Predator (Dark Horse Comics): Broken Tusk by NECA

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan and supporter of NECA Toys, but that hasn’t always been easy. Distributors in my neck of the woods have been few and far between, and that’s why I’m absolutely thrilled over a new partnership that has landed NECA’s product in Target Stores. And while I understand that the distribution and merchandising has had a shaky start, my local Target now has more NECA product than I’ve ever seen in one place. I mean, if I didn’t already own them, I could go in there tomorrow and pick up nearly every one of the Ultimate Freddy and Jason figures, and some of those have been off the market for a while. And the new stuff has been showing up right on time, which means that I no longer have to pay crazy prices and shipping online. And so, I walked out of Target last week with two new Ultimate Xenomorphs and a couple of Predators. And today I’m going to open one of the Preds…

For a while, I tried to just stick with the Ultimate releases when it comes to Predators, but my willpower ain’t so great and so I’ve been buying more and more of these regular releases. Of course, Broken Tusk is from the Dark Horse comic Alien Vs Predator and the one who Blooded the human warrior Machiko, who is also in this wave and on my pile to open and review. The packaging here is a simple card and giant bubble, which lets you get a great look at the figure inside, but sadly is not collector friendly. Nonetheless, there’s some colorful artwork, an insert that boasts over 25 points of articulation, and a separate tray behind the figure that houses the accessories. Ah, but shredding the packaging is a small price to pay to get this beauty out.

No matter how many of NECA’s Preds I open, they still always manage to impress me. While Broken Tusk is pulled from the Dark Horse comic, I’m happy to say that the figure is not presented in the comic-paint-style that NECA sometimes releases, but rather one that will fit in with the bulk of my other Preds. This figure also represents what is easily the most unique looking Pred in my collection so far and the amount of detail in this sculpt once again proves just how much passion NECA has for these characters. Broken Tusk sports some unusual heavy armor, much of which looks like it’s been fashioned from crustacean shells. These green, interlocking horned plates cover his upper arms, hips and thighs, while similarly colored sleeves of armor protect his knees and lower legs. Even his familiar wrist bracers are painted green to match. He also sports a carapace of some sort as a backpack.

Perhaps the coolest element of his armor is the chest piece, which is sculpted out of softer plastic and actually worn by the figure. This includes the addition of a more mechanical element, with various boxes, pouches and vents interconnected with wires and tubing. And in the middle of it is a true showpiece of a trophy: A Xenomorph’s face! The paint here includes some silver spray on the tubes and the black and blue coloring of the Alien with it’s silver teeth and the rather distinctive (and I think just a bit ludicrous) lightning bolt emblem painted onto the Xeno’s forehead. Of course, under all that armor, you get the usual yellow skinned Yautja anatomy with some natural brown and orange coloring and the sculpted body net, which in this case is green!

Broken Tusk features a masked head sculpt, and sadly the mask is not removable, nor do you get an unmasked head. Maybe NECA is saving that for the Ultimate treatment later on. Either way, he features the usual dreadlocks, which are individually sculpted, and the smooth contoured mask with a nice gold painted finish. There’s a wash on the mask to give it a bit of a weathered look, and he has his lightning symbol outlined on his forehead.

As you might expect, Broken Tusk has a few tricks up his sleeves, or rather up his arm bracers. The right arm features the usual nasty-looking jagged twin blades, which can extend and retract, while the left bracer contains the flip-up computer. I’ve found that a few of my Preds have rather fragile hinges on their arm computers, but the ones on this one are rock solid.

Broken Tusk comes with a couple of weapons, the first of which is the Yautja Burner, which he wields in place of a standard shoulder-mounted plasmacaster. It’s a somewhat compact hand-held weapon with a green and silver deco to match the armor. It also features a soft plastic carry-strap so he can sling it over his shoulder. The figure’s left hand is sculpted to work with the gun and he can hold it quite well.

The other weapon is this amazing pole-arm, which features a spear-head on one end and something more akin to a glaive blade on the other. Both are painted silver and have orange blood splattered on them. Broken Tusk’s right hand is sculpted in a tight grip to let him hold the spear without it slipping, although the right hand can be used so he can wield it with both hands.

It can also be pulled apart to make up two weapons. I’m not sure if this was done just so that it could comfortably fit in the packaging, or so it could intentionally be separated to form two weapons, but I prefer to think it’s the later.

