Thundercats Classics
Lion-O
6 Inch Scale
By: Bandai
$14.99

I am not the biggest Thundercats fan. It’s a property that I liked, but didn’t love. It ranks below things like Inhumanoids and Centurions for me. When Bandai announced it was doing a classic Thundercats revamp, I was so-so on the project. If the figures looked cool, I might pick a couple up. That was my philosphy. To date I’ve watched absolutely zero episodes of the new cartoon. When the first exclusives hit, I liked them, but not enough to pay the prices. Plus the figures were in an odd 8 inch scale, which didn’t bother me much, but didn’t entice me either.


A few months later, Bandai decided that 8 inch wasn’t the way to go and changed the scale to 6 inch. They also gave Lion-O a new head. I still wasn’t too interested, even though the figures looked pretty good. But low and behold, I keep seeing these figures in Target. Eventually, they beat down my resistance and I picked up a couple. There’s just something inherently great about seeing old school toy properties reinvented in the toy aisle.


As a kid, I liked Thundercats well enough, I had a few figures and I watched the show… But there wasn’t enough nostalgia to make me order these things online. Seeing them in store for a decent price is another matter entirely and that’s why you’re getting this review today.

Packaging:
The packages are pretty bland and not very aesthetically pleasing, especially in comparison to something like Masters of the Universe Classics, to which this line is most closely compared. There is a tiny bit of classic toon art, or at least a picture that looks to be ripped from the cartoon, but it’s nothing fancy. In what is a bit of a recurring theme with this line, the package is more utilitarian than collector designed.


Bandai is clearly trying to target not just old guys in their 30’s with this figure, but also kids. In fact they may be more interested in the latter and just hope to catch some of the former. This has the multilingual card as well so that Bandai doesn’t have to offer up different cards for different markets.

I do like that they show off the other figures not only in this line, but the modern Thundercats line as well. That’s a smart strategy to capture the attention of folks who might not know these figures are out there. I also find that the package is collector friendly in the sense that it can be resealed and the figure can be removed without destroying the container. That’s a positive that I wish MOTUC had.

Sculpt/Paint:
Putting aside the new head sculpt, this figure is for all intents and purposes a smaller version of the previous 8 inch figure. The good news for Thundercats fans is that this is instantly recognizable as Lion-O and looks really impressive. I didn’t pull out my old Lion-Os (I have two) but it definitely conjures up a ton of memories of them.


Instantly you feel as though this is what LJN would have tried to do with this line, had Acclaim not killed them in the 90’s. The sculpt is sleek, modern and not as clumsy as the old figures, but yet still retains the bright colors and overall feel of the classic line. It’s a nice mixture of both new and old vibes.


Turn him around though and you’ll find one of the biggest weakenesses of Bandai’s American divisions. They just don’t care as much as Bandai Japan and they let you know that these are toys, with cost cutting measures like big screws in the back. One screw might get a pass, but this is a half dozen. I’d rake Mattel over the coals for this, so I’m damn sure going to call Bandai out for it too.


Even when just posing him, the screws tend to show up. It doesn’t bother me THAT much to be honest, but it’s a bit of an eyesore. I know Bandai can avoid this if they tried. The same could be said for the ankle joints, which are cast in a orange-yellow color instead of a blue color. It’s just inexcusable, because if these joints were blue they would blend in seamlessly.


When Bandai unveiled the 6 inch line, I absolutely hated the new head sculpt. It looked so stupid to me. Pictures are strange, because in person it doesn’t bother me near as much as it does looking at it in high quality photos. I still prefer the more stoic first head sculpt, but this one isn’t terrible I guess.


When Bandai decided to relaunch their brand new line in the 6 inch scale, many fans immediately thought (and hoped) that what Bandai really meant was the toys were going to be scaled around 7 inches to fit in with the MOTUC line. Sadly that is not the case and these figures are pretty much a true 6 inches. Whether you imagine these guys as smaller or not, is up to you.


I am not a huge scale Nazi and given that many lines are called 6 inch or 3 3/4 and end up being varying heights, I don’t get too bent out of shape about this stuff. I do like it when lines can mix and Lion-O does seem a bit more like a Teen Titan next to He-Man than I’d like, it won’t stop me from buying future figures.


