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Hot Toys Predator bust

   Hot Toys Predator bust

"The 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 guest author."

Jeff Parker is here tonight with another Hot Toys review, but this guy has a little less articulation...take it away, Jeff!

Hot Toys (HT) busts are like busses, nothing for an age and then three come around the corner at once. I had just reviewed the Batman bust while eagerly waiting for the Joker to arrive, and then he did, along with the Predator in the same shipment, so hot from the packing box, here’s my low-down on the ugliest (all be it intentionally) addition to the line so far!

Collectors are still waiting for news of a 1/6 figure of the Predator from the original movie, and as he was the big bad that started it all off we’re hoping he proves to be the best of the bunch. I plan on standing him (when finally released) next to my HT Endoskeleton as a little Stan Winston tribute.

My favourite Predator released so far is still personally the Predator 2 Elder and the up and coming lost Predator looks pretty peachy as well, but will these new figures be good enough to keep the fan-boys happy? 
Hot Toys Predator bust

Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust

Now it has to be pointed out that fan-boys are a hard-nosed bunch, we are very seldom 100% happy with anything! I have to admit that when I give a reviewed product full marks, I award them while trying to bear in mind what I believe to be ‘realistically’ achievable.

Take my recent somewhat ‘gushy’ review for the ALIEN Astronauts, I loved them, but there were bits I would have liked done differently… fabric suits and a head that looked like John Hurt to name but two, but I knew the suit would be a very tall order to produced at a reasonable budget, at this scale with the numbers needed and the there was nothing HT could do about the likeness, short of pulling the whole figure, and that would have been a tragedy… to me at least. So just like life, the world of toy collecting is sometimes marred with disappointment, but disappointment is all too often caused by unrealistic expectation! Keep that collectors head in the real world, try to remember that that most people don’t care if Bruce Wayne rode a Ducati or an Agusta in TDK (dang, and I went and bought a 1/6 Ducati 999 and not an Agusta MV 4!) and you’ll be a much happier bunny.

So, is this one of those cases, am I that happy bunny or the hare of despair, well, I’m not exactly either. But knowing how totally spot on most of HT sculpts are these days, there is just something a little off with this bust, lets break it down.

Packaging - ***
More of the same in terms of construction, a sturdy oblong box with a Styrofoam double tray that the bust comes sandwiched between. There’s a window on the front so you can see his face alongside the movie logo and a thermal Predator vision image of Dutch’s ill-fated squad. The other panels show the bust in it’s three display options; with mask, closed mandibles and roaring mandibles, the back also carries the production credits.

Slip out the tray and you’ll find your bust with the mask and alternate mandibles packaged along side him. A nice solid, straightforward box that should get your bust to you in tip-top condition.

Sculpting - ***1/4
Well, so far HT have given us scale bust sculpts from Yulli, Kim Jung Mi and now Pan Mak (he was also involved on the fantastic AvP: R Wolf figure) and there is a lot to like about his work here. Firstly rather than the plain black stand that the first three busts came on, we get a bone effect stand with the movie logo at the bottom. On top of this we have a great representation of the upper chest, shoulders and head.
The right hand side of the chest is mostly bare apart from his leather strapping and ‘invisibility’ cloaking mesh, this is sculpted and painted far crisper and stronger than the recent Elder on Throne and AvP: R diorama though it has to be said, most of that is down to the bigger scale available here.

The left hand side has the chest armour with the attached ‘power’ cable going over to the left shoulder armour and atop this is the plasma cannon. I have to admit I was secretly hoping that this might be articulated, sadly it isn’t, well, it can twist from side to side, but the mount doesn’t rise or swivel, but after all, this is a bust not an action figure. However after looking closely at the details, it has me excited as to what we can expect on the articulated 1/6 figure when it finally arrives.

This detail carries on round to the cannon mount, medi-kit and back armour. The ribbed collar is sculpted as an integral part of the shoulders, but the neck is then stuck inside it to emphasize the feeling of layering, over this is the ‘trophy’ necklace as another separate piece, it’s in effect a coloured string with small intricately carved bones hanging from it and again offers some authenticity when viewed up close. Finally on top of the neck is the head, this is mounted like the Rambo and Joker figures so it has a limited amount of movement, though mostly it just turns. The dreads are the best I’ve seen from HT to date, the 1/6 ‘Wolf’ and the Predator 2 Elder both had fantastic work on them, but these hang even more convincingly and bend away from the head at just the right angle to look like they are carrying some intrinsic weight, and they also do a great job of disguising where the head meets the neck joint. The forehead and the face are a great bit of sculpting, but I have to say something is just a bit off, not way off, and as I say this has some outstanding detail on the brow, eyes and mandibles but when I view the face as a whole there is just something bugging me. Now, you’ll remember what I said at the beginning about fan-boys, we are notoriously hard to please. We’ve spent far too much of our adult lives deliberating over the distance between the lenses on a Stormtrooper helmet or exactly what shade of red Ironman’s armour should be, you’ll find some pics of the bust alongside the actual masks and props here, suffice to say it has Predator fans divided. Some vocally dislike it, I however still think it’s a very strong piece, especially wearing the roaring mandibles or with the mask on, and the more I study it, the more I like it. I feel that like so many sculpts it works far better in hand and has to be appreciated as a 3D object, as I’ve seen no photos truly do it justice yet.

