Obviously I am a huge fan of Predator. You need only to look back at the Predator Week I did recently for no reason whatsoever to know that. The combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and that amazing Stan Winston creature are just too awesome to be denied.
NECA has had the license to make various Predator creatures for a few years now, but only this year have they been able to produce the next best thing to an actual Predator – an action figure of Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer that features Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness. And while I have been trying to get away from using too much profanity here on Needless Things, NECA did not fuck around on this one.
When I found this series in Toys R Us I picked up the Predator and this Dutch for me and a Predator and shirtless Dutch for Monkey. We both agree that we should have just gotten an entire set. I am envious of his shirtless version and he wishes he had my cigar one. And that’s the main reason I got the one I did – the cigar.
First Glance: It looks like this might be the best human action figure NECA has released. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing David from the Prometheus line yet (mostly because I was hugely disappointed when I found out we weren’t getting Elizabeth Shaw and the geologist guy), but that is an amazing figure. Dutch might be better. And yes – I know that David is not human. You know what I mean.
Articulation: Dutch is beautifully articulated, with some of the most functional and least obtrusive joints I have seen at this scale. Every single release from NECA shows learning and growth in this department.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Wrists – ball peg
Abdomen – ball joint
Hips – ball joint w/ swivel
Knees – swivel/pivot
Ankles – swivel/pivot
I usually try to start with the head and work my way down, but this guy’s feet are outstanding. NECA has created a joint that is tremendously functional and also blends into the sculpt – not an easy task when you’re looking at a combat boot with laces and multiple textures. With the combination of a swivel and a pivot, this joint has basically the same range as a human ankle. It’s amazing to sit and play with it.
The knees look a bit odd with the triangle of plastic overlapping the top of the shin, but it actually ends up working really well. The triangle sort of looks like folds in the fabric and is much better than a visible joint. The joint itself has a great range.
The hips are the only joints I’m not 100% satisfied with, and that’s just because I’m picky and hips are darned tough to do just right. The combination of ball and swivel – actually very similar to the Four Horsemen’s Masters of the Universe Classics design – works extremely well with the right sort of covering on the crotch to hide the joint. The only problem is you just can’t completely hide that joint and have it remain functional. Many poses expose the joint, which wouldn’t be such a big deal except for the fact that it is unpainted plastic and stands out against the surrounding camouflage. I am making a much bigger deal of this than it is.
Dutch has the abdominal ball (or rocker – I’m not sure) joint rather than any waist articulation and I approve of this. Figures have a much more human profile without a waist swivel and the abdominal joint just works better.
The shoulders and arms have a very good range of motion for a muscular, shirted figure. The bulk of the sculpt doesn’t reduce the range of motion very much. As a matter of fact, Dutch has deeper elbow pivots than a lot of figures I own. The hands have a much better range of motion than other figures with the same method of articulation.
The head has a great range of motion while still maintaining a subtle seam. I mean, it’s there and al, but it isn’t a big honkin’ gap like many lines have.
All of the joints are tight and functional and the figure is balanced well, too. It had no trouble holding most of the poses I tried out.
Sculpt: Dutch is jam-packed with amazing detail. From the head to the boots, this figure is a precise – and tiny – recreation of the look from the movie.
The head sculpt is fantastic, and one of the best NECA has produced. The likeness is unmistakably Schwarzenegger and features sculpted eyebrows and stubble. These are important things, as strictly painted-on facial hair can ruin an otherwise good figure. The hair looks great and features very slight irregularity in the lines so as not to appear too artificial.
The torso is covered by a shirt piece, which I’ll get into in a minute.
The arms are sleeves to go with the shirt piece. The folds and wrinkles look great and the thickness of the limbs is good. They look muscular but aren’t so bulky that they can’t hang normally or be posed. I definitely prefer this elbow joint over a bicep cut. Not only do bicep cuts usually mess up a figure’s profile, they just aren’t as useful as a well done swivel at the top of an elbow. Apparently watches are the hot thing in action figures nowadays, because just like The Expendables, Dutch has a detailed and accurate watch. Okay, his looks a lot better than the Expendables’.
The hands look fantastic. The fingerless gloves are highly detailed and look broken-in and real.
