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Dutch and Billy - Predator
Hot Toys

Dutch and Billy Sole Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys

   "The 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 guest author."

Jeff Parker (aka Wookster) is checking out a pair of figures that I can't wait to get my hands on - Dutch and Billy from the original Predator film! Mine aren't here yet...but should be soon. Til then, let's see what Jeff has to say about them - take it away, Jeff!

Thanks Michael.

When it comes to fan-boy favourites, is there anyone bigger than Arnie, no, seriously, is there? In a brief period between 1982 and 87 he stared in Predator (1987), Raw Deal (1986), Commando (1985), Red Sonja (1985), The Terminator (1984), Conan the Destroyer (1984) and Conan the Barbarian (1982). He was unstoppable, and though his movies were never exactly hi-brow, they were often thought provoking, not in a deep way, more in a ‘what if’ kind of way, and mostly did great box office. Of course he also did many notable movies after this period, and lots of them did even better business than the early ones, but in terms of ‘guilty pleasures’ the 80’s were his golden years.

So, if I had to pin down the two roles he was put on this planet to play, then it has to be the Terminator and Major ‘Dutch' Schaefer (OK, OK Conan as well, but the movies just weren’t as good… heresy I know, but there it is!). The Terminator, because, lets face it, even when he’s playing a regular Joe (like he could ever be a regular Joe) he still manages to look like a Stan Winston animatronic, and Dutch, well if you were going to believe any mere mortal could face off with a pissed off Predator in his prime and live, then who else could fill those boots?

The Predator folklore/popular story is that the basic premise came from a studio exec saying they needed a movie where Rocky went up against ET! Well I’m glad to say from such a profound ‘high-concept’ idea, John McTiernan the director managed to produce one of the most enduring sci-fi, monster, horror, action, thriller, genre movies out there, and it still stands up very well today, in fact Robert Rodriguez is working on a prequel, sequel, reboot, whatever, as we speak!

Predator is also notable for being the first time Arnie had worked with the late Stan Winston, and apart from ALIENS which he had worked on the year before (1987) it was the movie that cemented him as the man you wanted onboard for any practical special effects and animatronics. The design of the creature that we all now know and love is in fact the second generation. The original (which was to be played by Jean Claude Van Damme) was redesigned, with James Cameron being credited for the idea for the opening mandibles.    
Dutch and Billy Sole Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch and Billy Sole Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys

Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch and Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch and Billy Sole  Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys

The special ops unit that Dutch heads up has quite a ‘comic book’ feel to it, each member is a slightly (and in some cases not so slightly) over the top character. Of course in a movie of this type it works perfectly, as each is classic archetype, and each fills a role with a big enough personality that even though only given a short amount of screen time, you still care enough for them as they are brutally picked off one at a time by their unseen nemesis.

So from the squad, I’m reviewing Dutch, the single minded and determined leader of the unit, and Private ‘Billy’ Sole, the noble Native American tracker…
Will we ever see any of the other members made, who knows.

But if it bleeds, I can review it!

Packaging - ***1/2
These follow the tried and tested Hot Toys formula of a flap-fronted box with a sturdy slip on sleeve. This time the format of the sleeve is turned on its side, meaning both boxes are designed to be viewed landscape. They have tons of photos of the figure showing their accessories and features, which can be handy for kitting up if you want to see where everything goes and both also sport an embossed Predator logo in metallic tones on the front. Once the sleeves are removed, the box design flips back to a portrait format. Each has a heat sensitive ‘Predatorized’ image of the relevant figure on the front with pics of the other characters available in the series on the back.
The inside flap has more detail pics and a brief, no… very brief bio.

Opposite is a large window showing the fully assembled figure, well I say fully assembled, Billy needs two water bottles attached to the back of his belt, but they have slide on clips so no need to undo or unthread anything, and lastly his knife sheath needs to be taped to his webbing shoulder straps, you just need to cut a couple of thin strips from the sheet of leather effect tape supplied and then bind it to the webbing as in the reference pics here.
Dutch has zero construction, well, unless you class putting the knives in their already attached sheaths and sliding the grenades onto his vest… thought not.

Both are held in place by 5 twisties (ouch!) in their black vac formed trays. So, two very stylish boxes that protect everything perfectly, but HT have been on such a roll lately with their packaging that these are in the ‘excellent’ category rather than spectacular!’

