In the realm of action figures, few toy lines have left as lasting an impression as Hasbro Takara’s Battle Beasts. These small, anthropomorphic animals engaged in epic battles, captivating the hearts of children and collectors alike. This blog delves into the intricate details of this beloved toy line, exploring its various aspects, including Laser Beasts, Shadow Warriors, Small Battle Chariots, and more.
The Birth of Battle Beasts:
Originating in the United States, the Battle Beasts toy line was a collaboration between Hasbro and Takara, combining American innovation with Japanese design. Launched in the mid-1980s, Battle Beasts introduced fans to a world inhabited by action figures that stood at a two-inch scale – a departure from the larger figures dominating the market at the time.
Unique Features and Characters:
The Battle Beasts universe included an array of fascinating characters, from the formidable Gargantuan Gorilla to the elusive Rubberneck Giraffe. Each figure showcased a unique rub sign, introducing an innovative element that heightened the level of excitement. The figures also came with unique sticker-decorated shields, enhancing their individuality. For the first time, the sole basis of the toys revolved around three elements that would cancel each other out; sort of rock-paper-scissors game.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE0gSfSB19k
Each rub sign reveals an icon for either fire, water, or wood element, in the form of a flame, waves, or a log. The basis of the system is that upon revealing the element, Fire figures defeat Wood (fire burns wood), Water defeats Fire (dousing the flame), and Wood defeats Water (by floating on it). The rubsign stickers later included a slight colorization of orange, blue, or brown to the revealed element icon. The icon of each figure was randomized, but figures usually included a collector number adjacent to the figure. There were enemy beasts to battle with the ‘good guys’ which made for epic encounters and adventures.
After the initial three Waves of figures, totaling seventy-six in all, the brand all but died in the Western and European markets.
Treasure Hunting: Highly Sought After Figures
This Battle Beast showcased the Wood element and had a distinctive design resembling a grizzly bear. The inclusion of the Wood element added a layer of elemental strategy to the battles.
Tusked Warrior stood out with its impressive tusks, emphasizing its strength and power. The Wood element affiliation added a nature-themed dimension to its character.
Deer Stalker showcased the Wood element with antlers and a deer-like design. Its woodland aesthetic set it apart in terms of both appearance and elemental affiliation.
Sir Sire Horse:
As a part of the Knight-themed Battle Beasts, Sir Sire Horse is a sought-after figure due to its medieval design and association with the Earth element.
Rocky Rhino, aligned with the Earth element, had a tough and rugged appearance. Its horned design and sturdy stance made it a resilient contender in battles.
With its robust and armored design, Hardtop Tortoise is a collectible figure that stands out. Its Earth element affiliation and unique appearance make it a desirable addition to collections.
“Fire / Sky”
The Pirate Lion boasted a fiery mane and a pirate-themed aesthetic, making it a standout figure. The Fire element affiliation contributed to its fierce and bold design.
Blow Out was a fire element Battle Beast with a unique, flame-inspired design. Its ability to “blow out” opponents in battle made it a formidable adversary.
As a classic representation of a tiger with a fierce and dynamic pose, Fighting Tiger is a favorite among collectors. Its association with the Fire element adds to its allure.
As a Sky element Battle Beast, Hawk had wings on its back, emphasizing its aerial prowess. The figure’s dynamic pose and design captured the essence of a bird of prey.
This figure, known for its vibrant and colorful design, is a standout collectible. Rainbow Sam’s eye-catching appearance and Sky element affiliation made it a popular choice.
As a Sky element Battle Beast, Knight Owl featured wings and a knight-themed design. The combination of aerial agility and warrior imagery made it a striking figure.
Here are a few examples:
This figure, with its sleek and stealthy design, is a sought-after collectible. Its affiliation with the Sky element and bat-inspired features contribute to its popularity.
“Water / Sea”
Piranhacus had a jaw that opened and closed, giving it a fearsome appearance. Its aquatic theme was evident in its design, complete with fins and sharp teeth.
True to its name, Snail Trail featured a snail shell design on its back. The Water element affiliation hinted at its association with aquatic environments.
This figure, aligned with the Water element, features a winter-themed design with snowflakes and icicles. Collectors often appreciate the unique aesthetic and elemental variety it brings to a collection.https://youtu.be/VvdAoYOAZX8?si=U1yNsWI7K9yw5i9O
Featuring a fearsome alligator design, Gruesome Gator is a collectible figure known for its striking appearance and Water element affiliation.
