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Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Thundercats: Lion-O! (4" Inch Scale Series)

05.24.2012 – The Thundercats is one of original animated series that has been revived for the current generation. The classic 1980s Saturday morning cartoon tells us the story and adventures of Lion-O lord of the Thundercats and his team after crashing to Third Earth.

The latest series produced by Studio 4C in early 2011 brought back fan interest to long time fans as well as introducing the characters to the younger audience.

The series debut in Cartoon Network and the toys was manufactured by Japanese company Bandai.

The makers of the Mobile Suit Gundam model kits as wells other action figures. The introduction of the series was retold in a different with a darker tone compared to the original cartoon series.

Just like any 1980s revival these too have merchandise namely action figures, vehicles and even playsets. Not to mention role playing toys namely the Sword of Omens and other weapons like the nun-chucks wielded by Panthro.

Bandai released three kinds of action figures depending on the scale and price points. The smallest action figures which feature vehicles and playsets are scaled at 4 inches, while targeted for high end collectors they released the 6 inch versions as well as the Classic characters based in the original 1980s cartoon standing at 8 inches tall with exquisite details far exceed of the original LJN manufactured toys.

Lion-O in the latest series is young and brash compared to the original character who aged slowly to look an adult but inside of the man is only child struggling to be the leader the other Thundercats look up to.

In the current series Lion-O wears battle armor and as the series progressed he learns to grow up being a responsible leader. Currently the TV series is about to air the 23rd episode of season one while in the Philippines the Cartoon Network Asia airs back-to-back episodes on weekends at 8:30PM Hong Kong/Singapore time.

Currently the airing of the series in Asia is running at episodes 5 and 6 as of this writing which is going to be shown this weekend featuring the first full appearance of Panthro and the search of the Tower of Omens.

The Lion-O 4 inch action figure is packaged in blister card featuring the accessories that came with the instruction manual. The modernized version of Lion-O did not disappoint right out of the packaging. Though the details have multi-lingual information of the product surely the US version has only the slight difference.

Lion-O comes with a short and long version of the Sword of Omens and the Claw Shield. The figure stands at 4 inch with great detail but immediately you’ll see slight disappointments like the black rivets clearly shown in the shoulder, elbows, knees and ankle joints are not painted to coincide with the skin tone.

The articulation is superb in this small scale but not as perfect like any action figure. It has its own flaws like the ball jointed head could turn right properly as the shoulder pad is hindering the figure to look in that direction. Lion-O could not hold the Sword of Omen with two hands properly but can execute a slash action pose.

Compare it to the 6 inch version that’s another story to share. The good stuff about the 4 inch scale is it has a gimmick including the interaction with the other figures most specially the playset and vehicles each sold separately of course.

If you notice at the back of figure there’s a square shape mold that has two pegs for you to attach it to the vehicle. Most notably the Thunder Racer that is another part of the Thunder Tank which hopefully we can get our hands into in the near future. We didn’t know what exactly the gimmick was until a coin was magnetized to the figure’s back which would activate something in the vehicles or playset like the Tower of Omens.

The accessories that came with the figure is made of soft rubbery plastic which is not good to swords that tend to bend over time and never return to its original shape or form. There’s one interesting part of the accessories and that is you can attach the small Sword of Omens underneath the Claw Shield to avoid loosing it.

Overall Lion-O is not half bad if you look at the figure which can be close to 1/18 scale and that would be great as it can interact with other toy properties like G.I. Joe or the Star Trek figures based from the 2009 film.

The figure retails at around $14.00 US (PhP 599.75 pesos) and you won’t be totally disappointed with the way the figure is made. Having great points of articulation and well rounded details you should definitely pick this up. The only minor quirks are the unpainted rivet joints and the quality of the accessories.

Rating this figure 3.5 out of 5 Thunderian shillings for its great detail and articulation but fails in some parts like unpainted rivet joints and soft material used on the accessories that sometimes The Claw Shield does not hold well into Lion-O’s left arm when the short version of the Sword of Omens is stored underneath.

Thundercats airs on Cartoon Network Philippines on Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30PM Hong Kong/Singapore time (Please see your local cable operator for availability of this channel). The toys are locally distributed by Ban Kee Trading the same company that also brings the other Bandai related product to the Philippines.

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