I totally missed this Battle Beasts Minimates figure when it first came out, as, well, nobody was reporting on this stuff much. The Black Alligator was distributed at Chicago's C2E2 by Diamond Select, and for a while was one of very few figures in the line. Only 4 were made prior to 2012, and they were all repaints of the same basic mold. The funny thing is that the mouths are opened at different angles, so they each are slightly different in terms of their expression. I appreciate this.
The black incarnation is a little more freaky due to the colors used. The red one looked sort of dragon-like, but the black one looks like some sort of ashy death. He has gold-painted teeth, glowing yellow eyes, and fiendish gold claws which are presumably some sort of implant designed to tear creatures to shreds. His shiny black armor goes with his dark grey skin quite nicely, and the interior of his mouth is a dark red. It tends to "pop" well, as do the yellow eyes, creating a fine Black Repaint in a line which, at the time, was defined by its repaints. (Vorin in 2012 would be Diamond's second mold for Battle Beasts.)
The figure's design is nice and weird, but the gun falls short. It's black, and it looks cool, but that only gets you so much. His clawed hands are not sculpted to deal with this particular accessory particularly well, so mine drops his gun if I mess around with him. On the shelf, he has no problem hanging on to it lo these many months, but sadly it just wasn't designed to hold it. It's not a huge deal given this item's life as a promotional piece given largely to adult collectors (who probably sold them on eBay to suckers like me who couldn't make it to Chicago) but I digress. It looks cool and fits right in with the rest of the line at the time, which, uh, was one figure. Heck, it's only 10 now. His bulky armor is much more similar to the 1980s figures than the new 2012 figures, so it makes for a fun transitional piece and in the context of Diamond's new character designs, a sort of a missing link or a fun "what if." The Alligator design makes me positively giddy.
I dislike overpaying for repaints on the secondary market. Having said that, I did, and I'll probably do it again some day. It's a nice looking figure and I really like Battle Beasts toys in their various forms. If you collect black repaints-- and hey, why shouldn't you?-- this is a good one to track down. Just remember, Alligators don't like guns.
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