The Bootleg Battle Beasts from Greece
The Τερατομαχους (Tepato Maxoi), Greek Battle Beasts (GBB), were released in Greece during the late 80´s and/or early 90´s and they were distributed by EL GRECO as part of a sub series of the Exogini line. Only the first 28 (Series 1) Battle Beasts have been available as monotone colored GBB in a wide variety of colors.
Prototype Beasts (?)
In the beginning of the 21st century around 2002-2003 the first Greek Battle Beasts were spotted by, and discussed amongst, international Battle Beast collectors who clearly did not have a clue of what they were at that time since they´re given various names and were even considered to be original Prototypes for quite a while. This prototype idea is not so strange considering they are completely monotone colored which compared to the known painted original Beasts must have made quite some impact into the BB collecting community at that time. It took until the summer of 2005 before they were actually internationally acknowledged and addressed as Greek Battle Beasts when a Greek member joined the LittleRubberGuys (LRG) forum explained about these monotone colored Beasts from his country, Greece.
Fragmented and outdated info
From 2005 and up more and more info became known about these GBB, also due to the effort Soupie and CCVegita invested in this during the creation of their GBB page in 2007-2008, resulting in various interesting details. So when looking into the information and history of the Greek Beasts it is impossible to neglect the Greek Battle Beasts Archive created by fellow BB fans and LRG members Soupie and CCVegita because they really did a great job gathering info that was and still is really helpful for most of us. Thanks for this!
But with that page dating back to 2008 it is clear that after such a long period with much more GBB related discussions that have had place on LRG in the meantime the knowledge of these Greek Bootleg Beasts has increased meaning not all the info shared there is up to date any longer and/or some of the information has proven to be incomplete. In order to have all the correct and up to date information in one place the Beastformers Team has been working hard to check/verify and gather all the little fragmented pieces of GBB info out on the web to compose this page. Now let´s have a look at those Bootleg Beasts from Greece…
As with most Bootleg lines there are a few remarkable things to be found within the GBB line;
Wrong Arms (?)
For instance the fact that the matching of the correct arms and bodies was pretty weird, according to our perspective based upon the original Beasts, since it was based upon their Greek Pamphlet that was provided inside some of the packaging types which showed different Beast compositions. And this resulted in the fact that certain Beasts ended up with the arms of another Beasts and vice versa. So from the Greek perspective those are the correct body and arm combinations while for international BB collectors there´s quite some mixing and matching to due because of this. After having looked into the various compositions in which the GBB are found and with the info of the GBB Pamphlet it is clear that the majority of the compositions is often a match between two Beasts like the Bat showing up with the Fox arms while the Fox shows up with the Bat arms and this goes for a couple of Beasts like the Carp-Gator, Boar-Elephant, Shark-Ram and Bison-Dog all of these are in line with the info (composition) found on the Greek Pamphlet. But apart from those combinations there seem to be a couple more mismatches out there which cannot be retraced to the pamphlet as they´re shown correctly. This goes for the Rabbit-Horse and the Buffalo-Rhino. It might be a coincidence more of these combinations in various colors have been found but since they were not as such shown on the pamphlet it is plausible to assume those mixes came straight from the factory as well. The good thing here is that ¨officially¨ there was no mixing in colors in the compositions meaning all of the Beasts, including the mismatched ones, were completely in one of the available colors.
* Addition; it turns out that the arm sets were produced within set molds as sets of two on one sprue meaning each set of Beast arms had a set of arms attached to the same sprue of another Beast resulting in the fact that chances were 50/50 for the arms being attached to the correct Beast (in case the pamphlet was absent/ignored), more info about this can be found with the info about the CAN packaging. The sprue combinations for the arms were as follows; Lion-Bird, Deer-Bear, Tiger-Giraffe, Carp-Gator, Snake-Toad, Elephant-Boar, Rhino-Buffalo, Bat-Fox, Gorilla-Tortoise, Porcupine-Spider, Shark-Ram, Dog-Bison, Rabbit-Horse, Weasel-Crab. This info about the production of the arms on a sprue explains and clarifies the certain arm-body combinations that are found even thought they are shown different on the Tepato Maxoi pamphlet.
Total Amount of Colors (?)
Talking about the GBB it is impossible to ignore their colorful appearance, inspired by the also monotone colored Exogini line (?), but for a longer period even after 2005 the total amount of colors in which the GBB were actually released have been unclear. Some of the basic more common colors like Silver, Black, Metallic Blue and Tan (Brown/Orange) were pretty clear from the beginning but there have been some discussions going on about the more colorful figures. For a while the total amount of different colors was set at 7 but with more and more Purple figures showing up which were clearly more distinct from the Pink figures known another color was added to the total resulting in a total of 8 different colors knowing: – Black – Silver – Metallic Blue – Tan (Brown/Orange) – Green – Blue – Pink – Purple. This means there´s a complete total of 8×28= 224 GBB figures to collect!
