Bandai brought back Thundercats with a thunderous roar last year, with a ton of product based on the new animated series as well as an eight-inch collector line of figures based on the classic looks of the Thundercats. After the first two figures, Lion-O and Tygra, were released, Bandai changed everything and announced that from then on, the Thundercats Classics figures would be in the much more collector-preferred six-inch scale. The first two figures to be released would be a new Lion-O figure and Mumm-Ra.
At first, even several of the six-inch collectors groaned at the news because they had already been sold on the eight-inch figures and didn’t want to have to start all over. Fortunately, that turned out to be a good move, because these figures fit much better on a toy shelf – and Lion-O is a really cool figure.
Packaging: I really like the packaging for the Thundercats Classics figures. The best part about this package is it’s completely collector-friendly. It’s held together with strips of tape on the top flap, and taking the figure out doesn’t damage it at all. I always encourage toy companies to make more collector friendly packaging, so you can play with the figure and then display it in the box.
Design & Sculpt: Fans originally thought the six-inch figure would just be a scaled down version of the eight-inch figure, but it’s clearly not. The six-inch figures are engineered differently, so while the body of this Lion-O looks similar to the other one, it’s actually an entirely new figure.
But the design does resemble the eight-inch Lion-O figure. There is some clean muscle tone in the arms and legs, and the torso is nicely detailed with the piping on the suit and the muscle tone underneath.
The most obvious difference is the head sculpt. This time Bandai went with a very angry, open-mouthed, roaring face as opposed to the expressionless face of the eight-inch figure. I really enjoy the sculpt of this head; I always like it when figures have actual expressions on their faces, because I seriously doubt anyone would be completely apathetic while fighting for their lives.
One thing I noticed is that Lion-O has birthing hips. Seriously, if he’s standing normally you can see his hip joints are a tad too large and stick out from his pelvis. It’s a little weird.
Another major difference is the visible screws on his back; they’re definitely eyesores. I can’t imagine anyone posing their figures facing the wall, but it’s still annoying to know they’re there. It ruins the aesthetic. It does make it easier to take the figure apart for painting and parts swapping, but since most people aren’t customizers, the screws are just going to be an unwelcome addition.
Plastic & Paint: The plastic used for Lion-O is a tad shiny, but otherwise looks good. Most of the figure has been molded in the appropriate color, such at the arms and legs, with some painting on the smaller areas such as the forearm. Everything is painted rather smoothly, and I really like the metallic paint job on his belt.
His face has no paint problems either, and his eye tampograph has been applied perfectly. This is surprising as several of the other new Thundercats figures have had problems with their eyes being too small or aligned improperly. Not so here.
All of the new Thundercats figures have had complaints against them when it comes to their joint pins and discs. They’re never the proper color they should be and it always stands out. In this case, Lion-O’s ankle joints and pins are the same color orange as his skin. I suppose Bandai is trying to save money by having the joints be in the same tool as the bulk of the figure, but to leave them unpainted just makes it completely clash with his blue boots.
Articulation: Although his package says he features 18 points of articulation, he actually features much more. Since a ball joint allows it to move on both the X and Y axis, you have to count that as two points of articulation. And given that, Lion-O actually has about 30 points of articulation: Ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders, bicep rotators, single elbows, ball jointed wrists, left to right mid-torso joint, torso ball joint (allows waist to be turned and also allows for an ab crunch), ball joint-like hips, thigh rotators, double knees, calf rotators (at the boots), pin and disc ankle joints, as well as ankle rockers.
I do wish Lion-O had double elbow joints, as well as double ball joints for the wrists and his neck. The eight-inch figure featured these joints which allowed for more movement, but here the ball joints in the wrist are a part of the forearm mold and mostly allow for just a turning a motion. Same goes for the head.
But as you can see, Lion-O is very posable. And even if you don’t count the ball joints as two POA, he still clocks in at around 23 points of articulation. Someone at Bandai either needs to count better or stop being modest.
Accessories: Lion-O comes with six different accessories: Sword of Omens, Eye of Thundera (sword in dagger form), two alternate hands in a more open or clawing position, claw shield, and a strap that attaches to Lion-O’s hip and into the claw shield so you can have it hanging at his side. The alternate hands make for some dynamic posing, and the sword and dagger look great as well. The sword is made from a rather soft plastic, so there is a chance of gravity causing it to droop over time.
The claw shield looks great, but could use some paint. It’s been molded in a gold color, but still looks kinda dull. If it were painted in gold it would look much better.
Quality Control: Not a single quality control problem with Lion-O.
Overall: Lion-O is a great figure. If you’re a Thundercats fan, you’ll love it. The dynamic face sculpt, the super posability, and the accessories and weapons make this figure completely worth the money. Everything about the figure lends itself to some great posing opportunities. The visible screws in the back as well as the incorrectly colored ankle joints are really disappointing to see on such a collector marketed toy (especially since Bandai has stated that they almost certainly won’t change this in the future), and while they do detract from the overall aesthetic of the figure, it still turns out to be a fun toy that I would gladly recommend to any Thundercats fan.
Also, I’d like to add that due to his size, he fits in perfectly with the vintage Thundercats vehicles. He actually fits in the vintage Thundertank better than the vintage Lion-O figure did. So if you’ve got any of the old vehicles, you have even more display options.