Royce - Predators
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|Jeff jumps in tonight with a look at the recent Royce figure from the popular Hot Toys Predators series - take it away, Jeff!
There seems to be a general law of diminishing returns when it
comes to movies and the subsequent ‘cash in’ sequels. Of course there
are always exceptions to that rule, but the fact that they are
exceptions kind of proves my point.
So when it was announced
that a certain Mr Robert Rodriguez was picking up the reigns for the
Predator franchise it caused quite a stir in the fanboy ranks. Then the
movie finally hit, and it was… OK!
I tried to go and see it with
low expectations, which did pay off for me as it was basically a solid
popcorn movie. Rodriguez tried to capture something of the magic that
made the original such a cult classic, and to be fair he managed to
pull it off to some degree. I guess I ought to warn you that a few
spoilers might follow (nothing too earth shattering… but spoilers
nonetheless). He placed his rag tag group of deadly desperados deep in
the jungle of an alien world, each one was brought there individually
from a separate background, and mostly from totally different
continents as well. So upon discovering one another, a degree of
in-fighting quickly ensues, but it doesn’t last long as it soon becomes
apparent they must unite against a common foe. Someone or something has
brought them there for a purpose (the clues in the title guys).
various quarry are all a pretty stereotypical bunch of 2 dimensional
characters, but as this movie, like the original has its roots firmly
set in the world of comic books I guess it would be churlish to count
this factor against it too much, these guys owe more to Sgt Rock than
All Quiet on the Western Front.
But one character had to stand
out, we needed a hero, someone who we could believe in, someone who
could, like Dutch, take on a Predator… but not just a normal run of the
mill Predator… but new mahoosive hulking, pumped up super Predator, and
That task fell to an unlikely person, but someone that
wasn’t found wanting. Adrian Brody has a very diverse back
catalogue, but he’s not totally alien to taking the heroic lead role in
an action orientated movie, as he showed his mettle in Peter Jackson’s
King Kong. I’ve always liked him as an actor and his ‘everyman’ quality
made him ideal to portray an ex special forces, highly trained
operative that when pinned down just assesses a situation then uses
whatever is available to him to try and hit back. He was basically the
best thing about the movie, well, for me anyway. He was a hero, but a
hero with vulnerability, just a guy who happens to find himself in a
very bad situation, in a very bad place and he just wants to get home!
as he was my favourite part of the movie I guess it goes without saying
that I’d want him in the collection, but could the 1/6th representation
do justice to Royce, the man who outdid Dutch by felling an even
mightier warrior, oh I think so!
is just such a cool box, and considering how cool the Hot Toys
packaging has been of late it’s even more impressive that this stands
out as strongly as it does! It’s also worth noting that this box is
slightly oversized, it’s obviously to keep the packaging in keeping
with the future releases of the Berserker and Falconer who are a little
more extreme in their stature.
The outer sleeve has a gray on
black mimicked textured background with a graphic red acetate window
that represents a Predator glyph; through this window you can see a
black and white image of the figure. Once this is slipped off you get
to the 5 panel flap fronted box, the front has the image that was
viewable through the window, while the back has a pic of his AA-12
shotgun. The inside flap has a full figure pic with a brief bio and
opposite is a large window showing the figure alongside his
accessories. The tray inside holds everything secure without the need
for any twisties or tape so he’s as collector friendly as he can
possibly be, very nice, very nice indeed.
Sculpting - ****
I’ve read that some folks just aren’t seeing Brody in this sculpt… WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU…? NO… SERIOUSLY… OPEN YOUR EYES!
is a fantastic sculpt, showcasing the classic hangdog expression that
Brody favours in so many of his roles. It’s somewhere between being so
earnest he might just cry at any moment and so deep in thought he might
implode at any second… but it is definitely him from whatever angle you
look at it. My wife is a fan of Brody through movies like The Pianist
and The Darjeeling Limited and even she thought it was one of the
strongest figures I have reviewed to date (I have to say I think there
are others which are stronger) but I can certainly see where she’s
Every skin pore, wrinkle, eye bag, crease of the
ear and distinctive nostril is just so well represented here, giving us
a virtually perfect portrait. Even the hair which is worn in a messy
long crop (quite a tricky style to capture convincingly) is rendered
with a masterful flair. It’s another piece of work from GOX (Eom Jae
Sung) who also did the fantastic Ezio from Assassins Creed that I
reviewed recently, and this sculpt has in my eyes elevated him to a
position where he can sit comfortably next to the masterful works of
Yulli, KoJun and the new stable mate Arnie Kim, just outstanding!
