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An Introduction to the Toy Section
It seems that a new Thundercats collector is born every minute. As the Thundercats popularity grows, so does the call for more information on LJN and the Thundercats line. [click here for Tomart's information on LJN] Although most collectors know about the usual LJN Thundercats toys, they must realize that there is an entirely different world of Thundercat variations out there.
LJN is notorious for showing accessories that are more detailed or different colors from what is actually for sale. They have also produced figures with rubber limbs (instead of hard plastic) for no apparent reason, and changed seemingly insignificant paint patters many times.
You may have noticed the toy photo below, did you see anything unusual? The scan depicts a portion the first card released by LJN. Not only are all the accessories, except Jackalman and Panthro's, different colors then what was released, but Cheetara's hair and Lion-O's claw-shield are much more detailed and "free flowing" then the actual items sold. Also notice in the text "The Sword of Thundera" should actually be called "The Sword of Omens", as it's later corrected on other Thundercats cards.
A Little Bit About Lion-O
Written By Ian Burkard ©1998
Although most LJN Thundercats toys were kept the same, it appears that a few figures were altered on a regular basis. Why these changes were made, we cannot say. There are at least five different variations of Lion-O, but only four were produced. The two most commonly know are the red and orange haired Lion-O variations; however, there are three other models: the "Series II" Lion-O, the "Red Suit" Lion-O (never produced), and the "Solid Lion-O."
The Series II Lion-O is based on the original red haired Lion-O. The easiest way to identify a Series II Lion-O by orange paint on the face and upper body, it's often darker and shinier then a usual Lion-O paint. The neck is also another indicator. The Series II model's neck does jet sharply into the body, but rather it bulges roundly at the base, as if it were made of clay, and pressed onto the body. You' will also notice that the Series II figure's eyes are different. While normally a Lion-O's eyes are harshly flat across the surface (when the figure is viewed in profile), they are rounded (smooth) in the Series II figure.
Although the Series II figure is interesting, there's no real reason for the face changes, except minor alterations in appearance. The red suited Lion-O is another baffling variation. I cannot deduce anything significant about the Red Suited Lion-O depicted on the Thunderwings box, except that it could be LJN's attempt to produce Lion-O's evil equal from a Thundercats cartoon that I recall. Now onto the Solid Lion-O and Mumm-Ra figures.
The "solid" figures differ in trunk (upper body) and face design. With the introduction of the Thundercats' new "Transport Vehicles" came an unavoidable problem. The "battle-matic" lever (found between each figures' shoulder blades) did not allow the figure to fit snugly into the newer "Transport Vehicles." LJN quickly realized their mistake. My guess is that LJN engineers decided to alleviate this problem by removing the troublesome "battle-matic" levers.
Since it would be ludicrous for LJN to redo their entire Thundercats line lacking their special features, LJN only redid the major characters Lion-O and Mumm-Ra. When removing the "battle-matic" lever and light-up structures, LJN had to alter Mumm-Ra and Lion-O's faces and body cavities to cover up holes where special items had been discarded. Consequently, by removing all the wiring and other features, LJN managed to produce cheaper "classic" figures specifically designed to fit their new vehicles.
LJN quickly decided to get rid of their old box packaging, and replaced it with new cardboard packaging (like other LJN figures.) This method of packaging showed off the recently accommodated favorites and their new vehicles and gave the buyer a figure that would fit properly into the "Transport Vehicle." This minor design error resulted in the Solid Mumm-Ra and Lion-O figures you'll run across today.
As you can see LJN really got into making changes on Lion-O.
By: Ian Burkard © 1998
Common Problem 1:
My Lion-O and Mumm-Ra figures wonít light-up when I use their power-rings!
Possible Solution 1
Usually theirs not problem with the figure at all. The first thing to check is the battery in your power-ring. Since youíve already tried that and feel offended that I even mention something that stupid, weíll move on to the next option. J
Possible Solution 2
Iíve found that Lion-O and Mumm-Ra figures are very picky about how the power-rings are pressed onto the contacts in their backs. Try rotating the metal tip of the power-ring on the contacts. If the figure still does not light up or just flickers on and off, youíll need to try cleaning off the contacts (see solution 3.)
