Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Review: Predator series 9

I love a love-hate relationship with NECA. They produce a lot of really great looking figures from franchises that I really love, however more than once I've had arms snap off for no reason, or - in the case of the Alien figure from a few years ago - have pretty much the entire figure crumble to pieces.

A few months ago I picked up the first series of Prometheus figures. I know what you're thinking: Prometheus sucked. Yes, it was a bit of a disappointment on first viewing, but on second viewing... Actually I haven't been able to give it a second chance because for some reason the disc isn't in its blu-ray box. But anyway, the first couple of figures in the wave were of the engineers and you can pretend they're just Alien figures.

Before this turns into a Promethus review, I'll get to the point and say that I found the figures to be really well made; a vast improvement, quality wise, of things previously coming from the company.

So I picked up the Predator series 9, being sold at a heck of a lower price than anywhere else (that I can find) at Kapow Toys. Plus, since I picked these up at Auto Assembly, there was no postage cost!

Series 9 comprises of 3 figures - Jungle Encounter Dutch, Jungle Disguise Dutch (aka 'Poo Dutch') and Water Emergence Predator.

Jungle Encounter Dutch

Along with those in series 8, NECA have now released Dutch in pretty much every possible variation they can from the film (except 'Predator vision' which is coming!). Jungle Encounter has him bare-chested, apart from his waistcoat (which will have a more macho name, but I like the idea of Dutch in a fancy suit). The face sculpt is a very good likeness of Arnie and indeed the entire figure looks really nice with some good detailing. He comes with 2 guns and a knife. Sadly, the knife can't be held at all in either of his hands, but you can get some good poses with the guns.

I've been doing some semi-rough posing to test the strength of the joints and, so far at least, I have no cause for concern about anything snapping off. My bigger concern is the plastic used for his fleshy parts: it's a bit too shiny. I suppose you could claim it's to represent sweat, but something more matt would have been preferable.

Jungle Disguise Dutch

You can never have enough Arnie! Jungle Disguise represents Dutch as he covered himself in mud to hide his body heat in the film. For a variant which NECA could simply have just painted an existing figure brown, there's quite a lot of new tooling. The upper arms, chest and even the head are all new and sculpted to show lumps of mud and bits of vegetation sticking to Dutch. Combine that with a paintjob of various hues of brown, and bits of green showing through from his clothes underneath and it looks really, really good. Even if it does look a bit like he's covered in poo. But at least its not shiny poo.

Dutch comes with a flaming torch, spear, bow and various arrows - almost all of which he can hold at once, which is great. As much as I love getting a lot of accessories with toys, generally most of them have to live their life stored away.

Water Emergence Predator

Completely transparent 'cloaked' Predators have been produced for years, but Water Emergence looks ten times cooler. While made of transparent plastic, the Predator has some black shading which shows all the detail and blue electrical lines to represent his failing cloaking system. It looks fantastic.

Crystal clear plastic has a tendency to be very brittle, but the majority of this figure is of a softer slightly rubbery plastic. Due to the rubbery nature, the shoulder cannon doesn't clip in quite as tightly as other Predator figures and it's very easy to knock off. I could well be wrong, but I think the Predator dumps his cannon at around this stage in the film anyway.

As a repaint, he retains all the articulation from previous uses of the mould. You can get some really great looking poses out of him, although similar to the other Predator figures I have, the hip joints are a little loose and you have to balance him right to stop his top half folding over.

Overall this is a great set of figures. Jungle Disguise and Water Emergence are must-haves for any Predator fan, but I suspect existing collectors may not be so keen on Jungle Encounter Dutch due to two similar versions of Dutch appearing in series 8.

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