The Bandai Thundercats toy line has had a dubious run, at best. With the fate of the new cartoon still officially unsure, the toys just seem to be drying up. Nobody is sure what Bandai plans to do with the figures, if they're officially cancelled or not, but apparently they've made at least one more. Back during the Singapore Toys, Game, and Comics Convention, Bandai released an exclusive figure just for the convention. It's an 8" version of Mumm-Ra as Lion-O from the episode "Fond Memories" from the old Thundercats cartoon. Now, Bandai has gone on record as saying that the 8" figure line would likely continue as convention exclusives so the scale choice here isn't surprising. But what is surprising is that this figure exists at all, given that there was absolutely no warning about it prior to its release.
I'm not sure why, out of all the really big conventions out there, Bandai chose STGCC to give the exclusive to, but I suppose this was an easy enough one to do since it was just a repaint of the previously released 8" Lion-O. Many fans were taken aback at how sudden it was, and many more were confused since given all the evidence we were led to believe there would be no more Thundercats figures, but alas here we are. So join me as I take a closer look at the STGCC exclusive Lion-O (Mumm-Ra version) action figure.
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The packaging for Mumm-Ra Lion-O is the exact same shape and style as the previously released 8" Lion-O figure. We have the Thundercats Classic logo at the top, with his name at the bottom and an indicator that this is the "Mumm-Ra Version" and a "limited edition" figure. We also have a sticker right on the blister indicating it as an STGCC exclusive. On the back it shows off his accessories, as well as the other 8" Thundercats Classic figures for sale. We also get a large photograph of Mumm-Ra Lion-O squaring off with the real Lion-O and a brief description of where this version of the character comes from.
I've always liked this style of packaging, because it's sturdy, has a cool retro feel to it, and it's completely collector friendly. With just the snip of some tape on the sides, you can open the box, play with the figure, and put it back up without it ever looking like it had been opened. Something that is really cool about this packaging, compared to the previously released Lion-O figure is there is a plastic barricade of sorts at the top of Lion-O's head, keeping it in place. This was missing out of the original Lion-O's packaging and as a result, many of those figures' heads would hit the blister and scrape paint off. so it's awesome to see that not being a factor here.
If you own the original 8" Lion-O, or the SDCC exclusive Lion-O figure, then you already know what you're getting, because this is literally the exact same figure. The sculpt is good enough to resemble Lion-O, though I do think he's a tad skinny in the torso region. Otherwise I think he has pretty good proportions, and his sculpt is certainly detailed enough to resemble the cartoon. With that hair, his head sculpt is definitely Lion-O. He even has the same nondescript expression on his face. I never was a fan of this expression, as it doesn't really look good for neutral or fighting poses.
Considering this is supposed to be Mumm-Ra as Lion-O, I feel it would have been awesome if they had up-sized the 6" Lion-O's roaring head and put it on this figure to make him look more ferocious and dare I say, evil? It's not a huge deal since this was clearly meant to be a straight repaint, but it still would have been a cool way to help set them apart even further.
Whatever you do, try not to look directly at this figure. To say the color scheme is bright is an understatement. It's garish at best. You can't fault Bandai for it though, since it is completely accurate to the episode, but purely speaking as a figure, the bright red does seem to clash with the flesh tone. Even still though, I think it was done very well here, particularly on the torso where it seems to be almost a metallic red. Having that metallic sheen to it is awesome, and is missing from the other incarnations of Lion-O.
Something I would like to note, even though it's not technically paint, is that his shoulders seem to be cast in a slightly different color than his arms. Likewise for his hips and his legs. It's not noticeable until you've been looking at it up close for a while, but I felt it necessary to point it out. Now for the head. The head is done up very cleanly, with no bleeding edges or sloppy paint. The eyes are tampographed on evenly and look great. For what it's trying to accomplish, the paint job is well done. I would like to have seen some kind of wash applied to help bring out the sculpt, but even without it the figure still looks very clean.
Lion-O has a cut at the top of his neck allowing for left and right movement, and a hinge at the bottom allowing for a tilt. He also has ball jointed shoulders, single elbows, ball jointed wrists, a very slight ab crunch, a ball jointed torso allowing for full range of motion, ball jointed hips, thigh rotators, double knees, boot rotators, and pivot-hinged ankles. Just like in the previous incarnations, this Lion-O is chocked full of articulation. Say what you will about the sculpt and paint, but I absolutely love the articulation on this figure. I'm definitely an articulation junkie, so this is very much appreciated. In all honesty, the joints on this figure seem to be much tighter and work better than on the other figures, which is a nice surprise.