Sculpting - Dutch ****; Billy ***
Well, once again we are in the territory of ‘Dallas and Kane’ where one actor/agent/lawyer has given permission to use his likeness and the other hasn’t… but thank the gods it was Arnie who said yes!

These are both the work of Yulli, the very talented artist who seems to have taken on the roll of premiere sculptor in charge of an ever growing stable of elite artists at Hot Toys, I say this as she is often sited as being in charge of ‘art direction’ on other sculptor's work there.

This is a fantastic sculpt of the Governator in his prime, it captures that rock hard stare to perfection, it’s easily the best 1/6 Schwarzenegger sculpt I’ve seen, in fact it’s way up there with the best sculpts period. The face is set in a very determined frown, eyes forward with his lips pursed, the hair has been revised since the proto was first unveiled and the styling of his crop is much closer to the one in the movie, it basically looks like a tiny Arnie, and the small observations on prominent veins on his temples, the creases around his eyes and the stubble on his chin are just masterful.

Billy on the other hand is a different kettle of fish, I sometimes feel like I did when viewing my Edward Scissorhands figure, in as much as I feel like I can see some of the actor there, in this case Sonny Landham, but when you Google pics of him you soon realise it’s your memory playing tricks, and the association with the character is enough to get him through. Sonny has more squat features and a much squarer jaw line than this figure. However, considering Yulli couldn’t make this an accurate sculpt of Landham, what she has created is still something with enough of the character embodied in it, that even most hardcore fans will be pretty happy just to give it a simple repaint, the hair colour being the most obvious thing that needs fixing. I am however a ‘box fresh’ collector, I don’t like to make any major modifications to my figures and even I will be more than content to just keep him as he is. But when compared to Dutch, then it’s no cigar, which is fine as Dutch comes with one as an accessory anyway. Billy’s features have been kept pretty generic, but the eye shape and general profile of his head still hint at the characters Native American heritage, his skin texture is also virtually non existent compared to Yulli’s usual style and it is in stark contrast to the fine details lavished on Dutch. The hair is well observed and is sculpted in a tied back style beneath a camo bandana, a few strands fall over the band at the front. The sides and back also flair out so they can fit over the collar of his padded vest. The top of his head/hair is sculpted in such a way as to fit under the bush hat he comes with, but it works fine left uncovered as well.

Both figures also have sculpted hands, Billy’s are fully gloved, he has a gun grip right and a general grip left, Dutch does slightly better as he has fingerless gloves and has a gun grip right, general grip left and a bonus gesturing left that can also be used to hold his cigar, both the gun grip hands hold their respective weapons fine, but I did notice Billy’s is a slightly tighter grip.

So I’m extremely happy with Dutch and moderately so with Billy, one of the main critiques of the figures seems to be over the length of their necks (with some thinking the heads are too small), there’s no denying when they are just in their singlet or topless, then they do appear a tad long, but the thing is Arnie does have a long neck perhaps this is a little over long, but I’m not gonna mess with it, and with the jacket on, which is how mine will be displayed he looks just fine. Likewise, my Billy will be permanently in his vest, and the length of neck coupled with the way the hair is sculpted is perfect for the design of the collar, so no complaints from me!

Paint - Dutch ***;* Billy **1/2
Put simply, this is another master class in paint apps; well on Dutch it is any way. Both have face camo, but where as Dutch’s is subtle and enhances the look of the character, Billy’s is far heavier than it ever was in the movie, this is obviously used to get round any legal ramifications of the actor taking issue with the finished product. I’ve already seen a few repaints, and this sculpt can be made to look even more like the character with a little work, but it’s simply never going to look as good as Dutch!

So, he has dirty blonde to light brown hair with streaks and colour washes, the bandana is painted in green camouflage then he’s given a swarthy brown flesh tone over which is painted in black and green camo stripes with the tip of his nose being a decidedly vivid green. The eyes are painted looking to the left and are nice and glossy, but the half closed position means not much of them is on show anyway. The right cheek has a thin cut running down it and the left cheek has a cut with smeared blood, the colour used here is very convincing. If I was just awarding my score on quality of paint application then this would be near perfect, but when you judge it as pertaining to the character it is meant to represent, then it just ain’t Billy!
Dutch has rightly had a much more respectful job done to that fantastic sculpt, more of his flesh tones are on show, meaning the use of the camo is much more subtle and tonally no where near as dark as on Billy. The black streaks are more opaque rather than solid and the tan and green actually seem to enhance things, bringing out the work on the stubble. The eyes are deep brown, glossy with a steely glare looking straight forward. It has been pointed out that in some photos, from some angles it can appear he is slightly cross-eyed. I can assure you though, that on mine at least, it’s purely a trick of the way his heavy frowning brow casts shadows. His hair is a dark chestnut, but darker washes have also been applied to help enhance the fine details, of which there are plenty.

