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Thundercats Ultimates
by yo go re


Tygra, Lion-O's counsel and trusted lieutenant, is the oldest Thundercat, cool-headed and gifted with a scientific mind. He is master of the bolas, a whip-like weapon that can also make him invisible, and he has the power to put convincing illusions into the minds of others.

Wait, Tygra was the oldest member of the team? I never knew that. I'd have guessed Panthro. (Obviously Jaga doesn't count, because he's from a different generation. And also a ghost.) If my memories of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are foggy, then my memories of Thundercats are fully non-existent. That bio could have said that Tygra moonwalked everywhere and was allergic to water, and I'd have to believe it because all these characters are to me is cool designs. But you know me: I love learning about things I don't already know.

The number one thing I would absolutely love to learn is whether Mike Germakian ripped off the designs from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats on purpose, or if he managed to duplicate the most famous play in the world by accident. The creative process is always a mystery! Tygra gets two portraits, as is the style of the line: one calm, the other angrier.

To best contrast with his orange fur, Tygra's costume is teal - much better than the harsh green of the 2011 show. For some reason the wash used to bring out the musculature seems to be orange itself, which honestly just makes the toy look dirty. Or rusty? Like he's been crawling under the Thundertank or something? It's not terrible, but it is kind of weird. His blues vary from very light on the limbs to much darker on the trim. His stripes are crisp, and there's a bit of gold on his left shoulder and the front of his boots to accent the look.

The Thundercats Ultimates are still sculpted by the Four Horsemen, so new releases like Tygra definitely blend in with the few figures Mattel made years ago: you know, that same squat, chunky style that meant MotU Classics couldn't interact with any other toylines in existence. The edges of his costume are sculpted, and several details on the surface. Plus, now there are MotU Classics, Mythic Legions, and all sorts of other Super7 Ultimates, so figures in this style now fit in with more than just themselves.

It's not just the sculpt that fits in, it's the articulation, too. Tygra's got swivel/hinge ankles, swivel/hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. Like with Lynx-O, the pegs that create swivels at the top and bottom of the biceps are long enough that they bump into each other inside the arm, so you can turn the upper arm without actually moving either the shoulder or the forearm. The crotch is covered by rubber, but it's split at the underside for maximum flexibility. The neck should really have been a hinge/balljoint, like Marvel Legends are; it's just not flexible enough to deal with his big head of hair.

Tygra doesn't get any random obscure accessories, just three versions of his whip and a few alternate hands. Why three? Well, it's one extended, one contracted, and one with a flexible cord instead of molded plastic. You can wrap that last one around him, like when he turns invisible, or use it to snatch up other characters. The only other option would have been one molded in circles like Nobel Gundam's beam ribbon.

Tygra is part of Series 2, but that got delayed for so long that Series 4 actually shipped before it. But now that he's finally out, he's just as good as the rest of the Cats, and we're one step closer to finishing the team. The paint wash is weird (especially since his orange fur looks fairly flat), but that's not enough to chase you away. It shouldn't be. If it is, why not turn to Big Bad Toy Store, who have an exclusive clear "invisible" version? Same great mold, no paint issues.

-- 09/22/22

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