In the BB community there are a couple collectors who are still trying to reach that ultimate goal getting all 224 different figures meaning all 28 figures of Series 1 in all the 8 different colors, a set like that is called a Master-set but so far this has not been reached YET….. Apart from the full Maser-set there´s also 28 so called sub master-sets which is when you manage to complete a set of all the 8 colors for one of the 28 Beasts like the Rabbit Master-set (The Greek Rabbit Project ´12).
Apart from finding the various correct parts to complete a Beast according to our international Battle Beasts knowledge so with the correct arms on the correct body there´s another complicated issue which makes it so hard to successfully complete a Beast in one color. This issue is caused by the fact that these are Bootlegs and the quality checks upon exact colors or materials used were not as intense as they were with the official Beasts by TAKARA HASBRO. Resulting in the fact that amongst GBB figures of slightly different flexibility are found caused by a variable composition of the rubber the Beasts were made of, some Beasts are pretty flexible almost like the original Gumball Beasts that were found in Japan while others are much more sturdy almost hard. Due to this inconsistency there are color differences found amongst figures of the same color resulting into shade differences like baby blue, dark green, etc. Those shade differences become very problematic when you successfully try to compose and complete, for instance, a Blue Beast out of various parts because when these don´t properly match in color there´s no solid color match and thus no complete Beast…. This is a challenge all GBB collectors have to face and some are more strict when it comes to accepting slight shade differences than others but in general its an issue we all have to deal with.
In order to be able to mix and match properly most GBB collectors have built up a huge stock pile of parts existing out of various loose right and left arms and bodies in various colors and shade differences in the hope to find just that one missing part in order to complete another Beast some day.
And in order to keep control over their collection and/or stock pile of parts many GBB collectors use a Checklist which in most cases is created by the collector him- or herself. BUT now the Beastformers Blog is proud to announce that with the help of Theodoros Kesisoglou a FREE to use Greek Battle Beasts Checklist is now available; Τερατομαχους (GBB) Checklist
One of the best kept secrets when it comes to the GBB is the origin of the molds because it is clear that with the initial misinterpretation by well known and skilled BB collectors who thought they were dealing with Prototype Beasts some crucial details, which normally are absent on Bootlegs, were present on these Beast from Greece causing this mistake. Looking at the figures in details (makers mark/numbers on the back) ALL of the original markings are present which does open up the possibility of them being originally licensed by HASBRO, or it being prototypes, but that is not the case because neither the original Battle Beasts name was used, or a related name to that translated in Greek, and there was no official logo or item description found on any of the GBB packaging. And once looking at the details more closely it soon became clear that ALL of the GBB have mold marks as well as the other details that are not exactly the same as the huge majority of the Beasts we know. It took quite a while until it became clear that for the GBB a pretty unique mold had been used a mold that seems to have been specially created by TAKARA-HASBRO for the production of the Battle Beasts within Europe and more specific for one country, Spain! In Spain Milton Bradley (MB Espana S.A.) as a licensed partner of HASBRO was responsible for the release, as in all of the European countries in which the Beasts were sold, as well as the production of the Beasts receiving their own unique molds. The Beasts in Spain were produced in Valencia. With the Spanish Beasts also known as Bestias de Combate (BDC) not only slightly different Battle Beasts made it onto the market since compared to the normal BB the BDC are different in color but also did they have unique details coming from the molds as well and these can (so far) only be traced back to these Beasts from Spain the BDC. Once holding an original BDC figure beside a GBB and looking closely into the mold markings (the little round spots) and the position and size of the makers mark and the number present on the figure a perfect match can be found.
So at one moment in time, probably the late 80´s or very early 90´s once the original BDC line had failed to become a success the original 28 molds from Spain made it to Greece somehow. It is unclear if EL GRECO bought them from MB or if those have followed a more dark, illegal, path to make it to Greece but with all the licensing and contracts present around the original line at that time its unlikely this move would have been appreciated by either TAKARA or HASBRO if they would have known… Original molds often were destroyed or stored away within the factory walls safely after a line got canceled but in this case a whole Series of Beasts (all 28 molds from Series 1, figures and weapons!) managed to make it to Greece in which they were used by EL GRECO for a whole new production run, the creation of the GBB!
