Category Archives: Battle Beasts
Let’s take a look at another Beast Saga figure. This very short lived toy line was produced by Takara in 2012. A few waves of figures, a manga comic, and an anime all came out in Japan but nothing made it across the sea to North America. Luckily, in this modern age of the internet I was able to get my hands on all of the Japanese figures relatively easily.
Each figure was available in a standard version as well as a clear variant version which came in blind boxes. I have all of the standard versions plus a handful of the clear variants. The figure I’m reviewing today is the clear version of Long Tsurafu or Saga Giraffe as I like to call him.
This clear version retains all of the sculpted detail but loses all those nice paint apps. The flesh pieces (head and arms) are molded in translucent yellow plastic while the armor pieces are molded in a dark translucent blue. The 2 colors look quite nice together but the overall 2-toned look is somewhat bland.
Some of the Beast Saga figures were homages to figures from Takara’s Battle Beast toy line of the 80s. In the case of Saga Giraffe, the standard version bore a slight resemblance to the old Battle Beast, Rubberneck Giraffe, but I actually think this clear version more closely resembles the original. I suppose it’s because of the deep primary blues and yellows used; and also because Rubberneck Giraffe lacked painted spots as well.
This is a neat little toy and I’m glad Takara came up with a way for fans like me to collect additional Beast Saga figures beyond the 39 standard beasts but this piece is by no means essential to your collection. I would recommend you purchase the standard giraffe figure over this one any day unless you’re a diehard fan like myself.
To my loyal readers I apologize for my extended absences these days. Its summer and I’ve been busy drinking on patios and whatnot. This past weekend I travelled to the neighboring province of Prince Edward Island for the first time ever despite having lived just a few hours away for the past 20+ years. My buddy Miguel and I went to the capital city of Charlottetown to see the Killers along with a handful of other bands at BigRedFest. The Killers put on a fantastic show and I’ve officially transitioned from casual fan to big fan. Go see them if you get the chance.
The day before our road trip I made sure to google Charlottetown’s local comic shops. They had two; Lightning Bolt Comics and the Comic Hunter. Both shops had a healthy stock of back issues but little in the way of toys. I had hoped to return with a big score to brag about but sadly I left PEI empty handed without so much as an Anne of Green Gables action figure to share with you.
Today’s figure is the oddly named Battle Beast, Brain Mouse. I’m guessing he’s supposed to be an intelligent character but since there were no Battle Beast cartoons, or other media to back that up I only have the name to go by. Since I didn’t know his name when I was a kid (none of the Battle Beast figures had names on the packages) I called him Battle Mouse.
The only problem with that was I already had a Battle Mouse. Takara released a mouse with red and blue armor in wave 2. This guy in the yellow armor didn’t come out until wave 4. I ran into a similar problem when Takara released a second rhinoceros in wave 4, having previously released one in wave 1. Usually I was able to come up with some type of naming remedy. In the case of the rhinos, my first rhinoceros remained Battle Rhino while the second one became Battle Rhinoceros. Similarly I had Battle Dog and Battle Bulldog, and Battle Anteater and Battle Aardvark. But when I got my second mouse I couldn’t think of anything to name him. I suppose I could’ve went with a specific species like Battle Deer Mouse or Battle House Mouse but instead I retroactively renamed the wave 2 figure Battle Rat and let this guy take over the name Battle Mouse. I could’ve named this one Battle Rat but he’s clearly a mouse while the wave 2 figure could really go either way. I discovered years later that the wave 2 mouse was actually named Powerhouse Mouse.
Now that I know both of their official names it seems odd that Takara would give us 2 different mice figures. Why not a rat? Or a ferret or a guinea pig or some other animal we didn’t already have? Maybe a hamster like they eventually produced in their Beast Saga line. While I would have preferred them be different species I don’t mind having the 2 mice. Both of them are pretty cool and unique.
Where Powerhouse Mouse wears red and blue armor and has a blade/hook for a hand, Brain Mouse wears bright yellow armor and has a mechanical claw for a hand. Their faces are quite different with Brain having a much rounder, friendlier visage. His ears are large and round like Mickey Mouse’s as opposed to Powerhouse’s pointier ears and face.
