While I have more or less sworn off Western toys in varying forms, I have made the decision to still purchase a select few. These will only be special examples; like, one-off figures I just find cool–None of that obsessive collecting anymore.
One such exception is Big Red from NECA’s Predator line. Now, if all you’ve seen are the Predator movies, you probably won’t recognize this guy! Even better, he’s not from a comic book, novel, or video game. So what is he from? Well, he’s from a fan film called Batman: Dead End. Yes, he’s from a Batman production. Aren’t crossovers wonderful?
Typically, I’m pretty weary of these smaller toy companies. I remember buying some of McFarlane’s Terminator 3 toys back in the day, and they were either unposable statues, or total bricks. Even Toynami’s nicely-designed Robotech and Voltron toys were made from horrible materials.
However, I’m a bit impressed with this figure. With a few small exceptions, he could easily pass for a toy by Hasbro or something.
First, the sculpt. It’s incredibly impressive. While I’m no expert on the design of the Predator itself, the detail is exceptional. However, one issue I’ve always had with a lot of toys from companies like NECA is the type of plastic they use. It’s very… rubbery. True, toys from mainstream companies like Hasbro and Mattel use a similar plastic too; however with them it feels more substantial. It’s especially noticeable on parts like his weapons and other rubberized bits.
He also uses that really stinky paint that makes your toy smell like a rubber factory for weeks after you’ve owned it. That’s of little consequence, however, as the toy’s paint is very well-applied for the most part. The only sore area is the belt.
What impressed me most was the toy’s articulation. As I had stated before, the limited articulation of “lower-level” toy companies was always a pet peeve of mine, and what kept me from buying a lot of them. Honestly, Big Red’s articulation isn’t that far off from that of a G.I. Joe! He even incorporates hip joints similar to those popularized by Marvel Legends. He’s a bit stiff, which isn’t surprising, but he works pretty well.
I would have preferred a bit more articulation in the ankles, however the ball joints manage to keep him steady and grounded.
One big sore spot on the figure would be the accessories. He has two sets of hands, however the hands used for gripping accessories don’t hold well on the wrists, and they tend to flop around. The soft plastic on the wrist blades is far too thin for my tastes, and just feels flimsy.
The katanas are an extremely cool idea, likely being plucked from a human Samurai hundreds of years ago. The problem is, while they would look find on a human of this scale, they look kind of ridiculous being held in his hands. They’re far more effective as trophies than actual useable weapons.
I also would have liked to see a removable mask, but I can understand why most of these figures don’t come with those.
Overall, as my first and probably last NECA Predator figure, I’m quite content with him! He’s easily worth the MSRP of ~$20, especially if you have a comparable Batman for him to fight. If you see him at FPNYC, I’d suggest grabbing him! He’s pretty damn cool.