Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Elder Predator - V2 (NECA)

NECA Elder Predator
With age, comes experience... along with the things that are old and hard to let go. Thus the Elder Predator with its ala-Pirates of the Caribbean motif combined with advanced Yautja technology. All it takes for this Predator is to put on a pirate hat to make it look like one of the crew of the Flying Dutchman. But the Elder Predator is the head honcho of the tribe making it the wisest and most respected Predator regardless of how it looked.

Its 18th century flintlock pistol that you can snug behind its belt is merely a decorative item or "trophy". There is no way Elder has been using it as a weapon as far as hunting humans is concerned, although interestingly for this figure, it got an interchangeable right hand to be able to hold and grip the pistol. In addition, it has a cutlass (according to its package) that looked more to me like a machete that we saw wielded by the Bad Blood Predator.

Elder may not be as rich as Bad Blood in terms of sculpted features, but it is well sculpted enough to stay somewhere at the top. It got the sheath for its cutlass adorned with beautiful "pirate-like" designs. It got a man purse with its strap dangling across its body and trophies that are stringed together like beads at the other side across. And did I mention that this Predator got a piercing at a corner of its lip? Total badass! Also, you got those colourful hair clips glued to its gray tentacle-like hair.

Even its skin is kind of ash gray! The only part where you see some paint wash and colour shadings are its armour, weapons and a few other accessories. Standard to NECA Predators, the Elder got the Plasma Caster and the Wrist Blade which has this nice reflective finish of silver. Sadly, this Predator does not have a Biomask or an interchangeable head with the mask on it- a feature which I'd like NECA to consider.

Furthermore, NECA should at least add some hinges and joints that may be useful for executing some more dynamic pose. They need to replace that "rotating elbow-joint" with a double-joint plus a swivel at the upper section of its forearm where the edge of the gauntlet meets with its skin. Unfortunately, NECA is still using the standard issue and I don't want to go through all of its joints and movable parts again.

I wish I had the first of version of the Elder Predator to compare it with V2. I pressume this new version must be better than the first one that was released a long time ago. Probably the similarities with the two Elder Predators, and all these NECA Predators are their height and body mold. This Predator is highly recommended to someone who's dearly a fan of the Predator franchise.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Viper Predator (NECA)

NECA Viper Predator
Xenomorphs beware, this Predator specialize on exterminating your kind. Unfortunately, the Viper Predator doesn't exist in any comic books and/or movies that tell stories about Predators. Viper is NECA's very own creation that suppose to come with a bike-like vehicle known as the Blade Fighter- a Predator's own version of the Speeder Bike from Star Wars... but with claws! One can only imagine how huge that bike will be (when it comes out) the fact that you have to get this 7-inch action figure sit on top of it. But who needs the Blade Fighter when you already got a figure as menacing as the vehicle itself?

Yet still I imagine how this Xenomorph-hunter would look like on a bike especially every time I see both its hands designed to hold a handlebar. The Viper Predator has another pair of hands that looked exactly like the standard open-palmed hands for NECA Predators. Another accessory, which didn't really change much (in terms of design), is the Plasma Caster with the backpack that latches right unto its left shoulder.

One important accessory, which I really like the most is its removable bio mask. Now I know we've seen this before with our Nightstorm Predator, but Viper's mask (unlike Nightstorm's) covers the entire face. The only detrimental effect to it is that it made its head oddly big, and the reason for it is to accommodate the entire head especially those mandibles.

Viper wields two pairs of wrist blades to both its arms. Double-twin blades that extend or retract which may very well make Wolverine piss his pants. Behind its bio mask are sculpted technological designs which are impressive. The body mold is, not surprisingly, just a standard issue. It doesn't even have the "trophies" laced around its torso and/or waist like with most Predators we've seen. It's a shame that they added something yet they also removed something.

By this time, you've probably guessed why it's called the Viper Predator or... should you look at what a copperhead snake appears like? The paint work on its forehead with all those lines forming diamond shapes give Viper the snake appeal. The colour scheme is a combination of red and black painted over flesh. The armour and Plasma Caster, including its loin cloth are all painted with gunmetal with the wrist blades as the only thing different.

For articulation, nothing different or has changed with its hinges and joints even the fact that this Predator is suppose to be placed on a Blade Fighter seat. It's head is on a ball-peg that allows it to rotate and lean side to side but limited. It has ball-hinged shoulders but no bicep rotation. It has the elbow rotation merged with an elbow joint which I really hate. It got ball and socket wrists that aim and rotate. Viper waist rotation and T-joints at the hips, which can be crucial to being able to ride the vehicle. However, range of movement is limited. To its legs, it got rotation to the thighs, double-joints at the knees, and rotation at the ankles with the ankle rockers.