My previous Lion-O figure was something of a bobble-head, and here his neck hinge is nice and tight. His arms have a great range of movement as well. It would have been cool to get double elbows to go along with the double knees, but it's not a huge deal since they can be bent pretty far anyway. The torso is interesting. Midway through his torso he has a cut that at first makes it look like a floating ball joint or something, but it isn't. It's actually just an ab crunch, but extremely limited. You can very slightly move it forward or back, but this joint is rendered moot by the ball joint that his lower torso sits upon.
This allows for really great forward and backward movement, as well as letting you rotate him left and right, and tilt him side to side, so I have no idea why this mid-torso joint was included. Maybe it was there to break up the sculpt more, but it's kind of an eyesore to be honest with you. Other than that, his articulation is really awesome. It works very well, has fluid motion, but still retains tight so you won't have him falling over or anything like that.
Mumm-Ra Lion-O comes with a hefty amount of accessories. He comes with the fully extended Sword of Omens, the dagger version of the Sword of Omens, two alternate hands, the claw shield, and a removable side holster for the claw shield. The claw shield is done up in a nice metallic gold that looks great on his arm, and holstered on his hip. The holster by the way is done in very hard plastic, something I really wish had been done in soft resin, but still it clips on the inside of the claw shield well and stays at his side. The dagger is able to fit into his gripped hand, and slips easily into the claw shield.
Both the dagger and sword of omens are painted in a nice silver, with the Eye of Thundera appearing on the dagger, and the Thundercats insignia on the Sword. Something I noticed with the sword is that it's even more pliable than the original Lion-O's sword. It's soft resin, and seems to droop even easier than the previous figure's, which I found weird. So you may have to deal with that unfortunately. His alternate hands are one left, and one right, for gripping or for clawing. They pop on easily and look great in pretty much any pose you can think of.
Now something else this figure came with was surprising. It seems that in addition to the accessories included in his package, he comes with some extras. Much like the SDCC Lion-O figure, this figure comes with vac chromed versions of the short and long Sword of Omens, and comes with the altar that the Sword of Omens and Claw Shield were displayed on in the first episode, but done in red instead of purple. If you don't want to deal with the soft resin sword, this one is amazing. It's completely vac chrome and hard plastic underneath (vac chrome won't adhere to soft resin anyway), and both the long and short swords fit in his hand easily without any of the chrome chipping off. And because it's hard plastic, this will NOT droop to gravity over time.
Once you set up the altar, you can set the short sword at the top with the claw shield on the bottom. It looks awesome, though again the bright red is rather garish. And it would have benefited from having the metallic sheen to it here as well, but still it's a very cool addition. You also get a sticker of the Thundercats Classic logo on a clear backing. Feel free to put this anywhere! I'm not sure why it was included, but it's certainly cool nonetheless. Who doesn't love stickers?
It's Thundercats, so it already automatically gets a little amount of fun factor there. But as a figure on its own, it's still quite a lot of fun. The copious amount of articulation he has certainly adds to that. After all, it's always fun to be able to pose your figure pretty much any way you want. And all the accessories help to add to the fun too, especially the chrome swords. There's also the added fact that in the 8" figure line, this is technically the first villain. So your 8" Lion-O and Tygra finally have someone to fight! Yes, it's Mumm-Ra as Lion-O, but still, it's better than the literal nothing we had before in the way of villains.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR -
Other than the really rubbery sword, nothing to look out for.
This is definitely a really cool figure. I wouldn't say this is a necessary figure to add to your collection, however if you're a Thundercats completist, then I would recommend picking this up. He's incredibly articulated allowing for just about any pose you can think of, and comes with not only the same accessories as the regularly released Lion-O, but the chrome swords and the sword altar from the SDCC Lion-O set, which really adds to his value. It's just a repaint of the original Lion-O figure, but it is from a specific episode of the old cartoon, which is pretty cool.
If you're someone who only collects the 8" figures, then you might want this based on the fact that it's technically the first villain in that line. And considering what little we've heard of the fate of this line, this could very well be the last Thundercats figure Bandai ever makes. If you're a Thundercats fan, then I think you'll really like this figure, and love adding him to your display shelf. I personally really love episode specific figures, so I think this was a very cool choice to do. Overall, I'd say this is a really good figure.
FINAL SCORE: 3.5 / 5
Product sample provided by BigBadToyStore.com.