Just one look at this magnificent bastard hanging on the peg, and I knew that I had to have him, not to mention the other figures in this wave. Broken Tusk is a fine addition to my humble but growing collection of Predators and every time I open one of these beauties I find myself anxious to get more. The attention to detail in the sculpt is mind-blowing, and Broken Tusk makes for a formidable presence on any display shelf. Alas, I was only able to pick up him and Machiko on my last trip, so I’m still hunting Hornhead. Although a subsequent trip netted me the Ultimate version of Ahab, so you can expect to see a lot of Predator loving here in the week’s ahead.

Advertisements

Predator (Dark Horse Comics) by NECA

The Predator hit the theaters a couple of weeks back like a wet splat. I saw it on opening night and I really enjoyed it, but I could easily see why a lot of people didn’t. Even if the newest film in the franchise didn’t feel like it was edited in a blender, let’s face it, the original Predator is damn near a perfect film and I hold the second in very high regards, but everything after that has sucked hard. Maybe my expectations were low, but at least I had fun seeing this one. But forget about the movie, today I’m talking comics. Sure, I will be reviewing some Predator figures from the new movie, but in the meantime, I picked up today’s figure from a Twitter buddy and thought I’d have a look at him before the new ones start rolling in.

The box has seen better days, but it’s still a thing of beauty. Like a forerunner to NECA’s Ultimate Series, this Predator comes in a colorful and collector friendly box with the front panel recreating the brilliant cover art from The Concrete Jungle, Issue #1. On cold dark nights, I still have nightmares about the day I was moving out of state and I gave a huge box of comics to my brother’s girlfriend’s brother and this issue was in it. I spring awake and then scream because only then do I realize it really happened and wasn’t just a horrific dream. Oh well… live and learn. In addition to the cover art, the box also has some comic panels from the Dark Horse comic series.

NECA has created quite a little niche by creatively repainting their figures to reproduce their look in both comics and video games, and that’s exactly what we’re looking at here. I don’t own all of NECA’s Predators (far from it!), but I think I’d be safe in saying that the majority of the parts and sculpting on figure has been used before. The figure’s deco makes brilliant use of some blues and reds to simulate the coloring of the cover, along with some silver paint hits to further simulate the art. It not only works well as a recreation, but I think the colors look particularly striking on the figure alongside the Yautja’s yellow skin. Additional black paint is used to pick out some of the details in the leg and arm armor.

The back of the figure is bathed in a deep crimson shadow with black wash, save for that one blot of blue paint that landed on my figure’s left leg. The back is intended to soak up the shadows from the comic cover’s mostly red field, which makes this a figure that is best viewed from the front or a front-focused angle, in order to make the comic inspired paint effect really work.

That’s not to say that this figure is all about the paint job, because the sculpt is quite spectacular too. What can I say? NECA knows their away around Predators and their gear and here it really shows. The attention to detail on the arm bracers is particularly well done, although the left arm computer doesn’t actually open on this figure like it does on a lot of their regular Preds. The right arm bracer also has a bunch of sculpted detail and the blades will extend and retract. He has a sculpted leather belt, complete with detailed stitching and he also has a pair of bone trophies on strings that crisscross his chest. The plasma-caster on his shoulder is mounted on an articulated arm and the whole assembly is removable. Add to that the sculpted body net and the great texturing on his skin and you’ve got a figure that is clearly a labor of love.

Articulation here is standard NECA, which means a whole lot of of rotating hinges. With that being said, this particular Predator isn’t the most fun figure to pose. Most of the articulation points don’t offer a whole lot of range and he has tiny hoses in his shoulder and left arm that will pull out of their sockets at the hint of re-posing. Plus, as always, the plasma-caster is a tight fit on that shoulder and moving the head will frequently knock it off. Nonetheless, I was still able to get some cool poses out of him for the shelf.

Most of my Predators from NECA are of the Ultimate variety, so I’m used to getting a fair number of accessories with them. This Dark Horse Pred only comes with a couple. In addition to the plasma-caster, you get his staff, which is a grizzly piece of work. The top of the staff is capped off with a rotting skull and the attached spine snaking down around the shaft. There are some additional bones and finery attached as well. His left hand is capable of holding it, but the grip is a little loose.

In the past, I haven’t been an avid collector of NECA’s comic and video game repaints, but I mainly picked up this Predator because I have the Dutch and Linn two-pack from the Alien Vs Predator arcade game on pre-order and wanted a similarly painted Predator to go with them. With that having been said, I think I’m enough in love with this ugly motherf’er to motivate me to hunt down some more. And unlike a lot of NECA’s regular figures, the video game and comic releases don’t seem to get too pricey on the aftermarket. Hopefully, the next time a NECA Predator crosses my desk, it’ll be the fugitive from the new film.

