It’s hard to design a convention exclusive toy. You have to make something that collectors want, but that they don’t NEED. You want the figure to be really desirable, but not so much that it punishes people who can’t make it to the convention. For the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, NECA tried to hit that target with the Albino Predator. This guy made his only appearance in the fan film, Batman: Dead End… sort of. He been there at the end of the movie, or he actually might have just been an unused piece of concept art, although they designed a full costume for Dead End. It’s just hard to tell in the lighting. This means that, although he’s roughly the same as Big Red Predator released earlier this year, Albino shouldn’t seem as “necessary” for a set. But then, NECA is also releasing another Predator from Dead End later, so collectors might want to track this one down to finish up the team. I just think he looks cool. And since he’s new and such a blank slate, NECA has chosen to give him a full bio!
Devoid of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes, the Albino Predator lurks in the shadows. Enraged by the stigma of being ostracized for his genetic mutation, Albino’s propensity for violence is extreme even by Predator standards.
A member of Big Red’s clan, the Albino shuns most of the traditional Predator weaponry like plasma casters, throwing discs, swords, and spears. He prefers hand to hand combat and will literally tear his prey limb from limb. The wrist blades, his only weapon, are used to eviscerate his opponents.
Okay, A few things about the bio: If Albino did appear in Dead End, the only one he could possibly be was holding a spear… but we’ll ignore that, because he’s cool (Note: I have since been informed that he’s a different Predator, holds a scimitar, and you only see the back of his head for a second. You know, I’m just gonna stick with what I know). Also, Predators already have terrible eyesight, so just how blind is this poor guy? And finally, this pretty much confirms that Predator Dreadlocks are just really thick hairs, if you didn’t catch that from the fact that they sometimes have eyebrows, sideburns, and even chest hair. And I know there’s something you really, really want to ask me about Albino’s color, but I’ll cover that in the paint section. And the sooner we start the review proper, the sooner we can get there!
FYI, Big Red is the Samurai Predator we got back in January. You know, him. The groundbreaking fan film Predator. Now we have two! With a third promised!
Like all Predator figures, Albino comes in a big blister pack with info on the character, some artwork, and photos of other figures. This one has a little SDCC sticker on it, but that’s not the biggest thing. The back has Sandy Corolla’s original (and awesome) concept art, and the figures shown on the back are September’s Series 10! So not only do I have no complaints about the Albino’s packaging, but it’s really, honestly awesome. The sneak peak just settles it.
Albino is built entirely from the Jungle Hunter Body – in fact, with the exception of one armor piece, it’s a straight-up repaint! Thankfully, the Jungle Hunter body is pretty much perfect, although it does cause its own problem in one way: Albino doesn’t use a plasma caster, but his left shoulder clearly has an open slot for the cannon! Oh, well, it’s not like they were going to retool the part just for one convention exclusive, so I can’t even take points off for it. Just realize, the slot is there.
Albino’s new shoulder pad is small, looks good, but doesn’t stand out too much. It’s actually going to properly appear in Series 10, so this one is almost like a sneak preview of the part. It doesn’t quite cover the slot on the Predator’s shoulder for his original pad, but it’s hard to notice that unless you’re looking for it.
Other than all of that, the sculpt is perfect! The Predator is primarily made of white plastic, using that new not-quite-translucent effect that makes flesh look like flesh. It’s extremely detailed and textured, with the metal looking slightly weathered, his skin leathery and scaly, and his netting raised and distinct. The face is great, expression and all, and matches up nicely with the movie monster. Those nitpicks I had are just too tiny to care about, really.
“Wait,” you say. “If he’s an albino, shouldn’t he be all-white?”
Well no, not exactly. Albino reptiles and amphibians retain a lot of yellow coloring, because albinism is caused by a lack of melanin, and reptiles and amphibians have colors that come from other kinds of pigments. So it makes perfect sense for this guy to be part orange! Albino’s white sections are actually a really light off-white, which helps the “skin” illusion. The orange is bright, but also fairly fleshy, and his torso has a faint wash on it, too. I really love the wash, especially on its torso, as the overall effect isn’t just white and orange, it actually looks like an albino reptile! And yes, his eyes are red. Well, pink. Redder than the regular Jungle Hunter, at least.
Where his paint seems to falter is with another color – black. I understand how difficult it must be to paint that netting, but the Albino’s paint is just a little bit off – enough to make it look a little sloppy. This stings a little when it’s on an exclusive figure, even if nothing could have been done.