Battle Beasts are pretty small anyway but Brain Mouse is slightly shorter than most which I like since he’s supposed to be a pretty teeny animal. There’s not a ton of detail sculpted into the yellow armor but the few that are there are nicely highlighted with green and purple paint apps.
The 4th and final wave of Battle Beasts, known as Laser Beasts, were constructed slightly different than the previous 3 waves. Instead of having a heat activated rub emblem on their chest, a la Transformers, they had a clear orb in the center of their chest which you had to peer into to discover their classification (wood, fire, or water). The orb looks fine on most of the Laser Beasts but because Brain Mouse is a little smaller than the other figures the orb is a little too big and makes him appear slightly overweight.
The other key difference between Laser Beasts and regular Battle Beasts is that instead of carrying the classic bladed weapons, Laser Beasts carry, you guessed it, lasers. Each Laser Beast has a laser that is unique to him and reflects his species. Some were more subtle than others. Brain Mouse featured one of the more conspicuous laser designs.
I think this is a great figure. Nice sculpt, nice paint job, and nice accessory. Battle Beasts rarely disappoint. 8 out of 10.
It’s time for another bitter sweet Beast Saga figure review. Sweet because these were great toys with a ton of potential, and bitter because the line was cancelled in its very first year. A part of me still holds out hope for a surprise announcement from Japan about a new wave of figures but that seems unlikely at this point. At least I managed to amass a respectably sized Beast Saga collection during the few short months that the line lasted.
This figure, whom I believe is named Eledram but whom I have named Saga Elephant, was part of the initial wave of figures. This standard version was released as a single carded figure with a clear variant available in a blind box. I didn’t buy very many of the blind boxes because I didn’t want to end up with a bunch of doubles. Getting stuck with double figures from this toy line would be especially troublesome because I don’t know of anyone who would take them off my hands. I did not acquire the clear variant version of Saga Elephant so this standard version is the only one I have. I’m fine with that because this is one of my least favorite figures in the line.
The main issue I have with this figure is the proportions. Look at the size of his head and arms and then compare them to his legs. It’s ridiculous. He ends up looking like one of those big headed caricatures people draw for tourists. This stubby leg issue is prevalent throughout the Beast Saga line but I find it most noticeable on Saga Elephant.
Glaringly distracting proportion issues aside, this is a nice figure. There’s lots of nice sculpting and a variety of paint apps. The face has an angry scowl that makes me think this guy has a real attitude problem. Above his eyes appear to be a set of infrared goggles that suggest to me that maybe he’s a night operative.
(Though it does seem a little silly to have an Elephant as your stealth trooper.) The trunk is the most impressive part about the head. I like the way it faces outward with an upward curve. It makes him look aggressive, like he’s ready to use his nose as a weapon if need be. The tusks, ears, and the armor that runs along the trunk all look good as well. However, all of these different elements of the head add to the figure’s top-heaviness.
His torso is very heavily armored. This guy looks like a walking tank. His shoulders even appear to have cannons and tank treads worked into their design. It’s almost as if this guy could transform into a tank and roll off (It just occurred to me that an elephant that transforms into a tank is an excellent idea. The trunk could be the turret. Get on that Hasbro).
Saga Elephant has a gray hide with aqua blue armor. There are green, red, orange, black and white paint applications on the figure as well. I don’t have any problem with the color choices and I appreciate the multiple apps but I must say that I have a fondness for the bizarre color palette of his predecessor, Battle Elephant from the 1980s Battle Beasts line. The purple skin and black armor was very striking. I also miss the weaponized hands of the Battle Beasts. Battle Elephant had a blunt sledge hammer for a hand which he used to bludgeon many enemies back in the day on my bedroom floor. A part of me really wanted the Beast Saga line to serve as an update to the vintage Battle Beasts, the way the modern G.I. Joes are an update of the ones I collected as a kid. So in that regard I kind of wish Eledram had purple skin and a hammer for a hand as well.
While none of the Beast Saga figures were direct translations of Battle Beasts, several of them had nods to the figures of old. I see very little resemblance or connection between the 2 elephant figures but they do have very similar weapons. A lot of these figures have very elaborate axes and multi-bladed weapon but both the elephants have a very simple spire-like sword.
