On this page several topics in regards to Collecting Battle Beasts will be shared in order to provide you with some more insight about how it is to collect this line and what options there are to grow an army of Beasts yourself!
Psychology of Collecting
In case you have not read this page yet and might be interested in the psychology of collecting in general like why do we collect, is it good or bad and how to keep a collection positive and healthy it might be interesting to check it out first;
After this general introduction in the world of collecting it´s time to specify on the subject you´re probably here for since in the end this is the Beastformers Blog, time for;
WHY!? Battle Beasts?
Starting with the beginning because why would you start collecting Battle Beasts? Of course there could be various reasons for that some of which might be explained or are familiar to you in this interesting post that´s published on the Beastformers Blog in 2017;
WHY!? Battle Beasts?
Although the reasons you might have to collect this awesome niche eighties toy line of colorful anthropomorphic animals with a little touch of Transformers history over them might be different it´s clear that in some way you´ve become, like many of us, a victim of a well planned promotion strategy. Because in the end Battle Beasts were no different from any other commercial toy line from the eighties with their own release campaign and strong one-liners.
Of course it´s their design and the nostalgic load that has made them into the collectable toy line they are today but the advertisement that came with them back in the days has probably done it´s work as well because who doesn´t remember the commercial;
They Grow Into an Army…
Collect ALL 84
Without a doubt a strong commercial because let´s be honest who didn´t want Battle Beasts after seeing this. And it´s also clear you´d not settle with just a 2 pack as they simply had to ¨Grow into and Army¨. But it often is the last line that caused some questions because; Collect all 84?
In order to understand this it´s important to place the various promotional activities by Hasbro in the US and Europe for the Battle Beasts line in the right order. Because even though the 28 Series 1 Battle Beasts are dated (stamped) 1986 on them they´re actually released in 1987 and that´s the year during which this commercial was released. At that moment in time, or at least for that specific first release, only the first 28 Beasts had seen the light of day and were ready to be released in two packs within the US and Europe (Japan had a different more TF based release strategy with single boxed Beasts).
BUT the first 28 Beasts weren´t considered to be Series 1 straight away as the very first packaging showed the two packs without the note in the Yellow bar saying SERIES 1. This note was added later one once it became clear more Beasts would follow resulting in the Series 2 and 3 Beasts making the total of 76 Beasts. So where did that ¨collect all 84¨ quote come from?
It´s no surprise that one of the main gimmicks of this line was the rubsign symbol
FIRE! WOOD! or WATER!… YOU´LL NEVER KNOW UNTIL YOU OWN THEM!
And it is exactly this gimmick, the chance of having a Fire, Wood or Water (3 options) rubsign in combination with the number of different Beasts available at that time (28) that does the math and explains the 84 Beasts you could collect. Because in the end Hasbro wanted you to have all Beasts with all the different symbols.
In the UK advertisement this idea of 84 Beasts was more obvious since the final line on the page clearly mentions;
THE 28 CHARACTERS COME WITH FIRE, WOOD OR WATER BATTLE BADGES, THAT MAKES AN ARMY OF 84 TO SWAP AND COLLECT.
Tipping another point of the release strategy meaning the possibility to trade your Beasts with your friends, either to get the Beasts you wanted with the symbol you preferred or simply to get all 84 Beasts… A well thought out campaign which later on with the release of Series 2 and 3 has been abandoned because they´ve never promoted; collect all 228 Beasts!
And even though back in the days the Battle Beasts sadly enough weren´t the success we´d all hoped for with them having a longer life with even more Series, despite the fact we did get the ¨Series 4¨ Laser Beasts, the advertisements and promotions of the eighties still echos on because in the end it did work one way or another resulting in all of us collecting this line.
The BB Virus
And it is not only the whole promotion and release strategy behind it that makes them so collectable and addictive even today because in the end it´s simply a very well designed and durable toy line that´s relatively easy to start collecting. But the fact that they´re released in Series definitely does help because instead of having the feel to aim at a group of 76 Beasts, or maybe even 112 (including the Laser Beasts), is a different perspective than to go after them at smaller sets. The Series simply make it feel easier to set goals going for one Series at a time for instance.
Over the years a lot of (new) collectors have simply started their collection with one or a few Series 1 figures which are (still) relatively easy to obtain and from there it´s easy to continue aiming for the full Series 1 set of all 28 Beasts. The step to the slightly harder to find Series 2, another 24 Beasts, ain´t that hard than anymore either and once you´ve come that far the step to the final 24 Battle Beasts (Series 3) is often made as well.
In the past there followed quite a gap next between the Series 3 Battle Beasts and ¨Series 4¨ Laser Beasts due to the price different but with the developments over the last years the step from the harder to find Series 3 Battle Beasts to the so called ¨Low-end¨, first 12, Laser Beasts is not very hard anymore. The following post published on the Beastformers Blog in 2019 explains a bit more about this step;
From Battle Beasts to Laser Beasts
All in all until you reach the ¨Mid-end¨ Laser Beasts collecting Battle Beasts is a gradual climb which makes that the step to the next ¨level¨ is relatively easy to make and it might not even be noticed since you´re simply looking for the next Beasts from the Series you try to complete. Due to this ease of collecting that´s embedded in the Battle Beasts line there´s no way around the fact that Collecting Battle Beasts can become addictive.
