As if one ThunderCats ULTIMATES! figure wasn’t enough, we’re back with another interview featuring Toy Bro, aka Jared Elswick. This time, following the bulky mutant Slithe, we’re talking the oft-overlooked Captain Cracker. Check out Toy Bro’s full review below and read our Q&A.
ThunderCats.org: We’re back talking ThunderCats! You definitely sounded excited to finally be opening up new figures in this line after a five-year “vacation”. It feels like we’re riding this bicycle again for the first time in ten galacto-years—a good feeling, right?
Toy Bro: It’s been a long time coming. Wave 1, last year, was exciting enough, but even then those weren’t new new figures. These are finally, truly new figures after a very long wait, so yeah, this is a good time.
TC.org: We’re going to jump right in and talk about the second figure of the newly designated Wave 3 trio: Captain Cracker. Is this robot pirate everything you expected him to be?
TB: I’m not sure what I expected, but he fits very much in line with what this ULTIMATES line is all about. A lot of cartoon aesthetic here with a very familiar articulation scheme, so I’m enjoying this little guy.
TC.org: Super7 has a knack for clever groupings in their waves, with odd or unexpected characters thrown into the mix. Were you initially surprised when this character debuted at Toy Fair last year?
TB: Yes and no. It’s still surprising to think that he’s already out, considering he’s not a “big”character. But I suppose he’s memorable nonetheless, and of course he did have a vintage figure. Super7 has pretty much outlined that we should expect “weird” stuff like this, so I’m just rolling with it.
TC.org: Using Captain Cracker as an example, what other unique character would you like to see included early in the line?
TB: Immediately I want to say Driller, just because he’s a favorite, and I’ve never gotten that LJN figure. But to go even deeper, I’d say Enflamer and Demolisher.
TC.org: The detail on Polly the parrot, whom we’ve gotten two versions of here, is impressive for such a small figure. What are your thoughts on this robot bird?
TB: I like it, and I’m happy they went with two unarticulated figures rather than one that might have suffered for it, especially with how it pegs into Cracker’s back. Polly was a must have no matter what, so I’m glad it made the cut in this release.
TC.org: Captain Cracker only appears in three episodes of the cartoon—far less than many other characters who never had an LJN toy made. What’s your preference for the future of this ULTIMATES! line? To have the LJN figures pumped out first because of their nostalgia factor, or to have never-made characters see the light first?
TB: Since the LJN line isn’t incredibly deep, I’d be fine if they went the route of getting out the vintage line sooner rather than later. But at the same time there are characters that have never been made that I’d much rather see, compared to stuff we already have from LJN: like I said before, Enflamer, Demolisher and, beyond that, characters like Mandora or QuickPick. If they can get me a Berbil multipack sooner rather than later, though, I’ll be happy.
TC.org: Because this bad boy is a robot, he should be shiny, right? How metallic-looking is he in person? Can you compare him to another toy we’re familiar with in terms of his paint?
TB: He’s got varying levels of “metallic”, and I assume that’s how they’re translating the various colors of “metal” on his body in the animation into what would be shiny in the real world. So he’s got a few different colors with varying levels of sheen. Some are more muted than others, but some are quite metallic, specifically the mouth area. MOTUC God Skeletor’s gold shine would be comparable to how some of this looks.
TC.org: As we asked with Slithe, do you think this Captain Cracker pairs properly scale-wise with the other figures in the line?
TB: I think so. He’s not tall, and it’s represented here as such. He’s about as tall as mummy Mumm-Ra, but stockier of course, and then he’s shorter than Lion-O and Panthro.
TC.org: He has two heads as well, one being more aggressive than the general stoic face. It’s two very different takes on the character, from dopey to dangerous. Will you be displaying him baring his robot teeth or ostensibly daydreaming on Exile Isle, closer to the vintage toy face?
TB: I think my choice will be the more angry headsculpt. The other head is almost too happy-looking, even more so than the vintage head was, just due to how intense the paintwork on the eye area is. He looks like he’s never been evil at all.
TC.org: Take us through his accessories. Some are toy-inspired and some are cartoon-based. Brian Flynn has mentioned before how, for many fans, nostalgic relationships with older toys are emotionally stronger than with their cartoon sources. Do you think that’s true of Captain Cracker and his accessories? His cutlass is toy-inspired, and not as detailed as it was in the cartoon. Plus, in the cartoon he also carried a dagger.
TB: That’s interesting, because I never had the vintage Captain Cracker. However, when I think of him as a character, I think of that LJN sword rather than his little dagger. It’s just “his weapon” to me. So I’d say [Brian’s theory] plays out here, at least for me.
TC.org: How much do you want the Lunataks now that they’re mentioned in his bio?
TB: They are very much among my most wanted figures in this line, and I think I am in no way alone in that sentiment. The sooner we get them the better!
TC.org: Let’s talk about his packaging. The stunning art on the back is the first we’re seeing of this character from artist Jason Edmiston. We’re assuming it will also appear on his ReAction packaging if a figure is made. What did you think about this move to have the back of the packaging change?
TB: I like it. I’m a fan of Jason’s art and of how Super7 has used it for quite some time across various product lines, so I’m happy to see that continue here. It’s nice to get some new ‘Cats artwork, and his style works well here, I think.
TC.org: Would you like to have a ReAction figure made for Captain Cracker and Polly?
TB: Absolutely. I figure, at this point, if he’s got an ULTIMATES version, it’s only a matter of time before we get a ReAction as well. And, like you said, they’ve already got the art for the cardback!
TC.org: You’ve had a day or two to live with the new arrivals. Now that we finally have these new characters in our collections, are you finding yourself looking over at your ThunderCats display with new eyes, new hope and excitement?
TB: Well, if by “display” you mean pile of ULTIMATES figures that I’m using to work through reviews due to moving, yes. This line has seemed almost cursed from the moment it was announced, going back to when Mattel started Classics. The line started, died before it ever delivered a figure, went to sleep and then came back with Super7 at the helm, only to encounter issues with everything so far. So it’s a bumpy road, but when you get these in hand all of that sort of doesn’t matter anymore. It’s just fun to have some new ‘Cats figures and the knowledge that this is still going, that they’re still trying to make it happen. And maybe one day we’ll have a huge collection of figures here just like we got with MOTUC.
TC.org: Super7 will be shipping their Wave 3 stock any day now following their latest mailer, so Jaga will start showing up with customers soon. Can we catch up again once the old guy arrives to close out our three-part interview? Same time, same place?
TB: Took the words right out of my mouth. Of course!
Jared “Toy Bro” Elswick is a longtime toy collector and hobbyist. In 2017 he turned his passion for action figures into a YouTube channel in order to have an outlet for expressing his views on the properties he collects. It has since become a huge part of his daily routine to review, discuss and promote action figures on YouTube and across social media.