#0824: Predator Minimates

BILLY, CHUCHILLO, EDWIN, CITY PREDATORS, JUNGLE PREDATORS, & THERMAL PREDATOR

PREDATOR MINIMATES

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I really can’t just do one Minimates review, now can I? That would be wrong. One of the newest additions to the stable of Minimates licenses is Predator. Seeing as they added Aliens last year, this wasn’t a super huge surprise, but it was still pretty cool to see it actually happen. Like Aliens, they kicked off the line with a set of single-packed ‘mates, prior to moving onto the usual two-packs. However, unlike Aliens, these singles were blind-bagged.  I, of course, went all-in on said blind-bags, so I’ll be taking a look at the lot of them today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

All of these are part of the first series of blind-bagged Predator Minimates. There were eight unique Minimates in all in this first set, available in cases of 18 blind-bagged figures. The humans and the thermal predator are unique to this particular assortment, with the others finding their way into the first series of two-packs.

BILLY

PredatorMates3Billy is the first member we’ve received from Dutch’s squad of super-macho-men from the first film. He’s the squad’s tracker, which is a tad stereotypical, since he’s also Native American, but he never really steps into offensive territory, fortunately. Billy’s really only got one look in the film, and this is it. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. He’s got four sculpted add-ons: hair, vest, belt, and sheath. The hair and vest are both new to Billy, and they’re both fantastically sculpted, and pretty spot-on matches for Billy’s look in the film. The belt and sheath are both the same as those seen on Dutch; they’re both good sculpts, and it makes total sense to reuse them here.  Billy features some great paintwork, all-around. The camo on his paints is pretty well handled, and the face looks sufficiently like Billy; it’s definitely got that terrifying stare down. Under the vest, there’s a fully detailed torso, which even features the wound from where Billy slashes his own chest before his stand-off with the Predator towards the end. That’s an awesome touch! Billy includes an assault rifle, a machete, a small knife, and a clear display stand.

CHUCHILLO

PredatorMates4Well, now we can officially add Danny Trejo to the list of people who have Minimates, which is pretty cool. Oh, right, I should probably talk about the actual character, Chuchillo. He’s Danny Trejo’s character from Predators. He’s pretty much the same as any Danny Trejo character, but this time he’s fighting Predators. That’s about it. Chuchillo has one add-on piece, for his hair, which is re-used from the Marvel Minimates Series 42 Thunderstrike figure. It’s a decent match for Trejo’s hair from the film, so it’s a fine choice. Everything else here is done with paint. The detail work on the various parts of the figure is all pretty sharp, and the Trejo likeness is absolutely spot-on. There’s no denying who this guy is, which is good, because aside from the face, he’s just a dude in normal clothing. Chuchilllo is packed with a sub-machine gun and a clear display stand.

EDWIN

PredatorMates2I can honestly say, I never expected to get a Minimate of Topher Grace’s character from Predators, and certainly not in the first assortment of characters. Guess that’s why he’s the one-per-case figure. This is actually Topher Grace’s third Minimate, as he got two previous ones via the Spider-Man 3 ‘mates. Edwin has two sculpted add-on pieces for his hair and his hood. The hair is the same one that was used for all of the Dutch ‘mates, and the hood was first used on Walking Dead Series 2’s Amy. They’re reasonable enough matches, though Edwin’s hair was a little spikier in the movie.  Edwin’s paint is perfectly reasonable from a purely technical standpoint; the colors are pretty good, and all of th various detail lines are well-handled. Unfortunately, he’s just another guy in totally normal clothing, and unlike Chuchillo, he doesn’t have a spot-on likeness to sell him. I really can’t see any Grace in there at all. Edwin’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

JUNGLE PREDATOR(S)

PredatorMates5Now, we finally get to the actual “Predator” Minimates, starting with the main creature from the first film, the Jungle Hunter. There are two versions of the Jungle Hunter in this set: masked and unmasked. They’re pretty much the same, the only difference is the head. The unmasked version is more or less the same as the Battle-Damaged version; the only real difference is the paint and the addition of the plasma caster on his shoulder. The masked version obviously gets an all-new head, in addition to the plasma caster. While I do tend to prefer the Predators masked, I’m not sure I like the masked head quite as much; the dreds seem a little shorter, which looks a little goofy. The paint on both of these guys is pretty good (and mostly identical). The figures (obviously) lack the blood detailing of the battle-damaged version, but they also lose the gold rings from the dreds, which is sad to see. Both Predators are packed with a clear display stand.

THERMAL JUNGLE PREDATOR

PredatorMates7There’s one more Jungle Hunter variant in this set, though this one’s a fair bit different than the other two I looked at. Sculpturally, he’s the same figure as the basic masked Jungle Hunter. The real change here is the paint, which is wildly different from the rest of the Predators we’ve seen. This one is meant to depict him as though he were being viewed through the Predators’ signature thermal vision. Now, why the Predator is looking at another Predator, I can’t begin to tell you (apparently it’s from a video game), but I honestly don’t care, because the end result is this pretty sick looking Predator variant.

