Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Wed May 21, 2014 11:18 am Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Battle Lion
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
When He-Man's ancestor King Grayskull was introduced into the MOTU franchise as the original wielder of the Power Sword he likewise was given a large armored green cat to ride as an equivalent to Battle Cat. Instead of a large tiger though, his steed was an enormous green lion. This large cat appeared only in the one episode with King Grayskull and was never given a name on screen. The fan community began unofficially referring to him as the "Battle Lion" simply as a placeholder name while we waited for Mattel to produce a toy version and give him an actual name. Well he has finally arrived in figure form... but Mattel just went with calling him Battle Lion instead of something creative. Heck even calling him Battalion would have been better.
Regardless Battle Lion comes in the same window box style package that previous large beasts such as Battle Cat and Panthor did. The bubble features the Powers of Grayskull logo sticker as this is a Preternian character. The back shows off other figures in the line and presents a bio for Battle Lion.
So first off he's not even actually a lion but a liger. (You're probably expecting me to make a Napoleon Dynamite reference here but I'm not going to because I didn't like that movie.) This was obviously done so he could be part of the Green Tiger tribe and thus an actual blood ancestor to Battle Cat not just a predecessor. Frankly I don't think this was necessary, though the real name of Granger isn't that bad. If they were going to make the connection why not come out and say something about his power enhancing Cringer in the future?
Okay so looking at Battle Lion out of the package you can see that he utilizes the same cat buck as Battle Cat, Panthor and the Griffin. So of course he has all the same articulation; His jaw opens and closes, his head turns side to side, his neck moves up and down, each of his 4 legs feature swivel joints at the shoulder/hips, and ball joints at the paws. His front legs have ball joints at the knees while the back have joints at the knee and calve. His tail has a ball joint and there is an articulation point in the middle of his body, though that can be partly hindered by the saddle.
Battle Lion features a new tail designed with the lion tuff on the end. And of course he features the new lion head with a massive mane that helps make the figure look much bigger than he actually is. He's still not as big as he should be to be cartoon accurate though as on the show he was HUGE. Still, many characters were bulked up for the 200X series and brought back down for Classics so some size reduction is to be expected. And honestly, I prefer they utilize the existing buck rather than take the tooling budget away from other figures in the line.
Battle Lion features removable 200X style armor including a more mask like helmet. Like Battle Cat, the face sculpt underneath presents a ferocious yet noble feline. One you wouldn't want to go up against, but would love to have on your side. The mask is designed to be more form fitting and doesn't exactly snap into place. It's not so loose as it will constantly fall off, but it can pop off during posing or play. The paw armor is much tighter with an actual clip on fit. All the armor features great paint deco with two tone metallic reds to bring out the details.
That's going to bring us to his saddle, which features a highly detailed technological control panel. Though, if you think about it, what the heck is this for? I mean on the 200X Battle Cat you could say it was for the missile launchers attached to the saddle, but Battle Lion does not have any such features and he's not mechanical himself. I guess it could be some kind of communication device or scanners, but technology wasn't as prevalent in Preternian times. At any rate it is nicely detailed. The saddle is removable via the typical pegs. Unlike Battle Cat and Panthor though the pegs are up at the top of the saddle and actually make it easier to pop on an off. The saddle also has a small slot in the center to accommodate King Grayskull's longer loincloth piece.
I do have to admit King Grayskull does seem to sit a little far back in the saddle when upright. Also his stiff plastic cape can get in the way. (see this is why I prefer soft goods for capes) It can be draped off the back but looks a bit odd and, due to the removable nature of Grayskull's cape, can end up popping off the figure. These problems are mostly solved though by positioning King Grayskull so he's leaning forward in the saddle more in a charging into battle mode. Frankly I think this looks cooler on display anyway.
Going back to the removable armor, this does give you the option of placing it on a Battle Cat body and thus creating a 200X Battle Cat for the Classics collection. Standing side by side you can see how the design is basically the same only updated and detailed out -such as the spikes in place of the missile launcher holes. This was a good move rather than releasing a full Classics 200X Battle Cat. This way you have the display option, but you get a full new character instead of just a variant.
Battle Lion is one of those characters who, while looking cool, was not high on my priority list and thus I feel is a bit out of place in the "must utilize every sku to complete the line" road map. (I was/am more interested/hoping for Veena) Nevertheless, the final product is a very nice addition to the line. I can't help but wonder if they plan to later reuse the lion sculpt to create Clawdeen as well. (again though I think there are more important characters to get out first) Battle Lion sold out on Mattycollector.com so check the secondary market. Good Luck and until next time, Good Journey.
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005