Celtic Predator Mini-bust

Okay, so not every fan of either the Alien license or the Predator license was thrilled with the film Alien vs. Predator.  But perhaps that's what happens when the fans demand something that doesn't quite pan out to everyone's already high expectations.

Still, the merchandise has been pretty good, with action figures coming out of Mcfarlane Toys, and busts coming from Palisades.  Actually, Palisades Toys has been doing a wide range of micro busts, mini busts and statues based on the popular Alien and Predator licenses, including the most recent film. I have what seems like a dozen on my shelves, and I look forward to every release. The latest in the series is the Celtic Predator, from AVP of course, and he's just hitting specialty shops and online retailers.

Packaging -  ***
The graphics and design on these boxes is good, if not outstanding. There's never a window to view the bust, but there are photos of the actual bust used on the box to help you make your decision.

The interior foam is the sturdy solid kind, not that annoying soft kind that falls apart. Unfortunately, mine has a nicked edge on his head, which doesn't appear to be caused by the packaging but rather it was chipped before it went in the box.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Another beautiful sculpt by Palisades, if a bit stoic. This is a proud leader, standing straight and looking stern, not a slavering beast eager to rip your heart out. The sculpt is highly detailed, with excellent work on the face and mouth, not to mention the dreadlocks and body armor.

There's some very nice texturing work done on the armor to give it a pitted metal appearance, but I do have to admit that the actual skin of the bad boy around his arms could have been a little more detailed and realistic.  The work isn't quite as good there as it is on the face and head, and the small animal skulls are also a little softer and smoother than I expected.  But overall, the quality of the work is top notch, and fits in well with the others in the series.

Scale matches up well with the rest of the line too, although he does stand a tad taller than some of them due to the elongated base. The base detailing and style matches up with the film elements, but still looks fine on the shelf with the mini-busts from other films. The base is also wide enough to be a solid support for the heavy bust.

A feature that we get with this bust that's a first for the line is a removable mask.  This mask fits extremely well, and looks great.  It doesn't end up appearing over sized or awkward, because it's made of very thin material, and fits like a glove.

Paint - ****
There's a feature on this bust that is really part of the sculpt and design I suppose, but I'm going to include it with the paint section.  Notice how the teeth and lower jaw between the big mandibles seems wet and slimy?  Looks great, doesn't it?  Well, that's not just a paint application of clear coat over the area, it's actually a thick piece of clear, shiny material coating the entire inside of the jaws!  It looks great, and gives real depth to the mouth.

The rest of the paint ops, especially on the head and face, is extremely well done.  Every wrinkle, every age spot, ever line is highlighted and accentuated by the paint.

Design - ****
All the design elements here - the removable mask, the base desing right out of the film, the overall pose and expression - add up to make this a striking bust on the shelf.  He doesn't quite dethrone the Elder Predator as my favorite, but makes a great companion piece.  Now if Hot Toys can just get the 12" versions to look this good!

Value - **1/2
The price on these busts seems to keep rising, and the only saving grace is that it appears that the secondary market value is also continuing to rise. You can expect to pay around $60 for this guy, but that's still only about $10 more than the Defeated Predator bust was a couple years ago. It's not quite as good a value as he was, but it's certainly not below average for the current mini-bust market.

$45 - $50 would be ideal of course, matching up with some of the Gentle Giant stuff, but the simple fact is that the runs on these busts aren't as large. Fewer produced, higher price just to cover the fixed costs - that's just the way it works.

Things to watch out for - 
It's very easy to chip the edges and break the dreadlocks, so handle with real care. It's not the fault of the bust, but rather it's inherent in the overall design of the character.

Overall -  ***1/2
As i said, he's not quite the best of the bunch, but I do love the head sculpt and the removable mask  A little more detail below the neck would have been good, and one of the reasons I love the Elder Predator so much is the work on the pistol and skull base.  If I could only have one Predator bust on the shelf, it would either be the original basic version, or the Elder.  Still, this bust will go great with the rest of the series, and really is a must buy if you're getting more than one.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Design - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ***1/2

Where to Buy -
There are plenty of online options of course:

- has him for $59.

- Fireside Collectibles has him in stock for $60.

- Killer Toys has him for $68.

Related Links -
Palisades has produced quite a few mini and micro busts so far, including:

- I reviewed the Alien Queen and Defeated Predator micro busts here.

- then there's the mini-bust version of the Defeated Predator and Warrior Alien.

- other busts include the Captive Alien Queen, the special edition Alien, the Elder Predator, and the original Predator.

- And if the small stuff ain't your cup of tea, they've also done the Signature Series statues of the Queen Alien and Alien, along with the statue of the Alien 3 Chestburster.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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