Like the Beasts also the weapons for all 28 different figures have been produced, in BDC molds, in a different color and material composition resulting in 3 main colors of GBB weapons; Gold, Glitter Gold and Silver. The Gold as well as the Silver weapons are almost equal to the BDC weapons and its hard, if not impossible, to make a clear distinction between them which does open up the possibility of a whole batch of (overproduced?) BDC weapons making their way to Greece as well together with the molds. This is very unlikely but on the other hand it is quite remarkable to see that two completely different factories were able to create such identical colors especially considering the fact the ones produced in Greece were bootlegs… Looking into detail the GBB Golden weapons seem to have a slight glitter in it as well while this was completely absent amongst the Golden BDC weapons, the Silver ones are almost perfectly identical and the only inconsistency found there in some of the cases is the pressure applied via the mold markings but this could have been variable within the production process within the Spanish factory as well as this might be unique for each run regardless the factory it came from. Whereas two of the GBB weapons are, apart from the BDC molds used, really close related to the Spanish line in color there is one type of GBB weapon that jumps into the eye right away, the Glitter Gold weapon. Unlike the Golden version of the GBB weapons this Glitter Gold weapon is more light in color, almost more translucent like, and it has a lot more glitters in it. Most likely this is, like the more variable composition of the rubber for the Beasts themselves, the result of the composition of the material used for the weapons and/or in combination with the heath produced during the production.
Bootleg lines are often known for their slight inconsistencies that occur during the production process in which there is less attention for the perfectly balanced and prescript composition of the materials used resulting in more variables in color, structure, etc. of the final product meaning almost each production run had its own slightly different identity and this was no different for the GBB.
The GBB Stickers
Unlike the original Battle Beasts who had heath activated stickers showing a symbol, the so called rubsigns, the Greek Beasts had a sticker that already showed the symbol. Where the stickers (rubs) of the original Beasts have always been attached to the figures during the production process the GBB all came with a loose sheet of stickers included the in the various packaging types. For each Beasts one sheet of stickers was included meaning allowing to switch symbols. The reason for the sticker sheet to be included as such has probably been influenced by a choice for the production process but it also might have had something to do with the game EL GRECO had in mind for the Beasts in order to fight the Battle between Fire, Wood and Water like the original Beasts… This might also explain why the stickers did not last very long because the glue used allowed the stickers to come on and of very easily in order to switch symbols, hence the reason why the majority of the GBB found these days do not have any stickers attached to them anymore. More about this game element and the choice for the type of stickers will follow after the explanation about the various packaging types.
By now it is clear that El Greco did their best to avoid any problems with HASBRO TAKARA by creating bootleg figures in monotone colors with a name that has no reference to the Battle Beasts or whatsoever so from that perspective it is even more remarkable when we take a look at the packaging of the GBB. Because apart from the 3 different type of packaging these figs came in the first thing that can be noticed on all 3 of them is the original artwork from the Battle Beasts line that has been used on HASBRO´s packaging as well. This means that with the original licensed molds for the figures and the weapons also a piece of the original artwork made it to Greece. Knowing the BDC from Spain were completely produced in Valencia, this also goes for the cards on which the Beasts were released, it is most likely the factory did have an original production sample of the artwork from HASBRO as well in order to have the Battle Beasts artwork shown on their packaging like the rest of Europe. Another possibility of this artwork making it to Greece is a real good copy or scan they managed to get but looking at the overall quality of the artwork print on the packaging of El Greco it is most likely they did get their hands on the artwork piece that was used within the Spanish factory in Valencia as well. So the artwork of the Battle Beasts line was there but the name was absent because the GBB were called Tepato Maxoi so this is also the name that was found on the packaging although the design of the name clearly gives away it is BB inspired as well.
Here are the 3 different types of the Greek Battlate Beasts (Tepato Maxoi) packaging in which the Beasts could be purchased in Greece during the early 90´s;
The EL GRECO, Tepato Maxoi, CAN packaging;
Contained: 4 Beasts – 4 Weapons – 4 Sheets of Stickers – 1 Pamphlet
Colors: At least 7 of the 8 different colors were found in this packaging, the existence of a can containing Purple Beasts is still unknown.
Price: Unknown but based on the price information of the other packaging types most likely around 400-500 DRS (Greek Drachma, Greek Currency before switching to the EURO)
Other info: The lid of the Can gave away which color of Beasts were inside, a Silver lid meant there were 4 Silver Beasts inside a Pink lid for Pink Beasts and so on. In most cases all of the body parts of the figures were still attached to the production sprue, hence the reason why the pamphlet was included in order to compose the Beasts the correct way (according to the pamphlet). It´s not really clear if there was a certain order or consistency in the 4 Beasts that were found inside but most likely these were just randomly inserted.
