This is a thing I've been working on for some time, and was maybe thinking of a blog post or whatever, but I didn't think anyone would care. After finding THIS forum, I think I finally have a place for it. It's a bit of a description of each individual Battle Beast, its details & colors, possible Variants, and a description of the animals upon which is is based. I actually found an old topic where an actual Ecologist was going through each species and delivering notes, and people seemed into it (unfortunately, it died several years ago). So hopefully people might find this interesting, and have an opportunity to talk about some of their favorite Beasts as they come.
(Note: The early descriptive stuff is worded in a way that it's basically describing the Beasts to someone completely unfamiliar with the line, which will come off as "well, DUH" to actual collectors like you all. I left it here for completion's sake).
* Battle Beasts are objectively rather simple in theory- they're anthropomorphic, two-legged, two-armed creatures wearing suits of armor- a torso covering, shoulder-pads, wrist-guards, and boots that reveal the front and back of the feet. They have odd numbers of fingers and toes- some just have "Mitten" hands, too.
* The Beasts have a couple different types of armor. One is a "Two-Piece", where the top is a large block of torso-covering armor, while there's a smaller codpiece covering the crotch and butt. The "One-Piece" is basically the same, except the two pieces are connected. These two take up the vast majority, but a handful of different ones exist when they want to shake things up- characters like the Zebra, Hawk & Orangutan feature entirely different set-ups.
* The all have a "Symbol" (usually called a "rub" online)- it's a black sticker that, when touched or warmed up, will reveal one of three symbols- Fire, Wood or Water. The theme being that Water beats Fire (obvious), Fire beats Wood (again obvious), and that Wood... floats on Water? Okayyyy... This is the main "gimmick" of the entire line (almost ALL kids' toys back then had to feature some kind of "gimmick", though a handful eschewed that- He-Man and G.I. Joe were pretty standard-issue and not fancy). The stickers are generally placed on the centre of the upper piece of the armor- I usually call them "Chest Symbols" for this reason. A small handful place them either lower or to the side- one notable exception is the Bat, who features one on his WING. The "Symbols" are usually the first thing to go on the toys- since little kids had to "rub" them to make them show their symbol, the sticker got shuffled around a lot, and wasn't really attached by anything but simple glue.
* The colors are rather simple- one body color, and one color for the armor (only a couple of exceptions exist). There will also be a third color I call the "secondary color", typically with the eyes and a small portion of the armor. Others use four colors- in this case, the eyes will usually be different. Very rarely, you will see FIVE colors used- these imply another, extra detail (such as the Racoon's mask).
* Semi-unusually, you will see Variants. These rarer Beasts will feature a different, usually subtle, color scheme. The Tiger often features different shades of pink for his Secondary Color, while Squirely Squirrel has a rare version with yellow vents instead of red (his normal secondary color, which is unchanged elsewhere on the figure). A few, like the Bighorn Sheep, are in different shades than normal, while others (the Walrus & Mouse) feature actual FLAWS in the paint-jobs, resulting in unpainted tusks & teeth (yes, factory flaws actually make things MORE expensive). Most-unusual are the Beasts of an entirely-different color- the rare Weasel is actually PINK in one form. Most-notable and obvious is Jaded Jag, who is ordinarily wearing red armor, but a rare version features a DARK BLUE set instead.
* 75 of the 76 Beasts are of modern-day, living animals- the majority of which are mammals (though reptiles and birds are also very common). Most of the "famous" animals are depicted, leaving out very few (Cetaceans are notably-absent, but the Wolf is easily the most famous absentee). However, only the Spider exists for the Arachnids, and there are no Insects whatsoever. Domesticated animals are a bit rare, but there are three different examples of Canis familiaris- the dog. There are often quite a few representatives of each Order or Family- there's a Horse and a Zebra, for example. Six Cats. The three Dogs, plus a Fox. There's a regular Snake and, much later, a Cobra. The Boar is eventually joined by a common Pig. There's also several members of the Bovine Family represented- a domestic Cow, a Bison, plus Water Buffalo, Antelope, and Musk Ox. Three Bears, two Cephalopods, and a handful of Apes, as well. Naturally, a "sequel" line, the Laser Beasts, turns a lot of this on its head by including several new animal types (and even some fictional ones!).
* Every Beast comes with his own unique weapon. I never noticed it as a kid (as the numbers were not a major feature of the toys), but they're set up in groups- #1-9 have bright silver weapons. #10-18 have dark bronze. #19-28 have dark grey. #29-40 have bright gold (among the most eye-catching). #41-52 have a lighter, slightly-reddish bronze. #53-64 have very light grey weapons, and #64-76 are the most-distinctive, being dark purple. All of the weapons have the Beast's # written on them somewhat-prominently.
* Speaking of the Beast #s- a few of them appear on the Beasts in some form or another. This is something I've literally never noticed until doing this series, as I'd never really looked them over in THAT much detail before, but you'll find the occasional guy with his # imprinted on the back of his head, or sometimes on his armor. Some have letters as well (something about production "lots"). The Hasbro logo, copywrite symbol, and sometimes Takara's name will also appear on the figure- most of them are smart enough to just stick this on the bottom of the feet, where you'll never see them, but a few figures have this prominently stamped on their BACK, which is a bit silly (this is more common on early Beasts). A few Beasts will actually have a hole on the bottom of their feet, though nothing in the line appears to have a peg for them.
