Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: The Final Battle (NECA Predators)

finalpred-fight

For toy fans, Arnold Schwarzenegger is notoriously difficult. Many companies have tried to license his image for a figure or two, and most have failed, forced to settle for similar-but-not-right Terminators and the like. It took McFarlane Toys a very long time to even get the rights for his whole face! NECA Toys seems to have surmounted that obstacle in 2013, and celebrated it by giving us as many versions of Predator’s Dutch Schaefer as possible. We have Dutch With His Jacket, Dutch In Vest And T-Shirt, Dutch In Vest And No Shirt, Mud-Covered Dutch, Shirtless and Bloody Dutch, and next month we can add Infra-Red Dutch. The only missing outfit is his polo shirt from the beginning of the movie, but somehow I doubt that we’ll lack it forever. Another way of looking at it is this – we now have Arnold Schwarzenegger in varying stages of undress, from fully clothed to shirtless and sweaty. Mmm-Mmm good. Of course, we’ve also got the main star of the movie – the Predator – in masked, unmasked, cloaked, and half-cloaked versions.

finalpred-threearnolds

NECA Toys has just released a new Predator 2-pack, containing the aforementioned Shirtless-And-Sweaty (and bloody) Dutch alongside a brand new unmasked Predator with battle damage and a new paint scheme. They reflect the exact moment at the end of the movie when the Predator had been crushed by Dutch’s log trap. But it isn’t redundant, honest!

finalpred-twopredators

This is the first shirtless-but-not-muddy Dutch we’ve gotten, and the other unmasked Predator figures are either part of an older (and thus more expensive) two-pack, or use an older, outmoded body type. It’s also a cool way to round out a couple of waves worth of Predator merchandise and end the 25th Anniversary year – hey, can you think of anything better than recreating the last stage of the final battle? Exactly. So, let’s take a look!

finalpred-packaged

PACKAGING: ****

The two figures come packed in a tremendous clamshell, much like NECA’s other offerings of this type. It takes up a lot of space, but most of that is put to use. The figures are displayed well, protected, and the package has a paper slip that functions as a really fantastic backdrop. Of the backdrops NECA has given us, this one is currently my favorite, and I have taken great pains to save it – you’ll see it in most of my photos. Excellent work!

finalpred-arnold

SCULPT: Dutch: ****, Predator: ****

Firstly, I want to get this out of the way: These figures are entirely re-used. There is nothing new in either of their sculpts. It’s not really a knock against them, but all the newness is really in the paint.  As previously said, we have gotten to play dress-up with Dutch Schaeffer in this line. His shirtless torso previously appeared in the vest-but-no-shirt figure, as did his face. The arms and legs are the same for every Dutch. However, this is the first one that’s just Arnie without a shirt. As with the other figures of this guy, it’s photorealistic. The likeness is pretty much perfect.

finalpred-facingthepredator

Honestly, it is kind of funny to compare one of these figures to, say, a He-Man toy. Arnold Schwarzenegger is huge, especially so in the ’80s, but the toy is a realistic kind of musclebound, which looks scrawny when put next to other, more cartoonish toys. I’m not sure what this says about He-Man, but we’ll leave the social commentary on body image for later.

finalpred-predator

The Predator is also absolutely a re-used figure, with the basic Jungle Hunter body (of course. This IS the Jungle Hunter). His mandibles are closed, using one of the less-common Predator mouthpieces, which does make him distinct from the last ordinary unmasked Jungle Hunter – that one had open mandibles. There really isn’t anything I can say about this figure that I have not already said several times before. It does a great job of matching the movie costume.

finalpred-arnoldface

PAINT: Dutch: ****, Predator: ***1/2

In the past year, NECA has begun casting some of their human figures in flesh-colored plastic rather than painting their skin tone. The result is something that looks surprisingly realistic for a toy, and it shows with this figure. His skin is a slightly different tone than the other Dutches, particularly the Jungle Patrol figure. It’s a little redder, and I stared at the toy for a while before realizing it – Dutch is sunburned from hanging out in the jungle all day! Or he’s flushed from all the exertion. Either way, it’s fine. The plastic and paint are a little glossy, which makes him look sweaty – again, this fits the scene. Dutch’s blood and dirt paint is very well-applied, and extremely precise for something smeared. He looks like he’s been through hell. I have to say that this is one of the best “bloody” paint jobs I’ve seen on a toy outside of McFarlane’s work.

