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LJN Thundercats Lion-O Series 1 1985

The very first line of Thundercats Lion-O action figures was released by LJN Toys in 1985. LJN were an American Toy manufacturer and video game publisher founded in 1970 by Jack Friedman, who ran it until its closure in 1994.

The LJN Thundercats line of toys was popular thanks to the popularity of the cartoon, which was one of the most watched on TV at that time. There were three waves of figures released by LJN over a three-year period, but despite their short run they remain hugely popular with collectors to this day.

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The first wave included four Heroes, four villains, a creature and two vehicles. These were packaged on 8-back cards that featured all the figures available on the back of the card. The centre of the card advertised the four Heroes on the left and the four villains on the right. On the top section of the card there were two panels featuring the “Battle-Matic” action feature and at the very top was the Thundercats’ logo.

Below the panels showing the heroes and villains were the vehicles and the Astral Moat Monster and below this was the LJN logo and the proof of purchase.

In France the line was known as “Cosmocats” and this was also reflected on the boxes and packaging for the LJN toys.

Thundercats Lion-O Review

Thundercats Lion-O was released in 1985 with the first wave of figures and featured the “Battle-Matic Action” which was activated by pushing down on a lever on his back that made his sword arm move up and down in a slashing motion.

The Thundercats Lion-O was also one of only two figures in this line that had a “Light-up Eyes” feature, the other being the Mumma-Ra figure. This feature was activated by the Power Ring, which took an AAA battery, and when inserted into a hole in Lion-O’s back his eyes lit up. When not in use this could be worn on your hand (not the figure’s) as a ring, as it had a Thundercats insignia on the top of it.

He came with three accessories: the Power Ring, Sword of Omens and Claw Shield. The Sword of Omens and the Claw Shield were both made from red plastic but the blade, hilt and “Eye of Thundera” were painted silver. The Claw Shield could be easily clipped onto Lion-O’s left arm to protect it in battle.

He was painted wearing a light sky-blue vest and boots, cream guantlets or gloves, and a wide blue belt with a Thundercats logo belt buckle. His skin, or fur, was a very light brown or flesh colour.

The sculpting on his torso, legs, and arms was pretty basic and straight forward with som muscle definition on his arms on body as well as some abs. His head sculpt was very detailed with red eyebrows and a cream outline around his eyes, which were also fully painted, and mouth. The detail and paintwork on the head sculpt were perfect and very accurate to the cartoon.

As with many figures in the 80’s the articulation on these was very basic. His head could be turned from left to right and his arms moved up and down as did his legs, and that was about it.

There were three variations of the Lion-O figure, one with red hair and accessories, orange, and maroon. Be careful when buying these MOC or loose because if the figure has red hair, the variant accessories should be the same colour., so if they are mixed they aren’t the originals.

PlayfulPlayful
Playful SnafuPlayful Snafu
LJN SnafuLJN Snafu
ChildbroChildbro
Childbro Lion OChildbro Lion O

Other companies were licensed to produce and release these figures in other countries and often they had differences to the LJN Thundercats Lion-O, these were Playful in Argentinia, Rainbow Toys in England and Childbro in Germany.

The Playful Lion-O produced in Argentinia did not have the light-up eyes feature and only the blade on the sword was painted silver. Also the Snarf figure, that was sold with the Lion-O on some of the blisters, was made from a totally different mold.

The German Childbro Lion-O is commonly referred to as the “Olive Green Lion-O” due to the slightly green tint on its torso, arms and bottom jaw.

VALUES

MOC $1500

MLC $60-$150

Loose $5-$20

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