Fire! Wood! Or Water! ... You'll never know until you own them!
Battle Beasts were a line of 2" action figures that could really be counted as a collectable miniature game version of rock, paper, scissors. The Beasts were humanoid animals with armor and hand to hand weapons...some of them actually having a hand replaced by some kind of sharp instrument. It's pretty much like The Island of Dr. Moreau on steroids. The series was created in 1987 (which is like one of the greatest years EVER! I mean seriously, this is the same year that gave us movies such as RoboCop, Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn, The Lost Boys, Full Metal Jacket, Lethal Weapon, Predator...video games such as Bionic Commando, Boulder Dash, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Contra, Mega Man and Mighty Bomb Jack! Okay so apparently I'm going to need to write and article on the 1987!), and was tied into the Transformers franchise, even netting thier own episode on the Transformers: The Headmasters series in Japan.
The first three series of Beasts are numbered 1 - 76, while the fourth series (known as Laser Beasts in Japan and Shadow Warriors in America and Europe) had 36 figures. The first three sets of Beasts feature of heat sensative sticker mounted on thier chest which would reveal which tribe they belong to (Fire, Wood, Water) Fire beats Wood, Wood Beats Water, Water beats Fire. The 4th series did away with the heat sensative stickers and replaced them with a marble or "crystal" mounted in the chest. When you held the figure up to the light, you could see his designation. There were only about 12 figures of the 36 released in America. Series 1 - 3 released figured in blister packs of two characters, while the fourth series packaged them in lots of eight figures. There were also playsets and vehicles available for the sets. More on that later....
I used to have a ton of these guys and there's probably still a few hanging around the dark, mysterious corners of my parent's houuse. I have many a fond memory of waging giant Battle Beast Wars in the yard as a kid. Those guys were so awesome! Now remember this was an age before Pokemon, Digimon or any other "mons". This was new and fresh. This was incredible! Kids at school would bring thier beasts in and trades would be made. Battles would take place where-in the loser would have to forfeit his beast that lost that confrontation. It was a good way to build your collection! Though sometimes, the next day you had to give it back, cause the other dude's parents got mad.....sheesh!
So what is so cool about these pint sized animal warriors of the elements you ask? Well, what's NOT to love? Humanoid alien animals wielding sharp weapons and armor? Um...hello? That's awesome.
There have been many great figures released, but here are a few of my favorites:
Pirate Lion - This guy was bad ass! I always made him the lead of my armies. I think maybe it was the wicked eye patch and the kick ass sword.
Triple Threat. HOLY COW! He's got SNAKES FOR HANDS! I saw something like that once in The Curse II: The Bite
Blitzkeig Bat....he's got a hook for a hand. I wonder if that is why he's also got the eyepatch? Hhhmmm....
Rubberneck Giraffe's got an antler blade.....with lots of sharp pointy parts. Probably uses it to punish those who make fun of his long neck...
Web Slinger Spider...not your friendly neighborhood Spider Man.
Cutthroat Cuttlefish. This guy is like an armoured Kraken of Doom. Bad ass!
As you can see, these figures were pretty damn awesome all by themselves, but they didn't stop there. Oh no, far from it. That had vehicles and playsets too!
The Deer Stalker....wow that thing is evil lookin'!
The Shocking Shark playset.....never had it, but damn I wanted it
Now as if all of this goodness wasn't enough, there was lots of other goodies that were being merchandised.
Spin-off toys, comic books and even costumes! Shyeah! COSTUMES! Oh yeah, and my personal favorite.....the Battle Beast Lunch Box:
It's awesomeness cannot be described in words. The Battle Beast Lunchbox. Good for holding your lunch.....or a shit ton of Battle Beasts!
Whoa child sized weapons! Perfect for beating up your little sister, or generally just causing havoc around the house.....gee whiz, I wonder why I never had one?
The Battle Beast comic, which only ran four issues, which really sucked because issue #4 left off on a cliff-hanger. Bastards.....
The Battle Beast Halloween costume. Ah yes, the days when a plastic mask and a vinyl bib constituted a costume.
Well, as you can see, The Battle Beasts are a pretty awesome slice of 80's goodness. If you wanna get in on the action, there's tons of stuff to find on E-Bay. So get bidding!
I hope that you have enjoyed this little retrospective on a great product from my childhood! If you love Battle Beasts as much as I do, lemme hear from ya!