If I were to dump all of my Battle and Saga Beasts out on the bedroom floor today for a play session, my two elephants would find themselves on opposite sides of the battlefield. I’ve designated Saga Elephant a good guy, serving under Saga Lion, whereas Battle Elephant was a bad guy back in the day; a member of Battle Ram’s army. Luckily, since I’m 36 years old, I don’t see elephant–on-elephant violence being an issue on my bedroom floor any time soon. 6 out of 10.
This is Icky Iguana from the second series of Battle Beasts. Icky is a pretty dumb name so I’m glad that I didn’t know that was his name when I was a kid. To me he was, and forever will be, Battle Iguana. This guy is probably one of my top 10 favorite Battle Beast figures and definitely in my top 3 from series 2. How could you not love this figure? He’s just so cool .
Battle Iguana has some very nice sculpting with scales all over his body, spikes down his back, and a little “beard” under his chin. It’s a fairly realistic looking sculpt. His armor is nice but nothing flashy. There are lots of little details like vents and rivets but they’re all pretty subtle. The only embellishment to the armor are some small spikes along the shoulders.
He’s bright yellow in color, like a highlighter marker. I’m not sure why Takara didn’t go with green. Perhaps to differentiate him from the green frog and snake from series 1. I actually like the yellow but it would have been pretty rad if Battle Beasts had been available in different colors schemes. I can only imagine how cool this figure would have looked sculpted in green and black or white and red. As it is, Takara went with the flashy yellow for the skin and orange for Icky’s armor. There are 3 little red highlights on the chest plate which match his eye color.
Icky originally came packaged with a jagged sword weapon and Armored Armadillo was his pack mate. I acquired a few of my Battle Beasts through trades with friends so I don’t have Icky’s original weapon. Instead I have him displayed with a 2-pronged axe blade. That weapon actually came packaged with the other lizard released in series 2, Delta Chameleon. For whatever reason Takara opted to give the chameleon the exact same neon yellow skin tone as the iguana. I’m not sure if the goal was to make them appear like a cohesive unit or maybe no thought went into it at all. I always considered the two of them best friends or partners-in-crime . I had an extra copy of Delta’s weapon laying around for some reason so that’s the one I assigned to Icky to link them together even further.
When I played with my Battle Beasts as a kid, both Icky and Delta were members of my bad guy team led by Battle Ram. They stuck together pretty tightly and were effective warriors. However I never really saw either of them as really “bad”. It’s not like they were going around slaughtering the good guys out of sheer joy; they were just soldiers doing their job.
I wish Takara’s Beast Saga line had lasted long enough to give us an updated version of an Iguana or a Chameleon, or any lizard for that matter. Reptiles were not very well represented in that line, the crocodile being the only one.
I have a complete set of North American released Battle Beasts figures. That’s three complete waves of heat-activated rub emblem beasts and one partial wave of orb-chested laser beasts. It’s one of my favorite 1980s toy lines. There’s just something about wild animals in armor swinging swords around that does it for me. I love most of the 91 different BB figures I have; however, there are definitely a few weak links in the chain. Miner Mole is one of them.
Battle Beasts didn’t have names on their packages and they didn’t have a cartoon so I had no idea what any of the character’s names were growing up. That is why I adopted the simple naming pattern of calling them all “Battle-whatever animal they happened to be”. That worked out fine most of the time: Battle Rhino, Battle Fox, etc. But there were a couple of odd figures where I wasn’t sure what the heck kind of animal it was supposed to be. For example, I always thought my polar bear was an aardvark. This purple figure’s species wasn’t immediately obvious to me. I think I’ll place the blame on my old friend, Jay Pelley, for leading me to think that this guy was a dolphin. Throughout my childhood this mole figure was known as Battle Dolphin. fail.
There’s no mistaking a lion or an elephant, even if they are standing on their hind legs and wearing pants. Most Battle Beasts were colored realistically which made the critters even more recognizable. But every now and again they’d give you a blue rabbit or horse. But a rabbit is clearly a rabbit, even if it’s blue. This guy wasn’t so easily identifiable (no distinguishing features) and the fact that he was purple didn’t help.
Maybe it’s obvious to you that he’s a mole. But that’s easy to say now that I’ve already told you. Besides, I had already falsely identified War Weasel as a mole so I thought that slot was taken. This guy’s little mole snout could have just as easily been a dolphin’s bottle nose. You’d think the subterranean looking goggles might’ve tipped me off as well but it made sense to me that a dolphin would need goggles too walk around on land; keep his eyes moist or whatever.
Lastly you may be thinking that the inclusion of arms and legs might’ve been a clue that he wasn’t a dolphin. But my shark, piranha, and snake figures all had arms and legs so that didn’t help to rule any species out of the running.
Miner Mole’s animal androgyny lead to him being one of my least favorite Battle Beast figures. He may have a unique look but it’s not exactly a cool or tough one. I always saw him as a techie guy, which made sense considering how smart dolphins are. Moles, I dunno, they’re probably dumb.
Side note: I once caught a mole along side the road when I was delivering newspapers when I was around 12. I scooped him up in my canvas bag and brought him home with me. I made a habitat in one of our large plastic garbage bins then I went inside and read up on Moles in our family set of encyclopedias (those are like Wikipedia on paper kids). I remember it said that moles often succumb in captivity. I didn’t know what that meant so I asked my dad. He told me it basically meant “give up”. That didn’t sound good so I went outside to free my mole from his new bio-dome home but within the hour or so that I had left him out there the poor little bugger “succumbed”. The guilt still weighs heavy on me. Regardless, I can’t score this figure any higher than a 5 out of 10.
I know I’ve mentioned it a few times before but I now I truly believe that the Beast Saga toy line is dead. Starting in the Fall of 2012, the figures were solicited in droves; one wave after the next. That initial explosion of product lasted into the spring. But for the past year there’s been basically no news on the future of the line at all. The final figure that I pre-ordered, the Kangaroo, kept having it’s release date pushed back until the pre-order was eventually cancelled by the e-tailer. So that’s that. I’m left with a decent collection of nearly 50 figures but I guess that’s where it ends. Therefore I’ll have to review them a little more sparingly so I don’t run out of them too soon.
Every figure in the line was available as a standard figure, like this, but also as a clear variant, like this. The clear figures were available only in blind packs so you never knew what figure you were gonna get. These toys aren’t overly expensive but considering that they’re only available online you need to factor in the shipping which makes each figure’s cost around 10 to 12 bucks; and that’s a lot for figures as small as this. For that reason I didn’t go nuts ordering a bunch of blind packs. I didn’t want to pay hefty online prices only to end up with a bunch of doubles. Doubles that nobody in my area would even want to take off my hands. So with each new wave I only ordered 2 blind packs and hoped to get 2 different figures. It worked out well and I didn’t end up saddled with any clear figures doubles.
However my craving for new Beast Saga figures went unanswered for months so I began ordering a couple additional blind packs every time I made an order with BigBadToyStore. I did eventually start getting duplicates. I now have clear doubles of the bird and the turtle, but at least those are two of my favorite figures from the line.
I was surprised a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon a Beast Saga listing on BBTS’s site that I hadn’t seen before. It was a 3-pack of clear figures that weren’t blind packed. The set featured 3 aquatic characters, the shark, the crocodile, and the killer whale. What was even more interesting was that these clear versions were different than the clear variants of those characters that had been available previously in the blind packs. While the clear variants don’t really do a whole lot for me discovering this pack felt like I had uncovered a lost trio of figures from this unappreciated and forgotten toy line. I was very happy to place my order, especially since I didn’t already own any of these characters’ blind packed variants.
My 3-pack arrived just before Christmas. The shark is probably the best one from the pack. He’s sculpted in a dark black translucent plastic which makes him look quite a bit different from the standard release shark figure who had white and gray skin. I can totally see the black shark as a unique character. The killer whale is sculpted in a weird light purple plastic. I don’t love it but, again, it makes him look quite a bit different than the standard killer whale. This clear croc variant is probably my least favorite from the pack because it looks fairly similar to the standard figure since his skin is still green. However the armor is now black now instead of blue and there are some gold highlights which keep the figure from being too plain looking.