Possible Solution 3
Although you may not be able to see it, rust and oxidation will build up on the light-up contacts. You can clean off the contacts with a fine steel wool, but be sure not to scuff the plastic.
(NOTE: You can prevent scuffing the plastic by placing masking tape around the light-up contacts.)
Possible Solution 4
(Works for Battle-matic and Light-Up Repairs)
Okay, so the last three techniques didnít work. Itís best to never assume that there is an internal problem first. So always try the little external things before doing open heart surgery. The process I am about to describe can be used to fix light-up figure problems and battle-matic problems as well (and comes in handy for custom work.) This is always a last ditch effort solution. By doing this you are placing your figure at risk.
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Soldering Iron
- A strong epoxy jell or super glue
- Extra battle-matic parts (use one way of entry to get parts from common broken T-cats toys)
There are two possible ways of entry into your Thundercats toy.
- You can pop off the non-battle-matic arm with a flathead screwdriver, and continue to pry the toy open with the screw driver.
- You can go the barbaric route and use a hammer and flathead screwdriver to open the figure. By hitting the bottom seam between the legs you should split the toy open. Then scoot a screwdriver up into the body until it pops apart.
(NOTE: All figures are riveted together at the shoulders, hips, and crotch. Aim for those areas if the figure does not pop open easily or while opening.)
(NOTE: Both methods risks scratching your figure so be carefulÖ donít break the body! The second method, especially, will cause some external damage at the entry point. The main thing is to stay determined. You canít quit half way through this project.)
Now that youíve got your figure popped open, itís time to see what the problem is. The most common internal light-up problem is that a wire has become disconnected, or the middle contact has been shoved inside the body. All you have to do is solder the wires or contacts back in place and youíre in business.
(NOTE: Be sure to check the light-up feature before closing the figure back up. Skip the next paragraph if the battle-matic action is fine.)
There are two different battle-matic styles. One has a cover-plate over the battle matic components, while the other is simply placed together with two cavities, on both halves of the body, that hold everything in place. The one with the cover-plate is easiest to repair; you wonít have to balance the pieces in place since theyíre held in tightly. To repair a battle-matic action you can simply replace missing parts from older less valuable broken items. Sometime the battle matic action has just gotten itself out of alignment.
(NOTE: Some pen springs can replace broken or rusted springs.)
After everything is ready to be closed up, select an epoxy or super glue (not school glue.) If you were lucky, the plastic rivets are still intact and will help you glue the figure easily. If you were not so lucky, you can place glue around the body seams and on the remaining rivets. Carefully place your figure back together (while trying not to jostle the possibly loose battle matic parts if you have to two cavity design.)
Common Problem 2:
My figureís arms and legs are really loose.
So, your figure falls over when you have it displayed or its non-battle-matic arm is really loose? Use a braceís rubber band (small rubber bands that can be obtained from local orthodontic clinic) and slip it around the arm or leg you wish to be tight. Guide the band into the joint with a needle tool or toothpick. This should prevent your toy from falling or from having a loose arm or leg.
Common Problem 3:
My figureís paint and plastic are in good condition, but are dull looking.
Try using a car-care product called "Black Magic." Itís commonly used to restore plastic on black car bumpers. If you plan on trying to repaint your figure, donít use "Black Magic" first. It leaves the figure slick and shiny, but will prevent future painting because of its oily properties.
(NOTE: Donít use too much "Black Magic", it will make your figure very slick and hard to handle. Apply it to an old rag and then rub it into the plastic or paint thoroughly. So basically, use a directed.)
Common Problem 4:
My figureís accessory is warped.
Try using a hairdryer, at its hottest setting, to make your accessory pliable and easy to shape. Be sure to hold the accessory in the corrected position until it cools. This technique does not work on some accessories, since LJNís accessories are made of different plastics different years.