6” Panthro (Modern)

Coming off the high that I got from the excellent 6” Lion-O figure from Bandai’s Thundercats line, the second Thundercat in the first wave of 6” figures had a lot to live up to. Not only was the Lion-O figure well sculpted, but it was also well articulated, well accessories, and over all just about the funnest action figure I've seen this year (barring Transformers since they cheat by being two toys in one).
When the toys started hitting Toys ‘R’ Us (priced about Php 1,000.00 or about $22.22 US), I was a little bummed when I finally got to see the 6” Panthro in person. I mentioned the simplistic paint applications on my last review, and this figure got the worst of it. He comes off looking a little surprised, or cross-eyed and not really intimidating at all.

In my head, Panthro always was to the Thundercats as Mr. T was to the A-Team; their resident bad-ass mofo. If they ever make another animated movie for them, he’s going to be the guy who sounds like Sam Jackson. The cat is like a mix of Jim Kelly and Bruce Lee… with a little of Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thrown in. He can kill you with his thumb as easily as with his nunchucks, and he can build you a new Thundertank while doing it.

He’s like MacGyver if MacGyver’s father had been Chuck Norris and his mother had been Cleo (that hot girl cat in legwarmers from the cartoon Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats).

The package for Panthro is pretty much the same as Lion-O's, though as he’s bigger he doesn’t get as many action poses on the back panel. Or it could be that the toy just isn’t as poseable as the other figure, but we’ll get to that in a second.

It is curious that the three figures of wave one are pictured on the back ordered by size, but not actually in scale. In real life, the Panthro figure is just about the same height as Mumm-Ra, so the photo is pretty much BS.

Panthro was the first figure I picked up when I saw they had arrived in Toys ‘R’ Us and it’s the one that almost turned me off the line all together. Compared to the 4” version, the 6” figures were pretty ugly looking. Their faces had no expression at all, and there was no attention to shading (such as shadows under the eyes or eyelids) or texture. The sculpting is great: you can see the facial structure beneath the color, but the applications have ruined it. I’m pretty sure this is a result of Bandai cutting corners with their paint applications, keeping to flat, single colors. I can’t blame them, but I’m telling you, it killed a lot of the enthusiasm I had for this figure when I pre-ordered it.

But like I said, I’d already pre-ordered wave one and I wasn’t about to start the 4” line when I had the 6” line coming (though with the line dead, I might go back and get them just so I have the entire Thundercats line up in my display). When they came in, I passed on opening Panthro first because of that bad first impression, but the Lion-O figure reassured me that the line wasn’t a complete waste of time.

If you put aside the paint issues for a moment, Panthro is another solidly built, well designed toy. It’s sturdy enough for a child to play with, but has enough articulation and a rather nice accessory, making it passable for a collector. All in all, it’s another good effort on Bandai’s part.

I love the new Panthro’s character design.

The classic Panthro has a lot of Masters of the Universe going on, with his superhero undies and the kung-fu booties. The new one is more Road Warrior. Complete with boots and spikes and whatnot. He looks as if he can rip your face off with his pinky toe.

Because this is a bigger figure, articulation is sacrificed. He’s got the same joint count as Lion-O (18 points of articulation), but due to his thicker limbs, his range is far smaller.

You can’t get any deep crouches from him, and any acrobatic moves are simply out of the question. The difference in his hip joint construction (he’s got something like the restricted ball joints of the Marvel Select Abomination and Juggernaut) means that he can’t move his thighs very far at all, which really kills any lower body articulation.

Oh, well. Did I mention he looks awesome?

Accessory-wise, he’s subpar. He basically has two pairs of nunchucks, one that’s sculpted to look as if it’s straightened, and one that looks as if it’s folded together. The folded one plugs into his belt at the back via a very small peg. A very small peg. The piece tends to spin around and around: it doesn’t look all that great and the fact that it won’t stay still can be pretty annoying. I threw it in my Bermuda Triangle box of never used accessories.

The other set is serviceable. They’re cast in a neutral silvery gray and are pretty rubbery, making them easier to force into his fists without having a nervous breakdown. They aren’t really sculpted to be displayed in any sort of motion though: if he’s not holding both ends in his hands, the thing tends to stand out completely straight, like a stick. Of course, at this price point, I guess I can’t expect something like Michelangelo’s set from the NECA Turtles. But wait, these are Php 1,000 each. Would a real chain have been too much to ask?

But he does look awesome…

I guess I can’t help it. No matter how much is wrong with this figure, I can’t help but fall on the side of “it’s awesome”. The design of the character looks too good to me, and the size next to the other Thundercat I have is just too impressive. Add to that the solid build of the figure (something that adds more to the fun factor than you’d expect) and this is a pretty good purchase.

I’m sure you can find it cheaper than retail at Toy Kingdom or Toys ‘R’ Us, and with the line kaput and all, I’m sure they’ll be on sale soon, but I’m glad I got mine already. 

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