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LJN Toys, Limited was an American toy company  and video game publisher that was founded in 1970 by Jack Friedman. The name LJN came from the initials of Lewis J. Norman, the reverse of Norman J. Lewis, whose toy company had employed Friedman as a sales representative in the 1960’s. LJN manufactured toy lines and released battery operated water guns, video games based on licensed properties from movies, television shows, and celebrities. It was headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City,  and later in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.

LJN’s ThunderCats toyline is loved amongst collectors not just for the great toys themselves but also the many different areas to collect – from packaging variations to foreign figures, there’s a lot to learn about this great line of figures! In this section we delve deeper into the background of the toyline, where it was sold, and many other articles of interest.

 

SERIES I – 1985

GOOD THUNDERCATS

LION-O [Orange Hair Variant]
LION-O [Orange Hair/w Free Battery]
LION-O [Maroon Hair/w Free Battery]
TYGRA with WILYKAT
TYGRA
CHEETARA with WILYKIT
CHEETARA
PANTHRO

EVIL MUTANTS

Mumm-Ra
Mumm-Ra [w/ Free Battery]
S-S-SLITHE
JACKALMAN
Monkian

VEHICLES

Thundertank
Skycutter
Nosediver

CREATURES

ASTRAL MOAT MONSTER

ACCESSORIES

SWORD OF OMENS

SERIES II – 1986

GOOD THUNDERCATS

Lion-O
Lion-O [Orange Hair Variant w Snarf]
Lion-O [Red Hair Variant w Snarf]
Tygra [Old]
Tygra [Old w Wilykat]
Tygra [Young w Wilykat]
Panthro
Cheetara [w Wilykit]
Cheetara
TUSKA WARRIOR
Snowman of Hook Mountain
HACHIMAN

COMPANIONS

Wilykit
Wilykat
Snarf
Ma-Mutt
Berbil Bill
BERBIL BELLE
BERBIL BERT

ACCESSORIES

Plush Snarf

EVIL MUTANTS

Mumm-Ra
Mumm-Ra [w Ravage]
Monkian
S-S-Slithe
JACKALMAN
Grune the Destroyer

RATAR-O [ Silver Sais w/eyes]
RATAR-O [Black Sais w/eyes]
RATAR-O  [Silver Sais no eyes]
VULTUREMAN

BERSERKERS

Hammerhand
Ram Bam
Top Spinner
Cruncher

VEHICLES

Thunderclaw
Hovercat
Fist Pounder

PLAYSETS

Cats Lair
Mumm-Ra’s Tomb Fortress

MAIL-IN EXCLUSIVE

Mummy Mumm-Ra

SERIES III – 1987

GOOD THUNDERCATS

LION-O
Jaga
Bengali
Lynx-O
Pumyra

EVIL MUTANTS

Mumm-Ra
MONGOR
Safari Joe
Captain Cracker
CAPT. SHINER

RAMPAGERS

Driller
The Stinger

CREATURES

TONGUE-A-SAURUS

TWO PACKS

Thunderwings Lion O
Luna Lasher Mumm-Ra

LASER SABERS

BLUE
Orange
Black
Red

TRANSPORTERS

Luna Lasher
Thunderwings
Stilt Runner

 

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The LJN Thundercats toy line only ran for 3 years, but in that short space of time a substantial amount of figures and vehicles had been released. Most of these figures and vehicles had colour or even actual sculpt changes come each release, especially the second series Tygra which was a completely different sculpt!

GOOD THUNDERCATS

LION-O

PANTHRO

CHEETARA

TYGRA

SNOWMAN of HOOK MOUNTAIN

TUSKA WARRIOR

HACHIMAN

BENGALI

PUMYRA

JAGA

LYNX-O

EVIL MUTANTS

MUMM-RA

MONKIAN

JACKALMAN

S-S-SLITHE

VULTUREMAN

GRUNE the DESTROYER

RATAR-O

CAPT. SHINER

SAFARI JOE

CAPT. CRACKER

MONGOR

COMPANIONS

SNARF

MA-MUTT

WILYKIT

WILYKAT

BERBIL BILL

BERBIL BELLE

BERBIL BERT

 

CREATURES

ASTRAL MOAT MONSTER

TONGUE-A-SAURUS

BERSERKERS

HAMMERHAND

TOP SPINNER

RAMBAM

CRUNCHER

 

RAMPAGERS

THE STINGER

DRILLER

As said, the LJN toyline has it’s fair share of variants, but some collectors also hunt a related, but different breed of ThunDerCats toys. They are the flawed, the warped, the undocumented, the unpainted, THE ODD! Unlike variants, these oddities are the results of mistakes and errors made during the procuction process and are either a one-off or released in a very limited number.

Stay tuned for more!

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Mail-Away Offers

LJN employed several mail-away offers to help promote their ThunderCats line – this article contains information about these, including the well-known Mail-Away Mumm-Ra figure, and also a detailed look at the British Thunder Warriors fan club!

Card Backs

A detailed look at all the different cardbacks used in the packaging of the ThunderCats toys. Ever wonder about the difference between an 8-back and 14-back? Find out all about that and more in this informative article!

Name Stickers

A detailed look at all the different name stickers used on the packaging of the ThunderCats toys.

Collector Notes

The vintage ThunderCat line is becoming increasingly populair with toy collectors all over the world, a new collector is born every day.  The secondary market is flooded with figures, vehicles and accessories. With all these items to choose from, there are a few things to keep in mind while looking for your next big buy!

Toy Background – A Closer Look at the LJN Toyline

An overview of the ThunderCats toyline created by LJN, its origins and more!

Toy Advertisements (Coming Soon!)

As with all leading 1980s toylines, ThunderCats was marketed aggressively both on TV and in print. This article showcases some of the TV commercials and print ads that were used to promote the line.

ThunderCats at UK Retail

ThunderCats were a huge hit in the 1980s, not least of all in the UK where they had a strong presence on toy shelves and elsewhere – find out more in this great article!