#2063: Dutch & Linn

DUTCH & LINN

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (NECA)

“Terror grips the city of San Drad as it is overwhelmed by a mysterious outbreak of aliens.  The cybernetically-enhanced Major Dutch Schaefer and Lt. Linn Kurosawa of the USCMC are surrounded by a swarm of Xenomorph drones when a pair of unlikely allies – Predators – appear and offer a temporary alliance.  Now it’s a battle to end them all as human and Predator join forces against unending waves of deadly Xenomorphs!”

In 1994, with the golden years of both franchises firmly behind them, Aliens and Predator decided to meet in the middle, and dive headlong into the world of Alien Vs. Predator, in all its shapes and forms.  While it would take us another decade to actually get a movie made out of that concept, one was in the works, and a script was drafted for a mid-90s release.  Capcom was contacted to make an arcade game to tie-in with the film, and when the film fell through, decided to go ahead and release the game anyway.  Players could choose between four playable characters on their trek to mow down Xenos.  There were two variants of Predator, and then there were Dutch and Linn, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Dutch and Linn are a two-pack release as part of NECA’s game-based Alien Vs. Predator line.  They hit shelves between the Predators and the Aliens, which I guess makes some sense.  Both follow NECA’s trend of video game figures filtered through the lens of pseudo realism.

DUTCH

Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer was no stranger to that whole Predator thing, being the main protagonist of the first movie and all.  He’s also no stranger to the NECA thing….being the protagonist of the first movie and all.  And, given Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ’90s stardom, it’s no surprise that there were plans to include him in the film crossover.  Whether he would have actually been cybernetically-enhanced in the movie is anyone’s guess, but it was a cool game concept.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Unsurprisingly, this Dutch figure makes use of the molds from NECA’s previous Dutch figures.  As I noted when I reviewed the Contra figures that were also built on this body, it’s a strong starting point, and still remains one of NECA’s best bodies.  Dutch gets a new, slightly less Schwarzenegger-looking head, plus a new belt and knee/elbow pads.  And, of course, most notably, he gets a new right arm, replicating his big robot arm from the game.  Boy is this a thing of beauty.  It’s a clean sculpt, and it’s got working pistons and joints in all the proper spots.  It could have easily been badly articulated or overly fragile, but it’s neither one of those things, and it even manages to be pretty well balanced on the figure, so he won’t fall over as much as you might expect.  Man, is that a cool arm.  Dutch’s paintwork follows the usual NECA classic video-game trend, with actual painted shading and lighting, simulating the way the sprites in the game are painted.  It’s surprisingly subtle on Dutch, and adds a pop to the figure without making him look weird from non-highlighted angles.  Dutch is packed with an extra, slightly more relaxed hand for his robot arm, as well as a fire-effect piece to plug onto the end.

LINN

Lt. Linn Kurosawa was a brand new addition for the game, though given that she was given the Aliens connection, one has to wonder if at some point in the process she was meant to be a returning Aliens franchise character.  Whatever the case, she’s just as prominent in the game as Dutch, and a natural choice here.  The figure is 6 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation (including a balljoint on her pony tail; that’s pretty darn cool).  Though she’s a new character, she’s not all-new pieces.  She’s instead built on some of Pvt Vasquez’s parts.  Given they’re both USCMC, it’s s pretty sensible bit of re-use.  Like Dutch, there are still plenty of new parts, including a new head and torso, as well as new dressing for the arms and legs.  If Dutch is NECA’s best male body, Vasquez is their best female, so Linn’s got another good starting point.  The new parts are all pretty good, though she doesn’t have anything that immediately stands out the way Dutch’s robot arm did.  Still, a pretty solid sculpt all around.  The paint on Linn is certainly bright and eye-catching, though I did notice that it seemed a little more prone to slop and bleed over than Dutch’s.  You might want to keep an eye on that.  Linn is packed with a katana, and a handgun, with right hands to match each of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not played the game these two are based on, but I’ve always liked the designs, especially Dutch.  While I passed on the rest of the game figures, I liked these two enough in-person that I didn’t want to pass on them.  Dutch is probably one of my favorite NECA figures, truth be told.  That robot arm is just so much fun!  Linn may not have the wow factor that Dutch is, but I didn’t feel like I was gipped by having to buy her as well.  All-in-all a very fun set.

I picked this set up from All Time Toys, where it can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

Advertisements

#1863: Broken Tusk

BROKEN TUSK

PREDATORS (NECA)

“Mankind’s two ultimate nightmares come together in mortal combat, and whoever wins—we lose.  On the remote planet Ryushi, a small ranching community becomes an unwilling participant in a deadly ritual: extraterrestrial predators have seeded Ryushi with alien eggs in order to create the ultimate hunt.  But what the Predators don’t know is that an alien queen egg is amongst those they’ve sent as potential hunting stock, and when the Predators arrive, the hunters become the hunted amidst a monumental swarm of aliens, and they may need to turn to the very same humans they regard as little more than potential trophies to give them any hope of survival.”