Albino is also covered in Tattoos – He’s got the Mike Tyson Special on his face, tribal tattoos over his right arm and chest, and some patterns… hrm. Down there. Peeking out from his loin cloth. If the tattoos look sloppy, it’s because of his lumpy skin – when you hold the figure in hand, the lines actually look really clean and crisp. I do ind myself wondering where they came from – Predators are already notorious for their horrible eyesight, and can barely make out surface detail if it isn’t warm. How could they see something like a tattoo? Wait, I’m overthinking this, and Albino looks cool.
Albino’s dreadlocks are also bone-white, and actually painted that way. This is odd, as you can also tell that the rubber is already colored the same, so there was no reason to add a layer of paint. But they do look good, and help complete the “Albino” look. His white and orange shades are offset by the rusty brown of his armor, and the whole package looks really cool and stands out on the shelf in a good way.
As can be expected, the Albino has the exact same articulation as any other Jungle Hunter Predator variant – ball-jointed head, hands, and feet, ball-and0socket shoulders, elbows, and hips, double-hinged knees, swivel waist, and extendable wrist claws. Something I did notice immediately is that the Albino’s hip joints seem more secure than on other Predators – it might just be because I’m careful with this guy, but his legs don’t feel as loose and floppy as they do on virtually every other Predator I own!
Predator Articulation isn’t as good as, say, a Marvel Legends figure (note the lack of an ab crunch), but the toy is surprisingly limber – note the ball-jointed head, which has a far better range of movement than most stuff from Mattel or Hasbro. The wrist blades might be an issue, as they could easily be too tight… or too loose. Now, that said, the wires on Albino’s right arm are going to restrict his movement a little, even though they are flexible. They can also pop out of their sockets, though gluing them back in should be really easy if it’s something you want to do.
But the main thing is, the Albino – like any other Predators using this body- can be posed just about any way that they could in the movie. The big test is always that “battle” stance – legs slightly bowed, arms out – and the second one is in some sort of murderin’ pose. He’s good for both, and then some!
And yes, in case you’re curious, he can be posed fighting Batman, or fighting with Batman, or whatever. The Movie Masters Dark Knight is a little small, but not TOO small to work. Actually, any 6″-ish batman should be fine, since your average Predator is like seven feet tall, and the toy is seven-eightish inches.
Remember how Albino’s bio calls him a berserker who never ever uses weapons? Well, that made NECA’s accessory budget a lot easier! Thing is, if he’s actually in Dead End, then he’s that unmasked Predator in the shadows… who holds a spear. They shoulda given him the spear. Wasp Predator is going to have the spear, though, so there’s that. His armor has an obvious slot for a plasma caster, but there aren’t any in the right color. His hands are open, with his right hand actually suitable for holding a smart disc… which he doesn’t have. He could have come with alternate hands (the way Big Red Did), like maybe a pair of closed fists or something. Or a first aid kit. Or a deck of playing cards, I don’t care.
I guess something Batman-related was out of the question, though a skull wearing the bat-cowl would have been awesome… but seriously, NECA could have included anything!
VALUE: * to ****
Because this is a convention exclusive, the pricing is gonna get all wonky. Albino Predator sold for $25 at the con, and $25+shipping from NECA’s web site. Right now, it’s too early after the convention to get a good picture, but I’ll assume that he’s going to settle at $30-$50 for a while. if you can get him anywhere near the original price, please do so – you won’t regret it. If you pay $50 for him, then you’re obviously a completist and an uber-fan, so you still won’t regret it. Sure, it’s more than you pay for a Predator at retail, but con exclusives are always inflated.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
First off, I’d watch those hip joints – most Predators end up very loosey-goosey and like to fall over, even if my Albino feels sturdy. Other than that, pay attention to the tubing on his armor and his wrist blades, which are trouble spots on Predators in general. One minor thing that rarely happens but is worth watching out for are the dreadlocks are any trapped in his neck socket? If they are, you’ll have to heat up the head to pop it off and fix them, but it’s something I’ve only had to do once in all my Predator figures (not for this one), and the Albino’s dreads are a little stiffer than others due to the paint, so I doubt it will ever be an issue.
WHERE TO BUY:
Time travel to San Diego comic-con. Or time travel to NECA’s site. Anyway, he’s going to pop up on some major retailers eventually, but for now, check eBay and hope for a good deal. Sorry about that, folks, but it’s how convention exclusives work.
Despite my nitpicks (he couldn’t come with anything? Really?), I’m really glad that I lucked out and snagged an Albino Predator when I did! His color scheme is really appealing to me, and he’s even got his own back story! Our favorite little rageaholic berserker makes a great toy, and he’ll mean a lot more when Wasp comes out. I’m a little worried that it’ll propel him into “everybody must have one” territory, what with there being three Dead End Predators, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.