Once more unto the breach, I return with yet another MOTU Hybrid! Today's figure is one of my favorite customs. It's not my best work (by far, that honor goes to NECA Shredder) or my most challenging (Ghor from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption) or the figure I had the most fun working on (it's a tie between Ridley and Mother Brain), and it's certainly not a first of any kind (first "transportation," Samus Aran's Gunship; first animal, Drizzt Do'Urden's Guenhwyvar), but with two exceptions (my original Samus Aran, and the aforementioned Shredder), there is no other figure I'm happier to have on my shelf than dear old Cringer . . . the one and only Battle-Cat!
MOTU Hybrid is my attempt to unify the best of all three MOTU eras. The ideas (i.e. color schemes and concepts) of the original cartoon, the sculpts of the 2002 toys, and the articulation of modern figures, at a far more reasonable cost. However, sometimes one or more of those goals gets set by the wayside. Such was the case with Battle-Cat. Modern articulation is a bit unfeasible (not impossible, but it's more work than I'm willing to dedicate at the moment), and the 2002 design was, in my humble opinion, rather poorly conceived and overly technological. There was just something iconic, if a bit dated, about the original Battle-Cat design, and I decided to stick with that general look, slightly updated with a more intimidating look.
What you see here is the result of my re-imagining. Every plate was sculpted by hand (except the paws, which I modified from the 2002 design). I liked the idea of the large, crested helm of the original, but not the bulky, clumsy half-bird-half-dinosaur look. I wanted Battle-Cat to look like a metal lion, with a mane, ears, jowls, brows, cheeks, nose, and fangs. The mask needed to be almost skin-tight, and it had to be removable but still hold onto the head securely during "playtime." The solution? I engineered a complex three-piece clasp system: the sides of the mask hook together in the center of the forehead, then the face-crest piece slips over top and clips on behind the ears.
I made the saddle similar in design to the '80s toy, but with sharper edges, added armor on the haunches, and more spikes. It easily slips on and off the figure, with no need for a securing strap on the bottom since the armor is perfectly molded to the contours of Cringer's musculature. The saddle also has two rings on the sides of the seat-back, space for He-Man to stow his axe and shield while traveling across the Eternian wastes.
I painted the entire armor a deep, leathery red, then drybrushed the bright fire red over top to give it a two-tone finish. I intended to paint the fangs/claws/spikes in a silver or bone color, but when I asked my brother to pick, he suggested a third option: paint the points copper, so they nearly match the color of the armor, but stand out with a subtle metallic sheen. I tried it out, and the results were cooler than I could have hoped for. Battle-Cat looked bad-@$$!
Someday I'll return to Battle-Cat and add knees and ankles to all four legs,and I'll post new pics then. But for now, I'm perfectly happy calling him a finished product. With He-Man on his back, he's the centerpiece of my MOTU display.
By the power of Grayskull!