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Snake Predator

Predator 2
by Monkey Boy

In NECA's Predators Series 5, the "Snake" Predator is the only figure of the three without a bio-helmet. His unmasked head reveals the diamond forehead-pattern that gives him his nickname. With his release, NECA is one step closer to completing the "Lost Tribe" of Predators.

There's quite a lot of difference between Snake and the other Lost Hunters, even though they all share the same basic body. His head, for example, seems new, and the sculpt is very nice. While his forehead resembles the rounder, smooth-edged look of the "Classic" Predator design, his face and mandibles are more similar to the City Hunter. It also features a first for the Predator figures: short hair. His "dreadlocks" are quite noticeably shorter than the other Preds we've seen so far, which is something I had never noticed until seeing this figure, but it is actually accurate to the costume worn in the film. NECA really went all out to get the little details right that make each Lost Hunter unique.

His armor is quite interesting. His shoulder pieces come from the City Hunter, but his bone necklace is from the original Predator. His left leather-looking forearm wrap is shared with the Stalker Predator, but the right gauntlet (a similar leather wrap) is unique to Snake. His loincloth piece looks like a front-butt: it's a metal-looking piece with two humps split down the middle. Very odd, and yet correct to the film version.

Then there are the "fur" elements. On his shoulder and on either side of his waist, Snake has textured plastic pieces meant to represent patches of mammalian fur. (Not his own, the pelt of something he killed.) The effect isn't as nice as it looked on the 2-up prototype (which appeared to use "real" fur) but it does the job for a 7" figure.

So his sculpt is very good, but we all know that means nothing if the paint isn't up to snuff. With Snake's intricate forehead pattern, there's a risk that the production paint isn't going to be able to accomplish the design. Fortunately, Snake marks a significant improvement over the last Predator with a complex forehead design (the unmasked City Hunter). Snake's forehead pattern looks excellent. The rest of him is handled well, too: his face looks good, as do the reddish spots on his cream-colored body. His armor is copper, and the fur areas are grayish with a darker paint wash. The netting is nicely matched up, which is always a plus.

Articulation and accessory compliment are familiar to anyone who's been following the line so far. He moves exactly how the other Lost Hunters move: balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists and waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees and balljointed ankles.

He gets a smart-disc that fits in a tray in his thigh armor, and a retracted "combi-stick". Interestingly, even though people might be experiencing some accessory fatique with these guys, it's worth noting that they all get technically accurate accessories: in the final scene of Predator 2, Snake and Stalker are both carrying retracted spears, while Guardian's is extended. Boar doesn't carry a spear (which is why his figure only came with a smart-disk) and Shaman has his own unique spear/walking stick. They're even designed to hold their weapons in the same hands they use in the film. While this attention to detail is pretty sweet, it means we probably shouldn't expect much from the final three Lost Hunters, since they don't seem to be carrying anything.

Of the three figures in Series 5, Snake is probably the most unique: he's the only unmasked Pred in the set, and the other two are essentially rehashes of Preds we've already seen. That's not entirely fair with Stalker, who is similar-to-but-sculpted-differently-from Boar, but Guardian is just Gort + City Hunter. Snake gets a new head with new hair, and his unique forehead pattern really makes him stand out. Thankfully, NECA did a really nice job replicating what was seen on screen, and if Series 6 can match his quality, then it can't arrive soon enough for me.

-- 06/19/12

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