Clear figures (Crystal Series):
Certain Battle Beasts were released as clear or translucent figures as part of special editions or promotions. These crystal-clear versions are often highly sought after by collectors for their rarity.
As the Battle Beasts franchise evolved, new waves introduced exciting concepts such as Laser Beasts and Shadow Warriors. Laser Beasts added a futuristic touch with chest-mounted heat-activated symbols, while Shadow Warriors brought a mysterious and dark element to the toy line. The Crusty Crab and the Danger Dog were among the notable additions during this phase.
The Battle Beasts Shadow Warriors figures represent a unique and mysterious faction within the broader Battle Beasts toy line. Introduced in later waves, the Shadow Warriors added a new dimension to the narrative, featuring characters with dark and enigmatic designs.
Shadow Warriors Characteristics:
The Shadow Warriors figures are characterized by their dark and ominous designs, distinguishing them from the standard Battle Beasts. Black, deep purple and dark hues dominate their color palette, contributing to a sinister aesthetic.
One of the defining features of the Shadow Warriors is the presence of chest-mounted symbols that reveal themselves under certain conditions. These symbols often responded to heat, changing their appearance during battles or exposure to warmth, adding an interactive and dynamic element to the figures.
Like their counterparts in the standard Battle Beasts line, Shadow Warriors also had elemental affiliations. The elemental themes added strategic depth to the battles, with each figure possessing strengths and weaknesses based on its elemental alignment.
Stealth and Strategy:
The Shadow Warriors were often associated with stealth and cunning tactics. Their designs suggested a focus on covert operations and strategic maneuvers, making them formidable opponents on the battlefield. This theme added an intriguing layer to the overall Battle Beasts lore.
The individual Shadow Warriors figures introduced new characters with names like Shadow Panther, Shadow Bat, and Shadow Scorpion. Each character had a distinct design that reflected its animalistic nature while incorporating the shadowy and mysterious theme.
The Shadow Warriors figures have gained a special place in the hearts of collectors due to their unique and limited nature. Collectors often seek these figures to complete their Battle Beasts collections, appreciating the added diversity and narrative complexity they bring to the overall toy line.
As with certain waves of Battle Beasts, the Shadow Warriors figures were part of limited releases, making them more sought after among collectors. Limited availability contributes to their rarity, and collectors value them for their uniqueness within the broader Battle Beasts universe.
Integration with Battle Beasts Lore:
The introduction of the Shadow Warriors added a layer of depth to the Battle Beasts storyline. Their presence hinted at a darker and more mysterious side of the Battle Beasts universe, encouraging imaginative storytelling and play scenarios for collectors and fans.
The Battle Beasts Shadow Warriors figures are a captivating subset within the Battle Beasts toy line. Characterized by their dark aesthetics, interactive features, and strategic appeal, they were a fresh addition to the already well-received original Battle Beasts line.
Laser Beasts are 2″ (5 cm) tall anthropomorphic animal action figures that come with a laser gun and an orb (plastic light-admitting piece) on their chest and have arm articulation only.
The line was designed in 1987 and the figures were available from 1988 toward the late ’80s. Japan saw the only release of Laser Beasts figures. There were three separate releases of twelve figures each tallying thirty-six in total, all within ‘Series One.’ These figures were only released in Japan, while other countries like the US, Canada, France, and the UK had limited releases of only the first twelve figures.
They thrived in Japan and very limited availability in other countries. Due to this, the Laser Beasts, and in particular the final 12 figures have become very rare and hard to find.
Even though the Laser Beasts line was the direct follow-up of the Battle Beasts, it never gained popularity in the Western and European markets like the original Battle Beast line, partly due to the limited availability outside of Japan.
Laser Beast Characteristics
Chest-Mounted Heat-Activated Symbols:
One of the most distinctive features of Laser Beasts was the use of chest-mounted symbols that changed or revealed themselves when exposed to heat. This interactive element added a dynamic and engaging aspect to the figures, creating a unique play experience.
Futuristic and Technological Designs:
Visors and Helmets:
Many Laser Beasts were characterized by the presence of visors, helmets, or other headgear that emphasized their high-tech theme. These accessories contributed to the overall futuristic aesthetic and differentiated them from other Battle Beasts.
Laser Beasts departed from the traditional animalistic designs of the standard Battle Beasts, incorporating futuristic and high-tech elements into their appearances. This included robotic features, metallic finishes, and intricate detailing that conveyed a sense of advanced technology.