I know I said
a while back that I was going to try and be harder on Hot Toys in all
categories, as they are so consistently strong that the competition
isn’t really competition at all, they just happen to make 1/6th figures
too… but not quite as well.
However, even trying to be more
critical, it is impossible not to recognise the consistently AMAZING
production paintwork that Hot Toys put out. So here we are again in the
familiar territory of a paint app so good you could swear he’s alive at
Royce, like the other quarry in the movie is given a
pretty rough time in the ‘game reserve’ he finds himself trapped in, so
JC Hong has reflected that in making the skin tones swarthy and dirtied
up, even managing to mimic a truly convincing light beard growth. He
has a small graze on his left cheek and the eyes are as crystal clear,
crisp, glossy and wet looking as always. The paint also continues on
over the muscular body design, meaning that even when this guy is
stripped to the waist he still looks amazing. Perfection at a
mass-produced level like this is something we just can’t take for
granted, thus he gets that much deserved full score!
displaying him there is a little window dressing to do, you will find
he comes with a folded Shemagh that needs to be refolded and placed
around the neck under his shirt, you can see how it poked out here and here, the thing about a Shemagh is apart from the traditional ‘desert’ style as seen here
there are many other ways to fold them. However, here it is just worn
simply like a scarf around the neck. It’s a garment that has been
borrowed from Arab and Kurdish culture and used by UK military forces
for many years, in fact the Hot Toys; Blues and Royals that I reviewed
a couple of years ago both sported them, as you can see here, and I have to admit I wear one myself (well, in the Winter anyway).
the figure it takes a little futzing to get it laying right but is
worth the effort, and the task is made slightly easier by the fact you
can open the tactical vest at the top of the shoulders. I found that by
popping the head off then opening the vest and shirt like this it was a much easier task.
full outfit consists of moulded combat boots, these still leave a good
range of articulation at the ankle so no problems here, then there’s a
pair of dark blue cargo pants, these fit well without hampering
articulation and have working pockets throughout. Next is his skin
tight white singlet over which is worn his military style shirt, this
is also very well tailored with beautiful attention to detail on the
complex cut on the seams and stitching. Lastly there’s his MOLLE system
tactical vest, it has two panels attached to the front where you can
store the 16 extra shotgun shells he comes equipped with. It also has a
zip front, opening yoke on the shoulders and adjustable straps at the
sides, so all in all it is a very well observed bit of kit that is well
put together and matches the screen seen garment almost faultlessly.
you want to strip him down I recommend you remove the boots (they pop
off on ball joints) and trousers first, then undo the top of the vest,
unzip it and slide it down the body. You can then remove the shirt and
singlet and slide the trousers back on.
To re-dress him just reverse the procedure, doing this also makes if far easier to get the shemagh laying flat to the body.
that covers all the actual garments, but he does also have a few extra
bits of kit that fall into the same category. They are his webbing belt
with pouches, the drop leg holster and his machete sheath. The pouches
can be opened, including the spare magazine pouch for his AA-12 (sadly
there isn’t a second ammo drum though), and you’ll be pleased to hear
that you don’t need to take the belt off to attach the holster and
sheath, both have opening Velcro tabs that just feed over the belt and
press shut, you then just open the small plastic clip buckles to strap
them to his thighs. It’s a cool outfit when all kitted up and marks
Royce out as a man that knows where he’s going, and no one is gonna
stop him getting there… not even an eight foot tall Predator!