The trousers are pretty much your regular cargo-style fatigues and they look very good. Like I said above, the knee joints are a bit odd, but they work well.
The feet are paratrooper boots (right?) that have an immense amount of detail and look worn.
Coloring: I’ve given NECA some grief in the past for the quality of the paint apps on the faces of their figures. I think the best one I’ve seen has been “okay”. I’ve got a number of derpy NECA figures on the shelf. But Dutch is different. As soon as I looked at this figure I wondered if NECA had some new process in place for facial paint apps, because this one looks fantastic. The main thing is that the eyes are positioned in a very specific way and are perfectly even and centered (well, off-centered; but they are supposed to be). But in addition to that the hair, eyebrows, stubble and dirt smudges just look so much more subtle and realistic than NECA has managed in the past.
The coloration of the visible skin on this figure is worth noting, as well. I don’t know what magical new material NECA is using to make their figures, but the skin is really looking like skin.
The shirt and vest look very good. Both have a lived-in look and all of the separate colors are well placed. The washes are used very well.
The camouflage on the trousers is fantastic and one of the best camo jobs I’ve seen on a figure. I think part of the reason it’s so successful is that all of the colors are paint. None of them are just the exposed plastic, so everything has the same texture.
The boots and gloves impressed me the most after the head. The washes and coloring just look great.
Flair: This figure has a soft plastic shirt over what I assume to be the same torso as the shirtless Dutch. Like most of the parts of this figure, this is one of the best examples of this technique I have seen. There are actually two pieces to this – the undershirt and the button-up blouse with the vest. The arm holes are very snug around the shoulders so that you cannot see the torso underneath. Sometimes this kind of piece can leave exposed belly no matter what you do – I have a few NECA and Matty figures with the problem – but Dutch’s shirt matches up with the tops of his trousers very well.
The crotch piece is a soft plastic designed to cover the hip joints and is probably the best version of this technique I have seen to date.
The cut, material, and paint on both of the above pieces make them nearly indistinguishable from the plastic of the rest of the figure.
Dutch also has a web belt and some holsters. The web belt and attached pistol holster and knife sheath are a very soft – but sturdy – plastic. There is a ton of detail on these and they can be adjusted. Mine was off center and it was no problem to twist it to the right a bit. The plastic is light enough that the hanging pieces hang properly even without the accessories in them. Speaking of which – the accessories fit perfectly with no problem. The strap on the pistol holster is easy to fasten and stays in place. The painted detail on these pieces is tremendous.
The sheath on his right leg for the machete is a more solid plastic and is just as detailed as the other holsters. The machete fits in perfectly.
Accessories: Dutch comes with an M-16, a pistol, a machete, and a knife. These are all rigid plastic – not rubber or some soft garbage that warps in the package. Each of the pieces features an excellent paint job with more detail than I would normally expect from this scale.
The M-16, in particular, is impressive. The strap is actually a separate piece rather than being attached to the rifle. It’s a soft rubber that almost behaves like a fabric.
The figure can hold the rifle in a few different ways and it hangs well enough over its shoulder. The pistol and the machete also fit into Dutch’s hands quite well, but the smaller knife is kind of out of luck. You can gingerly set it in a hand, but it isn’t staying there. The hilt is just too small.
Packaging: Phantom’s favorite – a simple blister card. The art is nice and eye-catching and is specifically reminiscent of Predator.
Like most NECA releases, this one features credits for the artists that worked on the figure.
Value: $17.99 is a bargain. I feel like Dutch is one of the best deals I have gotten on a figure lately. As a matter of fact, I have been compelled to put together a new post on this topic. More on that soon…
Overall: NECA is on a roll with must-have releases. I can’t imagine anybody not wanting an action figure of Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a matter of fact, if you don’t want a figure of Arnold Schwarzenegger I’m pretty sure we can’t be pals.
Anyway, this is an amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger action figure.
5 out of 5
It is a travesty that NECA isn’t releasing Jesse Ventura, Sonny Landham, or any of the other guys. Not even Carl Weathers! They did a Carl Weathers in their Rocky line, man! I understand those licenses don’t necessarily cross, but c’mon.
On a related note, I am going to take this opportunity to urge NECA to pursue the Running Man license and produce 3 ¾” scale figures with vehicles and playsets.