OK, I’m late to this party, but it fits the horror/Halloween theme I’m pushing this month.
Due to the fact that Predators don’t speak English and really don’t have any sort of defined culture or individual character, I can’t do the whole “interview” gag, so this will be a straight review.
There are some action figures I see and must buy. Usually they’re some sort of incredible combination of sculpting and articulation. For instance, I didn’t think twice about buying NECA’s Alien Warrior from the Alien vs. Predator colon Requiem line, because it was well sculpted and had great articulation and actually managed to surpass, in my estimation, the Aoshima Alien. The NECA Ninja Turtles are another good example.
Other times, though, I’ll see a figure and decide to pass on it for some reason. I forget about it and it sells out at retail. Then, a few months or a year or two later, I start looking at it again online. I start doing searches for it on eBay. And finally, at some point, I break down and buy the damned thing.
It’s almost always some sort of NECA or McFarlane figure with unsatisfactory articulation or a fixed pose. I first passed on the NECA masked Predator from AVPR for both reasons. While the sculpting is superb, the torso is fixed in that twisted pose, and the articulation, while better than usual, is still pretty useless.
Without having seen the movie, I feel confident saying the sculpt is very good and probably quite accurate. This is probably my second-favorite Predator design, after the original film’s (my least-favorite is the giant-foreheaded monstrosity from Predator 2). He’s a little on the lanky side, with thin legs and arms, but as sculpting goes in the industry today, NECA is as good as it gets.
He’s about eight inches tall. The movies don’t go into a lot of detail as to how big the Predator is, but given the fact that he held Arnie a foot off the ground to look him in the eye, I’d say they’re around eight feet tall. If that’s the case, then technically this figure is very close to a 6″ scale, though he looks a little big to me.
As I knew going in, he does have a fixed pose, and I don’t like it. I would greatly have preferred a neutral stance, but it seems NECA was going more for the “collectible” route than the toy route with this figure. This is puzzling, since the Alien Warrior is designed without a fixed pose and with excellent articulation. Why did the Predator get shafted?
The paint applications are, as usual with NECA, very well done. The washes and dry-brushing are particularly well done.
The figure has a decent amount of articulation, including a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, cut biceps and thighs, hinged knees, a V-crotch and swivel ankles. As you can probably guess, though, all this random articulation comes out pretty useless. The hinged knees aren’t very useful since the ankles aren’t hinged–the figure topples over if you bend the knees too far, and the V-crotch doesn’t help much. The ball-jointed neck is severely limited by the dreadlocks. The cut biceps aren’t designed to look natural, they’re just a cut across the arm, so they look awful when moved.
The only real posing option is moving the left arm around to a few different threatening positions.
The accessories are cool, though. The figure features what are easily the best gauntlet knives of any Predator figure I’ve owned. You have to pull them out of the gauntlet yourself, but they’re a single piece inside (meaning both blades come out together at the same time) and made from strong but durable plastic, so they not nearly as breakable as other Predator figures’ knives have been. I like the way the blades spread a little bit as they come out, much as the claws appear to do in the films.
But this is probably the best “plasma-caster” (read: shoulder laser cannon) I’ve seen on a Predator figure. It’s removable and articulated, and can be attached to either shoulder via a small peg or held in the hand like a pistol.
The figure also comes with two packpack pieces–the small nautilus-like hump found on most Predators and a “cleaning kit” that looks like a giant metal leech (both of which I forgot to take photos of). The hump is indispensable–I suspect the only reason it’s removable was to make room in the packaging–but the cleaning kit is big and awkward. I tossed it in my accessories box without a second thought.
A note on quality control: there’s a tiny hose connecting the Pred’s left spaulder to his chest armor. If you fiddle with the figure at all, it’s going to break. Period.
My pattern with a figure like this doesn’t end with the purchase. Once I’ve got it, I’ll display it for a while, and then into storage it goes (or sometimes it gets . If it doesn’t have some perennial display value (for instance, several of my Movie Maniacs figures come out every Halloween, and my Twisted Xmas Snowman will be back in December), it’s possible it may never get an encore display performance. Sometimes the figure gets a long run before being tossed, other times it’s mere days (like the Horgg, which I picked up a few months back).
The reason I lose interest in such figures is because they offer little in the way of “finger food,” i.e., the ability to fiddle with the figure. With a fixed-pose torso and without good articulation, there are a limited number of poses, and as I’ve often said, I don’t collect statues, I collect toys.
But from a sculpting and design angle, this is probably the best-looking Predator figure we’ve had so far, and the gauntlet-knives and shoulder-cannon are well done. It’s not as articulated as McFarlane’s Predator 2 (and how often do I say something isn’t articulated as a McFarlane figure?), but it’s better than McFarlane’s first Predator effort.