Predator: “Concrete Jungle” Scarface by NECA

I’m slowly getting caught up on my NECA reviews, and that’s a good thing because I have a bunch more figures coming in the next week or so that will start filling up the hopper again. Today I’m checking out Scarface from the game Concrete Jungle. I originally played it on the PlayStation 2, but a little while ago I picked up a copy for the Xbox, since my OG Xbox is now rigged for HD. Alas, my poor old girl died on me shortly afterwards and I’ve only recently been able to do the surgery required to get her running again. If I’m being honest, Concrete Jungle is a decent game, but not a great one, although I’ll confess that I’ve enjoyed playing it a lot more than I enjoyed watching any of the films that followed after Predator 2.

I don’t know if NECA classifies this figure as one of their Ultimate releases, but the packaging suggests that it is. You get an extra thick window box with a folding front flap, and there are a lot of goodies inside. The box has plenty of pictures of the figure and accessories and, unlike NECA’s regular Predators, this packaging is totally collector friendly. Let the gushing begin!

Getting Scarface out of the box, I’m immediately greeted by a sense of awe that I rarely encounter with figures in this price range. Seriously! He’s big, he’s beefy, and he’s absolutely gorgeous. Sure, NECA knows their way around a Predator better than anyone other than Stan Winston. They’ve been sculpting these deadly interstellar hunters for ages now and they bring with it a passion that can be seen in the craftsmanship. Scarface features the same familiar body type as previous releases, with the creepy yellow-and-black skin and all kitted out with a sculpted body net. The outfit, on the other hand, is new and distinctive among previous Predator releases, and almost has a medieval flavor to it. For starters, you get some ragged chain-mail protecting the upper part of his torso and his groin. Segmented plate armor covers his shoulders, arms, hips, and lower legs. All of the plate armor is sculpted with pitting and wear, making it look like this dude has seen some major action in his day and the paint is totally convincing as weathered metal.

Some nice extra touches to the outfit include two human skulls, one mounted on his right shoulder and the other used as a belt-buckle. Both are missing their lower jaws and feature a realistic bone finish with a wash to bring out all the details. Additionally, he has a traditional bone sash hanging off his right shoulder and crossing his chest. Scarface also likes his spikes, as his armor is literally studded with them. He’s got some real sharp ones on his right shoulder, hip plates, and knee guards, and some more blunt and knobby ones running around his belt. He ties the outfit together with a ragged brown sash that obscures some of the chain-mail protecting his unmentionables.

As is often the case with NECA’s Predators, Scarface comes with both a masked and unmasked head, and both of these are works of art. The mask is a lot more intricate than what we saw on the City and Jungle Hunters. The configuration of the forehead is similar, but Scarface again sports some spikes on a short ridge that rises up from between his eyes. The almond-shaped eyes are black and soul-less as ever, but the biggest difference here comes in all the detail in the area that covers his mandibles, which looks damn cool and adds to the intimidation factor of the mask. The surface of the mask features the same worn and pitted look as the rest of his armor, and as always, I’m impressed by the individually sculpted dreadlocks. The final touch comes with the splash of red paint that covers the damaged side of his face.

A simple pop-and-swap gets you the unmasked look, and once again I’m faced with the impossible decision of which way to display this figure. Scarface’s naked visage features his mandibles open in full, bloodcurdling scream, allowing for quite the view of his alien oral cavity. Above, you can see his yellow, beady right eye as well as the vacant socket to the left where his horrific wound was suffered, granting him his nickname. I really need to invest in one of those packs of head stands that NECA has on the market, because not displaying both of these noggins is nothing short of a crime. Let’s move on to Scarface’s various instruments of killing…

No Predator feels complete without a shoulder-mounted plasmacaster, and Scarface’s is quite a doozy. The entire assembly tabs easily into the notches on his back and the weapon itself has a track that allows it to be slid forward and hinged into a firing position. NECA did not include a firing effect part with this figure, and I can’t say as I really miss it. If you absolutely must have one, you might be able to borrow from one of the previous releases. As usual, it’s a tight fit between the weapon and the head, but I’m used to that by now.

Next up, Scarface comes with this speargun. I’m pretty sure a version of this thing was seen in Predator 2, but it was really given its due in the Predator video games. The Concrete Jungle version is a bit more compact, not quite a rifle and not quite a pistol. I really dig the design of this thing, and the right hand is sculpted to hold it quite well.