Within the BB Community it´s often referred to as the BB Virus which once it hits you is often incurable, so there´s a big chance you´ll automatically become part of the BB Community as well. And from there, being ¨influenced¨ even more by other BB addicts, the quest for Beasts continues…
Because if you´re not looking for any upgrades for Beasts and you (think you´ve) completed your collection there´s always something else that shows up because within the Battle Beasts line there are so many sidetracks along the full 112 set that it´s hardly impossible to collect everything.
Upgrading Beasts is an often witnessed phenomenon among BB collectors simply because of the fact some collectors didn´t care about weapons, rubsign or condition in the beginning but they´re thinking differently about that later on or there are the perfectionists that are never done searching for the ¨perfect¨ Beast. More about these different types of collectors later but first CONDITION because as with most vintage items this is a crucial term of which its influence should not be underestimated. Condition can be your best friend if you´re a new collector and care much about the state of the figures because it´s the condition that makes that Beasts are around at relatively low prices. While on the other hand it can be your biggest enemy once you´re searching for a Beast without any flaws since that´s become very hard knowing they date back to 1987 or 1988 and were meant to be played with. This makes that complete figures above a certain Condition grade can represent considerably more value from a collectors point of view. To read more about it look here: Condition
In order to get an idea of the actual Condition Grade the Beastformers Blog has it´s own Grading System which has recently been updated with a visual reference to clarify the different grades even more;
Visit the Grading System page on the Beastformers Blog for an in depth explanation of these various C grades.
But don´t be fooled because this C grade system might work well to judge and sort figures based on their condition in order to value them in a certain way it completely leaves out a value that might be even more important namely the emotional value or nostalgia. For instance in the reference image of the Rabbits above the C8.5 Rabbit (Good condition + weapon) might be the one that´s part of the Beastformers private collection based on its condition representing the most value in terms of money it is the C5 Rabbit that holds the most value on an emotional level. For the simple reason that it´s been THE Beast that started all of it. Explained in one of the very first posts here on the Beastformers Blog back in 2013; Robot Animal Takara Hasbro ´86
This is a great example that shows that there are always certain items within a collection that outweigh any level of monetary value simply because it is that one item with such a personal or special story that it´s simply impossible to part with. And although there are a number of very special and rare Beasts within the Beastformers private collection if there´d only be one second to pick ONLY ONE Beast I´d be able to keep it´d be this Rabbit without a doubt. Because without this Rabbit the whole adventure throughout the world of Battle Beasts wouldn´t have existed.
And it´s the trip, friends, connections and lessons learned along the way that are the real value of collecting. A wise lesson because without solid connections within the BB Community you will eventually no longer find what it is that you´re looking for. So cherish your fellow collectors, even though some might have other perspectives, because everyone has their own story and there might be a day your paths cross and you´ve the chance to help each other out or share experiences.
One of those experiences, going back to the Condition of the Battle Beasts, that´s important to share and which is something that´s advisable for any (new) collector of Battle Beasts is the following;
Before you start collecting Battle Beasts
it´s important to define your collecting goal and visualize the collection you plan to built.
Because it is at this moment where you can save yourself a whole lot of money and problems straight away. The reason for that is the simple fact that most new collectors, like myself in the beginning, don´t care to much about the condition of the figures or weapons driven by the urge to just get them as fast as possible or as cheap as possible. If your ultimate goal is to just get the Battle Beasts and maybe their weapons despite the condition your in that´s indeed a solid strategy to go with but often that´s different and with your growing experience and interest in this line also the trained eye you´re developing will start to spot more and more imperfections. To some the condition is not important but to others it can become a frustrating thing to look at the figures you have in your collection that are having issues, issues that you´d not even noticed in the beginning but which now seem to have become huge. Time has shown that often collectors start upgrading their collections at a certain moment in time and this is exactly the point that should be avoided in the beginning. Because the moment you realize you´d like your figure to have it´s original weapon you´ll find out it´s very hard to even find that weapon loose. And once you have developed a trained eye it´ll become much harder to find a specific figure in the condition you´d like to have it in. All in all upgrades are always expensive since you´ve to invest money again in order to get that what you want because you didn´t buy it in the beginning in order to save a few bucks or there where ¨better¨ options around.
If you do want a complete Battle Beasts collection in a certain condition start buying them complete and in the condition you´re aiming for straight away because the money you might save now on buying cheaper and incomplete figures will back fire later on. So keep this in mind, define and visualize your collecting goal BEFORE you start hunting for Beasts!
Still in progress, sorry for the inconvenience.
The Beastformers Team