To finish off this sixth wave of ThunderCats ULTIMATES!, Super7 has kept to the vintage toy designs, but this time, applying them to evil side. Mumm-Ra and Monkian are here to battle against Lion-O and Cheetara, and I can here that old LJN commercials in my head just looking at these guys.
In case you missed it, we looked at the heroic half of this wave last week. I have been under the weather, so this one is a little later than I originally had hoped, but honestly – the wait has been worth it. As I mentioned previously, I wasn’t overly jazzed about this series when it was announced, but now, I have been won over that these vintage LJN versions are absolute winners, and there there is room in this line for variations on the main cast just like this. Lion-O is fantastic, but to cut to the chase: Mumm-Ra is the best of these four. He is such for a lot of reasons, but capturing that very different (from the cartoon) toy look the best out of all of these is certainly high on that list. Now, I don’t need them for the more minor characters, but getting an LJN version of Slithe has just become a high priority on my list of most-wanted from this line.
As a general statement – the overall quality on this series is very good, and as it is the same for the Invisible Tygra figure, I hope this is the trend going forward. Some things aren’t perfect, and we will get to that, but by and large, the joints are strong, the paint is clean, and materials are correct. Mumm-Ra is a big chunk of plastic, and while amounts to about the same as the cartoon version, the larger proportion head/etc. makes this figure feel even bigger. So, ensuring joint quality and proper materials are even more important here, and while his knees support his weight effortlessly, the wraps surrounding him are soft enough to not impede any movement.
The only real gripe I have is that I have some paint flaking on the hilt of the sword due to the hand grip being too tight. I KNEW when I was putting the sword in the hand that I should have heated it up, so let me hubris be your caution and just heat up the hand before arming Mumm-Ra. Past that, I would say that while it is a fine color, the flesh tone of this new U! figure does not match up perfectly to the vintage LJN. You can see it in the picture, so while I think it is probably inside the margin of error for most people, I positive some will take issue. Finally, I enjoy both of the heads included here, but I wish that one had a “glowing” eyes pain effect to pay homage to the light-up effect of yore. It’s not a huge thing, just something that would be fun. Ma-Mutt would have been cool, too. Otherwise, this is a great figure.
Monkian is no less great, in fact – objectively he might be more successful, he is just literally overshadowed by Mumm-Ra’s presence. I didn’t have all the ThunderCats figures when I was a kid, but I did have several and Monkian was a stalwart. Mumm-Ra didn’t come out all the time. He was only unleashed when the worst was about to happen, so the Mutants ran the evil show for the most part. After Slithe, Monkian was (and still is) my guy, so I have a lot of love for a tribute figure of that original that meant so much to me.
Like Mumm-Ra, Monkian’s vintage toy look is a significant departure from the animated look, and it has been adapted nicely here. There are several carry-over pieces from the previous figure utilized here, and I would call the reuse successful, with nothing feeling shortchanged just for the sake of making use of something that is already there. Like all of these vintage versions, the colors are more stark and they contrast against each other more. It is funny to say that a cream color and brown can be bright and dynamic, but here they are certainly that way.
Monkian has two swappable heads, one more placid, and the based directly off of the vintage figure, which is more enraged. I would go with the latter naturally, but it is also more interesting and befitting of Monkian’s personality to me. There is, of course, a removable helmet that is all new to match the vintage design and that is appreciated and important. Now, it’s a lovely helmet, but to match my typical childhood adventures, I am probably leaving the helmet off of this one. I had trouble keeping track of it as a kid, and so leaving it off here seems fitting. Alternate hands are there, as well as a reuse of the previous version’s mace.
These vintage LJN figures have been a bit of a pleasant surprise for me, and I really appreciate what is being done here. I would most certainly take further figures like this, sprinkled in the line from time to time. If you didn’t pre-order these, you can still get them from BBTS, so head there if you are inclined. Series seven is still a little ways off, but that will be back to the cartoon designs for four characters making their debuts in the ULTIMATES! line. I can’t wait!
*Thanks to Super7 for sending these along for a feature.