Scarface also comes with this rather distinctive curved sword to hold in his left hand. The handle works so that it is above the blade, allowing for slashing moves with the serrated edge that rests past his elbow as well as downward swipes with the hooked edge that protrudes past his wrist. The exotic shape of the blade reminds me a bit of the Klingon swords from Star Trek and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a very utilitarian looking weapon, without any real ornamentation, save for the artistic curves of the blade.

And for added slicing, dicing, and skewering, Scarface has the retractable blades on his right gauntlet that we’ve seen with most previous Predators. As usual, these don’t actually retract into the gauntlet, but rather tab into the slots when you want to display him with them deployed. There’s also an open right hand that can be swapped out for when he’s not holding his spear gun.

And last, but not least, Scarface includes the opening wrist computer on his left gauntlet. The hinges on this one are a lot sturdier than they’ve been on some previous releases.

Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty good at resisting going nuts with NECA’s Predators line. It’s not that I don’t want to own them all, but I’m at that stage with my collecting, where I really have to think about how much space I have and how deep I want to go into any particular line. So far, I’ve restricted myself mostly to the boxed releases, and one or two of the carded ones. Whatever the case, I’m so very happy I decided to pick up Scarface, because he is a stand-out figure in a line populated almost entirely by stand-out figures. NECA worked their magic with this design and created a masterpiece of a figure that is far better than the rather average game deserved. I’ve had this one sitting around waiting to be opened for a while now, and I was actually surprised to see that he’s still available at the original MSRP of about $25, give or take a little, depending on where you find him. In terms of iconic designs, I’d say that the City and/or Jungle Predators are still the must-haves for any collection, but beyond that, you can’t go wrong picking up this bad boy. He’s quite simply a stunning figure.

Predator: Jungle Extraction Dutch by NECA

The sci-fi/action classic Predator turned thirty this year and NECA (who else?) was on the scene with an impressive wave of action figures to celebrate the film’s anniversary. Included in the assortment were no less than four versions of Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (five if you count the convention exclusive!). Sadly, I didn’t have the budget or space to go all in on this wave, seriously even I have to draw the line somewhere, but I did grab two of the four retail release Dutch figures when they went up for pre-order, and I’m finally getting around to open one of these today!

The packaging isn’t quite as snazzy as NECA’s Ultimate figures, but it’s still plenty nice. Dutch comes in a collector friendly window box that shows off the figure beautifully, has a great shot of him on the back, and features 30th Anniversary logos on the side panels as well as the figure’s name. In this case “Jungle Extraction” version depicts Dutch early in the film and at the beginning of the mission to rescue the “Cabinet Minister” from the guerrilla camp. The figure and gear are laid out on a clear plastic tray with a printed insert showing the jungle viewed through the Predator’s thermavision.

Aliens and Predators may be NECA’s bread and butter, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is their jam, and this figure shows it. Dutch comes sporting his full fatigues, which include camo pants, a long-sleeved, button-down shirt, and a tactical vest. The open vest on the collar is sculpted to look like the shirt is actually a separate piece and you can see a bit of his darker green t-shirt peaking out. As I would expect from NECA, every little pocket, rumple, and stitch is meticulously detailed on this outfit, from the edges on his collar and the grenades on his vest, down to the laces on his boots.

Dutch’s outfit includes a functional holster for his sidearm and sheath for his combat knife, as well as a scabbard for his machete. The holster has a retaining strap, as well as a sculpted pouch for an extra magazine. The knife sheath has a sculpted pouch for a sharpening rod. The detail on these is uncanny, right down to the stitching along the edges.

As for the portrait, well like I said earlier, NECA knows Arnold. They’ve sculpted him young and old, and everything in between and so naturally this is a great likeness. I’m not usually a big fan of this glossy, unpainted plastic for the head sculpts, but I don’t mind it so much here. It looks like he’s sweating his ass off, and that’s appropriate for the jungle setting. Otherwise, there’s plenty of detail in the facial features, as well as his stubble, and yes they even sculpted the cigar into his mouth. Lovely! The paint on the hairline is nice and clean and the camo striping on his face looks great.

The articulation is the usual NECA fare with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. There’s a ball joint in the waist and another in the neck. I would have liked a little more range of motion in those elbows, but what we got is still plenty good.

