Fans have been waiting two-and-a-half decades to get a new Thundercats cartoon and accompanying merchandise, and the once thought never-ending wait has at long last come to a close this summer. The new cartoon debuted last week on Cartoon Network, and while the toys didn’t quite make it into stores in time for the premiere, they are slowly drifting into retail now. I was extremely impressed by the first few episodes of the new series, so after hearing about the early sightings of the action figures, I voyaged out to K-Mart in search of my favorite characters. To my surprise, I struck gold at the first K-Mart I visited and picked up my three favorite characters (Wilykit, Wilykat, and Cheetara) from a fresh case. All three of those characters are shortpacked at one-per-case, so I was pretty pleased to get them all at once. I’ll be reviewing the twin tricksters tonight. Were they were the two-and-a-half-decade wait?
The absolute main “Right” for these figures is the fact that they already exist. In the original Thundercats toy line, Wilykit and Wilykat were not part of the original series at all, and were later released as non-articulated pack-ins with Cheetara and Tygra. Only at the tail end of the line were articulated Wilykit and Wilykat figures released in the “Companions” series, figures which are hard-to-find and expensive to this day. So to get both of the twins immediately in the first set of 4″ action figures from Bandai is outstanding, and I applaud Bandai for including them so the main team of Thundercats can be completed right away.
And make no mistake, these are some good-looking figures. The paintwork on both Wilykat (the boy) and Wilykit (the girl) is both vibrant and well-done. Lines are clean, paint slop is non-existent. Both sculpts look on-model to their cartoon counterparts, and appear to be properly-scaled with their fellow Thundercats. Appearance-wise, I have no complaints about these figures at all (besides one nagging issue about their appearance from behind–more on that later)–they look great.
Wilykat and Wilykit make up for being the smallest figures by having the largest accessories: their hoverboards which are larger than they are! Like the classic “Companions” figures from the 80’s, Wilykit and Wilykat each have a hoverboard (which have wheels so I guess they’re technically skateboards this time) that they can ride on. The hoverboards are big, solid, and bright, and add a great deal to the appearance of these figures. Also, upon reading the instructions for Wilykat I realized that the hoverboards can convert to an attack mode where they gain laser cannons on the sides and a claw (of a sort) on the front. It’s a silly gimmick, but it’s clean and doesn’t hurt the appearance of the hoverboards at all when they’re not “transformed”.
In addition to the hoverboards, Wilykit has a ring weapon of some sort she can hold, and Wilykat has a, uh… pair of extending metal claw-things he can attack with? Both weapons are kinda goofy, but for these characters, they rather work for me.
I’m not a mint-on-card collector, but I appreciate that the packing for these figures is colorful and eye-catching and features artwork unique to the character that you’re purchasing. The cardbacks are also unique and give a brief description of the character that you’re purchasing. It’s not a big deal, but it is a nice detail that add just a little something extra to the product.
With a whopping 3 points of articulation each, many collectors may be put off by the lack of poseability of Wilykit and Wilykat. No, really, they’re only articulated in their arms and heads. It’s always a challenge to squeeze articulation into smaller figures like the twins, but this is truly the bare minimum that Bandai could have gotten away with. The lack of wrist articulation substantially hinders their ability to pose with their weapons, and with no lower-body articulation of any kind they can really just stand around on their hoverboards. It’s a good thing these figures look great just standing around, because with their heavily-limited articulation that’s just about all that they can do.
The peg for the figures to plug into on the hoverboards is toward the very backs of the hoverboards, which is too bad since the twins look a little bad being forced to stand all the way at the backs of the boards. I would’ve much preferred if the peg was further up so that the kids could have better sideways standing poses on the boards, which would’ve looked more dynamic and believable.
For whatever reason, Bandai thought it would be okay to have a very visible screw sticking into Wilykit’s and Wilykat’s butts. You’re not usually going to be looking at them from behind anyway, but it’s pretty awkward and distracting when you do.
“Where Can I Buy Them?!”
The Thundercats Wilykit and Wilykat 4″ action figures are currently in-stock and readily available at Amazon.com with free shipping for around $9 each. They’ll run you about $8+ in stores after tax if you can find them, but you can save yourself some time and gas looking for them and just pay the extra dollar or two to order off Amazon right now if you feel so inclined. Since these are shortpacked, it may save you some time and hassle to utilize Amazon and take the easy way.
Overall: For all their shortcomings–and there are more than a few–I really like these figures. At 15 bucks including tax, you get both Wilykit and Wilykat with weapons and hoverboards like the ones the classic 80’s Companions series figures had. These are only the second articulated figures ever produced of Wilykit and Wilykat in the 25+ year history of Thundercats, and they’re both good-looking and screen-accurate. These are an essential pair of characters for Thundercats displays and while there is certainly room for improvement, there’s no guarantee when (or if) the day will come that Bandai creates improved figures for these characters. If you can deal with the limited articulation as well as additional minor shortcomings of these figures, they are a strong value for two fun-looking figures and are absolutely recommended.