While far from the masterpiece everyone was inexplicably expecting, Alien Vs. Predator had its moments. The two franchises have been little more than popcorn movies since the 1980s, so anyone expecting a return to form was expecting way too much. All I was expecting were some kick-ass predators fighting some slimy aliens, and I was more or less satiated.
So I bought most of the AvP merchandise put out by McFarlane, including the first series of 7" action figures. By now, most of them are in pieces, but my favorite of the bunch was Scar Predator. Of the three Predators in the film, he was the most iconic looking (due mostly to the fact that his mask is an almost direct copy of the mask from the first Predator film) and in the end he became more or less the film's protagonist. I may have also liked his figure because of all the AvP figs I owned, he had the least amount of painted-shut joints.
Anyway, as I said, he's been broken for some time now, and if you've seen the secondary prices for some of these guys, you'll realize why I was pretty excited about McFarlane's announcement of a 12" Scar Predator. This is the second Predator offering in the 1/6 scale from McFarlane, and like that original, this one has an Alien counterpart to go with it. However, while the first 12" Alien and Predator came from the original movies in their respective franchise, both of these figures are based on designs from AvP.
Sculpturally, this Predator is largely based on the 7" Scar Predator, although that's not necessarily a bad thing, since that was a great sculpt. However, there are a few major differences. First, the 12" figure is much more pre-posed, since the large size of this figure requires that articulation be downsized in the name of production costs. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, since the 7" Scar, while it was heavily articulated, was prone to breakage thanks to the quality of plastic and the quality of the paint. The joints tended to be very loose, or stuck together completely with paint.
The chosen pose is, thankfully, a pretty good one. The Predator is in a semi-crouching "at the ready" stance. His dreadlocks are swinging wildly and dramatically. The sculpt is very good, with all the detail and accuracy you expect from McFarlane. In fact, in a very small way this figure is actually more accurate than the original 7" figure: the trophy skulls of the smaller Scar were just re-uses from the original Movie Maniacs 5 Alien and Predator box set, while the 12" features new skulls that match the style and arrangement of the source material. Like the 7" Pred, the upsized version features a nifty flip-up wrist panel for all your self-destruct needs.
In addition to a cutback in articulation, this figure also differs from the 7" Scar in that it features an unmasked head sculpt. Originally, the smaller Scar was to be released in two versions: a standard masked figure and an unmasked variant. Despite assurances from McFarlane staff that it was on the way, the unmasked Scar never saw the light of day. In a way, this 12" figure is McFarlane making good on that promise, albeit in a slightly half-assed way, since this figure's unmasked face appears to be based on the same sculpt as the unmasked variant shown in prototype pictures. While it's a technically good sculpt, it doesn't really match the look of the unmasked Pred in the film.
The paint on 12" Scar is, thankfully, far superior to the original 12" Predator. The netting which covers most of the Predator's un-armored body was extremely muddy and poorly defined on that figure, making for a pretty shoddy paint job. The 12" Scar features much better netting that never loses its definition, as well as a wide range of different tones for the Predator's skin color, and some nice variation in the armor. Some places it looks silver, while in other areas it takes on a more bronzed appearance. There are even three different colors used in the ringlets of the Pred's dreads (heh heh... Pred's dreads). The only real problem with the paint is an inconsistency in the trophy skulls. Some received so much paint wash that they are almost black.
While the 12" figure is much less articulated than the 7" Scar, it still features quite a bit of movement. Scar gets a balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, peg biceps, peg elbows, a peg at the right wrist, a balljoint at the left wrist, a balljointed torso, a peg waist, peg knees, and peg ankles. Notably absent are any kind of hip joints, and you'll note that many areas where you would normally expect to find hinges are instead peg joints. Still, above the waist you'll find plenty of poseability, while the leg joints are more useful for keeping the figure upright. Also, none of the quality control problems of the original 7" figure are present; all joints move smoothly and freely.
For such a large figure, 12" Scar gets a nice complement of accessories. First, there's the mask, which fits over the Predator's face through friction. While the sculpt is nice, the friction thing is always scary, since (if early attempts at removable Predator masks by McFarlane are any indication) over time the fit can become so loose it barely stays on the face. This one feels pretty tight though, so lets hope it stays that way. Next, we get a removable backpack with the Predator's trademark shoulder cannon. The backpack plugs into the shoulder blade of the figure, and features three hinged joints on the cannon's "arm" and one peg joint at the base of the cannon. We also get a spear, which is unfortunately not retractable, but fits in the right hand nicely. There's also a removable dagger in the sheath on the figure's right thigh, also meant to fit in the right hand.
Finally, there's the figure's base. The base, based on the same stand that came with the AvP 7" Grid Alien, has been separated into two pieces, and to make the base whole you must get the upcoming 12" Grid Alien. It looks kind of awkward with just half a base, especially since there's a peg sticking out of the side to connect the base to the other half (be careful you don't loose this peg since it isn't attached in the package!). It's nice that he has something to stand on, though.
Overall, this figure is a vast improvement over McFarlane's last 12" Predator offering. Looking at it on my shelf, it actually looks almost as good as some high end statues I've seen out there, and the poseability and accessories are a good bonus. This figure is great, and a worthy addition to any Predator fan's collection.
Should McFarlane give up on small figures and follow Sideshow's lead, becoming exclusively large-scale? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.