Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: The Savage Realm of Battle Tribes

Glyos has been the biggest boon to indy toy developers ever.  They developed a durable limb-swapping socket system, have a formula for excellent quality plastic, and a factory in China that lots and lots of other people can rent out.  The result is that lots of small companies can now make their own toys, perfectly compatible with one another.  But we’re not talking about Glyos, we’re talking about Battle Tribes!


Spy Monkey Creations has a few operations going.  They make MOTU-compatible weapons.  They make glyos-themed robots painted up to look like everything from Optimus Prime to Kinnikuman.  And they also make the Battle Tribes.

A tribute to everything Conan, He-Man, Thundarr, and Thundercats, The Savage Realm of Battle Tribes is a 3″ scale line of parts.  When you buy a figure, you also get five bonus heads and mor weapons than it can hold.  All the joints pop out freely and can be swapped, which is intentional – there are really only two “figure” sets, but lots of color schemes for each!  At the time of this writing, the DX Demon set is all sold out, bu don’t worry – Battle Tribes follows Glyos rules.  Although individual color sets go out of stock all the time, new ones are always coming down the pike.  Be there on launch day, and you can get whatever you want!  For this review, I’ve got one “normal” set (Ancient Spikeasaurian – yellow) and one DX Demon set (Nomadic Pterosaurian).  It’s enough to show off the sculpting of both sets, including all the heads – technically, you get six figures with each purchase.  Although these toys are in a weird scale (too small for most stuff, too big for the rest), they are fantastically durable, very well-made, and the idea is creatively derivative – if it reminds you of something, it’s meant to.  They have had colorways in the past referencing He-Man, Thundercats, and similar stuff.  Each figure has swappable swivel neck, waist, shoulders, wrists, hips, ankles, and a port in the back to plug something in (like the DX wings).  Each set includes:

-Normal:  Six heads (Barbarian, Wolfpack Hunter, Cyclops, Orc, Dracosaurian, Spikeasaurian), harness, sword, shield, mace, hatchet
-DX Demon: Six heads (Demon, Pterosaurian, Chiropteran, Wraith, Hooded Head, Cthulhu), wings, alternate feet (clawed and boots), greatsword, double-headed axe

And of course, if you snag both sets in the same color scheme, you can use those DX heads on a regular armored body, and vice-versa.

The Barbarian head is reminiscient of Conan, He-Man… and in this colorway, Marge Simpson.  One of the really funny things about this line is how certain colors are clearly designed for specific heads.  You should see the Spikeasaurian in flesh tones!  Honestly, the weirder combos are even funnier – a Simpsons Barbarian is unforgettable.

The Wolfpack Hunter is very clearly Darkwolf from Fire & Ice.  Seriously. He’s another human, slightly more caveman-ish than the regular barbarian, and offers a bit of Batman-esque variety for the “human” designs in this line.


The Cyclops has a classy, stylish mohawk – just enough that he can look sophisticated or savage, depending on your current needs. This is also one that tends to look surprisingly creative in different colorways.


The orc is the smallest, smoothest head – as “basic” as it seems, it’s also easy fodder for specialized custom paint jobs in a few colorways. For example, there’s a “spider” theme that gives him more eyes.


The Dracosaurian has a surprising amount of personality, and works with a lot of colorways. It’s also the spiniest, and the most likely to poke your fingers while you swap heads! Aha.


And finally, the Spikeasaurian is large, well-painted, and clearly a Triceratops. The yellow scheme was designed for it, though it’s good in a lot of colors. Just comparing how the Barbarian and Spikeasaurian look on the same body shows off how well these figures do even as pure headswaps.


The Demon isthe “default” DX Demon head, at least at first. He has a great, snarling head and two big horns, but you can also note the other alterations from the standard Battle Tribes figure – new feet (note: it comes with normal boots), and wings.


This is the color scheme designed for the Pterosaurian, which makes him look a lot like Sauron from X-Men. HE also fits in wonderfully with the other two dinosaur designs.


Okay, this is just Cthulhu. There’s no way around it. Do you see any complaints? NOPE!


The Chiropteran is a bat, and also has some surprisingly complex sculpting and a lot of personality. This one works best with wings, of course, but is actually rather good either way.


The Wraith works best with ordinary boots – and in fact, would really be good on a normal body, with that harness instead of wings. With wings it’s a flying undead demon, though, which is great. It’s a nice, unexpected addition to the DX Demon.


And finally, the Hooded head is genuinely designed for the “Normal” body – without th eharness, the hood seems odd, but with it, it makes for a great henchman to the Demon. If you can get both figure types in the same color, you’ve got your henchman set up perfectly!


Just saying again, this one is really obviously Cthulhu. And very trippy in non-green colors.

Well, there you go! These toys are some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time, they have a great aesthetic, and you get so many options with each figure that it’s like buying an entire line at one time!

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