* Addition; as mentioned in the wrong arms part of this article the arms were produced on a sprue on which two sets of arms from two different Beasts were attached so instead of 4 random Beasts being present inside the Can it´s better to say there were two different pairs included in each Can because the sprue with the two different sets of arms attached to it was the decisive factor here.
The EL GRECO, Tepato Maxoi, BOX packaging;
Contained: 2 Beasts – 2 Weapons – 2 Sheets of Stickers
Colors: All of the 8 colors were found within this type of packaging.
Price: 100 DRS (Greek Drachma, Greek Currency before switching to the EURO)
Other info: Due to the package having a window foil it was easy to see which, color, figures were inside. The Beasts were already composed and in most cases two different colors of Beasts were found inside the box. In some occasions a pamphlet related to the Exogini line, so not explaining anything about the GBB, was found inside but this has not been completely verified. Also the Pamphlet was in Dutch (?) meaning it was most likely a factory mistake.
The EL GRECO, Tepato Maxoi, WRAP packaging:
Contained: 1 Beast – 1 Weapon – 1 Sheet of Stickers
Colors: Most likely and similar to the Can packaging at least 7 of the 8 different colors could be found inside the wrapping.
Price: 50 DRS (Greek Drachma, Greek Currency before switching to the EURO)
Other info: There is not a whole lot known about this packaging type because not a lot of examples have been around so far. What we do know is that it is most likely that like the Cans the color of the Wrapping is in line with the color of the Beast that could be found inside but this has not been 100% confirmed. This type of packaging was a so called blind bagged purchase so you were not able to tell which figure was inside. Figure inside was complete with the arms attached.
The Game element
For the original Battle Beasts line the rock-paper-siccor inspired element added as an extra layer during the Battle resulting in heat activated rubs showing Fire-Wood-Water worked out well knowing the symbol of the Beasts only became visible at a certain temperature (once rubbed). In case of the GBB something else had to be figured out in order to make this idea work with those stickers as well. Until the translation of the text on the Wrapping package it has been unclear for a while but now it is clear that the reason why the stickers were not so sticky comes from the fact that the kids were supposed to pick a symbol before the Battle, this had to be placed on the figure and needed to be covered by a finger. Same was done by your friend (battle opponent) with his Beasts and once both of the symbols were revealed it was clear who won the Battle! So unlike the symbol being pre-attached to the figure, meaning it would always have the same symbol, with the GBB it was much harder and more unpredictable to figure out which symbol your opponent was Battling with….
ΟΔΗΓΊΕΣ ΓΙΑ ΤΟ ΠΑΙΧΝΙΔΙ
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE GAME
Βάλε το αυτοκόλλητο με το σήμα τής φωτιάς του νερού ή του ξύλου όταν εξωγήινο Τερατομάχο και κρύψ το απ τον αντίπαλο με το δάκτυλό συν πριν από τη μάχη.
Put the sticker with the mark of fire, water or wood οn the Tepato Maxoi and cover with your finger to hide from your opponent before the battle.
Το ίδιο θα κάνει κι ο φίλος σου με τον δικό του Τερατομάχο.
The same will be done and your friend with his own Tepato Maxoi.
Το έμβλημα της μάχης δείχνει ποιος θα νικήσει.
The battle emblem shows who will win.
Η ΦΩΤΙΑ κερδίσει το ΞΥΛΟ
FIRE beats WOOD
το ΝΕΡΟ κερδίσει τη ΦΩΤΙΑ
WATER beats FIRE
αλλά το ΞΥΛΟ κερδίσει το ΝΕΡΟ.
but WOOD beats WATER.
Translation of the text on the GBB Wrapper (courtesy of WhiteLeo)
GBB and other EL GRECO Toylines…
With the GBB being produced and released by EL GRECO as a sub-series within the Exogini line at some point and knowing it is a bootleg product it is not so weird there are a couple of strange situations known in which GBB related items turned up amongst other lines of EL GRECO or the other way around.
The Dutch Exogini pamphlet showed up inside a Tepato Maxoi (GBB) box but it was not only that pamphlet alone that has been found inside the box because here is an example of the same pamphlet showing up with two Exogini figures in the GBB Box packaging as well.
Another weird find in relation to BB related items showing up in Greece (via EL GRECO) was a purchase that was made in 2009 by a fellow collector active on LRG because suddenly Laser Beasts (LB) weapons were found!?!?!
LB Weapons amongst the Greek Visionaries (?)
Like the first find of the GBB by International collectors back in the first years of the 21st century (2002-2003) the Laser Beasts weapons that were found in Greece during 2009 directly caused a lot of rumors within the BB-community, would there be Greek Laser Beasts (GLB (?)) as well!?