CITY PREDATOR

PredatorMates8Say what you will about Predator 2, it didn’t disappoint on the main Predator design. While the City Hunter isn’t quite as much of a classic as the Jungle Hunter, it’s still a pretty strong look. The City Predator has six sculpted add-on pieces for the shoulder armor, belt/skirt, hands/gauntlets, and feet, as well as non-standard pieces for the head and upper left arm. Surprisingly enough, absolutely none of these are re-used from the Jungle Hunter, which is nice, since they’re designs were different in the movies. If anything, I’d say the City Hunter translates a little better to the ‘mate aesthetic. Unlike the Jungle Hunter, the basic City Hunter’s masked and unmasked heads are both included with the same figure, and they are both fairly decent recreations of the source material. The overall paint on the City Hunter is quite good; the colors are nice matches and he’s got a ton of small detail work, which all looks amazing. However, my figure also has a substantial amount of slop on his left gauntlet, which is quite annoying. In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, the City Hunter includes a Kambi Stick and a clear display stand.

CITY PREDATOR – BATTLE DAMAGED

PredatorMates6Of course, even if the normal City Predator has both masked and unmasked heads covered, we can’t very fairly leave him with only one variation in this set, right? Enter this version. Unlike the Jungle Hunter, the City Hunter actually takes a fairly substantial beating over the course of Predator 2, including losing a hand about ¾ of the way through. So, this figure showcases the character as he’s seen in the last quarter of the film. Structurally, he’s mostly the same as the regular version, albeit with an all-new stump piece in place of his left hand. It’s the same as the normal piece, just cut off before the hand, as it should be. His paint is also mostly the same, with a few changes. Obviously, there’s the green blood splattered all over the place, to indicate he’s been damaged, but he also is sporting the breathing apparatus he wears while fixing himself up, after losing the hand. I actually don’t remember it all that well, but it’s been shown on a few of the City Hunter toys. It’s a cool feature, and it helps to differentiate him from the other City Hunter, so it works well. Unlike his pre-battle version, this figure’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I wanted a full set of the figures included here, my best purchasing option was buying a whole case of these guys. Fortunately, Edwin was the only single-packed figure, which meant I got two mostly complete sets, allowing me to split the case with my buddy Tim. Ultimately, I think getting a complete set is the best way to get these guys. On their own, there are a couple of figures here (Edwin and at least one of the two basic Jungle Hunters) who might be a bit disappointing. However, as a full set, the lesser figures are easily balanced out by some really strong figures. Billy, the Thermal Pred, and the City Hunter are all really strong figures, and the rest are well enough made to make the whole set feel pretty cool.

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#0513: City Hunter

CITY HUNTER

PREDATORS (NECA)

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For me, my NECA collecting is widely due to their current, super-awesome, handling of Aliens. That line is definitely one of their signature lines, but the line that really, truly defines NECA is their fantastic Predators line. The line first began as a tie-in to 2010’s Predators film, before gradually moving on to the designs of the creatures from the other films in the series. Like a lot of properties from the ‘80s, the Predator franchise has a really strong, really distinctive first film, before switching to films that are of a noticeably lower quality. Predator 2 definitely isn’t up to the first film by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s really not the worst thing ever, and, more importantly, the main Predator design is really cool. So, let’s have a look at one of NECA’s versions of that character!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CityHunterWilsonThe City Hunter, as he is officially named, was released in the 4th Series of NECA’s Predators line. As noted in the intro, he’s based on the primary Predator featured in Predator 2 (there were actually quite a few secondary Predators featured.) The figure is just shy of 8 inches in height, with 24 points of articulation. City Hunter is appears here sans-bio-mask, meaning it’s after his first run-in with Harrigan, however, he still has both hands, so it’s before they do significant battle. Structurally, the figure shares a number of pieces with the Predators that preceded him, however, he has a character specific head, as well as some unique armor pieces. He also has a brand new pelvis, hips, and upper legs, as the figure is one of the first in the NECA line to sport the ball-and-disc-style hip joints that would eventually become standard for the line. Probably the best part of the sculpt is the figure’s head, which gives a great look at what lies beneath that Predator mask. The mandibles have been sculpted as a separate piece and glued in place, which not only gives the figure a great bit of dimension, but also allows for the mouth to be really detailed. Beyond just the head, every piece of this figure’s sculpt is covered with some sort of texturing or detailing, just like the prop-suit from the movie would have been, and it all looks pretty fantastic. City Hunter’s paintwork isn’t quite as good as his sculpt, but it’s not terrible. The colors all match up pretty well with the colors from the movie, and for the most part the paint stays where it’s supposed to be. The figure also has the appropriate sheens on his skin and armor, to help differentiate them, which is definitely cool. However, there’re a few areas with a bunch of slop, and, most notably, the painting of the fishnets is, at best, erratic. It results in an overall decent effect, but it doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. The City Hunter is armed with one accessory: the smart disc. While it’s not as cool as the Combi-Staff, the piece is significant in the movie, and it’s nice to see it here. He has a little trouble holding it, but it can be stowed in his side holster quite nicely.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting pulled into NECA’s Predators line with Dutch and the Jungle Hunter from the first movie, I hadn’t really planned on getting any of the other Predators. But, a re-watch of Predator 2 reminded me of how much I really liked the City Hunter design, so I ended up tracking this guy down on Amazon. He’s a really great figure, and he shows of the best qualities of the line very well. Now, if only there were a Harrigan to go with him!