I know, gang – the wait for the second series of ThunderCats ULTIMATES! has been a trying ordeal for everyone involved. However, we are now on the cusp of the wait being over for both ULTIMATES! series 2 and 4. Tygra has has been a long time coming, but he finally answered the call of the Eye of Thundera and will be arriving soon.
It really has been the perfect storm of issues leading to these arriving so late, but we have had a couple of waves release in the meantime to help keep us adding to the ThunderCats ranks. Well, now that Tygra is joining Pumyra, Grune, and Mumm-Ra, The Ever Living in arriving on our doorsteps soon, we can finally take the time to focus on the toys themselves, instead of lot of other things. Series four seems to be prepping to arrive almost concurrently with series two, so we are potentially in for EIGHT new TCats all at once. Mumm-Ra The Ever Living deserves every bit of anticipation, but Tygra is right there in terms of his importance to the mythos, so I know a lot of people have been ready for this arrival.
It’s funny because as a kid, I thought Tygra and Cheetara were married, and Kit and Kat were their kids. I suppose I never saw (or did not remember) the first episode of the cartoon, but I think the fact that there were figure releases with Thunder Kittens included with Tygra and Cheetara likely did it. There was never anything in the cartoon that would have made me overtly take cues that was the family dynamic, but I suppose my assumption was strong and it became canon in my own head. Tygra is the oldest and most seasoned member of the ThunderCats, so he has served as a bit of mature, almost father figure like influence on Lion-O, so maybe my inference wasn’t too far off. At any rate, while I was certainly more partial to the bad guys in the mythos, Tygra has always been right behind Panthro as my favorite Cat.
So, like many others, I have been eagerly anticipating this release since we first saw him a couple of years ago. Needless to say, a lot has happened both in life and with this figure in particular. It is no revelation to say that Tygra has undergone the most changes from first prototype to factory sample to final product, and there is and has been a lot to be said about that. Originally, the costume was shown in very light blue, then more of a teal color to more closely match the vintage toy and true animation colors; also, the figure construction went through a lot over time as well, particularly with the assemblage of the arms, so let’s talk about a those things right away.
First, and I say foremost because it has certainly been made foremost due to the discourse is that Tygra is missing his elbow pad. There is not anything that can be said for that other than it’s not correct to the costume design, and is a bummer after all this time. I don’t have any insight as to why that it ultimately happened, but we are left with an inaccuracy. Your milage is going to very with how much it bothers you. I suppose now we can hope for an elbow pad piece to be included in a future release or something. It think the pad was originally sculpted into the right biceps piece, but the way the elbow is constructed, I think a separate piece could be slid up over the arm and into place pretty seamlessly. I know Brian Flynn has talked with us about getting a “summoned” Tygra head out there somehow at some point, so maybe this could be included as well.
Second, is the final color palette has evolved considerably during the course of production, so this will be another spot of division. Personally, I like the final colors, but I understand why others may not. The teal costume is always what I associated with Tygra. That might be due to the vintage toy, but original colors of the animation also match the scheme, so it’s not that it is incorrect. Now, I understand it being different from the prototype iterations that have been shown, or the various transfers of the cartoon, so if the teal and orange are bright for you, I get it. For me, Lion-O has a lot of blue. Panthro has a lot of blue. Bengali has a lot of blue. So I like the different teal for Tygra. I have seen comments that he stands out from the rest of the ThunderCats group, but I do not feel that is the case at all. In fact, I think the overall group is coming together really nicely (see the picture). Further, yes, the the orange fur color is bright, but it is essentially the same as Wily Kat’s hair color, so it isn’t out of the scope of the overall palette of the figure.
With all that, overall, I think Tygra is a solid release. His articulation at the elbows and knees has gone fully pinless, and all of the joints are strong and engineered well. The articulation scheme and range of movement is pretty much on-par for ULTIMATES, so even with the reconstruction of the joints to pinless, he retains the same amount of points. The one spot where I wish the movement a bit better is in the neck, but it’s not far off from a standard U! figure. His materials are good too, with the choice of plastics being appropriate for strength in places like the limbs, but also in being pliable in places like the hands.
Tygra does well in the accessories department where he features a swappable “determined” portrait, various hands, and three versions of his bolo whip. There include a fully retracted version, a full-extension plastic version that is very dynamic, and then a string version with a plastic end for the three fronds. I like the options that have been given, I will be displaying the retracted version with my hero pose team display, but that extended version is really cool. I am not as into the string version, and I kind of wish that it was wire bendy instead, but this works for wrapping up enemies or displaying wrapped around Tyrgra himself so he can go invisible. The good part is that with the heads, hands, and whips, you definitely have options.
Finally, aside from the elbow pad miss, I would say that, like Mumm-Ra, the paint on this series overall isn’t as strong as it is with series three and four (from the other factory). This figure is good overall, but there are a few lines here and there the could be a little crisper, so I am foreseeing more variance from figure to figure than, say, with someone from series four. Also, there is a bit of a gold-ish highlight on the torso that breaks up the teal colors a bit. It is subtle, but you can see it. Like I said, there is nothing egregious with this figure, but as I mentioned in my Mumm-Ra review, I am glad factory change for the future series is in place, I think they are tighter with their paint applications.
Overall, I am glad to have Tygra in the display, and am really enjoying a lot if his dynamic attributes – he’s a good looking figure, and he poses very nicely. There is no getting around the elbow pad issue, but I like the colors. If like the earlier colors, I respect that, but I feel like this is going to be a figure that collectors like more once in-hand, and like more they longer they have him. If you are concerned about him not fitting in with the rest, I think that can be put to bed because frankly, the group is looking great to me. Honestly, I hope we get a more colorful Lion-O at some point (toy colors, maybe?) because, like MOTU, I like the dynamic colors for ThunderCats. Tygra will be shipping very soon, I will am anxious to hear what people think. I cannot wait for Cheetara and Bengali to arrive, this core Cats group is looking great all together.
If you missed any of these, you can still order them from BBTS:
*Thanks again to Super7 for sending long this figure for a First Look, we really appreciate it.