Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Action Figure Review: Battle Lion from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel
Battle Lion features the same articulation as the previous cats which is a mixed bag. He features: swivel/ hinge ankles, double hinged rear legs, swivel hinged front legs, swivel/hinge hips, a swivel/hinge tail, a ball jointed mid torso, a hinged neck, a swivel/hinge head, and a hinged jaw. That's a decent amount of articulation but it's all as useful as it should be. First, many of the joints are fairly weak and loose. The double hinged rear legs don't always want to stay standing up straight. The "hips" on all four legs have a swivel/hinge system, but they really aren't designed to offer much lateral movement in giving Battle Lion any decent crouching poses. Lastly, particularly due to Battle Lion's huge mane, the head is pretty limited in movement. I'd love for Battle Lion to be able to look from side to side, but he is sadly unable to do so. The figure itself feels pretty sturdy, though.
On to something positive: The sculpt looks great! The basic cat body is quite nice with subtle fur details, great paws with pads on the feet, and some nice work on the musculature and visible ribs. If you own Battle Cat, Panthor, or the Griffin, then you've already been able to appreciate these details. The new head and tail, however, are very. The articulation point on the tail is designed to rest differently than Battle Cat's; it's also longer and has a fluffy tip. The head sculpt is large, in charge, and ferocious! While you can see the family resemblance between Battle Cat and Battle Lion, Battle Lion's gigantic mane really makes him look like either a truly barbaric steed or a member of the Siegfried and Roy show. I'm loving how vicious he looks with the opening jaw.
While Battle Lion is all green and lacking the yellow stripes of Battle Cat, that doesn't mean he doesn't have an impressive paint job. While his main body is cast in a deep, pleasant green, the scruffy edges of his fur on his belly and legs are much lighter. This is a neat detail that was present on Battle Cat and I'm glad to see it return here. The head is fantastic with a deeper, almost forest green main with a nice dark. The mouth, teeth, and eyes are all neat and cleanly applied. A closer look at the figure even reveals that Mattel painted the pads of Battle Lion's feet.
Battle Lion's armor pieces are removable, so I'm counting them as accessories. The armor is quite true to Battle Lion's cartoon appearance and also is quite close to the armor Battle Cat wore in the 200x toyline. Included are two pieces of armor for the front paws, a harness/saddle, and a mask. The two armored paw guards snugly fasten over Battle Lion' front paws and help to make his claws look even more intimidating. They fit on his back paws as well, so if you happen to have access to two Battle Lions you could really trick one of the figures out.
Fans of the 200x series will be happy to know that all of these pieces of armor can easily fit onto Battle Cat to make a 200x styled Battle Cat!
So, how does Battle Lion fare? I love his inclusion in the lion and definitely appreciate the sculpt, the paint job, and the sculpt and detail on the accessories. I've always had some issues with the basic cat body in MOTUC, so that's nothing new, but I don't think the saddle is secure enough to really hold a figure well. A bit better design and perhaps a higher back or something might have really helped. While MOTUC reuses bodies over and over, there's something about the reuse here that just doesn't feel as fresh as other figures or beasts in the line. I'm glad to have Battle Lion, but he's definitely not a figure that will set the collecting community on fire. Overall, he's a Good and a half figure. Completests, fans of the Powers of Grayskull subset, and fans of the 200x era will go nuts, but other fans who didn't subscribe may not feel they need to track this guy down.
Want a Battle Lion of your own? Head on over to Big Bad Toy Store and snap one up while you still can! Also, check out our other MOTUC reviews here at ThEpic Review:
Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel
End of Wars Weapon Pak
The Fighting Foe Men
Galactic Protector He-Man
Loo-Kee and Kowl
Rokkon & Stonedar
Sky High with Jet Sled
Spirit of Hordak
The Unnamed One