|S.H.MonsterArts Predator Wolf|
Like most S.H.Figuarts packaging, MonsterArts utilizes the windowed box. Half of the parts and features of the Wolf Predator are showcased behind this clear plastic with the name "Predator Wolf" printed at the side. Apparently, our friends there in Japan got the names ordered incorrectly. It should be "Wolf Predator"! Just like how you say the name, Jungle Hunter Predator. Try invert it and it's going to sound weird.
Just by merely looking at the paint job, it's almost as if we're getting a NECA or a McFarlane figure (two companies that excel in this area) here but the more you stare at it, you could see the kind of minimalism in the paint job which is not uncommon with S.H.Figuarts yet it still looking decent. Its neat look is easy on the eyes as always; having no smudging or scraping on the surface. The gunmetal paint along with the texturing over its gadgets and armour is phenomenal and it does seem like Bandai is doing some extra effort in this part.
I was kinda expecting that they'll be missing out some of the details but the part where I'm most excited about are the accessories. Starting with the interchangeable parts, Wolf Predator has two switchable heads- masked and unmasked. If you go with the unmasked one, you'll also get two options whether to have its mandible jaws open or closed. By the way, the Wolf Predator is the only yautja that has one of its mandible jaws missing (probably a result of a fight). This figure has a total of six (6) pairs of interchangeable hands each designed for specific weapons or items. Apparently, you need to get a feel of the weapon's diameter before you would use the correct hand for it.
Looking at the amount of weapons and items this figure has just blew me away and here's a complete list:
Plasma Cannon x1
Wrist Blades (short) x2
Wrist Blades (long) x2
Combi-Stick (retracted) x1
Combi-Stick (extended) x1
Whip (coiled) x1
Whip (uncoiled) x1
Cleaner Case x1
Blue Vial x1
Probably the only weapon this Predator is missing are its shuriken, which will be included in the second release. But with just these weapons alone, you might have to remind yourself not to mess around with Wolf. The Plasma Cannon is poseable and concealable, which is good but I'm not too happy with the Wrist Blades- I feel the need to make them longer. It got a coiled Whip which you can store at its waistline, and another Whip which can be used primarily as a weapon. Same goes with the Combi-Stick- a retracted one and a weapon one. For some reason I thought this is causing too much usage of space inside the box. Bandai could have just given us retractable weapons (like bendy wires in the Whip) to provide more space and allow other types of weapons.
Articulation of this figure rivals that of its accessories. It's the articulation that makes you wish the NECA Predator line would someday have! This Predator got better poseability (than NECA's) because it has double-jointed elbows and knees, a diaphragm swivel and a waist swivel that lets it rotate and lean side to side. Almost all of its joints are ball-socketed creating a wide range of movement but some of it are hindered by either its body mass or armour. An example would be Wolf's toe articulation which is limited by that armour over its feet. A cool feature though is Wolf's Wrist Gauntlet which flips open like a laptop like in the movie. With the S.H. Bandai, you can never be disappointed in terms with their figure's poseability.
The moment of truth is here as we compare this figure with our standard NECA Predator. Measuring at about 6.6 inches tall, I was a little surprised how small this figure is. Maybe because I'm used to them being tall; towering over most of my 6-inch figures. Even if we upscale its size, Bandai's Predator will still remain inferior (in my opinion) to NECA's mainly due to the fact that it got less paint and sculpting details. As far as playability is concerned, you'll definitely have more fun with this Predator.