Price Point/Size: Basic
Retailers: General (K-Mart, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kay Bee)
Release Date: May 2001
Accessories: Axe Weapon
As the Beast Machines line wore down, a couple of figures were previewed, but never actually showed up in wide distribution. One of these figures was Battle Unicorn. While he did appear sporadically in stores such as Wal-Mart, his primary distribution was through online retailer Bigbadtoystore.com. He truly was one of the last Beast Machines figures of the line, and his "limited" status made him quite the subject of speculation among fans.
Don't let the word "Unicorn" in his name fool you. Battle Unicorn's beast mode is not some cutesy, fuzzy creature of fantasy. Nope, this is a machine obviously built for combat. What I find most interesting about this toy's sculpt is that it looks like an all mechanical beast. While the Maximals in this series are supposed to be the perfect fusion of the techno and organic, very few details here even approach looking "organic". The middle of the body with its muscle like shapes might qualify, and perhaps the rear legs, but that's it. It is perhaps this fact that helps Battle Unicorn look more like a death machine than something that should be next to a "My Little Pony" figure.
Battle Unicorn looks, in essence, like an armored horse. His mane is really the blade of the axe weapon, with lines cut in that look like hair sections. His legs have curves on them, but they also have spikes on them. His hooves even have sharp claws on them rather than the toes one would expect to find on an equine. I also like how the end of his tail looks like flame while simulating the furry tail of a horse/unicorn as well. The feature which grabs me the most on this toy is the look on his face. His eyes are just set in this angry, angry look that is perfect. The horn on his head is just the icing on the cake here.
Battle Unicorn's color scheme is an exercise in contrast. Most of his body is black and dark grey. But he has several translucent blue parts (such as the hind upper legs) and a fair bit of translucent red (the hooves and the end of the tail). The horn and the mane are the most striking of these parts. Done in a red to orange gradient, they're both stunning in appearance. In contrast to the rest of the figure, their brightness really shines through.
Battle Unicorn is a "Battle for the Spark" figure, and so he gets an action feature related to his Spark Crystal. In this case, move his Spark Crystal forward and his head moves down, as if he is about to run through a pesky Vehicon. A nice feature for a basic sized toy.
The Beast Mode has fifteen points of articulation, thanks mostly to the fact that all parts of his legs move, the top, the middle and the hooves. What's nice is that they're really nice and tight, so you don't have to worry about the toy flopping around.
Transformation to Robot Mode:
- Separate the rear halves of the toy, removing the mane/tail piece.
- Fold the horn up and push the unicorn head down.
- Pull the robot legs out of the upper legs of the rear beast mode legs. Rotate the robot feet around and push them up against the rear hooves.
- Swing the opened halves up and close them around the unicorn head.
- Flip up the top halves of the front beast mode legs.
- Swing back the beast mode front legs and pull down the robot arms.
- Push the mane piece of the axe weapon down, then place it in Battle Unicorn's hand.
You wouldn't think that a Transformer named "Battle Unicorn" would have a really impressive looking robot mode, but he does. I personally don't think preview pictures and the picture of Battle Unicorn on his packaging does the toy justice. He is just simply one cool looking 'bot.
The first major impression you get of this toy is that he is some type of armored soldier, which is a great continuity from the previous mode. Battle Unicorn's robot mode looks like an eclectic mix of armor and weaponry. The head first off has this really awesome layered design, starting with a horn on the top and working its way in levels around the face, which in itself is intricately detailed down to him having lips. The shoulders have the beast mode armor pieces out to the sides, giving a dynamic, angled look. His legs are huge and bulky looking, like he has some old Asian type of armor on while his robot feet are pointed like the armor of medieval knights. All these details conspire together to form a robot mode which seems to have taken design cues from all over the world.
I also love this guy's weapon. Obviously it is an axe (with great tech detail on the blade), but he can also hold it the other way and use it as a chain weapon.
Battle Unicorn has thirteen points of articulation in robot mode, hardly a surprise since this toy was made in an era where poseability was key. It does allow him to strike some pretty nifty poses and adds to his awesome look.
Battle Unicorn is a figure that should have seen wider release but didn't, and that's a shame. However, he is going to be given a new deco and released soon as Magna Stampede, so at least fans will get another chance at obtaining the figure in some form. If you can get this guy at a fair price (below $20 as of August 2004), then by all means do so. It's an awesome figure and one that should be in your Maximal army.
Additional Thoughts (May 21, 2023):
Battle Unicorn is truly one of the most interesting figures to ever come out of any Transformers line. There are not a whole lot of Transformers who transform in horses or Unicorns, so that is a treat in itself. The idea of a "Battle" Unicorn is particularly amusing to me and I love the design of this figure. That said, it's not perfect. The robot arms/front beast legs have a tendency to pop off at the ball joint and his shoulder armor can also easily come off. Fortunately they snap right back on, but it's a bit annoying during transformation. That said, I still really dig this figure. Unfortunately, as of 2023 getting this figure on card can easily run you over $100 USD on the secondary market so if you're hunting for this guy be prepared to spend a pretty penny.