Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Stalker Predator (NECA Toys)

 

stalker-battlestance

Oh, yeah, remember when I talked about Kenner Predators NECA could use?  Ahahaha, THEY LISTENED!  Wow, that was three years ago.  Three years.  Like, I’ve moved since then.  Changed careers.  But thug collecting life goes on!  Anyway, NECA has released a new batch of Kenner Predators, and unlike the second set, these ones are not just repaints!  They took on some of the wildest figures from the old line, and daaaaaaaang, look at the end result! I honestly didn’t believe that this figure would be made, so now I am happily, happily eating crow.

stalker

***
Descending from the Night Hunter Clan near the southern pole of Yautja Prime, Stalker lives in a world of complete darkness.  Having developed unparallelled night vision technology, the members of Stalker’s clan hunt in coordinated packs over large, open areas.  Their translucent skin is an environmental adaptation that allows their phosphorescent green blood to shine through, and that glow acts as a location signal in the absence of light.  Pack hunting offers a great advantage, for while most creatures in this area are blind, their prey is also much larger than them and thus extremely dangerous to take down alone.  Stalker and his clan are very removed from the rest of the planet and thus hunt more for survival than for sport.  The Night Hunter Clan is one of the few Predator clans that does not possess cloaking technology, as it is of no use in that environment.
***

stalker-illuminatedmask

While I find it really cool that they managed to make the glow in the dark bits an actual canonical thing, I do want to point out that Predators see in infra-red, using heat signatures for vision, not light.  That said, the movies even screw this up sometimes, and it’s a major plot point for them, so whatever, the whole glowing-skin-in-a-lightless-world thing is just too cool not to like.  Also, the original toy had glowing armor, while NECA chose to swap the effect to the Predator’s skin.  It does make sense, though.

stalker-packaged

PACKAGING: ****

Just as before, the packaging is a take on the old classic Kenner blister packs.  And no, you’ll get no complaining from me.

stalker-original

SCULPT: ****

Oh man, oh man, oh man. Stalker had a weird design. He even had horns! And they didn’t shy away from it at all! He’s got horns, he’s got chin spikes – his horns are somewhat smaller than they should be, but it’s all right. Predators have ethnic variation, and some of them are really far out there!

stalker-chestplate

Stalker also had immensely complex, ornamented, ceremonial armor. So does this figure! Although the repaint of the original toy made the Alien head look “real” like a pelt, this version chose to leave it as ornamentation. He also lacks the Alien tail around the arm, but that was going to be a whip accessory (it didn’t cost out). Anyway, his armor is an impressive mix of ceremonial and technological, taking the original design and updating it into somethingt hat could absolutely work i one of the movies. Nice job, NECA!

stalker-face

If there’s any complaint, it’s that his horns aren’t big enough. I loved how the original’s covered his forehead… and yet, honestly, it’s not much of a complaint. They put horns on the Predator! That’s crazy awesome!

stalker-faceglow

PAINT: ****

The original figure was a Predator with glow-in-the-dark armor. This version is a glow-in-the-dark Predator with ordinary armor. It’s actually an important distinction to make. His armor is copper-colored, and the ornamentation comes through very clearly – it’s very well-done, which offsets the glow effect nicely.

stalker-facemask

Stalker does have some paint on his glowing flesh, whch helps save the figure from losing all its detail. It still loses some, but the extra paint is fantastic.

stalker-maskglow

Stalker glows green, just like most glow-in-the-dark figures (and just like Predator blood). However, under a black light he turns luminous blue, which you’ll see for many of these photos. Regardless, the glow effect is very strong, and very, very cool.

stalker-javelin

ARTICULATION: ***

The packaging advertised “new articulation,” and it took me a second to find it – as well as typical Predator articulation, Stalker does have a few new joints, such as forearm swivels. Still, his sculpt gets in the way of some poses, so he is much like other Predators in that regard.

stalker-maskcomparison

ACCESSORIES: ****

Stalker’s mask has the odd trouble of representing the original’s horn-wings and still looking cool. To be honest, it absolutely succeeds, even with the redundant horns. It has all the essential details of the original, but keeps things just dialed-back enough to fit among other Predators.

stalker-back

The original Stalker came with a launcher and three javelins. This one doe snot have the launcher, but he’s certainly got spears! And his “regular” Predator spear is fairly unique, at least with a slightly-less-common-than-usual spearhead. Chances are, that’s one way they hunt in packs, almost reminiscent of whaling.

stalker-mask

He also comes with two small, folded-up spears that clip onto his backpack – or fit into his hands, if you want.  These are a great way to siulate his original javelins, even without a launcher.  Stalker also comes with a flat hand, but it’s in an incongruent karate-chop pose for some reason.

stalker-masked

 

VALUE: ****

At about $23, you get a fantastic figure, even if you don’t care about the gimmick!

stalker-glowing

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Be careful with those spears – they’re the most obviously vulnerable parts of the figure, though everything else is Predator-standard.

stalker-illuminated

WHERE TO BUY:

Toys R Us still has them in a lot of places I’ve checked.

stalker-smalljavelins

OVERALL: ****

Well, I admit it, I was wrong. Yes, Stalker has a ton of new tooling, but NECA made the figure, and it is glorious. It’s not 100% accurate to the old figure, but it didn’t need to be. Glowing feature or not, it’s one of the most unique, creative, and striking figures in this line, too.

stalker-glowbattle

In fact, I would love to see one in “regular” Predator colors, if just to highlight those horns. NECA did such an excellent job with this figure that I almost feel their work is wasted with the glow gimmick. Here’s hoping for a repaint, eh?

stalker-battle

That aside, I have nothing but positive things to say about Stalker. Glow figures are inherently gimmicky, but this one takes the gimick and works with it in a way that is surprisingly excellent, and even manages to blend one of the more out-there Kenner designs into a great toy on its own merits!

stalker-glowbattle02

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One response to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Stalker Predator (NECA Toys)

  1. Hey, dude! Ya know that pesky accessory that attached to the leg? That’s the net gun from Predator 2! He held it with his fore fingers inside. That’s what the flat hand is for! Just figured it out a few minutes ago!

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