Even though the Thundercats toy line lasted for only three years, they can comfortably sit right along side Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers and Masters of the Universe as one of the most popular toy lines of their era, but the journey to get there went through a few trials before finally becoming the toy line we all know and love. By 1983, GI Joe, Masters of the Universe and Star Wars were all well established toy lines, but a little company called LJN Toys had a big idea to be a part of that success. The idea was pitched for a new cartoon series that centered around humanoid cats battling animal like creatures on a world called Third Earth. The execs loved it and Work immediately began on the Thundercats animated series, which would support the toy line, but due to legal issues, the series wasn’t able to be released until September of 1985. The actual toy line was released in the spring of 1985, so the toys definitely came first. The Thundercats line settled on a 7″ inch tall figure, which was not typical at that time, since Star Wars had made the 3.75 inch design the new norm. Each figure would also include a unique “Battle-Matic” action feature to add playability. This was a fantastic way to personalize each character and give them something to hook their audience. We also got a Marvel Comics series of the Thundercats in 1985 as well, through their Star Comics brand. With a top rated animated show and major published comic book, the groundwork had been laid for the Thundercats to become a massive hit and that’s exactly what happened. The Thundercats went on to massive success, which was backed by their hit animated series. The toy line had a short run but showed great success for the time it was on the market.

The Thundercats figures really caught fire with kids growing up in the 80’s, and sold very well, but after only three very successful years on the market, the Thundercats toy line by LJN came to an abrupt end at the completion of the Series 3 wave in 1987. Toy sales in 1986 proved to be fantastic but the new products in 1987 just weren’t selling as well as they had the previous year and many companies that were producing non-toy Thundercats merchandise, had stopped releasing new items this year. There are several reasons for this unexpected cancellation but among the biggest reasons, aside from slipping toy sales, was quite simply the massive competition they faced on the market. In 1987, the male toy world was dominated by Transformers and GI Joe, and there were no signs of slowing down. Thundercats wasn’t even the top selling toy line at LJN with that title belonging to the WWF Wrestling line in 1987. So to put it quite simply, LJN got out while the pot was still warm. Many toy lines go on way past their prime, but the Thundercats line went out while they were still at a successful point, which is quite unique. They still had one of the more successful animated shows on television, which would go on to last for 130 episodes until September of 1989. They also still had a very popular comic book line from Marvel Comics, through their Star Brand, which would go on through 1988. So whether it was a crafty business decision or just the effects a smaller toy company not having the deep pockets of bigger and more well-known companies, LJN closed the door on the Thundercats toy line at the end of 1987. The Thundercats series was revived in 2011, but didn’t quite catch on with the same success it showed during the 1980’s.

LJN Toys released some real quality products from 1985 to 1987, and just like every toy line, the values of certain items can greatly fluctuate over time. This is based on several factors, including the item’s time period, scarcity, consumer demand and overall condition. The good news for Thundercats collectors is there’s always a demand for items from this era, as LJN created some truly memorable figures. Many individual figures can still be easily found in loose condition without their accessories in most secondary markets, but MOC figures are becoming harder to find in good condition. The recent revival by the of Thundercats that began in 2011, has really had a huge influence on the classic item Values recently. Just like the new Ultimate re-make line, the Super 7 Series line, or the Funko Pop series, it has been proven over and over that the public and loyal fan base just cant get enough of these classic Thundercats characters. Values on the original Thundercats items remain steady and have seen a slight increase in prices lately with 80’s nostalgia becoming hot again. Thundercats Figures from this era will always maintain their value for a variety of reasons, with the biggest being that the Thundercats is a memorable brand that remains extremely popular with collectors. These characters are remembered very fondly by the kids who grew up in the 1980’s. The figures, playsets, vehicles, and creatures from the Thundercats line will only increase in value as these figures and sets become rarer and harder to find in the future.

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1985 Thundercats

1986 Thundercats

1987 Thundercats