Pillaging Polar Bear Japanese name "Polar Battlebear"
Battle Beasts Series 2
Item No.: #48 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Polar Freezer bronze axe, second randomly-selected figure) Action Feature:n/a Retail: approx. $3.99 Availability:ca. 1987 Other: This sample has a "Water" color rubsign
Most vintage Battle Beasts I've reviewed so far (aside form the Lasers) are treasured childhood heirlooms. Pillaging Polar Bear was one I bought in the last year, during a mad scramble to pick up as many vintage rubsign-era figures as possible before you people realized a new line was coming and the prices shot up. (I got mine in a lot at an average price of $2.78 or so. Now, it's about $12-$15.) This was one of the figures I wanted as a kid, due to my endless fascination with polar, aquatic, and extinct wildlife. It took me roughly 25 years to get one, and it was arguably worth the wait.
Western depictions of polar bears typically fall under the category of cuddly. Between Coca-Cola's fuzzy mascots and Germany's pal Knut, we know that polar bears tend to have black noses and are a little chunky. The Pillaging Polar Bear is svelte, with a narrower nose that, at first glance, seems more in like with a Kangaroo or some sort of dog. The figure benefits from its armor greatly, as it adds a cold-weather element to a figure that doesn't look all that snowy as it is.
With two points of articulation, the figure can stand with no problems and holds his weapon just fine. He has a nifty smile, and tons of sculpted grooves in his armor. Red eyes really pop out of the head, and I would wager black eyes would have looked more adorable. (Note to Takara: if/when you do your dirt-cheap reissues, please redecorate the figure with black eyes and a black nose.)
I'm not entirely sure how or why I missed this one in the 1980s, but I did, and now I have it to menace my penguin. I like it, but the sculpting isn't exceptional and, well, I'm not tainted by nostalgia. This figure didn't go on any adventures with me as a wee lad, so as an old fart collector I can appreciate that he exists and turned out well. I feel odd suggesting you pay $14 for this old figure, but the weird thing is I would absolutely pay $15 for a similarly sized all-new figure were it sold as a limited, fan-made run on Kickstarter.
Oh, a fun aside: the "new" style rubsigns with color insignias are indeed heat-sensitive. The color ones will activate at around 80-84 degrees, which is what it is in my basement. The classic ones (the ones that start around brown and are technically black-and-white line art), I'm not so sure about yet.
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