SDCC 2011 – Bandai’s Thundercats

In the past year, I can’t think of any property that’s blown-up faster than Thundercats.  With a new animated series set to debut this Friday (July 29th) on Cartoon Network, Thundercats are definately back.  While I was at Comic-con, I had the opportunity to meet with Bandai’s Thundercats brand manager and get an overview of their toy line.

There are three size scales of figures coming from Bandai, a 4-inch and 6-inch line supporting the new series and an 8-inch collectors line based on the classics Thundercats.  The 4-inch scale is the bulk of the line with a basic assortment of figures (suggested retail $7.99), deluxe figures with sounds and action features (suggested retail of $12.99), smaller vehicles (suggested retail $14.99) and the ThunderTank (suggested retail $29.99).  Integrated into the deluxe bases and vehicles are play features which are activated by magnets embedded in the figures. Also of note is that the entire Thundercats gang will be available beginning with the first wave of figures; you won’t get stuck waiting for the first wave to sell through to grab the second half of the team – this was a great move by Bandai as it ensure that kids and collectors will get the figures they want. I was really impressed with these figures; they look great and incorporate play features that don’t interfere with the aesthetics of the figure.

The 6 inch, collector’s scale figures first wave includes Lion-O, Panthro, and Mumm-Ra.  These figures feature tons of articulation and ample weapons.

The 8 inch classic collector’s figures are very similar to the 6 inch figures, but reflect the aesthetic and size of the original figures from the 80’s.  The first wave of figures includes Lion-O and Tygra; and Toys R Us offered up an exclusive version of Lion-O as a SDCC exclusive.  These look great, and if you’re a fan of Matty’s Master of the Universe collectors line, these are something you should look into.

The final segment of offerings Bandai has is an assortment of role play toys.  In the past few years, role play items have become huge so it was smart of Bandai to incorporate a few items into their line.  The first, and most significant of their role play items is the deluxe ‘Sword of Omens’ which features lights, sounds and an extendable blade – this will let kids (and some adults) pretend they’re Lion-O unleashing the powers of the Eye of Thundera.  Other role play items on deck are Lion-O’s guantlet and a small ‘Sword of Omens’ (which can be stored in the guantlet).

Overall, I was impressed with the upcoming Thundercats line from Bandai.  It’s great to see the integrated play features not interfering with the articulation or aesthetics of the figures and having the whole team available from wave one is a smart move.  I’ve not had a chance to check out the first episodes of the show, which were screen at Comic-con, but I’ll be sure to catch them this Friday when they air on Cartoon Network.  The toys will be launching in just a few weeks…so keep your eyes on your local Wal-Marts and Toys R Us to see them in person.  But until they’re on the shelf, check out the gallery below which has images of the display case in the WB booth at SDCC.

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