Masters of the Universe Classics: Battle Lion by Mattel

This week was another Matty Sale Day and that made me realize that I’m still about a month behind on one of the items that I got from the May Subscription. It’s Battle Lion, and the fact that I haven’t opened him until now should give some indication that this figure was not high on my list of wants. In fact, Battle Lion is the first offering of the 2014 Sub that I would rather not have been committed to buy. That’s not too bad, considering we’re already halfway done with the year. Now, in fairness, my disinterest in this figure probably has to do with the fact that I don’t have the King Greyskull figure to accompany him. Anyway, let’s check him out and see if he surprises me.

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Battle Lion comes in a package similar to the ones used for Battle Cat and Panthor. It’s a sort of trapezoidal window box with the familiar green stone Greyskull theme. My particular figure has one of his paw armor parts rattling around inside the box. The back taunts you with pictures of figures you can no longer buy from Matty and there’s the usual bio. As always, I love the presentation here. I was even tempted to keep the package to put him back in until I get him a proper rider. But thrift of space won the day and I pitched it. Let’s get this kitty out of the package…

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So, if you haven’t guessed already, this figure reuses the body from Battle Cat and Panthor. I thought the body sharing between those two figures was pretty successful, even though I still don’t own a Classics Panthor. At least they were different colors and that alone helped set them apart as being rather unique. Here, Battle Lion is still green, albeit missing Battle Cat’s stripes, and so the reuse is a lot more obvious and thereby makes the figure a lot less interesting to me. On the surface it felt more like a a quick cash grab than most of the parts recycled figures that this line turns out. Again, that probably won’t be an issue for someone keen to get this character, assuming such people exist. I’m a fan of the MYP series, but I still don’t remember the episode with Greyskull and Battle Lion, so at some point I should pull out my DVD set and re-educate myself on the matter. Anyway, my own personal well of interest in MOTU lore is about as deep as a puddle, so clearly this figure wasn’t aimed t me. Still, that’s never stopped me from enjoying figures based off of unknown characters before.

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The new bits include the head and tail. The tail is tufted at the end and on a ball and hinge joint for a little poseability. It certainly looks quite lion-y. The head sculpt is absolutely magnificent. The area around the eyes still seems to share a lot with Battle Cat, almost to the point where I’m wondering if this is a resculpt rather than a complete remold. The mane, however, is so majestic and the jaw, while very limited in its articulation looks great as well. Those giant saber-tooth fangs are just awesome and the paintwork on the teeth and mouth is actually better than on my Classics Battle Cat. If you’re going to repurpose a figure, this is how to do it. There’s nothing at all half-assed about this head sculpt. Quite the contrary, from a technical and artistic standpoint, I find it to be of a higher quality than the one used for Battle Cat. So, bravo to T4H for not phoning this one in as a quick-and-dirty project.

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The armor is every bit as distinctive as the new head. It consists of four pieces: The saddle, which straps comfortably around his belly, the face plate, and two pieces for his front paws. Despite having fallen off in the package, I’m impressed at how well the paw pieces stay in place when clipped on. The face plate also stays on quite well and it doesn’t cause his head to droop like the weighty mask included with Battle Cat. In fact, I’d dare say that all this armor fits better. The saddle is very roomy and even has all sorts of controls and stuff sculpted into it and the mix of matte and gloss paint on all the armor pieces is certainly appreciated. Lastly, the two shields on the front of the armor are actually removable.

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As expected from a total body recycle, Battle Lion features the same articulation as Battle Cat. It’s been a while since I featured Cat, so let’s run down the points. The hind legs rotate at the hips, are hinged at the knees and again at that second knee (for lack of a better term), and they are ball jointed at the ankles. The front legs rotate at the shoulders and have ball joints at the knees and ankles. The head can raise and lower and twist side to side and there’s a swivel in the body, just behind the shoulders. As already mentioned, the tail is on a ball joint. The joints are all nice and tight and Battle Lion is quite fun to play with and pose.

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Don’t let my ignorance-slash-apathy for Battle Lion as a character fool you, he’s a magnificent toy. He looks amazing and in the end, I’ll certainly admit he makes for a good use of a recycled body. He even has me lamenting the fact that I don’t have the King Greyskull to ride him and seeing as how he’s going to be in my display anyway, I might as well try to pick up Greyskull for him. Well, played Matty, you will get even more money from me. Actually, you won’t as I’ll have to get him on the second-hand market, so… Haha… I win this round afterall! Granted, had Battle Lion been an optional purchase, I would not have bought him, but I can’t say as I’m pissed off for having to add him to my collection. If someone is going to force toys on me, they might as well be awesome ones like this kitty. My original intentions were to flip him on Ebay without even opening him, but very few MOTUC toys have disappointed me, and Battle Lion continues to press that trend!

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