ThunderCats, Ho! What fans can expect from the toy line this Fall...
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One of the most iconic animated series from the Eighties has lain dormant for over two decades, but come fall of 2011, the ThunderCats will be set loose upon the world once again. The all new ThunderCats animated series will air exclusively on Cartoon Network later this year followed up by an amazing toy line by Bandai. Rumors have been circulating for years about a ThunderCats come-back and we are very excited about the new animated series and especially the great toys that will be prowling into stores in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Most of today’s collectors such as I grew up during the Eighties watching the classic ThunderCats cartoons by Rankin Bass and it is great to see the series receiving its long overdue rebirth. While the classic LJN toys hold great sentimental value to me, I have been anxiously anticipating the release of updated ThunderCats action figures that meet today’s articulation and quality standards. After visiting the Bandai booth at the New York Toy Fair earlier this year, I am extremely excited to see the new animated series and can’t wait to get my hands on all the great ThunderCats toys to share with my kids.
We recently caught up with Bandai US brand manager Amanda Burns for a quick Q&A session regarding the new toy line and got answers to several burning questions regarding this new and exciting toy line. Read on...
Figures.com: The new ThunderCats toy line looks very promising and it is great to see that Bandai is catering to collectors with its 6” and 8” action figure lines. Can you elaborate a little bit on how many points of articulation and which accessories these figures will include?
Most action figures on the market today are in the 6” scale yet your ThunderCats Classics figures are going to be taller. Many collectors are disappointed that the ThunderCats classics figures will not be in the same scale as other action figures in their collection. What was the reasoning behind making these figures so much bigger in comparison to other popular action figures?
Amanda Burns: As someone who watched ThunderCats as a kid, one of the first thoughts for the line was to make sure we had something in the line for those who’ve been fans since the '80s. So for both the 6” New Show and 8” Classic Show figures we did a lot of research on the original toy line and then looked at what was out there in the market place to make sure we married the best of both the old and the new. All of our 6”/8” figures have around 18+ points of articulation and come with each characters own unique weapons. Some of the figures also include an extra set of hands for additional poses.
In doing all the research for the creation of the line, we found that there is a wide range of heights for collector figures, anywhere from 6-8 inches depending on the brand. We chose to go with the 8” for the classic line to pay homage to the original 8” figures back in the '80s and 6” for the new show figures to match what is currently out on the market today. However, that doesn’t mean the classic characters will only ever be released in the 8” scale.
While a plethora of product has been revealed for the new ThunderCats toy line, only two classics figures (Lion-O and Tygra) have been announced. What other classic figures can collectors expect to see later on down the road and will the upcoming figures release in pairs as well?
Will the Thundercats Classics action figure line focus only on the core characters or can collectors expect to see more obscure characters such as the Lunatacs and Grune the Conqueror?
That is correct, we are focusing most of the toy line at the launch for support of the New ThunderCats show, but we hope to release all the classic main ThunderCats characters (heroes and villains) in toy form, this year and next year. More than likely they will be released in pairs, but that could always change. And one will be able to recreate iconic scenes from the show.
Again our primary focus is the main characters now. We’d love to be able to get to do some of the secondary characters, but that is all determined on how well the line does at launch this fall.
Are there any plans to produce in-scale vehicles to go with the Classic ThunderCats figures?
If a ThunderCats feature film was to be released in the future, does Bandai currently hold the licensed rights to produce film-based product as well?
It has been discussed in creating classic vehicles in our toy line, but to do them in-scale with our 8” figures wouldn’t be cost effective.
I can’t discuss our license deal.
Have you considered developing a monthly collector action figure subscription service for ThunderCats Classics similar to Mattel’s Club Eternia program for Masters of the Universe Classics?
Will the ThunderCats have a strong presence at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego and are there any plans for a convention exclusive action figure from Bandai? Perhaps an exclusive figure of Lion-O’s father Clawdius?
Logistically at this time we are not set up to be able to do a monthly collector service.
We would like to thank Amanda Burns and Bandai for taking the time to answer our questions. Stay tuned for more details on Bandai’s Comic-Con plans for ThunderCats in the coming weeks.
ThunderCats will have a presence at San Diego Comic-Con this year... More information to come, I can’t spoil it now!
Interview by Jorge Pelaez