Welcome to Beast Week 2012! Last year we focused on Beast Wars Fuzors, and this year it's Battle Beasts! We're counting down to the C2E2 show in Chicago, where Diamond Select promises news on the long-gestating revival of this classic figure brand. So let's get started with the latest figure to be sold in stores with the brand name, with the Battle Beasts Red Alligator Warrior.
I am consistently delighted every time I get another one of the Battle Beasts Minimates put out by Diamond Select Toys, although not being at every convention in 2010 means I'm playing catch-up as of when I wrote this. This red alligator came out after three convention exclusive figures and, as far as I know, really didn't get a heck of a lot of attention. It was sold in an unmarked carry case, so if you saw this thing in a comic shop or toy store you'd have no idea that it included a figure. Let alone a friggin' Battle Beasts figure.
So far they've managed to squeeze four flavors out of the original silver figure which was a 2010 Toy Fair exclusive, and this red one is the only release to be properly "sold." The silver figure was free to visitors to the Toy Fair 2010 in New York, the gold one was a gift-with-purchase (or if you whine enough to your Diamond rep, a freebie) at Comic-Con in San Diego, and a black figure (which I don't yet have) was a C2E2 exclusive in Chicago. The red brings out a lot of details, and I'm stoked that he retained the very 1980s Takara-esque yellow eyes. The black armor has some gold highlights, plus his red skin has a killer black wash which brings out some of the detail on his hands, feet, and head. The jaw is not articulated, although you'll note in the comparison shots that each version seems to be open a little more (or less). This one reminds me more of a dragon or dinosaur than the others, which probably shows just how much potential there is in repainting these guys to death if/when Diamond decides to finally gift the world a series of Battle Beasts Minimates toys.
So while the figure is (aside from color) not much new, his accessories are actually somewhat worthy of note. His sword is a very light clear red, and to me it looks like something of a flame sword. It reminds me of Xevoz, and that alone means it gets my seal of approval. The other accessory-- well, to me it's an accessory-- is a carry case, or "Collector's Case" featuring logos for Diamond Select Toys, Art Asylum, and of course Minimates. Two clear plastic trays sit inside it, each of which can hold about 18 figures for a grand total of 36. One of the two trays has varying depths of slot, meaning you can't fit big, meaty figures like the beasts in them. The other has entirely uniform depths, and the plastic feels somewhat cheap. This is the same material they use to make packaging inserts, and the case itself was sort of scuffed up on purchase with a few weird slashes and bruises on the thing. So the case itself is incredibly cheap especially compared to other toy storage solutions we've seen over the years. If you have a preferred storage method, say Plano or Flambeau Tackle Boxes, stick with those as they're cheaper and generally better designed for abuse.
I would strongly suggest picking this up if you want the beast, and I do. As of when I write this we have no idea what the new line is going to include, so I either have the first four Minimates or all four Minimates. Granted if they reissue them all cheap I'll feel like an idiot... but eh, I want it, I got it, and that's what this hobby is all about!
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