Packaging - ***
Standard blister card here, but Hasbro did do something a bit different. As with some of the more recent Star Wars releases, Preed is basically posed inside the package (in this case astride his vehicle). By going this small extra step, Hasbro has increased the appeal for MOC collectors. As for the card itself, the graphics on the front are eye-catching as they feature the explosive Titan
A.E. logo. On the back the graphics are less exciting, featuring standard pictures of the series one figures. Neither Preed nor any of the other figures from series two are pictured on the back. Freeing Preed from the inside tray is a little tricky, but thankfully no tape or twisty ties are involved.
Sculpting - ****
Allow me to state unequivocally for the record that I am a HUGE fan of Hasbro animated figures. Batman: The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures is my favorite action figure line of all time and lines like Mummies Alive, Small Soldiers and Superman: The Animated Series are in my top ten. So with that in mind I tell you the sculpt on Preed has been nailed dead to rights. His eyes convey the wry (yet sinister) nature of the character and the body is proportioned exactly as Preed appears in the movie. The design is simple and extremely well-executed but the details, like the partially missing left ear and the plate in Preed's head, are also present and excellently rendered. Preed stands on his own just fine.
There's not much by way of elaborate paint-ops here, and there were a few tiny flaws that I detected, but overall a job adequately done.
Standard Hasbro animated five-point articulation (neck, shoulders, hips) ...with a bit of a twist. Preed's shoulder joints are canted at a slightly forward-facing angle. This allows him to grip his tripod laser cannon accessory with both hands in front of him or to convincingly aim his laser pistol. However, with the angled shoulder joints, his arms swing slightly outward when they're posed at his sides. This allows Preed's arms to hang naturally at his sides while at the same time keeping them out of the way of his legs or torso. Overall, a great little touch by Hasbro and it serves the character very well.
All Titan A.E. basic carded figures are essentially two-packs. You get a figure and a mini-vehicle and Preed is no exception. The vehicle here is a small, three-wheeled assault craft. The vehicle features some nicely sculpted, basic details and is as solid as a rock. The wheels roll freely and feature sculpted treads which is a nice touch. Supply two AAA batteries (not included) and the vehicle will also make two electronic sounds: the "Budda-budda-budda..." of the tripod cannon (which can mounted on the back of the vehicle) and a "BEEP...Whoosh" (presumably the sound of the front-mounted missile launcher locking on and firing). Pressing on the back of it can launch the missile. The tripod cannon also stands alone, but it's nearly impossible to pose Preed with his hands on the controls while keeping both of his feet and all three of the tripod's on the ground at the same time. It seems no matter how you adjust it, the tripod leg closest to Preed will be a bit off the ground. Preed also includes a laser pistol (his right hand is sculpted to hold it) which, like all of the handguns included in the Titan A.E. line, is unique to the character and accurate to the weapon he used in the film (for the record, in the film Cale also used the pistol included here with Preed). Preed also used the tripod cannon in the movie, albeit for rather dubious purposes. Overall, it's wonderful to see an animated line where all the accessories not only make sense, but are also taken directly from the source material and rendered accurately.
Value - ***1/2
Well, Preed never made it to the shelves at the original price of the basic, carded Titan A.E. line, which was typically $8-$10. At that price, I would have snapped him up in a heartbeat, as I love the film and the figures. Casual collectors would probably pass based on the lack of articulation, but you're getting a figure AND a well-gimmicked vehicle here, so this line is certainly a better value than Hasbro's Star Wars line. However, the Preeds that HAVE found their way to select TRUs in recent weeks have been marked down to an insane $.97! At that price, there's absolutely no reason to pass on ANY figure in the Titan A.E. line, let alone a figure that we thought would never even see release. The only reason I didn't rate four stars here is the infrequency of figures dribbling into these select TRUs may drive some people to eBay, which is where I ended up getting him in a lot that also included the Phoenix w/Akima and the non-continuity Space Walker Suit Cale. The lot cost me $13 before shipping so it was still a great deal considering how few Preeds seem to making it out of the warehouse. The bottom line is, if you can find him...get him. You won't be sorry.
Quality: * * * 1/2
Hasbro animated figures tend to be tough, solid toys. A thin, lanky character like Preed could have translated to a flimsy action figure in the hands of another company (Trendmasters comes to mind) but Hasbro keeps the figure strong and it feels solid in your hand. Is Preed as sturdy a figure as say...the DC Direct Gorilla Grodd figure? Of course not, but considering the character design, Preed is a tight, steady figure.
Overall - ***1/2
Titan A.E. is seen as a colossal failure for Hasbro because the movie didn't do any business. The toys were left to languish on the pegs and were quickly slashed to clearance prices where they STILL didn't sell for the most part. Only now with the drastic TRU reductions are collectors taking notice. This is really a shame because this is one of the best-executed lines that Hasbro has done in a while. It seems the designers really took the time to tailor the toys directly to the source material, undoubtedly thinking the movie would be a big hit and was therefore worthy of the time taken to do things right. Unfortunately for Hasbro (and 20th Century Fox) Titan A.E. is essentially American anime; too adult in subject matter for kids to be interested (it's also inappropriate for young children) and yet looked at as too much of a "kiddy movie" to be taken seriously by adult audiences. The reality is that while Titan A.E. borrows several concepts from other sci-fi franchises, it still manages to carve out it's own little universe and the characters are adults dealing with adult problems and issues. Plus, the animation and special effects are spectacular; get the DVD if you can.
So it is with the Titan A.E. toys. Most collectors dismissed them as another failed movie tie-in line (And who could really blame them following such awful lines as Godzilla, Lost In Space and Battlefield: Earth) but the REALITY is Titan A.E. is an awesome line for both fans of the movie and devotees of Hasbro's animated figures. I am both and this line, as represented here by the elusive Preed, stands tall among the best animation-based figure lines Hasbro has ever done.
Folks, my name is Jason. Thanks for taking the time. Good Night.