As for weapons, let’s start small and work our way up. He comes with two knives, the smaller combat knife and the larger machete type. Both are beautifully sculpted with detailed hilts and silver painted blades. Neither of his hands are really designed to hold them, but I was actually surprised at how well they each looked in his gun hand with the trigger finger over the guard. Yes, they’re rather loose in his grip, but it works.

Next up, Dutch comes with his Desert Eagle. I just re-watched my Blu-Ray of Predator a few days ago and was surprised to find that Dutch never actually drew his sidearm at all in the film. He eventually loses it after he’s forced to take a swim. This is a pretty good sculpt, with both black and gray paint.

And last, but certainly not least is the AR-15 fitted with an M203 grenade launcher. Just like NECA knows their way around Arnold, they also know their way around weaponry and as a result this is a beautiful scaled recreation of the weapon carried by Dutch in the film. It has a bit of weathering to the finish and it includes a soft plastic carry strap so you can sling it over his shoulder.

Dutch set me back about $25, which is a little more than usual for a regular NECA release, but a lot of retailers were really pushing to sell these as a complete assortment and goosing the price on the individuals just a tad. That’s OK. Considering all the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into this figure, I’m perfectly happy with what I paid. You simply can’t go wrong picking up 80’s inspired action figures from the wizards at NECA and when the subject is Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know you’re going to be in for a treat. Indeed, I’m even starting to eye up the other two Dutch figures that I left on the table. But now I’m getting ahead of myself. In a week or so, I’ll double back and take a look at the Jungle Patrol Dutch!

Alien Vs Predator: Elder Predator by NECA

I originally promised myself I’d stick to just the Ultimate Predator releases, but when it comes to buying toys, I can’t be trusted… not even by myself. And so, I was in one of those big chain bookstores, which seem to sell more toys than books now, and this fella was calling out to me. There was no way I could leave him behind on the shelf. I loved the look of the bookish old lady that was working the register. She looked surprised and appalled at what I was buying. Why do you fill your shelves with these and then act surprised when people buy them?

I’m used to seeing sealed clamshells for a lot of NECA’s lines, but this is just a bubble on a cardback. I’m not complaining, mind you, as it’s easier to get into and still dispenses that lovely rush of plastic fumes. If you like your Predators mint-on-card, the package is designed to stand up as well as swing from a peg. I remember an Elder from the end of Predator 2, but not so much in AVP. Although, I should qualify that statement by admitting that I’ve only seen AVP once because I hated it. But Predators? I like them plenty, no matter what movie they’re in… I don’t judge!

And this is one regal looking fellow! One of the things I love so much about these figures is that the Predator designs all tend to blur together in my memory, but when I get the figures in hand and line them up, it’s so much fun to pick out all the differences. Whatever your personal preferences on Pred designs, it’s hard to deny that NECA really pours the love into these figures and expresses it through some of the finest sculpted detail and paintwork to be found anywhere in this scale. I swear, if you told me that they kept a licensed Predatorologist on retainer, and by that I mean a consultant who has a PhD in Predator culture, I’d totally believe you without a second thought. Anyway, there doesn’t look like there are any shared parts between this guy and the other three Preds in my collection, except maybe the hands.

Here’s a little close up of some of that lovely detail. The belt is loaded with various bits of Yautjan gear and implements. As always, the armor features a wonderful pitted texture to make it look well warn and there’s a paint wash to give it a bit of a rusted patina. There are plastic straps that secure the segmented thigh armor to his legs, and he has a shoulder strap adorned with trophies across his chest. I’ve already worked out in my little head canon, that the bovine looking skull in the middle is from DC’s Red Lantern Skallox, because Elder Predator is so badass that he hunts Red Lanterns. As always, the plastic used for the skin has a slick and semi-transparent look to it, the web suit is sculpted as part of the buck, and all the painted markings on his skin look fabulous. All this, and he sports over 30 points of articulation, including double hinges in the elbows and knees, and a cartload of rotating hinges.

The Elder Predator also features the ubiquitous computer on his left arm and two removable blades for his left arm bracer.

But even with all that lovely detail, I’ll confess that it was the brilliant red cloth cape that got me to do a double take and pick the Elder up off the shelf. It really makes him stand out in the sea of other Preds on the shelves. And not to be content with just hanging a rectangle piece of red cloth on him, NECA created a beautifully tailored garment that hangs off his neck on an ornamental chain. It sits beautifully on his shoulders and just check out the way it cascades down his back, dipping behind the neck so as not to cover up his glorious dreads.

