Thursday, October 3, 2013

31 Days of Halloween: Creepy Toy Review Albino Predator (SDCC Exclusive) By NECA

I’ve been saving this review because not only is this guy a scary monster, he also basically looks like a Halloween variant of a Predator. Like Target does with Batman figures and stuff, except really nice.
This Predator is another one from the excellent fan film Batman: Dead End. I still can’t get over the fact that NECA is producing characters from a fucking fan film. And that 20th Century FOX is letting them. The mind boggles, especially considering all of the hilarious restraints other toy lines operate under. I’m not going to name any names because this is 31 Days of Halloween and we’re all here to have fun, right?
Except that this fella was a San Diego Comic Con Exclusive and those tend to be the exact opposite of fun. More along the lines of psychological torture. Especially when a character like this one is part of a group that has been available at retail. So you’ve already got Big Red and you know that other one is coming out soon (sorry – I can’t remember which one). But then this big, orangey asshole shows up as an Exclusive.
Fortunately, NECA was sort of reasonable about how they offered their 2013 SDCC stuff. They set up a retail site online to sell it all. The only thing was, they couldn’t go all out and be total nice guys about it. They had to release random offerings at random times throughout Comic Con. So if you wanted, say, this Predator and the video game Jason Voorhees there was a good chance they would be offered at separate times (they initially were) and you were going to have to pay for shipping for both rather than just ordering them together and saving. I’m sick to death of this sort of thing because of Matty, so I just passed on Jason. No way was I going to pay double shipping for what is pretty much just a repaint.
As far as this Albino goes, I had to have him. Was he worth it?
First Glance: This is the most distinctive-looking Predator I have bought yet, even over Big Red. The colors are very cool and I love the markings. I am a little surprised that he doesn’t come with a single accessory. C’mon, NECA.
Articulation: The Albino has the fanciest, newest and most improved articulation of the series (as of right now, anyway).
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joints
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Wrists – ball pegs
Waist – ball joint
Hips – ball joints
Thighs – swivels
Knees – double pivots
Ankles – ball pegs
NECA is so close to producing perfect Predators (say that five times fast). If they could just make an ankle that doesn’t suck so these guys could squat properly I’d be happy. Until I thought of something else they should be able to do. Like move their shoulders under the armor and cannon.
As always, you’d think that the sculpted dreadlocks would limit the posability of the figure’s head, but they don’t. Not very much, anyway. You can get a whole lot of poses out of this thing.
The shoulders are both limited by the armor on them, but I think the only way to fix that would be to make the armor look shitty. And I’d rather have great-looking armor than a Predator that can hug or whatever it is I think those shoulders should be able to do.
I don’t like the ball pegs that NECA uses for the hands and feet. They have limited posability and the extremities just pop off sometimes. I think the only way they could sell me on these is to include alternate feet posed to squat. Actually, that might be an ingenious idea. Call me, Randy.
This is rarely, if ever, an issue with NECA products, but all of the joints on my figure are tight and can move freely. The Albino can hold a pose and everything works as well as it was designed to.
Sculpt: Without all of the Predators sitting in front of me I can’t say for sure, but I’d bet money this is a repainted head. I don’t have a problem with that, as it is a great sculpt and the deco is unique enough to set it apart, even if you were to put the original figure right next to this one. Also, it’s a character you see for a few seconds in a fan film. How perfect does it need to be, really? As always this is a fantastically detailed head. The eyes, jaws, and crown are all distinct, with no shortcuts. The dreadlocks are a separately sculpted, softer plastic. They can be pushed around to facilitate posing the head and are sturdy enough to take it.
The torso and legs are covered with the distinctive netting you see on every Predator. It is sculpted onto the figure and looks great. Each line is individually done and the sculpt even covers the joints so that the figure still looks good when posed.
The armor sculpted onto the figure – the left shoulder, forearms, knees, and calves – looks detailed and worn. The parts with tech and mechanics look complicated and way too involved for me to understand. The parts that are pure armor are pitted and cracked. It all looks aged and battle-worn, but not in a cheesy “Battle Damaged” way. 