Both their hands and boots are also painted, all showing the fine attention to detail we have come to expect, another first class job.

Articulation - Dutch ***1/4; Billy ***
Both these guys come on muscle bodies, but have slightly different designs.

Billy’s is the regular design as used on the various Rocky and Rambo figures where as Dutch has a newer design where the arms are separate, joined by a push in ball joint at the shoulder. I had high hopes for this new design, and though it does have some added bonus, you’ll find that it both giveth and taketh away! 

Why? Well because although it means the arms can move out from the body a bit easier, and also swing forward or back with a far smaller chance of damage, I also found that Billy, on the old design could hold his rifle in a much more convincing manner as his arms have a hidden joint under the biceps that can rotate both inwards and away from the body. However, the new design still manages to nudge ahead as all the other positions are far easier to achieve.

In summing up, both have regular True Type (TT) articulation from the ankle up to the hip, where it then joins to the muscle body, so we have no waist, abdominal or chest movement, the shoulders move as described above and the elbows can comfortably reach a 90 degree bend, and slightly over that if they are gripping something to hold them in position, the rifle for example. The hands are all gloved with a slight gauntlet overlap, they all still have a fair range on the usual pegged and cut ball joints. 

So once you have familiarised yourself with the limitations of the body you’ll find that with a little work you can find some very nice, and all importantly natural poses. But compared to how naturally the TT hangs, then these are much more of a task to work with, they are designed with a strong aesthetic in mind rather than extreme articulation and they operate some where between super articulated statue and under articulated action figure, but as long as you keep this in mind, I think you’ll be happy.

Outfit - ****
As a depiction of what we see on screen, then these two outfits manage to get pretty close to perfection. At first glance Dutch’s outfit seems more complex, and it is certainly more layered as he has a tight camo singlet, a tan jacket with working pockets, this has a well scaled visible zip, but is actually held shut by a press stud and a strip of Velcro, I found the zip could be made to work (Thanks a-dev) but it’s pretty fiddly and works better with the stud and Velcro. Over this he has his multi-pocketed brown vest, it has Velcro fasteners at the front, a black pleather yoke and laces at the sides and base of the back.

Billy wears a padded vest with two large chest pockets held shut by Velcro flaps, it does up with both a zip, which is a little oversized and a strip of Velcro, so when it is closed the zip is unseen anyway, there are also laces running up the sides. Over the vest he wears a webbing belt which has two pouches affixed and two webbing harness’ that are attached to it as well. The green harness acts as braces to hold the tool and water bottle laden belt up while the black one acts as a shoulder holster for his pistol. It is to the green webbing strap on the left of the chest that you bind the knife sheath.

From the waist down these two outfits become virtually identical as they both wear the same leather/canvas assault boots (moulded in plastic), camouflage combat trousers with working pockets, waist adjusters and webbing belts. Billy also has his long knife hanging from his left leg while Dutch has a second webbing belt from which both his holster hangs on the right and his short knife hangs from the left, the scabbard for this also has the detonator tucked into the front of it… nice touch, lastly he has his big knife/machete and sheath strapped to his lower right left leg. For some reason, and I can’t work out why, Billy seems to have a greater degree of movement in the leg area, it might be because of Dutch’s knife which is attached to his belt and bound to his left thigh, with his holster doing the same on his right leg, there’s not a lot in it, but a definite difference, on mine at least.

The attention to detail on all these garments is amazing; I couldn’t find any loose threads or bad seams. As good as it gets in this scale really!

Accessories - ****
These guys come with pretty much everything you need, Dutch has-
Exclusive- Headset
M16 with M203 grenade launcher
Pistol
Drop leg holster
Combat knife with sheath
Machete with sheath
Tactical gloves
2 x Grenades
Cigar
Figure stand  

While Billy has-
M16 with under slung shotgun
Pistol
Shoulder holster
Combat knife with sheath
Machete with sheath
2 x Canteens   
2 x Canteens covers
Utility pouch
Compass pouch
Tactical gloves
Grenade
Medicine pouch on necklace
Figure stand  

I managed to get the ‘exclusive’ Dutch, so he came with the headset that he uses in ‘da chopaa’, it’s always nice to get the exclusive, especially if it adds nothing to the price as in this case. But it has to be said, unless you have a 1/6th chopper for Dutch to sit in then these are just window dressing. The attention to detail is fantastic as always and the two separate ‘phones’ are in effect spring loaded on metal wires and the speaker is positionable at the front, so it’s a non-essential item, but a nice one nonetheless! 

