June 2, 2016

Welcome back to Day 3 of THUNDERWEEK where we are taking a look at the lost year of Bandai America’s ThunderCats products that would have been released back in 2012 if the show and the line had not been cancelled.  If you missed any of the previous installments you can go back and check out the Day 0 Preview, the Day 1 reveals and the Day 2 reveals.  This will also help you get caught up with the story of what happened and why the line was canceled.


We’ll probably never know WHY the show was cancelled, despite the critical and fan success, but my theory on why Cartoon Network didn’t keep the show, in spite of the fact that Warner Brothers and Cartoon Network are sister companies, is that at the time, ThunderCats wasn’t an owned property for them.  Cartoon Network most likely had to pay broadcast rights for the show. They would rather replace it with something they owned/had a piece of so they didn’t promote ThunderCats as much as they could have during the first season and decided to cut their losses on the second season.

The craziest thing is that even though Bandai knew that the show would not be moving forward for a second season or their 2012 line up, Cartoon Network still never confirmed to fans that it was cancelled!  Some fans remained hopeful all through 2012, despite the rumors and speculation, that maybe it was just an extended hiatus and that the show would still come back.  “Official” word of the cancellation didn’t come until early 2013 when series art director Dan Norton posted confirmation to the “Save ThunderCats” Facebook page.


That was the final nail in the coffin for ThunderCats the animated series.

That was some of the history of the show, now let’s talk more about the toys and get to they Day 3 reveals:

One item that was in the works for 2012 that I don’t have any images for for THUNDERWEEK was going to be the 2012 San Diego Comic Con exclusive – an 8″ ThunderCats Classic Cheetara figure.  She was sculpted but got cut as well as the rest of the 2012 product because it was all part of the same tooling timeline for the fall line, albeit she would have had slightly tighter timeline to be at the con.


ThunderCats Fall 2012 Product.pptx

THE SABER TANK PLAYSET – In the first wave of Bandai’s ThunderCats line we got a REALLY impressive Tower of Omens playset along with an exclusive figure.  In the 2012 line we would have gotten the Saber Tank which is a combination playset and vehicle!   This set also would have come with an exclusive figure, which on this original B-sheet is shown as Lion-O but was later changed to be a translucent Ro-Bear figure. (Spoiler Alert you will see more of the Ro-Bears in tomorrow’s update).  The playset had both a vehicle mode and a command center mode as well as the side treads being removable to include a small vehicle mode.  All that was included as well as firing missiles and light-up feature as part of the ThunderLynx Magnet system.

ThunderCats Fall 2012 Product.pptx

TC2012SaberTank1 TC2012SaberTank2 TC2012SaberTank4 TC2012SaberTank5 TC2012SaberTank3




SUPER COLLECTOR FIGURE – These Super Collector figures were a new sub-line that was pitched for 2012. Essentially they would have been like Bandai Japan S.I.C. (Super Imaginative Chogokin) figures with Kenji Ando (who is one of the Bandai Japan SIC designers) sculpting/designing them. Originally Bandai’s plans were to do Lion-O, Cheetara and Mumm-Ra, but then they scaled back to launch with just Lion-O.

TC SIC Figure.pptx

It would have been a fascinating experiment to see figures like these at mass retail instead of having to hunt them down and pay an import fee.   I would have loved to have seen where this line would have gone.  The designs for the others looked great and the prototype for Lion-O looks INCREDIBLE!   I have to wonder where that prototype ended up…

TC SIC Figure.pptx

TCSuperCollectLionO1 TCSuperCollectLionO2 TCSuperCollectLionO3 TCSuperCollectLionO5


Sorry this update was a little late!   We still have two more days of reveals and AFi’s THUNDERWEEK ahead so stay tuned and thanks to everyone for the feedback on this event week and for spreading the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram!  I appreciate it!

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 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,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, 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.





  • Scott says:

    That Lion-O figure looks much better than the design in the reboot show but it’s still just missing something from the original for me. I can’t put my finger on it.

    Had to shake my head at the Cheetara redesign concept pic though.. I always liked that the original DIDN’T walk around in a breast-exposing outfit. She had class.

  • Jeff says:

    Banda USA was a terrible choice for this license, and IMHO they are big reason this reboot failed. They did a terrible job with the figures, which were nowhere close to the level of the LJN ones. The prototypes looked decent, but the final products came out looking awful. Once Bandai was awarded this license, I knew the show was in trouble.

    What sucks the most? Mattel was offered the line but turned it down because they already had Voltron at that time.

    • Russell says:

      The Thundercats reboot was doomed from Day 1

      Bandai USA has been pumping out mostly crap for years, and these days a licensed TV show on Cartoon Network is a guaranteed death knell; the power of Grayskull can confirm that for you.

  • demoncat_4 says:

    odds are the prototype for that one lion figure is in some ones private collection like one of those who worked on the line. and that thunder tank looks cool differant then the original.

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