Noland - 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
|It's another terrific Hot Toys
guest review from Jeff tonight, as
he hits up a review of another great figure - take it away,
Every now and then Hot Toys truly surprises me… not as often as they
used to, not like back in the days when they were steadily reinventing
and redefining the quality we could expect in 1/6th, but more in the
choices they make on who they will and won’t represent from any given
The debate about the Watchmen line-up will probably haunt them for a
very long time (and no, I don’t think that’s too big a statement, it’s
based on such a classic of the comic industry that it deserved to at
least cover the main characters… what were you thinking Hot Toys, go
sit on the naughty step). But on the flipside we have ‘questionable’
movies like Terminator: Salvation and indeed Predators, which have
spawned multiple figures from each story respectively.
However I’m judging these facts with my geek head on. If I were wearing
my marketing and business head it would be plain to see that fan boys
Hoover up cool robots and aliens with a fervour that is often not
lavished on the more classic cult favourites. I’m guessing that’s why
the Planet of the Apes and Platoon licenses didn’t get the love they
deserved… sigh, kids today, don’t know they are born… etc, etc, wanders
off mumbling incoherently to self smelling vaguely of disinfectant and
urine… oh yes!
But back to the job at hand, the character of Noland was more of
background Machiavellian force than major player in the movie, and was
one of two cameo parts intended for and indeed devised to lure Arnie
Schwarzenegger out of retirement (it was also rumoured that Danny
Glover might have been intended for the Noland role). However, for a
million and one reasons Arnie didn’t or couldn’t take the job (fool,
could have turned the movie around in one fell swoop rather than taking
‘The Expendables and The Expendables 2’, sighs, shakes head, weeps
silently into handkerchief!). So, anyway, to give the story a bit of a
left field diversion during the big game hunt the ‘Dutch’ character was
kept in and the role was given to a rather meaty looking Laurence
Fishburne, hence ‘Dutch’ became ‘Noland’. The other cameo would have
seen Dutch turn up at the close of the movie as a member of a ‘Classic
Predators’ rescue team; this shot was obviously cut completely.
Noland actually ended up being a pretty unlikeable character, but there
was no denying that his ad-hoc survival outfit, made up of various
cribbed elements from medieval knight, Samurai and Predator armour did
look pretty cool. And so he was given the green light by Hot Toys to
stand on your shelf alongside Royce, the three super Preds (Spike) and
the new classic Pred as well.
OK, I have to admit that in the greater scheme of things Noland did not
inspire me as a character per se! However in terms of being visually
interesting I can 100% see why they chose to make him… and why he is in
my collection… and why he may well end up in yours.
Well, ain’t it obvious!
Machiko Noguchi (hello Hot Toys…. What actually happened to
the promised Hot Angels line?) this is the only other ‘human’ Predator
we have got, and regardless of his role in the movie he looks all kinds
of kick ass!
For a start he is black, and black characters are
woefully under represented in Hollywood, let alone the 1/6th world. And
secondly he is played by THE FISHBURNE and thirdly, he is a dude
dressed like a military dude freaking dressed as a Predator… Just
accept the tri-levels of coolositude! If you can’t accept any of those
levels for whatever personal reason you may have been weaned on… just
leave now... NO, SERIOUSLY GO!
So, now we have lost the losers, lets get on with the game at hand!
If you don’t know what to expect go read this
or this or this or indeed this. Because this
follows exactly the same design cues laid down by those previous boxes
for the Predators figures… and I like it!
It’s a great but simple design solution that has proved to be a one
size fits all across the board. It works well and looks good so why
fight it. Full score!
Sculpting - ****
The name of Noh Sung Woon is quite a new one to be featured on Hot Toys
boxes, but the outstanding work they did on the New Goblin (I will
review him eventually, trust me) and now this, would lead me to believe
it’s a name we’ll be seeing a lot more of!
I’m loving this portrait; it suits perfectly the meaty heavier and
indeed older Fishburne that we saw in the movie. The expression is the
angry/determined side of neutral, making him perfect for all manner of
poses when just holding the helmet rather than wearing it, but I guess
it stands to reason that the expression should exhibit a touch of
seething anger. If you’d been trapped on an alien planet, living off
your wits and being permanently hunted like an animal, my guess is
you’d be pretty pissed off too.
The general likeness is very strong, and the skin texture on the flesh,
including the pock marks on his face are beautifully observed, as you
can compare against a reference pic here and
more reference can be seen here.
As far as facial likenesses go I have no issues but plenty of praise,
and the work on the selection of eight hands, six gloved, two ungloved,
is close to perfect as well.
