Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Toy Fair 2011 : Thundercats Unleashed

While popular media mine your childhood for new movies and cartoons (based on old cartoons), the toy companies snap up the rights and before long, the pegs of Toys R Us will start looking a bit familiar. Here's a preview of the next big thing, which you'll remember as the last big thing from over 20 years ago. THUNDERCATS!! (click the links for stacks of pics on our Flickr)

BANDAI scored a ton of attention before the big show even started this year as info leaked out of the UK Toy Fair. Their main focus is the new cartoon, for which we'll see 4 inch figures of iconic heroes including Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara, Tygra, Wily-Kit and Wily-Kat and the everliving evil of Mumm-Ra (Mummy form for 4 inch and beefed up for the deluxe figures) and Grune the Destroyer. Those deluxe figures have a light and sound feature built in. Grune comes with an expanding mace accessory while Mumm-Ra is wrapped in his wings until his magnet triggers the wings to explode out. Magnets in the back of each figure trigger action features in the vehicles and playsets as well. The 4 inch figures have around 12 points of articulation.

Basic figure and Vehicle packs kick off with two Thunder Bikes; one for Tygra with a light up laser and one for Lion-O with a drill (both activated by the magic of magnets. It's science, y'all.) You'll also see a Lizard Cannon with one of Slythe's Henchmen. Not to worry, Snarf hasn't been left out. He's included in the cockpit of the Thundertank, which fits the 4 inch figures. The tank features lights and sounds as well as two buttons on the back that launch Thunder Bikes out from under the claws. Those basic vehicle bikes actually fit under there! The eyes light up, the cockpit opens and when Snarf is in the driver's seat, the call to action sounds.

The Tower of Omens is the big playset for the 4 inch line packed with lights, sounds and action triggered by the magnets in each figure. The top of the tower has a projection feature which will project the TCats logo onto the wall, calling all feline warriors to battle. The tower also comes with an exclusive Lion-O figure, a working catapult and a small basic vehicle, modeled after the original Cat's Lair (for all you die hards.) My Bandai rep told me they are going to see about adding more paint details before final production, so this is NOT the final look of the Tower of Omens. Now the box says the whole tower playset converts into a hulking Thunder Vehicle, but my reps didn't mention it once, so we'll see if that makes the final cut to production.

The 6 inch line also focuses on the new show with more emphasis on articulation, detail and scale from figure to figure so that Lion-O is smaller than Panthro, and both cower in the shadow of Mumm-Ra! Each has around 16 points of articulation. If you want to bump that up to 18 points, you'll have to graduate to the Classic Thundercats 8 inch line. Why 8 inch? To pay homage to the original LJN line. Lion-O and Tygra will start this line off. Each come with key accessories for each character. These should hit around August with the rest of the lot.

For role play we'll see Lion-O's Claw Gauntlet you can wear on your arm or your hip and the Sword of Omens in dagger form which plugs into the claw and pops up with the push of a button. The main event is the full sized Sword of Omens with a hilt that pops up and says "Give me sight beyond sight!" in Lion-O's voice while an LED in the eye lights it up. You'll actually find one side of the sword has the eye and the other has the TCats symbol (as this shifts in the cartoon when he calls the crew into battle.) Holding down a button extends the blade as it shouts "Thunder ..Thunder..Thundercats HO!" The blade extends out to 18 inches.

Everything should be on shelves this July/August.

MEZCO won't be left out of the action. Standing 20 inches tall from sword tip to his feet, the Lion-O Deluxe Figure is ready to dominate your shelf space. 7 points of articulation are packed into this rotocast piece. Will the Claw Shield be removable? They don't know yet, as they are still working on it. The sword is removable though. This should retail for around $39.99 and hits this July. Mumm-Ra is rumored to be the second figure in the line.

Now if you're looking for the ULTIMATE in Thundercats collectibles, look no further than Pop Culture Shock Collectibles' 18 inch mixed media statues. Lion-O was the first piece to blast through Sideshow Collectibles' pre-order system with an exclusive featuring light up eyes. Now Mumm-Ra is on deck and should be up for pre-sale any day now as they put the finishing touches on this massive, everliving statue. The Lion-O statue stands 32 inches high from the rock base to sword tip, so there's no telling how big Mumm-Ra will end up being, seeing as he is to scale with Lion-O and has an equally massive base. Here's a couple of teaser pics of the still in-progress Mumm-Ra, as the wrappings and such exploding off of him still need to be added. Lion-O should be shipping in April.

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