|It may say Battle Fist on the package, but he'll always be Fisto to me. Essentially the same as Ice Armor He-Man with some added bits and a new head, he looks great and is downright hard to find. For a fair price, worth snagging. Our sample was roughly $10 after shipping from the He-Store via He-Man.Org.
He wasn't the most memorable guy in the old line, but his vaguely suggestive name and striking appearance will surely ring a few bells. The character's name was changed to Battle Fist from Fisto because of a lost trademark, so says urban toy legend, and most fans point to the 2002 release of Kit Fisto in Star Wars as the root of the loss. It's not like a company lost Skeletor or Megatron, and the new name doesn't sound half bad. Still, it's a change, and change is fundamentally bad.
The figure shares parts with Ice Armor He-Man, and was supposedly developed before that figure. Battle Fist includes removable armor and a clamp weapon, but his sculpt and toy legend indicates he was originally supposed to come with a really nifty large sword.
Battle Fist was supposedly going to be introduced earlier in the run of Masters of the Universe yet was delayed until the Snakemen line was released. The figure was more or less unchanged except for an anti-snake insignia glued to his left wrist and the claw weapon instead of his sword.
The figure has some nifty furry boots and a face that makes it look like they were gunning for some pseudo-viking aesthetic, which is nice to see in a barbarian-themed toyline where there's really only one guy that looks anything like a barbarian... and he's royalty.
The face has a fair amount of detail in it and the moustache may excite and delight some fans of Pringles snacks. The crown, while odd, adds a little to his face and helps distract the eye from the hair, which is brushed back in very thick strands that really don't seem to work for the character. His expression is fairly benign, which is good because otherwise he's look like a goof if he was screaming or yelling.
Battle Fist has a solid body construction with lots of chisled muscles, which, I guess, is good if you like that sort of thing. His removable armor fits like a glove and odds are most fans wouldn't even know it was removable. For this reason, it makes sense that Mattel opted to use the figure as the basis of more than one toy. The amount of detail in terms of the sculpt is by no means staggering, nor is it impressive by the standards of the line. It is, however, cleanly done and nicely painted so this doesn't look like a bad, awkward, or pathetic toy. All good things when dealing with heroic barbarian types, wouldn't you say?
The figure is available in a "chase" version as well, but this version seems to have a lot more purple and a lot less black. It doesn't look bad, and there's some great little bits sculpted in for your amusement, like a grate over the giant fist that has all sorts of mechanical bits inside. The crown has a face of some sort sculpted above his nose, and his loincloth has what appears to be an ox. A decent assortment of scrapes and dents in his armor add to his look, but as they aren't exactly highlighted with paint it's tough to see them in some conditions.
His action feature is a spring-loaded giant fist. The Ice Armor He-Man (which, you recall, has the same body) has a spring-loaded punching action located at the waist that seems as if it was intended for Battle Fist, and is missed since it isn't on him. The trigger is a little tricky, but once you get it going it's a nice little weapon. Our test subject, a Playmobil Ghost, was sent flying a respectable distance when hit with the mighty hand of Battle Fist, so odds are kids would like it.
The anti-snake insignia wasn't part of the toy's initial design, as you can see. It's a little thing that was glued on and presumably can be pried off, although we dare not try it with our one and only Fisto. It's not much of an eyesore, but the logo design itself is fairly weak as it seems very close to the logo that the Snakemen themselves use. It's like the USA using the Soviet flag, in blue, minus the hammer. Doesn't seem all that unique, really, and it isn't like Mattel hasn't already developed a few logos for use on Eternian equipment in this line already. (The "H" and the Cross come to mind.)
Battle Fist shares a number of pieces with He-Man. You can see his legs are the same, as is his left arm. His torso is the same under the armor, but it seems the rest of the figure is new.
It's a good figure, but it could have been great.
His giant claw weapon is a little goofy, but makes sense in the context of the Snakemen line. The heroes all have claws and other items from which they can handle the reptillian invaders from a distance, as you wouldn't want to get in close to something that would likely strike you with its tongue. Of course, they also have guns but don't seem too keen on using those.
The sculpting of the Power Clamp, as the package calls it, is pretty good. There are a lot of gears, panels, lines, and rivets sculpted into it and it's made from numerous pieces, giving it a clean moving action. Despite the fact that it's one color, it looks pretty good and should be enough to satiate fans desiring an extra weapon, even though his giant right hand is plenty good.
Masters of the Universe toy due to their mass and bulk. As such, it's not such a great weapon. That, and the figure doesn't seem too happy to hold onto it, as it feels it was sculpted for another figure's hand.
He comes on the fairly generic Masters of the Universe vs. The Snakemen package, which is missing the art of the toy on the front and has no names on the figures on the back. How should a kid ask for a figure? "I want the snake one!" It doesn't quite work.
The colors are striking, and the addition of the photo on the side of the package to more easily find the figure you want in the store is a great idea. It would be even better if it was used when He-Man toys were actually sold in stores.
While most likely doomed to be mail-order only, he's a nice figure and fans of the series should track him down if you haven't done so already. Anyone not looking for a set of these guys should probably pass on him unless he's cheap (under $10) because, well, it's basically just a revised Ice Armor He-Man, which can be found quite cheaply. He's a nice toy, and there's nothing really wrong with it, but there is a little stigma attached to his being a rare toy. Considering how tough he is to get, you might be expecting more.
For the right price, get one. The extra articulation in the arm and the spring-loaded fist are fun features, but not necessarily worth a premium price to those who aren't hardcore fans of the heroes of Eternia.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample bought from the He-Store and arrived in April 2004
Reviewed on April 21, 2003.