In my last post I reviewed Storm Rider, a G.I. Joe figure that I’d been trying to track down for months. It took me nearly two years since his initial release before I finally got him. That was a long two years but it’s nothing when compared to how long I’ve been trying to get my hands on this damn penguin. Pugnacious Penguin was released as part of the third series of Battle Beasts back in 1988. Unlike the first two series’ where the figures were released in 2 packs, series three was released as three 8-packs of figures. I’m not sure why Hasbro went that route but it made the figures tougher for me to get. Not only were they more scarce than the previous waves but at the higher price point it was much harder for me to convince my dad to buy me a pack for raking the leaves or whatever. By the time Christmas and my January birthday rolled around, when I might’ve had a shot at getting an 8 pack, they were nowhere to be found. Luckily I acquired a few of the figures through trades with friends and flea markets that year and I had about half of wave 3 before too long. That second half though was not so easy to come by. Granted I could’ve bought them on ebay anytime but most people were asking way too much for them and for many years they weren’t that high on my priority list. I picked up the occasional figure here and there and that was good enough for me. Earlier this year my brother Doug found a guy selling Battle Beasts on Kijiji (a local classifieds site). I scored about half of the remaining figures I needed from him. That coupled with the news that new Battle Beast (Beast Saga) figures were coming out lit a fire under my butt to finally complete the collection. I found the last couple figures relatively easily, that is except for the penguin. As soon as I had vowed to purchase him, no matter the price, nobody in the world was selling him. I was checking ebay every few days for months and noone put a penguin up for sale. I had really hoped to complete my vintage collection before the new figures came out. New figures had the potential to bring new fans to the property which could make the older figures more collectable and thus more expensive. Well as you know my first series of Beast Saga figures showed up last month and I still hadn’t acquired a Battle Beast penguin. However just a couple weeks ago, within a day or two of scoring Storm Rider, I found a guy selling a lot of 5 Battle Beasts, penguin included. I placed my bid and prayed that the auction wouldn’t get out of hand. I was worried the inclusion of the 4 other beasts whom I didn’t need would drive up the bids. Luckily that was not the case and now finally, after almost 25 years, I have Pugnacious Penguin thus completing my vintage collection of North American released Battle Beasts. Phew.
It will be a very satisfying feeling to place this guy into my Battle Beast display once I’m done with this review. I don’t think I’ve ever had a complete action figure line before. The satisfaction is slightly diminished by the knowledge that there are other vintage Battle Beasts out there that were only released in Japan. I would love to get my hands on those but they sell for hundreds of dollars apiece and rarely hit the secondary market so its best if I forget about them.
So was this figure worth the wait? In a word, yes. If I had really wanted to, I could’ve bought this figure ages ago but for the past two decades I’ve been more concerned with buying figures from more current collections. Completing my Battle Beasts collection was always in the back of my mind and I always knew that I’d do it eventually. There is a sense of accomplishment now that it’s finally done and I find myself wondering why I didn’t make it a priority years ago.
I think every single Battle Beast figure is worth owning. Some I love and others are just alright but there are none that I dislike. Even my least favorite ones like the porpoise and the flying squirrel still have a charm about them. I would rank the penguin somewhere in the middle. Maybe if I had owned him as a kid he’d get more points based on his nostalgia factor but if anything I resent him for being so difficult to find and will penalize him a few points for it. I like penguins as much as the next guy but I find them to be a very overrated bird. Ever since March of the Penguins came out people just can’t seem to get enough of them. They were featured heavily in the Madagascar series and in the Jim Carrey movie, Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I see stuffed animals of them everywhere and they just seem overexposed in general. Sure it’s cool how the dad penguins sit on the eggs for months while the mother goes for food but do they deserve a medal for it? Get over yourself penguins. I’m sure every species out there does something just as quirky and charming but not all are so lucky to be featured in a full length theatrically released documentary. So not only do I resent this guy for being so hard to track down but I also don’t like his ego. Even his name, Pugnacious, implies that he’s got an attitude problem.
Even if he is a jerk though, I could never stay mad at this guy. He is pretty darn cute. Not cute to the extreme like the Hamster I reviewed the other day but cute enough. He’s got the cold piercing stare and no-nonsense grimace that all Battle Beast figures do but it’s his stature that makes him hard to take seriously as a threat. I’m pretty sure that he’s the smallest Battle Beast out of the entire series of 88 figures; smaller than even the mouse or spider. Scale has never really been factored into the Battle Beast world so I’m unsure why they opted to make this guy so petite. The sculpt is great on this guy as is expected and I really like his armor. It’s quite different than that of any other beast. The lack of armor on his legs and chest almost make it appear as though he’s wearing an armored bikini of some sort. The light and dark blues look great together and give him an appropriately cold/aquatic vibe. A very welcome addition to mike’s collection. 7 out of 10.