Unmasked is a bit funny though. Mattel and the 4H did a fantastic thing – the MO2K armor on Battle Lion is interchangeable with Battle Cat. The saddle wouldn’t be that big a deal, but the mask is. I didn’t think I’d get so giddy over putting Battle Lion’s gear on Battle Cat, but I did. I think I blame the vintage helmet. I have an admission, I don’t like the vintage helmet. Blasphemous, I know. It looked cool in the show. It’s iconic. The sculpt is solid, but it covers up that wonderfully sculpted tiger head. In my collection, Battle Cat hasn’t worn that helmet for years. I had to hunt it down in the parts bin to take the pictures for this review.
The MO2K armor is much more subtle, just fitting over the face and I like that better. I’m not going to trade up, once everything is set back up, Battle Lion will keep his gear and Battle Cat will go back to being unmasked and the center of attention in the He-Man display, but I do like it better. The only bad side effect to being able to switch them out like that though? The Lion and Tiger have to have the same face – that’s why the mask comes in handy on Battle Lion.
The two… paw covers? Pawntlets? Does foot armor for cats have a name? Anyway, they’re nicely sculpted and they fit great. They more than anything have a vintage classicized feel to them. They’re nifty.
The saddle is the main highlight for the armored up bits though and I like it well enough. It’s very soft overall and that takes away some of the detail from the 4H’s great sculpt, but it looks good. It works. The techy feel is still there with all the knobs and buttons and there’s a slot for the longer Preternia loincloths, so that’s cool. I would’ve liked to see some add-ons or updates here though. No, not missiles, but a spot to store gear. I love that Battle Cat has that and it would’ve been neat to see again in a different form.
Articulation is the same as Battle Cat, Panthor, and the Griffin, so if you have one of those you know what to expect. Everything works great except the head and front legs are blocked a bit by the mane.
The paintwork on Battle Lion was pretty sharp. The cat itself has some airbrushing to bring out details and all the facial bits were well done. I think one eye is slightly off center from the other, but it works. The armored bits are mostly molded one color with the metallic highlight. The saddle already has a few areas where that highlight is flaking off, so that may be a concern over time.
Overall, yeah, Battle Lion is pretty much a repaint… that’s the same color as the original. Well, that’s more on the show’s creators than the toymakers really. That’s been my take away from playing around with him – any issues I have with Battle Lion in general are with the creators of the show and are ten years moot. The toy itself is a nice recreation from the show. I do wish he were bigger, but I understand why he’s not and the various big cats do look good posed together on the shelf. The great Battle Cat articulation is mostly intact and he’s painted well. That fits my toy collector requirements. Now, it’s just too bad Hordak’s never going to get his Mantisaur…
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