Masters of the Universe Classics: Battle Cat by Mattel

Matty made a lot of He-Man fans happy this month, while pissing off a whole bunch of them at the same time. That seems to be Matty’s superpower. That’s right, I’m talking about the release of Battle Cat. It was a figure that surprised many, angered some because it was not included in their subscriptions, and frustrated a whole lot of others to no end as they participated in the debacle to order him online back on the 17th. Oddly enough, I was able grab one without any problems, but I get the feeling I was in the minority. Whatever the case, Battle Cat arrived today, and he is a spectacular figure on almost every level.

I rarely give a crap about packaging, but Battle Cat’s presentation was really well done. Like all the other MOTUC figures, Battle Cat came in a white mailer, which was much bigger than I expected and dwarfed Trap Jaw’s little box that came in the same shipment. Inside the mailer we get a window box with a green stoneface motif similar to the cardbacks of the line. The back panel of the package shows off some of the other figures released (which you can’t buy anymore so it’s basically like a giant tease!) and features a bio-card for Battle Cat/Cringer. The box really showcases the figure remarkably well, and even I was ever so tempted to keep the packaging… for a few moments anyway before tearing into it like a wolverine to get at the goods inside. Getting him out of the box, two things instantly struck me: Damn, this guy is big and he has some serious heft to him.
Up until Battle Cat was announced, I really wasn’t expecting this figure or at least certainly not so soon, and so I didn’t spend a lot of time developing expectations. But even if I had, I think this release would have blown them all away. I would have expected some articulation, but this Battle Cat is so far removed from the static vintage original, it really is this MOTU fan’s dream come true. Each of Battle Cat’s legs feature three points of articulation, his neck is articulated, as is his tail at the base, and even his jaw opens and closes.

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I went with mentioning the articulation first, just because it really blew me away and its one of the best aspects of this update from the vintage piece, but the sculpt is equally amazing. The face, the fur, the proportions, everything about this beast just looks great. Unfortunately, the paint is notably chipped on my Battle Cat’s two right fangs, which is a letdown for a collector toy this expensive. Fortunately it is easily fixed with a little touch up, but this is the first time I’ve had any real quality control issues with my MOTUC figures. And even with the little paint hiccup, the sculpt is still damn impressive. I mean, they even took the time to mold the pads onto the bottoms of his feet! I love that!

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Battle Cat’s armor consists of two pieces: His helmet and his body armor and both are removable. The helmet actually just lifts off and when on it rests on the contours of his face. I think I would have liked a strap underneith, because the weight of the helmet does tend to push the neck joint down. It also has a habit of coming off when I’m playing around with him. I also think I would have liked it if they painted his eyes on the helmet, but then again it might have looked weird. I guess I’ll defer to Matty on that one. The body armor is molded in one piece and does have a strap that runs under Battle Cat’s stomach and snaps on the other side. The saddle is molded into the armor, and herein lies my only other gripe with the figure.

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Sure, He-Man can ride in the saddle, but he doesn’t look entirely comfortable. His ass doesn’t actually make contact with it and his legs look a little awkward hanging down. I think TFH might have been able to mold the saddle a bit better for a more comfortable fit, but in the end, the main problem here is that these figures probably weren’t designed with ride-on beasts in mind. Then again, it could be a scheme for Mattel to release yet another He-Man figure down the road with a more limber crotch to better mount his cat. Eww. That sounded all sorts of wrong. Granted, I’m being pretty picky here, and just a wee bit conspiratorial. THe truth is that He-Man can sit on the thing, and he does stay put pretty well, and he looks really majestic at it, too!

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With a lot of the MOTUC figures, I think we can all agree that calling them a good value would be stretching things a bit. Quite frankly, they are expensive. But I honestly think, when all is said and done, Battle Cat here was a pretty good value. At $35 (assuming I split the shipping between him and Trap Jaw), you get a lot of great figure here. He’s big, he’s hefty, he’s beautifully sculpted, amazingly articulated, and well, except for a few teeth, his paint apps are fantastic. This is a wonderfully crafted figure and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you MOTU fans from way back get a little misty eyed when first holding him.

One thing’s for sure, this line of figures never ceases to amaze me. And with that said, next time we’ll look at Trap Jaw.

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