The question of whether the Viper Predator or any of these NECA Predators actually, would look awesome on the upcoming Blade Fighter remains to be seen. But if we look at this Predator action figure right now aesthetically, I'd say it looked fairly good. The articulation is a bit of a letdown but the accessories are quite impressive. The Viper Predator is passable and recommendable to anyone who's a hardcore fan of this franchise.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bad Blood Predator (NECA)

NECA Bad Blood Predator
If you think the Enforcer Predator is wicked enough, wait 'til you see this one here! It's the black sheep of the clan; feared for hunting its own kind- the Bad Blood Predator! Being the Predator that preys on almost any living soul (including other Predators), Bad Blood is the main antagonist in a comic book storyline that's named after itself. Though it may not have a mask as awesome as that of the Enforcer, but Bad Blood's reputation is equally prominent with its nemesis. With NECA getting their hands on the Predator: Bad Blood series, we finally get to see this Predator come to life... in plastic! And holy crap... when it comes to sculpt, this is probably the most detailed action figure that I ever get to lay my eyes on.

It's claimed to have the most sculpted features and paint deco by NECA and indeed it shows. Bad Blood got a lot of things permanently attached to its body, ...like these trophies and stuff! One feature that can't be ignored is this Predator skull sitting on its left shoulder which indicate that this dude is mad. Looking on the right shoulder, you got this big spine looking like reefs. Further down to its legs, you can also see skulls utilized like kneepads. Everywhere you look, there's a lot of great sculpting you see.

Looking at the paint job, the rendition from its comic book counterpart is ...for the most part, accurate. And like the Enforcer Predator, it got that simplistic look with flat colours mixed with quite a few shaded ones. But what makes this a jaw-dropper are those splatters of blood sticking to its blades, hand, and a small portion on its chest, and it looked awesomely brutal! Also, the face looked brutal with its piercing stare, gnarly face and tribal symbol over its forehead.

And before we completely forget to mention, Bad Blood got THREE blades ...yyup, three of these pointy little blades installed inside its gauntlet as opposed to two like most we've seen. Another weapon it has is a spear that looked a little traditional and uncommon to a Predator's arsenal. Also, Bad Blood got a bloodstained machete which, again looked earthly (rather than otherworldly) but it looked so awesome! The only thing that boggled my mind is that gadget at the side of its hip that keeps the disc. I'm not sure why NECA bothered to include it when they didn't even give this figure its disc of destruction.

Along with weapons, Bad Blood comes with trophies that can be held or hanged around its waist or back. A severed head of a white guy and and a black guy shows that this Predator doesn't give a damn about people's skin colour! Moreover, it got two skulls of some kind of alien-race and a Predator hair strand, which means that it got a wide variety of guys on its hit list. Bad Blood comes with an extra right hand for holding and wielding all its weapons, which is a really a good improvement on the part NECA.

The only part which really didn't improve and got no changes or added feature at all is the articulation. Bad Blood Predator has the same amount of joints as with other Predators that precede it. One thing I hate about its articulation is that it got no bicep rotation, mid-forearm and mid-calf rotation, and double-joints at the elbows to help execute some dynamic pose. It got this ridiculous "elbow swivel" that serves a minor role. I'm not impressed with the articulation part.

To finally conclude my assessment on the NECA Bad Blood Predator, I must say that this is probably the most good looking Predator with the most ample accessories that I've ever gotten so far from this toyline. The articulation may disappoint you but its sculpt and feature will make you look at it with awe. It surely does makes a nice display piece. I would highly recommend Bad Blood to longtime collectors and even to people who are still hesitant of grabbing these NECA Predators.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Enforcer Predator (NECA)

NECA Enforcer Predator
Every human being knows they get sliced and diced, skinned and made into trophies as soon as they are being ambushed by a Predator, but the Enforcer Predator is a new deal. This Predator will kill a guy with a heart attack before it even uses its Plasma Caster, thanks to its otherworldly bio mask which made it 20% more intimidating. But with all that badassery surrounding this killer-E.T., the Enforcer is actually the "good guy" in a comic book series known as Predator: Bad Blood where it was hunting another Predator (probably a crazy one) to stop and kill it. Honestly, I got little knowledge of where some of these Predators came from but something tells me to buy these NECA Predator figures because there's always something great about them, let alone their cool looks and so... let's examine the action figure.

