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Predator - 1/4 scale Classic Version
NECA

Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA


There have been many a movie featuring the dreaded (and dreadlocked) Predators over the years, and with good reason. Along with the Alien and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the design of the monster is one of the greatest in the history of horror cinema.

But no matter how many tweaks and updates the creature gets, none have ever surpassed the original classic hunter. NECA is now producing not one but three versions of the classic in quarter scale - one masked, one unmasked with an open mouth, and one unmasked but with a closed mouth. Tonight I'm checking out the unmasked version with the open mouth, my favorite of the three. The pre-orders were usually in the $75 range, but now that they are on shelves, I'm seeing more $80 - $90 price tags. They are selling out quickly as well, with fewer retailers ordering them than probably anticipated. I suspect this guy is going to be one of the harder to get figures this year, so if you're on the fence on him, go for it sooner rather than later.
Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA
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Packaging - ***
Using the standard Predator graphics and colors, NECA has given us a huge box with a ton of twisties. I'm not surprised, considering some of the issues they had with other 1/4 scale figures and in package breakage in the past. Still, you're best served by having the wire cutters handy.

There are no instructions, but you should be able to figure out the assembly of the shoulder armor and cannon pretty easily.

Sculpting - ***1/2
From the neck down, all three versions are identical.

The skin is textured, and the various pieces of armor are slightly rough as though they've been forged by hand. There's some battle damage here and there, as you'd expect with an experienced hunter like this.

The cod piece looks a little too small to me, although I haven't checked the exact design against the film. I'm generally not one to pay too much attention to a guy's codpiece.

From the neck up, the three versions are very distinct. I went with the open mouth unmasked, which is likely to be the most popular. The gaping mouth looks great, with deadly tusks and fangs. The heavy brow and deep set eyes seem to pierce you, and the forehead plate is roughly textured.

The dreadlocks are done in a softer, rubbery material, allowing the head to turn and tilt without interference. This softer material is also used for the various hoses, further reducing the restrictions they might put on various joints.

This is a quarter scale figure, but since he's a damn big guy IRL, that translates not to 18", but 19". I think he could actually be another inch taller in this scale, but he's still mighty big. He stands great on his own on the large sandaled feet.

Paint - ***1/2
Someone is going to look at this figure, turn to you, and say "but the paint isn't as good as Hot Toys". Slap them and feel good about it.

Obviously, the paint isn't as good as Hot Toys. The figure, even though it is 50% heavier, bigger, and taller, is less than half the cost of any of the sixth scale Predators.

However, the paint job is not that far below Hot Toys quality, and in fact is far better than many other Predator versions we've seen from other companies.

I particularly love the somewhat translucent, wet appearance to the skin over the whole body. The dotted, splotchy patterns on the head and skin look excellent as well, and the burnished color of the armor is very realistic.

The eyes are quite realistic as well, with that same wet look. There is enough gloss for them to create their own catch lights, and there's a depth to the clear coat that gives the eyes a life-like appearance.

The mouth has some detailing as well, including veining on the inside and a wash over the tusks and teeth. However, this is the one area that has less detail work than the higher cost figures, and is probably the one area folks will complain the most. Still, it's a very minor nit, and I'm extremely glad I went with the open mouth unmasked version.

Articulation - ***
The articulation is not designed for deep stances or extreme leg poses. He does stand great on his own though even with his enormous size and weight, albeit a bit bow legged.

That's due to the V cut hips. The cut thighs and disc/post ankles and knees do help get some variety in the legs and are much appreciated, but there's only so much you can do when the hips are simple cuts.

There's also a cut waist, along with ball wrists and disc/pin ball elbows and shoulders. The arms work well with threatening poses, but you won't be able to get them to cross his chest.

The best joint here is the ball neck. There's a ton of movement available, and you can tilt and lean the head in just about any direction.

There's also a joint at the bottom and top of the post for the cannon. That means the cannon can tilt forward and back as well as turn side to side.

