Hi there! My name is Devin but I’m more commonly known on Instagram and eBay as TBToys. I live in Ohio with my wife and our five year old son. I’ve worked Call Center Training & Development for nearly 15 years but I’m also a published Children’s Book author. My first book, Bump the Monster, is available online and in most bookstores and my second and third books in Bump’s series of adventures should be released this year.
The first time I remember seeing Battle Beasts I was around four or five years old. I was spending the weekend with my grandparents and they took me shopping at our local toy store. They told me I could pick out any toy I wanted and when I saw a Battle Beasts Horny Toad/Sledgehammer Elephant two pack, I knew I had to have it.
I grew up in a small town and our local mall only had one toy store, K*B Toys. The bulk of my childhood collection came from there.
As a kid, I had 73 of the original 76 Battle Beasts with LOTS of doubles. A friend of mine found a Miner Mole when clearing out an old toy box years later and, knowing I still had all my other Beasts, gave him to me. I finally got Bighorn Sheep and Delta Chameleon to complete my set several years after that through eBay.
Like any boy in the 80s, I liked Ninja Turtles, Batman, Ghostbusters, Transformers, HeMan & GI Joe but Battle Beasts were my absolute favorite and I took them everywhere: outside, to the pool, in the snow, sleep overs, vacations. . . I even had them in my bookbag to play with on the school bus through much of grade school.
Much of my childhood collection came from shopping trips on the weekends I got to spend with my Grandparents so that already made them pretty special. All of my childhood best friends also loved Battle Beasts. It didn’t matter at whose house we were playing, we all had our own Beast armies and waged some epic wars. Afterward, we’d trade Beasts and weapons around trying to have the best army possible for the next time we got together.
Not long after my family got internet in the late 90s (dial up… YIKES!), I found out about eBay and decided to try to find out what some of my old toys were worth. I was shocked at how many postings I found. The Beast collectors community was bigger than I could have imagined. Through this community I found out my childhood collection was still missing the sheep and the chameleon. It’s also how I first learned about Laser Beasts. I was instantly hooked again and started searching the net for my missing Beasts and for my first Lasers.
In my 20s, I started focusing more on work and my social life and all my Beasts were once again packed away. During a move, a truckload of things that were supposed to go to storage was accidentally taken to the dump instead. By the time the error was discovered, it was too late and I was convinced my Beasts, and many other childhood toys, were gone for good. Then, about a year ago, while digging through some old boxes in my parents’ basement I discovered the bulk of my Beast collection was actually still there!
Considering all the buys, sells and trades I completed in highschool prior to moving my collection to storage, it would be difficult to say which figures in my current collection are from my childhood. A few things, however, stand out to me. My parents bought me my Battle Beast lunch box/thermal set when I was in kindergarten. I carried my lunch to school in it several times before deciding it would be even cooler to use it to keep all of my Beasts’ weapons together in one place. More than 25 years later, it still holds all of my Beasts’ weapons.
My Pirate Lion Jump Up is another fun piece that I always kept inside the lunch box. I don’t see these things often any more and was pretty excited to find it was still safely packed away and that it still works! There is one Beast in my collection I can say without a doubt has been with me since my childhood; the arm of this Sly Fox is the first I ever accidentally broke off. Not really thinking about the proper way the arms needed to be attached in order to move, I quickly grabbed a tube of super glue and tried to fix Fox myself. Obviously, the fix didn’t last but he was my only Fox and I couldn’t bear to throw him away. That same Fox with his original weapon and super glue covered arm socket remain a permanent part of my collection. I even still have his broken arm!
My current collection is quite large. Like many serious Beast fans, I decided long ago that a complete collection would have to include all three elements for each Beast. None of my master sets are complete yet but I’m getting pretty close.
Just after New Year’s I was excited to add the final figures I needed to complete all three elemental clans for the lower 12 Lasers.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have the space to properly display my collection so they’re all safely separated and stored away in totes. (I also have to be careful of keeping my master collection out of the hands of my son.)
As a kid, I was usually able to pick up a pack or two while out shopping with my Grandma. After I started collecting again as an adult, most of my figures were obtained from eBay as individual figures or in small lots as money allowed. Since joining the Battle Beast community on Instagram nearly a year ago, I’ve been able grow my collection considerably by trading with fellow collectors.
I bought my first two Lasers (77- Blue Eagle & 83- Ground Wolf) off eBay nearly 15 years ago. Before that day I didn’t even know the Battle Beast line I loved so much extended beyond the 76 figures I knew about from my childhood. I loved the Lasers’ design and knew right away I wanted them all. Since they’re considerably more expensive than the original 76, it has been a long process and I’m only about a third of the way done. I’m really excited to have finally completed all three clans for the lower 12 but I imagine it will still be many years before I can complete the mids or uppers.
I’ve been fascinated by bats for as long as I can remember so it just makes sense that Blitzkrieg Bat has always been one my favorite figures. Some of my favorite rare pieces include Skybat Laser Beast with his eagle chariot and the original box he came in, my various Greek and Indonesian Bats and my War Monster Bat.
I’m also quite pleased with the variant Beasts I’ve been able to obtain so far.
Of course, my ultimate grail piece at the moment would have to be the Japanese Gumball Bat. It will be a very happy day when I’m finally able to add this guy to my collection.
The War Monster and various Greek & Indonesian Bats as well as the orange armor Gorilla and Pink shell Crab variants took me quite a while to track down. Fortunately, a buddy of mine in the UK found most of those for me.
I really like the variety of colors the Greek Beasts come in and how the Indonesian Beasts often come with arms that belong on other figures but I guess my favorites would have to be the Japanese Lasers.
I love seeing all of the different foreign packaging but it’s the American packaging I grew up with that remains my favorite.
Bats. I love them! I’ve kept multiples of several figures through the years but when I learned about army building a while back it was obvious to me that my army would be bats.
After getting more active in the Beast community on Instagram, I was amazed at some of the incredible shots I kept seeing in my feed. While I’m nowhere near as talented as some of the other collectors out there, I’ve started trying to be a bit more artistic with my shots. Moving forward, I’m hoping to incorporate better scenery and lighting in my pictures.
Sadly, no. It’s long been a dream of mine to go to Japan. While Beast hunting wouldn’t be my primary reason for going, I would certainly have to make time to search at least a few shops.
Blitzkrieg Bat (obviously), Horny Toad, Rocky Rhino, Crusty Crab and Pirate Lion
Blue Eagle, Skybat, Slag King, Kickback and, of course, Skull Grotess