It’s been over 20 years since LJN stopped producing ThunderCats toys. Fans’ hopes of seeing a slew of classic style characters produced in action figure form were dashed by the all too soon end of the Bandai and Mezco lines in the 2011 revival. To this day the closest we’ve come to seeing a licensed Lunatak was the LJN Red Eye prototype that never made its way to production.
While there has been a lack of official ThunderCats characters, inspired ThunderCats fans have always worked hard to fill that vacuum with their own custom creations. As those fans grew older, their skills matured too, and some very talented individuals have wowed the community with their high quality production of custom toys, eye popping artwork and fantastical fiction.
Today we’re highlighting a popular partnership between Customs Artist Barbarossa and Reg, lulu-berlu.com ‘s webmaster that has spawned a number of detailed Masters of the Universe neo-vintage customs, and which has recently developed a brilliant ThunderCats customs line. The first three characters that Barbarossa has created are from the ranks of the ever popular Lunataks:
What inspired you to create the customs?
Thundercats has always been one of my favorite toy lines. My inspiration goes back to being a kid and longing for action figures of characters from the cartoon which were never made. I dreamed of being able to make them myself and now as an adult, I’m in the position to do just that and finally flesh out my childhood collection. In so doing, I’m affording other collectors the opportunity to do the same as I take a nostalgic trip back to the 80’s with each project.
Why did you choose the Lunataks to start with?
In my opinion, the Lunataks are without a doubt the most sorely absent characters from the original line. They were obviously on LJN’s radar since we saw Red Eye’s prototype but sadly, he nor any other Lunatak ever hit the shelves. When I decided to try my hand at “neo-vintage” customs of the Thundercats, there was nowhere to go but the moons of Plun-Darr.
How many figures do you produce and how many have you sold?
The number produced varies between projects but each is made by hand so the numbers are modest. I also have to be frugal with my time as I tend to have multiple other projects going on at once. We tend to sell most of them as soon as they are available at Lulu Berlu.
How did you arrive at your pricing?
The pricing is based on the fact that these are indeed hand-crafted art pieces instead of factory-produced products. Each figure is essentially equivalent to what you’d see in a production prototype or paint master; so everything that goes into a standard production figure goes into one of them. Thus, it all comes down to costs (which are not inconsiderable especiailly where molding is concerned), plus time, effort and ability. They are subsequently geared towards the high-end collector.
From the dozens if not hundreds of positive comments that I’ve seen, it suggests there would be quite a market if my figures were widely available to the collector’s niche. I can only imagine how well-received an updated Thundercats line the caliber of a MOTU Classics could be; I know I’d be on board even though my first love is the retro 80’s style. That being said, should the powers-that-be desire to bring a Retro-Styled Thundercats action figure line roaring to life, I’m ready for to step in to head up Design! Just flash a Cats’ signal and I’ll be there!
You can find out more about these beautifully made LJN style customs by visiting the detailed product page for each character:
MORE IMAGES OF THE FIGURES