There is nothing to fault here. Maybe one day, through some kind of
horrendous aberration we might get a few bad paint apps slipping
through the net from Hot Toys, but as is per usual here we just have a
The black flesh tones are even and warm, carrying the base colouration
perfectly between the head and body. There is gentle work picked out on
the lips and eyebrows, and the eyes, which are painted and positioned
to be looking up slightly, have the now famous trademark glossy wet
look. The hair is painted in a deep dark brown with a semi matte finish
that works well with the underlying sculpt.
His selection of hands is also well executed, with fine detailed work
on the painted elements on the gloved ones.
Noland is another figure
that utilises the muscle body. The first time I reviewed it’s
particular set of manoeuvrability was on the Wolverine figure here, and then others
like The Comedian and Perseus right through to the recent DX Indiana
It does mean that some of the more extreme poses are a problem,
particularly from above the waist, but for a character like this that’s
not such a big deal. You’ll still be able to find a great range of
poses even with all his armour on.
- *** 3/4
Noland comes ready for all kinds of Predatory action… that could sound
wrong in some circles, but I’m amongst friends, so moving on. He is
- Two bare fists
- Two gloved fists
- Two relaxed/semi gripping hands
- One right axe/spear grip
- One right hand gun grip
- One grey over shirt
- One heavy-duty ‘fantasy’ assault rifle
- One jawbone axe
- One extendable spear
- One Hybrid Predator helmet
- One pleather Bandolier with sculpted pouches
- One right forearm gauntlet with extendable blades
- One left forearm gauntlet computer/bomb
- Armour panels for shoulder, upper arm, chest, waist, thighs and legs
- Figure stand with nameplate and the movie logo.
Quite a number of those items have already been covered in other
categories, so what we are left with here is mostly his weapons. And
for me, apart from his helmet, the second coolest bit of kit is the
obscenely big gun. I was told by someone (who shall remain anonymous)
that it was mooted at one point that Noland should be equipped with an
ARC Generator gun from District 9, as an in-joke with sci-fi fans to a
never intended but hinted at crossover of universes. I have to admit I
like little in jokes like this, and as long as no one ever made
Predators vs Aliens vs Prawns it would have been cool with me. However,
for what ever reason (most likely Fox wouldn’t allow it) it didn’t
happen, but the gun Noland carries does actually look like it could
have come from that universe.
The detailing on the rifle is lovely, with plenty of well-defined and
accurately observed modelling, and the huge double ‘over and under’
barrels make it a most impressive weapon, and one of its cool features
is the webbed carry strap, which like the rest of the weapon is über
accurately executed with the plaits, bindings and leather strap
section. He also has a Predator spear, which has some cool detailing
with a double extendable feature. However, knowing that Rodriguez’s
movie takes place in a universe that it would seem might like to
imagine the AvP movies never happened, it may well have been cooler to
include the Predator 2 spear, as the one included is definitely of the
AvP design. But as it was never used or indeed even seen in the movie
it’s a moot point and ends up as a cool bonus. Do be careful with
yours, as I found they can be very fragile. I tried to gently twist the
point on one end of mine while posing him and it literally fell off
with a gentle touch, and sadly Noland was posing up a tree at the time,
so where it fell is anyone’s guess… slightly miffed about that!
His last weapon is the jawbone axe, seen briefly in the movie being
used more as a prop more than an actual weapon, but again the sculpting
is solid in representing the bone and teeth of the jaw as it is fixed
to rather industrial looking long handle with bindings. I did say that
was his last weapon, and as a separate stand alone item it is, but he
is also equipped with the double extendable blades on his right wrist
As always with the MMS line, he also comes with an oval black figure
stand featuring the movie logo and a character name-plate, he does
however stand just fine unaided, so mine won’t see the light of day!
In terms of quality, aesthetic, sculpt, paint and quantity there is no
problem with any of his accessories, but the fragility of the spear is
worthy of note. Had I been photographing him in studio shots it would
have been simple to glue it back on, but as he was on an ‘exotic’
location shoot in my garden, it’s sadly lost to the undergrowth.
Hot Toys have actually taken the liberty of giving us much more armour
than we saw in the movie, as Noland’s actual coverings were far more
minimal, check out the image here.
However the outfit and especially his gun did end up reasonably similar
to the concept outfit designed for him, which you can be viewed here
The standout piece of his outfit is also an accessory, but I think this
is the most relevant category to look it over. I’m of course talking
about his hybrid Predator mask and helmet. The detailing on the top of
this can be seen closely in this pic,
which helps you breakdown how the character is meant to have scavenged
various pieces of kit from the Predators previous quarry brought in to
hunt (amongst which is a Predator mask, bits of alien armour, a knights
shoulder pauldron and the helmet of a Samurai from feudal Japan).
