ljnheader LJN_Ltd_logo

cardbacksby Neil (Blackiecats)

In collecting circles, a packaged toy figure is commonly identified to the series or production run it belongs to based on it’s back of card contents. This is where the terms ‘8 back’, ’14-back’, etc.., come from, as they refer to the amount of figures advertised on the card’s back. Many first issue figures in 80’s toylines were known as 8-back because that particular series contained 8 different characters which were advertised on all the back of cards from that series. This was the case with both Thundercats and Masters of the Universe figures as well as other toylines.

With the Thundercats toys, there were 7 different card back categories throughout the entire line. They were Series 1 (8-back), Series 2 (14-back), Series 3 (22-back), Companions (7-back), Berserkers (4-back), Ram-Pagers (25-back) Laser Sabers (22-back) and Two-Packs (2-back)

This page will take you through the different cards and outline their differences.

8-Back Cards

The 8-back package was an all black card with no white splash behind the figure. The back of the card pictured all 8 figures from the first series. The Thundertank, Nosediver, Skycutter and full size Sword of Omens were also pictured on the back of the cards, except for the Mumm-Ra and Lion-O card backs.

The Mumm-Ra and Lion-O card backs featured the 8 series 1 figures and instead of the vehicles and sword, had instructions on how to light up their eyes as well as illustrated profile headshots. It also stated at the bottom of the card that the figures required an AAA alkaline battery. The card backs for the other 6 figures in series 1 were all the same as each other and in place of the light up features, they had information on the Battle-Matic action. See pics below of the 8-back card backs.

Lion-O 8 Back Card Mumm-Ra 8 Back Card Monkian 8 Back Card


14-Back Cards

The 14-Back packages front had 2 differences from the first series of 8-backs. The first difference is that behind the figure there was a white splash. The second difference was that every card from series 2 advertised the free mail-off Mumm-Ra figure on the bottom right hand corner (see pictures below)

Image above shows the white splash which
was behind figures on all series 2 and 3 cards.
Image above shows the corner on front of card
advertising the free Mumm-Ra figure promotion.

All the series 2 figures card backs featured all 14 figures released in the line so far, as 6 new series 2 figures were added to the line and all 8 figures from series 1 had been re-issued on series 2 cards. As 14 figures were now advertised on the back of the series 2 cards they are known as 14-backs (see pictures below)

Lion-O 14 Back Card Mumm-Ra 14 Back Card Standard 14 Back Card

Also featured on the back of every series 2 card was full information on the mail-off Mumm-Ra figure offer. It gave the details on how to send off for your free Mumm-Ra figure. You were required to send off proof of purchase tokens up to the value of 6 points. Each series 2 figures card back contained a cut out token worth 2 points. Vehicles, Accessories and Playsets contained tokens worth more points than the figures (basically the more expensive the item, the more points it’s token was worth)

Image above shows the top of the card back, giving details
on how to obtain your free Mumm-Ra figure

Once you had tokens up to the value of 6 points you were required to send them off with a cheque or postal/money order for $1.25 (US) or 60 pence (UK and Ireland) to the address stated.

The 14-back cards also followed the same pattern as the earlier 8-backs in regards to the explanation of light up features on the Lion-O and Mumm-Ra cards and the Battle-Matic action on the other 12 cards.


22-Back Card

The 22-Back cards pictured every regular figure from the whole LJN Thundercats toyline, as it featured all 22 regular figures from the 3 series of figures released. The 8 new figures for series 3 were advertised on the card backs along with the 14 figures that covered the previous series of figures. The backs also had the same info on light up features for Lion-O and Mumm-Ra and Battle-Matic action for the other 20 figures. In late 1988, a series of 22-back cards were released in the UK that only had an address for Toy Options limited. It is now known that these cards were actually produced by Rainbow Toys. The reason they contained the Toy Options address is because they were based in the same building. However it still seems odd that the Rainbow Toys logo is missing off these cards.

22 Back Lion-O
UK Rainbow Toys Card
Standard 22 Back
UK Rainbow Toys Card
Standard 22 Back
UK Toy Options Card

I am not sure whether the 22-back cards were used to package the third series of regular figures in the US because all American series 3 figures seem to be on 14-back cards for some strange reason. So far the only 22-back cards I have seen with regular figures have been from the UK and Europe. The run of Rainbow Toys branded 22-back cards also advertised the UK only, Thunder warrior club mail-away offer, see Mail-away Offers.

Thunder Warrior offer (From bottom of 22 back UK Lion-O Card)


Companion Card Backs

The Companions cards were much smaller than the cards that the regular figures came packaged on. Also a noticeable difference between the UK and US cards was that the American cards advertised the mail-off Mumm-Ra offer, where as the UK cards didn’t. I’m assuming that by the time the Companions series was released in the UK, the mail-away Mumm-Ra figure offer had ended, or was about to end.

The UK cards also had a difference, as some cards were headed under the Rainbow Toys logo and others simply had a Toy Options address written on the back of the card, just like the final run of 22-back cards I spoke about above. All the Companions card backs featured the full Companions range of 7 figures only (see pictures below) which is why they are known as 7-back cards.

LJN Toys USA Card Rainbow Toys UK Card Toy Options UK Card


Berserkers Card Back

The Berserkers figures were packaged on quite large cards compared to the cards the regular figures were packed on. These were different to the way the regular 22 figures, Companions and Rampagers were packaged inside a blister sealed to the card. Instead the blisters edges were sandwiched inside the card, with the blister itself running through the card. The card backs contained instructions on how each individual Berserker figures action feature worked and pictured all 4 Berserker figures in the range, making them known as 4-back cards.




Top Spinner


Ram-Pagers Card Backs

The 2 Rampagers, Driller and The Stinger were released on 25-back cards, which were definitely released in America on all English language cards (which are extremely rare)

The Driller and Stinger card backs pictured all 22 regular action figures as well as a picture of the 3 Rampagers figures (the picture contained the un-produced Mad Bubbler figure) making it 25 figures in total, thus being referred to as 25-back. The card back also has a description of the Rampager, as well as instructions on his action feature. Both Rampager figures had a proof of purchase token worth 3 points.

Driller 22 Back German Card The Stinger 22 Back German Card

Laser Sabers card backs contained instructions on how to set up and use both Good and Evil Laser Sabers. The card also contains the standard pics of all 22 figures together, which is why it’s referred to as a 22-back card. The Laser Sabers cards are the only cards to feature a picture of the un-produced Thunderstrike vehicle.

LJN Toys 22 Back Laser Saber Card

Right at the end of the toyline, LJN released packages of Mumm-Ra with Luna Lasher and Lion-O with Thunderwings packed together. These card backs contained instructions on using the figures, as well as an image displaying both two-packs. The Two-Packs had proof of purchase tokens to the value of 4 points.

Mumm-Ra with Luna Lasher
(Two-Pack Card Back)
Lion-O with Thunderwings
(Two-Pack Card Back)

If you have questions regarding Card Backs or have any additional information to add to this topic, feel free to contact Neil (blackiecats).