Battle Beasts were one of those cool 80s franchises I never thought I’d see come back into the spotlight, but sure enough, Diamond has rebooted the armored creature-warriors with an impressive new batch of MiniMate-style figures, released in tandem with the new IDW comic book series.
These new creatures don’t try to replicate the classic figurines, instead opting for all-new animal characters from the comic, but each one totally feels right for the weird, wild world of the Battle Beasts of yesteryear. There are a total of twelve characters in the first MiniMates assortment, released in four Diamond distributed two-packs and four Toys R Us exclusive packs. There’s a few figures you can only get in one assortment or the other (as should be expected for any MiniMates collectors), however I do like that Diamond went the extra mile and gave the duplicate figures new decos, to soften the blow of re-purchase.
Wave One sees the release of two versions of Vorin, the Ram, as well as his allies Merk the Falcon and Gruntos the Walrus. The series also includes Antalor the Moose, Nychirix the Bat, Scalpus the Snake, Fenruk the Spider and Vachonus the Scorpion. The two humans, Bliss and Tate, are only available in the Diamond sets (but honestly, who wants those two?).
I really dig these figures’ designs, each sporting a wonderfully sculpted, authentically animalistic head, some cool sculpted battle armor and loads of weapons which they can hold or store using the pegs and holes throughout their bodies. Compared to the vintage Battle Beasts, these guys are loaded with articulation– using the MiniMates bucks allows for quite a bit of posability on each figure, as well as easy part-swapping to mix and match your Beasts into custom creatures.
While these Battle Beasts are under the MiniMates banner, they’re really small-scale action figures more than block toys– the MiniMates body is used as a buck only for most of these toys, allowing the many sculpted parts and overlays to give each figure a great three dimensional look, far from the typical 2-D MiniMates aesthetic. I love the intricacies of these sculpts, from the hunch on Antalor’s back to the folds of blubber laying on top of Gruntos’ armor, and the clever use of overlays helps set a strong sens of mass and scale between each character, from the insectoid Scorpus to the spindly Nychirix to the previously-mentioned walrus warrior, who towers over the others.
Each Beast is fully painted, with a wonderful range of finishes– the skin/ fur/ scales sport a nice matte finish, while the metal armor has a subtle gloss sheen, adding a sense of realism to the fantastical creatures. Between these great paint apps, the copious accessories and excellent sculpts, there’s really not a downside to these critters.
I adored my Battle Beasts army as a kid, and to me, these MiniMates figures capture that exact same vibe. I suppose they wouldn’t necessarily, if I were to read the comic and subscribe to the mythos and collect every variation or every character… but to me Battle Beasts feels like a line tailor-suited for a fairweather fan like me who picks up their favorite two-packs as they come out. They’re cool toys that really capture the magic of the vintage Beasts, while showcasing today’s top-line levels of toymaking design, sculpting and quality, and I hope this new line keeps going strong for a long time to come!
The four Toys R Us packs are available in stores now, as are the Diamond-exclusive specialty store sets. If you want to pick up a set of the Diamond ones, check out your local comic shop, or Click Here to pick yours up from our friends at Toycade.