The sculpt is nice with a great crocodile head and fairly simple armor. The chest plate is riveted and looks kind of like a tank and the shoulders have a toothy crocodile mouth design. It’s a pretty cool toy but there’s not too much to get excited about here if you already have the standard figure. Though the see-through effect is pretty neat when he’s placed in front of a light source. As a big fan of this line I imagine I will eventually track down all of the clear variants. 7 out of 10.
One of the main reasons why I started this blog 2 years ago was because I wanted to write more. To that end I would say that it’s been a success. I’ve written over 500 reviews now and even I’m surprised by how much I’m still able to ramble on about action figures. A side effect of writing about all these toys is that it’s made me into an even more passionate toy collector than I was previously. I’m always buying random odds and ends and expensive exclusives and I do it all with the justification that they’re “for the blog”.
As an adult toy collector I’ve only ever really collected new product. I still have a bunch of old toys from my youth but my adult collector phase, which started in the late 90s with the new Star Wars figures, has consisted primarily of me buying the latest and greatest figures. From Star Wars my collecting carried on into the 2000s with the rebirth of G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe, lines that I continue to collect today. There’s no shortage of new figures coming out each and every month to keep me collecting and writing for ages. However, writing this blog has also rekindled my interest in older toys. I find myself scooping up vintage Joes and He-Men with greater frequency lately.
One of the toy lines I loved as a kid was Takara’s Battle Beasts. It was the only toy line of my youth that I collected alone; everything else I split down the middle with my big brother Doug. Even after Doug and I stopped collecting together around 1990 I turned to my little brother Brian to help me bear the weight of Toy Biz’s vast Marvel output.
Battle Beasts were tiny figures with minimal articulation and a wood/fire/water (rock/paper/scissor) play pattern that didn’t interest me. The appeal of them came from the fact that they were anthropomorphic animals with swords and battle armour; how could you not love them? I think that if they had gotten a cartoon they would’ve been huge in the 80s and hipsters today would be strutting around in Battle Beast t-shirts. Sadly they did not receive any major media tie-ins and so they’re a mostly forgotten footnote in the world of 1980s action figures.
There were 3 waves of standard figures released in North America totaling 76 figures. After that a series of Laser Beasts was released overseas but only 12 of those figures ever made it to our shores. The Laser Beasts that never saw release in America now sell for big bucks online; I’m talking hundreds of dollars each. Of the 88 figures released in America I had acquired about 90% of them as a kid. I would’ve loved to have them all but back in those days if you couldn’t find what you were looking for at your local K-Mart then you were outta luck.
By the time the internet became a thing and online auctions made finding old toys much easier, completing my Battle Beast collection had fallen pretty low on my list of priorities. I could’ve bought the few remaining figures I needed years ago but it wasn’t until I started writing this blog that it suddenly seemed an essential thing to do. Within the first year of blogging I tracked down all of the remaining figures. I even found a few of them right here in Halifax by way of a classified ad.
My complete Battle Beast collection is now proudly displayed on my wall. And yet, even after my acquisition of Pugnacious Penguin, the last figure I needed, I felt as though something was missing. That’s when I got it in my head that to truly boast having a complete American Battle Beast collection I must hunt down the vehicles and playsets. There were 3 chariots and 3 headquarter playsets released back in the day and I had one of each. I have the Big Horn Chariot which was perfect since Battle Ram was the leader of my evil army. It seemed appropriate that he was the only beast with a ride. That left me needing the Deer and Tiger chariots.
Of the playsets I have the Shark which was intended as the base for the water powered beasts. That leaves me needing the fire-themed Phoenix and the wood-themed Wood Beetle. The playsets can be a little on the expensive side but I hope to track them down eventually.
I recently stumbled across this modestly priced Tiger chariot in an online toy store I frequent. I was pretty stoked to have it arrive in the mail the other day. Vehicles don’t usually do it for me but this is a vehicle with a lot of personality. The design is quite simple and blocky. The back slides out so you can place a figure in the cockpit and then it slides back in to hold him in place. There are two bars on either side which can be flipped out and used to house other figures who must hold on for dear life with the strength of their armpits. The chariot can be revved backwards and released to have it tear across your kitchen floor with its jaws chomping.