Like most Predators, Albino has a pair of blades that can be extended from his right gauntlet. They’re sturdier than they look and function well without the ugly tab that McFarlane’s early figures had.
The hands look great. As always I am pleased that NECA has sculpted individual fingers rather than clumping them up. The left hand is in the same splayed-out pose we’ve seen a lot from this line, but the right is in a more relaxed pose that could either be neutral or grasping something. I dig it. It’s a nice change from the matching “BOO” hands we usually get.
The feet are big and clumpy. He has little armored flip flops on. I have never mentioned this before, but I am not a fan of the Predators’ footwear.
Coloring: As I mentioned above, this guy is very distinctive. While Big Red stands out for his red armor, Albino has a unique skin coloration. The pale base color isn’t actually all that different from other Predators, but the orange and black markings are. It’s a great combination of colors and NECA applied the patterns nicely. I like that the black is confined to the upper body. It makes it more interesting somehow.
The face is mostly white, with some orange around the top and a nice black mark. The mouth has the same ghastly, pinkish interior as other Predators; as well as the ivory teeth. The eyes are distinctive with their tightly placed and centered red irises. Those were a nice touch.
The armor has a paint job to match the pitted and worn sculpt. The metallic coppery color is accentuated with a dark wash that really brings out all the wild sculpted details. While this copper is pretty much the standard color for the Predators, it contrasts Albino particularly nicely.
Flair: I believe the only uniquely sculpted part of this guy is the torso armor. It’s just a small piece that fits over the top of the chest and lacks the cannon plug-in of the most of the rest of the line. It looks good and actually makes this guy seem like more of a badass. He don’t need no stinkin’ shoulder cannon.
Albino has the same little skirt/armor codpiece combo that several of the other releases have. It’s made of a soft plastic and does a good job of covering the hip joints without interfering with movement.
Accessories:  have enough faith in NECA to believe that the complete lack of accessories is accurate, but c'mon. Nothing? Really? Pretty lame. 
Packaging: Albino came on the same sort of blister card that the rest of the line has. Blister cards are the best. The picture on it is a little ugly, but that’s mainly due to the character being from a fan film. I don’t care because this is all going in the trash. Oh, and there’s an “SDCC Exclusive” sticker on there as well.
The bio on the back doesn’t reveal much (other than the fact that Albino didn;t need to come with accessories), but that’s because there’s not much to be revealed. Not until Dark Horse Comics publishes Untold Tales of the Albino Predator.
And I do love it when companies actually credit their teams.
Value: I lost my receipt, but I do believe this guy was $24.99 plus about eight dollars shipping for a grand total of around thirty-three bucks. On the one hand I want to say that there’s no way he’s worth that, but on the other ol’ Albino here is much nicer than any Masters of the Universe Classics figure and that’s about what I pay for them. I suppose if you compare him to that line he’s a good value. If you compare him to anything else NECA has released, though, he simply isn’t worth it.
Overall: I honestly can’t recommend this one. Even with his unique look, the complete lack of accessories or significant new parts makes him kind of disappointing. I honestly don’t think I would have bought him if I had seen him for $17.99 at retail. He’s well executed, but simply not very exciting.
3 out of 5
If you really need this one, you’re probably going to pay a premium. He was selling for over fifty bucks on eBay last I looked. Yikes!
Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween
I’m changing the format a bit this year in order to more accurately portray SyFy’s schedule and also to preserve my sanity. I had the genius idea to cut and paste the schedule directly from SyFy’s page rather than typing it out in my own format. This has saved me an awful lot of time and also means that individual episodes are listed rather than blocks of programming like previous years. So what I’m going to do is provide commentary where I feel it is needed rather than posting next to every single entry. Don’t worry – you’re getting the same amount of hilarious, then kind of funny, then labored, then thoroughly disenchanted Phantom content. Just in a different way.