Now, I don’t for the life of me know why, but I showed this to a friend of mine who is a big ‘The Mighty Boosh’ fan and asked him if he thought it looked like Noel Fielding aka Vince Noir, and I couldn’t quite believe that he agreed with me, it’s not that it looks ‘just’ like him ‘obviously’ as it’s a freakin alien, but there is definitely something ‘of Noel’ in there.

The mandibles swap over easily and the join is better disguised from some angles than others, it’s also worth note, and I again guess it’s pretty obvious, but the mask only fits when the mandibles are in the closed position. The mask just pushes into place, but it stays on well. It’s a good representation of the helmet, but it seems like the details around the muzzle are a little sharper than on the actual prop mask and perhaps even a little too curved, but it depends greatly on what reference you’re looking at.
So in summing up, I love Predators, admittedly I love the ALIEN a little more, but I’m down with your Yautja’s and I’m happy to have this in my collection, but I can still see there is something that I just can’t put my finger on, that isn’t quite right about this piece. If push came to shove I’d say the frown is perhaps a little too severe in covering so much of the eyes and the overall face should be a little wider, but it’s still a very nice sculpt of ‘a’ Predator, just not quite ‘the’ Predator.

Paint - ***1/2
Of all the busts so far, this seems to be the most ambitious in many ways. The Joker was a tough cookie to get right, and although he had his make-up and some very different coloured and patterned garments he wasn’t wearing as diverse a selection of mixed media. Here we have scaly Predator skin, leather, metal, bone and his matte rubbery dreads. As we expect from HT, there’s lots of tight crisp paintwork here, the eyes and inner mouth look great as does the spotting and patternation of the skin, I did find on mine that the roaring mandibles seem to have been painted slightly lighter in tone, it’s very close but it looks like they could do with a slightly darker wash to key them in better. The body mesh mentioned above is also picked out very crisply with no over painting or sloppiness at all. However, for whatever reason, the work on the metal armour is what jumps out the most, it’s just very convincing and reminds me a lot of the 1/6 Predator 2 Elder, and that isn’t such a bad thing as the P2 Elder used much of the armour worn by the original Predator, this metallic paint effect is also used on the mask and while it’s convincing on the main body, a shinier finish should have been applied to the lenses. The other added bonus is that the paint carries on down the bone effect stand, to what looks a bit like the stylised skeleton of a face huggers bony fingers, wrapped around a block of sinew and muscle that frame the Predator logotype… Mmmm sinew and muscle, nice!

Articulation - **1/2

This has similar articulation to Rambo and the Joker, I gave both of them 3 stars but this one doesn’t tilt or rock as much as they did so he gets a whisker under. Oh, and as I said the cannon can twist, but that’s not quite good enough for the extra a star!

Fun factor- **1/2
It’s a bust. It’s for your shelf. It looks good, but you can’t play with it, there is some ‘fun’ to be had by swapping the mandibles or putting the mask on, but all other fun will be derived purely from ownership. I like it… move along, there’s nothing else to be said here!

Value - ***
Well, when you consider DC Direct are STILL asking $175 for the Joker bust, the fact this is under $75 makes it feel like a steal!

But in that ‘real world’ I keep talking about 75 big ones is still a lot of money, and in this present economic climate it feels like whole lot more. There’s no denying a lot of work has gone into this bust and it’s a solid bit of work, but if it was more in the $60 bracket I feel we’d be nearer the full marks.

Overall - ***
As I have gone over in this review, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. So if you are keen or casual fan of the Predator, you’ll find little at fault, I’ve shown this to many of my work colleagues with pics of the actual Predator up on screen for comparison, and I asked them what they thought of it! They all said, without exception that they thought it was great.

Ahhhh, but they weren’t looking at it with the eyes of a hardcore Predator fan-boy, if they had, they’d have said ‘yeah, very good, but there’s just something…?
So, a solid product with a very good sculpt, but not the greatest one!

Where to buy -
Sideshow are the official distributor, but they have sold out, you may get it on the waitlist if you’re lucky, they had it for $74.99.

Or you can use Michael’s sponsors below, where you’ll party like its 71.99, links can be found on the homepage.

Cornerstore
$ 71.99 - PRE ORDER

Or if you’re in the UK
Forbiddenplanet
49.99 - PRE ORDER

Or you can use Michaels sponsor www.MyAuctionLinks.com to find a good deal as well.

Scoring Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/4
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***

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Hot Toys Predator bust
Hot Toys Predator bust


Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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