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Battle Lion Review

Every once in awhile, Mattel throws me a curve. When future subscriptions were pared down to essentials, I was… concerned. I’m one of those weird collectors that tend to like the fringes more than the essentials. My favorite characters are b-list on a good day. Now, truth be told, I still am waiting on a “big” name to cross off my fringe list – Calix or Red Beast, notably – but Mattel surprised me when they announced Battle Lion.

Looking back, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that he was included. Take Battle Cat, give him a lion’s mane, a new tail, and some armor and *boom* Battle Lion. That’s too easy for a buck toy line to resist. Looking back, I laugh that I thought a big pink cat (Clawdeen) was more likely than this guy.*

* – Before I get any hate mail for picking on a big pink cat, I’d sooo buy Clawdeen.

Now, while I’m going to be happy any time anything MO2K drips out of Classics, I have to say I’m not totally sold on the idea behind Battle Lion. I love Preternia. Heck, I love the name. I love the glistening white Castle. I love King Grayskull as an ancestor of Adam that he channels to become He-Man. I imagine this great scene when He-Man has to travel back in time, undisguised, to not too long after Grayskull passed. He encounters Veena fighting for her life, she notices the silhouette, the shape, and she hopes for second, but realizes it can’t be. The pair fights together and stop whatever time scheme Skeletor has devised, but that’s just the plot. The important thing is she learns from that meeting just how powerful and important her husband’s legacy will become. The whole idea is just a powerful setup with lots of potential. I love it.

But my guy, He-Man? See, he’s already got a big green cat. Maybe it would just seem wrong to see He-Man’s post-created ancestor, looking mostly just like him, riding around on a giant polar bear or, He-forbid, a horse. But this is a dangerous road. Does King Grayskull have a brunette-bearded, benevolent father? Is he friends with a guy that uses his head as a battering ram? Or a guy covered in moss… oh, wait. Moss Man was there. Well, at least the villains… are different… yeah… dangerous road, indeed.

It’s cute, it is. And King Grayskull’s having a big green cat could just be considered one more piece of He-quipment, though that does a disservice to the character itself, should it get some. The present being echoes of the past, that’s cool. If the past were to be made to similar to the current events in a story though, it would lose some uniqueness. Preternia suffers from that too, but I’m getting off track (like normal). Maybe Battle Lion isn’t part of that or not, that’s up to you. At least we can agree he looks cool.

Much as the Battle Lion in the MO2K exists due to Battle Cat, so too does this toy. We’ve got a new head, a new tail, and the armor bits on BC’s buck. That’s how you make a Battle Lion. In his original appearance, Battle Lion was much more massive and that probably helped to distinguish him from Battle Cat. As we know though, the massiveness of things in MO2K is not buck-friendly and was quickly eschewed to keep costs down. I don’t mind that. Clawful, Whiplash, etc., they’re all fine as is. And I don’t really mind it here, but putting Grayskull on Battle Lion doesn’t look quite right because he was so HUGE in the cartoon (which is funny because tigers are bigger than lions, but whatevs).

The good thing is that the new pieces are nice. The tail is a tail, but the new head and lion mane look great. It gives back some of the lost mass to be sure. I wish I’d snagged a packaged picture because, in this package, he looked huge! It’s all in the mane, which does block some of the forward leg articulation, but I don’t care. It’s the one part that’s massive. It looks great masked or unmasked. Continue to Page 2…

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38 comments to MOTUClassics.Com
Battle Lion Review

  • kantboy2

    Last shot is guffaw worthy.

    Bravo, sir..

  • TheGhost

    I bought two Battle Cats back when he was re-released (I missed out on him when first released, and I was gutted >_

    And I have King He-Man ride BL. My take is Battle Lion IS Battle Cat. Eternian cats start off looking like tigers then lose their stripes as they age and grow a big ass fro mane. I love them, works brilliantly for me. Plus I ignore all the bios anyway.

  • Brainlock

    What, no Changeling gag? ;)
    (wait, crap. Gar was a TIGER on NTT#1, not a lion. NEXT TIME GADGET!!!)
    I’m still buying me one later for Gar-lion.

    ANYway….
    yep, that’s pretty much what I expected: new head and armor. I didn’t think they’d change the tail, but that’s a nice bonus. wait, is it different from the Griffin tail? nope, his tail is split at the end. nevermind.
    (and now I want to swap Lion head onto Griffin for the Hawkman foe!)

  • KevC

    Don’t know why but after seeing that pic of the saddle and “loincloth slot” all I can see is one of those toy riders outside shops – “climb on King Greyskull and put your 25c in the slot and mummy will be back soon”

    “Weeee!”

  • Sweet review, great comics and pics. Looking forward to getting this guy.

    As for size, if I recall correctly, Battle Lion is described as a “liger prince,” and the thing about ligers is: they’re even bigger than tigers, at least a foot longer and much beefier. And I know this from being a biologist, not from Napoleon Dynamite. };D

  • TC

    Love the last two pictures! I always hated Hordak’s steed, though. What was it, a giant Mantis, right? I’ll bet the 4H could make it cool, though. What could Matty give Hiss to ride? A super scaled-down Serpos?
    Looks like a great toy, and I’m hoping they offer him around X-mas at a discounted price. I don’t collect MOTU, but he’ll make a cool Beast Boy accessory.

  • He-Mullet

    I did some parts switcheroo between BC and BL: BC took the Shoes and Armor and kept the Vintage Helm.
    BC got the Vintage BC Armor and the BL Helmet.

    Justification: The BL Helmet is the Original Helmet. The Vintage Helmet that BC Wears is a tribute to the Original Helmet Plus BL’s Mane. The End!

  • SpiceBoy31

    CAN’T WAIT FOR CLAWDEEN!!!!!

  • jackstatic

    awesome review.

    those last two pictures though. still have me cracking up

  • Wasn’t super excited when they announced Battle Lion but he’s very photogenic and I have warmed up to him since.

  • Dale

    I love Battle Lion, and he wasn’t something I was dying to have, but I did want him if he was released. Thankfully, he did not disappoint.

    I love the cat buck in the line. It is very photogenic, detailed, paints well, and is a downright awesome toy.

    Panthor remains my favorite, but Battle Cat and the griffin are right there along with Battle Lion now.

    I love having the different beasts in the line – lion, panther, tiger, and griffin.

    It’s just so cool to me. :)

  • manekochan

    You’ve come to the well guarded and potentially devastating secret of pre-ternia. Battle Lion is not a lion at all but a Liger.

  • dayraven

    i know it’s a buck line so battle lion was destined to be cast upon the battle cat body… for that, i will always mourn, for that feature is why i think motuc can, and in some beautiful future, will be, trumped as the “best” motu line.

    i for one want a to-scale king grayskull and battle lion more than any other characters who’ve been ripped off in the scale lottery. sure, millenium he-man had lots of characters whose scaled differed from their vintage counterparts, but i feel like for those two characters in particular, their size was a defining characteristic. this battle lion looks nice, and i may well enjoy him as a nice chotchki in the collection… but like king grayskull, i will keep searching for the right buck for a custom that will do the character justice…

    like how i’ve had to patiently wait for the spider-man legends line to yield an “ultimate goblin” whose size, detail and proportion are virtually perfect for doing calligar king ceratus justice…