Starting with the packaging, you can notice some resemblance of it from our previous NECA Predator packaging especially how it's being shaped. The only differences are the artwork and the theme, in which here you can see that it's based from the comic books. In the middle, you have the Enforcer Predator looking so mighty and showcased along with its accessories. And with that hand separated and suspended in front of it, you can immediately tell that it got an interchangeable part.

With the exemption of the head/face, the sculpt and body mold of this Predator are all the same with the rest of the Predators in this toyline. However, the head/face sculpt really really made this Predator a completely different action figure. Although the funny thing is that it strongly reminded of Shredder, but NECA had done it perfectly that it made the big baddie from TMNT looked like a nanny.

What's unique and special about the Enforcer Predator is that it tries to capture that comic book-themed look through its paint job. Notice that the colours are simple and flat; not a lot of paint wash or shadings going on with this figure which is something definitely new to the eyes of someone who's been collecting them. Enforcer's wrist blades, gauntlets, disc storage and armour are evenly painted with silver gray. Its bio mask has this "flipped-Z" on it (some sort of Predator symbol) like we've seen in the comics.

As I've mentioned, it got an interchangeable part- a left hand designed to hold its Combi Stick. The Combi Stick is non-retractable or non-telescopic which means that NECA has to take note on how to improve that. Another weapon this Predator has is the disc, which the Enforcer can easily hold through its fingertips. The only drawback to this nickel-sized disc is that it keeps falling off even if you push it intimately to that "storage thingy" on its right hip. I wish it is more secure! Last but not the least- the Plasma Caster, which you've probably seen in my Jungle Hunter review.

The articulation is pretty classic to what we've got from all NECA Predators. Nothing added to its 25 points of articulation. The Enforcer got the same amount of hinges and joints as with our Jungle Hunter, Nightstorm and Boar Predator which we have already seen in this blog. If you want to know all about its joints and poseability, then just go visit those reviews.

What apparently made the Enforcer stand out from the rest of all these NECA Predators is the head feature. Having it stand with the rest of your Predator collection almost makes everyone of them look plain and standard. Though the body molds of these guys are all alike, and it's true! But if you're a huge fan, you won't see it as a problem.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Jungle Hunter Predator (NECA)

NECA Jungle Hunter Predator
The hunt is on this 2015, and I'd like to begin with the Jungle Hunter Predator to kickstart all that toy hunting which I will be doing again for this year. May this figure be the perfect inspiration and symbol to my toy collecting hobby. Speaking of "inspiration", the Jungle Hunter is the one Predator figure to which inspiration was drawn to create all these NECA Predators. I finally got to assess this bad boy after almost a year of keeping it inside a box and I'm so happy to post it in this blog.

Just in case you don't know, this is the killer-E.T. which slaughtered Dutch's team of mercenaries (except Dutch) in the very first Predator movie. I actually never knew it was called the "Jungle Predator" not when I purchased this figure! So it was quite interesting how they come up with such a name. Maybe I guess this Predator do all its hunting and killing in the jungle- that's a simple way to explain.

Anyways, origins were made from this Predator figure. This is the body mold used for the Wasp Predator, the Big Red Predator and other Predators in this toyline.

When you take a close look, all these Predator figures are the same. The only differences are the paint applications, the accessories and sometimes, the head sculpts. Witness the vanilla-looking features as it has this light brownish skin with some dark (almost black) pigmentations and it's signature bio mask. The bio mask and armour got some gunmetal paint applied to it in addition to being reflective. Like many Predators, Jungle Hunter has its little trophies (or whatever they're called) strapped across his body as well as his loin cloth as a separate piece.

Being one of the earlier Predator figures released by NECA, the Jungle Hunter got a really good accessory. It has a plasma cannon that is removable and could slide smoothly through that slot over its shoulder making it easy to attach. Adding to its playability are retractable wrist blades that were housed to his right gauntlet.

The articulation on this figure is standard and like with all NECA Predators, not that greatly articulated. Its head doesn't move forward or back that far but can rotate sideways. It got rotation at the elbows along with its single joints which I despise the most, and no bicep rotation. It got waist swivel and T-joints at the hips but no thigh rotation. Double-joints to the knees, hinges to the ankles which allow to bend and rotate... and pivot are also incorporated.

When it comes to recommendations, there is no need to put too many words for you to get the iconic Jungle Hunter. It is the Predator that every collector of these toys and fan of the movie should have.