Speaking of dreads, the individually sculpted and painted dreadlocks remain one of my favorite things about NECA’s Predator head sculpts. That’s not to take away anything from the rest of the portrait, because it truly is superb. The deep set eyes are perfectly painted, which makes me wonder how they can get in there to paint those eyes straight when Hasbro has a tough time doing it on regular human figures. The mandibles look great, which is no surprise, as NECA has been sculpting Predator jowls since Moses wore short pants. I really dig the extra crinkly forehead, which shows this to be a Grandpa Predator, who wears his years with pride. But wait… he also comes with his mask!

And boy does it look badass! The Ultimate Predators came with a separate head for the masked option, but this guy actually comes with a mask that fits right over the Elder’s face and it actually stays on pretty damn well. I love the detail on this piece, from the pitted finish in the sculpt to the alien glyphs and silver highlights.

In addition to the mask, Elder Pred also comes with what the package calls his “Ceremonial Staff” but really looks like a gussied up spear. It’s a bit of a frail piece, but it fits perfectly in his right hand.

Damn you, Elder Predator, but I can already tell that you are going to be a gateway purchase. I’m so damn impressed with this figure, that I’ve got no choice but to start picking up some of NECA’s other Pred releases. If I had to come up with any gripes about this fellow it would be that at $25, he costs about the same price as the Ultimate Preds and yet comes with a lot less. Granted, I’m not accounting for the inflated prices that the bookstores usually slap on their toys, but either way the price is pretty close. Still, I suppose that’s more of a point of praise that the Ultimate figures can deliver so much, rather than harp on this guy coming with less. In the end, I still think he was well worth the money.

Predator: Ultimate Jungle Hunter by NECA

It wasn’t too long ago that I checked out the aptly named, Ultimate City Hunter from NECA. Yes, the Ultimate Pred from the second movie was actually released first, and now hot on its heels comes the Jungle Hunter from the original flick. I need not gas on about how much I’m in love with NECA’s Ultimate figures. To the uninitiated, these are basically characters that NECA has released before, but now they’re given the utmost attention when it comes to articulation, accessories, and overall presentation. They’re not only wonderful action figures, but the line touches on all those wonderful nuggets of cinematic nostalgia from my youth. Needless to say I am super excited to dive right in and check this ugly sunovabitch out!

If you’re like me and already own City Hunter, you’ll be happy to know that Jungle Hunter’s package pairs up with it perfectly on the shelf. Hell, it pairs up beautifully with all the other Ultimate figures on my shelf from Terminator to Commando, to the slew of 80’s horror figures. Seeing these boxes all lined up is a beautiful thing and it reminds me of the VHS cassette cabinet that I had in my room with all the same titles on the spines. The package consists of a seemingly enclosed box with an opening front flap that reveals a window and allows for a good look at the figure inside. You get the Predator title running down both side panels and a whole mess of pictures of the figure on the back. Of course, everything is collector friendly and the only thing standing between me and my new Predator is a piece of cello tape and some twisty-ties.

Jungle Hunter comes out of the box with his shoulder cannon off, but I’m starting out with it attached to the figure and with the masked head on. Remember how I gushed over the City Hunter? Well, all that gushing goes for this guy too! The detail on display here is just crazy. I adore the creepy plastic they use for the Predator skin and how convincing the body net looks, even though it’s sculpted as part of the buck. I also love that I’m getting high off the fumes of this fellow even though he wasn’t sealed in a clam shell. Despite seeing both Predator and Predator 2 more times than I can imagine, I was never really aware of how many differences there were between the Preds until I had these figures in hand to compare. In fact, it’s worth noting that I’m hard pressed to find any parts shared between this guy and the City Hunter.

Some of the wonderful details on this Pred include the leather loin cloth, the beautiful pitting in the leg and thigh armor, the alien carvings in his belt buckle, and the strings of bones that hang off of his shoulders. Oh, and let’s not forget the sculpted sandals. Am I the only one who thinks that Preds wearing sandals is weird? Well, this one does so I should probably just get over it. Where was I? Oh yeah… the details! So good! I know I use the phrase “work of art” a lot when I talk about NECA stuff, and here’s yet another example where it’s appropriate. I can just get lost in every little loving detail that NECA put into this figure. If you want better than this, you’re going to have to go to Sixth-Scale and shell out a whole lot more money. Or maybe just go for one of NECA’s Quarter-Scale Predators.