This toy is simple but it’s fun and it looks cool. This one is actually in great condition too. It makes me wonder about Battle Tiger’s role in my Battle Beast universe. I always viewed him as just another soldier but does the fact that he is now my only good guy with his own car mean he just moved up into a position of power? Will he challenge Battle Rhino for the right to lead? Does he stand a chance at winning? Would the others follow him? So many questions. If only I was 8 then I could dump the figures out on my bedroom floor and play it out but since I’m 36 I think I’ll go watch TV instead. 7 out of 10.
The first wave of Battle Beast figures contained most of the “popular” animals. The kind of animals you would immediately think to place on a team of animal warriors such as lions, tigers, and bears. By the third and fourth waves Takara seemed to be running out of ideas because we started getting some really strange animals and a lot of repeats as well. The second wave was cool because it was still full of fresh ideas and easily identifiable animals, only they tended to be the types of animals you would be less likely to place on a team of animal warriors. The second wave had a seahorse, a flying squirrel, and a squid. One of the least-warrior looking of the bunch was this guy, Run Amuck Duck, whom I called Battle Duck.
I live quite close to a park and I see ducks on a regular basis. Growing up in the Canadian suburbs I never felt like my life was lacking ducks, they were around. And yet the ducks I encounter are never yellow. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a yellow duck, just ducklings. So why is it that every time you see a toy duck, be it a bath toy or a battle beast, the duck is yellow? Maybe Run Amuck is supposed to be a duckling but that seems kind of weird and it would change the way I view him entirely.
In my Battle Beast universe Battle Duck was a member of the good guy team lead by Battle Rhino. He was a skilled fighter and a respected member of the team. I don’t recall giving him any quirky personality traits; he was a pretty straight forward guy.
The sculpt on this figure is a nice one. Despite the yellow color the head is very realistic looking, much more so than most rubber ducks who tend to have big blue eyes and smiles. This is the face of a duck that means business. If his cold stare isn’t indication enough that this isn’t a duck to be trifled with then maybe his bladed hand will get the point across. Many Battle Beast figures had one weaponized hand. On some it looked like a prosthetic while on others like Ducky here is looks like an extension of his actual arm, like a mutation. I never put much thought into where they got these weaponized hands but I suppose you could assume they volunteered to get them. Maybe duck knew that he didn’t stand much of a chance at victory if he found himself fighting a grizzly bear on the battle field so he promptly signed up for biological enhancement. Makes sense.
There’s nothing else about the mold that really stands out but I do like his webbed feet and little duck tail. The blue armor and orange accents work well with the base yellow. I’m not sure what the deal is with his sword/axe weapon. It’s one of the weirder weapons in the line but I like it. 8 out of 10.
Way back in November I reviewed Saga Shark and not too long ago I reviewed Saga Fish. Well today I’m gonna take a look at the third and final figure that was included in the Kingdom of Sea 3-pack. I’m trusting other websites that this guy’s name is Pirazon but I’m gonna stick to calling him Saga Piranha for the time being.
When I was a kid I had a Battle Beast figure that was a white fish with pink armor whom I named Battle Piranha. He was one of Battle Ram’s most vicious enforcers with a real sadistic streak. I later acquired two more of that same figure. I believe they came in a mixed bag of loose Battle Beasts that I bought at my childhood comic shop, The Cardboard Jungle. I usually had no use for doubles of figure but in the case of Battle Beasts I integrated them into my ongoing storyline as best I could. The other two Piranha figures became Battle Piranha’s nameless goons that he lead separately from his association with Battle Ram, kinda like how Zartan lead his own team of Dreadnoks separate from his ties to Cobra. The Piranha gang was a group best avoided by by good buys beasts as they were a nasty bunch.
As it turns out Battle Piranha and his thugs weren’t even piranhas. When I discovered the Battle Beasts actual names in my teens with the help of a new invention called the internet I learned that the character’s official name was Killer Carp. I gotta say that I was a little disappointed by this revelation. I don’t know much about Carp but the mention of them hardly instills fear in me. He might as well have been a trout.
