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Tygra - Thundercats

tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai


The Thundercats was another 1980's staple of Saturday morning television, and like most 80's cartoons, I had little interest. When Bandai announced they'd be producing action figures in both a 4" and 6" scale for the new animated series this fall, I viewed the news without the tinted glasses of nostalgia.

I've watched the first episode so far, and remain on the fence as to whether the show deserves a regular place on the my personal rotation or not. The first episode seemed very disjointed, with a choppy story and uneven pacing. That's not too surprising for the first episode of any show, however, and I'm willing to watch a couple more before my final verdict.

Bandai's releases have been well co-ordinated, hitting stores about the same time as the show got rolling. I haven't seen them at my local Toys R Us yet, but I do know that in other areas they've already been available for a couple weeks.

Tonight I'm checking out one of the good guys in their 4" scale line up - Tygra, Lion-O's older brother. The small figures will run around $8 at most retailers, and should be showing up soon in your area if they haven't already.
tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
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tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
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tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
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tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
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tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai
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Packaging - ***
The small packages have very little excess waste, and they show off the figure and accessories well. I like the general Thundercats graphics and text, but because of the multi-lingual nature of the cardback, there's almost no character personalization.

Sculpting - ***
The general on screen appearance of the figure is pretty well mirrored here, although certain aspects of the armor aren't familiar to me.

The head sculpt is clearly Tygra, but it's a little fatter and rounder than the cartoon counterpart. There's also a lack of detail on the fur which gives him a look that's more robotic, less kitty cat. Some details that should have been sculpted, like the edge of the fur on his right forearm, aren't. While the smooth finish on the various pieces of armor makes sense, I think the fur covered sections needed a bit more texture to set them apart.

Tygra stands great on his own, has sculpted hands that hold the accessories properly, and stands about 4 1/4" tall.

Paint - ***
Considering the scale - remember, these are small figures - the paint work is solid. There's a little slop on some of the black tiger strips, particularly on the shoulders, and some of the lighter 'fur' on the face is a little gloppy, but generally the work is above average for a mass market release.

The accessories are sorely lacking when it comes to paint though, especially the gun belt and gun.

Articulation - ***1/2
Considering the scale, there's a reasonable amount of articulation, and it's all built with real play in mind.

There's a traditional ball jointed neck, and post/disc ball joints at the shoulders, hips and knees. However, the shoulders don't include the usual cut joint on the bicep side of the ball, which would have been a big plus.

There's single pin elbows and ankles, with cut wrists rounding things out. Some sort of torso articulation - a cut waist or a good ab-crunch - would have gone a long way toward making the poses a bit more natural, but I'm betting those joints are missing because of the 'action feature'.

Accessories - ***
Tygra includes three - his belt, gun and whip.

The gun and whip were actually in the very first episode, and I expect we'll see a lot more of the whip since it's his main weapon of choice. The belt and holster I don't remember seeing on him, and it's a big clunky and oversized. I'm betting most kids will dump it, and just have him hold the gun when necessary in his left hand.

The whip is made from a soft rubbery material, and can fit in his right hand. While the all blue color might look a bit drab, it does match up with the color on the show pretty well.

On the flip side, a little more detail work on the gun and belt, at least in terms of paint, would have been much appreciated. The all gray color is pretty boring, and contrasts oddly with the colorful figure itself.

Action Feature - ???
I've left question marks in this category because without one of the playsets or deluxe vehicles, it's tough to say how well the feature will work.

It's called "Thunder Lynx" - see what they did there? Each of the 4" figures has a small magnet in the torso, and when this magnet comes in contact with a vehicle or playset, something happens - lights, sounds, etc. It's a neat idea, but until I get one of the vehicles the jury is still out on how well executed it is.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
The figures are very well built, with tough pins and discs in the joints, a hard plastic for all the body parts, and good articulation for pose and play. Kids that pick up on the show and are about the right age will enjoy these quite a bit, and with the scale fitting in reasonably well with other 4" lines, you'll see some crossover conflict play as well.

Value - ***1/2
The suggested retail on the 4" basic figures is just $8, a good sight better than most other 4" lines these days and with better articulation and accessories. Too many lines are reaching into that $10 realm even at this scale, and it's nice to see Bandai bucking the trend a bit by releasing a brand new line at the slightly lower price point.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - ***
This series is for kids, while the larger scale figures are intended more for collectors. Whether or not that's a valid assumption depends on the kid or the collector, however.

The play value on the 4" line is very good, and kids who enjoy the show will be happy with the sculpt, paint and articulation. While the belt is pretty silly even by kid standards, the gun is better scaled.

Bandai has had great success with other animated kid's lines, and I suspect that if the cartoon does well, this line will too. They know how to combine the right qualities of the show with the concept of action figures, and produce a long running series of toys.

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

Where to Buy -
These will be hitting all the major retailers in the next few weeks.

Related Links -
Nothing else Thundercats related...yet!

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tygra Thundercats action figure by Bandai


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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