Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days of Halloween: Toy Review – Predator SDCC 2012 Exclusive Stealth Jungle Hunter By NECA

Side Note: I apologize for this guy not having my new and improved Halloween background but I opened him up a while ago and just couldn’t find the right spot to put his review in.

Well, shit. I blew my intro for this one yesterday.

This figure was an Exclusive for the 2012 San Diego Comic Con, and not one I planned on getting. Every year I make my list of SDCC Exclusives I have to have and figure out how much I am willing to pay. After that comes the torturous process of figuring out which figures I will be able to buy for regular retail price from the company’s web store, which ones I will have to pay extra to buy from a third party online retailer, which ones I will have to hope to find at cons, and which ones I may as well give up on.

This Predator was not on my list. But Toys R Us did something miraculous with their Exclusive items – not only did they make them readily available on ToysRUs.com, they sold many of them in their brick-and-mortar retail locations. One day when I was in one of the stores buying the TRU Exclusive (but not SDCC) Glow-In-The-Dark RoboCop I saw this clear Predator right next to Officer Murphy on the pegs. They both looked great and I was just sort of in the mood to buy gimmicky figures. Translucence and phosphorescence are two things that make toys double-extra-cool to me. I couldn’t resist.

First Glance: Well… it’s clear. I do kind of wish they had come up with something other than white string for his skull necklaces. Otherwise he’s pretty cool.

Articulation: This Predator has what is already an outdated style of articulation thanks to NECA’s constantly-evolving style. It certainly isn’t bad, but the new ones are way better. We’ll get to those.

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Wrists – ball joints
Waist – swivel
Hips – swivel
Thighs – swivel
Knees – swivel/pivot
Ankles – ball joints

The hands and feet have a lot of mobility.
The head movement is somewhat restricted by the dreadlocks, but not as much as you might think. The dreads are molded out of a very soft but durable material and are each individual pieces rather than all one sculpt so they can be moved around a lot but don’t appear to be suffering from any wear.
The fact that the hips sport a basic angled swivel is a bit odd, but it’s fine. With the thigh swivels placed just below the hips, there is enough posability. This figure is more about the look than any functionality and it really isn’t lacking in either department.
All of the joint son mine move freely and are snug. Obviously there’s no paint gumming anything up.

Sculpt: Oddly this is the first Predator I've bought that was made by NECA, so I'm not entirely sure how standard the sculpt is. But it's a great one. The size and shape of the body is great – there's a certain posture this figure has beyond simple articulation. It looks good. The meshy armor stuff that looks like fishnet is incredibly well-represented. Obviously everything on this figure is part of the sculpt, but it's nice to know that that stuff wouldn't just be painted on.
There are a few armor pieces that look great. He has calf, thigh, and groin armor. The knee plates and thigh pieces are a softer plastic so they don't interfere with articulation. Each of these pieces is firmly attached. I mention this because I was a bit worried about them just pulling off during movement or posing. Doesn't seem like it'll be a problem.
The head is masked, as is appropriate for a cloaked Predator. The mask looks great and the dreadlocks are absolutely amazing. As I mentioned above, each is an individual sculpt and they just look outstanding.
The forearms each have a piece of sculpted technology. The right one features the blade gauntlet we all know and love. It looks awesome and has functionality clearly meant to please collectors. Rather than having a tab or something sticking out of the top and ruining the aesthetics, the dual blades are designed to simply be pulled in and out of the casing. They're not the sturdiest things ever, but as long as you don't abuse them they should be fine. The left arm sports the PDA-type thing the Predators use to remote control their craft and blow the shit out of places if they're dying.
The upper body features some more pieces of tech and armor. There are sculpted shoulder plates that look very good and more of the sculpted fishnet stuff.

Coloring: The Predator is molded from a firm, clear plastic. The plastic used is particularly clean and translucent. You can see through it fairly well, or at least well enough to represent the cloaked Predator as seen in the movies.

Flair: There is a harness with a piece of armor attached to the left side of the chest. This is where the shoulder cannon housing clips on. 
There are also three trophy necklaces that are partially sculpted pieces and partially white string. I'm not crazy about the white string. The sculpted parts look great and have a lot of detailing, but the white string is just cheap-looking. I don't know that having clear molded plastic would be the answer, as that wouldn't hang well, but the two larger pieces don't hang all that well anyway.

Accessories: The backpack housing for the shoulder-mounted laser cannon is a separate, removable piece. It clips fairly securely onto the harness and stays in place well. 
The housing and... uh... power supply or whatever look awesome. I like how giant and chunky the thing is, there's a ton of detail, and the scale pieces towards the top look great. I know that's all courtesy of the movie's design department, but NECA executed the piece very well. 
The cannon itself is pretty flimsy. It won't actually break, as it is the sort of piece that is designed to pop off before it does. It folds down, but not all that effectively. Still, it looks good and is very mobile.