Laser Weapons and Accessories:
In line with their technological theme, Laser Beasts often came equipped with laser weapons or accessories. These added elements of sci-fi combat, align with the futuristic narrative associated with the Laser Beasts subset.
Similar to other Battle Beasts, Laser Beasts were aligned with specific elemental themes. While the standard Battle Beasts had affiliations such as Fire, Water, and Wood, Laser Beasts often represented elements like Laser or Technology, further emphasizing their unique nature.
The Laser Beasts were sometimes attributed with special abilities or powers related to their technological enhancements. These abilities were often reflected in their names, designs, and overall character concepts.
Laser Beasts have gained popularity among collectors due to their distinctiveness and limited availability. As a subset within the broader Battle Beasts toy line, Laser Beasts figures are sought after by collectors looking to enhance the diversity of their collections.
Integration with Battle Beasts Lore:
The introduction of Laser Beasts added an extra layer to the Battle Beasts universe, expanding the narrative to include advanced technology and futuristic elements. This integration with the overall lore allowed for imaginative storytelling and creative play scenarios.
Small Battle Chariots:
Battle Chariot with Conqueror Camel:
One of the Battle Beasts sets featured a chariot pulled by a Conqueror Camel. The camel figure had a chest-mounted heat-activated rub sign, similar to other Battle Beasts. The chariot had a seat where a Battle Beast could be placed for battle scenarios.
Spear Chariot with Sledgehammer Elephant:
Another set included a chariot pulled by a Sledgehammer Elephant. The elephant figure featured a chest-mounted rub sign, and the chariot had a platform for a Battle Beast to stand on, holding a spear accessory.
Battle Beasts Remote Control Chariot:
There was a remote-controlled chariot accessory that could be used with Battle Beasts figures. This allowed kids to have a remote-controlled vehicle for their Battle Beasts to ride into battle.
While not a traditional chariot, the Dragon Walker was a vehicle designed for a Battle Beast figure to ride. It had movable legs and a dragon-themed design, offering an imaginative mode of transportation for Battle Beasts.
It’s worth noting that some Battle Beasts sets and accessories may vary based on the region and release.
Transformers Line Connection:
A notable connection existed between the Battle Beasts and the Transformers line, as both were products of the collaboration between Hasbro and Takara. This link contributed to the popularity of the Battle Beasts, drawing in fans familiar with the Transformers universe and creating a shared lore.
Expanding Territories and European Markets:
Battle Beasts quickly conquered North America and expanded into European markets. The Wood Element, a new addition, showcased the versatility of the toy line, appealing to a broader audience. The Battle Beasts’ success in diverse markets solidified their place in the annals of action figure history.
Third-Party Collaborations and Intellectual Property:
Despite the success, challenges emerged, with third parties attempting to replicate the Battle Beasts’ charm. The intellectual property rights of Hasbro and Takara became crucial in safeguarding the authenticity and uniqueness of these beloved figures.
Legal Framework and Compliance:
The Battle Beasts website was a hub for enthusiasts, providing a platform for exploration, engagement, and commerce. The user-friendly interface catered to the global community of Battle Beasts fans, transcending time zone and geographical boundaries. The fundamental rights of the intellectual property rights of others were a topic of discussion on privacy practices, and new products. Additional terms and applicable laws were updated in the most current version of the terms of service.
The collaboration between Hasbro and Takara remained a pivotal aspect of the Battle Beasts success story. This union of American and Japanese toy-making expertise ensured that each figure was meticulously designed, capturing the essence of the characters and contributing to the global appeal of the toy line.
In delving deeper into the Battle Beasts saga, additional information about the intricate details of these action figures emerges. The introduction of Planet Beast, a term used to describe the universe in which these battles unfolded, added a layer of depth to the storytelling, creating a cohesive and immersive experience for fans.
Ensuring collectors received the correct figure was paramount, and the Battle Beasts community thrived on accurate representations. From the fearsome Sledgehammer Elephant to the elusive Shadow Beasts, the commitment to delivering the correct and authentic figures resonated with fans and collectors alike.
The incorporation of two-inch scale figures not only aligned with the toy line’s essence but also distinguished Battle Beasts from larger competitors in the action figure market.
Drawing parallels to other iconic toy lines like G.I. Joe, Battle Beasts found its unique niche, offering a distinctive blend of fantasy and strategy. The two-inch scale figures were a departure from the norm, providing collectors with a diverse and compact collection that stood out in the world of action figures.