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Thundercats Ultimates
by yo go re

Nothing says "Halloween" like a sexy cat! ...I'm sure that's the last reference we'll make to that this month.

The brave and noble Cheetara is the fastest of the Thundercats and possesses the ability to run with lightning-fast speed. Though she is often the voice of reason, Cheetara is also an agile fighter. Her speed is particularly formidable when combined with offensive attacks from her bo staff. Futhermore, Cheetara possesses a "Sixth Sense" - a mystical psychic ability which enables her to sense evil and have visions of the past and future.

Yes, but she rarely uses it, because doing so nearly wipes her out. She also can't control when it happens, so imagine if you had the power to stop bank robberies by sneezing, but then you had to be hospitalized for a month: yes, it would be helpful sometimes, if it happened at just the right moment, but would the drawbacks be worth it?

It was a little over a year ago that Super7 announced Cheetara would not be shipping with the rest of her Series 3 compatriots: they'd requested changes from the factory, and when they checked the final production samples, those changes had not been made; so they scrapped the entire run and started over. Bold strategy, Cotton! Let's see if it pays off for them.

To make up for the postponement, Super7 created a new bonus item for everyone who ordered Cheetara: an extra alternate head. This, smartly, did not require any new tooling; it's the same as the normal head, just with the eyes painted yellow and orange, instead of red and black - ie, the way she looks when Lion-O summons all the Thundercats' hoes. You have to wonder whether they simply molded twice as many, or if they just pulled the existing heads off the ones they were junking and had them repainted.

The normal head (and the bonus) features her hair hanging down against her back, just as it would when she's standing still. The original alternate head, which was always planned to come with the figure, has her hair blowing back, to make her look like she's running. All three have the same head sculpt, it's just a question of which hair they chose to plug into her scalp.

Cheetara had that typical 1980s cartoon heroine body: not too big, not too small, round in all the right places... seriously, He-Man, She-Ra, GI Joe, Jem, Herculoids, MASK, Visionaries, Transformers, Silverhawks, COPS, Spider-Man, Thundarr, Centurions... dozens of female characters, and they all looked like they could borrow clothes from one another's closets without a second thought. Cheetara's closet apparently contains a tan unitard with light orange arm and legs (it leaves her chest and right arm bare). She wears a pair of bangles on her right wrist, and a bracer on her left.

This is only the second (adult) female in the line, so it's interesting to see how the articulation has changed since the Mattel days. Like, her hinges are now the pinless style, and she has a balljointed chest instead of just a swivel waist. Apparently one of the issues with the first run of figures was the construction of her hips, but whatever was wrong back then seems fine now. Her hands are swappable, so you can pick between fists, gripping, flat/running, and some really nice "clawing" ones. Very suitable for a cat! This is one case where we do wish the figure came with a display stand - it's hard to pose her running without some form of support.

Cheetara's main weapon is her telescoping staff, which comes here in both extended and contracted forms. The mini one can fit into a slot on her bracer for storage [I never thought that's where she kept it! --ed.], while the full-sized one has a translucent orange flame piece that can fit on the end. That's kind of useless, because it's so heavy it makes the staff bend, it makes the elbows drop down, and it overbalances the figure. Unless they want you to pose this with the flames touching the ground, it's not great.

Beyond that, she has four random accessories. First is the Magical Flute, which splits into two pipes halfway down its length, and can be used to control all animals. Then there's the Mirror of Truth, which can reveal any illusion (and has a shiny sticker applied so it actually reflects things). Both those are pieces of the Treasure of Thundera, but the final accessories were only created by Mumm-Ra to trick the Thundercats into believing they were part of the treasure: open and closed versions of the Locket of Lies, which acted like a compass guiding the Thundercats into a trap.

With the long-awaited release of Cheetara, we finally have the full main Thundercats team in modern action figure form. I'm still waiting for a "ghost form" Jaga before my collection can be complete, but the character does exist. The wait for Cheetara was a long one, but worth it. And would be even without the bonus head. But that said, Super7's now going to have to do a "heads pack" with all the other Thundercats' eyes glowing like this.

-- 10/20/22

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