The shoulder cannon is a lot beefier than what we saw on the City Hunter and it is a beautiful piece. It tabs in at the shoulder and again in the back, making it pretty easy to put on and take off. It also holds in place quite well. I love the segmented armor running down the back of it like a crustacean shell. The piece also mates nicely with the armor sculpted into his left arm as well as the hoses. It all makes him look more formidable, and yet a little more primitive, than his urban-hunting successor. The hoses have a habit of pulling out when I’m posing this guy, as you may notice in some of the pictures, but they can be stuck right back into place.

NECA included an effect part that pegs into the shoulder cannon. It looks OK, but the added weight is too much for that little ball joint to take, so it doesn’t really work that well. I can usually get it to sit right for a little while, but then it just droops. I guess it’s the thought that counts.

The masked head is a lot cleaner than the pitted and weathered City Hunter’s mask, although it does have a few painted blast marks and some light scratching and scarring. I really like the detail in the laser tracker just above the right eye slit. But in the end, it’s the dreadlocks that impress me the most with this head. Each one is individually sculpted and painted and boy do they look great. And while I do enjoy the masked head a lot, it’s hard to go with it when the other display option is this…

Fantastic! Once again, I’ve got to say how great this plastic is. It’s very glossy, giving the Pred a slimy look and it takes the coloring very well. The sculpting on the mandibles is beautifully done and again we get the individually sculpted and painted dreads hanging off the back. The deep set piercing eyes, which are practically buried under that prominent brow are also superbly executed.

In addition to the shoulder cannon, Jungle Hunter includes the retractable blades on his right gauntlet and the self-destruct computer on his left gauntlet. Once again, both of these are completely different sculpts from City Hunter.

Probably my favorite extra included in the box is the mask, which obviously doesn’t fit over the face, but allows you to display him as if he’s taking it off for that memorable moment in the film. It’s especially nice if your torn between displaying him masked or unmasked, because it gives you the best of both worlds without having to buy a second figure.

And finally, you get some trophies! The skull with spine is the same piece included with City Hunter, only this time without the gore. You also get an extra skull. Jungle Hunter also comes with an extra set of hands, which are designed to hold the spine.

Is it any surprise that City Hunter turned out so fabulously? Well, it shouldn’t be, because NECA has been working their magic on Predators for what seems like forever now and they know their stuff. Their regular release Predators are fantastic in their own right, so it’s only natural for me to have high expectations from the Ultimate Preds, and all those expectations have been fulfilled here. It’s the crazy level of detail and all the differences between the City and Jungle Hunters that make me want to start collecting NECA’s regular Predator line. And yet it’s still something I’m trying to resist. Both my wallet and limited space do not need me to dive down that rabbit hole. Now, I’m just counting the days until the re-releases of Dutch come out, so I’ll have someone for Jungle Hunter to fight. Sadly, still no Lt. Mike Harrington figures on the horizon, but a fella can still hope.

Predator 2: Ultimate City Hunter by NECA

It’s been a couple of months since I last checked in with NECA’s amazing line of Ultimate figures, and that just won’t do! Luckily, I happen to have their Ultimate City Hunter from Predator 2 hanging around and waiting to be opened. I should first go on record by saying that I really dig this movie a lot. Taking the franchise out of the jungle and into the city was a great idea, and Danny Glover was a great choice as the lead. It wasn’t just more of the same, but rather felt like something new and different. And so, while I’m not really collecting NECA’s regular Predator line, I am all-in on the Ultimate figures, and I was really excited to get this one.

The Ultimate line’s packaging features beautifully illustrated boxes with a front flap that opens to reveal a window and the figure inside. There are some great pictures of the figure in action, and the name of the franchise is printed on the side panel, so you can line these boxes up on the shelf as if they were chunky VHS tape sleeves. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s carefully take this guy out and start with a look at the figure itself.

NECA has been doing Predators in this scale for what seems like forever, so it should be no surprise that they’ve nailed the sculpt. Indeed, I think you’d be hard pressed to find another figure in this scale that has more loving attention to detail and is this screen accurate to its source material. I’m sure a veteran Predator collector could point out some parts reuse on this guy, but the only other Predator I own is from the Aliens Vs. Predator 2-pack, so this is all new to me. I don’t know what flavor plastic they use for the skin, but it’s incredible stuff. It has a glossy and almost translucent sheen about it that takes the various painted skin patterns and makes it look real and it also contrasts beautifully with the pitted and ancient looking armor pieces. The net body suit is part of the sculpt as well, and he even has that bone handbag-looking thing hanging off his side. Anyone know what that is?

