Hot Toys Predator 2 Elder Predator Model Kit


"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 back tonight with another terrific sixth scale review.  This time it's the new Elder Predator from Predator 2, hot off the truck from Hot Toys!  Take it away, Jeff...

Hot Toys (HT) does it again! This figure really seems to have captured a lot of people’s attention. Ever since it was unveiled way back in early August the fans have been clamouring to get their hands on it, and here it finally is!
The character of the Elder is only seen briefly at the end of Predator 2 (P2), alongside his posse of other Preds, lovingly titled ‘The Lost Hunters’ - more information and fan folklore can be found out by visiting Gene Frechette’s great website.

So, why so much interest in this guy?

Well, put succinctly, although he has a total screen time of only a minute and a half he is simply the coolest looking, meanest, most bad ass mother f**cker of the whole series! (I include AvP here).

And from the moment he gives Danny Glover’s character Harrigan the old flintlock inscribed ‘Raphael Adolini 1715’ you know he is an honourable creature, marking Harrigan’s victory over the younger Predator with a gift that not only symbolises his respect for a fellow warrior, but shows he or his kind have been visiting this world for hundreds of years. It’s also made clear during the movies that the Predators have a code of honour, and that if unarmed you’re not considered a worthy opponent, maybe he hoped Harrigan would try and shoot him with the flintlock, giving him an excuse to blow his head off with his plasma cannon…nah!

Kevin Peter Hall portrayed the Elder, the same actor that portrayed the original Predator, and that leads onto another reason this guy looks so cool. He’s basically wearing the original costume from the first movie with a few minor alterations here and there to show this guy is older, wiser and basically a whole lot cooler. If Dutch and his team had come up against this guy, things might have turned out very differently indeed.

Packaging: ****
Very similar to the Predator 2 figure reviewed here, but in my view slightly nicer, this is down to some great photography. We get our metallic/pearlescent sleeve, flap-fronted box and a wealth of pictures of the figure, which is always handy, because unless you haven’t been paying attention to the HT Predator range they come in a semi kit form. Slide the tray out and there he is in all his ‘deconstructed’ glory.

So it’s time to construct. To some this is an annoyance, but as the great Dan Eldon said “the journey is the destination” and so you should look upon the constructing of your figure as part of the whole HT experience… I love it!

Sculpt: ****
Holy Moses (reviewed here) just when you think HT can’t get any better ’Wham!’ Well I guess it goes without saying that the coolest Predator is going to need the coolest gear. Most of his ephemera will be covered later in accessories and outfit.

Apart from the base body all the elements here are new sculpts. Unlike the AvP Preds that looked more militaristic and had most of their armour pulled from the same mould, here with the older Preds it seems their armour and look is much more individual like a band of renegade gypsies or corsair mercenaries. Each has unique armour panels with differing colouration. Now if HT goes onto give us more of the lost hunters, I’m sure we’ll see more and more repetition. But if you’re content with just the ‘Hero’ and ‘Elder’ they will look great and very different to each other on your shelf.

The new head sculpt here is another small work of art and the detail on his beaded braids among his dreads and even the small piercing to his lower tusk make this guy look like he has quite a few tales to tell, and like Jack Sparrow and Boba Fett it’s the tiny details that add to the richness of their overall appearance and give them far more character, at least in a visual sense.

Also, because this figure is mask-less - just about the only negative I can find for him (but this is again screen accurate, as this character is without a mask for his entire, all be it brief screen presence) - they have been able to put a more relaxed, almost talking expression to the mouth, as without having to be housed by a mask it doesn’t need to be as tightly closed. There are some fantastic details on the interior of the mouth and exposed mandibles. HT are going to have to pull an incredible job off on the original Pred and the new Wolf Pred from AvP: R to better this.

In the movies the Elders have facial spines, on the HT AvP version these had to be individually stuck on and glued. On this version they’ve made them part of the facial sculpt. It means they are not as fine, but they also won’t fall off when you have to dust him!

He has a very heavy brow ridge which again adds to the figure/character’s mean demeanour and the dreads are like the softer ones that came on the first Pred 2, a thing that upset some people at first, those who liked the wired AvP dreads, but everyone I know who has one of these, much prefers them now as they hang with some good weight, and it makes positioning the head a whole lot easier as well. To achieve the appearance of weight they have angled the dreads more acutely a few millimetres after they leave the head, some stand out more than others, but the over all appearance is more authentic.

The body is the now standard body that HT have used on all the Predators thus far but with a different paint job, and as such is great.

He comes with three hands, all new sculpts, and even his feet are newly sculpted to show the leather sandals this guy sported.

A few pointers on construction here: unlike the Pred 2, I’d advise fully assembling the legs, but don’t put the lower arms on yet. Put the netting on and then the under skirt. Next the groin armour, there’s a bit of futzing here to get the skirt on the outside at the back but hidden underneath at the front. It’ll make sense when you have it in front of you.

Now the shoulder armour: this slips on pretty easily, just slide the left upper arm armours elastic strap up quite high, then run the leather strap over his chest and secure the clasp at the back. Next I did the thigh armour followed by the knee covers. Thankfully these aren’t as tight as on the previous Pred 2. Now the shin armour: this is super-tight and fits like a second skin, so I’d advise a quick dunk for a few seconds in boiling water and then they slip on fine. Next I added the lower arms, slot on the gauntlets and hands, add the belts and neck guard followed by the skull necklaces and the pouch on a strap, pop on the head, a little tweak here and there and you’re done.

Paint: ****
Another outstanding paint job, I know there are a lot of very talented customisers out there who will want to put their mark on this Predator and I’ve seen some outstanding work on the previous figure, but for me this is pretty much shelf perfect, box fresh.

