I first saw Predator at the age of 13 in 1987. I was mildly indifferent to it at first–sure, it had Schwarzenegger in it, but even as a kid I knew a B-Movie when I saw one. Yeah, theyâ€™ll go into the jungle and eventually some cheesy half-assed man in a suit alien would jump out on them and that would be it.
Man was I wrong, even though I was right. The alien was anything but cheesy. I still canâ€™t figure out how they managed the cloaking effect without CGI to this day. Even from the earliest glimpse of the Predator, when it performs surgery on itself in a tree, I knew I was going to love this creature. Of course, it went on to become a design classic, just like its stable mate the Alien. And similar to the xenomorph, the Predator started off as a tale for adults but ended up in the hands of kids. The 1990s saw Kennerâ€™s line of Predator action figures (very, very few of which got as far as the UK), then McFarlane brought us a more grown-up toy before Takara shrunk him again for their AVP Microman line. Hot Toys gave us incredibly intricate 1/6th versions, and just lately NECA have released a wide range of Predators capitalising on all five of the creature’s film outings.
But now a new player is at the table: Japanese company Kaiydo have released a Classic Predator through their Sc-Fi Revoltech line. How does this figure fare up against his American cousin? Letâ€™s take a lookâ€¦
Packaging: The figure comes in a nice, sturdy box. There is a paper sash around the bottom of the box, which looks like it needs to be slipped off or broken to open the front flap, but in actual fact itâ€™s wrapped around the outside of the box and tucked under the flap, so you can keep it in place if you like.
The aforementioned flap opens like the cover of a book to reveal the figure. If you collect MOC, itâ€™s a good box to display (although you might want to make room to display it with the flap open) and if you donâ€™t, itâ€™s great for storage. I usually ditch the packaging the second I get my mitts on the toy inside, but Iâ€™m keeping this one so heâ€™ll have somewhere safe to stay when not on display.
Design & Sculpt: When it comes to design, with a Revoltech figure you always know the figure is going to be designed around the joint system. Revoltech figures have a very specific set of articulation, which weâ€™ll cover later on, but it does mean that the sculpt is going to have to factor that in.
The Predator was sculpted by Yatake Yoshinori and heâ€™s done a great job. The detailing on the armour and technological parts of the figure is superb, the plasma caster and wrist computer, an so forth. They have a nice metallic texture and the armour carries the odd dent, scratch and pitting to convey that this guy has seen a bit of action. His net undersuit is a sculpted element.
Early prototypes of the figure showed it sculpted with a roaring face. However, the final product has a closed set of mandibles for good reason: the removable mask, one of the big draws for me. The designers have taken advantage of the creature’s closed mouth and low, deep brow to turn it into a clip. Once in place, the mask stays on nice and tight. So far Iâ€™ve encountered no signs of wear to the plastic taking the mask on and off. The head itself is well-detailed and has flexible rubber dreadlocks that allow for good head movement.
The one disadvantage of packing so much detail into the head is that he does have an oversized noggin. Iâ€™ve spent a bit of time comparing him to photos of the movie costume and while his head is a bit larger than it should be, itâ€™s only a small increase and well worth it as a pay off for a removable mask in my opinion.
The Predator is in the six-inch scale, but only just. You can stand him next to your DCUC Batman, but he should really be at least a head taller than Bruce. Heâ€™s way too big to hunt down your Marvel Universe Wolverine, but just the right size to menace the Doctor and Amy Pond.
One last thing we need to address is the torso. To allow clear movement there are fairly obvious gaps either side of the midriff and the upper part of the body sort of floats over the lower. This, plus the fact the upper part of the figure is much heavier due to the head and back-pack, gives it just a little of a bobble head effect. Itâ€™s not a dealbreaker for me, but if you donâ€™t like obvious articulation in your figures, your mileage may vary.
Plastic & Paint: Both plastic and paint are really quite good. This is quite a solid figure, no mold lines and well-applied paint. The armour is finished in silver with just the very slightest of dark washes in places to suggest wear and the Predators spots and markings are evenly applied. The body net is well-painted and his eyes are perfectly aligned, no boss-eyed killers here.
His skin has been given a sort of glazed finish, supposedly to suggest a moist or slimy pallor. While I remember the creature having reptilian skin, I never remember him being that â€˜stickyâ€™ looking. This detracts a little from an otherwise perfect paintjob.
Articulation: Revoltech figures inhabit a special place of their own when it comes to articulation, as they all use the Revoltech or â€˜Revolver Technologyâ€™ joints. These comprise of what are essentially ratcheted ball joist with posts on the top and bottom. The ratchets supply the hinge while the posts are sunk in the tops and bottoms of limbs and provide the swivel.
The joints come in a variety of sizes and the Predator is packing them at the neck, upper torso, lower torso, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles.
The figure foregoes a traditional ab crunch and uses a Revoltech joint instead. On top of his midriff is yet another joint, so while he lacks a traditional swivel waist, he can twist the upper part of his body very well. The upper thigh is a V-crotch. The rest of his leg attaches to the top part of his thigh via a post, meaning that when you bring his leg all the way up, it still has lateral movement. The flexible rubber loin cloth hides the ugly cut joints and gives a great range of movement. Essentially, you can get your Predator into a variety of runs and crouches.
His wrist computer opens to reveal the self-destruct mechanism and his wrist blades extend and retract nicely. Theyâ€™re made from a fairly hard plastic, so they shouldnâ€™t be prone to warping. There is also articulation in his shoulder armour allowing him to lift and move his arms freely, including a ball joint in his plasma caster.
Accessories: As already mentioned, the Predator comes with a removable mask. He also has three pairs of hands; fists (which he is packed using), splayed hands and â€˜pointingâ€™ hands. The pointing hands in particular are a very nice touch, they mimic very well the very deliberate and almost delicate way that Predators use their fingers to operate their wrist computers and machinery.
I found swapping the hands to be a bit awkward. The Revoltech joint in the wrist is one of the smallest I have seen and has quite a delicate post to attach a hand to. I could imagine a few breakages here if this was rushed, so go slow when swapping them over.
The figure also comes with a round base with a peg for his foot (indispensible as getting him to stand can be quite tricky due to his high centre of gravity) a display tag and a little, transparent orange box to store his hands in (and the name tag), a nice little extra touch. You also get a 10-point Revoltech token. I assume that if you collect enough of these you can exchange them for various mail-aways; Revoltech pliers, mini-figures and so on, but I bet that only applies if you live in Japan.
Quality Control: Not too much to report here. The hinge closest to his hand on his wrist computer cover is slightly warped, which means the flap has a tendency to fall off when opened, but it can easily be replace in both an open and closed position, so no biggie.
Also, in a reversal of the action figure norm, I found that the claws on his feet are incredibly sharp and actually managed to draw blood from gouging my self with them accidentally. Youâ€™d never get toys made like that in the West!
Overall: I have to say I am pleased with my purchase. Yes, he was expensive, Â£28 or $46, including postage from Hong Kong, but when you consider a DCUC figure can cost me nearly that much on-line, itâ€™s not a bad price.
Is he perfect? No. He could be taller, that gap in the abs is distracting and he really could of done with maybe one or two more accessories (his â€˜trophy necklaceâ€™ maybe, or perhaps a human skull?) and that â€˜stickyâ€™ finish isâ€¦odd.
But all that said, his pluses outweigh the minuses for me; the excellent detail, removable mask, great articulation.
So heâ€™s a solid three ravens. Now, should I get a Revoltech Batman Begins figure for him to smack around a bit?…