From the back, you can get a better look at some of that armor detail. Again, the pitting and wear in the sculpt, along with the aged patina, really sells these plastic parts as well-worn metal. As for the rest of the detail, just check out the intricate scaled pattern in his right shoulder guard, or the medical kit pod on the center of his back. Oh, and see that track running down from his left shoulder. Is something missing there? Well, I’ll get to that in a bit.

The helmeted head is equally fantastic. It looks like it’s made out of hammered copper, thanks to the intricate pitting in the sculpt and the beautiful paint wash. The dreadlocks spill out the back and sides, and each one is an individual piece with its own unique detail and paintwork. Now, as much as I love and respect the amount of work that went into this masked head, this is the last time you’re going to see it on the figure in this review, and that’s for two reasons. First, the ball joint piece has a habit of coming out inside the head and is a bitch to get out. This makes swapping the heads a pain in the ass. Second, the unmasked head is so damn great that I want to keep it on the figure all the time.

Because just look at it! I can never decide whether the markings on the Predator’s head reminds me of a snake or a cockroach, but either way it’s deliciously repulsive and recreated here just perfectly. The beady little eyes can just barely be seen under the pronounced brow ridge, and those mandibles? If those aren’t a work of art, then I don’t know what is. He may be one ugly sonofabitch, but I’m most definitely in love with every bit of this portrait.

This line has been a champion of solid articulation and City Hunter is no different. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinged elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and ankles, swivels at the hips, and double hinged knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. Not bad!

Before moving on to the accessories, City Hunter has a few tricks up his sleeves… literally! His right gauntlet features a twin set of vicious looking blades with some nasty serrated edges. These will extend a little bit just by pulling them out. These are also among the many aspects of the figure that I would recommend being careful with. They are fairly rigid and probably pretty easy to chip or crack.

His left gauntlet features his self-destruct computer, which hinges open and shows the alien characters on the displays. The hinge on this device is another part of the figure that feels extremely delicate. It’s also an area that I find myself gripping when changing the right hand, which is probably not the best of ideas. Of course, as a release in the Ultimate line, The City Hunter comes with a ton of stuff and a bunch of extra hands to interact with all the accessories. But before I go on, I do have to circle back to that empty track on my figure’s left shoulder. Unfortunately, my City Hunter came without his shoulder cannon. I have been able to rectify that with a replacement from the retailer, but it hasn’t arrived yet, and I firmly believe in pressing on with the review based on how the figure arrived. When the replacement does arrive, I’ll update this review appropriately. Now, let’s get to what my figure did come with.

First off, he comes with his spear, in both its retracted and deployed forms. The retracted spear can be clipped to his back, which points to one of the many things I love about this figure, that being his ability to carry all his weapons at once. He also comes with left and right hands designed to hold the weapon. I’m glad they went with two different pieces, rather than try to make the spear telescope. This route allowed for better sculpts of both and probably a much sturdier extended spear.

Next, he comes with his Net Launcher. This piece can be pegged into his lower left leg for storage. He also comes with a left hand specifically designed to hold it. The fingers are flat and they go right into the groove on the back.

The Smart Disk, or Glaive, can be stored on his right hip, and it’s a damned fine sculpt, complete with little gears on the back and finger holds.`

The final weapon in City Hunter’s arsenal is the retractable laser on his left gauntlet. You get two covers for this, one that pegs in flush with the gauntlet to depict it closed and another that depicts it deployed and ready to fire. As subtle as it is, I think it’s fantastic that NECA included these little pieces. It really shows how much thought and love goes into designing these figures and what kinds of extra features they can include.

The last accessory isn’t a weapon, but rather a trophy in the form of a skull and spine. This is a brilliant sculpt, especially for this scale, and the paint features a grisly red wash that suggests it’s a fresh kill. This piece looks so great, it really makes me want to go back and pick up the Predator accessory kit that NECA released a little while back.

It’s a remarkable thing that NECA can keep the prices of these Ultimate figures just under the $25 mark. The sculpt and paint are incredible and they really pack a crazy amount of stuff into the box. Granted, my figure was missing one of those extras, but it was easy to resolve, as I’m getting a second figure as a replacement and I’ll happily use the extra one to display the masked head. If picking up this figure has a downside for me, it’s that it really makes me want to start collecting more of NECA’s lovely Predators. It’s an urge that I’m trying to stave off, because there are so many of them and the last thing I need is another line to collect. hopefully, I can last at least until the Ultimate Jungle Hunter comes out. What’s that? It came out yesterday? Dammit!