3.75 inch scale
By: Bandai America
It’s like a friggin Thundercatstravaganza up in this piece! When they first announced the new Thundercats show, I was skeptical. Not every re-imagined property lives up to the original. However, after reading interviews with the creators, seeing the designs and previews, and eventually having seen the show, I have to say that my fears have subsided. I dig the modern Thundercats show. I dig it fiercely.
With the new show of course came a new toy line from Bandai America. Split between the 6” collector series and the 4” series more aimed at kids, Bandai covered all their bases and achieved massive success with their first wave of toys. Thanks to a suggestion from our friend (and my doppelganger) Wes from Scary Crayon, today I’m looking at my first 4” figure from wave 2, the incredible King Claudus. Though his screen time on the show has been brief, his character and legend have made him one of my most sought-after figures in both the 4” and 6” lines.
The box is what we’ve come to expect from this line, with a nice drawing of Claudus to the left and the requisite cross-sells on the back. There’s no bio, but a quick reference to the concept of the show.
Claudus here looks pretty good for the scale. He does seem a bit more squashed than his animated counterpart, which possesses a massive warrior-king body style, similar to Panthro or Grune.
The likeness is decent for the scale (even if his circlet is really pronounced, for some reason—and poorly painted), and while the paint certainly doesn’t match the animation model, there’s a lot more here than you might expect on a Bandai America toy. I did notice this weird habit they have here of painting a line or piece of trim to a certain point and then just stopping completely without reaching the destination. It’s not something that bothers me, and I can say I didn’t even notice until I did the review, but it’s there for all you paint watchers. The colors are a bit off-model, but workable. The only real issue I have is his right gauntlet, which I think should be a purer gold. As it is, it blends into the color of the fur on his arm just a bit too much.
The sword is his only accessory, which is a tremendous letdown seeing as how it kind of goes hand in hand with the claw shield. Lion-O’s shield doesn’t fit over the large hands, so you’re just kind of screwed there. The sword is the same mold made of the same crappy bendy plastic as Lion-O’s and looks miniscule in his larger hands. I really don’t like his hands. I think they’re the weakest part of the figure, mostly because of the pose. They’re not relaxed, they’re not gripping, they’re sort of in this weird ToyBiz X-Men Professor X Hoverchair half-clenched boob-cupping pose that doesn’t really work. When the sword is in hand, it looks like he’s about to drop it. In fact, if they hadn’t cut channels into his palm for the sword to clip into, he wouldn’t be able to hold it at all.
The hands being in a weird pose also draws attention to little things you don’t normally notice at this scale, like how his fingers are very similar in length and taper back toward the pinkie instead of getting longer at the middle finger. I also can’t help but notice his huge thumb, which looks like it got slammed in a doorway it’s so stubby and puffy. Poor guy. Now you could chalk that all up to him being a kitteh and having more paw-like hand proportions, but they don’t present it that way on the television show. My motto is, “If it ain’t fug there, shouldn’t be fug here.”
Man, I’m awesome at mottos.
The cape is a pretty cool addition to the figure, I have to say. Not because of the cape itself, which has a very weird cut to it near the neck, but because it attaches via the Thunder Lynx connector that all the 4” toys feature, so you can connect it to any old guy or gal you choose.
It’s not magnetic like Grune’s quiver, but clips in solidly. It can be a little heavy, so you may have to lean him forward slightly at the hips to get him to stand sometimes, but it does help him stand in more dynamic poses when used like a tripod. Of course, Claudus’ Thunder Lynx will allow him to work with any other play sets, accessories, or vehicles that use the system, so you or your kids can toss him right in with the other toys easily.
Unfortunately, just like the wave 2 6” Cheetara, Claudus suffers in the articulation department. He’s still got the ball neck, swivel hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel hinge swivel (Revoltech style) hips, and hinged knees of series 1, but loses out on the ankle hinges, calf swivels, and waist swivel that add so much to combat poses. Seeing as how Claudus is pretty much always being a badass on the show, these little omissions seriously hurt the quality of the toy. Reports are starting to come in that previously released figures with new sculpts like Lion-O and Panthro also suffer from reduced articulation, particularly in the ankles.
It’s not all bad, though. As I said, Claudus can use his cape as a sort of third leg (ladies) to help balance him. It hangs pretty low, so it won’t help him achieve really deep stances, but it helps. The swivels in the hips help a lot in getting him into some okay poses, but swivel boot tops similar to Bandai’s Power Rangers 4” toys would help a lot in keeping him standing.
Luckily, his shoulder and hip armor are made from a very soft plastic and don’t seem to hinder his articulation at all. Just be mindful that if you pose him for extended periods of time the softer plastic will want to remain flared out.
The only joint that suffers based on design is his neck. When the head is popped off the ball, you can see that there’s a sculpted lump of excess plastic up in there that serves no purpose beyond rubbing against his shoulders when you try to turn his head. It really limits the left to right motion, and since Bandai still hasn’t figured out how a ball joint works, that left to right is pretty much all you got on this guy.
The articulation is serviceable, but should be much better even at this smaller scale. Heck, series one was miles better, even on the larger figures. I fear now that Bandai has realized there’ll be a lot less parts re-use on these figures, they’re already starting to cut corners and things will only get worse. Just my theory, and I hope I’m wrong.
I picked up Claudus for $6.99 at my local Wal-Mart. For that, you get a decent figure with okay paint apps, reduced articulation from its line brothers, and only one accessory (I’m not counting the cape because it’s part of his costume). I’d say it’s not a good deal, but if you haven’t noticed already, the price of 4” figures are already going up. Hasbro’s kicking there’s up to 8.99 for the most part, with TRU helping them along to a solid ten bucks a toy.
For prices like that, you would expect them to be better toys, but early reports of the Avengers toys show a reduction in articulation bordering on Claudus’ here. He may not have all the bells and whistles, but he’s a decent figure of a really awesome character that your Thundercats display or toy room shouldn’t be without.
Aesthetics: Adults: 7, Kids: 9
Articulation: Adults: 6, Kids: 8
Value: Adults: 8, Kids: 7
Overall: Adults: 7, Kids: 8
Claudus is a pretty cool toy in a line aimed more at kids than adults. For a kid, deep stances and such aren’t such a big deal. He stands fine and can take a missile to the face. What else do you need? I knocked him on value for kids just because he does have very limited screen time on the show so far, so they may not be as excited about the character as us more refined nerds. Then again, kids have no concept of money or work or time or guilt, so you could easily slap a ten on there and be fine.
For adult collectors, it’s characters like this that will take you back to old Star Wars and GI Joe figures from your youth, where literally every character got made and just sort of sucked you into that world. In wave 2, we’ve already gotten 3 re-hashes of previously released characters, so I don’t see this line getting the same mileage as those listed, but if I’ve ever wanted to be wrong about something, it’s that. The toy’s a cool one, and I’d love to see more second- or third-tier characters like this show up in the future. I can’t be the only one who wants both the Duelist and the Drifter.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.