* The numbers are largely immaterial, but you notice certain trends. The earliest, the "Silver Weapon" guys, are usually the ones I see as the most-iconic, and most-common Beasts- the Deer, Bird, Snake & Lion in particular are ultra-common, with the Lion being the line's "centerpiece", if such a thing exists. As a kid, I thought the Lion & Rhino were the most-righteous-looking minis in the entire line, and I used them as the leaders of the two "factions" I envisioned, with all the evil-looking Beasts on the Lion's side. The Silver weapons are almost all rather thin and fragile-looking. The "Dark Bronze Weapon" guys are much like the first, but less-extraordinary, and feature some of the plainer guys (in addition to some odd ones like the Giraffe). "Dark Grey Weapon" guys actually feature some of the coolest designs, coming at the end of "Series I"- the Bison & Horse in particular are ENORMOUS compared to the other toys, and the Crab & Spider are in the "Top Five Most-Iconic", easily. Their weapons are all oddly rather large.
* Series II toys break down as such: The "Gold Weapon" series has a lot of variation- some plainer types (Racoon, Hippo), alongside some of the series's best (Chameleon, Octopus, Anteater). These weapons are some of the best, with crazy-inventive stuff like the Anteaters three-crescent thing, and the Moose's "Antler Weapon". The "Reddish-Bronze Weapon" series is a bit more plain, but also features the Cuttlefish, Seahorse & Polar Bear- some of my favorites.
* Series III features the rarest and hardest-to-find Beasts. The "Light-Grey Weapon" series features a lot of thin weapons, and some very inventive, unique characters, as the toy designers were taking risks and trying new things- the Panda, Lizard & Panther have some great designs, and almost ALL of the weapons are phenomenal here. They take things here like Tapirs & Pigs, and make cool toys out of them- quite impressive. The last set, the "Purple Weapon" crew, are the most-outlandish, and have big, solid weapons. Here, you'll find oddities like the Flamingo, Penguin & Orangutan, who break a lot of the "rules" of the line. Some of them are great (I actually dig the Bovine), but others are weak and plain. These are probably my favorite weapons. Out of this last set, many of them are Beasts I never saw as a kid.
* I owned about 54 of the 76- not bad, and quite spoiled as these things went (that's nothin' on my DINO RIDERS stuff, however).
I owned: Lion, Bird, Deer, Carp, Snake, Toad, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Bear, Bat, Gator, Fox, Giraffe, Porcupine, Shark, Dog, Horse, Weasel, Bison, Sheep, Spider, Crab, Iguana, Armadillo, Jag, Hippo, Moose, Chameleon, Kangaroo, Octopus, Walrus, Mouse, Racoon, Anteater, Duck, Mole, Cuttlefish, Beaver, Seahorse, Owl, Camel, Polarbear, Squirrel, Sabre-Sword Tiger, Bulldog, Skunk, Pig, Rooster, Ox, Pangolin, Sloth, Aardvark, Bovine
I didn't own: Tiger, Gorilla, Boar, Rabbit, Tortoise, Panda, Lizard, Koala, Tyrant, Black Panther, Tapir, Cobra, Mandrill, Pointer, Zebra, Hawk, Duckbill, Crow, Flamingo, Antelope, Penguin, Orangutan
* What I notice: Most of the missing ones are from the "Light Grey" & "Purple" weapon series, meaning than I missed most of Series III. I actually never even SAW most of these as a kid- I had a friend who owned the Pointer & Flamingo, and they looked insanely exotic to me (expect to see a lot of the descriptor "exotic" in these, by the way- I'm bad for repetition
), as I didn't have them. In fact, it wasn't until I was an adult, checking out Battle Beasts online, that I ever even SAW most of these other guys! Despite that, you'll see the Gorilla & Boar on some of the advertising boxes, so I guess I SHOULD have, but I didn't. In fact, most of these guys remained a mystery to me even years later, as I'd since forgotten about most of the Beasts I'd never owned, until wandering by sellers at Comic Expos and spotting "hey, that looks like a Battle Beast"- I noticed the Tapir, Gorilla & Zebra like they were all-new things to me.
At Cons, I would find the Tiger, Cobra, Orangutan, Tarsier (he came cheap, thanks to a broken-off arm) and Penguin (I remember one dealer who only missed the Chameleon, asking if I already had one). At the Old Strathcona Antique Mall in town, I would find a guy selling a few fully-armed versions of my broken ones, PLUS the Tapir & Tortoise (who I always THOUGHT I owned, as he looks familiar- but I can't find him). Then, when I finally decided to start collecting in earnest, I went to a Calgary Expo seller and spent probably WAY too much on a handful of guys- the Boar included. Something like $75 for three figures is really WAY too much, I've discovered, but I was caught in the moment, and I often pay more for the "object-in-hand".
To this day, however, I still view the Beasts I'd never owned as these crazy, exotic toys. Things like the Panda, Lizard & Penguin just look INSANE to me, and I would have LOVED the Panther as a kid- even now he looks almost impossibly-cool.
Edited by Jabroniville, 16 October 2016 - 10:41 PM.