NECA has been making 6-9 inch Aliens and Predator figures for a while now, and with series 10 of their Predators line they take a look back on previous offerings with a modern update. NECA has decided to release three Predators based on the Kenner Predator line from the early to mid nineties. Tonight I am looking at the Lava Planet Predator update.
Name: Lava Planet Predator
Scale: 8.5 Inches in height
Accessories: one sword
I’ve stayed away from small figures for a long time and by small figures I mean 6-8 Inch movie license type. When these were coming out, I was heavily into Hot Toys and still am to this day. You can’t beat Hot Toys at anything right now. Therefore I never fell into that hype people were putting on NECA’s stuff because, quite frankly I couldn’t see what the big fuss was about, seeing the figures in person, the main thing that killed it was the horrible paint apps that 90% of their figures have, also using cut joints for the groin articulation is never a good idea. But there are people who still persist and say they are great. I could see that they were finally improving their articulation and sculpting with the Rocky line etc.
To me that just looked like mincing Hot Toys on a smaller scale. So now we come to their Predators line, Which started off just making McFarlane Toys style Predators and now is slowly moving towards what they should have started to make to begin with, which was great articulation that is thoughtful and in some cases well hidden with good sculpting and great paint apps. Well, the paint apps still have a long way to go, but everything else is steadily improving.
What finally made me bite the bullet was the retro Kenner Lava Planet Predator. I’m a fan of the Kenner line and this update by NECA looked really good. So I placed my pre-order and now the Predator is finally here, so has my opinion of NECA’s products changed? Let’s find out!
If NECA have one thing going for them it’s sculpting. They always succeed in that category and considering the size of their figures to continually make detailed and well proportioned figures is always a plus. The Lava Planet Predator is mainly reused from previous Predator 2 releases. But that’s not necessary a bad thing, because that basic Predator body is very well sculpted. You have everything you would come to expect from a predator figure: body armour, cloak netting, dreadlocks etc. There are a few new parts – mainly the mask, wrist blade and a long cable/tubing from the wrist gauntlet to the back armour. All these new parts are done quite well and are just as detailed as the rest of the figure. The new mask is what really captures my attention the most, it looks very much like the source material and is really detailed with plenty of groves, ridges and fine detail.
Much like the original toy, this figure is cast in translucent red plastic, so paint is kept to a minimum; I love the clear red plastic! It looks awesome and really makes the figure stand out from other predator figures in the same series. What paint we do have is mainly used on the armour and a little on the body itself. The armour paint is mainly metallic red tones, which look quite nice and don’t get too lost in the overall red colour of the figure. There is a small section of grey armour like the original toy. I would have preferred they didn’t do this, as the prototype of the original Lava Planet Predator from Kenner had the predators armour all red. Although it’s only a small section, I feel it ruins the overall look just a little bit.
There are also black and yellow markings on the predator’s body just like the original toy. These look great and are neatly applied. They have added a few more markings then the original, but what has been added looks fine and doesn’t take away from the figure. Black has been used for the “cloth” parts of the figure with sliver also used for the bands on the dreadlock. Almost all of the armour has a black wash to help bring out those details and it works quite well to do so.
Here is another category where NECA shines. This is now a standard base for NECAs Predator figures and it is a very good base at that. The figure has the following articulation: Ball jointed head, Shoulders are ball and socket as well as the elbows. Hands are ball jointed. The waist is a single ball joint. Hips are ball and socket joints, the knees are double hinged and finally his feet are ball joints too. The range of poses that can be achieved is quite extensive! You can get a lot of Predator style stances without too much trouble. I really like the base body, NECA have done an excellent job making it be able to do all that you would expect from a good solid base body. One nitpick is that the sculpted cloth restricts the posing of the legs a little bit.
I am very impressed with the articulation on the shoulder cannon. For something so small you get a staggering amount of motion from it. It almost steals the thunder from the base body in my opinion! The wrist gauntlet can also be extended out a short distance too; this is a nice touch and adds a little something extra to the play value.
This figure only comes with one accessory and it’s a sword that comes with the Predator 2 Elder. It’s not necessary a bad accessory considering they could have given us nothing. It is well painted and made of a fairly soft plastic. It fits into the Predator’s hand with hardly any effort and it a nice addition for added play.
One complaint I have with this figure is that some of the dreadlocks were pinned between the neck and the head straight out of the box. They aren’t too deformed once I freed them, but little things like this don’t help when you know NECA have pretty bad quality control at the best of times. One thing I would always look out for with NECA figures is the ankles quickly becoming loose and the figure falling over. All recent NECA figures bought by myself, or my brother have had issues with staying up right and that is not even after much posing! All versions of Dutch and Hicks have had issues, thankfully not Hudson yet. But for someone like me who I would call a “new” customer, it’s not leaving a very good first impression. NECA must really try and get on top of this problem as soon as possible.
Big Bad Toy Store is where I purchased this bad boy from, at a low price of 18.99 + shipping. Great price, seeing if I had waited and paid retail price here in Australia, it would have be double that. So the lowest price possible is always the way to go.
This is my first NECA Predator figure, and while it has a few small issues, overall it is great! Much like some of my recent and small NECA purchases I feel they are finally stepping up to the plate and making the medium – small scale movie action figures that are expected in this day and age from collectors. I really like this figure because it does a great job in capturing a time where toys were not all serious and you were able to have fun with the product put out and take it in different directions, but it can still relate to the movie licence that the figure is from. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the original Kenner Predators (like me) or anyone who is a fan of predators in general and wants some variation on their display shelves. I really hope NECA can continue to bring us a nice mix of direct movie version Predators and homage’s as well as original ideas too. They are doing a great job so far and I hope they can continue to do so.
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Check out my previous review of the Kenner Lava Planet Predator here.
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