AFi #THUNDERCATS EXCLUSIVE – The Bandai “LOST YEAR” Part 1
May 30, 2016

Back in 2009 Warner Brothers Animation and Studio 4°C Animation started development on a revamped and revived Thundercats animated series.  This new series launched with an hour long special in July 2011 on the Cartoon Network.   The series was very well received by critics and fans.   I’m sure not everyone loved it, but it was a heck of a lot better than the movie that was in development prior where the Thundercats were a band that traveled around in a van!  It was a well crafted show that showed tremendous respect to the original. The show was mapped out to run for at least three seasons.

thundercats_logo_new2.jpg

 

Also in 2009 Bandai America was awarded the master toy license for ThunderCats and began work on a fairly robust toy line of figures based both on the new and classic animation that would debut in in 2011 ahead of the series.

Thundercats.org has a nice, brief history of the line:

Right out of the gate, BanDai produced a large line of action figures, vehicles, a playset, role play toys and much more. Two waves of 4″ regular and deluxe action figures were released, as well as a 6 inch line and a ThunderCats Classic line. The 4 inch scale figures and vehicles have a pretty cool feature called ThunderLynx. These figures and vehicles all have a magnet activation system, meaning they all have magnets embedded in them, which unlock and activate various features, such as sound and lights. The 6 inch line features a selection of figures from the 4 inch line, but with more points of articulation and a more detailed sculpt and paint job. The Classic line was designed to give fans the first ThunderCats action figures based on their appearance in the classic 1985 animated series. A full checklist, including product numbers and package variants, can be found here!

Unfortunately  the line did not last very long.  In 2012, when BanDai did not show any new items at the New York Toy Fair, rumors started spreading that the ThunderCats line was cancelled. When online retailers started to label the line as Discontinued, what many fans feared seemed to become reality: no more ThunderCats.

 

Cartoon Network did not make it easy for fans to watch the show.  They started moving the shows timeslot and air date several times so it became harder and harder for fans to catch new episodes.  Even some DVRs were not able to keep up with the changes.  Still fans held on and watched as best they could, and helped each other out by recording, posting and passing around the episodes for the remainder of season one.

A few months before season one finished airing, Bandai had already gotten all the episode synopsis for the proposed season two and had a few meetings with the WB animation team to roll out what characters/vehicles they were planning and what should/could be included in the show and line beyond what they had planned for FA2012.    We will pick back up with the history lesson in tomorrow’s post.  Now lets look at some toys!

All this week we are bringing you the exclusive reveal of the “Lost Year” of Bandai’s Thundercats line, the 2012 expansion to their 2011 Thundercats relaunch and all the product planned and even sculpted, but never came to be.  We were give exclusive access by our friend and former Thundercats line manager Amanda W to show off the blood, sweat and tears that she and her team put into the terrific line of great, but short-lived toys.

ThunderCats-Fall-2012-Product-1

 I’m going to try and mix things up this week and give you a little of the 2011 Cartoon Network products and the Classics products that they had in the works for their 2012 line.

2012 6″ Action Figures

For the new 6″ figure reveals today we have a trio that did make it out in the first year of the 4″ line.  Wilykit and Wilykat were both released as 4″ scale figures in the first wave of the basic figure line and Grune was in the second assortment of deluxe figures, but here, as 6″ scale figures you have better sculpts and better articulation as well as some fun accessories.  The 6″ line certainly feels incomplete without the twins.

ThunderCats Fall 2012 Product.pptx

 GRUNE

ThunderCats20126inFigsGrune1 ThunderCats20126inFigsGrune2

Wiley Kit And Wiley Kat

ThunderCats20126inFigsWKitKat1

ThunderCats20126inFigsWKit2 ThunderCats20126inFigsWKat2

THUNDERCATS CLASSICS 2″ BOXED SET

At the end of the original 2011 line towards the end of the run we saw a boxed set of stylized 2″ PVC figures based on the Cartoon Network animation.   There was also a companion set in the works based on the classic animation that would have been awesome.   I wonder who’s desk these unreleased prototypes are sitting on these days?   See below for larger, more detailed images of each figure.

AFBTC2ClassicSalesSheet

 Those are our reveals for today.  Check back each day for more exclusive reveals for AFi’s THUNDERWEEK!

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Time.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, CNN.com, AssociatedPress.com Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.

 

 

 

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