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Sunday, October 28, 2012

#209 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE – BATTLE CAT and PANTHOR (Ref. 5048 and 4714) (1982 and 1983)


The first wave of the MOTU was a bit short: it comprised only 8 figures, Castle Grayskull, 2 vehicles (Wind Raider and Battle Ram) and one creature. Leaving aside the figures, the Battle Cat, a “ferocious tiger (that) carries He-Man into Battle”, was probably the first reference created. It is known, that every action figure line needs some accessories, so what about some mount for He-Man? A horse? No, let’s recycle those old tigers from the Big Jim line…

Back cover of the Mini-comic "King of Castle Grayskull" (1981), one of the first four mini-Comic ever released. "More Masters of the Universe characters and vehicles available later in 1982"

This must be more or less what it happened at Mattel when discussing the accessories to be released in the first wave. Big Jim’s set number 9918 from 1976, “On theTiger Trail”, included a tiger in a cage, identical to the one you’ll see in this entry, only in other colour. As a matter of fact there are some Battle Cats, whose copyright mark (inside one of the hind legs) dates from 1976… These are rarer, and the easiest way to identify them is to look for orange stripes in the tail. If the tiger has them, then it’s the 1976 version, otherwise is the 1982 version.  

Doubling creatures, figures and reusing casts would be repeted throughout the lifespan of the line: further examples are Stridor and Stalker, Zoar and Screeech, Beast Man and Mossman, Mer-Man and Stinkor, and a few more.

Copyright mark inside right hind leg

Copyright mark in the saddles.

The 1976’s cast is marked Taiwan. Here’s a comparison between these two versions in a great toy blog.

There is, however, a third version of this creature, and is the French version… this one is made in a clearly darker green plastic, and their accessories are also darker as the normal versions. I was looking for a decent picture with both “cats”, but I found nothing, so check… The “Mattel France” version is not so rare, can be found easily and never very expensive.

In order to maximize the references without increasing the costs, Mattel launched the following year the same toy, but this time for the evil forces. The new creature was named Panthor: a “ferocious beast with realistic velvet fur”. The difference is that the tiger has been flocked all over with a dark purple velvet-like hair. Unlike Battle Cat, which appears in almost every cartoon and comic book, Panthor only appears very rarely in some comics.

Both creatures with accesoories. Panthor does not wear a mask.
In playworn toys, Panthor's hair is mostly missing on the edges (for example, ears, tail, feet, also where the saddle comes…) The Panthor I own is in excellent shape. I found it recently in a flea market, because other one I have since I was a kid has lost a great part of its hair.

Battle Cat appears in almost every cartoons and comic, and, like He-Man, has a double personality: Cringer in the name of the cat, is kind of Castle Grayskull's pet: joyful, nice and easily frightened. With the mask, it turns to Battle Cat, which is brave and ferocious. About Panthor, we do not know much... anyone?

  • Name: BATTLE CAT and PANTHOR (Ref. 5048 and 4714)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Waves 1 and 2)
  • Year: 1982 and 1983
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Approx. 25 cm


  1. Saludos!!!!

    Muy buena toda la info al respecto; he ido directamente a los míos, y obviando el hecho de que es dificil saber de qué año es mi panthor (por el floqueado...), el battlecat que tengo es de 1976. Ya conocía la historia del molde de Big Jim (de hecho me hice en una ocasión con un tigre naranja al que le puse una armadura pintada de negro y ala! un custom... ^^) y precisamente estoy quitándole el pelillo a un Panthor comprado en mal estado; así veré el año, claro, pero es para otro custom. debajo de Panthor tenemos un tigre negro, lo cual puede dar mucho juego para una montura custom que tengo en mente.

    Buena entrada! y buenas imagenes!!!!! Esas salidas al bosque son espectaculares; tomaré nota para llevar mis figuras al parque de abajo y cuando esté vacío de gente (...) sacaré algunas fotillos...

    Saludos y hasta pronto!!!!!!!!

  2. Los Panthor creo que serán todos del 1982, puesto que ya existen Battle Cats del 1982, el molde antiguo ya estaría listo. Lo que sí es curioso es las diferencias entre unos y otros, las rayitas del rabo, también los bordes de la boca, los ojos, entre otras. Además de la "normal" te faltaría la francesa, si juntas los tres puedes hacer buenas fotos que nadie parece haber hecho todavía en todo el internet.

    Esas fotos son en mi jardín de cesped, no estoy muy orgulloso de ellas, pero bueno, en el bosque encuentras cosas más chulas (troncos, setas, raices, riachuelos, piedras cubiertas de musgos y líquenes). En el bosque a veces me he ido a hacer fotos de figuras cuidadosamente colocadas en el suelo y la gente se extraña cantidad... lo bueno de mi casa es que está lejos de las rutas de los deportistas y de la gente y puedo hacer las fotos con tranquilidad.

    Gracias por el comentario!


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