This is Hardtop Tortoise, or as I called him, Battle Turtle. As I’ve mentioned in previous Battle Beast figure reviews, I had no idea that these characters had names when I was a kid. There were no names on the packaging, and no comic books (that I knew of) or cartoon shows to educate me on the character names. Every time I got a new Battle Beast figure he was a totally clean slate. I could choose to make him good or bad, an enforcer or a spy, english or french, whatever. That’s one of the things that I really liked about the line. It wasn’t until years later, once the internet came to be, that I discovered that these characters had individual names and a somewhat surprising history. Apparently there was a poster that you could order that provided the names of these characters but I never knew about it. I’d love to find one now and have it mounted and hung but they’re quite expensive to purchase these days.
I also discovered that 4 black and white issues of a comic book were published by a basically unknown comic company called Blackthorne. Those are also quite expensive to purchase these days. The most interesting thing I learned about Battle Beasts from the internet was that they are directly related to the Transformers. They were originally conceived by the Japanese toy company Takara as a spin off to the popular transforming robot toy line. The Battle Beasts actually appeared in an episode of the Transformers cartoon that only aired in Japan called, Rebellion on Planet Beast. Over there they were known as Beastformers. It was a pretty neat little discovery seeing as there were no ties made between the two lines once the Battle Beasts were imported to America by Hasbro. Those Japanese Transformers episodes were recently released on DVD in America for the first time and I was finally able to see the Battle Beasts in all their animated glory.
Back when Dreamwave and Devil’s Due had the publishing rights to the Transformer and G.I. Joe comic books they would publish an annual crossover event where the two properties would interact in a comic book mini-series set in an alternate world, separate from the main Transformers and Joe books. I loved these series because since the books weren’t considered “canon” or “in-continuity” the writers could explore some of the zanier aspects of the properties. In one series the Joes and Transformers had to infiltrate the planet-eating Transformer Unicron to stop him from destroying Earth. Inside of Unicron the heroes were attacked by Battle Beasts which acted as antibodies in Unicron’s body. It was a very cool little nod to the fact that these properties are linked in other parts of the world.
Now as for Hardtop, or Battle Turtle or whatever you want to call him, he’s pretty awesome. I’m a little biased though as I think that they’re all pretty awesome. Battle Turtle though does have a little added cool that places him on a slightly higher pedestal than the majority.
First off the sculpt on this guy is killer. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of detail that the sculptors were able to squeeze into these tiny figures, especially in the 80s when these were intended for children and not for collectors. His leg, arms, and head are all textured with a scaly bumpy turtle skin. His back has an intricately armored shell with each plate sculpted separately. His face is great and very lifelike and his armor features some nice detailing as well. In place of his left hand he has an imposing mechanical claw. Another thing that I absolutely love about this toy is the choice of colors used. Green would have been the obvious choice for a turtle and this sculpt would probably look awesome in green but the black is such an unexpected choice that I just love it. The orange armor with a couple of green highlights is an excellent contrasting color choice and it gives him a halloween kinda vibe. Top notch figure. 9 out of 10.
I’d just like to add that my first 14 Beast Saga figures that I pre-ordered from BigBadToyStore shipped a little over a week ago so I’m hoping to be able to review one of them for you this week. These will be the first new Battle Beasts characters released in over 20 years so I’m pretty damn excited about it. If you like what you see be sure to head over to BigBadToyStore.com (the link is on the right side of this page) and order yourself a few before they’re gone.