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Predators - Berserker Predator
Hot Toys

Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys


When I reviewed Royce just a little while back, I mentioned that I hadn't gotten the chance to watch the movie yet. That was all the more sad since I had actually purchased the blu-ray when it was released, and still hadn't gotten around to it.

That situation has since been rectified. I am now among the official viewers, and I'd have to say I was pleasantly surprised. While it wasn't a great movie, it was certainly an entertaining movie, and as action flicks go, kept my attention through out.

While any Predator themed movie is certainly not a gimme when it comes to quality, any Hot Toys Predator figure is. Of all their licenses, this is one that has held up extremely well over time, and early releases of even the Predators from the less than stellar AvP movies have continued to rise in value.

For the new film, Hot Toys has so far announced two monsters - the Falconer Predator and the Berserker Predator. The latter is the subject of tonight's review, and I suspect we'll be seeing the Falconer soon as well.

The Berserker is the main antagonist in the new film, and he's certainly an ugly...well, let's just say Arnold called it right in the first movie, and each successive generation of Predator hasn't gotten any prettier.

These guys run about $175, depending on the retailer, and they are just hitting international distributors right now. I suspect the American retailers will be getting them in the next couple weeks.
Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***1/2
While the package is pretty much identical to what we saw with Royce - outer sleeve with die cut red slide that shows off the graphic on the inner box - I deducted a half star due to the inclusion of several twisties. These aren't as annoying as some, but I still prefer it when they're non-existent.

I suggest turning over the plastic tray and untying them before removing the clear cover tray. You'll be glad you did.

There's also a small instruction booklet under the base of the display stand. It has the basics for the light up feature, and a couple standard warnings.

Sculpting - ****
One of the advantages to working on monsters like this is that it's less about being an exact representation of the on screen character and more about the detailed realism.

Don't get me wrong - this looks just like I remember the Berserker looking on screen, and I just watched the film a week ago. But without going back to the movie itself and watching it while holding this guy in my hand, I'm not going to know if the contours of his bony head or the size of his tusks are exactly correct. On the other hand, a human likeness can be judged accurate or inaccurate quite quickly based on a mental comparison to a well known actor. If Royce is off, I'll know it right away - if this Predator isn't spot on, it's much harder for anyone to discern. It's also less likely that people will care about minute inconsistencies.

Instead, we tend to focus on how realistic the sculpt is, and how menacing and evil the character appears. The attention to detail on this figure is simply amazing, with every edge sharply defined, every surface, metal or flesh, highly textured, all coming together to create one bad ass creature.

Also, unlike most human portraits who are given one expression by their sculptor, this guy has three. There's the masked version, which we see throughout most of the movie. He has accentuated his usual mask with the jawbone of some other creature, clearly a prized trophy. The metallic look of the mask contrasts perfectly with the organic appearance of the jaw, giving him a techno-barbarian visage.

Without the mask, here's his closed mouth look. The detailed forehead is amazing, with the hard skull plates and long dreadlocks. A note about his hair - they've used a very soft rubber, allowing the locks to hang more naturally than on some past figures. There's also quite a few of them, and their pattern is much tighter, making the hair fuller and much better looking.

Back to the closed mouth. With the closed jaws in place, the tusks or fangs completely seal off the mouth, hiding it from view. This is a more thoughtful expression, but not one that makes you particularly warm and fuzzy. Mouth open or closed, you know you're going to die.

These jaws can be easily removed, which is a feature we've seen with the past Predator figures as well. pop in the second open set, and you get a screaming, raving expression, as though he's just let loose a battle cry, ready to attack. This is a face that makes even his mother crap her loincloth.

The seams around the jaws are almost invisible, but I didn't notice a couple mold seams on the tusks. It's a minor nit, and one you won't notice unless you really inspect him closely.

The body has a scaly texture, and all the metal armor has a hammered, forged appearance. Somehow Hot Toys continues to improve, even with their Predator figures. I've included a shot of him with an early version, and it's amazing to see the difference. We thought they were the bee's knees back then - and still Hot Toys finds a way to get more lifelike and realistic with every release.

The sculpted hands work great with all the accessories, and this guy stands great on his own. He's a big one too, coming in at just under 14" tall. That makes him one of the larger Hot Toys figures, although still a little shorter than the T-600's.

Paint - ****
Hot Toys is not perfect. They occasionally have their issues - this time it's the light up feature for me, other times it may be the likeness (like on Dastan) or the trying something new like the rooted hair on Black Widow. But one area that never, never seems to fail is the paint work.

It's one thing to get a prototype paint job that's outstanding. It's another to turn that into a production paint job that astounds. And yet Hot Toys does it with great consistency and great quality.

This time there's a lot of small detail work, much more than with the average human character. The skin has various shading and highlights, and the face has some terrific, natural color. The skin is a bit shiny all over, giving him a wet, slimy look, similar to a lizard or a snake, which was true in the film as well. It works great, offset by the slightly more matte appearance of the armor and face plate.

Articulation - ****
While this large body isn't quite as mobile as some of the smaller TrueTypes, I have to say that the amount of posability is extremely high, especially when you consider how well concealed most of the joints are.

The ball jointed neck works fantastic, giving him far more personality and life in every pose than he'd otherwise exhibit. The collar and hair don't restrict it in any way.

The jaws aren't articulated, but instead are swappable pieces. More on that in the Accessories section.

The cannon moves of course, but not quite as much as some past versions. It tilts a little, turns side to side, and the barrel can rotate.

The ball jointed shoulders and hips, as well as ball/pin elbows, knees, wrists and ankles all work well with an excellent range of movement.