Just over 1000 reviews ago, I had a brief discussion of the Alien vs. Predator movie.  From the moment Predator 2 revealed a Xenomorph skull amongst the collection on the Predator ship, the “Alien vs. Predator” concept has been out there, permeating just about every form of media.  While the movie was awful (although, it was sweet, sweet bliss when compared to its sequel), there have been a number of far more successful takes on the concept, including Dark Horse’s comics version, which actually served as a heavy inspiration for the movie, but is better in just about every facet.  NECA, always anxious for new venues for Predators to release, has slowly been adding various comics-based Predators to their ongoing line.  The latest is Broken Tusk, aka Dachande, the comic’s equivalent to the movie’s “Scar,” as a moderately heroic Predator that assists the humans in defeating the Xeno menace.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Broken Tusk is one of the three figures in Series 18 of the Predators line from NECA.  All three are based on the AvP comic, though somewhat adapted to the more realistic style of the rest of the line, which is sensible.  The figure is just shy of 9 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the larger and more posable style of body introduced with Series 14’s AvP movie Predators.  It gives them quite an imposing stature, and his articulation makes for a very playable figure.  The underlying sculpt is the same basic one seen on the others, with the armored parts being the major change-up.  Broken Tusk has a rather unique armor design.  In the story, he’s injured during the battle with the Xenos, so the humans have to help patch him up.  The end result is a blending of the classic Predator aesthetic (including a Jungle Hunter-inspired faceplate), with more utilitarian human tech worked in on the torso, and then a bit of found materials (including a very cool Xeno head).  As we’ve become accustomed to with this line, the gauntlets have extending blades on one side, and a fold-out panel on the other, which is always a fun feature.  As amazing as the sculpt is, what really sold me on this figure was the paint scheme.  In the comics, he’s colored in a more traditional Predator sort of sense, with lots of browns and greys, making him as a whole look quite similar to the standard Jungle Hunter.  Of course, that describes a lot of the NECA Predators so far, so this guy would have been just one fo the pack.  As cool as the sculpt may be, with those same colors, he might end up unfortunately forgettable.  So, instead, NECA’s played up the human-ally aspect of the character, and given him a color scheme modeled after the Colonial Marines from Aliens.  It’s pretty darn cool, and I love have they’ve even made the patterns on his skin look like the camo pattern from the Marine uniforms.  It’s definitely very clever.  Broken Tusk’s accessories further the melding of the styles, with his more Predator specific two-part staff, and a more human-inspired rifle as well.  Both weapons are very nicely sculpted and well fit to his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a more moderate Predator fan, but I’m a huge Aliens fan, so anytime NECA melds those two lines, I’m on board.  As soon as this guy was shown off (TWO Toy Fairs ago), I knew I wanted one.  It’s been a long wait for him, long enough that I’d thought maybe he just wasn’t coming.  But then, Series 18 just sort of dropped in my lap, and boom, here he was.  Fun’s a word I used a few times in this review, and it’s an apt description for him.  I just really like him, in both concept and execution, and he’s a fantastic accent piece for my rather expansive collection of Colonial Marines.

I picked up Broken Tusk from my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#0843: Chopper Predator

CHOPPER PREDATOR

PREDATORS (NECA)

