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Super7: ThunderCats ULTIMATES! Lion-O and Cheetara (Toy Versions) Feature

I hate to admit it, but while there have been some good toys released over the past few weeks, I have been in a bit of a rut. Adding new stuff to the shelf felt a little too formulaic as of late, and I hate when that sets in with this hobby that I love so much. It’s not the fault of the new stuff, just a general malaise with me that might just be the doldrums of winter creeping in my collecting. Well, there is nothing better to shock you out of drab state of being by a bit of the unexpected. And here we are.

Now, I know what you are going to say, “ c’mon you have made it obvious that you love the ThunderCats property, and that you collect the ULTIMATES! figures.” Yes, that is absolutely correct, but if I am being completely honest, when Super7 announced this sixth series of figures would be “vintage toy” versions of some core characters, I wasn’t over the moon. It’s not that it wasn’t a good idea, just that I am big on getting unique characters as a priority in any line I collect, and this line-up of Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Cheetara, and Monkian did not offer that. Plus, the ENTIRE series would follow this pattern, and at the time, I felt that was a big of overkill. So, I would add these to my shelves because I thought they looked neat, but during the solicitation time, I wasn’t as excited as I typically would be for a new TCats announcement. 

Well, as tends to happen, fast-forward to today, and oh my, do I LOVE these figures. As I said, one of the best parts about it is that I just wasn’t expecting it. I mentioned the lack of new characters that originally failed to excite me, but also, ULTIMATES! as a whole have had rough couple of months with some issues nagging other series. Well, you need more than one series to be a trend, but from an overall quality and execution standpoint, these are some of the nicest ULTIMATES! yet. Damn it, I LOVE the colors and designs on these, and now I am going to need vintage toy versions of all of the core heroes and villains. 

With all of that: the final products in this series are, for the most part, very nice. All of the engineering of the joints, the plastic quality, durability, and paint lines are all top-drawer. Yeah, I have a little bit of paint chipping on Mumm-Ra’s sword (I will get to that in a couple of days), and the hands could be made of softer plastic, but those are mostly minimal. I love that these figures feel solid because that has been an ongoing issues with ULTIMATES!, so I really, really, REALLY hope this is what turning a corner feels like, and we can look back on this assortment as the re-establishment of premium figures. It might be a little trite to say, but there are no concerns when swapping parts/etc., so that means the correct choices are being made in these situations, and that must continue. Some of them are not perfect, and I do have one big complaint, but that is trending in the right direction.

I am going to say that I hope that the majority of the ThunderCats U! line remains true to the cartoon designs, and gives us as many unique characters as possible, but boy oh boy – these figures are a huge nostalgia bomb. I didn’t have a complete ThunderCats collection as a kid, but I had a lot of them, and these new figures let that vintage collection wash back over me in the best way. In one series, this proves that there is absolutely room for these versions in this line, and as I mentioned above, I look forward to more. 

Looking at Lion-O and Cheetara today, I do like both of these figures, but Lion-O is clear winner of the two for me. The colors are what get me the most about these, and Lion-O has those bright colors I have been wanting for a long time. Yeah, I gravitate towards the cartoon designs, but I have to admit that the oranges and blues here are lovely, and I would love to see a cartoon design combined with these colors for my perfect Lion-O. It is funny to say, but I love it when toys look like toys. That is not something that is easy to pull off in a collector line, but having a premium figure with garish colors and design tweaks is a nice storm to make you remember your plastic adventures of yore. I will say the ThunderCats logos here don’t match the LJN versions as closely as the original renders, but I have heard some hints that was a licensor choice, not a Super7 design change.

Lion-O gets the Sword of Omens and Claw Shield in the vintage toy colors, and that means red takes the primary colors here. There are also some swappable hands included, but that is all of the accessories, so if I am going to harp on anything in this series, it is going to be that I would have loved to see to have seen more accessories. A replica of the light-up device, or a “light up eyes” paint deco head, or even a Snarf slug figure would have been fun to include here. Heck, even an other Claw Shield that could hang from the belt – the peg is there, but left without any real purpose. Maybe there will a spot for some of those things in the future (Ma-Mutt isn’t with Mumm-Ra either, so maybe Snarf can join him somewhere), so we will see. 

Cheetara is another fun figure, and I think she is a good choice for this assortment, but she is not quite as striking as Lion-O. Like the leader of the ThunderCats, he colors in the vintage deco really do pop, and the cheetah motif is almost more stark here than the cartoon version, so I am glad paint turned out so cleanly. I am really impressed with the paint work on the face, especially since we know that is something that was a challenge to achieve with the previous figure. The lines are all sharp, even down to the pupils, and the purple highlight above her eyes will definitely catch yours.

My biggest issue with this series is that Cheetara does have the only less-than-great paint use in the series, and that on the joints in her elbows and wrists. I already have some chipping on the back of an elbow, and the colors won’t match as they should, so that could definitely improve when taking about plastic colors for these parts. PLEASE: NO PAINTED JOINTS. Make the joint plastic match the intended colors correctly without any paint at all.

These are fun figures, and with the return to solid overall quality, the future is looking good for ThunderCats. Like I said, I want the focus of this line to continue to be on the cartoon designs and unique characters, but this new series proves that there is absolutely room for vintage toy versions. Lion-O is the standout of these first two, but Cheetara is nice as well, and now I am really wanting Slithe and the rest of the core Cats to join them. I will be back soon with a look at Mumm-Ra and Monkian, but in the mean time, these are in-stock at BBTS, so go get yours now.

*Thanks to Super7 for sending these along for a feature.