I thought I’d draw your attention to two fairly significant corporate acquisitions that may have been buried amongst the SDCC news.
After months of rumors, it’s been pretty much confirmed (there hasn’t been an official announcement yet) that NECA has bought Wizkids from Topps. Wizkids’ biggest property, as I’m sure you know, is the tabletop miniatures game Heroclix, which features characters from DC, Marvel and Dark Horse, among others. There’s also the spinoff game Horrorclix, which features Jason, Freddy, and even Cthulhu himself.
I don’t have any sense of how well the Clix property has fared over the last couple of years. I imagine that once they’d gotten down to the third- and fourth-stringers in the DC and Marvel universes, there might have been a problem keeping up interest in the game. I also thought it was a mistake not to make Heroclix and Horrorclix fully compatible. In any event, it seems NECA will be taking the reigns, and we’ll have to see what they do with it.
In other news, Diamond Select now has Battle Beasts, the 1980s toy line featuring little manimals with weapons and stickers you rubbed to find out if their strength was wood, water, or fire.
As you may or may not know, Battle Beasts were created by Takara, the Japanese company that created the Transformers, and were marketed in Japan as “Beastformers,” a spin-off of Transformers. In the U.S., Takara’s partner Hasbro decided to skip the Transformers connection and simply marketed them as the Battle Beasts we know and love.
So this is a property created by Takara, creator of the Transformers, and once produced by Hasbro, one of the largest toy companies in the world. So how did DST score not just the license, but the entire property?
Here’s the scuttlebutt from collector Tekwych, who you probably know from one of the various forums he hangs out at (most notably the Fantastic Fourum) or from Go! Figure:
Well from what I learned from my contacts at TakaraTomy the trademark on the name Battle Beasts was created by Hasbro. Takara picked it up after Hasbro let it lapse but then, when they became TakaraTomy, let it lapse again. Diamond Select has picked up the trademark now.
The figures started out as a collectible figure game by Takara that were then grabbed by Hasbro. It looks like the original figure designs are still the property of TakaraTomy so this could be Battle Beasts in name only. The announcement I read had Battle Beasts in its own paragraph following MiniMates news with no mention of Minimates in the paragraph itself. While it could be read as additional MiniMates info it could also be a stand alone statement about a new line.
Now, Tekwych states that the original designs are still owned by TakaraTomy, meaning we won’t see a single classic Battle Beast in Minimate form. This seems rather at odds with this piece from Minimate Headquarters:
The biggest piece of news to come out of SDCC for Minimate collectors was the acquisition of a new license by DST. 80â€™s toy line Battle Beasts will be making the transition to Minimate form. An interesting aspect of this acquisition is that DST actually hold ownership of the brand rather than a licensing agreement, which opens the door to what they can do with the property. Expect to see your first Battle Beast in the previously announced Minimate Laboratory play set, due out later this year.
So, in conclusion, I have no idea exactly what the deal is with DST and Battle Beasts, other than the fact that a preview Battle Beast Minimate will be available as part of the upcoming playset. Anyone know the real story here?
I sold my Battle Beasts off a couple of months ago along with lots of other stuff due to lack of space, they were really cool though.
"Halt, stranger! Tell me, what is your strength?"
"Rub me and find out"
@Tek: The Fourum is just where I see you the most 😉 But I added a link to Go! Figure.
And here I thought I was most notably from Go! Figure :p 😀
The Battle Beasts thing seams to be different info from different sources and until we get some more finalized designs I am willing to hold off on making an opinion. I will say that this takes Minimates away from the basic design premiss and goes in a new direction that, IMO, killed the DC MiniMates line. The original idea was for a block figure blank that, with only paint and minimal custom sculpting, creates many different characters. Battle Beasts, like DC MiniMates, seam to be all about custom sculpts on every piece and this will raise production costs to a retail price point that may not work in todays market.
While there a good bit of Minimates I dig and I love my old Battle Beasts (Panzer Panda and Blitzkrieg Bat anyone?), I think I'd pass on Minimate versions of Battle Beasts.
Even if DST got the original "characters," I'd much prefer re-releases or newly-articulated updates. Maybe this renewed interest would push Takara into a "Battle Beasts Encore" line.
I forgot all about Battle Beasts. I think I had a few of those. A friend of mine collected Monster in my Pocket. I'm pretty sure he had every single one of 'em.
I think Minimates are stupid.
That said, the preview Battle Beasts look quite nice because they aren't the crappy little Lego men that most minimates are. Instead they're basically Battle Beasts with articulation.
I sold my Battle Beasts about a year ago. I had quite a few of them. I was surprised how much of a market there was for them. I made well over $100 on them.
The only thing I didn't notice on the new ones was the lack of sticker rubs.
I think the line would be rather useless without some of the classic designs though. SO color me IN if they look like the classics or are awesome on their own.
Out if it's just more minimates with a new name.
Battle Beasts will probably be my very first Minimates. That and the Lab playset.