Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Cracked Tusk Predator (NECA Toys)

CrackedTusk

Back when I was a kid, I loved the Kenner Aliens and Predator lines. In fact, they are what graduated me out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and into higher-quality stuff. And, after becoming drunk on Aliens (Hey, kids go loopy with enough toys. Just look at me!), my first predator was Cracked Tusk.

CrackedTusk-Renegade

Similar in name to Broken Tusk from the most famous non-movie Alien Vs. Predator treatment, Cracked Tusk is a different character entirely. In the comic included with Renegade (the “basic” Predator), Cracked Tusk was the clan leader and huntmaster, and just looked AWESOME. But ignoring that, the toy looked AWESOME, and I could immediately tell that he was meant to be an older, more mature leader type. The figure pretty much became my favorite immediately, and the Old Master was just plain awesome. I still have it somewhere, though I couldn’t figure out which box it was in before it was review photo time. My frustration runs deep. Blood shall be spilled.

CrackedTusk-Scavage

***
An old hunting tribe leader and revered Elder. Most Yautja of Cracked Tus’s age and reputation take a secondary role in society, forfeiting hunting opportunities to rule over a clan. But preferring to stay active, Cracked Tusk is more of a field general than a common Elder. A survival specialist, he has endured some of the hardhest environments, from the lava deserts of his home world to the cold, barren conditions of Rim and Fiorina. His exceptional skills and experience have allowed him to train many young Yautja hunters to survive in the same cruel and harsh conditions. Cracked Tusk is also credited as the originator of many of the weapons and technology used by the Lava Predator Clan. A legendary hunter and leader, he has a reputation for always fulfilling each mission and bringing his hunting tribe back alive, no matter the circumstances.
***

CrackedTusk-LavaPlanet

That’s… that’s pretty much how I imagined him. The connection with the Lava Clan is just kind of there, but… yeah. Cracked Tusk is an older dude, but that doesn’t stop him from pretty much being the big hero. And yes, I just used “hero” in reference to a Predator. Give me my enjoyment! This figure is sort of a repaint of Lava Planet, except that in the original line, Lava Planet was the repaint. So we’re finally getting the original! yay us!

CrackedTusk-Packaged

PACKAGING: ****

Kenner-Style NECA Predators come in retro packaging, complete with the old pixellated explosion effect. It’s a great tribute!

CrackedTusk-Stand

SCULPT: ****

NECA Predators all use the same few bodies. Cracked Tusk is mostly built on the “City Hunter” body, used for all of the Predator 2 characters so far (except for the first version of the Elder). And for the most part, he sticks with it – much of his armor is basic to the body, with the Shaman loincloth and the Albino Predator’s right shoulder guard. Cracked Tusk originally had a unique face, with huge, tusk-like mandibles, one of which was broken. As this figure is masked, that is not visible. NECA might not want to get into the overly-outlandish facial designs yet, though I can’t wait to see how they handle Stalker, who had horns.

CrackedTusk-Mask

As far as new parts go… well, Cracked Tusk is identical to Lava Planet. But discounting Lava Planet, Cracked Tusk has a new right forearm with a tube connecting his right gauntlet to his armor, new wrist blades, and a new mask. The mask looks just like the original, which was always my favorite mask because it looked like an alien creature. NECA scaled it up appropriately and added details, such as some of the moulding around its mandibles or the texture in the lenses.

CrackedTusk-BringIt

PAINT: ****

Now, here’s where Cracked Tusk is different from Lava Planet. The original figure was slightly more reddish than other Predators, and had a tan camo pattern on his chest. This figure eschews the actual camouflage, instead reflecting the basic color scheme and striping in his skin tone. It actually works, and way better than the why-does-an-invisibility-cloaking-alien-use-makeup old idea. It does bring up an issue, though – Cracked Tusk is clearly meant to be bare-chested, but he has netting sculpted in, so it is simply left unpainted. The effect is a little on the odd side, but not a deal-breaker.

CrackedTusk-Viper

The rest of it is as expected, with the colors reminiscent of the original figure. They added red for his lenses and gold accents on his mask, though, which make him look far more regal than he could have otherwise been. Cracked Tusk’s paint makes him a totally different creature than the Lava Planet figure, and honestly, a superior one.

CrackedTusk-RedAlert

ARTICULATION: ****

Cracked Tusk has standard Predator articulation – a ball-jointed head, hands, and feet, ball-and-socket shoulders, elbows, and hips, double-hinged knees, swivel waist, and articulation for his plasma caster and wrist claws.

CrackedTusk-BattlePose

His leg articulation is hindered somewhat by the Shaman loincloth, but you can still pose him fairly well despite that. So far, The tube connecting his right arm to his back is made of flexible rubber, and just long enough not to get in the way no matter how you pose him. His plasma caster, likewise, is on two swivels and has a surprising amount of flexibility, though mine came stuck together.

CrackedTusk-Spear

ACCESSORIES: ****

Lava Planet came with a sword, whereas Cracked Tusk has a spear and razor disc. The spear is standard Predator fare, though his has unique gold highlights. Regal, and matching his armor! It’s a tight squeeze to get it in his hand, so watch that you don’t bend the weapon on the way in.

CrackedTusk-Disc

Cracked Tusk’s razor disc is also standard, and it too has special gold highlights on the paint. His hand can hold it, though it isn’t the disc-holding specific hand some other Predators have seen.

CrackedTusk-VsAlien

The original figure came with a huge harpoon-missile launching shoulder cannon. it is somewhat of a disappointment that he has the tiniest plasma caster possible and not something at least reminiscent of the original, but NECA has said that they will not replicate outlandish accessories like Cracked Tusk’s gigantic cannon, Scavage’s huge bola, and so on. I view the spear as a way to reference his harpoon, though, and that counts for a lot.

CrackedTusk-Claw

Cracked Tusk’s claw isn’t technically an accessory, but it is worth mentioning.  It’s wide and scoop-like, and looks like he would use it to grab and lift opponents as much as he stabs them.

CrackedTusk-Ahab

VALUE: ****

Just like any other Predator, this guy will cost $20-$25, depending on the retailer.

CrackedTusk-Elder

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Like any Predator, watch out for his shoulder cannon, wrist blades, and spear weapon. I have heard far fewer reports of the newest wave breaking, which is good.

CrackedTusk-CustomElder

WHERE TO BUY:

Like all of NECA’s product, Toys R Us is a great bet.

CrackedTusk-ElderMeeting

OVERALL: ****

Okay, yeah, he’s a repaint. But he’s a repaint of a figure that was originally a repaint of him. Cracked Tusk was my absolute favorite of the Kenner Predators when I was a kid, and although I’d give my eye teeth for an unmasked version (with his signature giant tusks), this one is quite good. It isn’t just nostalgia, either – this paint scheme makes far more sense than Lava Planet, and shows off how they modified the sculpt. His mask is pretty chilling, and his backstory is awesome. There are a few nitpicks, like the netting on the torso, but I have to say that this Predator is a great figure.

CrackedTusk-HuntingParty

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