Friday, 13 September 2013

Jungle Hunter Predator Review

Jungle Hunter Predator

Company: NECA
Series: Predators - series 8

RRP: approx. $29.95 AUD

The Background

I’ve started buying action figures again after several years out of the game. My last big purchases were from the ’03 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, so I’m pretty out of date with what has been coming out over the last…well, decade, really.
I’m a huge fan of action figures, but I’m quite fussy when it comes to actually plonking down money for them. They take up quite a lot of room, and they’re not easy to store, unlike books, games, DVDs or CDs. Even Lego can be dissembled and stored in a box or bag.
But I recently purchased an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie boxset, watched Predator for the first time in a number of years, and decided it might be nice to have a Predator sitting on my shelves – specifically, the Jungle Hunter Predator. Credit must go to for making me aware of the range to begin with. So, armed with my credit card and searching online, I placed my order. I ordered Dutch too, as I mentioned here. But as much as I like Dutch and Arnie, the Predator is the true star of the show. The movie is named after him, after all.
"Do you even knife, bro?"
The Figure Itself

Online sources tell me that this is a new Predator sculpt, apparently replacing an older model which has been used for most of the prior series. It doesn’t look drastically different to me, but granted I haven’t owned any of the previous versions.
I’m particularly impressed with the skin. The paint job has done a good job of making him look clammy and slimy (though it hasn't shown up in the photos as well as I would like), as well as giving his skin a mottled look. There are no paint issues worth getting upset about, and his bone necklace and adornments are impressively sculpted and painted too. Similarly, the armour and mask have been nicely done. Most areas have a subtle brown wash over them, giving them a worn-in look.
In a nice touch, the gauntlet blades are extendable. Be gentle, though. I could see these breaking very easily in careless hands…
There are some minuses. The plasma-caster backpack is a little bit iffy – the piece clicks into place, but his dreadlocks (predlocks?) get in the way a little bit. Tilting his head works around this a little, but I have concerns about maintaining this pose long-term. The dreadlocks are made from soft rubber and I can see them getting warped in time – not to mention that it means he can really only have his head at one angle while the accessory is attached.
          Two deadly predators. It's nice to see them together in an Instagram besties shot.
However, the plasma-caster gun itself is also adjustable. You’ll need to jiggle it a bit to get it to stay in a certain position (it’s very easily bumped out of place), but it definitely looks cool once you’ve got it there.
More irritatingly, he doesn’t seem to be going so well with the standing business. He’ll stay upright for a certain period of time, but the hip-joints don’t seem to be tight enough, and so he’ll eventually totter over. He hasn’t really suffered any damage as a result of this, but he’s staying lying down for the time being, until required for photos. I can deal with this, but those looking for something that’s capable of permanent display may want to consider carefully. It may just be an issue with my particular figure.
As a more minor point, it’s a shame that the mask isn’t removable. I can see how it might be a casting issue – but later this year a 2-pack is being released with versions of Dutch and Predator from the film’s final fight, which does have a removable mask. There have already been a few Classic Predator variations in this NECA line, so I have to question whether an entirely new figure is necessary for this feature.
For the most part, I’m pretty happy with the Predator. He towers over Dutch, as he should. I was a little concerned that they’d both be the same height. He’s not quite as easily posed, due to the armour plating, tubes and whatnot that adorn him, but it’s still not hard to get him into some good positions for photos.
All three of my NECA figures put together for scale. Pretty good for the most part, but I can't help but think that Dutch should be more noticeably shorter than Robocop, though....
From what I’ve been reading online, people seem to be more excited about the Dutch figures in series 8 and 9 than the Predator. This may be because there have been an awful lot of Predator figures from different companies over the years, and so it’s harder for a new one to stand out from the many that came before. In contrast, there’s been very little of Dutch.  Being a relative newcomer to the series, I think they’ve done an exceptional job of sculpting Arnie’s likeness – and I’m hoping for another Conan line – but the Predator himself is the one I was most excited for.
And for the most part, he delivered.  Looking back over this review, I seem to have spent more time talking about the negatives than the positives. But you shouldn’t get the impression that I’m unhappy with the purchase. The figure is apparently quite screen-accurate, takes good photos and makes a worthy adversary for Dutch...
"Let's see you make fun of my knife now!"
…and Robocop....
The box for Nightfighter Robocop mentions that his new armour makes him invisible to criminals...I wonder if the Predator sees the irony in being stalked by an invisible foe?
"Dead or alive, you're coming with me, creep."
Of course, if Robocop did kill the Predator, presumably another gang of Predators would turn up and give him some kind of obscure gift as they carried off the body.
…and Raphael!
So overall, the Jungle Hunter Predator gets a rating of “very pleased.”
"South America was a long time ago, Dutch. The Predator's dead. He can't hurt you now."
NB: Keep in mind that the price indicated is retail only. This figure is already tricky to get hold of – mine came from – but on eBay, I’ve already seen him selling for upwards of $40 (Australian).


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