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Thundercats Classic Lion-O - 6" version
Bandai

Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai


Thundercats HOOOO! Bandai continues to pump out the figures, vehicles and playsets based on the new cartoon, and seem to be having quite a bit of success with it. While the modern characters, done in various scales, are targeted to the kids watching the new show, they are also producing some of the classic characters to keep their old fart dads happy.

They released a couple last year (Lion-O and Tygra), and then made a rather unusual decision. They back pedaled on the scale, switching the classics down to the smaller 6" scale to better match up with their own 6" series of modern characters.

There has been some talk out of Bandai of potentially releasing a few more classics in the 8" scale (perhaps as con exclusives, for example), but it looks like most will now be in this new format.

I already reviewed the Mumm-ra, but tonight I wanted to take a look at Lion-O since having him alongside He-Man from the MOTUC series was one of my previous concerns.

You can pick these guys up at your local Toys R Us or Target, where they seem to be shipping pretty regularly right now.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
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Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
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Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
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Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
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Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
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Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai
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Packaging - ***1/2
The box-like hangers have that classic feel, including the very colorful and well designed interior cardboard tray. All that aside, these are actually collector friendly, something lacking in most mass market packages. You can remove the figure and tray from the package, take everything out, and not have to damage or destroy anything in the process. In fact, the package photo you see was the last one I shot - I'd removed him and shot the other photos first, then replaced him for the imprisoned photo.

Sculpting - ***
As I mentioned, this is the new smaller scale of the classic figures, coming in at around 6" or so, depending no the figure. Lion-O is about 6 1/4".

While the body is pretty much the same as the 8" figure (as you'd expect), the head is a brand new sculpt with flying hair and wide open snarling mouth.  I'm not a huge fan.

I supposed I can live with the expression, which is about half way between "I'm pissed" and "Someone is twisting my kibbles". I prefer the more stoic, stern look of the larger figure, but I can't argue with them at least trying to give us something a bit different with the scale change.

I like the wind swept hair far less. I'm generally not a fan of extremely dynamic hair poses, and again, the larger figure looks much better. Here it looks like kitty is just having a bad fur day. Maybe that's why he's pissed.

From the neck down though, I have no complaints. Proportions are good, and the sculpted hands work fine with the accessories.

Some people have been very vocal about the screws in the back of the figure, used to hold the torso together. This isn't new - the rest of the line has these, and we've seen it in the past with other toy lines. It's not something you'd see on a true 'collectible', but while these might be aimed toward older collectors, they're still designed as toys first. I don't have any problem with the screws, but your mileage may vary.

I was annoyed with the 8" figure because he was too big to fit with He-Man. Mumm-Ra is a little larger than other characters, so he almost fits in with the MOTUC figures...almost. Sadly, the 6" Lion-O goes in the opposite direction, coming in too small. I know that Bandai didn't make this change to attempt to line up with MOTUC but rather with their other figures, but it's still a bit of a disappointment.

Paint - **1/2
The paint quality in general is about what you'd expect from a mass market release. There's some sloppy cut lines, and the work around the mouth and fangs is a bit thick. But nothing is too horrendous, and he doesn't have that obnoxious shiny surface that the larger figure exhibited.

However, he does have the same silly ankle pegs and discs, colored in what is his flesh tone instead of the blue of the boots. That is either an issue with quality control, or it's an issue of being cheap - neither is excusable at the price point they are charging.

Articulation - ***1/2
The only joint that disappoints a bit is the neck - while it is probably a ball joint under there, it really only works as a cut joint, turning side to side. There's very little to no tilt action.

The other joints work great, and are all tight enough to hold extreme poses indefinitely. The ball hips, pin/disc ball shoulders, cut biceps, pin elbows, double pin knees, pin ankles, ball wrists, and ab crunch joints allow you to pose him in plenty of fighting and relaxed stances, and they generally look smooth and natural.

Accessories - ***1/2
There's a nice assortment of extras here, including several additional hands.

He comes wearing his trademark gauntlet of course, as well as an open posed right hand. These can be popped off, and one of the three additional hands (one right, two left) can be popped on in their place. The swap happens cleanly, and the wrists are very well made. I didn't feel like there was any chance I could damage the post.

If you have a regular hand on the right arm, you can use the enclosed blue 'strap' to attach the glove to his side.

There's also the small version of the Sword of Omens, which can fit neatly in the top edge of the glove. The longer, expanded version is also included, and both have a good sculpt and decent paint ops.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Solid articulation, good accessories, and a cool character - all this adds up to a great toy. It's important for 'collectors' to keep that in mind as well. This is a toy first, not a collectible, and is designed and built for that end purpose first and foremost.

With Bandai switching these to the 6" scale, it means they can fit in with the 6" scaled modern figures. The 6" modern figures actually seemed a little small in comparison at first...but remember, the young versions of the main protagonists that are on the current cartoon would be slighter in stature than the adults. 

Value - **
These guys run around $18, a pretty steep price to pay considering that the modern 4" scale figures are just $8 each. That extra two inches in size results in one Hell of a bump in price! To be fair, $8 for the slightly smaller figures is a very good deal, but that doesn't mean that $18 for these is reasonable.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. These are very sturdy, well built toys that can hold up to just about any version of play short of getting left in the back yard and ran over by the lawn mower. Not that something like that ever happened to my toys when I was a kid.

Overall - ***
I think Bandai has a winner on their hands with the overall Thundercats license, as long as the show can hold up its end of the bargain. The style plays off Bandai's strengths, and they are very capable of meeting the needs of the kids who would be the main audience for the modern figures.

Collectors may take issue with the fact that these are toys - but that's kind of the point. It seems to me that more and more people who call themselves 'toy' or 'action figure' collectors aren't - what they really want is high quality statues in plastic. That's not what these are, and you'll be disappointed if that was what you were expecting.

On the flip side, producing some of these classic characters in the same style as the modern characters might lead some kids to investigate the old show, providing an opportunity for parents to share with them the television show they loved when they were young. As a parent, I gotta say that's always a big plus.

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

Where to Buy -
Your first source for this guy should be your local retailers, particularly Toys R Us or Target. These are popping up pretty regularly there, and run around $18.

Related Links -
I've covered the smaller classic Mum-ra, as well as the large 8" classic Lion-0, modern 6" Lion-O, and modern 6" Tygra.

Discussion:
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Thundercats Classic Lion-O action figure by Bandai


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

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