I’m an old purist who keeps his packaging and likes to keep his figures exactly as they left the factory, and it’s always a bonus when the factory paint application is as good as this. There’s some fantastic work on the face, I especially liked the airbrushing to give the darker rings around the eyes, the mouth and dreads are also very impressive with some outstanding attention to detail. And even the body has a more mottled and spotted paternation. The armour and weapons also have some great metallic pewter and leather paint effects. A fantastic factory job.

Articulation: ***1/2
I’m just going to cut and paste the articulation description from last time:

“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 this guy can get into pretty much any position when naked, but like his predecessors the armour/outfit hampers him a bit. Not too much, but he’s not gonna do a deep squat or sit that comfortably, but this is designed to reflect what was seen in the movie, and the way the thigh guards are designed to lay over the soft plastic straps from the trunks means he has a lot more mobility in this area than the earlier Preds. The minimal upper body armour also means he has a greater range of movement here as well. The shoulder canon can’t completely retract like earlier models; this means you can’t tilt the head quite as much as the first Pred 2.

But hey, cut him some slack, if he’s the one that took the flintlock originally he’d be at least 275 years old, and I’m guessing he wasn’t fresh out of diapers when he took it, so lets conservatively say he’s 300, he should be having a nice lie down, not jumping around and fighting!

Outfit: ****
Like the Predator 2, this guy prefers his armour on the skimpy side. But that’s a good thing as he looks far meaner with his paired down back-to-basics look, and you just know he would take every one of those over-armoured Pred pussies from AvP down before he even broke a sweat.
He comes in a sleeveless body stocking with a leatherette loincloth under his groin armour and two belts.

Then there’s thigh, knee and shin armour, sandals that are moulded to his feet. Next there’s his shoulder armour with attached cannon, each lower arm has a gauntlet, the right has a leather strap wrapped round it and the left is swathed in Hessian and another leather strap, seeming to announce there is no way this guy will ever need to use his detonator to blow himself up… he’s a professional… it just ain’t gonna happen.

Next up is his ribbed collar and over this go his two necklaces and his pouch on a strap, once all this is in position you’re good to go.

The outfit fits like a glove and most elements are made of a softer plastic than used before, this means of course everything has a little more give in it and can be pushed and pulled a little more. I’d still advise a lot of caution with the arm on the shoulder cannon, but as long as you exercise care there shouldn’t be any major problems.

The paint apps on all of the above are fantastic with very convincing metallic and leather tones finished off with some great washes to age and weather him, an outstanding job.

Accessories: ****
The weird thing is, as far as accessories go, this guy probably comes the lightest equipped of all the Preds so far, but because of his overall maximalist-gypsy-pirate look he kind of looks even more laden than the others, and that’s down to his beaded dreads, piercing, skulls and bindings.

So what do we actually get?

Well it depends on what you call accessory and what you call outfit. But the things I consider accessories are his flintlock, sword and two skull necklaces and that’s it. So we don’t get a spear or mask, which is fine, as in the movie he is never seen with either. But this is definitely a four-star figure, because although you don’t get as much, what you do get is all that is needed, and it is done exceptionally well.

The skull necklaces are great, especially the beaded one and they exceed all the Predator bone jewelry seen so far.

His sword has some nice detail on its bone and leather-bound handle and looks just like the screen-used prop (as far as my DVD freeze-frame can detect), I know some folks think a sheath for the sword/machete is missing, and when I viewed the movie on slow-mo I could see what looked like it could be one, and as he walks away at the end you see him make an action like replacing it in a sheath. It really is difficult to make out, but mine will be holding the sword when posed anyway, and a sheath should be pretty easy to make should you be inclined.

And as for nice little touches, the tiny flintlock even has Raphael Adolini 1715 inscribed (well, printed) on it.

I kind of think of the plasma cannon as an accessory, but it is very much part of the outfit, especially on this figure as it’s permanently attached to the shoulder armour.

Fun Factor: ****
HT figures, especially the MMS range, are on the whole far too fragile to ever be considered play things, that coupled with a price that denotes these really are for your more serious collectors.

So this fun category (as far as I’m concerned) is really all about how much you are gonna love having this fantastically poseable, virtually perfect representation of the Predator 2: Elder on your shelf, and as far as I’m concerned it’s a faultless ****

Value: *** 9/10
SST, the official US importer, had him up for $144.99 (whoa Nelly!) and he‘s long sold out… even at that price, but on the secondary market (in this case meaning eBay) that seems to be the going rate or even upwards of that.

There is some exquisite sculpting here, not only on the face but also on his amazing armour, and paint apps that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible to achieve from a factory.

All this coupled with great accessories, an impressive box and a hefty license to be considered it’s sometimes a wonder they can manage to do them for a price this low. But in the real world $145.00 is a lot of someone’s hard-earned cash, so I’m gonna just scrape it in under the full four stars, maybe I’m being too tough as it is a most impressive piece and definitely the best Predator so far.

Overall: ****
As I said, best Predator so far. The Predator 2 which I reviewed just a few weeks ago has already been overtaken in my opinion, he was one amazing figure, and I’ve heard a lot of people say he’s their figure of the year… just wait till you’ve got this guy in your mitts!

I did consider dropping him half a star because of the price, but to be honest I seriously consider him a bargain at anything under $150. They’ve managed to fit in more detail than you get on some premium format figures and statues and ‘YOU’ can decide on the pose. Fanbleedintastic!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - *** 9/10
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
As I said above, SST has sold out, but you could still try their wait list.  Michael’s sponsors Dark Shadow Collectables have him for $135.00, but apart from that it’s time to hit eBay. I’m seeing prices of between $140 to $220, so I’m gonna hazard a guess that this figure might be pretty thin on the ground, so find the best price you can and get it quick!

Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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