SDCC is in full swing, and if you want to see my commentary on it, check out Poe Ghostal! In the meantime, here’s another review of a figure that is just now showing up in stores!
Predator is sort of like a striptease for Arnold Schwarzenegger. He starts out with a t-shirt, vest, and jacket… then loses the jacket. Then the shirt. Then the vest. And finally, shirtless and sweaty, he covers himself in mud. Mmm-mmm! Also he eventually loses the mud, and we’re getting a figure of THAT later (thanks, NECA). It’s kind of amazing how much these guy movies focus on men’s physiques…
Anyway, toward the end of the movie, Dutch realized that the Predator can only see in heat vision, and by covering himself in cold mud, he could block his heat signature. They tested this on Mythbusters, and it turns out that it would work… for about five minutes, until your body heats up the mud. So either Arnie was reapplying mud constantly in the final fight scene, or we can just chalk it up to suspension of disbelief. For what it’s worth, he DID get caught. So, let’s take a look at Muddy Dutch, and see if we want a dirty, dirty version of Arnold Schwarzenegger on our toy shelf!
Like all Predator figures, Dutch comes in a big blister pack with info on the character, some artwork, and photos of other figures in this release wave. I’ve got no complaints, and there is nothing particularly unique about this one. Most of his weapons are stored in a little tray behind the figure, so you actually can’t see them all without looking closely. But trust me, they’re there.
NECA’s Arnold Schwarzenegger has been described as a “Hot Toys sculpt at half the size and 1/10th the price.” And I can’t disagree. Normal Arnold is photo-perfect, and Muddy Arnold is… also photo-perfect. This thing is insane. First off, he re-uses regular Dutch’s legs, waist, and forearms, but the rest is new. Dutch’s face, torso, and upper arms are covered in mud and leaves, so it shows in the texturing – from a distance, it looks like he’s got a skin disease! The leaves seem a little exagerrated, but that’s probably on purpose so it doesn’t actually resemble diseased flesh. It’s incredibly-detailed texturing, and I want to draw your attention to the face. Even with the mud and its texture, this is unmistakeabley Governor Schwarzenegger. He’s got a creepy “I’m going to kill you” eyes, and… well, he just might. If you don’t hear from me, you know what happened.
Anyway, this isn’t just a repaint – he’s textured to appear caked in mud and leaves, and it works. It works really well, with the type of detailing that makes this toy look a lot more expensive than it is.
But what would a good sculpt be without paint, right? Well, this figure is brown. Very brown. It’s not blackface (thankfully), but it sure is brown. Don’t be mistaken, though – Dutch has several layers of brown, not just a flat color. It ranges from nearly-greenish to slightly-reddish, and helps the figure look a lot more textured. I don’t know how they did it, but I’d swear that this was actual mud. It actually made it harder to clean Dutch off after these photoshoots, because I did get some mud on him by accident.
The facial paint is impressive – aside from the way the mud interacts with his hair color, Dutch has very clear, piercing eyes (all the better to be creepy), which stand out from all that brown. He’s also got a trickle of blood from his mouth, which is film-accurate after he dodged the first plasma shot from the Predator. Dutch fell kind of hard, you see. And the final thing of note are the legs – at their base, they are painted with the same camo pattern as regular Dutch, only now they have a coating of muddy brown. And it LOOKS like real mud! The original colors peek through, but you can just see the dirt and grime all over his pants, and it looks more realistic than I could have ever imagined. The detailing on those pants is seriously one of the greatest feats in toy paint that I have ever seen!
Muddy Dutch is articulated exactly the same as Regular Dutch. He has a ball-jointed head, wrists, ankles, and ab crunch, and ball-and-socket shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. The dude is flexible, and can take just about any pose you need. Want him sneaking up on a Predator? Got it! Flattened against some mud? Easy! Hugging a tree? Just fine! Actually, he hugged a tree like that in the movie… But anyway! His hip has soft rubber over it, so the sculpt doesn’t get in the way of his articulation. It’s great, though mine has a tendency to saga little at the waistband, and get trapped in the right hip’s socket. It’s easy to fix, though, and this doesn’t seem to be a common issue.
Wow. Okay, see, they apparently decided to give Muddy Dutch every single item he used in the final scenes of the movie. By the time he figured out the mud thing, his guns were gone, and he had to improvise with nothing but a knife and some grenades. So what did he do? Ignoring the big log trap that won the fight for him, Diutch strung up a bow, carved some arrows, made a spear by tying his knife to a stick, folded his matches in a little leaf-baggie slung over his shoulder, used the bombs to make an explosive-tipped arrow and spear, and got that torch for the iconic “Calling out the Predator” scene. He had them all, and this toy’s got ’em! That little leaf pouch looks cool, and it’s a nice nod to what he did with his matches.
The torch is exactly what it looks like – a nice little torch with translucent flames. It catches light well, and can be held in either hand, though it’s a little better-off in his left. This is probably the piece that most people will use when displaying Dutch.
The bow is surprisingly awesome – aside from the detailed sculpt, its string is soft rubber, so it’s flexible! Though i feel kind of nervous bending or stretching it (just for these photos), I didn’t see any stress marks on the rubber after playing around with it. So make of that what you will, but Dutch can actually draw his bow. Fitting it in either hand is a little tricky, but doable. The three regular arrows were something that he had, but never got to use on the Predator because his plans kind of went awry. They look homemade (where did he get the arrowheads?), as is appropriate, and you can actually kinda-sorta knock them to his bow! Or at least they fit.
The explosive arrow can’t be knocked, and it is longer than the others – you get the picture that it would lack range and be harder to aim, but Arnold just launched it once in the Pred’s general direction. The bomb at the end looks great, and accurate to its two seconds on-screen.
Likewise, the explosive spear only got a moment to shine, and shine it did! This looks great, and Arnold is poseable enough to toss it just like he did at the beginning of that fight. It also looks enough like an unlit torch that you could use it in some dioramas, too!
And finally, we have the regular spear – just a stick with his knife tied to it. He made it, he really wanted to use it, and he wielded it while trying to sneak up on the Predator, but poor Dutch never got to use it. The whole fight went turnip-shaped for him just before he had that chance, but there’s this great shot of him crouched low, stalking through the jungle, holding his spear. And this accessory, like the torch, is probably going to show up in a lot of displays.
You’re getting a Hot Toys-esque sculpt at about half the size, and with more accessories than any other Predatore figure, for… $17-$20. A MOTUC figure will have more reused parts, fewer accessories, and huge quality control issues, and still cost $40. Thanks, NECA! It’s like you guys are making toys just to please me!
Watch out for the tiny rubber strings on his bow and bag of matches. Also, check the rubber on his pants, as I mentioned. But other than that? I can’t think of anything that could go wrong.
WHERE TO BUY:
Go to Toys R Us while you still can! You can order it from them, too. If not, then check every store – BBTS, Entertainment Earth, Urban Collector, eBay, Amazon… you know, the usual suspects. he should be available at TRU, though.
NECA finally got Arnie’s likeness for their Predator line, and they’ve gone all out. You have toys of Jacket Dutch, Shirt-And-Vest Dutch, Vest Dutch, Muddy Dutch, and they just announced Shirtless-And-Bloody Dutch and Tie-Dye-Thermal-vision Dutch. All that’s left is his polo shirt from the opening!
But this toy looks great, plays well, and comes with more accessories than a GI Joe. It’s one of the best of the year, easily – and the number of ways in which NECA has achieved that kind of thing this year alone really says something about the company. Good work!