Several years back I was at a local Meijers and noticed some brand new Fantastic Four action figures. They were similar to Marvel Legends by ToyBiz but had a more cartoonish card and backer. I picked up a Ben Grimm “The Thing” figure and stared at him in amazement for several minutes. This was the most perfect Thing figure I had ever laid eyes on. I carried him around through the store intent to break my stance on buying action figures, but eventually after careful research about the figure’s “action feature”, I decided to pass and set him down.

That figure was the Fantastic Four line’s “Thunder Launcher Thing”. I had no idea what I was passing on at the time. In fact the store had nearly every single Fantastic Four figure from that line, at least three whole pegs and I could have easily bought 95% of the toys in one swoop. Most of those figures fetch high prices now on Ebay, cursed 20/20 hindsight.

Because of the low distribution of that wave and ToyBiz’s Fantastic Four line in general, a lot of people don’t know about Thunder Launcher Thing. Those who do debate whether it’s the greatest Ben Grimm figure of all time or a near miss. To me, for this scale, he’s the best.

Marvel Select appears to be channeling this figure with their upcoming Thing figure and we’ll see if it stacks up when it comes out this next year. For this Thing however, now is the time to gloat. Thing boasts forty two pieces of individual articulation. That’s a feat for any figure, much less a Ben Grimm. This is also one time where ToyBiz’s love of shoving articulation into a figure doesn’t ruin the sculpt as they actually omitted a torso hinge so that the sculpt is more solid.

The Thing is a piece of beauty from head to toe. He has articulated fingers and this really works well on big figures like this. His Hulk cousins almost look like they have too much articulation, but it fits in beautifully with the Thing’s sculpt. His paint is just right and if he was wearing his undies instead of shorts, he’d been absolutely stellar.

The problem that originally made me pass on this Ben Grimm figure was his action feature. It’s one of those “push a button on his back make his arms throw forward” moves. Despite the clunky applications it allows for some movement of the arms individually. It’s actually better integrated than the recent Colossus figure who had a similar movement.

The button itself is pretty ugly though, but don’t let that detour you from the figure. The button could be sanded down or cut off. You can leave it as well, because we’ve certainly had to deal with worse through the years. Scale is the only other area of concern as he is a tad tall for some folks liking. I’m okay with this huge Thing because after years of undersized Ben Grimms a bigger one is a nice change of place, plus he looks good next to several of my Hulks. You may have a differing opinion.

All in all, the Thunder Launcher Thing figure is a forgotten gem and truly one of ToyBiz’s highlights. Everything clicked on this figure and every single 6 inch scale Thing since this one has failed to live up to it. I’m not sure why this version of Thing wasn’t retooled by Hasbro and had the action feature removed and then re-released as I’d bet it would be a sure fire seller.

If you haven’t tracked down this Thing figure and collect Marvel in this scale, I’d definitely recommend him to you.

6 Responses to Focus On: Thunder Launcher Thing

  • Michael says:

    I remember seeing these in stores, but had long since dropped Marvel figures. It does seem some of these are expensive. However, this figure seems to be quite reasonably priced on ebay right now. Looking around on there for this and then seeing the 90’s Toy Biz Marvel figures is nostalgic. I still have all of them.

  • Indeed, this figure can still be had for a decent price. It was some of the other figures in the FF line that ended up being quite pricey. Which is why I was bringing attention to this one.

  • Michael says:

    I noticed Dragon Man and Kang to be rather pricey. I remember seeing both at TRU when available. If I knew then what I know now I would have bought one of each and hung on to them. I take it the cartoon that these accompanied bombed? I remember hearing about it, but it did not seem to last long.

  • I don’t actually think these were related to that cartoon. I think these predated that, with the cartoon coming a year ot two later. Some figures came with that too I think, though I don’t recall ever seeing them and it bombed.

  • Gilltron says:

    I’ve always wanted that Dragon Man figure just couldn’t find it and now can’t afford it
    the cartoon had its own line of figures I believe and they bombed.

  • Ken says:

    See, from that F4 line, I was more akin to the Mike Weringo designed Thing. He looked better, but less articulation.

    Good review.

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