This rumor was soon tackled since ALL the LB weapons found came with, or had a direct relation to, ZZOIDS the name EL GRECO gave to their Visionaries Bootlegs. So there were no Laser Beasts to be found in Greece and the laser-guns were just used to arm up the Bootleg Visionaries…. but how did EL GRECO get their hands on LB molds this time because those have never been released in Spain either? Meaning the connection to the Spanish Battle Beasts line that was clearly present for the GBB is not something to even consider being the origin of these laser-guns molds.
Looking at the weapons themselves the Greek laser-guns are smaller in size than the original LB guns meaning they are scaled to a size that better fits/suited the ZZOIDS figures they had to go with or they have been produced (possibly on purpose to match that correct scale) under to high temperatures causing the final product to shrink within the original mold. The material used for the Greek laser-guns is completely different and had a much lighter feeling but the major difference is the Gold color these weapons have. Most likely they are given this color to match better with the bootlegs they had to go with. They guns were not casted fully in gold because the golden layer seems to have been an additional top layer that went over the guns since some have been found with a White (foggy clear plastic) base color where the golden layer has started to come of.
In order to clarify the origin of the molds for these Greek laser-guns used for the Visionaries bootlegs in Greece there is a big chance it can be found in France. The reason for this thought is the fact that unlike some of the Lower 12 LB (#77-#88) guns showing up amongst those Greek releases there are also some Middle 12 LB (#89-100) guns found so far and these can only relate to France or Sweden and since it is most unlikely to find a direct relation between a Swedish division of HASBRO or MB and a the Greek Bootleg toy company EL GRECO from a geographic point of view France is the best option to look into.
France did have their own Visionaries line called Les Visionnaires so with that in mind and the knowledge of EL GRECO being able to get their hands on original molds of other original HASBRO/MB lines before it is most likely that the Greek ZZOIDS figures perfectly match with the France Les Visionnaires figures once looked at them in detail tracing the mold markings and once that is confirmed the origin of the LB guns showing up with the Greek Bootleg Visionaries has also been explained. But this is something that can only be verified and confirmed by Visionaries fans…
Advertisement for the GBB
It might be hard to believe but by now it seems like nothing was impossible for EL GRECO in Greece back in the days because not only they produced and sold their own Bootlegs but they also created advertisement to sell the Bootlegs. So far there is not a whole lot of bootleg lines I can recall which have been publicly advertised but EL GRECO did. For the GBB they even had an advertisement in the Greek Disney Mickey Mouse (Μίκυ Μάους) magazine!
Tepato Maxoi Advertisement by EL GRECO
Published in: Μίκυ Μάους (Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney)
Magazine number: #1104
Publisher: Τερζόπουλος – Νέα Ακτίνα
Date: September 11, 1987
Pages: 68 (The Tepato Maxoi advertisement was found on the inside of the cover page)
Price: 50 DRS.
Source: Greece: Μίκυ Μάους # 1104
Η ΑΠΑΤΗΤΗ ΖΟΥΓΚΛΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΑΥΡΟΥ ΠΛΑΝΗΤΗ ΣΥΝΤΑΡΑΖΕΤΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΤΕΡΑΤΟΓΟΝΙΑ
The untrodden jungles of the Black Planet of the tossed Teratogonia.
Με αυτοκόλλητα σήματα
..ΧΙΛΙΑΔΕΣ ΕΚΑΤΟΜΜΥΡΙΑ ΤΕΡΑΤΟΜΟΡΦΟΙ ΓΙΓΑΝΤΕΣ ΕΜΦΑΝΙΖΟΝΤΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΠΑΝΤΟΥ
(…Thousands of millions of monstrous giants appearing everywhere.)
Translation of the text from the Tepato Maxoi Advertisement (courtesy of WhiteLeo)
It literally took the Beastformers Team a couple of years to gather, check and verify all the information shown on this page explaining about the Tepato Maxoi (Greek Battle Beasts) and even while composing this publication some crucial connections were made and details added. All of which would not have been possible and/or so complete without the help, discussions, images and translation work done by various fellow Battle Beasts collectors and LRG members so a special thanks goes to those who have helped along the way;
Soupie, CCVegita, B.D.Foxmoor, Lord, lhssenior, dabbuu, JPac, ShadowBat, WhiteLeo and all others who have directly or indirectly helped the Beastformers Team to find the right traces in this search for the true background story of the Tepato Maxoi, the Greek Bootleg Battle Beasts, by EL GRECO.
Απολαύστε την Τερατομαχους !
(Enjoy the Tepato Maxoi!)
The Beastformers Team