The rifles are essentially the same apart from the front sections, there’s a shotgun attachment on Billy’s and the grenade launcher on Dutch’s, both these ‘extras’ have sliding/pump action articulation and the magazines are removable as well. The pistols also have removable magazines but no cocking mechanisms.

All the other items are kind of as you expect, the knives have nice convincing metallic tones and the various pouches etc all work well and to scale… heck, you can even pull the pins from the grenades! The only real oversight is Dutch’s bow and arrow… or lack of it! 

However, as that is used at the end of the movie, and Dutch needs to be covered in mud for that scene… perhaps we’ll get a variant that includes it?

Fun Factor - Dutch ****; Billy ***
In terms of a figure that is long overdue a decent 1/6 depiction, then Dutch has got to be up there in the top ten! 

So for me in terms of fun he is a full score figure hands down, it’s a no brainer. Billy on the other hand is more for your hardcore Predator fans, I’m sure he’ll find plenty of willing homes, and he’ll be much prized in years to come.
But the jewel in the 1/6th crown here is ‘quite frankly’ the best ‘commercially available’ sculpt of Dutch I’ve ever seen. And once you have the Predator himself for a face off, then you’re talking 1/6th display heaven! 

Value - Dutch ***3/4; Billy ***
Even though Dutch has a list price of $149.99 and Billy is $124.99 I still see Dutch as the better deal. Up until now the best 1/6th Arnie in my collection was the old Popsalute Terminator 3 and this is far superior to that! 

So, with a strong sculpt, a great outfit and all the accessories you need, then this is simply a must have for many, many people… well it is for me.

Billy on the other hand, though a cool character, is never going to have the pull of Dutch, he’s basically supporting cast if you’re brutally honest, and so the lack of Landhams likeness, though less important than Arnie, still damages his ‘desirability’. But even having said all that, the movie has such a fanboy cult following you know he’ll sell out fast and end up costing something horrendous on eBay. Perhaps not ‘Hicks’ prices, but certainly Vasquez or Apone. So, you pays your money and makes your choice.

Overall - Dutch ***3/4;  Billy ***
Dutch is approaching perfection! I just love the sculpt, the outfit and the accessories are very well observed (though a bow and arrow would’ve been cool), well detailed and very well made, his only problem is the articulation. It’s still pretty good, especially from the waist down but the pay off for the strong visual impact of those muscle bodies is that they lose a lot of the fantastic articulation we have become used to, most notably on the True Type!

Billy is also a very strong figure, but is and always will be a secondary character. That doesn’t of course mean that the work on the figure should in anyway be viewed as secondary, but in this case, because of the lack of actors likeness you can’t help but view it in a slightly dimmer light.
Quite what Sonny Landham’s issue with allowing his likeness to be used is still a mystery, it could be anything from money to moral grounds, but these days he does come across as quite a confused man with a lot of ‘political’ issues.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Dutch ****; Billy ***
Paint - Dutch ***;* Billy **1/2
Articulation - Dutch ***1/4; Billy ***
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - Dutch ****; Billy ***
Value - Dutch ***3/4; Billy ***
Overall - Dutch ***3/4;  Billy ***
 
Where to buy -
Sideshow have sold out on pre-order, but by the time you read this many of you will already have them in your grubby mitts, so it might be worth getting on the wait list.

And you can still try some of Michael’s sponsors-

Alter Ego-
Dutch- Pre Order $134.99
Billy- Pre Order $ 112.49

Corner Store Comics
Dutch- Pre Order $134.99
Billy- Pre Order $ 116.99

Urban Collector
Dutch- Pre Order $159.99
Billy- Pre Order $ 139.99

Forbidden Planet.co.uk
Dutch - SOLD OUT
Billy- Pre Order 109.99

or you can search the old 'bay.

Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Billy Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys
Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys

Dutch Predator sixth scale action figures from Hot Toys


Figures from the collection of Brandon Jeff Parker

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