Like last year, I am covering the programming from the time this posts until the time of the next post. That means that on Fridays you are going to be treated to a shit-ton of this stuff.
Let’s do it!
Oct 3 11:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Flu Bird Horror
This seems like an awkward title to me. I mean, beyond the fact that the idea of a movie about the bird flu is just silly. Or maybe this is about the original bird that carried the Avian Flu. The Patient Zero bird. Or “Flu Bird”, as it were. I don’t know, but I sure am curious. Probably not curious enough to wake up at eleven AM while I’m working nights, but mildly curious.
Oct 3 01:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Growth
This, on the other hand, is an absolutely horrifying title. My own personal fears would suggest to me that the movie is about some sort of tumor or wart or something that grows out of control on an individual and eventually eats the neighborhood. I had this recurring dream when I was a teenager about mushrooms growing out of all of the joints on my body – starting with my hands. They were rooted very deep and I could feel them in between my joints and twining around my bones. I could pull the smaller ones out with a bit of pain, but the larger ones were too firmly rooted. This dream haunted me for a year or so. Then one evening I was hanging out with a friend of mine who had been having the same dream. I never told anybody about that dream because it was too freaky and weird.
I’m sure this movie is just about overgrown rats or something.
Oct 3 03:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Primal
I think this is the one about the giant crocodile in Australia. I’ve never seen it, which is weird because I fucking love Alligator – that movie about the giant alligator in the New York sewers. I guess I’d rather see New Yorkers get eaten than Australians.
Oct 3 05:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Stake Land
This is an excellent movie about post-apocalyptic vampires starring the mega-hot Danielle Harris. Watch it. And it’s not just good because she’s hot. It’s actually just really good.
Oct 3 07:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Underworld: Evolution
Okay, so the first two Underworld movies were really good. Or I really liked them, anyway. They worked well as a joined narrative and looked amazing. Then the third one came out and it was a wretched piece of crap. I couldn’t even get through the whole thing. This is the fourth one, which I have heard mixed reviews about but have not watched yet. Maybe this is my year. Maybe SyFy is the place. We’ll see.
Oct 3 09:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Resident Evil: Afterlife
I love the Resident Evil movies. Needless Things’ Lead Horror Reporter Beth may or may not agree with me. All I know is she’s writing a piece about them for 31 Days of Halloween and we’re all going to have fun reading it. That lady has quite a way with words.
Oct 3 11:00 PM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie Underworld: Evolution
Oct 3 01:00 AM 31 Days Of Halloween Movie The Ferryman
The guy drives a boat. With a pole. How good could this be? I’m not saying I want an animate skeleton in a bathrobe chasing me or anything, but that’s not even his job. It seems to me that Charon is pretty laid back. Of course, this might be about some homicidal guy who pilots a ferry in Michigan or something. They have ferries in Michigan, right?
Oct 3 03:00 AM Syfy Original Movie Dark Relic
This one is about some knights that release a demon from a can or something. Definitely pushing the boundaries of what can be considered Halloweeny. But I’d prefer SyFy use some lighter titles at the beginning of the month as opposed to blowing their load now and sticking crap like this on in the last days before Halloween. Because goodness knows they never repeat programming in October.
Oct 3 05:00 AM Ghost Whisperer Haunted Hero
Every year I have made it clear how I feel about Jennifer Love Hewitt and her excellent show. And she still isn’t following me on Twitter. I hate Twitter.
Oct 4 06:00 AM Paid Programming
Oct 4 08:00 AM Forever Knight Dark Knight - Part 1
Oct 4 09:00 AM Forever Knight Dark Knight - Part 2
Oct 4 10:00 AM Forever Knight For I Have Sinned
If memory serves – which it should; I was just writing about this last year because SyFy shows it every year – this is about a vampire detective. Mrs. Troublemaker tells me it’s actually a pretty good show, but she watches Vampire Diaries and is way more excited about that spinoff show than she is about… well, pretty much anything else.
I just came up with another post for the month. I’m gonna do a review of that dumb show. So stay tuned for that.

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