Plus it would appear as though there is a scale within the line itself, meaning certain characters will be larger than others. Spoiler alert, Mumm-Ra figure review coming soon.


The paint is simple, clean and effective with little to no slop. The same could be said for the sculpting itself, as it’s a bit softer than MOTUC, but it’s appropriate for the style of figures. It will be interesting to see how some of the more visually dynamic characters like Vultureman or Slythe look in this line.

Articulation:
The old LJN line was loaded down with goofy gimmick actions and pretty weak articulation. Thankfully the Bandai line has plenty of articulation to make this figure quite poseable. It’s not the most poseable figure on the market, but it’s up to par with DCUC or MOTUC.


You’ve got all your typical joints, including cuts at the top of the boots which are quite well hidden. The only weak area is the neck, which does have a ball joint but it doesn’t really move up thanks to the hair sculpt.


The torso joints are a bit different too, as you have two joints there, with one being more of a pivot/crunch and the other doing some swivel.


But you won’t have much trouble posing him in a variety of situations. The hands are legit ball joints, so you can get some extra movement out of them as well.


In fact the posing may be the best part of this figure. He’s a lot of fun to fiddle with and he’s got a great center of balance. You don’t feel like you need a stand to do anything with him. The ankles in particular have great rocker motion.


I think most people will be impressed. I did feel a bit of loosening the more I posed him, but not as much as many other figures on the market.

Accessories:
One of the best parts of the Thundercats concept was the cool glove claw and sword of Omens. Bandai has included that along with a few other things to round out a solid figure.


You get two sets of hands, one pair of slightly open claw hands and one set of sword gripping hands. I found the sword gripping hands to be very tight and nearly impossible to just slip the sword into. However the hands are soft enough rubber than you can bend the fingers with your own hands and then sort of pop the sword in.


“Shout out to my gloved brother Rene Goulet!”

The glove is actually a hand all it’s own, which definitely works better than just a clip on attachment.


The small sword of Omens even fits into the glove, just like on the show. Another great little detail from Bandai.


There is also a little belt strap that can be plugged into the side of the hips. This allows you to carry the glove on the figure, for even more poses and accuracy.


The swords both look great and the long sword is actually quite long… The only problem with the swords is that they’re made out of a very pliable rubber.


I am very lucky that my Lion-O’s sword is not warped in the least… But ALL of the three other Lion-O figures in the store, were. I’ve seen some really warped figure’s swords in other people’s photos as well. This should really be made of a harder plastic.


The hands all pop off quite easily and aside from the sword’s flimsy nature, the accessories are quite good.

Value:
A highly articulated figure with two sets of hands and three weapons for only $14.99?! That’s like 2008’s prices or something! Seriously, the value here is quite good. While it’s not cheap by any means and it certainly has a few cost cutting measures (like the screws) it definitely does feel like there is a value here. It’s been so long since we’ve seen a 6 inch property that actually comes with more than the bare minimum. I don’t feel like I’m getting robbed with this toy, which is something I can’t say for a lot of toys at this scale.


Another thing I noticed is that Target has sold these figures well, yet I have had no issue finding them. It’s almost like you could actually market a line like this in stores, so long as you don’t overstock unpopular characters and keep the main guys out there for purchase. Pretty amazing concept!


Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 9
Articulation – 9
Accessories – Extra Hands, Claw Glove, Holster, Sword of Omens (small), Sword of Omens (full)
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10

This figure has it’s flaws, but the decent price point and the nice amount of accessories make this a pretty good buy in today’s market. I’m not sure how much of that is because of how expensive toys have gotten or if it’s just neat to have some classic Thundercats toys on the shelves.


I wouldn’t pay $20 for these at the 8 inch scale, but I don’t feel as bad paying $15 at the 6 inch scale. As if often the case, your mileage may vary. Bandai was able to sell me on these by putting them in stores, though. That’s a big advantage to a line like this.


I never would have bitten had these been online exclusives.

Need more Thundercats? Wes reviewed the SDCC 8 inch version: SDCC 8 Inch Lion-O

The modern 6 inch version: 6 Inch Modern Lion-O

And a long time ago I reviewed a Snarf pencil topper/straw holder: Snarf!

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