finalpred-predatorface

The Jungle Hunter also offers something different from his earlier counterparts. While the last unmasked Jungle Hunter was painted in cream tones, this one uses plastic already colored like his skin. The end result seems far more realistic and screen-accurate than the previous Predator. That’s almost too bad, because I would love to see a non-battle damaged Predator with this same color scheme.

finalpred-shove

Since this set is based on the very end of the final battle, this Predator is covered in his neon green blood. As far as I can tell, the paint apps are accurate to his appearance at the end, particularly all the blood he had coughed up by the end. The apps almost seem blocky and out of place against his otherwise smoothly-painted body, but the blood does look better in person than in these photos.

finalpred-predatorready

The Predator’s other paint apps are also extremely impressive, particularly the netting on his body – it’s a lot smoother than on most other Predator figures, showing that NECA has been steadily improving their painting process. Other little details like his smaller hair-quills and spots all match up properly, and his armor has a slightly dirtier, more “used” patina than on the previous Predator figures. This makes sense, as it’s after he has been fighting in the dirt for a couple of days.

finalpred-arnoldready

ARTICULATION: Dutch ****, Predator: ****

Dutch has ball-jointed wrists, ankles, elbows, torso, and head, ball-and-socket shoulders, knees, and hips, and a swivel waist. He’s got great range of motion, and in fact is a little more limber than the heavily-clothed Arnie figures out there. His joints also feel sturdy, and unlikely to go loose any time soon.

finalpred-battle

The Predator’s articulation is exactly like all of the other versions that use his body – ball-jointed head, wrists, and ankles, ball-and-socket shoulders, elbows, and hips, hinged knees, swivel waist, and extendable wristblades. His range of motion is as good as any Predator, though it can feel slightly limiting until you get used to it, but since he can do the Iron Man Three-Point Pose, I’d say the figure is fine.

finalpred-mask

ACCESSORIES: **

By this time in the movie, the Predator had ditched his shoulder cannon, and Dutch was out of weapons. Thus, the figures come with neither. What they do have is a Predator mask accessory, completely on its own. It is a nice mask, and it looks great, though it can’t fit over the Predator’s face.

finalpred-crushed

So, what else could they have included? I would suggest a log. Or a stick. Or something to relate to the trap that actually crushed the Predator. I used a prop from another toy, but not everybody is going to own that same obscure figure. Of course, you could also go into the woods and grab a stick, but that assumes you live in the country. And perhaps an in-scale log would have wrecked the budget for this set, but it does feel that something is seriously lacking in the accessory department.

finalpred-pinned

VALUE: ***

At $39.99, you are paying roughly $20 a figure – so basically, you’re paying for two toys with little to no discount. It’s a good price, especially considering how much other companies charge for similar product, but it isn’t so low as to be super-duper outstanding.

finalpred-down

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

I almost broke the Predator’s claws by accident (I bent them), but was able to fix it with glue. So watch that part. Other than that, these two figures are just as solid as any others in the line.

finalpred-oneugly

WHERE TO BUY:

If you couldn’t tell from the “Toys R Us Exclusive” sticker clearly visible on the packaging, this is a Toys R Us exclusive. So, for the best price, check your local TRU! Mine had a shelf lined with these, so hopefully they won’t be too hard to find.

finalpred-win

OVERALL: ****

Amazing. This set is just a pair of repaints, and yet NECA has managed to make them both distinct an aesthetically-pleasing enough to merit a high score. 2013 has really been NECA’s year – they have just done so much so right that it’s mind-boggling, and the Predators line is proof of that. Whether we’re talking fan-produced designs like Big Red, the Kenner wave, obtaining Schwarzenegger’s likeness, or even producing the Trophy Wall, I just can’t get enough of the Predator toy line! And I can’t get enough of NECA, either – I can’t wait to see what they have lined up for next year!

finalpred-round2

2 responses to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: The Final Battle (NECA Predators)

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  2. Pingback: Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Dark Horse Predator (NECA Toys) | Nerditis·

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