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Lynx-O, Bengali, Pumyra and Ratar-O

Thundercats Minimates
by yo go re

In the five-part TV movie Thundercats Hooo!, viewers met three new Thunderans, who were saved from the destruction of Thundera by the Berbil called Bert. Blacksmith Bengali, healer Pumyra and wise, sightless Lynx-O came to Third Earth unknown to the other Thundercats, and the mutant Ratar-O sought to find them first, as a prize for his master Mumm-Ra.

When you start a story with a set number of characters, you have to get really creative if you want to add any more. There are only ever four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so if you want to add the yellow-masked, kusarigama-wielding Caravaggio (nicknamed "Carey," of course), you have to come up with some excuse for why he's never been seen or mentioned before.

In the case of the Thundercats, it's because the new characters missed the evacuation ship and had to take a different one. They made it to Third Earth, but landed on a deserted island, so it took anyone a long time to realize they were there. The best part of that scheme is that it also opened the door for more cats to be introduced in the future, if need be.

Lynx-O is the oldest of the Thundercats, but that's not the reason he's blind - he lost his sight in a fire years before the destruction of Thundera. Surprisingly, although he's bald and has pointed ears, he doesn't use the same head as Panthro, but rather gets his own new mold. He's wearing a headband, but get this: it's a separate piece, not just painted on!

In addition to the red headband, Lynx-O gets a yellow belt and a red band around his right forearm. The band has a tab on one side, so you can plug on his included weapon. Yes, he's armed with his Light Shield - "light" in this case referring not to the weight of the item, but to actual luminescence. He's basically wearing a weaponized mirror on his wrist, capable of reflecting energy attacks and projecting its own dazzling light.

Next we have Bengali, aka "wasn't there a white version of Tygra for a while?" By the time the new Thundercats were introduced, Lion-O had matured from the hot-headed, impetuous youth he'd been when the show started, so Bengali was given that abandonned personality. That may be why he's the only character who didn't get updated for the 2011 cartoon: Lion-O was still growing, so they would have had to think up something new for Bengali to be.

Not helping him shake his "white Tygra" reputation, Bengali is wearing all blue. His chest is the same pale blue as his face (though it's supposed to be a shirt, not skin); his arms and legs are medium blue; and his trunks, boots, shoulder flares, and the rings around his forearms are dark blue.

Bengali is obviously based on a tiger, so his white... skin? Fur? What do the Thundercats have, anyway? Whatever it is, it's white, and it's covered with black stripes. There's a patch of blue around his upper face, as well as a stripe of blue in his hair. The hair is a new piece, because no one else had three points like this.

Since he's a blacksmith, Bengali's weapon of choice is a hammer. The Hammer of Thundera looks like a tiger's head biting a war hammer, and in the cartoon was pale blue and grey, while the toy is silver with red eyes and a red gem at the bottom. It's packaged next to Pumyra in the tray, which may be why she's shown holding it in the stock photo on the back of the card. Make no mistake, though: this is Bengali's weapon.

Speaking of Pumyra, she's next in the set. A rather forgettable part of the original cartoon (literally: she stopped appearing near the end of the show with no explanation for why she was absent, leaving no option but to assume that the writers forgot she existed), Pumyra was a pacifist and a healer, traits that were drastically changed for the 2011 revamp.

She's is wearing a brown dress with cutouts on the sides. Her skirt is a new piece, molded with a pouch on the right side and her belt (which she would unwind to use as a sling) wrapped twice around her waist. The pad on her left shoulder is a separate piece - cleverly, it's attached to her golden collar, so it can be 3D and still stay right where it needs to be without requiring a remolded torso.

Pumyra always had really weird hair, and this Minimate doesn't disappoint. She has dangling white-tipped sideburns, a skunk stripe that goes all the way back (like Rogue) and is inexplicably lower than the hair around it. Unfortunately, she has the same slit feline eyes as the rest: for whatever reason, the original Pumyra was the only one who has round pupils.

Since Pumyra has no weapons, we move on to Ratar-O. Like Lion-O (and possibly Lynx-O?), the suffix on his name is a reference to "ō," which in Japanese means "king." He's definitely wearing some Asian-influenced armor, and his whiskers are styled into a Fu Manchu mustache, so maybe they were going for a theme.

Ratar-O's armor is a fully sculpted piece that fits over the standard Minimate block. It's a single piece from shoulders to knees (and also gives them a way to create his long hairless tail). He uses the puffy sleeves seen on a handful of Minimates, has big thick bracelets, and uses the "slipper" feet to keep him short. Sadly, those feet mean he can't use the included stand, because the peg is too tall for his foot-holes.

The head is totally sculpted, as well. Well, the head is normal, but it's got a sculpted head cap to make him look ratty. This was the right choice. Jackalman tried to get away with just having a painted face, and it didn't really work, so making his snout, mustache, ears, and helmet all a single mold means a better toy for you and me.

He also comes with his trademark weapon, the Rat's Eye. Why it's called "the Rat's Eye" when it's actually a set of two identical daggers is a mystery for the ages. They have wavy silver blades and golden hilts with eyes carved in the center. On the cartoon, they have some kind of psychic powers, and could even fire and deflect energy blasts. Because magic.

Just as with the previous sets, this one is rounded out by a fifth unarticulated minifigure. This one is Ro-Bear Bert, the pilot of the ship that rescued the three Thundercats. Ro-Bear Berbil Bert is a little guy, not even 1½" tall, and though he doesn't move, he's detailed very well - it's the same mold as Ro-Bear Berbil Bill, just painted blue instead of brown. Not to sound racist, but all the Ro-Bear Berbils looked alike; all you need is paint to create a new one.

This is, as far as anyone knows, the final Thundercats Minimate set. The line has given us all the Thundercats, all the major villains (sorry, Berzerkers and Lunataks, you don't matter), and a couple unexpected sidekicks to boot, so even if this is the end, it's been a successful run. You have to wonder, though: how did Icon Heroes manage to successfully release 25 figures for a property that had nothing going for it other than nostalgia, while Bandai couldn't do anything even when supported by a weekly cartoon series?

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-- 12/18/13

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