His helmet is connected to his left arm gauntlet/arm computer by two
cables, you can check out the detailing with the reference here.
Now, as he has no plasma canon I’m guessing this might be linked to
improve his night vision, thermal imaging and range finding for his
hand held weapon… but that’s just me geek guessing… its more likely
just because it looks cool! The fine detailing, layering and mixed
media used to make it all look as authentic as possible is fantastic.
The main body of the mask and helmet are two solid sculpted plastic
elements, but the panels that fall over the neck and shoulders are soft
pleather. And the soft pliable cables have pegs at one end to attach to
small holes in the helmet, and holes at the other end to slot onto pegs
on the wrist computer.
The rest of his outfit consists of combat boots, camo military trousers
and a T-shirt over which he wears armoured leg panels (all invented for
the character by Hot Toys) a wide ‘tribal’ belt with panels hanging
down, an upper body armoured chest and back covering and a pleather
bandolier with ‘ammo’ cartridges, at least I imagine they are meant to
be ammunition, but as it is meant to be of ‘exotic, or maybe even
‘alien’ design, that is purely conjecture. Over this he wears a
tattered shirt with the left sleeve ripped off at the shoulder seam and
sculpted pockets (made to look like some kind of reptilian hide). The
right sleeve is made of a fabric mesh (intended to look like some kind
of chain-mail derivative). To go over this he has rigid upper arm
panels (one of which for the right arm is again invented), and his
lower arm gauntlets as well.
All the garments are well tailored where made of fabric and beautifully
designed to fit the body where sculpted and moulded. The finely
observed work on the leather and metal textures for the armour and its
myriad of straps and chains is fantastic, as is the paint application
which brings it all to life, making it look convincing as the mixed
media affair it is intended to represent.
So, the bizarre thing is, that for all the naysayers who still question
why this figure got the green light at all, it actually ended up with
one of the most impressive outfits to come out of the Predator based
movies to date. And as such it gets a double thumbs up from me.
The full RRP in North America for this guy is a hefty $184.99 making
him a full $35 more than Royce cost upon release (and for me at least,
Brody’s character was a far more essential purchase). But at least he’s
$10 less than the super Preds (well, the ones without pets… and I don’t
count a robot falcon as a pet!).
For that price you get a pretty unique looking character with an
amazing celebrity portrait, an awesome paint app, a well designed box
and a great range of accessories with some even being a bit EU, which
is pretty rare for the MMS range, as lets face it the films makers
wouldn’t even let Hot Toys give the Falconer or Tracker a proper face
under their masks.
However, even with all the cool features it still feels like a lot of
wedge to lay down for what was in effect a tertiary ‘cameo’ character.
Had his bulky alien assault rifle had a cool blue light up feature then
he may have garnered another half star more. But for me it seems that
Noland will be a hard sell but to the most ardent of Predator fanciers.
But if you do consider yourself to be amongst their ranks, then you
will feel pretty handsomely rewarded, as his background status hasn’t
lead to any cutbacks on his final quality.
Factor - ***1/2
I enjoyed kiting him up and then photographing him… even if I did have
a mishap with his spear! The body poses more than adequately in any
number of positions, even when fully armoured and up a tree! Sadly my
Super Preds were in storage when I came to photograph him, but I do
look forward to posing the full movie line-up together in the near
future. I think it’s Noland’s mixture of Ben Gunn, Robinson Crusoe with
just a dash of Boba Fett thrown in for good measure that makes him look
so sub-arctic on the shelf, and it’s those unique looks that help
cement him such a healthy fun factor.
All in all this is a very solid release. Admittedly not for everyone in
terms of subject matter, but lets face it what figure has ever pleased
all of the people all of the time… OK, I guess there was the DX Jack
Sparrow, but even he didn’t get a full score (well, not from me anyway).
So, to sum up there is little to gripe about in terms of build or
quality, it is as always just the monetary outlay that keeps this
figure out of the full score hall of fame. However, if you can score
him for one of the more competitive prices listed below… well, then he
might just merit that full score after all.
Where to Buy -
Sideshow has Noland in stock for the full whack $184.99 or you can try
some of Mike’s sponsor below where you could potentially save $18 on
Ego in stock- $166.99
Collectables in stock- $166.99
Or hit eBay
where the BIN prices are between $165 to $180.
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.