Packaging: (That picture sucks, but Photobucket is being an absolute bitch again) Hooray! It's not a clamshell. Standard blister card with some nice graphics. If I'm being completely honest, the blister card does look a little cheap next to all of the other NECA products that come in clamshells, but I still prefer it. Of course, I open everything anyway.

Value: I paid $14.99 for this one. Considering the sculpt and quality of the figure it's worth it. Especially with the completely artificial consideration that it's an Exclusive. 

Overall: I find this one totally worth while. I tend to leave Exclusives and variants in the packaging, but I liked this guy so much I had to open him. A few minor gripes aside, He's great.

4 out of 5

I can't say this one is a must-have. If you want a clear Predator, get him. He's likely the best one we'll see. You can still get him at the Toys R Us website.

Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween

If you’re new here or haven’t been keeping up, this is where I give my thoughts on SyFy’s “31 days of Halloween” programming. Obviously I haven’t seen everything I’ll be talking about, but that’s kind of what the internet is all about – talking out of your ass. 

Each day I will cover the schedule from the time my post goes live (usually 11 AM) through the following 24 hours. On Fridays I will cover the whole weekend, which is a huge pain in the ass but also kind of fun.


11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Monster Man – I had to do a little research here, but I found out that the Monster Man himself – Cleve Hall – has what I consider to be a heck of a resume. He worked on Metalstorm, Ghoulies, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and Troll (the second scariest movie I have ever seen and one that is for some reason less famous than Troll 2, which is not even a sequel). He has also worked with KISS, Insane Clown Posse, and Alice Cooper. These things don’t necessarily make his show any better – it’s already pretty entertaining – but it does give me a greater appreciation for the guy. Even if he is still creepy as heck.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 4
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Hot Set – I’ve only seen one episode of this one so far because I forgot to program the DVR to record it. But I really liked the one I watched. This is pretty much the same thing as Face Off (which I love), but with sets. Check it out.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 3
3:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Face Off – This is a great opportunity to catch up on a great show. They’re replaying the third season thus far, which has been very good. This year’s big gimmick is that the audience gets to vote on the winner. I suppose I should think that is pretty neat, but I never watch this show – or any other, really – live. But I’m pretty sure Roy should win. The 9-10 PM episode is a new one called “Monster Twist” and I hope it’s about a monster-themed high school prom.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 4
10:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Hot Set – A new episode of the first season of the show. This one is called “Android Bordello” , which I think sounds great and reminds me of a “Would You Rather” I once presented:
Would you rather own a sex robot that could look like anybody you want and would do anything you want but that you couldn’t show to anybody else or have guaranteed employment for at least your current income level for as long as you want it?
I would say leave your answer in the comments, but I know Blogger makes that a pain.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 3
11:00 PM – 12:00 AM – Face Off – A repeat of the 9 PM episode.
Halloween score – 4 (but potentially a “5” depending on what Monster Twist means)
Quality score – 4


12:00 AM – 1:00 AM – Hot Set – A repeat of the 10 PM episode.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 3
1:00 AM – 3:00 AM – The Prophecy – YES. This is the movie that made me a fan of Christopher Walken. I mean, I had seen him in stuff before, but for me it takes somebody starring in a genre piece for them to really be a big deal. Walken’s portrayal of Gabriel set the standard for angels in movies. Not to mention that this movie also stars Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortenson, and one of my personal favorite actors of all time Elias Koteas. This is some hot shit.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 5
3:00 AM – 5:00 AM – The Prophecy: Uprising – SyFy – don’t you play coy. You’re obviously skipping over the second and third installments of The Prophecy franchise so you could bring me the real good stuff. You know what I’m talking about. This one brings out the Big Guns with Sean Pertwee (son of the third Doctor), Jason London (one of the nationally treasured London twins – I think the better-known one), and Doug “Pinhead” Bradley. But oh, baby. Kari Wuhrer. Not one more word needs to be said.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 12 (+9 for WUHRER)
5:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Paid Programming – Show some support for SyFy’s Original Programming and watch a few minutes of creepy old men extolling the virtues of penis pumps.
Halloween score – 1
Quality score – 5 (for paying the bills)
8:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Ghost Hunters – In case you don’t know how I feel about Ghost Hunters, let me explain: I fucking hate Ghost Hunters. Sorry. I just do. I don’t hate the concept of the show. I totally understand a bunch of guys my age who really, really loved Ghostbusters and decided to try and do that for a living. And the fact that they are doing that for a living is all kinds of awesome. I don’t dislike the guys on the show themselves. Good for them. I just think the show is a whole bunch of stupid. It’s like fucking for eight years and never having an orgasm. Sure, it was fun at first. But geez.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 1

Come back tomorrow for… something. I’m not sure yet. But I guarantee there will be more SyFy coverage because I’m getting ready to write it now!


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