Our research indicates that a studio called Pacific Animation Corp did the animation for the show. The concept art and some of these model sheets were likely drawn by people working for Rankin Bass, or potentially a contract studio who worked closely with the folks at RB in America.
You’ll notice that there is Japanese text on many of these sheets. Rankin Bass was one of the first of a handful of major US cartoon studios to work with animators in Japan, Galaxy Rangers was possibly being worked on in Japan before T-Cats.
These guides with the Japanese text were the clearest instructions that the Producers and Writers at RB could share with the Japanese animators. It’s easy to appreciate how closely the two companies must have worked together to make sure that the story and characters developed in the US would turn into the right visual masterpiece that RB had in mind.
TCL.org was contacted by a Taiwanese gentleman named Azuma Windwalker who kindly provided us with these scans. We’ll include more information on ThunderCats in Taiwan in a future update (keep your eyes peeled!)
Apparently Azuma has a contact who worked for a company called Wang Film. He indicated that this company was involved in the production process somehow. It’s not clear what role they may have played, or whether this may have been another name for Pacific Animation Corp, or perhaps a subsidiary studio.
Some of the sheets describe the use of weapons and some of the characteritics of the stars of the show. The writeups are fairly detailed, and the multi angle drawings of the characters in the model sheet are very useful for the artists.
Despite all of the efforts taken to help the artists… they still made mistakes from time to time. Finding the bloopers is fun for the hardcore cartoon fans, and people like me who like to collect cels that include errors and cover ups. There are some great examples of these in the Animation Art Gallery.