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Mumm-Ra - Thundercats Classics
Bandai

Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai


Ah, the classics. We never seem to tire of the oldies. Bandai made a smart move when they started to produce their action figures based on the new Thundercats cartoon - they opted to make a series of classic versions as well. I reviewed their Lion-O, and while it scored only a B average, it is likely to end up one of my favorite figures from 2011. Hey, I never said emotions made sense.

But when they made the smart move to make the classic series, some collectors felt that by scaling them at a whopping (by today's standards) 8" scale, they messed up. They were larger than anything else on the market, making it impossible for them to fit in with any other complementary styled lines.

With only two released (Lion-O and Tygra), Bandai put on the brakes and made a change, switching to a 6" scale for the 'classic' figures. There's also a 6" scale for the new show, so the switch allows old and new to co-habitat some space on your shelf.

While that makes sense within the universe of their own figures, it doesn't appear on paper to match well with the one other similar line that is most likely being purchased by the same fans: Masters of the Universe Classics. MOTUC are closer to 7" scale, but you'll notice I said 'on paper'. We all know that claims of scale and actual scale can be two very different things, as can our own interpretation of how these characters should match up. Should Lion-O and He-Man be exactly the same size...or should one be slightly bigger than the other? Which? These are the sorts of questions that keep geeks up at night, and everyone has their own personal answer. Whether the switch to 6" is going to be a great thing or not is going to depend on whether you collect the new TV figures, MOTUC, or some combination, and whether you think the figures should be the same size across lines or not.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Mumm-Ra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai
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Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai
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Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai
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Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai
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Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai
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Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai

I will say that this is one of those times where the 'life size' feature of the photo above is very useful. Click on that photo to get a life size photo on screen of Mumm-Ra, and you can compare right at home with any other figure you'd like.

Packaging - ***1/2
The package colors and graphics are fairly basic, but one nice feature is that although this is a mass market release, the window box is *almost* completely collector friendly.

You do have to cut two small plastic ties that hold the figure in a death grip inside the bubble, but the tray slides right out of the bottom of the package, and everything can be returned with no additional damage.

If you do plan on returning the figure to it's plastic coffin, I'd suggest paying attention to how the flying bandages are threaded through the tray. It's a bit tricky to get them right again if you don't take note of how they were originally placed. It's not actually necessary - the bandages can easily fit under the tray - but if you want it as close to original as possible, it's worth mentioning.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I haven't seen the 'new' classic Lion-O in this scale yet, so I can't be sure if they've managed to get these more in line with MOTUC (one of my only complaints with the sculpting of the first two classics) or not. Mumm-Ra is pretty close to He-Man in size at 6 3/4 inches tall (check out the comparison photo), but Mumm-Ra may also be slightly bigger than Lion-O, making it a tougher call.

Ignoring scale, this is a nice representation of the old school villain, with his common open mouth growl showing off his fangs and his funky pseudo Egyptian headdress. There's an appropriate amount of detail in the body, and I like the sculpted claws on the gesturing hands.

I will be disappointed though if Bandai missed the mark in the opposite direction, making these too small to fit in with He-Man. Obviously, a correct 6" scale would put these in line with DCUC and the other new Thundercats but not MOTUC, which is the direction they really should have gone in with the 'classics'. I won't pass final judgment til I get a new Lion-O though, since Mumm-Ra is actually pretty close to correct. If Lion-O is as big as Mumm-Ra, I'll be more than happy with the size. If not...maybe I'll end up buying more of the 6" figures based on the new show to make it all better.

Paint - **1/2
The one area where this figure falls short (especially when considered more for collectors than kids) is the paint work. There's more slop here than I like to see, even on a mass market release.

The teeth are pretty sloppy, but the edges on the white bandages around the neck are just ridiculous. The eyes aren't too bad, but that is offset by the roughly painted gold trim on the skirt. Overall, it's just not quite up to par for a $20 action figure.

Articulation - ***1/2
They say 18 points of articulation on the front of the package, but of course, how useful that articulation depends on its design and engineering.

The ball jointed neck tilts back better than it tilts forward, but that allows him to scream up at the sky.

The ball jointed shoulders work well, with the cut bicep adding to the range of movement in the arms. The pin elbows and knees (both single pin) are sturdy and solid. The waist is a ball joint with plenty of tilt action, and the ankles are also pin joints, although the shin armor restricts some of the movement. The hips are a combination swivel joint, somewhat like the DCUC hips, but the hard skirt reduces how far the legs can move in any direction.

It's not obvious, but there are also cut joints at the top of the bronze shin guards.

Finally, the wrists are ball joints, with the ball actually part of the forearm. This makes the wrist a very sturdy joint, difficult for even a klutz like me to break. The hand doesn't tilt very far on the ball, but it does turn smoothly.

Accessories - ***
There aren't a ton of extras, but what's here is pretty good.

He has his flying, whirling bandages, two sets in fact. Each attaches tightly with a post to his back, and wrap around his torso. They look good in place, although it's not an option I'd go with for most displays.

He also has two additional hands, done in standard weapon type grips. The hands swap easily, and since the wrist post and forearm are all one piece, the wrists are very sturdy and nearly impossible to break.

I do really wish they had included his bat wing shaped cape, since it would have given him a much more dangerous appearance.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Obviously you'll need to pick up the classic Lion-O all over again (and hopefully we'll see Tygra soon) with the scale change, but once you do, Mumm-Ra will make a fine villain for kids. If there's any kids who are enjoying the modern Thundercats series, this scale change will give them a chance to add some new/old characters to the mix.

Value - **
You should be able to pick this guy up at a local Toys R Us for around $20. Of course, that depends on the location of the TRU, since some charge more than others, but that's a pretty good estimate.

Considering that the MOTUC figures are $20, at first the price seems pretty normal. A little too normal. Add in the $16 or so cost of most DC Universe Classics these days, figures that are smaller than either MOTUC or these, and I was about ready to give them an average **1/2 rating. And then it hit me - the scale dropped 25% but the price remained the same. The modern Thundercats in this scale are $18 - does nostalgia cost extra?

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. This is a very sturdy figure, designed for rough action.

Overall - ***
While scale is still an open question, the only real problem I have here (as with the larger sized Lion-O) is the sloppy paint. Considering the fairly high price point, I'd expect better paint applications.

But the sculpting, articulation and play value are all there, making this a decent, if not excellent, action figure. With a few more tweaks, Bandai might be able to hit the next level.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
I picked this guy up at the local Toys R Us. Online options include these site sponsors:

- Big Bad Toy Store has the pair of Classic Lion-O and Mumm-Ra for $32.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
So far I've checked out the modern version of Lion-O, as well as the classic version. I've looked at the smaller scale Tygra from the new show as well.

Discussion:
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Mumm-ra Thundercats Classics action figure by Bandai


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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