Predator 2 - Shadow Predator (2011 Exclusive)
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 rings up another look at a
great Hot Toys Predator - take it away, Jeff!
A big thank you, as always to Michael.
I’m not even going to try and remember how many Hot Toys Predators
there have been so far, but suffice to say it’s a lot. And as with most
things ‘Hot Toys’ what comes next is invariably better than what came
before. Of course there are elements of older releases we sometimes
hanker for (yep, I was one of the few hardcore who actually enjoyed the
sweat invoking practice of building my ‘model kit’ Preds from scratch).
And some folks even say they’d like the individually wired dreads
resurrected…. though you can count me out on that one!
But whatever stage of Hot Toys Predators odyssey you enter in at, you
can guarantee there will be elements kind of mixed and matched from all
those earlier incarnations, be it a mandible here or a shin guard
there. They’ve kind of created the ultimate ‘Frankenpredator’ kit,
whereby they can create virtually all new monsters from parts on the
shelf. Of course this practice is most evident in the ongoing series of
the Lost Tribe.
Over the last few years we have now had three of the mythical clan
(only briefly glimpsed in the closing scenes of Predator 2) as Toy Fair
First we had the Lost
Predator - then the Guardian
Predator - and here we are now with what Hot Toys have
christened the ‘Shadow Predator’ (though I warn you now there are other
‘geek’ names that he goes by like Snake for example).
Most of the Lost Tribe (and I use that term as a collective) have been
loosely based on the actual ‘hero’ Predator from the first and second
movies and the Elder from Predator 2. This is following the lead of
Stan Winston studios that when designing the Tribe based the clan
members on parts from the original suits and masks created for these
And with the recent release of the various ‘super’ Predators from the
latest movie, we know also have an all new body design for Hot Toys to
play with, giving this guy quite the new buff physique.
Like the other Predators so far, the various packaging has been as
diverse as the contents within. But the three Lost Tribe Predators have
followed a very similar pattern.
So here we have the classic old school metallic, full colour printed
sleeve with pics of the figure on front and back. This fits over an
acetate fronted window box. Within this the figure and accessories are
all sandwiched between layers of vac-formed plastic to keep everything
safe and sound. No twisties are used, so everything is as collector
friendly as it can be.
Sculpting - ****
I know the hardcore Pred-heads can give just about any release a hard
time, but unless you are the kind of person who sits poring over
countless freeze framed images (OK, I am sometimes) you will find that
the actual Predator this is based on in the movie is incredibly hard to
get good images of, but just for your delectation, check this out
and you’ll see what I mean. This is meant to be the dude on the right,
so it gives Hot Toys more than a little license to get creative with
the poor reference available.
I really shouldn’t have to go into the minutiae of how good the various
bits are here. If you are up to speed you will know!
The head seems to be for the most part a re-use of the Classic Predator
reviewed here with
mandibles more like those of the Elder here
(even though he came before the swap-over roaring mandibles were
introduced), and the head is then fitted to what appears to be the
first outing for the new ‘Classic Predator’ style body as seen in the
spec for that figure here.
It has taken the blue-print of the new super Pred body and re-sculpted
it to fit the old school physique. Joseph Tsang has shown his worth
time and time again, and the fact that this figure brings together
various pieces of his work onto one kick ass Predator definitely gets
my thumbs up.
And for those of you that feel upset I took for granted you would
already know how good the component parts were I’m sorry, but let me
elaborate insomuch as to say, its all good… I mean, just look at the
Predators seem to come in every colour of the rainbow, but this guy is
mostly autumnal shades of brown and taupe. And I guess the fact that
the other moniker this particular Pred is known by is Snake, should
give you an inkling as to the kind of paternation he has on his head.
So we get the usual top to toe paint app giving this guy his specific
colour scheme, and all the work on the body looks nicely applied and
executed. It is however the finely observed details on his noggin that
stands out the most in the application. The base colour is a
taupe/beige tone and over this are deep reddish brown details, then a
third black tone is used to add definition to the division lines, it is
also used to accentuate his quills and spots. His beady eyes are picked
out as two sinister looking yellow rings and then lastly the interior
of his mouth is given fleshy pink gums and ivory teeth and tusks.
Arguably there is nothing here that Hot Toys haven’t delivered many
times before. However under the watchful guidance of Joseph Tsang who
is on paint duties here as well (its nice to see JC get some time off),
we still get a factory applied application that is pretty special, and
I personally find hard to fault.
This has a very similar body design in terms of ‘engineering’ to the
ones used on both the Berserker and Falconer
(and indeed the Tracker, but I haven’t reviewed him yet), so you get
the best of both worlds, an old school Predator on a new style body.
So, what can you expect, well firstly the nature of the design on the
new bodies means they are much stiffer to pose. So when you first get
him out of the box I’d advise spending a good bit of time just gently
manipulating and bending the joints. This will have the double bonus of
freeing up any stiff connections and also getting you familiar with its
Once you are happy with its flexibility you will find the elbows and
knees can achieve a 90-degree bend, there are swivelling ball jointed
shoulders and hips, a waist that can swivel and tilt, peg jointed
wrists and a neck joint with a rather excellent range of motion. So not
quite up there with the old style bodies that were basically
Predatorised True-Types. However they still exhibit an amazing range of
naturalistic poses. And unlike the figures from ‘Predators’
this guy is not wearing boots that cover his ankles, meaning we get
some more useful articulation there as well.
Once again we have a Predator that adheres to the rule of less is more.
We know they like a hot climate, and we know they like to run around a
lot, so I guess it makes sense to strip down to your Predkini when you
plan to get your wild-thang on for some impromptu man-hunting (and no,
that is not a gay bar euphemism).
So we get some re-use and some original elements, first off the torso
and legs are covered in his ‘chameleon’ invisibility mesh… or fishnet
body stocking depending on your terminology. I’ve always liked this
aspect of Pred attire, and found it sorely lacking on the new super
Preds chosen wardrobe. Over this he wears his various ‘armour’ panels.
This consists of a pair of shin guards and kneepads borrowed from the
hero Pred in Predator 2 (but without the net-caster). Then he wears a
kind of trunks/loincloth combo. The front panel that hangs down from
these is a new design and the rear has a leather flap to cover his
‘modesty’, but all the other aspects, like the side thigh panels and
discus holder are again cribbed from the earlier Preadator 2 figure, as
indeed are the armoured shoulder guards. Now that’s where the
‘borrowed’ elements kind of end, but to be fair that’s like 80% of his
This guy has no solid chest armour; instead he has a faux fur panel
over his left pectoral muscle that sweeps up over his shoulder. This is
actually glued to the figure, so if you don’t like it… tough! He also
has fur strips glued to his belt and sculpted ‘leather’ lace-up
gauntlets strapped to his lower arms.
This kind of makes him look more feral and less ‘techy’ than his
brethren, and he even lacks the armoured ‘computer’ and bladed
gauntlets and the shoulder mounted plasma canon that are often
considered part of the trademark Predator look. Another thing lacking
(much like on the Lost Predator) is the bio-mask. Of course this is
screen accurate as in that fleeting scene at the end of the movie both
these characters were indeed maskless.
So that’s it, and yes there is a lot of re-use, but after having read
and looked at the pictures in the Stan Winston studios book ‘The
Winston Effect’ (highly recommended) it would seem that that’s the way
the Lost Tribe were constructed anyway, so no problems from me on that
score. My only slight misgiving is the fact that the fur panel is
actually glued directly to the figure. If it had been a removable
garment I think he might have scraped much closer to a full score.
But whichever way you consider it, he looks bloody great when standing
next to the rest of the tribe, and lets face it, that’s what its all
Again we get a lot of the goodies from the old Preds, so expect the
same cool telescopic spear and his signature
blade-discuss-frisbee-shuriken (whatever its called) thing that the
Predator 2 had and also the machete that came with the Elder Predator.
That’s pretty much it in terms of weaponry, and even though we’ve seen
it all before its still top-notch stuff. The spear alone is worthy of
special mention, as it has a killer ultra-detailed sculpt and is double
telescopic at both ends. Meaning it opens from a length of 6” when
closed to an impressive 13 ½“ when fully extended.
The other item that is now part of the ‘Lost Tribe’ tradition is
another specimen for the trophy cabinet. With the Battle damaged
Predator 2 we got the classic Xenomorph skull, and each subsequent
tribal member has come packing another one of the skulls of the
ferocious quarry displayed in the macabre cabinet on the Predators
ship. This new one has lots of great detail on the pitted bone
texturing, the top half looks like an over sized simian skull with a
large trauma ‘blast’ wound on the rear left hand side, while the jaw is
extended with four horny tusks protruding from it. You can see some
great reference of this particular one here.
We also get the extra mandibles so we can have him roaring, they swap
over easily and when pushed in firmly the division line is virtually
Lastly there is the figure stand, it’s the classic black oval design
with the ‘Toblerone’ nameplate, it’s nice, it does its job, and it’ll
stay in the box!
So, we’ve seen most of it before, but it’s still perfect for the
subject matter, and within the ethos of the character it’s just about
However, the fact we get no mask does detract a little (yes, I know he
never wore one… but a little creative license might have been nice). So
we end up with what feels a little like a Pred-lite.
Factor - ***1/2
Although pretty heavy and robust, I wouldn’t want to see this in the
hands of a kid. I think the basic figure could actually put up with
quite a bit of punishment, but his accessories (especially the spear)
would only last seconds in the wrong small hands.
However, if you are a serious Predator collector, and lets face it
you’d have to be if you’re splashing more than a couple of Benjamin’s
on an action figure, then this is another very cool addition to your
ranks. Of course in real terms he is no more than an extra in the
movie, seen more briefly than most of the aliens in the Star Wars
cantina. But as any fan of Star Wars will tell you, its not the screen
time, it’s the impact!
for money - ***
This is always the bone of contention when it comes to exclusives. By
their very nature they always end up expensive. Over on the Sideshow
site this is strangely still available to pre-order for the RRP of
$224.99 (at the time of writing 23/09/11). Well, I say strangely, but
$225 is a whole bunch of wonga whichever way you look at it!
In the past most Predator figures, let alone ‘exclusives’ have sold out
within days, sometimes hours. But I guess the present economic climate
coupled with a release schedule (that is ever more prolific) has forced
people to make difficult decisions. However, I still have a strong
feeling that this wont be hanging around for too long. But it’s still a
sign of the times that it’s hanging around at all!
I guess if this had been around the $170 to $180 mark this might have
sold out a lot quicker, and also scored another full star. But as it
is, this does feel like a figure that’s a full $50 over priced… and $50
is a big deal these days.
However, as an aside, the only one of the sites sponsors I could find
this with was Big Bad Toy Store, and they have sold out at jaw-dropping
price of $324.00…
and with eBay prices standing at between $330 to $450 at the moment,
perhaps the retail price (still available with Sideshow) is actually
far more appealing. I guess its up to you!
Once again it is purely the price that robs this figure of the full
personally think the re-use of the Joseph Tsang sculpt is totally
justified and the paint app is strong enough to make this end up
looking like a reasonably unique figure when viewed next to the rest of
in a nutshell, if you’ve liked the Hot Toys Predators so far you’ll
find little here not to like here. However, it is still…. as I hinted
to earlier, basically a re-formed Frankenpredator. Apart from a few
pieces of strategically placed faux fur, an alien skull and a snazzy
new paint job this is all off the shelf stuff. I can respect and still
enthuse about that… can you?
Where to buy
still has him available for pre-order at the (what increasingly looks
like a bargain) price of $224.99.
As I said above, the sites sponsor Big Bad Toy Store
have already sold out, which just leaves that dark realm of poison and
shattered dreams that is eBay,
where buy it now prices are between $330 to $450. The hunt is on!
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This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.