While the blades on his right wrist can't be completely hidden, they do slide out far enough to bring the deadly tips out past his claws.

I was disappointed that the control panel on the left wrist doesn't open up, since that was such a key scene in the movie and since he has the extended thumb hand sculpt. Sure, there's no way the right hand can reach the panel on the left wrist, but it still would have been nice to flip it open.

Accessories - ***
The one category that left me a little wanting was Accessories. There's the shoulder armor and cannon of course, but these aren't really accessories to me, since they are so key to his design. They are both removable though, so I suppose you could count them.

The same can be said for the two braces of bones which wrap around his torso. They look great, but they do tend to swing low on his hips rather than ride across his chest due to the weight. You may want to find a way to tie them or tape them in back to keep them in place.

The one true accessory is the extra right hand, sculpted in the thumb extended pose, ready to push some buttons. The hands swapped easily enough, and I didn't fear breaking the posts in the process.

Outfit - ***
While he doesn't have a traditional cloth outfit, there's enough soft goods here to discuss.

I'm counting the necklace as part of the outfit, although it's completely sculpted. It tends to ride high on his neck right out of the box, but you can easily adjust it downward to his chest for the perfect look. The sculpting is excellent, and that same detailed sculpting carries over to the two belts of bones he wears around his torso.

The netting that covers his body is also actual netting, not sculpted ridges, and it is very sturdy. It looks great, and is one of those touches that takes this guy to the next level.

The loincloth isn't cloth, but sculpted soft rubber in back that looks like leather. It works fine, although real leather would have been even better. Duh.

The last item is the strips of cloth tied around his elbows and knees. I didn't remember these from the film, but they look good and can easily be adjusted.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
If I were about 10, I'd love this guy. Hell, I'm a lot older than that and I still love him, but any kid with a bent toward horror (even when they haven't seen the movie) are going to think this guy is sweet. He's also far more sturdy and play ready than I expected, even with the real string ribbing.

Value - ***
Back in the days when quarter scale figures roamed the earth with more regularity, they ran $60 - $80. Considering the years gone by and the rising prices of everything else, the fact that NECA is still able to keep this guy in that general range is pretty amazing.

Things to Watch Out For -
There seems little chance of damage or breakage overall. The cloth strips at his elbows and knees can get trapped in the joints if your not careful, but it's nothing you can't fix.

A note on assembling the cannon and armor: I found that placing the bottom 'lip' on the cannon in the appropriate slot on his back and then snapping the top rectangular post into place worked best. Then the post on the bottom of the cannon can snap in place, completing the look.

Overall - ***1/2
If you're like most people, there's simply no way you can afford all - if any - of the Hot Toys Predator figures. Sweet as they may be, they're also very costly. This guy is an awfully good alternative at a much better price, but he is certainly big.

I love the quarter scale, especially the cheaper figures that we used to get from NECA, McFarlane, Diamond Select, Mezco and others. We don't see a whole lot of them anymore, but this guy proves just how great they can turn out when given the proper attention.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options are getting thin, as these were carried by a lot of stores and those that did are selling out fast. Check these site sponsors:

- Big Bad Toy Store has them in stock at $80, but only have the unmasked closed mouth that hasn't sold out.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've reviewed dozens of Predator goodies over the years. Check out these:

- of course, the Hot Toys versions are high on everyone's list, including the Falconer, Berserker Predator, and Royce. They did hit on the classic movie with big guy himself, Billy and Dutch. Then there's the Hot Toys Lost Predator, and the Machiko She Predator, as well as the AvP Cleaner, the Wolf Predator, the very cool PredAlien, Battle Damaged Predator 2, Elder Predator, the first Predator 2, and the Scar Predator.

- there's also the McFarlane Scar Predator.

- stepping back in time, Palisades did a very nice Celtic Predator bust, as well as a Defeated Predator micro bust, the mini-bust version of the Defeated Predator, the Elder Predator, and the original Predator.

Discussion:
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Classic Predator 1/4 scale action figure by NECA


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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