the flickering candlewick of faith that I hold for this miserable lump of rock we call Earth anymore. Oh yeah, also… you guys are a bunch of jerks. Snarf packed into the SDCC Exclusive version of Cheetara? Really guys? Really?? See, here’s the first problem with that… That version of Cheetara has the crazy light up eyes that I don’t want. So even if I choose to hunt that one down, and let’s be honest, getting the SDCC Thundercats stuff after the conventions hasn’t exactly been difficult, I don’t want that Cheetara. Surely you can see the pickle you placed me in. There’s a second problem with Snarf not being in with this regular retail release, but I’ll get back to that at the end. Let’s get on with the feature…

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I’m super thrilled to be holding this box, because I love Thundercats, and I love this line of statue-figure-whatevers. Every release has had me a little worried that it would go no further, but now we have Cheetara and surely Tygra can’t be far behind, right Mezco? RIGHT??? Anyway, Cheetara comes in the same style box as the past releases and it is drop dead gorgeous. The window shows off the figure beautifully and the colorful artwork on the side panel is so gloriously exquisite that it makes me want to weep. I mean just look at that shot of Cheetara. Hey, waitaminute. That’s the Cheetara I grew up with. I mean, sure I had a crush on the Cheetara from the cartoon because she was hawt, but look at that super sexed up cat-vixen up there on that box art. Heeeeelo kitty! Ok, where was I? Cheetara comes on a plastic tray with some twisty ties to contend with. Happily, her staff is on the tray too, so you don’t have to tear it off the back of the illustrated cardboard piece like I had to do with Panthro’s nunchuks. Nope, this box is totally collector friendly and even though I have my Thundercats all on display right now, I’m saving every one of the boxes just because I can’t bring myself to destroy such beauty.

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And speaking of beauty… out of the box Cheetara is every bit the simple animated beauty that I had a crush on as a kid. Yup, I said it up there and I just said it again. It was a simpler time when words like bestiality meant nothing to me and there was nothing wrong with getting naughty feelings about a sexy cat lady. Did she have skin or fur? No wait, don’t answer that. I don’t even want to think about it. Suffice it to say the sculpt here is indeed simple in keeping with the animated look, and yet it captures the character perfectly. You get her orange leotard that shows off her shapely cat bosoms and bitchin’ cat hinder and the iconic Thundercats emblem is both sculpted and painted onto her outfit.

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Of course, the real selling point of this piece for me is the portrait. Mezco really nailed the likeness. The face sculpt is spot-on and the hair looks perfect. The paint used for her face markings, eyes and lips is all pretty crisp and she even has those sexy spots on her hair, neck and shoulders. Meeeeow! I can practically hear the sultry and husky voice of Lynne Lipton coming right out of her.

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Of course, if you’ve been following my little batch of Mega-Scale Thundercat reviews than you already know that none of these figures have been super-posable, but you do get enough points of articulation that I’m willing to call them figures rather than just statues. Cheetara sports ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips. She’s also got swivels in her forearms, wrists, and at the tops of her boots. Yes, she’s missing the torso articulation that Lion-O and Panthro had, but there was really no place to put it on her without defacing the sculpt, so I think it was a good decision. Besides neither of the other figures had her hip articulation, so what we’re getting isn’t really less just different.

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Cheetara comes with her Bo Staff, which is fair enough, but that’s it and let’s be honest here, it’s just an orange stick and it feels a little like she got short-changed. Lion-O came with two versions of his beautifully sculpted sword and a swappable claw shield, Panthro came with his nunchuks with the real chain and a swappable left hand, and Mumm-Ra came with all that cool softgoods. It feels like Cheetara could have used an extra hand to let her hold the staff horizontally above her head. Or maybe a collapsed version of the staff. What I’m getting at here is that it seems like tossing Snarf into the box would have made her on par with the other releases, rather than something special and so I take issue with the fact that they went and packed Snarf in as an Exclusive bonus.

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I don’t want to sound like a complainer. I’m so very grateful that Mezco is carrying the torch for the Thundercats and giving us this great line. And at $35 a pop, these are priced very reasonably, so if bitching about what’s not in Cheetara’s box (giggity) makes me sound otherwise, please know it isn’t the case.  Snarf notwithstanding, I absolutely adore this figure. Sure, the wow factor of the size of these figures has waned a bit as they’re displayed in a case next to my quarter-scale Avengers, but they’re still great figures and I’m thrilled to see the team come together a little more with each new release. I’m still counting on getting a Tygra next year, and if that finishes off the line (which I suspect it will) I’ll still be happy. On the other hand, if Mezco wants to keep going, I promise to buy every one of these that they see fit to release. I’m serious, Mezco. Release a f’cking Berbil and you’ll see. I’ll buy it.

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.