There's no extra posts for the wrists this time, but I didn't have any concerns about breaking them. They are very large, and very sturdy. I did find that the hands tend to pop off the joints before the joint pops out of the forearm, but a handy pair of needle nose pliers took care of that problem.

Accessories - ****
He's not quite as heavily outfitted as some Hot Toys figures, but everything looks great and works well. And there's something here we don't usually see with Hot Toys figures - metal accessories - that pushes the score up.

There's the mask, of course, and I'll discuss the issue I had with its light up feature in a later category. The mask looks great though, with an excellent sculpt and paint work, and it fits tightly on the face. I found that you do need to have the closed mouth fangs in place for it to fit properly, however.

There are two additional hands that swap easily. He comes with the two fists in place, and the open left hand works well when grasping the human skull - more on that in a minute. The splayed right hand is the perfect gesture for threatening Royce.

Back to that skull. The human skull and spinal cord are covered in bloody and mess. Again, an excellent sculpt and paint job make this all the more gruesome. He holds it nicely in the grasping left hand.

When it comes to weapons, he starts out with his laser cannon. This attaches to his left shoulder with a simple post, but I did find it hard to keep in place.

This guy doesn't need to many more weapons, but he does have not one but THREE blades for his right arm. In the film, and with some previous Hot Toys Predators, these blades would extend and retract into the gauntlet on his arm. Not so this time - they attach as a separate piece. There is a small baby bear version, a medium mamma bear version, and a big honking poppa bear version. What really sets these apart is that they are all metal, and not a cheap pewter or lead that could bend. No, these are like steel, very strong, and very deadly in appearance.

The blades fit tightly, but are relatively simple to swap. The bright, shiny metal looks great, and gives this guy quite the step up over his predecessors.

I already mentioned the swappable open jaws, but it's worth noting again that they work extremely well. Last but not least, there's the usual display stand.

Outfit - ****
There's not as complex of an outfit with the modern Predators, since the web-like netting is no longer part of the wardrobe. The sculpted armor looks great though, and there are cloth and leather pieces as well. This combination of materials adds to the realism, and the entire outfit is properly tailored and fit to his body.

The armor doesn't interfere with the articulation for the most part, always a big plus. They do warn you on the small instruction sheet that you can damage the paint around the waist if you're not careful, but I didn't have any issues.

Light Up Feature - Bupkis
Yep, there's supposed to be a light up feature here, but sadly, mine ain't working.

The sighting device on the left of the helmet includes a small wire that you can plug into the back of his armor and hide under his locks of rubbery hair. There's a small battery compartment on the back of the shoulder as well. Unscrew the very tiny screw (you'll need a tiny driver to get it open), and then place the included battery inside. I had a hard time getting the plate back on the back and the screw in place, but that wasn't the bigger issue. Once altogether, flipping the switch does nothing - nada, zippo. I played around with it for awhile, and the next step is a replacement battery. Still, at this price point the light feature should work right out of the box.

Fun Factor - **1/2
I wouldn't suggest giving this figure to your average 8 year old this holiday season. As Hot Toys figures go, it's very sturdy, but compared to a mass market toy, it's egg shells. NECA is making some nice 7 - 8" figures based on the film that would be more appropriate for the under 12 set.

If you have an older fan looking for the ultimate collectible based on the film, you'll be hard pressed to find too many better. While there's some nice statues coming out, nothing can beat a high end figure you can pose yourself.

Value - **
I'm getting used to the $150 price point for Hot Toys figures, so when one comes in at a higher rate ($175 or so in this case), there better be a damn good reason.

The figure is a bit larger than usual, and has far more unique parts than some.  The metal blades are certainly a more costly accessory, so it's clear that the higher cost did go toward some additional benefits. If the light up feature had worked flawlessly for me, I would have been more inclined to go with an average rating here, but they lost a half star due to that issue, and due to fewer accessories overall.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. You'll want to be very careful when working with the small screw on the battery compartment - make sure you use a driver that's the proper size to avoid damaging it - but otherwise, you should be good to go.

Overall - ***1/2
I love this guy, and I'm not that big of a fan of the movie. While it was certainly better than some films with a Predator in a starring role, it's still a fairly straightforward action flick. But Hot Toys has managed to capture the antagonist perfectly, with an amazing amount of detail and realism.

But mine doesn't light up. No matter how awesome the sculpt, paint, accessories and articulation, when a key feature like this doesn't work, I can't give him full stars overall. I'm hoping I'll be able to correct the problem simply by replacing the battery, but I suspect there's something deeper that's causing the issue. And that bums me out - at $175, I expect everything to work.

But it goes to show just how excellent the other aspects of this figure are - if there had been any other problems to compound the light up feature malfunction, he would have scored far lower overall. Even if I can't get the light to work, he'll still look amazing on the shelf with Royce and the upcoming Falconer.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Light Up Feature - Bupkis
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Capstone Comics had him at $175, but it looks like he pre-sold out.

- Fanboy Collectibles has him at $176.

- Alter Ego Comics has him at $176.

- Big Bad Toy Store has him at $190.

- Hollywood Heroes has him at $215.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Predator reviews include - 

- the most important, at least in terms of tonight's review, is the look at Royce, also from Predators and also from Hot Toys.

- Hot Toys has done several figures from the original Predator flick, including the big guy himself, Billy and Dutch.

- then there's the Hot Toys Lost Predator, and the Machiko She Predator.

- There's also the AvP Cleaner, the Wolf Predator, the very cool PredAlien, Battle Damaged Predator 2, Elder Predator, the first Predator 2, and the Scar Predator.

- there's also the McFarlane Scar Predator.

Discussion:
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Berserker Predator Predators sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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