Thanks for sharing Susha!
Think most of the answers on the Greek Battle Beasts (GBB) can indeed be found on the pages/articles I created for them on the Beastformers Blog but for the few things that might be unanswered there here's some thoughts from my side;
I've been curious about this ever since I suddenly saw them pop up on eBay last year (mostly after I was finished collecting the 76). I know basically nothing about them, so I had some questions:
1) Who actually made these, and when?
2) What was their reason for doing so?
3) Why do they cost so much? Are they actually "worth" that, or is there just a sudden demand from completists?
4) Are they especially rare?
5) Are any colors rarer, and thus, worth more than others?
6) Did they actually become a popular collector's item among Beast fans, or are they kind of a side thing most people don't care about?
Answers for the GBB:
1. El Greco produced and sold the GBB in Greece during the late 80's and/or early 90's using the same or identical molds that MB used for the Battle Beasts that were sold in Spain. So the markings you'll find on the genuine Battle Beasts from Spain, the so called Bestias de Combate, are identical to the markings you'll find on the Greek Beasts so they don't match with the markings as we know from the normal Beasts. With markings I mean the place/location of the TAKARA/HASBRO stamp on the figure, the size and position of the number and the round markings you'll find on the backside of each figure representing the mold marks.
2. The reason why El Greco sold these figures in the colors they did are not 100% clear. Some think they did so because they matched the colors of the exogini line while it might also, or at the same time, have been a move in order to prevent copyright issues with Takara or Hasbro in case they'd have found out that they're producing the Battle Beasts. That why they still had the argument that they only produced monotone colored Beasts instead of the painted ones we know as the normal BB. Apart from that it also gave them some diversity in order to enhance/support the trading part of this line among kids in order to get them all since El Greco, like MB in Spain, only got their hands on the molds for the Series 1 Beasts meaning there were only 28 Beasts to collect....... BUT with 8 different colors for each Beasts that number evolved into a total of 224 (8x 28) Beasts to collect. So you could get each Beasts in 8 different colors as Susha showed above with the reference to my Greek Rabbit "Masterset". As you see there could be various reasons for the fact that El Greco went this monotone color way and the true reason might be a mixture of these.
3. Pricing of the GBB is in the first place in the hands of the Greeks themselves because that's were ALL of the GBB around originally originated from. So each and every Beasts you'll find on Ebay or via a boardmember out here does directly or indirectly come from Greece. One of the main reasons for the fact that the pricing of the Greeks started of pretty high immediately is the fact that once the first Greek BB became known to the community it was considered to be a prototype (due to its monotone color) meaning they directly entered with an impressive story. Not much later when a Greek member joined it was soon enough clear that this was not the case but that these were GBB which you could only find in Greece. And with the limited supply of some colors but a maximum demand from even though a small group of hardcore collectors the Greek price them the way they do since most of them don't understand that a certain color for the one figure might fetch one price while another might not. They simply price most of them as high as possible since they all rate them the same. This directly leads us to your questions 4&5.
4&5. The answer here as sort of mentioned above is Yes and No because although the GBB are obviously more rare than the normal BB, due to the fact they're only around in Greece, so that makes them directly more pricey than the normal BB in general. But apart from that there's also a hierarchy within the GBB based on color and figure. In general you could say that Silver, Black and Metallic Blue are considered to be the more common colors followed by Brown/Tan/Orange. Than there's a group with the brighter colors like Green, Blue, Pink and Purple which are in most cases the harder to find ones with Pink and Purple being the toughest. BUT the colors are not always guiding because for some specific Beasts this story might not always go since from some particular figures the Pink versions might be around more than the Silver one for instance. These are exceptions but just to show you the colors are not guiding for all of the Beasts. Prices, in general, do go up with the colors though so there is definitely a consistency in the pricing of the GBB and the colors they come in simply because of the fact some colors are more rare than others.
6. That's an interesting question because the way you've composed it is exactly the way it is. Some BB collectors don't care about the GBB because they're to far away from a nostalgic point of view, are to expensive or they're to extensive in numbers to even think about starting collecting these. For most I think the fact they came from another country and people were not familiar with them as a kid makes the biggest difference but the other two reasons are surely valid as well Due to this there's not a whole lot of hardcore GBB collectors around who're really trying to get a full set of 224, all the 28 Beasts in all 8 different colors. There are some going for a masterset of one particular figure but even though that might sound easy it can still be quite a challenge to even achieve that and this is mainly caused by the fact that unlike the normal BB which had the correct arm/body composition most of the GBB did come with the incorrect parts. This means that completing a GBB figure in the state its supposed to be according to our normal BB knowledge, the GBB pamphlet that was included with the Beasts in Greece did show the wrong composition, ain't a done deal because its a matter of getting all the parts together. And even IF you get all the parts you still risk inconsistencies due to the fact the colors might not match perfectly due to the body being stored in one way while the arms that're connected to another body from a completely different person might've dealt with other issues resulting in the fact that colors simply don't line up anymore after all these years. Completing a GBB figure is great but you don't want to know what efforts and attempts might've passed by before they're actually completed. Myself and a few of the other GBB collectors out here have a huge stockpile of parts with bodies and arms of various Beasts and in various colors in order to hope to find or match the missing pieces one day........... So this is definitely something you've to keep in mind before you even think about going for a full set or a masterset of "just" one figure.
At the moment none I know is even close to completing the set of 224 Beasts and apart from how precise you are and how much you do accept slight color differences one might be a bit further than the other but still 224 is a loooooong way to go especially if you do the math with the parts meaning each beast has a body and 2 arms and this has to match perfectly in color as well. In other words there's a total of 672 (3x224) parts to find...... I'm a perfectionist so that's not very helpful either because every slight color difference is enough for me not to add the figure to the grand total number of my personal GBB collection, at the moment I've just passed the 150 and that says it all.
Hope this answered most of your GBB related questions!
When it comes to the Russian BB I can be very short since I initially planned to look into these as extensive as I did with the GBB but I soon enough found out that the "vintage" Russian Beasts might not actually be as vintage as they stated on for instance Ebay because the original molds are still around and used. This means that your vintage Beasts, or what you think are vintage Beasts, might've been produced one month ago. For me this and the fact that finding solid information about these original Russian Knock off Beasts is very hard was enough reason to place this investigation aside for a while. As you might've noticed there's quite a variety of Russian Beast around and that's mainly due to the fact that unlike El Greco in Greece Russia had more companies who produced and sold these Beasts, Technolog is probably one of the most known but there's quite a few more around. The reason why the Russian Beasts aren't very expensive is mainly due to the lack of interest and knowledge from our side and that's, imho, strengthened from the Russian side with the fact that they don't seem to take the real vintage and nostalgic feeling to serious because they're simply producing identical figures as we speak. Also the material used is different because the Russian Beasts are made out of a hard type of plastic. That's all I can add for the Russian Beasts...
Whatever you do with it.... Enjoy the Beasts!