Chopper1

Alien vs. Predator is NOT a good movie. It’s pretty terrible from start to finish. However, it’s failure as a film is more punctuated by the fact that there’s actually a lot decent ideas (or at least the beginnings of decent ideas/concepts) that are completely dropped in favor of making the film as generic and forgettable as possible. One of the most disappointing aspects of the film is it’s handling of the second titular character, the Predator, or more accurately to the film, the Predators. The movie presents us with three unique Predators. They look cool, and their super imposing, and you’re super excited to see what they can do. But, they spend the first half of the film cloaked, and when they finally engage the Aliens, two of the three are taken out in the space of 5 minutes (by the same Xeno, no less!), leaving us with only the least distinctive of the three Predators to carry the rest of the film. Fortunately, NECA’s currently in the process of making super cool toys of just about every Predator ever, so the AvP Preds have gotten new life via action figures. Today, I’ll be looking at my personal favorite of the trio, Chopper Predator.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chopper2Chopper Predator is part of the 14th Series of NECA’s Predators line, which is the first of a handful of series (in both the Predator and Aliens lines) based on AvP. The figure stands almost 9 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Chopper uses a new base body for the Predators, introduced in this series, and shared with his two series-mates. This new body is much larger than previous Predators, and also offers a much greater range of motion and posability. The body is nicely proportioned, and it has a ton of really great texturing and fine detail work. Seriously, every part of this sculpt is covered in texturing, which makes him look really cool. While a lot of the body is shared with the other two Predators, Chopper does get a unique head, forearms, and plasma caster. The head depicts Chopper’s bio mask very nicely; the texturing on it really makes it look like the real thing. The “hair” is a little bit unruly, but it’s made from Chopper3soft rubber, so it can be managed.  The forearms are the real star here, since the large blades are what he takes his name from. The gauntlets have some fantastically ornate work on them, while still being nice and sturdy, and the left one even has a flip-up display. The actual blades are well-handled, and surprisingly sharp; they’re included in both semi-stowed and fully extended lengths, which is a nice touch. One of Chopper’s more distinctive elements was the pair of skulls mounted on spikes on his back, which this figure replicates as best it can. They’re included as separate pieces; one is slotted into the base of the plasma caster, and the other is supposed to pop into the little clip on Chopper’s back. I say “supposed” because mine included the clip included on Celtic and Scar, rather than the smaller unique clip that Chopper was meant to have. Chopper4Fortunately, a carefully shaped and cut twisty tie was enough to keep it in place! The actual skulls are just as awesomely sculpted as the rest of the figure, and replicate the in-movie look very well. Chopper’s paint work is another pretty great area. There’s some nice variance in the sheens of the various parts of him, with the skin being shinier than the armor and cloth. He’s also got some fantastic accent work on the armor, which gives it a nice worn in look and adds a lot of depth to the figure. There are one or two spots of bleed over, but the overall work is good enough that they don’t jump out at you. In addition to the two Chopper5sets of blades, and the skulls on spikes, Chopper also includes a Combi Stick (in retracted form), a pretty brutal looking knife, and a shuriken looking thing (which he can’t hold, what with having two fists. It’s the thought that counts!). That’s incredibly impressive given that prior Predators were lucky to get more than one accessory!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite not caring for the film, I’ve actually been anxiously awaiting this series’ release ever since they were announced. I was always bummed that Chopper was so under-utilized, and even more bummed when he was the only Predator left out of McFarlane’s tie-in line. I bought Chopper from All Time Toys, after catching their post on their FB page that this series was in stock. I’m so happy to have him, and he’s hands down my favorite Predator to date. NECA did an amazing job on this one!

NecaSnow1

 

#0750: Alien Warrior

ALIEN WARRIOR

S.H. MONSTERARTS

AlienAVP1

What’s this? Another Alien review? On my site? Why, that’s just unheard of! …Or, maybe not. So, what’s different about this review? Well, amongst other things, it’s a figure based on a movie I don’t like. Yeah, this here is one of the Alien Warriors from the first Alien vs. Predator film, a movie that’s only real saving grace is that it’s not as bad as its own sequel. In fact, it’s not a bad movie, just a mediocre one. That doesn’t seem right for Alien vs. Predator, which should really be a “go big or go home” affair. But, alas, we got the film we got, and it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see another. Sorry, this is actually supposed to be a toy review! Let’s get on to the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AlienAVP2The Alien Warrior is a part of Bandai’s S.H. MonsterArts line, and was released as a standalone item in early 2014. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall (a little taller than Bandai’s Big Chap) and has 63 points of articulation. As noted in the intro, this figure is based on the Alien vs. Predator design for the Alien Warrior. It’s interesting that they opted to release this version of the alien so far after the movie instead of something more iconic, such as the Aliens version, but if I had to guess, I’d say AvP’s probably just the cheapest of the licenses to procure. I find that each successive iteration of the Xenomorph design after Aliens loses a little of what made the first two designs work, and in particular, I found the Xenos in AvP to be too skinny and waaaaay too slimy and goopy. While this figure does strive to be an overall fairly accurate translation of the design, I find it changes a few minor things that result in a much better end product. For one thing, the details and texturing feel much sharper here than in the film, which is definitely a change I appreciate. In addition, it seems they’ve shrunk the size of the head ever so slightly, so that makes the body feel less skinny by comparison. In general, the sculpt has some incredible detail work and there’s some really great touches that they could have gotten away with leaving out, like the fully sculpted head under the dome. That’s something we don’t see in the movie, but they put it there anyway. Also, like the Big Chap, the knees and the tip of the figure’s tail are made from die-cast metal, which is a cool little, easily missed touch. The figure also has the signature Xeno inner-jaw, though the instructions tell you to remove the whole outer jaw to get it out (side note: looks like they got an actual translator for the instructions on this one. It makes for a more professional end product, but I must admit to missing the just slightly off English of the Big Chap’s instructions. Oh well.)  The paintwork on the figure is pretty much what you’d expect on a figure of a Xeno; it’s black with silver highlights. The dark brown transparent dome is definitely a cool look, and I was quite happy to see that the fully sculpted head was also fully painted under there. The Alien Warrior includes an alien egg, a chestburster, two sets of hands in splayed and closed poses, and a display stand, which, like the Big Chap’s, seems a little out of place with this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting me the Big Chap for Christmas, my boy Tim got me this guy as a birthday present. Though I don’t love the movie, and I’m not a big fan of the Xeno design as it’s presented in the film, I actually really like this figure a lot. He’s a ton of fun to pose, and the tweaks Bandai made to the design make it a lot better looking. Definitely an awesome addition to the collection!

AlienAVP3