Brody got pretty pumped up to portray Brody, but as he was meant
to be filling Arnie’s boots I guess he had to put on a good show. He
transformed his body from this to this,
and so to represent his bulkier look Hot Toys gave the figure a body
type that is very similar to the one first used on Wolverine here and subsequently on the Comedian as well here. The other reason they went for this body is that during the course of the movie Royce also wears just the tactical vest like this and of course goes completely native like this,
so it was important to give the figure a body that could be used in
displays that could at least approximate all of these looks to some
From the legs down he has all the articulation of a
standard True-Type but above the waist the improved aesthetic results
in a slightly less poseable torso and arms. The elbows can still get a
good 90 degree bend and shoulders have a fair range, as does the waist
and abdomen and because of the rubber material covering the neck you
still get a great degree of tilt and nod here too.
ultimately you can’t expect the uber mobility of the classic TT, but
you’ll still be able to achieve an excelent range of poses.
His actual list of goodies is-
- AA-12 shotgun
- Semi-automatic pistol (Browning M1911) with suppressor
- Drop holster for pistol
- 18 shotgun shells
- Predator axe
- 2 extra hands
- Shemagh (scarf)
- Machete sheath
- Combat knife
- Classic figure stand
- Spare wrist pegs
the reprobates that find themselves at the mercy of the Predators have
a very individual look, and part of that is because of their unique
signature weapons, they have everything from mini-guns and sniper
rifles right through to Claymore anti-personnel mines and Katanas, but
Royce’s weapon of choice is the rather cool AA-12 shotgun.
You can find background info and reference of the small arsenal used by the various characters in this link here.
You can also find some great reference of the actual screen used AA-12 here
with its distinctive silhouette and digital camo effect printed
directly onto the gun. The 1/6th version has a removable drum for the
shells (this pulls down on a sliding mechanism) and the top lever can
be cocked back. When the drum is fully in position you can see the top
shell in the chamber through the window on the side of the gun, and
when the drum is removed this shell can be slid out… now that is an
awesome attention to detail. Royce also comes with a Browning M1911
sidearm that has a removable suppressor fitted; it can be cocked and
also has a removable magazine and a moving hammer, plus the grip has
the digital camo pattern used on the AA-12 printed on it as well. Next
up are his assorted blades in the form of his machete, combat knife and
the Predators axe. All are well sculpted and can be held well, the axe
in particular (that plays an important role in the movie) has some
great texturing and paint effects. Everything else is pretty self
explanatory, but the quality on the finish of it all, right down to
those tiny shotgun shells, is absolutely top notch, the watch he wears
even has a tiny pleather strap… nice!
was asking the full RRP of $149.99 and at that price he may seem a
little on the expensive side, but by searching through some of the
sites sponsors and perusing eBay you could have easily picked him up
for as little as $130 to $135. At those prices, with this fantastic
sculpt and that cool shotgun he suddenly feels like something of an
essential purchase… and once you have the Berserker on your shelf
you’ll kick yourself if you miss out!
Factor - ***1/2
The slightly limited articulation above the waist hurts his fun factor…
but only a little. This is still a great figure to pose and he looks
all kinds of kick ass when standing nonchalantly with the AA-12 slung
around his neck, in fact there’s something of the rock star with a big
gee-tar, so lock ‘n’ load and rock ’n’ roll people, you will not be
stars align and a figure that you had high hopes for not only pleases
you, but knocks you sideways and cements itself solidly in your list of
top figures. This is another one of those times. I’ve had it happen
twice recently with Royce here and also on the Assassins Creed- Esio
figure. Both were figures that looked good in the previews and on paper
they were going to be solid, but nothing ever prepares you for the
‘in-hand’ experience. Meaning sometimes a much anticipated figure can
leave you under whelmed, while other times you find yourself just
knocked out and completely blindsided by the level of excellence on a
figure you thought might just be OK… and this is definitely one of
those occasions… Royce is an absolute gem!
Where to buy
sold out long ago, but the waitlist is still open, so you may be in
with a good chance, so with their excellent customer service and care
it could still be worth a punt with them.
Alternatively Mike’s sponsors have it for the prices below
Fan Boy - in stock- $139.99
Urban Collector - in stock- $142.99
Big Bad Toy Store- in stock- $144.99
Or you can try eBay where buy it now prices range from $135 to $180, happy hunting.
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.