Well with this Beast Saga figure there’s little doubt as to his species. The name “pirazon” aside, he just looks like a piranha. The sculpting on this figure is awesome and downright creepy. The Battle Beast carp figure always looked pretty evil to me with his jagged toothy grin but he’s got nothing on this guy. This Beast Saga figure is much scarier looking than it’s predecessor. I know it might seem silly to refer to a 2 inch figure as scary but imagine stumbling across a full-sized version of this fish-man in some murky waters somewhere; yikes.
Saga Piranha is sculpted with an open mouth which I believe is a first in the Battle Beast/Beast Saga line. He’s got beady little red eyes on each side of his head and some nice scales on his skin. One of the most impressive aspects of this figure is the number of paint applications. There’s green, yellow, purple, gray, orange, red, and even a gradient effect painted onto the fins of his armor. The varied colored palette adds to the realistic look of the figure though I do wish they colored the inside of his mouth either black or pink.
I see this guy being an absolute psychopath; a soldier that Battle Shark can barely keep in line. Saga Piranha would rarely speak, mostly just in garbled growls. I imagine that he would take over the leadership role of the piranha gang. This guy would be so vicious and unstable that even Battle Piranha wouldn’t dare challenge him for the leadership role. Instead, Battle Piranha would humbly fall in line and become one of Saga Piranha’s interchangeable henchmen.
This here is Web-Slinging Spider or, as I knew him growing up, Battle Spider. This is one of my favorite Battle Beast figures; top five for sure. And that’s saying a lot because I love so many of the figures from this line. But the reason I love this figure so much isn’t just because he’s cool looking, it’s because of the personality I infused him with.
I don’t recall where or when I got this figure exactly but it was early on in my BB collecting days. He was a wave 1 figure; released in 1986/87. I got him second hand, I know that much because I don’t have his original weapon and I was usually pretty good about holding onto my accessories and remembering which weapon belonged to whom. Had I got this guy brand new he would have come with the large double pronged axe shown in the card art.
When I was a kid I loved getting new action figures, whether it was a Joe, a Transformer, or a Battle Beast, and then integrating them into my established team. I pretty much always knew right away whether a new addition would become a star or a supporting character in my toy universe. Somebody like Shockwave for example was a late addition to my Joe roster, not showing up until 1988, but he quickly became the hero of all my battles; always the last man standing. When it came to Battle Spider I did not spot his star quality right away. I liked him, but he was no more a stand out then say Battle Crab or Battle Snake.
It was actually a pretty simple thing that made me take special notice of this character. Because he was lacking his own weapon I turned to my pile of spares. I tended to arm my defenceless Battle Beast with whatever I had lying around that would pass as a weapon. I remember that Battle Giraffe always wielded Jabba the Hutt’s pipe on the battle field.
I happened to have a duplicate of Battle Snake’s spear but the bottom of it had snapped off. I made the most of my broken weapon by using it to arm two separate beasts. I gave the long part of the spear to Battle Rabbit and Battle Spider ended up with the stubby broken end. The small blade barely poked out of his hand. It looked like a concealed prison shiv. I started building a whole personality around that little broken blade. Spider became a master of close combat fighting. He was Battle Ram’s stealth assassin. He shot up the ranks of my bad guy team so quickly that he soon developed a rivalry with my main good guy, Sly Fox. Fox already had a rivalry with Battle Bat, but where Bat was purely evil, Spider was more of an honorable villain. Spider’s relationship with Fox was more akin to that of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. I imagined Battle Spider to be very intelligent, one-step ahead of everyone else, and he fought for Ram only to further his own agenda.
The figure itself is hella cool. The armour is colored a sort of matte purple and has little in the way of sculpted detail. He’s got one fist, with which he holds his blade, and one open hand. I always imagined him shooting webbing from his open hand like Spider-Man. The face sculpt is deadly and quite frightening. He’s got large mandibles, multiple eyes of varying sizes and then some crazy thing in his mouth. I never quite knew what to make of that mechanical thing on his face but I imagined it as sort of a spy computer that fed him information. It reminds me of the cycloptic red eye found on another one of my favorite purple toys from the 80s. I absolutely love the look of the segmented arms that protrude from his shoulders. All in all this is a great design, with great color choices. Totally kick ass. 10 out of 10.