That’s the wrong question. Most collectors already know if they prefer video games to sculpted collectibles. The real comparison to make is this: if it were a resin statue, the same size and sculpt, would that price seem reasonable?
Hell yes, it would. You’d probably pay twice as much for a non-articulated, more breakable version of this. Secondary market prices already have the figure at twice the original price, to be fair. But Panthor is coming, and will probably use the same basic sculpt.
Battle Cat comes in a box that features Mondo-style artwork on the front, and a back that seems all-black, with a mini-bio. Only after looking at the photos did I realize there’s a Castle Grayskull image hiding in there by being black-on-black. Unlike with other Mondo MOTU, there is no window flap — this figure is too big and in need of padding. He’s wedged into styrofoam halves to keep him safe, and not visible to in-box collectors.
The articulation is pretty wild, as his body consists of five ball-jointed segments. His neck is a single ball joint — it features a ball and hexagonal post for the head, so the head does not include an additional neck rotation. All the joints are initially super tight, but never felt in danger of breaking. Legs are ball-jointed at the hips, and disc-and-pin ball at every other point. For the forepaws, his individual toes have hinges, but due to the way cat paws are positioned and a limited range, don’t expect to pose him giving a convincing “middle-finger salute.” The tail attaches with a cut joint, and it’s the first Battle Cat I’ve seen to have its tail end in solid yellow. It’s possible there’s a posing wire inside, but I don’t really want to push it to find out.
It’s not just the body — the armor itself has five points of articulation so it can move with the anatomy. I believe that’s a first for Battle Cat.
Face of Fur
As for the mask, rather than make it removable, Mondo has made it permanently attached and included different heads. Aside from the Cringer head, they appear to have the same sculpt, and do have the same articulated lower jaw. Presumably, they cut away bits of the mask to fit right. While it probably upped the price, it makes both masks look more snug. There’s a classic mask, classic box art unmasked head, Mondo-style mask (not dissimilar to 2002-style, but different enough) and fully Cringer head.
(The body’s a bit big to be Cringer, but everyone who ever played with a Battle Cat toy ignored that.)
For those who prefer the secret identity smaller, there’s also a really solid, surprisingly hefty unarticulated baby Cringer kitty.
He-Man sits well on the back, especially with his feet through the stirrups and angled downward. The larger-than-usual back support on the saddle helps.
The armor fits loosely enough that it can almost just slide off, but it’s easier to just detach the main strap. This attaches to the saddle on both sides by a simple posts-in-holes connection.
It’s not immediately apparent if or how the forearm armor bits come off, so probably best to leave them alone. Even if they do make the figure look a bit less like a real kitty, which it is the same size as…
Battle Cat is quite flexible, but don’t expect to get every possible cat pose out of him. He won’t do the foot over head butt-licking thing, for example. However, he can beg for belly rubs.
The armor parts have a dark wash to make saddle details — like several engraved cat designs — pop, and some metallic dry-brushing to give it the look of metal with worn-off paint. Flawless coloration at work.
By himself, this feline ought to display well on most shelves. With a rider, he gets a lot taller.
Heftier and less likely to drop pieces than any of the regular Mondo figures, Battle Cat probably would hold up to kid’s play in the way that the customization on the others prevents. You might not want to risk that for $500, but the point is it’s as sturdy as it is detailed, and a suitable centerpiece for any MOTU collection.
This character has come a long way since Mattel designers repainted a Big Jim tiger accessory, slapping a saddle on it to make it look like a fantasy steed. Now a beloved character, the green fighting tiger has received the kind of artful interpretation that only a generation of being beloved will engender. It’s your call to decide whether the price tag is attainable, but the toy itself is everything its appearance suggests.
Take a look at more images below: