Packaging - ***1/2
Nice big (maybe too big?) solid box, thatíll do a great job of protecting the figure in transit. And it donít hurt that itís mighty purdy as well!
It comes with the now Ďalmostí standard slip over metallic sleeve which houses the oversized flap fronted box. Like his brethren from AvP a number of windows are cut to show you the goodies inside.
Once youíve slid the trays out youíll see heís in kit form, and luckily there are no twisties to contend with!
At this juncture I think Iíll give you a few pointers that might help you when putting him together. When building, take your time, pour a drink, sit and familiarise your self with all the bits and how it all moves.
Firstly you have to build the base body and put the netting on, I found that if you leave the shins off youíll get the pants/groin armour on far easier, it also helps getting the knee armour on, as this virtually impossible with the shins in place. Just slide the knee guards up over the netting suit and position where wanted. Then slide the shins into the netting and pop onto the knee pegs. It really is much easier this way. Also when putting on the chest armour donít try and separate it at the front (as the instructions say) as the badge is welded shut on both sides (at least it was on mine), instead use the sliding clips on the back. You might find the shoulder armour pops off when you do this, but it slots back into place just fine. Itís also worth warming the armour with steam or a hairdryer before you put the armour on, that also goes for the head/neck as softening it will make everything a lot easier.
The whole box is covered in loads of great shots of the figure that will help you to see where everything goes, itís a top job, but nothing we havenít come to expect from HT.
Sculpting - ****
Wow, this is nice, apart from the base body nothing has been cribbed or borrowed from the earlier AvP figures, we have completely new armour, new feet, new hands and a fantastic new head.
I wouldnít go so far as to say itís more accurate than the AvP Preds- itís just different. When you look at them side by side itís like theyíre the same species but from different ethnic areas, like Darwinís finches they have evolved and adapted to their environments.
In fact in Predator 1 and 2 itís heavily hinted that the creature was here because of the hot environment, the jungles of South America (much was shot in Pelenque, Mexico) and LA during a heat wave respectively, where as in AvP theyíre in the arctic. So I guess if you wanted to do a bit of fan-boy surmising you could say we have tropical and arctic Predators. Another idea put to me was that the two earlier Preds were civilians out for a bit of RíníR on a hunting trip, where as the AvPís were military on a training exercise. Perhaps weíll find out more when Aliens versus Predator Requiem (AvP R) hits at Christmas, but I hope they donít give too much away, a little mystery makes things more
The new face is a completely different shape and has a more pronounced muzzle in profile and the dreads no longer have the wires running inside, this was great for action posing if you wanted them flailing through the air, but the new ones are much softer and hang with some good weight. It also means the head can be turned and tilted much easier as the dreads just brush over his shoulders and donít snag on his shoulder cannon as they did on the older ones.
You also get four new sculpted hands, three for the right arm, fingers splayed, spear hold and disc hold, you only get fingers splayed for the left and although this is a great hand for many poses I feel he could have done with a fist as well.
But all in all this a beautiful bit of sculpting and if you view alongside some reference from the movie costume, it is damn close to Stan Winstonís original. I was especially impressed with the work on and around the mouth and mandibles the outer mandibles are stuck on around the mouth, but itís all done seamlessly, real state of the art stuff and fantastically thought through.
Paint - ***1/4
This seems to be the area some folks have taken issue with as the production figure varies from the prototype quite a lot. The original proto was lighter and redder, it looked great, but the production model is darker and browner. Itís fair to say the proto was more subtle and I especially liked the darkness around the eyes, but if you look at Stan Winston Studios original paint/make-up youíll see the production paint job on this figure is a tad darker, maybe itís a tad too glossy as well, but considering the scale, this is an amazingly detailed paint application.
I think it would be very hard to keep your hard-core Predator fans 100% happy, because as Michael pointed out in his RAH Boba Fett review, your hard-core fan-boys can and will always find the little details us Ďpassingí fans wouldnít pick up on. This is in no way a criticism of the fans, in fact itís them that keep manufacturers on their toes, and it means if they listen to their customers and work with them we keep getting a better product.
So for me, a passing Predator fan, this looks like an amazing representation of the screen seen character, my only reason for not giving the full 4 stars is it does seem a little shiny. But when you consider the scale of the paint job it doesnít distract too much. The detail work on the head has to be seen up close to appreciate, as fine work on his markings and paternation is phenomenal.
The sad thing is as cool and detailed as the paint job is, mine will very seldom be seen, as I prefer all Preds with the mask on, and if I manage to get hold of the Elder Predator 2 he really is the guy whoís face you want on display.
Articulation - ***3/4
The base body is fantastically pose-able and has all the standard articulation weíve come to expect from Hot Toys. We have a ball jointed neck post, ball jointed shoulders on a swivel shoulder blade mechanism, spinning biceps, double elbows, universal wrists, chest/stomach, waist, ball hips, double knees and universal ankles.
So as I said, he has a full range of movement. This is restricted slightly when his chest and groin armour are in place, not so much for the chest, but youíll struggle to get any deep squatting positions from him, which is a shame as it was a classic Predator pose. But heís still up for some fantastic posing and can get into many more positions than the earlier AvP predators due to the minimal
Accessories - ****
Not as fully loaded as the AvPís, but he still comes with all he needs.
We get the mask, great texture in the sculpt and weathering in the painting on this, that also goes for the spear, this really is a stand out piece as itís fully extendable and the detailing paint apps and weathering are fantastic, we also get his blade Frisbee (I would imagine this has a more technical name) that fixes to his right legs thigh armour, this can also open up slightly to fit into the specially positioned hand that holds it.
Thereís also the spear holding hand and as I said earlier the two hands with splayed fingers, thereís a small medi-kit that pushes onto his left legs shin armour, a small animal skull on a thread to be worn round the torso and lastly a human skull and spine, still covered in bloodÖ Mmmm, nice.
Once all these various elements are put in place it all looks very impressive. You also get a Predator 2 stand, Iíve managed to make mine stand no problem, but for long-term display it could come in very handy.
Outfit - ****
Predators seem to come from a pretty homo-erotic universe that favours the Ďgladiatorí look, meaning minimal covering of the flesh teamed with this seasons must have, the fishnet body stocking.
When explained in words youíd think that the Predator shouldnít look out of place on a float on carnival day in San Francisco, but some how he doesnít, and it all works.
He actually looks as my US cousins say ďtotally bad ass!Ē Iíve pretty much gone over everything in the sections above, but his main wardrobe consists of his body mesh (used to cloak him when in stealth mode) his helmet with lens effect, a tribal collar, chest and bicep armour, gauntlets, one has extendable twin blades and the other has an opening net gun and opening bomb control detonator. Then thereís his groin armour, this has a wealth of trinkets and pouches and armour hanging from it (including what appears to be a small logÖ yes that Ren and Stimpey add for ĎLOGí must have made it their part of the universe).
Then there are his knee guards and lastly his shin armour. All of the above are sculpted exquisitely and the paint apps are fantastic, with very convincing metallic and bone effects and some nice washes to give a bit of grime and age.
Fun Factor - ***
Well this is definitely another for us collectors, its too fragile and downright pointy to give to any child. But as far as display goes heís the best Predator in my opinion so far. The only other I have is Scar from AvP reviewed here, heís still damn cool, but you gotta have a favourite and this is mine.
Value - ***1/2
Heís up on eBay for around the $130 to $160 mark, Sideshow had him @ $129.99, but heís long sold out.
Iíd say in the present climate with 1/6 still being a pretty hot ticket, itís the going rate for an import figure of this quality, if you can get him for somewhere between $100 and $120 Iíd be tempted to give him the full four star treatment.
But at the end of the day itís still a lot of money for a toy collectible. Itíll be interesting to see if the prices of collectables are going to change over the next year or so as the Ďcredit crunchí means many people are going to have much smaller disposable incomes. Iím guessing the prices wonít be affected too much, but we might see fewer products.
Overall - ****
If you plan on only getting one Predator, at the moment this, in my opinion, is the best one so far. That may all change as the Predator 2 elder is due soon, and he looks amazing. His outfit looks closer to the original Predator, and with his facial
piercing he looks like the Pred you would least like to rumble with down a dark alley. He doesnít however come with a mask so you might want to risk holding out for the originalÖ íIFí we get him.
Iíve asked Hot Toys what the chances are, and like all the best teases they could neither confirm nor deny. Iím guessing if we do it wonít be till after we see the much-anticipated AvP R figures. So itís up to you!
But if you do pull the trigger on this guy I think youíll be happy, I am.
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor: ***