While I had no idea what his name was as a child, Octillion Octopus was a figure I couldn't live without. It's an octopus! In primary colors! With a friggin' spear and multiple arms! How could I not get this?
Molded in red, it matches the hues of Cthulhu-Nautilus pretty closely minus the metallic finish - funny thing was, I was hoping to ask for that figure in Octillion's colors, and it just plain started close enough. Works for me! The armor is spiky in some spots and rounded in others, evoking a weird sense of not-much-protection. It has a tube for a mouth - a common element in Japanese representations of the octopus, see Nintendo's game Octopus and also the Octorocs in Zelda games - and big black eyes. The skin is molded in red, and you'll find a lot of suction cups on the arms and legs. The tentacles can curl around the included spear weapon, and the figure has no problems standing. It is jointed at the shoulders.
At 2-inches tall, there's not a ton of action in this figure, but it came out at a moment of change in the action toy business. By 1987, the figure-with-vehicle paradigm was transitioning to the "micro" format, and before we had ultra-mini cars and playsets we had 2-3-inch figures with vehicles. 2-packs of figures in this scale were commonplace, and in the USA Battle Beasts got three chariots and three playset/base/vehicle sets. Figures were sold in 2- or 8-packs with a "Fire/Wood/Water" game not unlike "Rock/Paper/Scissors," but like most "game" figures what really mattered were the cool figures. Takara and Tomy both had awesome style in those days, with weird one-color robotic eyes on many of their toys that resulted in striking and clean designs for creatures and robots while American designers were givng "gross" toys a try with the likes of MadBalls. The mini action figure and vehicle format also encompassed Legions of Power, StarCom, M.A.S.K., Air Raiders, Dino-Riders, and many others that your inability to remember confirms just how viable the format wound up being.
I really loved these toys as a kid, because for a couple of bucks you got a few figures - the same as the case with M.U.S.C.L.E., a format which has proven popular in modern indie toymaking circles. To date nobody has really aped the two-joints-and-a-heat-sticker format of Battle Beasts well. Revivals of the brand name in the USA from Diamond Select Toys (Minimates) and Takara-Tomy in Japan (Beast Saga) were met with the same low interest as the original 1980s line - we got a few waves, and then they went to clearance. Until recently the original Hasbro toys were pretty cheap - at the beginning of the decade you could get any rubsign figures from the first three series with a weapon for about $3-$8 with a few outliers reaching $10. Today, $10 with a weapon is usually where they start - but maybe you can luck out and get it in a lot or as part of a small collection. I still love this little guy and couldn't dream of parting with it. Heck, I'd love to make more.
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